Tuesday, July 2, 2019

4Peaks 2019 - Road Report

Time for our annual adventure to Bend for our favorite summer festival. This year marked our 5th, so that would make this my 5th road report about getting to/from the greater Bend area. No, my 7th, since my first Bend road trip post was nine years ago (See Hot Tub, Hot Thai, and High Desert Snow) and then there was the trip in 2015 with the boys (See No Trip is Complete without a Snag). I guess I like driving to Bend.... and then writing about it.

Post-JRAD Resolutions
2 of my favorite things
in one shirt
Before we could leave, there were a few things I had promised Hapy that I would address before we took another drive. Recall, that our speed was getting artificially limited on our way home from seeing JRAD in Eugene (See JRAD - Eugene Road Report). I concluded that this was probably caused by a clogged fuel filter or possibly because of the fuel. To remedy, I replaced the old disposable plastic filter with a new, larger one. I thought the old one was good for both gasoline and diesel. I'm not sure that actually was the case, though. When I went to buy a replacement, the online vendors indicated the old one was gasoline only, and recommended a different, bigger, steel-meshed one for diesel. Cool.

Replacement was easy: first, put a vice-grip on the fuel line on engine side, then loosen the clamp. Remove the filter from the line and let the fuel run out of the filter back through the supply line to the tank. Hold the filter high enough that fuel doesn't dribble out, and put another vice-grip on the fuel line below the filter. Remove the clamp, remove the filter, put the new filter in, clamp it. Remove the supply-side vice-grip and let some fuel into the filter. Once it is mostly full, connect the other fuel line, clamp it, and remove the vice grip.

I also put some star-tron into the tank (following directions) to combat any old fuel issues. Last, I removed, cleaned and re-attached the air cleaner. This, I felt, solved the speed limiting.

I felt like I didn't have the stopping power I had expected, and believed that the rear brakes were not doing much. So, I re-adjusted them. When I did the wheel removal and replacement (see Hammered Rims (part 3)), I purposely left the rear brakes a little loose. Perhaps too loose; I didn't want them dragging, potentially overheating things. While I understand the thought, it wasn't a good one. Brakes need to be adjusted properly. So, I followed the common procedure for adjusting the rear brake shoes found in Muir's Keep your Volksie Alive book (pdf found here) pages 169 and 170. I found his reference for my rear shoes to be upside down, but that could be more of a Hapy thing and less of a John-Muir-had-it-wrong thing.

Regardless, once the rear brakes were making scraping noises, but not slowing the rotation meaningfully, I figured I had them set, and I took a test drive. Hapy's acceleration was back. I was able to get him up past 50mph in the 11 blocks between my turn on and off the local main street, so that's a win. I also did a quick-stop test on the side street to make sure the brakes were grabbing better. They were. I touched the drums when we got back and they were warm, but not hot to the touch, so I figured I got it right. So, Hapy was ready to roll.... after updating the privacy screen with our new destination and a couple of new "ticket" stubs.

privacy screen ready for 4Peaks
To Sisters
The route to 4Peaks doesn't usually change, just the weather, road conditions and Hapy's attitude do. Okay, once we tried coming home the north route through Madras and over Mount Hood. I think that way feels longer and hotter, but it has some great views, has less superhighway and I think the westbound US-26 route over the Cascades is not as steep. Anyway, we usually take OR-217 south to I-5 and head south to Salem before turning east on OR-22. We take that into the Cascade Mountains, joining US-20 along the way. Rather than camp at the vagabonding spot we found last year (44.767381, -122.533192), we were invited to crash at Mayhem's family place outside Sisters. This would put us much closer to the venue the following morning, for a much easier pace into the festival grounds, but also put us on the road for another 90 minutes of driving after a day of work, so we had some fatigue concerns heading into our departure. Still, with a plan to see Mayhem and GratefulEd in mind, we loaded up the remaining bits of gear, filled our coolers with food and beverages, and headed for the highway. We left later than anticipated due to personal interference I won't go into, but that delay allowed us to avoid rush hour, setting our tires on highway around 7.

Clock Turns
Hapy reborn
We topped the tank with $20US, putting our Eugene trip solidly in the low 30's for miles-per-gallon. Since we are now running larger tires, the odometer will read low, so all mpg calculations and mph announcements will have a little asterisk from now on... until I can figure out how to calculate the true distance covered. Still, the odometer still clicks along. In fact, just south of Tualatin the odometer flipped over, setting back to 00000.0. Since we were on the highway, traveling at 55*mph, capturing it on video was a 2-person affair. Still, it was neat to watch through an iPhone afterwards.

The drive itself was fairly easy. We were still feeling the wind gusts, making the wind more of a speed limiter than the engine heat or available power. Hapy seems to have power on-demand, and the Mishimoto radiator (see Back to the Bus - Rad Swap 1 and 2) with twin-fan cowling (see Cowling the Hapy Radiator) are proving very effective at removing excess heat.

We noticed many construction vehicles on the northbound side of I-5 and saw signs portending of nightly paving through Sunday. We mentally filed that for later. Once we left I-5, there is a stretch of maybe 20 miles of open valley before you enter the foothill forests of the Cascades. At that point, the winds subside, and the twisting climbing road starts. By the time we got there, we had stopped for a bag of grease (fast-food burger joint), and the traffic had thinned so much, we had the road to ourselves. The forest was dark, shortening our perceived evening, so Boo set up with a pillow and blanket. While she napped, I drove our usual route, sharing recently passed landmarks when she stirred. The night cooled as we crossed the summit, and the Hoo Doo Ski Area, and Hapy stayed nice a cool, with a peak temp around 196*F. We caught a tailwind coming down into the high-desert outside Sisters, allowing us to easily reach 65*mph without the engine temp creeping above 185*F. After a minor dead-cell-phone issue was solved, we found Mayhem's ranch.

