Let Colin be your pine cone. (West Seattle stop)

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lari
Getting Hooked!
Location: west seattle, wa
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Let Colin be your pine cone. (West Seattle stop)

Post by lari » Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:41 pm

It's been about 9 hours since Colin left our house. We were fortunate enough to have had a JAM-packed 1.5 days with him. This is a visit I'd been hoping would happen since we bought our bus almost a year ago. We've not driven it too much, trying to be cautious as we didn't really know the state of things and we refused to take it to the local VW mechanic after a bad experience (not with this bus). See, we thought we had a CE with 75,700 original miles on the bus, and we didn't want to do any harm. This bus found it's way to us, I'm convinced. Shortly after we got it and were cleaning it out we found pictures of one of my favorite bands, Duran Duran (I ask you, fellow bus owners, who among you would recognize, let alone LOVE finding Duran Duran pictures in your bus?!) Anyway, they are from the 1984 U.S. tour, and have likely been hiding for 23 years. They are clearly taken by someone who was on the tour with them. I loved the bus before I found the pictures, but finding them has made my relationship with the bus a little more mystical and special to me. pictures of our bus--it's the brown one!

I'm mostly a lurker here (more apt description would be information leech) and Colin has rock-star status in our house. Reading his posts and looking at pictures I imagined him to be a character from a Tom Robbins' novel (this is high praise in my world). I thought he seemed like a man that Robbins would love to write about--intelligent, self-reliant, true-hearted, full of interesting stories, a bit anti-establishment, kind, and living life the way he wants to live it (all endearing qualities to me). When we met him I was not disappointed. BTW, our dog, an excellent judge of character (and not easily won over), liked Colin instantly.

We began, as Colin usually does, at the table with coffee, paper and pen. Colin explained the workings of our 1978, stock, FI engine with clear illustrations and notes that we will have for future reference (worth the day's cost alone). Colin had the challenge of explaining things to two people who aren't too familiar with the inner-workings of the bus (one of whom--I--had an unfortunate oil dipstick boot installation experience...let's just say I put the dipstick book IN the engine compartment somewhere....SO EMBARRASSING ), but he was incredibly patient. As good teachers do, he checked for understanding and was concerned that everything was making sense to us along the way.

After the primer we headed out to the bus, which had to be towed back to West Seattle from Tacoma a couple of weeks ago after dying on I-5. We set about checking valves and going through Colin's recommended tune-up procedures. We were very interested in Colin's assessment of our engine's "freshness." We wanted to know if it was really a 75,700 mile engine or not. As we went through things Colin looked for evidence of original stuff and seemed to think that we did indeed have a relatively "fresh" engine. The bad news was that it had run hot at one time, and there was a lot of gross stuff that needed to be cleaned off of pretty much everything. One bit of evidence of the "freshness" was that Colin was pretty sure that the top of the AFM had never been off, and it looked really nice and new inside. We had a problem with things running too rich, and Colin said that was very unusual, especially because we had adjusted the mixture screw until it was as lean as possible and it was still too rich!! So, mental trouble-shooting started. Colin was pretty convinced that this was the cause of the failure on the road that we had, and decided that it might be the CHT II, which as DUMB luck would have it, was one of the "extra parts" I had decided we needed to have and had purchased just a week ago. We checked out the old and replaced it with the new one and things were much better. After we got it running, we took the bus for a spin. It ran very well, but Colin put it through its paces and noted some things that could be improved. He gave a quick driving lesson to help us make things last longer. Colin agreed to come back the next day for the morning, as we still felt like we needed to know more and wanted to get as much as we could checked out by the master.

This morning we were greeted with an uncharacteristicly heavy late summer rain (I consider sept. still summer here in seattle). So Colin and I talked through some of the procedures we hoped to get to today. After the rain let up, we tackled a non-working driver-side door, and encountered a cracked door handle lever. Colin and I took the handle apart (his first time!!) and he cleverly decided to try to JB Weld (I didn't even know what JB Weld was until yesterday!) the crack to help us avoid having to replace the whole handle (I'll know if it worked tomorrow.) Then it was time to tackle the stop plate. Amos (the hubby) and Colin took it apart and realized we were missing the bushing. (yet another thing I need to order to complete our bus!!) Then he, in a matter of minutes made our non-working blower start working!! Huzzah, heat!! At this point it was almost time for Colin to leave us to head to Tacoma to meet up with Spiffy, so we peppered him with random questions and tried to extract as much info as we could. Then we had a privilege we weren't expecting--we got to see some of the pages of Colin's manuscript. What a treat. And then, almost as soon as the adventure started Colin was gone. Too soon, really. Never has a day and a half of work been so rewarding and so full of fine conversation. We enjoyed every minute, and begged Colin to come back next year. We are committed to getting this bus in such good shape that Colin will be proud and feel that his time with us was well-spent. And, Colin has impressed upon me the importance of driving and enjoying our beautiful bus, which feels liberating. For whom am I saving this joy, and why should someone else have the pleasure?

Thanks, Colin, you're a treasure. And, to fellow Tom Robbins' fans (from Another Roadside Attraction) ...

"Pine Cones on the Tent, It's a cold, clear morning; the sun has come over the canyon wall, but you're still dozing around, when something hits the tent. Open the flap and the sun's in your face; the world is ready. Let COLIN be your pine cone."

cheers,
lari (and amos) and the newly christened "Simon LeBus."

