Indiana / Michigan Round Up

Our final shakedown trip took us to what some call America’s third coast—the Great Lakes. Specifically, we drove the coast of Lake Michigan, trolling the beaches, talking with locals, camping, and, of course, sampling the wines. Here are some of the highlights:

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Vintage VW tire cover!

I could open up two cubic feet of space inside the van if I were to mount the spare tire on the front of the bus like a reasonable person. But, truth be told, my vanity stands in the way. I can’t bring myself to cover up the coveted VW ornament on the front. So I keep my spare inside. 

To prevent things from falling into the spare tire holder and for aesthetic reasons, I decided I wanted a tire cover—the old plastic shells found only in some buses. 

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Send-off Party Announcement

Hey, friends. We leave town in just over a week. Before we go, we wanted a chance to say goodbye to friends and family. Whether you’re an old friend or someone we’ve only met through the various Facebook VW groups, we hope you’ll come out to Caesar Creek Vineyards on August 20. The Phatty Wagon will be serving up their famous grub and we will also have a classic VW cruise-in. If you have a Beetle, Squareback, Bus, Thing, or Rabbit—drive it out!

Here’s the link to the Facebook event.

Leather Straps

Here’s an easy peasy one to make your life a little easier. When I installed my new seat belts, I had an issue with them falling on the floor. I didn’t want to install stiff belt holders for a few reasons (number one being that the passenger seat is on a rotator). But the buckles kept falling on my pecan hardwood floor, which could mark it up and cause a tripping hazard. 

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Podcast: Neil

Neil is a close friend of ours. In fact, I actually lived with him after my divorce. Miracle too—a couple of divorced people living with our friend, Neil Webster. Now Neil has owned a whole lotta VWs. And even though we usually don’t talk about other VW makes on this program, it is worth noting that Neil’s love of the VWs happened, well, right after a divorce. 

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Flatpack Camper console

The completed unit from Flatpack Camper in the UK.

Best Jerry Seinfeld impression: What is the deal with the UK? They have all the best VW interior products. Do they own the corner market on the bus? It’s like they have bus greed. ‘Yes, I’ll take a bus; make it a double decker.’

For real. When I started looking to install cabinets into my Riviera, the only shops where I found stuff I actually wanted were located in the UK. At one point I found an entire cabinet set I wanted. But, no, they don’t ship to the US. Same for the very cool headbanger cabinet I found. And even my insistence at charging me a mark-up didn’t work. 

So you can imagine my sense of resignation when I found the perfect between-the-front-seats console and saw it was shipping from the land of ‘I’m sorry, we don’t ship to the colonies.’ I filled out the form online after seeing there were no shipping restrictions. I hit enter. The payment form cycled. And cycled. And cycled. This, I figured, is just a more passive way of telling me sorry charlie (or rather ‘Apologies, dear Charles.’)

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Spice rack

The spice rack with lighting underneath.

Since the onset of fixing up the bus, I have been militant in my belief that every cubic inch should be utilized. After installing the Hakwood ceiling, I had this odd strip of space above where the sink/stove would go. Instantly I knew I wanted to make it into a spice rack. Using a carpenter square I measured the triangular pieces I need to cut on each end. 

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Shamrock Tent Review

If you’re planning to live out of your bus for 14 months, you’re actually going to want to live out of your bus and a shelter. A decent tent will double your living space and provide you extra storage and a place to change clothes without knocking over the coffee pot. 

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Your newest Bark Ranger

When I was about four or five, I became a Junior Park Ranger at Badlands National Park. My mom, always a champion for her children, helped me complete the form, which included the question, “What is something at the Badlands that is older than you?” (I said, “This rock” and pointed at a nearby rock.) 

Well, yesterday our wonder dog, Jolene, became a Bark Ranger at Indiana Dunes National Park. Like me, she did not do any of the writing; however, she did all the things she needed to do (sniff things, meet a ranger, visit the beach) and earned her brass tag.

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