A great big headline to catch some attention, because everyone likes attention

So you understand the roaring wave of fear that swept through the greatest city in the world just as Monday was dawning--the stream of flight rising swiftly to a torrent, lashing in a foaming tumult round the railway stations, banked up into a horrible struggle about the shipping in the Thames, and hurrying by every available channel northward and eastward. By ten o'clock the police organisation, and by midday even the railway organisations, were losing coherency, losing shape and efficiency, guttering, softening, running at last in that swift liquefaction of the social body.

abuslife takes a day off….. again

BIG Wesdnesday

abuslife takes yet another day off to enjoy the sites and sounds of SANO!

San Onofre State Beach

San Clemente, CA






















































2mbabuslife-2070 2mbabuslife-2074



Next trip will be Buses by the Bridge….

The Classic plus El Prado Show and Shine 2015


Pierside Parts Presents


June 14, 2015

Orange County Fairgrounds

Costa Mesa, California

“World’s Largest VW Car Show”

     It is so difficult to enjoy both of these shows in the same day. I went, yet I feel as if I failed. I still had to pay admission to partake though many of the participants were departing. It is also held in a gargantuan blacktop lot with all alcohol (besides the dragster) banned. Aside from these disastrous details I still enjoyed seeing oh so much. I even got to meet Robert Skinner and admire a small amount of his classic collection.

Here is my entirely un-educated theory on the controversy. In 2014 the venue for “The Classic” had changed the date at the last minute. This angered many classic lovers because that is incredibly un-cool. A new venue was due. After experiencing the new venue dub heads said, “Dude, let’s renew due to all the raving reviews ensued”.

To reiterate what I stated in the El Prado post, both shows have incredibly professional promoters that make the impossible happen time and time again.

Skinner does it again!

Skinner does it again!

One of my favorite cars in the early '90s.
One of my favorite cars in the ’90s.
Yeah, it's a VW!

Yeah, it’s a VW!

That's a Manx baby.

That’s a Manx baby.

Very nice Dub + extra hub for grub.

Very nice Dub + extra hub for grub.


El Prado Show and Shine 2015

Prado Regional Park June 14th

16700 Euclid Ave, Chino, California 91708

     Brought to us by VTO and Just Cruzin this event does not blatantly ban booze, it is only $20 per car to cross, and it is one of the nicest state parks in this beautiful Country’s entirety. There are also donation options to benefit the spectator and/or entrant’s admission. I have posted Prado pics in this bus blog before. It is an incredibly pleasant park with copious amounts of cover. I plan to return here every year.

I decided to go to the meadow because Costa Mesa was to be foggy all morning. We were unable to camp this year and only had Sunday to see both events.

I had never been to “The Classic” so this was a must no matter what. No matter the controversy both show’s promoters due an incredibly outstanding job.

They've got the Courage.  Just need some hearts and brains.

They’ve got the Courage. Just need some hearts and brains.

Ghia Greatness.

Ghia Greatness.

My favorite row of the show.

My favorite row of the show.

Luxurious Bus.

Luxurious Bus.

What a long strange road trip it's been.

What a long strange road trip it’s been.

Favorite shorty for sure.

Favorite shorty for sure.

Love me some Unique awesome!

Love me some Unique awesome!

Old School.

Old School.

So Choice!

So Choice!

Musical bus butt.

Musical bus butt.

Favorite Petina.

Favorite Petina.

Boys and their toys.

Boys and their toys.

I went with the intention of producing another poster.  Instead of the “Full Frontal” of 63 kombis, I backed mine up and shot over 100 bus butts.  Look for yours on the new 16″x20″ poster at the next OCTO show.

“Meet in the Middle XII” in Solvang, CA.

This year’s Meet in the Middle event took place at the beautiful Nojoqui Falls Park in Solvang, California.  Although not the easiest location to find, this is one of the nicest parks I’ve spent a day surrounded by Fahrvergnügen fanatics.

Meet in the Middle is a Central Coast Chapter event Hosted by Brian O’Kelly.  Intended to unite enthusiasts from Central California and Southern, everyone is welcome and the entire day is free.

This will be on my calendar for decades to come.  It seems as though 3 out of 5 VW venues are in sun drenched parking lots these days.  I’ve learned to pick and choose based on the amount of available shade.

