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Thread: NATS 2021

  1. #1
    VCVC Member
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    NATS 2021

    Just returned on the 28th from my 1st NATS adventure. Actually, the NATS was just the 1st week of July part of my adventure. The short story is that 66BeachCruiser (Jose) and I drove from Sacramento, CA to Albert Lea in the WedgieVan (69 Panel). We left Sactown at ~10PM on Friday night and arrived in Albert Lea at ~0400 on Sunday with a one night stopover in Rawlins WY which was about the halfway point. A marathon drive of 1,857 miles. It was 26 road hours according to Google maps and about double that in actual hours when you included the night's stay in WY. We arrived at the NATS early but there were at least 50 vanners there already. Total vanners attending ended up being ~600. FreakyTikiTV (Bill) flew into Minneapolis and met us in town. There's way too much that went on to even begin to describe without pics, but trust me, it was a grand time had by all. At the end of it, I drove both Bill and Jose to Minneapolis airport and they jetted home. I headed to Dallas to visit family for a week (852 miles). Then off to St Louis to make a connection with a fellow vanner (637 miles) and then I stopped by an Iowa boneyard to check on a 64 that was waiting for me (179 miles) and then back up to Mason City (297 miles) to score an overdrive transmission for Freaky. A night in Mason City, MN and then off to Idaho Falls, ID (1,140 miles) with one stop over in Casper, WY. 3 nights spent in Idaho Falls and then back home with a stop at a Wendell, ID boneyard. (176 miles + 607 miles). With a few assorted side trips, I logged ~6,000 miles in the WedgieVan and spent 4 weeks on the road. I can say that it's great to see the country and also great to get back. The next NATS is in Ohio and I do plan to be there. This is one great adventure checked off the bucket list. It's great to be retired now, have a VCV and be mobile. More adventures to come.
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 ring 4 Spd. with OD, 2.73 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van"
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.
    1969 G20 Shell

  2. #2
    VCVC Member SAVAGE's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Wow what a trip for you & your van.
    I thought you last Road trip was long, when you delivered & picked up parts across the USA .
    You made it E as far as IN ,& we met up at George's(Gas)(Thanks to George & his Wife for the hospitality & great pizza)
    Then down to TX(hope your Family doing well)
    Then Sothern(Hot) loop back to CA, to deliver more part's & help out some VCV owners with projects before heading home.
    I don't remember if you said how long(mi.) that trip was???
    Somebody posted a pic of you working on your van at the Nats.
    Wasn't anything major was it?? Just PM I hope, for your Long drive back home.
    Hope to make it to next year to Nats, Hope you can stop by & we can do some IN & OH VCV Yard Junking
    Tom

  3. #3
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    2020 Parts Run, etc.

    The last parts run was also about 6,000 miles; Sacramento to Stanwood, WA to Wisconsin to Chicago to Dallas to Phoenix to Los Angeles to Sacramento. Go WedgieVan! This year's NATS trip was not tied to being at a certain place at a certain time except for that 1st NATS leg. After that it was pretty much open. I had escaped most of the brutal weather that can come in July. Seemed like the NATS was not as humid as was typical even though there was periods of rain and heat. I noticed that after I had left a certain area, the bad weather followed. I'll be upgrading the van to be better able to travel in comfort. I also picked up a lot of ideas from all the vanners that were much more experienced than me with van travel and camping. The pic of me working on the WedgieVan was me repairing a broken front shock. The lower part of the shock mount broke off and the shock was just dangling there. On the way there, Jose and I had to battle the WedgieVan whenever it hit a bump. It didn't help that sometimes we were doing 90 mph. The 2.73 rear axle ratio made that possible but that 250 engine just couldn't keep that speed up on any kind of upgrade. A 292 should help that. So the driver's side shock eventually got between the steering arm and frame which caused the steering effort going left to increase dramatically while it was easy turning to the right. That is a symptom of a steering gear box getting ready to fail in a major way. I was all set to swap out the box at the NATS with a used box that Michael Swann had brought for me. What a relief to find it was just the shock, which I bent during the turning to the left. Napa had shocks that were too short and that caused more problems and time away from the NATS. while I worked on that. The pic you saw was my fellow vanners "helping" me with peanut gallery comments, and offering electric impact tools after I'd done the job manually. They had way too much fun watching me. Other vanners just walking by would stop and see what the crowd was watching. At one point, I think I had almost a dozen vanners providing "input". Frank Costa helped me deal with this mechanical issue in a big way. Special shout out to Frank! Anyway the job got done and we were also able to help at least 3 other vanners that were stuck with mechanical issues. One was changing a radiator, another was a no-start that was towed 200 miles and another was a rear axle bearing. In Idaho Falls, I ran into a guy at the local hardware store that was stuck with his Toyota T100. He was from Washington state headed to Montana. He had a key switch issue that kept him from turning the key to the start position. He was stuck at a gas station all night, then towed to a Walmart. He was going to rent a car ($1,300) to get to Boseman and deal with it on the return trip. We got to talking cars and I offered to help. With some effort, we pulled the electrical connector out of the back of the key switch and then he was able to start the truck with a screwdriver. I told him it was just a good deed from somebody in the Vintage Chevy Van Club. No charge of course but I told him he should "pass it on". It's nice to help people.
    108VanGuy...
    1969 Chevy Panel, 250 CID, 3 ring 4 Spd. with OD, 2.73 "WedgieVan" Daily Driver
    1967 Chevy Panel, 230 CID, 3 Spd. 3.36 "UtiliVan Owned since 76
    1964 GMC Panel, 194 CID, 3 Spd. "CrunchoVan"
    1965 Chevy Panel 350 CID, 3 Spd. "RustoRoof" Runs but wiring bad
    1969 Chevy 108 Display 307 CID THM 350 Power Brakes 3.73 Posi
    1965 Chevy Panel, V8, 3 Spd. "Gold Hills Van"
    1965 CamperVan, V8, 3 Spd.
    1969 G20 Shell

  4. #4
    VCVC Member van-itti's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    We spoke on the phone but I wanted to tell you here...
    Good for you my friend.

    Im going to enjoy your retirement! LOL
    Mike

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