I’ve been avoiding this post for a little while. Simply because it brings this particular road venture to an official end. It should be done, I suppose.
Replacing the dead generator with the brand new alternator turned out to be a much easier job than I really could have imagined. I pulled the Bus into Kyle’s (Bozeman AIRS member) shop at around 10 a.m. and began the small task of dissassembly. I was a bit worried about the job at this point, a lot of VW gurus were saying it would be best accomplished with the motor out. This is not as difficult to do as it is in just about any other car but, it’s a dirty, no fun job. Thankfully I was able to reach around the back of the motor to wrench the huge (36mm!) generator fan nut off. The job was relatively straight-forward. Since most of the readers of this blog aren’t of the mechanical ilk, though, I won’t write up the whole process.
I did run into a one issue, a rather disconcerting metal squeal noise that after a bit of tinkering and diagnosing, Kyle and I decided wasn’t enough of an issue to warrant redoing the job.
I pulled out of Bozeman and back onto I-90 at around 6 p.m. Driving from this point forward was not much more than a chore. The wind in south west Montana, southern Idaho and even eastern Oregon had some sort of grudge against old VWs. If I wasn’t driving straight into this heavy wind and struggling to keep a speed of 50, I was being pushed around the highway like a new kid on the playground.
Not much to report on the I-90 front. Mostly frivolous cursing at the wind and a few conversations with people at gas stations. I did, however, try out a bottle of five hour energy that night. That stuff is a crock of shit, it gave me two hours of energy at best! Crossed the state line into Idaho at around 11:30 p.m. and found a National Forest to camp in at around midnight. It was completely empty except for one Dodge Ram with a camper shell, and those people were asleep.
Another reason I’m never doing five hour energy again, PARANOIA! I have no idea what’s in this stuff and I’m currently too lazy to research it but, something in there or maybe the combination of all of those things gave me ridiculous paranoia that night. I was certain that I was going to be stabbed to death that night by some crazed drifter with absolutely no motive besides general hatred of humanity. I remember constantly pulling my head up out of the sleeping bag and looking out the rear window to see what was going on outside. It was nothing every time, but for some time I was still cowering in that car. I spent a good deal of time debating which tool in the cabinet next to me would critically injure but not kill a would-be assailant. Ridiculous.
In the morning I found myself completely alone. So I covered my naked body with satanic runes made of wheel bearing grease and… There’s no reason to continue this blatantly ridiculous scenario, I just got back on the highway towards Boise. Which is where I met a guy named Mike at a VW shop to pick up an original 50s era roof rack for a guy in SoCal. We’d made a deal a few days earlier that I would pick-up and transport his rack to him in exchange for a rear bumper for my Bus.
What else is there to tell? That particular part of Idaho was alright. Nothing to flip out about. More wind, of course. Eastern Oregon was about the same, only with more sage bushes.
Western Oregon had a wonderful greeting prepared for me that night, near freezing temperatures, drizzle and patches of dense fog on a slick, steep mountain pass. Yeah, I’m just as happy to see you, too, asshole.
Got the Bus in my carport at midnight and immediately crashed out. Thus ends this particular journey. Depressing, both in its quite boring end and in its realization that my days of this sort of adventure are probably numbered. You see, I’ll be graduating soon and with graduation comes the realization that I have to be a “responsible, contributing citizen.” Sounds pretty shitty, doesn’t it? The real issue at hand is the titanic, bloodthirsty monster that is my student loan debt.
But there are still a few adventures of this caliber to be had. I’m not going to give up completely. But I am for tonight. Six a.m. flights come early.