The awards were quite a bit of fun.  You are encouraged to make an award up, create a trophy or symbol to be awarded, and even present it yourself.  My favorite award was the oldest and youngest that drove a VW to the event that day.  This was such a feel good moment for everyone! (pictured below)

Brian O’Kelly really knows how to make everyone feel welcome.  He treats all as if they were long lost friends.  He has a great sense of humor and is always calm, cool and collected during all the expected chaos.bsp-8359 copy bsp-8360 copy mitm12-2 mitm12-3 mitm12-4 mitm12-5 mitm12-6 mitm12-7 mitm12-8 mitm12-9 mitm12-10 mitm12-11 mitm12-12 mitm12-13 mitm12-14 mitm12-15 mitm12-16 mitm12-17 mitm12-20 mitm12-21 mitm12-22 mitm12-23 mitm12


Deserted disappointment with desert desolation

     Sersion Solo Excursion November 20th 2014.

     My brilliant Wife was unable to make it on this “break-in” expedition.  It was the first trip since the #1 plug shot from the engine for the final occasion.  The only since discovery of the #3 not pounding properly.

Yet another learning experience…

8 miles from the road

Dusted and Busted

Our bus began the trip brilliantly.  I was so down to get the Falia out of town.   It couldn’t hurt to baby this reborn beast a bit.  I stopped prior to ascending the Mountain Pass.  The powder coated tin and fresh paint on the engine made me grin.

Crossroads before confusion…

Gas, Food, No Lodging

Kramer Junction

Climbing the Cajon Summit (4160′) was a bit extra excellent than expected.  It was currently time to leave civilized life behind.  I even stopped for fuel before I was half empty.  Zilch was going to thwart this effort.  That night’s ultimate photo target was to be The Trona Pinnacles (miles from me; 133).  There wasn’t a moon for 2 nights and I was prepared with action, camera, and a few battery-powered lights.

Quick stops for a few shots…

8 miles from pavement

Cuddeback Dry Lake
35.295939, -117.471829

When approaching the Lake’s edge, I began to digest the earliest trace of distress.  Our sputtering fluttering bus was having a case of the hiccups.  Near powerless, I was erratically puttering around the powdery lake.  It was time to let it rest and snap some images before stressing about today’s progress.


That sputter is probably momentary…


The Ancient Lake


When approaching the Lake’s edge, I began to digest the earliest trace of distress.  Our sputtering fluttering bus was having a case of the hiccups.  Near powerless, I was erratically puttering around the powdery lake.  It was time to let it rest and snap some images before stressing about today’s progress.



The furthest point in this particular ongoing adventure…

every now and then things fall apart

Time To Return

Well the engine will still run but barely.  It can idle but will not power over a bump much less the 8 miles out of this topographically inverted hump.

Self, “Is the fuel filter clogged or fuel pump shot?  AAA won’t help me in this off highway spot.”  I began the climb back to the pavement.  It was more like limping a mile at a time in between the engine failing.

To heighten my sense of helplessness the sun was setting and “on the road” I was NOT getting…

abuslife Sunset

Deserted Desolation

Determined to find a fix and get on with temporary nomadic bliss, I pressed, pushed and almost got pissed.  By now the bus’ battery was depleted.  I made it to the 2-lane highway and didn’t even have to pray.  It was pitch black on a moonless night as heavy truck traffic descended toward Kramer Junction.  I was able to make a call to a Mechanic near the remote desolate crossroads.  He said he would give me a spot to camp and take a look at it in the morning.  I continued my one-mile increments toward town.  Flashing emergency blinkers, while dodging waves of occasional convoys, I rolled down the hill on a dying battery.


Can’t get there from here…

Can't get there from here

These Mountains Tease

Waking up in a truck-wash lot, with this view, was frustrating.   I see magnificent clouds billowing over the same mountains I was supposed to be pursuing on that second day.  My new friend greeted me when I was assessing my surroundings outside the Kombi about 7:30.  We drove to get coffee and hashed browns then the guessing commenced. He tested, prodded, tightened, adjusted, turned, checked and rechecked everything possible.



“Yes, Probably”

I realized that I needed to find an expert.  I had accepted defeat and decided to recede to reality.  I wasn’t going to be continuing and needed a tow to my Pro.  I reached him on the phone and we went through some diagnostics.  He quickly introduced me to my ‘INNER COIL’.  I had no idea this futuristic appearing variable resistor was under that flap.  Slightly adjusting the tension was producing positive results but getting 170 miles wasn’t gonna happen.  A fresh battery wouldn’t even save the day.


