Monday, January 20, 2014

Buses By the Bridge!

Timing is everything. With my wife on maternity leave, it has opened up a new life as well as enabled us to enjoy a "normal" weekend. It is also an opportunity for us to attend our first official VW camping weekend. Our initial concerns of bringing a newborn along were somewhat eased after our practice run at home and we were able to leave on Wednesday to meet up with a group at Amboy Crater. Here are some shots of us on our first leg of the journey.
Brooke all safe and sound enjoying the views.
And my wife asleep.
Located in the Mojave desert right off the historical US Route 66, Amboy Crater is an extinct cinder cone type of volcano rising 250 feet above a 27 sq mi lava field.
Knowing that cruising to these events can be just as fun, I was thankful to come across this group I heard about on The Samba which was unofficially called Buses By the Crater.

It was a chilly 40ish degrees overnight but we had the pop-top up with the windows cracked open and our Mr Buddy heater on low which kept us nice and warm. After a quick breakfast, we were off to our next stop - Lake Havasu:

Arriving early to the event definitely had it's advantages as the good spots fill up quickly. I managed to grab a perfect spot right be the lake, on the grass with some other "Amboy Crater" friends.

We found that the Baby Bjorn put Brooke to sleep quickly so we could walk around to explore the sights.

After a tiring day it was time to sleep early so we could enjoy the first full day of Buses By the Bridge! Here is the view outside our back window right when we awoke at around 7am.
In fact, we were greeted every morning to the incredible sights of the balloon festival that was very close by.

I believe the final tally was over 400 registered vehicles making it the biggest event ever - here are some shots of just a few of the amazing rides we encountered.

During the day we were able to play some Frisbee while Brooke watched and cheered us on from her comfy spot in the back.

It was also a nice star filled night with a huge full moon.

This was definitely an experience we will not soon forget. It was not only incredibly fun but had some of the friendliest people anyone could meet and everyone had an interesting story to share. The passion and individuality of everyone's vehicle is what makes our vehicles so unique and is the reason we will try our best to make this an annual event.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting ready for Buses By the Bridge 2014

Lake Havasu Arizona has been the place where VW enthusiasts have been gathering for what is now one of the largest VW camping events. With my wife on maternity leave, she has finally been able to enjoy some weekend VW events and we are very hopeful that we can attend Buses By the Bridge XVIII next week. The main factor in determining our participation depends on our newborn daughter but things are looking better with each passing day.
In preparation for this event we have purchased a few items. After checking Lake Havasu's weather forecast, it looks as though we will have nightly lows reaching into the 40's which would be fine for us but not for a newborn. This location will not have any electrical hook-up so I did lots of research on portable heaters and luckily came across an almost new Mr. Buddy portable propane heater for $30.
I chose the Mr. Buddy for it's size, price and ability to easily keep our Vanagon warm.
Another item we had to purchase was a place to sleep for our newborn and discovered the Summer Infant Sleeper that fits perfectly on the swing out table beside our lower bunk.
The sleeper also folds up very nicely when not in use so we can still use our table for eating. One of my main concerns with the portable propane heater was CO poisoning so you can see the carbon monoxide detector right beside the bed.
Before embarking on a potential 4 day journey we wanted to try out the heater while still close to home. To do this we "camped" overnight on the roof of our parking garage during a night in Woodland Hills when the temperature went down to 45 degrees. For most of the night I only had the pilot light on the heater which warmed things a little. Occasionally I turned it on low with the window cracked a bit which heat up the camper nicely within a few minutes. The bad news is that I didn't sleep at all as I was worried about being lulled to sleep permanently by the heater. The good news is the heater worked perfectly without setting off the detector and our newborn slept well throughout the night (not including normal feedings of course).
I also did some other preparations to the Vanagon for our trip like a new fuel filter and oil change along with a good wash and wax. Here is a shot of me, Brooke and our camper still hopeful we can make it next week.
Another big blog entry shortly.......????