Hello All. We made it to Yosemite and back without a hitch . The trip was just about 800 miles overall with long stretches of flat hwy, and a couple of stretches of mtn switch backs of about 60 miles each and varying from sea level to around 9,000'. I checked fuel mileage under three sets of conditions and have as yet to calculate overall mileage. I did, however, calculate mileage for 125 mile sections of freeway mtns, flat freeway and twisty 2 lane mtn driving with the results respectively 16 mpg, 17.6 mpg and 12.3 mpg. I expect the overall mpg to be in the neighborhood of 16 as the last section consisted mostly of flat fwy--we'll see. The overall handling of the rig is most satisfactory on all but the roughest roads where the suspension is a bit stiff. The tightest hair pin turns posed very little lean and the bus was easy to keep in the center of the lane.
Along with being too much fun, the trip did help define refinements that will make the next trip even better. I really need to get the soft hanging storage bin made up as we were having to move luggage back and forth over and over again to make use of the floor space. The bin should do away with the luggage all together. I'll definetly be installing docking lights on the sides and rear of the bus as even with walki-talkies backing the bus into the tiny tree lined camp spot in the dark was a bit tough to do and a little light would have made it a snap. A third thing I will do is install some sort of collapsible clear plastic partition to separate the driving compartment from the main bus body. This will improve the cooling capabilities of the little under dash A/C unit which now must run it's compressor constantly to try to cool all the air in the bus. As it is, running the compressor full time eventually freezes over the evaporator requiring A/C shut down for a thaw out (that action turns the bus into a sauna until the unit can be restarted ). I've cured the same problem in various Suburbans in a similar way so I think it will work in the bus too.
I'm sure the other campers wondered what was going on as we hung around the bus during the day and then disappeared for the night only to show up in the morning to make breakfast. Little did they know that we were staying in the hotel . We got a late start on our last day which would have required several hours of mountainous night driving before reaching home so we decided to spend an extra night in the bus. We reached the Camping World RV store in "beautiful" Bakersfield looking for information as to local RV parks and after the normal old bus palavor the store manager suggested we might as well just boondock in their parking lot along with several other real motor homes. We thanked him kindly and took him up on the offer. The air temp was hovering at 100 degrees at 5:00 PM amd the asphalt below the bus must have been about 130 degrees. I fired up the genny and turned on the 6K or is it 8K? house A/C and waited for the bus to cool down. Just as I was commenting to my wife that the A/C wasn't big enough to do the job, it occurred to me to open the zippered windows in the pop up and turn the fan speed to full. Within 15 minutes the air temp had dropped 12 degrees and continued to cool to about 75 degrees as evening set in. I expect the little A/C system was about maxed out so I don't think I'll plan on a summer vacation in Death Valley any time soon . Jack
The first stop was at a fwy rest stop where we made lunch and gave the bus a once over.
We reached the valley floor in early evening and walked along the river a bit.
The huge rock in the background is El Capitan--people actually climb it .
We unloaded our luggage in the hotel parking lot. We had made and paid for reservations long before the bus was done so we decided to sleep in the hotel.
We finally got parked in the camp site and watched a short movie before heading to the hotel.
On our way out we stopped at the valley over look on the way out. It is situated at the beginning of a 1/2 mile long tunnel cut out of the granite mountain and over looks Sentinel Rock and Half Dome.
The next few pics are of the bus parked on the sweltering asphalt parking lot at Camper World.
Hey Keith, Yup that puppy is home made. My bus had a central roof panel that came from the factory already framed in. I removed the sheet metal and built the pop up out of 1/8" sheet plate and 1 1/2" square tubing. I bent the plate to conform to the shape of the roof and used 2 layers of polycarbonate sheeting to cover the opening. The top is hinged on a continuous stainless steel piano hinge along one side and the whole affair is leveraged open by a pair of linear actuators. Let me know if you'd like to know more. Jack
The frame after welding. It weighs about 100#.
I lifted the completed pop up onto the bus with a fork lift and secured the hinge.
We stayed at the Bakersfield Camping World last fall in our 1968 popup. They have free electric hookups!!!! And it's first come first serve so no time limits. We were so excited. The staff there was super friendly and helpful, and we even brought our pet goat inside to look around.