Back Home in Austria!

Thank you for following our trip traveling across the US Southwest! We spent two wonderful months in the United States and just got back home to Austria, Europe.

The Sitting Hen

After more than four years of sitting in the backyard at a friend’s house in Ridgecrest, California, we have to move Herbie and the camper to another place. Therefore Domi “exhumed” the camper and was very surprised by what he found there…

Laughlin by the River

Before we were having our terrible ride back to Las Vegas, we tried to relax at a fancy hotel resort right at the Colorado river in Laughlin, Nevada. We really enjoyed to swim in the refreshing Colorado (as our hotel had its very own sandy beach, which others didn’t have) and also our stunning view from the 16th floor overlooking the town, the mountains and of course the blue Colorado river. (appendix)

At the moment we are in Pahrump and we’ll travel back to Ridgecrest tomorrow.

Herbie at Las Vegas’ Beetle Barn

We made it back safely! Herbie managed to drive the 99 miles (160 kilometers) from Laughlin to Las Vegas almost losing the cylinder head and two gallons of motor oil. After that Herbie was having two full days of “surgery” at the Beetle Barn.

But first of all, thank you so much, Justin, for your help with Herbie! And thank you, Wayne, for introducing us to Justin and his Las Vegas’ Beelte Barn!

Herbie was suffering from at least one ripped out stud which affected a loosen cylinder head. Domi had to remove the engine and take it all apart, so Justin could install inserts on all the studs in order to secure the heads and cylinders to the case. While they were doing that, they also treated Herbie with an extensive service including renewing the exhaust valve of cylinder no. three, replacing the piston rings as well as push rod tubes and changing various sealing gaskets.

After all that Herbie is ready for another world tour…

99 Miles Odyssey Ahead

Herbie was making weird noises (we called it “making popcorn”) and was continuously loosing power for the last weeks. Therefore we stopped by Justin Stephens’ “Beetle Barn” in Las Vegas (an outstanding shop for air-cooled VWs, recommended by our friend Wayne De Mello), while we were on our way to Laughlin, further South at the Colorado river.

Justin figured out the problem almost immediately. He diagnosed that the cylinder heads got loosen, which effected the valves by getting out of tune. He suggested to tighten the lower bolts and to adjust the valves afterwards. When we torqued down the heads, one of the studs didn’t hold up and ripped out. We thought that it would work out for a while because there are still seven other studs which would hold the head to the core.

We started the engine and Herbie seemed to run perfect again. Therefore we took off and hit the road towards Laughlin. While we were driving on the highway in the middle of desert, we noticed loosing power again and blamed the gusty head wind for it. But after a while those weird noises came back. And suddenly the oil pressure pilot lamp went on. We turned off the engine instantly and stopped on the emergency lane. Domi checked the motor oil level and indeed, there was no oil left. At that moment we knew, something went terribly wrong and the cylinder head was coming apart. Consequently we had to decide if we should continue to drive to Laughlin or if we should head back to Vegas. But as we were already closer to Laughlin and afraid not having enough oil to refill, we decided to continue to Laughlin.

We finally reached Laughlin after moving slowly and stopping several times in order to check the oil level as we were losing one quart (~ one liter) of oil per 15 miles.

After checking in at our hotel, we contacted Justin if he could help us to repair the loosen engine stud(s) if we would make it back to Vegas. He declared his support. Thank you, Justin!

But there is still one huge obstacle left: Driving Herbie 99 miles (160 kilometers) all the way back to Las Vegas with a loosen cylinder head and spilling oil by the liter.

At a Pool in the Desert

After another chapter of Herbie’s World Tour, driving thousands of miles across the Southwestern United States, we decided to switch to the more relaxing part of this trip and stopped at a hotel resort in Mesquite, located North of Las Vegas, in the middle of Nevada’s desert. We’re enjoying time at the pool and a terrific view of the mountains.

Our upcoming destination will be Laughlin, a town located at the Colorado river.

Zion & Bryce Canyon National Park

Beaver, Utah – We just got back from a wonderful trip across Southern Utah, visiting the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park. Even though we visited these place already several times, we always love to return to enjoy them again.

!!! 200,000 km Around The World !!!

Herbie made incredible 200,000 kilometers through 80 countries on 6 continents!
Thank you so much, Herbie, for every single mile
you drove us around the world and never let us down!
Domi & Zainab

The Great Grand Canyon

Our last visit of the Grand Canyon is already years ago. We have been there many times and we have always enjoyed those wonderful views. Therefore we visited Arizona’s great Grand Canyon today once again. In order to get there we followed the legendary Route 66 to Flagstaff, where we stayed overnight.

What is Vapor Lock?

As Europeans we didn’t know what vapor lock means, but as we were driving Herbie in extraordinary hot places, we had to learn it the hard way, by experiencing it on ourselves. Unfortunately it happened to us again a couple times on this trip. And it was and still is one of the most frightening things to us…

Vapor lock is actually a problem that mostly affects older vehicles with mechanically powered fuel pumps. When you drive a car in really hot areas and you stop somewhere and you turn the engine off, the heat of the engine as well as of the asphalt underneath and the extremely high outside temperatures may cause the fuel to vaporize within the gas line. When this happens, there is no way to get the car started again, because the fuel pump is not able to suck through the fuel. After that, there are two options: You either wait (and that takes long) or you open the carburetor, filling fuel right into the fuel chamber, hoping that the fuel pump can overcome the vapor lock by running long enough to suck through the fuel.