Live Chat from Jan 1, 2006


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Chuck (CA)

New member
I'm still looking for the ideal compact portable gas BBQ grill. Do you carry a grill with you? I'm about ready to give up on the idea. The mess alone is enough. Guess we'll rely on the campground models.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
No, we don't. But as an alternative, consider the cast iron fry pans or griddles that have the raised ribs. They cook like and leave the grill marks, but raise the food out of any pan grease or liquids that they'd lie in with a regular fry pan. Drippings still hit a hot surface to send back 'smoke' effect. Cast iron is still the best cooking surface you can get, and although you may not get quite the same level of smoke effect from drippings, there's some pretty good liquid smoke or 'charcoal' seasons on the market.

Here at home, we have a Jenn-Aire with the indoor grill but if the meal is small or just the two of us, the Admiral will often use the ribbed fry pan so she doesn't have to clean the larger grill.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
If nobody has claimed it yet, I want to coin a new term. Notice how "Going Postal" has come to mean a person going off the deep end and becoming violent? From all those postal workers going back to the shop & shooting it up?

Well, I think we need a new term. I propose Post Office Syndrome, or POS for short, to mean all those bureacrats who can tell you what they don't do, won't do, can't do and "isn't my job." But can't tell you what they are supposed to do, can do, will do, who's job it is or how to solve the problem.

I get it everytime the Post Office loses my mail, mangles it or sends it to Newfoundland when it was addressed for down the street. The reason postal rates keep going up is they keep it in protective custody so much longer now. I once had a piece take 228 days to deliver! When I got a magazine consisting of only ½ a front cover and no rest of it -- they wouldn't even take my name, address or which Post Office. Tell 'em you mailed a Birthday card to Grandma and they lost it. Their response will be "prove who did it," and did you mail it registered, return receipt (for $10.27). Highest paid unskilled labor in the world!

Anyway, I've been dealing with several government agencies in programs for children at risk and they all trained at the Post Office. I once had a DSS manager tell me they 'didn't have to' do something by quoting a federal statute that had nothing to do with the program in question and was repealed 30 years ago! And when I point that out to the top bannana at Health and Human Services for the whole state, 'ain't our job'!

Before the post office folks start drawing & quartering me, my grandfather was a Rural Route carrier. He and some good friends were old school -- when neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night . . .. But they are dying off and the replacements 'ain't what they used to be.' Now, a heavy dew stops delivery at my house. My old-school carrier friends don't have much use for the new ones either.

So next time you've got to renew your license or have a question for DMV, be prepared for POS. Before you Go Postal!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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I was recently posting some of the many comments passed on to me about the site. TWO of those posters commented on site support & intentions to make donations.

It kind of brings home that the Free Internet is not FREE and there is no Free Lunch. Somebody (Site owner John Babiak) bears the cost of this site out of pocket. Rest assured any sponsorships or donations received do not line staff pockets -- it's all plowed back into license, software, server time or reference materials. As it is, most of the volunteers still invest large amounts of personal money into reference materials or the computer & shop expenses that provide you their shared knowledge. Not to count their time & labor!

So let me ask you this question? Has this site saved you money & time on your Westy & Westy repairs? If so, how much have you reinvested? Then ask yourself if you have used the Paypal Donation link top of the main index page to put just a tiny bit of that savings back in?

In most places, if you took a job to a shop, besides higher cost, you'd pay some sort of sales tax or VAT. And not think twice about it. What if you put that "tax" back into every savings this site has given you? Ex: You just replaced the torn boots and repacked your CV joints; you saved $80 over OEM parts from vendors you learned about on site and about $300 in shop labor. (You probably also saved a healthy tax.) 5% would be ~$20. Think about it while you get ready to break out your Westy of a summer of Westyville.
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Thanks.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Tropical Storm Alberto came through central NC yesterday, causing heavy rain and much flooding. In Raleigh, a major mall about 7 miles from us was ~4' under. One shot shows a car in its parking lot, submerged well up onto the windshield, with the wipers still going. The U-Haul rental place that floods every heavy storm, did again. And once again, nobody had the smarts to move the trucks to high ground 2 blocks up the street -- BTW, this was daytime on a work day. I guess that's called a slow learning curve.

