. . . but Texas gave me one more little excellent unexpected campsite in the midst of irritation whose title was "I hate going east, too dang crowded." The Atlantic Ocean has been having an ever greater effect on the vegetation, and the trees have been getting bigger, the weeds have been getting far more luxuriant, the bugs too, the humidity, and the sky has been shrinking behind these tree canopies. So I was barrelling down a country lane when I spied tire tracks in the grass, just like that beautiful spot in that ranch, and I hauled over and bounded up a surprisingly nasty bunch of moonscape topography hiding under aforementioned luxuriant weeds. Thankfully, the BobD is a Volkswagen bus that took the detour with aplomb, even being quite civilized about the use of the front rebound bump stops. Had to heave a fallen tree out of the path. It was hot. The insect life was buzzing and chirriping, the weeds were scratchy nasty, oh waah, there was a tick on my ankle (GumOut took care o dat), it was humid. Voila! You can see the BobD nesting here, facing the direction from which we came, you know, just in case I find that I am trespassing or something and need to leave with dispatch . . . . . . .
. . . . . did I say "leave with dispatch"? Not quite! Not without an accelerator pedal, a gearshifter, a steering wheel (or a steering column for that matter), an instrument cluster, and perhaps an ignition switch and key:
No, I had made a shockingly diffident decision to immobilize the bus pretty severely so that I could "paint some (barely) worn surfaces".
Only took an hour and a half in the beastly heat to remove all that. Spent the rest of the afternoon happily sanding the accelerator pedal, the steering column and base, removing and *correctly* installing the ambulance fans, and I even felt up for repainting the fan symbol on the knob since my nerves weren't especially jangly.
Took a late evening walk through the ticks and scoped out my Squatter's Digs. I could just see a house through the trees and down the hill with real electricity lights (man, must be nice).
Next morning I woke up to clouds and humidity. The clouds got dense. I was irritated all over again. Car is apart. Can't paint if it is RAINING. Stupid Atlantic Ocean. I'll just put it all together and drive to fricken Nevada. But I got involved with the sanding of the steering column and base plate (which required a trick little coat hanger spring separator to keep it clear of the column), and the sun came out about 10:30AM. Look! A steering wheel/column/base plate! Upside and just painted!
Not one to pass up an opportunity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I had done a splendid little paint job in the windless heat. Just as shiny and glossy smooth as could be, I was happy. Then I thought, this is a high traffic area, it needs four coats of paint. So, I threw on another . . . half a coat. The stupid paint ran out, but not just fade-away-to-air, nooooo, it had to blow chunks of black cottage cheese. Only common sense prevented me from biting the can. Two weeks from now, I shall have to color sand the column and base plate, black ooze on a waxed white floor pan no less.
Anyways, while waiting for the paint to dry, I disassembled the dash cluster and cleaned the glass. Real glass. Touched up the locking rings, re-arranged the wiring, cleaned the under dash harnesses and intake air plenum of dust, and hit the dashboard hard with a chisel. See the dent at "6:00 oclock" in the hole?
This was to create a dimple in the mounting hole for the ambulance fan switch to lock the switch into place so it won't try to rotate with the knob and loosen the damn escutcheon for the sixhundredbillionth time. Worked, too:
Cleaned and neatened wires re-inserted in their correct places:
And by the end of the second day, it was all back together:
So I took a parting shot of Squatter's Nest:
and bounded through the weeds back to that thar paved road where the bump stops again took a big hit, and drove to Arkansas. Where I am now. At a Starbucks. Like some Wild Man. With paint spatter and baby powder in equal measure. Tomorrow is another day on Planet Earth. I am looking forward to it . . . color-sanding the bumpers and wheels.
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . 89,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . 136,790 miles