Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Facts About Sequoia Trees

The National Park service signs that are posted in front of the large sequoia trees had these really strange random facts, which I thought I would share (and some pictures, too).

General Grant Sequoia
The General Grant giant sequoia tree in Kings Canyon National Park.

Fact: If the trunk of the General Grant tree was a gas tank on a car that got 25 mpg, you could drive around the earth 350 times without refueling!

Fact: If the trunk of the General Grant tree could be filled with sports equipment, it could hold 159,000 basketballs, or more than 37 million ping-pong balls!

Fact: The General Grant tree is so wide it would take about twenty people holding hands to make a complete circle around its base!

Fact: The General Grant tree is the world's widest known sequoia and the third largest sequoia in the world by volume!

Volume: 46,608 cubic feet
Height: 268 feet
Weight: 1,254 tons
Age: 1,700 years
Diameter (max): 40 feet
Circumference: 107 feet

Giant Forest Sequoias
The General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park.

Fact: If the trunk of the General Sherman tree could be filled with water, it would provide enough water for 9,844 baths. Thats one bath every day for 27 years!

Fact: Looking up at the General Sherman tree for a 6 foot tall human is about the equivalent of a mouse looking up at a 6 foot tall human!

Fact: The General Sherman tree is the world's largest tree by volume and the world's heaviest tree!

Volume: 52,500 cubic feet
Height: 275 feet
Weight: 1,385 tons
Age: 2,200 years
Diameter (max): 36.5 feet
Circumference: 103 feet

Sunday, September 27, 2009

VW Bus Campout at Finnon Lake

Around the time that apples begin to ripen and are ready for pickin in the fall, there is a (now) traditional Finnon Lake VW Bus campout near Placerville, CA almost on the border of the Eldorado National Forest. There is a small campground next to Finnon Lake, which once was a small reservoir in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Many bay-area and Sacramento area bus people come to camp together in one place. I didn't get a chance to take too many pictures, but here are a few:

Finnon Lake Camp-out
Heating water for morning coffee on the little side table.

Finnon Lake Camp-out
The green camper is our friend Regis's '78 bus.

Finnon Lake Camp-out
Camper busses in their native habitat - camping

Finnon Lake Camp-out
Romy is looking for a nut to fix our sliding door, and he found one at the door of a neighboring bus at the camp-out. The owner of this bus makes really cool custom made tents and shelters.

Finnon Lake Camp-out
This is a vanagon syncro camper. It has 4 wheel drive and can go off roading!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Bus is Back in Action!

The last camping trip with the bus in September 2008.

Its been just about one year exactly since the bus moved out of the driveway in front of our garage. The last trip we took with it was to Humbolt Redwoods State Park in northern California last labor day weekend when my mom visited (in 2008). After that trip, the Illinois registration was expiring, so we decided to move ahead with our plan of getting it registered in California, so we can continue driving it, legally. After much researching about what exactly was required to get it to pass smog, we realized it would be a HUGE P.I.T.A. Since the bus is a '77, we are required to pass smog every two years or so, plus it had to have all the original engine components current with at least 1977. That sucks! We bought the bus in Montana, and it was originally sold in Washington, so it was never a California bus, meaning that to bring it into Cali, we'd have to do some serious work getting it to pass the standards for smog. When we bought it, the engine was carbureted, but it originally had fuel injection. So before we could do anything, we had to install fuel injection back on. The hunt began for a FI system, which lasted many many months, searching on craigslist, etc for components. Buying the parts brand new would have been extremely expensive, so we found a few components here and there until we finally got two systems together. Romy installed them, but since the FI systems were from old busses which may or may not have been running (who knows) we weren't sure if it would work right away. And of course, it didn't! Then came many more months of careful troubleshooting, and we even tossing in an engine swap! Finally in September of 2009, one year later (almost to the day - isn't that freaky?) the engine finally runs!!!

Sadly, this isn't the end of the story. We've been driving it without a catalytic converter, but of course, to pass smog, we need one. The only exhaust system that we have which has a cat on it we pulled off of a bus that was in an accident, and we suspect that oil must have gotten into the exhaust because it smokes like crazy when that exhaust is on. Other than getting another exhaust, I guess we will just have to let the oil inside 'burn off,' which is kinda gross, but oh well.

On a lighter note, we still have the rest of this month to drive it around as much as possible to break in the new engine before the Illinois registration expires and we have to go smog it. Our first trip with the bus was to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, in the Sierra Nevada mountains, near Fresno. I am posting some pictures that we took during the trip:

Bus Campsite
Camping with the top up in Sequoia National Forest near Kings Canyon National Park.

Bus Campsite

Screen Door
We bought this screen door snap-on thing at a VW parts swap meet for $15. Its great because you can sleep with the back hatch open, but keep the bugs out!

Sunset Camping
Sunset at our campsite in Sequoia National Forest.