Flood warnings were issued well in advance, so I'm always amazed at the number of people stranded in commercial business areas. TV news: "10 rescued by boat from office building!" Hello! Did you look out the window and see all the flood waters working towards you from the creek that ALWAYS floods ½ mile away? Did you wonder what the heck all the sirens, police and roadblocks were about? If 10 were rescued, where were all the others in this multi-storied office building? Maybe the 10 left were telemarketers and everybody else sneaked out leaving them to their fate -- trying to get in one more call.

I'm more amazed at the number of people that will try to ford a flooded street instead of taking an alternate route. I'm sorry but if they see rushing water deep enough to cover the curbs and sidewalks, do they really think their Honda Civic will transform into a Humvee? I start to wonder if these folks don't need a stupidy clause written into their insurance because you know the rest of us are paying for it.

The creek that runs across the front of my property did overflow and come up over the road at its lowest point, leaving some sand & debris. This was probably exacerbated by debris partially clogging the culvert. A dam nearby also overflowed with some of its runoff reaching the entrance road to my property. I'm 60 feet above the creek, so no flooding at the house, but things were WET! The airport reported 7" & ~6" where I live.

Several roads washed out with some expected to remain closed for up to 3 weeks. Some trees down but not too many power failures. One tornodo next county south of us. Sadly one 13 year-old boy was killed playing in the flood waters when he was sucked into a culvert under a road.

Wonder if this is a harbinger of things to come this hurricane season? Time to check & service the generator, restock the spare water, batteries and Coleman fuel, get the chainsaws fueled & ready?
 

cpc1103

New member
HI all I hope this is not too technical but did not find the proper section for it. Was wondering how everyone felt about how the westys handle in the winter? I read alot of postings about Summer driving. And with 14 inch rims and rear wheel drive I wonder. Seems like with the weight it will be ok. I live in southern NH and have an 84 that was just driven in the summer but would like to use it in the winter too. What should I do..Any advise?

And your right the Bentley has been valuable. It came with the van.
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Chris
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Use the search engine <Find>. There are a number of topics about winter driving, storage and camping. In JUST CONVERSATIONS, there is a topic about Westies in Snow. Though humorous, it's to the point. Read the topics on OE & OEM tires and on Snow tires & chains in the WHEELS & BRAKES forum. See Guideline #4 -- it's time well spent.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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Capt. Mike will be away through mid-July -- long overdue family vacation. And he doesn't carry a computer with him. So the site will not be updated for a while. PLEASE read the site guidelines, #1 & #4 in particular. Happy Westying in the interim.
 

johnny porridge

New member
what's so special about a Westfalia? Are they made differently from other VW camper vans? AS a complete newcomer.. I need as much info as I can get. I'm looking for a nice camper thing for weekends away, and also something that can be used to transport yoga equipment in the week, mats, etc,as I teach 3 or 4 times a week, and my boyfriend would like to buy me a transit van! So I think I like the look of these, but I need to find out more so I can persuade him...

Thanks

Nichollette
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Read the GETTING A WESTY forum. Your questions should all be answered there. Suggest you also read the JUST CONVERSATIONS forum where several topic discuss "Westyville" as we call the Westfalia drivers community. Read site guidelines before posting other questions.
 

emlesnick

New member
Chuck- We have started using a weber Q grill
We like it a lot and I would really reccomend it. It is much more substantial than the other "camping" grills out there. It heats evenly and quickly and uses those small portable propane tanks you can find anywhere near where you're caming. Best of all you don't have to worry about wet wood or messing around with charcol. Here is the website for it.

http://www.weber.com/q/default.aspx
 

Chuck (CA)

New member
I've been using the Weber "Go Anywhere Grill." So far so good....results have been Ex. We attempted to use a cast iron griddle - fotget it...too much mess and difficult to clean on the road. The GAG seems to be the best of all worlds. We're happy!
 

emlesnick

New member
Chuck-I'm suprised to hear about the problems with the cast iron. Did you season it properly? We love using our cast iron on the road and find it easier to clean than anything else. Plus the benefit is you can use it over the grills without "scorching" the pan.
 

