Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Two Carbs in a Pod

Hooray, we have our first Penny restoration deadline!  We just reserved our camp spot in June for a week of exploring Yellowstone (on foot and in our yellow friend).  We will be putting in a lot of elbow grease over the next few months to get her ready for the 8 hour road trip.  We are pretty excited for our first real outing as bus parents!  Hope you readers are enjoying our journey...

It has seemed like forever that every time we'd start up Penny, Jason would assure me that when we got the second carburetor rebuilt she'd purr like a kitten.  Well, after all that assurance it's finally happened!  We were excited to receive our first box of parts for 2014 last week, complete with a carb rebuild kit, sway bar clamps and a new service manual to guide us through the tricky syncing process (plus a myriad of other future processes, I'm sure).

This weekend it was over to the shop we went, of course puppies and box of goodies in tow.   The right carburetor had been rebuilt in the fall, so lefty was the one on our agenda.  After we unscrewed, detached and got greasy, Penny found herself down one part and we got to work.  Jason, Van and I were clearly pretty excited to be back in the shop...

We busted out the new pieces and carefully disassembled the carburetor, Jason all the while being an amazing teacher and schooling me step-by-step.

After it was all apart and the pieces in what looked like organized chaos, we cleaned the metal parts and replaced the ones that needed replacing.  

After everything was bathed and replaced, Jason championed the effort to put the puzzle back together correctly while I cheered him on from the sidelines.  All the while learning that my virgin auto-shop lungs need a bit of fresh air from time to time to avoid feeling like my head is going to explode.  (I'll toughen up if it's the last thing I do!)

We placed that small, unassuming part back in Penny's hindquarters and sure enough...purred like the beautiful kitten she is.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time for the sway bar clamp installation and the carb syncing, but that will be first up when we return from vacation next week.  It was great to drive her home sans the subtle backfiring that had become her theme song.  After diving into our new manual and some successful syncing she might be ready for her first mini winter road trip!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Very Volkswagen Christmas

Merry Christmas readers!  I hope that Santa treated you well this year, I know he spoiled us.  All the wonderful things under the tree were definitely just the cream cheese frosting on our decadent holiday red velvet cake this year.  The holidays always serve to remind me just how amazing a family we have and this year was no different.

It's because of our generous family and friends that we have officially become the bus family.  After all the unwrapping was complete it was quite obvious how much Penny has become part of the clan.  I knew I saw her potential!  We found ourselves with a custom bus blanket for camping, a phone cover, an amazing documentary, a restoration guide, a toddler-sized tent and some goWesty cash to get her nice and tuned up! Check out our loot below:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cold Weather Intermission

Hello again long-lost readers!  I apologize profusely for our hiatus from the saga that is restoring Penny, Wyoming weather and holidays have been getting in the way of our progress!  We have, however, been taking Penny out for the occasional cold weather drive and although she's excited for the other carb rebuild kit to arrive, she's chugging along pretty nicely.

Her yellow is barely peeking out from beneath the freshly fallen inches of snow this morning, while we are waiting eagerly for the thermal cover to arrive that was on backorder. (So many buses that need to stay warm!)  And just as a holiday side-note, a shout out to Bed Bath & Beyond for satiating the needs of us bus enthusiast parents who want to pass along the tradition to our kids by giving this beauty to the masses:

And to the myriad of friends and family who have sent us excited text messages about their discovery in the BB&B store!  Thanks for thinking of us as your go-to VW family :)

Also, one more holiday thank you to Mama Hammock for the great new hand-painted addition to our Christmas tree this year.  Penny is officially a part of the family. 

We hope that everyone has a great holiday season and is as blessed as we are with great friends, family and hobbies to make their every day the best that it can be.  We will catch up with you after the holidays when we start back on our list of Penny improvements!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A First Time for Everything

It's a fact that I like fro-yo...a lot.  Love might even describe my affair with frozen yogurt better.  Me begging Jason to get some of the frozen fabulousness on a random Wednesday night after dinner isn't an unusual occurrence in our house.  Last night was pretty par for the course.

Long story short (minus all the amazing ice cream creation details) we were driving back in Penny from our impromptu fro-yo date and I hear from the drivers seat next to me, Uh oh, she's going to go.  Sure enough, 30 seconds later she sputters to a stop.  Luckily we were able to turn off into a side street to escape the busy main road we were on, but it was unsettling nonetheless.  Jason got out to investigate and I started to dig in my wallet for my trusty AAA card.  He gets back in, turns her on and surprisingly she was good to go.

But only until 5 minutes later when the same thing happened.  We were under the impression that the carburetors (which are due next for a rebuild) were getting flooded because after letting her sit for a minute or two she kept turning back on fine.  Finally, we were about three blocks from our house and she failed for the third and final time with a failed attempt at resuscitation.  We had to abandon ship.

Luckily we were within walking distance, so we unloaded the puppies and set out for the house.  I felt bad leaving her behind!

About an hour later Jason went back to see if he could facilitate a rescue and discovered that the fuse that was connected to the fuel pump wasn't connecting correctly.  He was able to nurse her home and we will be in the market for a new, better fitting fuse in the next few days.

