I had chickened out last summer:
Well, this time, I had a Gauge! A Dakota Digital Gauge as loaned to me by hiwaycallin of Canada who hopefully has not been in dire need of it. I drove down from Reno to Lone Pine and camped "off the road" which means only that when I am tired enough, I will grab a dirt path off a secondary or terciary road and drive into the desert until I can no longer see a path or hear any traffic from which I came. Then I wake up to see how I did. Woke up to this:No Death Valley with this car and this heart today. I did not trust the temps and do not have enough experience with this particular engine to push things. You see, that above-noted increase in power up the hills was nice and all, it's what America wanted after all, but it changed the rules of the game I have always enjoyed with air-cooled VWs. I don't know that this more-powerful bus engine is quite so bullet-proof as the little Road Warrior's unperturbable and modest engine. We traded-in rock-solid reliability in the early 60's in our efforts to keep up with the times in the late 70's. I now need to feel out and learn how much to "back-pedal" the increased power to keep temps down, and it makes me now think this later more powerful 2.0 engine I now have to drive might benefit from some . . . . gauges. Otherwise, I end up driving it with the same output as the Road Warrior, and the hills will have to be pulled in 3rd at the same speed as the Road Warrior used to to keep the temps down. Which explains still better why I like VW's method to understress and underpower their cars, they did the "back-pedalling" for us.
Stepped out to stretch and walk around:
And it was beautiful and silent, and I checked the adjustment of the valves on the Poor BobD after all that crazy driving since Portland Oregon. Had a mini-heart-attack when all the valves showed that I had "lost" over an hour on each valve, i.e. stretch or recession had moved the screws backwards on the clock dial. Then I thought of what I have told others, "don't panic when all the valves are off, assume that someone adjusted them that way". Ah yes, the last time I adjusted them, the engine was still warm (allowed with hydraulic to a point). So let's go to Death Valley! says the BobD, by starting up with a horrendous clatter:
Now you all know that I am exceedingly fond of vast visual distances, and the annual Shoshone Valley traverse captivates me every time. Well, I done found another. The Panamint Springs approach from Lone Pine was breathtaking:
There was a dirt path off the "Scenic View" parking lot at Father Crowley Point, that I just drove on down, with the invitation of some prior tire tracks. Halfway down, I stopped at a mini-crest:
Got a little hairy down at the edge due to some slippery gravel, but I got my shots of space under the car:
Please note the little stripe of highway across the sand pan of the valley under the front of the car. That is something like 12 miles east and about 2,000 feet due down from this spot:
I was shooting for an illusion here with the brightness of the sand pan above the roof of the car playing "horizon", but the morning light was having no part of it:
The view from the passenger window:
The sense of timelessness in these rocks just anchors me. Layers of ancient sea floor lifted up thousands of feet by the slow speed collision between tectonic plates to then be wind-blasted back down, feeding huge sandy deltas stretching out onto the floors of the valleys .... yes! I am as far from debt ceiling shenanigans as I can get:
Here is a "diagram" of photographs to come:
The eastbound approach to the valley floor and about 15* warmer than not ten minutes ago:
On the valley floor, good and hot at just below 1,000 feet elevation:
First photograph of the "diagram, this is #19:
And look at how serious the incline to get this shot #20:
Far up and away, you can barely see the vantage point where I took the "scenic View" dirt path pictures, and the sand pan highway ribbon is still visible here:
The BobD hit 424* CHT at full-throttle in 4th at 100* ambient at 65-75 across the valley floor. They went down as the rpms dropped around 55 mph. Once I shifted down into 3rd where it hung on up to 4,900 feet at Towne Pass, CHT's never went above 413*:
This was just the warm-up valley before the real Deathy one:
Pulled into Stovepipe Wells after a long long downhill (something like 8% for 16 miles), where I watched my CHTs drop lower than at any time since I have had the gauge, 210* after 10 miles of throttle overrun where the LM-1 claimed the ECU had shut off the fuel.
As soon as the road levelled out in Stovepipe Wells, the CHTs jumped back up to 360* by the time I pulled into the $5.19/gallon Chevron Station with the wall thermometer at 113*.
Conclusion? You, know, driving air-cooled VWs in the heat? Even the later 2.0 engines? Set it up rich and drive as you wish.
end o'part 1