TheTrove

New member
Just about to head out from Vancouver to wander around the flatlands of Saskatchewan in my 83 Westy and my MacBook running Microsoft Streets and Trips with a GPS receiver. Is there such a thing as a repository of waypoints of very less than official camping spots, pulloffs, any emergency camping spots if it's getting dark and one is powerfully averse to having to pay to sleep?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I've just returned from a 'vacation' to Wisconsin to visit some kinfolk. I use the term 'vacation' loosely. I'm more wore out now than before I started! Traveling with a teenager and a dog is about as much fun as a whipping. I'm going to have to get a liquor license to handle that much 'whine'. No bed or meal was worthy of a positive comment, that is when you could get her nose out of a book. The dog travelled well but had issues with my cousins' dog & cats. A 12 year-old dachshund isn't big enough to have issues!

No, we didn't take the Westy. Northbound we were taking many of my mother's household items as we start to clear out her house. Some date back to her mother and others had family memories, so she had offered them to family rather than estate auction. That filled Redneck Pickemup full, when added to the dozen suitcases and boxes of 'necessities.' We go to AK for 2 months in one suitcase (for two) and a laundry bag. For this, we carried more shoes than Vanna Trump. Besides, I needed some serious WI microbrew and cheese carrying capacity for the return trip! Sadly, we didn't see many Westies during the trip, although I understand a new neighbor of my Cousin has a pop-top Eurovan.

I got the privelege of paying my first $3 per gallon for fuel. It doesn't seem all that long ago I paid my first $1 per gallon. And I see a return to the old rip-off of charging extra for use of credit card. Pilot and some others are charging an extra 8¢ per gallon for credit cards. At least on diesel. I paid US$3.019; $3.059 & $3.029 on 3 fill-ups in WI. In the Northwoods area of WI, I saw diesel as much as $3.219 and gas at $3.189! I probably won't get any sympathy from our Canadian members who are paying an average of US$3.27 and I couldn't even find a listing of stations in the NWT or Yukon. Though their diesel prices seem to run lower than gas instead of higher as in the US. My low was $2.749 in KY. NC & WI where the high-ends of the run.

Anyway, we did have some good times. I've a cousin on the Eau Claire Lakes in Northern WI and they even got me out on the pontoon boat, in violation of my old principle of not getting on anything smaller than my sea-going lifeboat, which held 50. Swam often, but I don't fish. Our daughter did love that, including landing a 15" large-mouth bass. The dog hated it -- she doesn't like water at all and the 2 forced swims got our daughter more than a few dirty looks.

We did get to Horicon Marsh to see the Blue Herons and other marshland critters. How can those ungainly things fly? In a little forced culture, we also took our daughter to the Octagon House. Originally the largest private residence in WI, with it's 8 sides and wraparound porches and balconies, it became the nation's first Kindergarten. Now, K and even pre-K are standard almost everywhere but it was a novel and radical idea back then.

We stopped at the gateways to heaven, the Leinenkugel brewery where they have a delightful lodge full of Leinie paraphanalia and historic displays, not to mention a 'tasting' bar. We skipped the brewery tour, having done them in the past, but I'm now suitably attired for the next Green Bay Packer run at the Super Bowl.

I want to thank icarus for filling in on site moderating while I was gone. We didn't take a computer -- I wanted this to be a real vacation. I dread the resumption of mail today, but the email wasn't too bad.
 

icarus

Moderator
$3.00 gas! where can I buy some. We have been paying over three for 2 months now. I live 1/2 a mile from the refinery that processed the first barrel of Alaska crude and we have the highest prices in the state! Our fuel taxes are competative with other states so we don't know what gives. You'll never convince me that there is not covert if not over collusion regarding pricing.

Having said that, perhaps $3.00 fuel will finally get the political establishment to create a REAL energy policy. Why are Hummers allowed federal tax credit and I have to drive my 1982 Vw caddy pick up to get 35mpg! Let's get on board with real cafe standards and get away from the insane subsidys thatnot only allow wasteful consumption, but encourage it!

At least in my Westy we get 36 passenger miles per gallon when we drive it. If they made a tdi I would buy one in a heartbeat.

Enough blather

Icarus
 
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