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spiffy
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Post by spiffy » Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:37 am

:cheers:

Thanks for letting him get down to Tacoma, I had an overdue debt to reconcile when he saved our bacon about a year ago when we were out on the road.

Indeed, the guy has a refreshing exuberance and wit about life.

Hope we can see you around a few campouts now that your bus is road worthy! :geek:
78 Riviera "Spiffy"
67 Riviera "Bill"

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IFBwax
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Post by IFBwax » Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:11 am

Hey Lari.. that's a heck uv a nice looking bus you have there. Colin is great isn't he? I like your poem/quote too. Plus Colin is old and crusty like a pine cone too. :geek: Don't be surprised if you see my bus (The Party Pickle) around West Seattle this weekend. I'm parking it at a friend's house while my Father in and Law and I take in the sights of downtown and a football game. Then it's off to the San Juans!

p.s. I used to live in West Seattle from 1990-1993 near 34 ave SW.. beautiful view of downtown.

http://www.partypickle.blogspot.com
The best navigators aren't sure where they're going until they get there. And then they're still not sure.

Frank Bama

http://www.partypickle.blogspot.com

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:16 pm

I am listening to the title track of their CD "11:11", Lari's and Amos's CD, here at Starbucks. I love it. These guys are talented as all get out.
Colin
(please edit the PM I sent you, it was this 11:11 title track that hooked me, I thought it was "Consensus" but I love this damn thing, tell Amos I really do like the opening theme riffs and his vocals on track 6 hot damn and tell Adonis I like his drumming, it avoids "polish" just right, nice work!)
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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lari
Getting Hooked!
Location: west seattle, wa
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Post by lari » Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:21 pm

spiffy, I get the feeling colin's saved enough bacon to feed an army. We're looking forward to some camping and meeting local vw people, you know, people who don't think you're crazy for spending a lot of time and money on a 30-year-old vehicle. We've already decided that we're coming to the big campout in Oregon in June--that will be so fun. We'd like to do one that's sooner too!

wayne, thanks for the kind words. We feel pretty lucky we found this bus and even more lucky that we had Colin's help learning to be good bus owners. I understand you live in scenic Beaverton these days...my husband's sister and family live there on SW Tremont (off of huntington)--we were just there this saturday and sunday! We lived with them for about 6 weeks when we were looking for a house in seattle (after we moved here from chicago). Clearly you have great taste in places to live! We love West Seattle--it's our favorite place in the city. we're right by Schmitz park and have a view (from the sidewalk in front of our house) across the water in the other direction. I've enjoyed looking at your blog and reading about your engine adventures. (your girls are SO cute).

can't wait to meet you guys!
Lari
78 CE westy-Simon LeBus
I want a WESTY TABLE!! PM me if you've got one for Simon!

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LiveonJG
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Post by LiveonJG » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:35 pm

Glad to hear your Colin encounter went so well. He is indeed a vast source of information. I, too, got a peek at the manuscript, oh to have seen more! Looking forward to meeting you two in Maupin. My only request is, please, no Duran Duran. They were my little sister's favorite band. She and her friends would listen to them and just scream and scream and scream... I'd hate to have another "episode" as those have really tapered off since that band fell into obscurity.
-John
Keep it acoustic.

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lari
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Post by lari » Thu Sep 06, 2007 8:51 pm

John, I confess, I was just like your sister, which is why finding the pictures was so crazy!! And they are so not obscure as you might think, they're still recording new stuff! I saw the original line-up play a packed house here in WA in 2005. It was a lot of screaming 30-something women who brought their kids. Say what you want about the fans, but as a musician myself, I have to say they are indeed talented and can play and sing well--unlike many boy-bands of today. I've got a soft spot for them still, just can't help myself. I promise, however, to leave my duran duran at home!!

And, Colin, you flatter us!!! Shameless plug...Anyone in Seattle, we're playing the venerable blue moon on the 15th--no cover. Our drummer, Adonis, is the owner of the lovely red & white transporter in the pictures.

I'm so happy I found this forum. You guys rock.
lari
78 CE westy-Simon LeBus
I want a WESTY TABLE!! PM me if you've got one for Simon!

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:22 pm

lari wrote: Anyone in Seattle, we're playing the venerable blue moon on the 15th--no cover. Our drummer, Adonis, is the owner of the lovely red & white transporter in the pictures.
I have done crazier things than to drive across the state of Washington to catch a gig. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :compress:
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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lari
Getting Hooked!
Location: west seattle, wa
Status: Offline

Post by lari » Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:42 pm

It should be interesting--I just heard from Amos that he smashed his right index finger today and split the nail (doing some work while visiting his parents). He assures me that he can still play "with the other fingers" or with a pick. I appreciate that attitude, and believe him...he's a tough character. I'd be screwed if I did that to my finger--I hate playing bass with a pick!!

11:11 is already on the set list.

Lari
78 CE westy-Simon LeBus
I want a WESTY TABLE!! PM me if you've got one for Simon!

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LiveonJG
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Post by LiveonJG » Mon Sep 10, 2007 3:56 pm

lari wrote: I hate playing bass with a pick!!
That makes two of us.

-John
Keep it acoustic.

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