Spring break means our annual roadtrip down to California. 2 weeks between friends and family, 3 vans convoy, 6 adults, 2 kids and good time!
We left late at night just to avoid border wait and quickly found a rest area where we celebrated our trip start with a few "La Fin du Monde" (the morning after...)
Most of the trip consisted of short driving days (3hrs) so we could enjoy visiting the surroundings. We took the Oregon/Cali coast, hwy 101 and 1 driving south down to San Francisco and came across some amazing sites. We made good use of the app iOverland, came very handy! We only used campsites when those with longer hair needed a better shower than the ones we have in our vans so most nights were spent in very cool remote areas.
Recognize this neat bridge? Can you tell how high it gets above the watere?
I love this picture of the sunset right through my newly installed windows which worked out great! (I'll update my build thread with some details for those interested...)
We got lucky with this camp spot by this lighthouse. Free, gorgeous, amazing weather and some nice relax trails to explore the area.
Who doesn't love big trees?!?
More pics to follow but all in all, a very fun trip which we hope to keep going every year!
Last year we took 3 weeks to explore the desert east of San Diego. Made for too much driving so this year we cut it short in San Francisco. It was hard to believe we manage to camp right downtown, on the beach for an entire 3 day weekend without getting kicked out. Couldn't find a better place to get a quick urban experience! Took the kids to Alcatraz, at time I wonder if I should have left them there, lol.
Had a quick stop to meet friends in Sacramento then hit the road again, this time on the I-5 mixed with parallels hwy when we could no longer digest the big I-5.
If you wonder what's in my trailer you might be able to tell in the picture with my sun cooking me breakfast... it's around twenty or so cubies of 5 gallons of canola oil both myself and the big green bus use as fuel. Pulling those trailers can be a pain at time but when you drive for free and recycle at the same time it's hard to argue.
On the way back I made a quick stop in Medford to pick up over $3000 worth of goodies from Riffraff Diesel... Time to freshen up this engine! Surprisingly, after close to 200,000 miles my injectors still perform very nice. But since I never got the maintenance record for the ambulance I have no idea if they've even been serviced. Comes summer time I'll pull the engine out, replace all injectors, rebuild and improve the turbo, new up pipes, delete the fuel bowl, fuel line at each end of the heads, oil line cross-over, new valve cover gasket and a few other small mods. I've been collecting parts for a few years now, buying them when on sale or mostly sold brand new by people who no longer needed them. It's nice not to be in a rush, saves a lot of money!
We finished our trip in luxury. 2 nights of camping at the Shampoeg State park in Oregon. Very nice campground where we met some very cool people and got to discover more about Oregon with the museum and visitor center by the entrance of the park. Well worth it!
I put about 1500 miles on this thing since Thursday of last week. It has 150K on it but sat unused for a number of years so I did some basic maintenance, thermostat, radiator, brake flush, rubber lines, alternator, belt, tensioner and a bunch of cosmetic upgrades inside. The van ran great overall and of all the mechanical things that could have gone wrong on my trip IT WAS THE NEW RADIATOR.... Luckily it never completely blew but rather seeped out when it was cold. Oh and these things don't like crosswinds or passing big rigs.... a true white knuckle experience at times. I was unknowingly gripping the wheel so tight that I had to relax my hand and stretch it a bit from time to time lol. Got some shocks and a helwig rear sway on my list now. The ability to throw it in park and hang out in the back of the van when I wanted to take a quick break or eat is worth the switch I made from my four wheel camper. My girlfriend and our puppy loved the extra room it provided too. This one is a keeper.
Van (5.8) exhibited a very slight misfire under part load and a couple weeks back cranked but never started then just started up and was fine. I thought these two were unrelated however the more I dug around online I saw a lot of people replacing their PCMs. I didnt know why but I pulled mine just in case and sure enough something caught my eye. There are 3 capacitors on the board and all three exhibited some sort of failure and were leaking on to the board. I am having a guy replace all three this week in hopes it cures my random annoying misfire. I went online and sure enough its really common among these Ford PCMS but most people opt for the lazy and expensive method of buying a "refurb" one or putting a junkyard one in.
Lessons from the road:
I have always popped the hood and had a look when I fill up for gas on a long road trip. This time it paid off, a small leak from the trans cooler fitting that was easily fixed by snugging it down and the radiator leak that was frustrating but got us back home. Don't assume new parts are good.
Spent the weekend camping at Mohican state park here in Ohio..
Somehow in the year since I got the pop top installed the kids never went camping in the van!!! How did that happen?????
All 4 of us inside on a perfect 50* night slept PERFECT!!
Finnaly got some photos with the new wheels/wrap and the top popped and awning deployed..the cross country marathon folks gave me plenty of Nice Van!! comments and asked if they could swing by for lunch!
New shoes for Moby, bumped up to a 285/75/16 Cooper. I've been running BFG AT/MT off road tires for 30 years but lately it seems like they're dropping the ball. The last set I put on my duramax turtle top lasted less than 15K miles and yes my alignment is correct. They were also super loud, again not something I remember being an issue in the past. I just bought a new set of ATKOs for my burb, they no longer have a snow rating, took a lot of weight to balance and the tread seems to not be as deep as in the past, only 15/32nds now??? I notice their reviews online have plummeted also. Since this rig spends so much time on pavement, I'm going more mild, hard to do as I love the look of an aggressive tire. I just installed Cooper AT3 XLTs, they're silent and super smooth, took very little weight and so far I'm very impressed. I didn't realize how loud my BFGs were, I can hear wind noise in the cabin I never heard before, lol. I've always liked Coopers ATs but they lacked the "look," just didn't look tough. The new XLTs have the sidewalls, but still a pretty mellow center tread thus the excellent drivability and quiet.