Maybe this will be the worst that we see from old Penny, but I will have my shiny gold AAA handy card just in case!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our Girl & Her New Kicks!

Penny, along with the new tires, rims, lug nuts, hub caps and beauty rings, had been waiting patiently for Saturday to come.  (I was pretty excited too!)  We loaded the whole family (daughter and dogs included) and all of the new parts into the bus and headed over to Jason's Dad's house for the big install.  We usually try to do all of the sizable restoration projects over there, as a huge shop that houses every tool imaginable tends to come in handy.

Just as a reminder, here is the before shot:

I was assigned the task of cleaning up the rims and making sure all of the old break dust and gunk no more. Ever the tidy child, Sadie was pumped to sit down and help me with this first task..

I got them all shined up and we tested out all the new accessories to make sure they would fit.  It was like Cinderella and her glass slipper...perfect!

Meanwhile, Sadie had lost interest in shining up the tires (par for the course of a 2 year old attention span) and she wandered over to help Jason hoist Penny up in the air.  After a furious arm workout the bus was high enough that she was ready for the tire swap!

Me and my helper then used our new found knowledge of power tools and took all the old wheels off.  (Our combined girly arm strength wasn't quite enough to actually pull the wheels of, but we tried!)  She was a pro at helping Jason wheel them away though, all the while singing "rolling, rolling, rolling!"

You could sense Fat Penny's excitement as she hung there, shoe-less, in anticipation.  Perhaps I'm personifying the bus just a bit too much, but I swear she was excited. 


A few lug nuts, hub caps and beauty rings later she was ready to go to the ball with her Prince Charming!

Friday, September 13, 2013

I Like a Fat Girl...

In this day and age, it should go without saying that your life is not as private as you think. We put a lot of personal information on the internet and all it takes is for someone to Google your name and this information is displayed for all to see. I know this because a salesperson recently Googled my name, found out I am passionate about a fat chick, and used this information to harm my reputation at work. I'll explain...

I received a package at work last week from an address I had never heard of. This is not unusual as the nature of my work makes me a person of interest to salespeople. However, this was not a typical prospecting package containing some cheesy trinket. It contained a book about fat girls. Beautiful fat girls! It contained the history of my favorite kind of fat girls starting from when they were split windows through their transformation to the bay window.  How could someone know I have been spending so much time with Fat Penny? I thought to myself. Then it dawned on me. We have been blogging about Fat Penny and our love for this fat girl is available on Google for everyone to see. This guy must have seen that I like fat girls on Google, I thought. This suspicion was confirmed in the last line of the letter attached to the book. It read "While doing research, I discovered that you are passionate about VW buses. I hope you enjoy the book."

So salesperson, I know you are reading this and I just want to say that it's pretty uncool to out a guy at work for liking a bigger lady. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fat Penny on Gilligan's Island

As I've mentioned before, we promised Fat Penny new shiny shoes and break lines upon our safe return from the camping trip.  A myriad of incompetent people, horrible customer service, six visits to a ghetto motel/bus station and a wheel-stealing Greyhound bus made procuring both of these things quite the process.

Pull the Gilligan's Island Theme Song tune out from the back of your head and hum along with our tale...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, 
A tale of a frustrated pair 
That started from this capitol city 
Aboard this vintage bus. 

The guy was a handsome one, 
The lady blonde and tall. 
They wanted to make Penny shine
But they were the only ones, they were the only ones. 

The brakes were a bit rough, 
Without new ones she was doomed, 
To O'Riley Auto Parts the couple went 
They got three lines but the fourth was lost, the fourth was lost.

They kept returning to the site of this uncharted store 
With Grumpy Pat
The Sad Lady too, 
The Lug Nut Guy and his pal, 
Finally got our fourth break line 
After three weeks and six trips
Here on O'Riley's Isle. 

So this is the tale of the bus restorers, 
They're waiting for a long, long time, 
All they want is some old stock rims, 
It's was an uphill climb. 

They bought the wheels from theSamba.com 
They were put on a big Greyhound, 
The girl was a tid bit nervous, 
But was sure they would make it just fine.

Her first trip to the Rodeway Inn 
there was only one box there, 
Two wheels for a bus of four, 
Where could the other half be? 

They put those two back on the bus,
Denver bound they were. 
Our guy and girl were sad,

Six visits later the wheels were there 
Here on Fat Penny's Isle.

I'm proud you made the the whole way through, and now will have that tune stuck in your head the rest of the day!  You're welcome :)

We were pretty convinced that we were never going to see the second half of the wheels after they had been sent back to wherever they came from by some wonderful motel employees, but bright and early Saturday morning we received the call saying our precious cargo had arrived...again.  I told the lady to watch the box until we arrived and we rushed over to grab them so they didn't disappear again.

They now have a new set of tires on them and we're just patiently waiting for our lug nuts, hub caps and beauty rings to arrive.  Stay tuned for the unveiling of Penny's new shoes in the next week or so!