The Adventure Begins

June 2, 2015:026 Our rally doesn’t officially start from Halifax, NS, Canada until June 7, but  our adventure has already begun. We left NC on May 29. Ed wanted to have some extra time, “just in case”.  We are now in Portland, Maine where we will take the ferry to Nova Scotia on Wednesday. Stewball is at Neil’s Motors. DSCN3826Now that’s the spoiler. Here’s the adventure.

Day 1. Since we had time, we decided to take the back roads north. We did not use the GPS, but had printed out MapQuest which is more like following a rally route. Then we got lost. Somewhere in NW Virginia, north of Richmond and south of Culpepper. The good part was we discovered a wonderful French restaurant in Orange, Virginia.

Day 2. Change of plan. Follow the GPS around DC, Baltimore and NYC. All went well and we realized we could get to Oxford, CT and have dinner with Ed’s sister and her husband. 027Only problem that day was the heat.  Had another good dinner and lots of laughs when first Arnold and then Jayne tipped over their wine spilling it on their clothes. It must have been the stemware, this just can’t happen to four responsible adults.

Day 3. Sunday. Rain and more rain. From the start, Ed was worried about the wipers. This was the only problem we had on our shake down trip to the NC mountains earlier but Bob Hicks, our usually dependable VDub guru had fixed it and assured us all was fine. Famous last words. Now 1 1/2 hours from Portland, they quit. I was driving. I pulled off at the exit and we tried to find a station that would at least let us pull the car into a bay so Ed could hopefully find the problem. We were hoping it was just a fuse. Seems no one on a Sunday has the authority to open a bay. We finally convinced a young man to let us at least put the car under his pump shelter but other than getting soaked, Ed could not find the problem. So we coated the windows with RainX and hit the highway again. I white-knuckled it all the way to our hotel. RainX does work, but it can’t compete with big rigs passing at highway speeds and a little Maine fog tossed in.

Day 4. Monday. I won’t bother you with details but we spent the early morning hours trying to find someone in the area who works on vintage VWs. We finally hit on the best. Neil’s Motors. I drove in the rain-again-to this shop and the very persistent and patient service manager made numerous phone calls hunting for this wiper motor. For you non-67 VDub folks. This is the one part that is almost impossible to find. It is unique to the 67 but anyone who converts an earlier year to a 12 volt system uses this wiper motor.

Then Ed remembered. In 2006 we had replaced this part. He had all the car papers with him and then name, Bug City in CT. One more phone call. He had the part and would ship next day air. Neil’s Motors even provided a loaner and garaged Stewball.

Day 5. While we wait (anxiously) to hear if the part is in and wipers working we took a trolley tour of Portland (still in the rain and cold) which included the oldest lighthouse in Maine. 021We have until tomorrow evening when the ferry departs for Halifax to see if Ed, Stewball and I will be onboard.

Cross your fingers.

About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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4 Responses to The Adventure Begins

  1. IreneC says:

    Well, you two don’t get discouraged easily. You’re like to Eveready Bunnies.

  2. Susan Attermeier says:

    Hi Jan and Ed! Portland is such a great town! We went to really interesting historical site that I think was a lighthouse – you have to walk up “the hill” – well worth the time for the guided tour.
    There were lots of great restaurants in that area – however Portlandiorians are such foodies that you have to have a reservation!

  3. Forest Hunter says:

    I’m sure you found a good meal or two in Portland. I’ve been wondering when youse guys ( as we used to say in Chicago) would be detailing the latest adventure. Thanks for the update.Keep ’em coming.

  4. Following Stewball and his mates through all your travels is wonderful. I have always loved Maine, so if you had to get stuck somewhere, that is an excellent place to be. By the way, that lighthouse of which you speak, I did a shot of it eons ago that Visa used on one of its credit cards … for a fee, of course!

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