Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Hapy Turns 50

Quick post to commemorate Hapy the wonderbus turning 50 years old. Totally unrelated, but a fascinating video, here is a company in the UK looking at building an internal combustion engine that runs on hydrogen. Cool stuff. On to the celebration...

How 50?
I guess we start where I did with every person who asked "how do you know his exact birthdate?". I refer you to this post where I deciphered the manufacturing codes aka M-codes. Basically, every VW of this vintage has the planned manufacturing date imprinted on the plate. So, based on week number and day number, you can determine your vehicle's manufacturing date. Hapy has been in the family for less than half of his life, though.

When I received him, his engine had been replaced, but the interior, exterior, wiring, and everything else was 100% original. Consider "original" does not always mean "good". There was mold in the upholstery, the seats were shot, the pop-top bellows were dry-rotten and torn. But, I made use of him, in his original condition, even trying to return many of the systems to spec. Ultimately, though, safety concerns for my then-young kids started me down the trail I have documented here.

First, it was the sink/icebox unit blocking the handle to the sliding door. I considered the "what if" of getting into an accident that renders me unconscious while my kids are trapped in the back, unable to open the slider because their arm's aren't long enough to reach around the sink. So, that got pulled, and down the rabbit hole I went.

Park Play
To celebrate Hapy, and honestly any excuse to celebrate this year is a fairly good one, we reserved 5 camping spots in nearby LL Stub Stewart State Park. Our long time friends GratefulEd, lovely wife Dawn, and Belle joined us, as did my brother Eric, who rented a Eurovan from Road Trip Oregon for the special occasion with his 2 daughters (K4 and K5). Many other friends and family were on-hand on Saturday for the big party and many of them stayed overnight. We also had arranged a duo to play some jazz and old country in one of the reserved campsites in the center of the reserved spots. Unfortunately, the park rangers shut the duo down before they completed the jazz portion of their set. So, they completed their performance sans-amplification. Undeterred, Boo rolled out a stack of subs, a couple of coolers of bev's and a couple trays of VW-emblazoned cupcakes for a singing of Hapy Birthday. Yes, yes we did.

One of our gests had set up cornhole, another had set up badminton and Eric set up croquet. So, we played yard games while the acoustic duo played. It was the hottest day of the weekend, so impromptu shade was set up. When the official music completed, many of the day-trippers, and our official musicians, headed home. Those who remained shifted from the "venue" campsite to Hapy's front door for some (also mostly acoustic) jamming. For this, we were joined by friends from the Hillsboro bluegrass scene (some pictured, some not). We played until we were shut down by the park rangers again (silence expected at 10:PM), but not before our neighbors had joined us, demonstrating again that we all need a little more joy, and few things bring joy like live music and a small crowd laughing. After we stopped playing, we continued to visit (read: drink) for a while, and we broke up by midnight.

Everyone other than Boo, Hapy and me left the next day. Boo had rented some electric-assist bikes so we took a ride that afternoon after everyone left. There is a paved trail from Manning to Vernonia that passes right through the state park, and we explored a small section of it. That evening, we gazed at the stars through a borrowed telescope. With the lack of white noise from the city lights and no visible moon, there are just so many stars to see. We pointed the telescope first at single noticeable stars, but found it much more interesting to point it at a relatively uninteresting area of space and then see how many stars appeared. We both caught a shooting star through the lens that way, while also noting that in an otherwise uninteresting area of space there are still hundreds of stars visible through a non-commercial tri-pod'd telescope.

There and Back
No trip in Hapy is complete without a review of how well the bus handled. The drive out was late afternoon on a Thursday. Traffic wanted to go faster than Hapy did. Hapy still did well, driving into an on-angle headwind. The handling was much better after the shock-absorber adjustment, though the increased speed and headwind caused his engine temps to run a little high (topped at 198*F). We did not experience meaningful engine stumbling in either direction, nor did we throw a code. So, I think that much of the stumble was some bad fuel or a partially clogged clean filter (which I replaced after 4Peaks) or both. I will still be looking into other causes. The trip back was even better than the drive out. Whatever wind there was, it must have been at least partially behind us. Hapy's temperature rarely ticked above 186*F, and he was happily cruising at 55-60mph*. I had the stereo blasting an old Jerry Garcia Band bootleg, my elbow resting on the open window, and we just cruised with one hand on the wheel. The merge from 47 onto US26 was effortless with the bigger nozzles and chipped computer allowing Hapy to scoot into traffic. Honestly, it was the easiest drive home I can remember.

*: I use the asterisk here because Boo was following in a chase car, and was able to tell me just how fast I was going when... and when Hapy's speedo says "50" I am going 55. When his speedo says "55", I am going 62. So, the speedo is definitely at least 10% off, showing 10% slower than I really am. This is consistent with the odometer checks I have done along the freeway, showing the odometer is closer to .8 of a mile when the mile marker says a full mile. Since my mpg has been getting calculated without this extra math, the mpg is even more impressive. I have been getting just shy of 30mpg with the odometer reading at least 10% low. So, I'm really getting 33mpg or better.... in a bus that's loaded for camping 95% of the time.

That's it for today. Thanks, as always, for following along.

Throw-back to embedded picture captions like I used to do:
top - meadow between the Dairy Creek campgrounds
next from top - (L-to-R) Stevan on Mandolin, Rose (standing) on fiddle, Rodney (back turned) on guitar, Joe (standing) on guitar, Dawn (seated can only see top of her head/hat), Mo (standing), me (back turned) on bass, Ed (back turned) on guitar. Joey (mostly obscured by Ed)
next from bottom - Ed and Belle in full-fest-form
bottom - Boo on the bike trail

And, here are some other pictures:
(L-to-R) Rose, Boo, Joe, Mo
and me (back-turned)
Boo and I sharing
the lot couch

LL Stub Stewart camping
(L-to-R) Rodney, Stevan, Joey,
Joe, Boo (back turned),
Mo (obscured) and
me (back turned)

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