I hate saving gas this way…

saving gas, sort of

Back on the flatbed again


not an advertisement

High and Dry


The sun is setting and towards home I am sort of getting…

another tow, 2 in a row

Not on the road again!

I called everyone I knew and then called more people I didn’t.  There wasn’t enough battery on my smart phone to get above dumb on The Samba so I copied a couple numbers of San Bernardino air-cooled Pros.  Eventually I dialed the VDub Dudes at Blodgett’s Automotive.   Stacey assured me he would fix the problem enough to at least get me home.  He offered me another parking lot camping spot.  Stacey greeted me before leaving the shop that night and even offered to drive me to grab a bite.  I declined since the only thing on my mind was my chilled Sierra Nevada and a cigarette.  Too bad I don’t smoke!

Another parking lot camping spot

Another parking lot camping spot

First Light


Fixation anticipation…


In Good Company

I wake to a parking lot filling with classic and contemporary VWs.  I love the fact that Blodgett’s has been there since ‘1973.  I felt relieved being in a real shop with a strong crew, and friendly staff.  The Family aspect makes me want to keep coming back.  Just knowing they sell parts and have a large inventory takes a lot of stress away immediately.   Josh, in parts dept., helped pass the time while Jack juggled countless calls acknowledging various build logistics.  He and Jack are very good handling the sales and service end of this business.

A stroll through the Parts Farm

Part farm

Door Tree



in through the out door

Bug Out


parts galore

Holy Rust


“Vanagon Syndrome”

     Needless to say, before long Stacey had me on my way.  It turned out to be the Intake Air Sensor.  A signal from the FI brain moves the air-flow meter. If the signal is defective, it breaks down the regulated flow of air.  It basically operates as a variable resistor; as the flap moves, it changes the resistance by a contact moving along a coil, which in turn sends a signal to the ECU to adjust the fuel injection.

At running temperature the bus will start to hesitate/hiccup/buck/stumble as you get close to 3k rpms, if I floor it while its stumbling it will “catch” and push through and be fine… once in fourth and past the stumble it will start to stumble again if you let off throttle and come back to the low 3ks rpm.

Bus-ted on the way to “Big Wednesday”

We made the trip South a day early.  The #3 was only putting out 5 lbs. of pressure.  Knowing the engine needed a rebuild; we wanted to have it done by the best.  After much research, we found a proper shop in Vista, CA.  Adrian took the time to explain what he would do and showed me examples from current projects.  He thought I was a bit crazy for driving it all the way from Long Beach but We had been looking forward to Big Wednesday for months.  VW shows are great anywhere but buses at the Beach trump all for me. I also explained that the #1 spark plug shaft is stripped and periodically pops out.  I often checked the plug to make sure it is snug.  On the way to Adrian’s shop I checked it and it felt very loose.  I tried to tighten as best as possible and we made it the last 30 miles to Vista, CA.  After talking with Adrian I was assured he is the best man for the job.  The bus rebuild could wait a couple of months.  The plan was to get to Oceanside for the night and then wake early to get in line at San Onofre State Beach.  Loose plug and all we did make it to Oceanside.  5:00am the next day, we only made it 1/4mile down the dark road.  That #1 plug popped out for the last time.  Spinning and spinning with no grab whatsoever.  Without a way to keep the plug in, we gave up and accepted defeat.  A tow truck would be giving “The Gillman” it’s last ride with the original engine. The good news is that “The Gillman” will be back better than ever in a month.  We have taken extensive journeys along with weekly adventures since buying the bus 3 years ago.  Throughout our next excursions, the peace of mind is going to be so very nice. The next post will be from Adrian’s shop.  I will be shooting as he works a couple different days. Thanks for reading and keep your fingers crossed.

Last ride with the original engine from 1978

Last ride with the original engine from 1978

61,000 miles.

“I think I can’t”

far from home

Please be gentle

the day that could have been Big.

Loading up the ambulance

Out to pasture

The ending point on our way to Big Wednesday.

Next on our agenda….

…Big Wednesday at San Onofre State Beach.
August 14th, 2014
We are hoping to have Photos loaded shortly after.

Grab a Full Frontal print while you are there.

Signed and numbered prints will be available at Big Wednesday and the October O.C.T.O. show in Long Beach, CA.

Signed and numbered prints will be available at Big Wednesday and the October O.C.T.O. show in Long Beach, CA.