Final stretch Home
A lot sooner than we expected.
We spent the next day driving around chico breaking our "new" engine in. Stop and go driving, highway driving, fast, slow, stopping, starting, idling...you name it- we did it. We actually know our way around chico better than most towns we've visited, and we were only there 2 days.
In between each trip out, we'd come back to the shop for a bit of adjustment and tweaking and then back out for another few hours of driving and then more tweaking. All in, the engine sounds great. It should be considerably less powerful than our 1776, but we can barely tell the difference... a true testament to how poorly our other engine ran most of the time we had it.
By the end of the day, Bryan and the guys give their signoff on the status and we head north. Just that easy. We hit the highway, maybe a bit overly alert and listening for every possible change and slight noise but hear nothing. We make it as far north as shasta and pull over in Weed, CA because we're freezing. The bus has no heat and we are anything but acclimated to the cold. As we pass by Mt Shasta in darkness, the temps drop below 30 and we've had all we can take for the day. We book a cheap hotel room, crank the heater and get a good night's sleep before continuing north to Oregon.
We stop in Grant's Pass (about half way home from chico) for a tune up and oil change. Mark at Strictly Foreign runs an impressive shop out of his garage and we enjoyed the chance to meet him and have him work on the bus. A nice side effect of our new engine is that we now know most of the good aircooled mechanics all along the western coast.
Check-in complete, we point north on I-5 toward portland. This time we're focused. Nothing will keep us from making our destination. I'm pretty sure even if worse case scenario happened we would have left the bus n the side of the road and called a cab just to sleep in our own bed tonight. Luckily, this time... worse case scenario didn't happen.
We pull in around 10pm thrilled to see the garage. It's still new to us and still exciting every time we pull up out front. Even more exciting, Dee was there waiting on us when we arrived. We're in town less than 5 minutes and already we're catching up with old friends- how very perfect!
We spend the next few days seeing friends, celebrating jen's birthday, planning a few fun events and hitting our favorite food stops, but mostly at home soaking in the home-ness of it all. It feels so right to look out our accordion doors and see E sitting in the street, and it certainly doesn't hurt that its been sunny every day since we returned. Weird.
Now we start going through the giant mound of mail awaiting our return, make a list and start going through the projects that we've been so excited to return home to... and, of course, to start planning the next trip.