The approach to the venue was uneventful as we followed GratefulEd and Mayhem in Belle. I'll post on the entry, camping, etc in the festival report post.

Getting Home
outside Sno-Cap
Usually, this is the part of the review when things go sideways. Last year, our ignition switch and related wiring went up in smoke. The year before, we took the longer flatter (US-97 to US-26) way home to avoid overheating only to have to pull over what seemed like every 20 minutes and then take an extended break at Ski Bowl to let Hapy cool all the way down. We are grateful that Hapy usually does what he needs to do to get us to our destination, and saves the issues for the ride home. So, with this in mind, Boo and I caravan'd with GratefulEd and Mayhem to Sno-Cap in Sisters before the drive home. With an old-skool hamburger in our respective bellies, Boo and I jumped back onto US-20 while GratefulEd took Mayhem back to the ranch. Boo and I were relieved to have GratefulEd trailing, just in case something went poorly. We checked that the radiator fans were spinning (this has been an issue after 4Peaks in the past), and hit the road.

US-20 is the sole thoroughfare south of US-26 from Bend, Sisters, Redmond and other localities in Central Oregon through to the Willamette Valley. It is widely regarded as the "faster" way to Portland, though, depending on where you live, there may actually be no difference. That is still enough for most folks to drive US-20 rather than head north on the US-97 to US-26. For someone driving a nearly 50 year old vehicle shaped like a loaf of bread into a headwind, any extra traffic on a Sunday afternoon was not exactly welcome. We simply ignore them, stay right as best we can, and enjoy the scenery. Honestly, the overall traffic load wasn't too bad, and we didn't receive any honking horns nor obscene gestures.

In years' past, we have turned off at a viewpoint about 1500 vertical feet above Sisters. We did that again this time, because the engine temp reached 205*F. I concluded that the strong and steady headwind was a greater factor this year than years past. Regardless, the temp dropped very quickly once we were idling at the viewpoint. Within 10 minutes, we returned to the uphill climb, and reached the summit without the temps breaching 200*F again. Once over the summit and past Hoo Doo, the drive is predominantly downhill. Alpine shifts to conifers, and the land becomes less arid. The views are spectacular, and the twisting nature of the road limits just how fast anyone could reasonably drive, so we were not experiencing much pressure from behind. US-20 has many passing lanes as well. In fact, we wouldn't see more than 2 or 3 cars behind us before a passing lane would appear. I would pull right and slow down to encourage everyone to pass, and then the road would be all ours again... for a little while. We found that travelling at 60*mph keeps Hapy's temperatures at 190*F. So, that has become our pace, until we hit inclines.

the journey is the destination

Once we got west of Detroit Lake, we remembered the paving. By now, it was after 6 on Sunday, and we didn't know what the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) considered "night" for paving purposes. Preferring to not sit in creeping construction traffic loaded with weekenders fighting their way home, we pulled off at Sublimity and took a road less traveled. We passed through Silverton, Mt Angel, Woodburn and Hubbard before turning towards the I-5 just south of Aurora, but well north of the paving zone we passed 4 nights earlier. This was some beautiful country, mostly farms, with a couple vineyards and hops-stands mixed in. The farmland was just so beautiful. Every time we take a "Blue Highway" instead of an interstate, we rediscover just how amazing the land is. We were so taken with the moment, we failed to snap any pictures, so we'll have to drive it again. Based on the map software, our detour shaved 25 miles but cost us 10 minutes, if there wasn't a construction slow-down. I think there was one, though.

Final Surprise
We drove almost 7 hours round trip and did the whole thing on one tank of fuel. Since we can't rely on the odometer, we can make estimates about for many miles it was. Figure around 200 miles to get there. Based on electronic maps, the drive back was around 175 miles, so we covered at least 375 miles. The odometer reads 303.5 right now, so with the larger tires, etc, the 375 is probably about right. With this context, at the last major intersection before arriving at our house something electrical happened. It caused the headlights to go out, the little computer monitoring device to stop working, and the radiator fans to stop. Hapy has such a great sense of humor! It turned out we blew a fuse in the original front-of-bus fuse box (confused? See Hapy Rides Again for a decode). One 8A fuse replaced the following morning, and everything has returned to normal. The fuse blew because the original cigar lighter unit was left dangling when I installed the gotta-get-it-started ignition switch in the cigar-lighter hole in the dash. Sigh. When will I learn to put away ALL of my toys when I'm done with them? I disconnected that cigar lighter, and taped off the wire. I intend to move that second ignition switch, so the cigar lighter (used as 12V power source for charging a phone or whatever) will go back in it's original location.

When I fill the tank, I'll calculate the mileage assuming the 375 miles as the range traveled. I may need to dust off the old Garmin so I can start calculating my mileage and speed with greater accuracy. When we got home, and we were unloading, I noticed a hum in my ears which I attribute to the drone of the engine. I will be exploring options for containing the engine noise, starting with a basic TDI engine cover. More to come on this, as I discover things.

Thanks for following along. I'll post on the music and the overall festival soon. For my US readers, Hapy Independence Day. I hope this year we find ourselves less dependent on new things and more dependent on each other.

I re-checked the maps, and the route to the festival was 180 miles. So, assuming there were a few miles here and there added in, plus the 175 miles home, plus driving back to the fueling station (about a mile away), we'll use 360 miles as our mark. When I filled up, I filled until it popped, and then squeezed in a few extra tenths to get to exactly 10 gallons. So.. we got 36mpg*. That is pretty damn amazing.

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