Wednesday, April 15, 2015

day 3- corvallis to berkeley.

The bus has successfully made it's journey from Corvallis to Berkeley. It was a bit of a stressful adventure, but there were no serious problems and now the next phase of work can begin!

The goal was to leave Corvallis by 9 am. That morning we had to pick up a rental car (for my parents to drive down as my support vehicle) and drop off the dogs at the vet where they were being borded. Both of these things we could do any time after 8 am. I course neither happened until around 9 and then we had to make more coffee and then we could get on the road, so we left more like 10-10:30. The drive is conservatively around 10 hours but I was anticipating it taking us around 12 assuming the bus drove a bit slow and we stopped for lunch. 

My dad and I agreed to switch off driving the bus. It is incredibly loud to drive, mostly because the cover for the engine that is inside the bus is kind of loose and not containing much engine noise. Also it's just a big ass engine and makes a lot of noise. As such, we wore ear plugs while driving, or in my case an ear plug and a headphone. Another exhausting aspect of driving the bus is it's rather sensitive steering. It easily over corrects and requires the driver to be very attentive to staying in one's lane. To add to this the steering wheel is still crooked which I think added to my difficulty with driving smoothly. My theory about the bus's touchy-ness is that there was not much weight in the bus for the drive so the engine did not have as much resistance as it may be used to. The precious owner did mention that it is much happier when it has a bit of a load. I am hoping this issue will be corrected with the addition of all my stuff. 

The one plus side of having to be fairly allert while driving the bus is the time spent driving it seemed to fly by. I did the first shift of driving, between Corvallis and Ashland, and the four hours went by incredibly fast. I have been told though that when you add the stress of driving in Bay Area traffic at night, 1 hour feels like 10. 

I was a little disappointed we couldn't stop in Ashland for lunch on the way down. Knowing we had a time constraint I gave up on trying to visit any friends on the way down, but I atleast hoped to eat at a favorite restaurant and see the town. We were worried about time though, so we elected to have a snack in the parking lot when we pulled over for fuel instead. 

I've been making a big effort to get used to saying fuel or diesal instead of gas. When referig to the bus. The previous owner has a horror (or alternatively epic) story of someone accidentally putting gas instead of diesal in the bus and needing to get it towed the rest of the way into Burning Man. Now I have a fear I may accidentoy say 'fill it with regular! At the station instead of 'fill it with diesal!' Though I also keep forgetting I'm in California now and will a filling it myself. :p

Another funny thing about my bus and fuel, the fuel gauge doesn't work. I've got a little notebook on the dash where I write down my miles and how many gallons I put in each time I go to the station so I can guesstimate how much I've got left. Doing some math based on my first few fills I get somewhere between 15 and 18 miles per gallon. That was mostly highway driving mind you. 

The other discovery while driving it down was that the dash lights barely work. They glow a tiny bit but not reeeeally enough to see what speed you're going. I had switched driving with my dad to do the at reach between Redding and Vacaville and as it started to get dark I realized I couldn't see the dash. I stuck behind an rv that was driving between 60 and 65 mph for a while and then pulled over at a convient rest stop. My dad was able to get the lights a bit brighter by fiddling with a dial that made them brighter by turning counter clockwise (how silly) and then offered to drive the rest of the way. That will be on the list of things to fix sooner rather than later. A temporary option could be to rig up a little led light to point at the dash. My dad had made one for me when the lifts on my Subaru weren't working (I ment to grab one before we left incase the dash lights were problematic but forgot. Silly me.) 

The bus is now safely (mostly) parked in front of my work. The neighborhood where Berkeley Rep's shop is has a lot of rvs, buses and vans parked on the streets so I figure it is a good place to park mine too. I am checking on ot every day incase someone breaks into it and it is currently parked right outside the window of the room I mostly work in so I can keep an eye on it. Also with the bus parked near my work I'll be able to work on it with tools from my work and/or drive it into the shop for big stuff like painting it and the roof raise. 


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