Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stella Updates

Stella today

Stella before?? This is a photo I found in a book on VW buses. The interior is identical to Stella's, though obviously the color is different. I can't tell if she faded a LOT or if she was just originally 'Guinea blue' rather than 'Medium Blue' (as is listed in the book as the blue color option for campers and is in the photo above). Today she looks more Guinea than Medium though, and I'm guessing it's unlikely that she faded THAT much.

She's still down at the shop though. Apparently she won't pass inspection with the current, cracked windshield. Whoever last replaced the windshield didn't put it in correctly, or even in all the way it seems, and it cracked and for some reason that I simply can not begin to understand, they left it like that. So ... a new windshield is on order out of Norfolk. It should be here by the middle of next week, and hopefully we can have her home by then. She also needed new rear brake lights, but those have already been put in.

I've also been on the hunt for other parts she needs that are no longer available on the market. A new dash cluster since the odometer and fuel gauge don't work (kinda something that we really need working!) is the main thing. I found a guy down in Georgia, or rather he found me. He has an '82 Vanagon, non-camper, that he's selling off as parts. I have to admit to being nervous about dealing with things online that I can't physically see, but I also don't see where I have much of an alternative. I've asked him to send me photos of parts (he also has a grill which she needs, along with other items). He doesn't have a digital camera so he said he'll pick up a disposable one, take the photos and mail them to me. Something about this makes me feel guilty, but I suppose I'll let him do it.

We've also ordered our own copy of the 'Idiot Book' (as it is lovingly called). We were able to find a newer edition, used (!! yay !!) for a really good deal thanks to

And, finally, we ordered a new rug for her. The folks we bought her from had put in an oriental-esque throw rug which looked really cool. I wouldn't have thought to do that I don't think. Then I happened to stumble across a crocheted rag-rug that was made using upcycled tie-dye sheets. Lots of yellows, pale blues, pinks and more. I love it. I can't wait to see it in there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meet Stella

This is Stella. Stella Blue. Yes, I know the name might be a little cliche, but she really insisted that it was her name. So, Stella she is.

Stella is a 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia. She has an air cooled engine and is a full camper.

Those who've known me for a significant amount of time will know of my longing for a Westy. That longing has been passed down to my sons, particularly Shannon. It was because of Shannon that we got Stella.

We were driving home from my mother's house when Shannon announced "I told Grandma that they could have our tent out of the attic." "And where are we going to sleep?" asked Justin. "In the Westfalia" replied Shannon with the epitome of "duh" Valley-Girl in his tone. We explained that we didn't have one and weren't planning on seriously looking for one until the end of next year. We would have to stick with the tents for a while longer.

The next day I posted on Facebook about what Shannon had said. I mentioned that DogLimo2 (a Westy belonging to friends and for sale locally) might have to stay local after all. Instantly another friend replied "take mine!". They had bought it because it was a good deal and with intentions (dreams?) of camping and etc. Life, as it turns out, had different plans and so it wasn't a good fit for them. I looked at photos they had of her online and instantly I was hooked.

Our friends even drove her up here from their home in North Carolina. I wasn't sure what time they were leaving, but I knew that they could get here between 6 & 8am. I woke up at 3:45am. Fate smiles. Turns out that is what time they hit the road to come here.

One of the difficult things for me in my Westy quest was that I personally am not so wild about a lot of the color schemes. Those oranges, yellows, and greens, along with the plaids in the same shades just ..... well ..... they are NOT for me.

Stella on the other hand is, obviously, blue. Look at the name of our home. Obviously we like that color. The majority of the rooms in our house are painted blue. Fittingly enough, the day we physically got Stella, Justin & I were both wearing blue shirts. (I promise, it wasn't intended)
Her interior is a mix of the cream & brown on the camper parts, typical of that time. The seats are blue, brown, and white striped. She has a nice brown carpet inside.

Needless to say, I am in love. The kids are in love. Justin is, at minimum, content and happy. He hasn't caught the VW BUG yet (pardon the pun), but he will. Hopefully. If not, the kids and I outnumber him.

Right now Stella is down at Salem Imports. She needs more work done to her than we thought, which is upsetting. Mainly because it will take me some time to earn the money to pay for it. But that is life. In the end, she will be better for it. We all will.

In the meantime, I've been sent home with the Compleat Idiot's Guide to maintaining your Volkswagen by John Muir. I love the book already and am determined to become mechanically inclined. I'll also be purchasing the book as soon as possible. I found used copies available online at Amazon for great prices. (Always shop used first!)

It's not the exact start I was picturing, but when is life really like that? Though I had been hoping for at least a few "WHEEE!!" months before something big hit, I'll be happy for the time spent to 1) EARN the money for the repairs and 2) the time to educate myself more about the world I have just entered. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise?

Wish me luck.

PS ~ I was feeling guilty for not getting DogLimo2. When I was down at the shop I didn't see it. I asked Sandra where it was and she told me it sold. We both expressed feelings of guilt: me for buying something else and her for selling it. But again, fate smiles. They sold it at the same time we bought Stella. To people from North Carolina.
Today I had an epiphany about DogLimo2 (when I was questioning my sanity of getting Stella v. DogLimo2). For me, DogLimo2 is like that really great guy who likes you and you really, really wish you liked him to because you know how great you two could be together. How he would be so good to you. But the fact is, no matter how much you like him as a friend, love him as a friend, your feelings don't go beyond that. No matter how much your brain tells you they should, logically.
That is DogLimo2 for me. I believe Stella was the one calling me. I know she was. And I think DogLimo2 found who was calling him. (I'm deciding the gender here, though the new owners may feel differently). Fate Smiles.