We knew going in to this venture that we would face breakdowns—flat tires and parts failure are a part of the game. In fact, they should be expected. We did not bargain for our recently-purchased rebuilt 2L to completely seize on us. I wrote a couple days ago about our tremendous luck during the ordeal, but by far the luckiest thing to shake out of the whole deal was meeting Sam, the man behind Dune Buggy Supply.
Aircooled shops are few and far between. Shops that are able to do an engine build are even fewer. Add in a mechanic who can rebuild a transmission (which Sam did while the engine was dropped… because that’s what you do with your 42 year-old vehicle when the engine is out), and Sam is one in a million.
We’ve been in our share of VW shops of all stripes on this trip and it always strikes me how each one is like stepping inside the head of the owner—how they are organized (or not), what era it feels like, what is put up as memorabilia. Sam’s shop is absolutely packed with parts. And it is very well organized. Where the lift is located is pretty much an operating room with the tools laid out and the area is as sterile as an auto shop gets. If Sam hadn’t been there, I could have gotten a pretty good gauge on who he was as a person by simply wandering around the shop. (Also, there’s a wicked cool suit of armor with a VW emblem on the breastplate.)
Oh, and did I mention that I have heat now? The most elusive element in any aircooled and somehow I’m lucky enough to find the guy who was able to untangle the wires and have the round-to-oval adapter sitting on the shelf. Now I am cruising with heat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not able to sear a steak on my dash, but it takes the bite out of the air up here in Minnesota, which is great because we are heading south two weeks later than originally expected. And it started to snow. Then my wipers broke… (more on that minor catastrophe tomorrow).