Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Off to The Shop!

It's been quite some time since I last worked on the bus. Something about the spring weather around here motivated me to finish it up last weekend and get it ready for the shop. It only took a couple hours to pull off the remaining items I could, and then I called the tow truck. He showed up this morning, and now it's off to the shop for body work and paint.

With any luck, when it comes back it'll look like this one. I doubt it though - there's going to be quite a bit more work to do on suspension, electrical and interior. Estimated time at the shop: 6 months to a year. Below are some "before the shop" pictures I snapped.







Images powered by Lightbox JS v2.0 and Flickr.

Posted in The Bus at Apr 17 2006, 03:38:40 PM MDT 3 Comments

Dream Bus

This is a 23-window bus, and looks to be a bit older than mine (a '66 21-window). However, it has the same paint job I'm dreamin' of. Sure is beautiful.

Dream Bus

Found at vwtrends.com.

Posted in The Bus at Mar 05 2006, 09:42:25 PM MST 3 Comments

How to Keep your Volkswagen Alive

VW Manual The illustrator for How to Keep your Volkswagen Alive has passed away. I read about this on the Dead Bus Diaries, which links to an nice obituary.

I've used this book many times in my VW career - which started way back in high school. I had a friend who was into VWs and he convinced me that my first car should be a VW Bug. I bought a '69 bug, and after driving it for 2 months, the generator went out and I decided it was time to start restoring it. I took a belt sander to it the next day, and used this book to remove the engine. Days later I was ripping out all the wiring getting ready to head to the paint shop. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing and the car suffered quite heavily for it. When I tried to put things back together, hardly anything worked and I had large waves in the body from grinding parts of the car down to bare metal.

I've re-built 5 VW engines in my lifetime, and I've always had this book by my side. It took me 4 times to get it right, but this was largely due to my lack of experience. Furthermore, I'd often get the engine finished and then head out on a road trip instead of waiting 500 miles for the initial settling in. Since I'm about to start rebuilding my Bus's engine, it's about time I bought a new copy of this book, so I just did that on Amazon. I haven't taken the engine out of the bus yet, but that sounds like a fun activity for next week when my Dad is in town.

Posted in The Bus at Dec 16 2005, 10:46:31 AM MST 6 Comments

Good Bus Stories

Driving in Utah I found some good bus stories on Dead Bus Diaries today. The first, The Wayback Machine is a story of a couple guys who make a roadtrip to pick up a 21-window bus. The story reminds me of my Dad and I's Road Trip to pick up my bus. When driving through Utah, through all the canyon's and mountains, the brakes on the bus changed from having 2-3 inches of cushion, to having only a 1/2".

I remember my Dad telling me, "Bah, you just need to pump the brakes more." Then it was his turn to drive down a long pass - and he quickly realized the brakes were on their way out. Regardless, we drove it home - through lots of mountains and valleys - with a mere 1/2" of travel b/w the brake pedal and the floor. I promptly got it fixed when we arrived back in Denver.

The second post, 3,200 Gallons of Gas and Counting, links to vwvagabonds.com - which has a great story about a couple who left the hustle and bustle and drove their bus around the world. 3 years, 60,000 miles, 24 countries, 4 continents, 122 border crossings and 3200 gallons of gas. Quite impressive if you ask me.

Posted in The Bus at Nov 15 2005, 04:57:58 PM MST

The Bus Project Begins

About 2 months ago, I sat down and started calling local body shops to see about starting my "Daddy's Bus" project. I called about 5 of them, left messages, and waited. A week later no one had returned my call. Then I got a call from Mike Lopez of Twins Auto Body and Paint. He told me to bring my bus in and he'd take a look at it. I drove to his shop in North Denver the next day.

The first 1/2 hour with Mike was somewhat mesmerizing - we talked about the bus, how I got it, what I wanted to do, etc. The whole time, he was running his hands all over it - almost caressing it in a sense. Mike and I had a great conversation and it ended with him saying it was in great shape and he'd love to work on it. I asked him how much - and he gave me a quote of $4800 - $5500. I thought this was just for the body work, and it sounded pretty reasonable. He then proceeded to tell me that this was for the whole ball of wax: body work and paint. I was expecting to spend 5K on body, 5K on paint, and 5 on interior, so this was music to my ears.

At this point, I got bold. "How much for show quality?", I asked. 8-9K was his answer. I was very excited at this point because he was telling me the prices I wanted to hear. The major difference b/w "show quality" and "regular" is that they do everything for show quality - including smoothing/painting the interior and bottom of the rig. Mike had me sold at this point, but I still didn't trust that he might be the guy to help me restore the bus. At that point, he invited me into his shop, where my gaze fell upon a plethora of beautiful VWs: a Carman Gia, 3 Bugs and an old Bus (same year as mine) with a truck bed. All were in various stages of restoration, but it was obvious that Mike knew what he was doing. We discussed getting my bus ready, and our conversation ended with me saying I'd call him when I had it stripped and ready for sandblasting.

It's been hard finding time and motivation to start working on the bus - but I managed to do it today. I started by ripping out the interior, and managed to get most of it done. I still need to drop the engine and remove all the windows - but I think I can do both of those in a couple of days. With any luck, I'll have the bus in Mike's shop by December. Estimated time to complete body work and paint: 6 months to a year. Once he's done with the body work and paint, I expect it'll take me another year to finish the interior, mechanical and electrical. With any luck, I'll have a brand new '66 bus before the New Bus is available.

Here's a bunch of before and after pictures from what I did today.

Before



After Interior Removal

Posted in The Bus at Oct 15 2005, 06:34:28 PM MDT 5 Comments

VW Days

58 Bus This weekend, we attended the annual VW show out at Bandimere Speedway. I was in heaven with so many nice bugs and buses around.

I was so inspired by the show that I tried to attend the Colorado Bus Club meeting tonight (30 miles south). I made it about 5 miles before the wipers quit working. It wasn't raining, but the road was wet and I definitely needed wipers. So I pulled off the road and tried to figure out what went wrong. It seemed to be something had gone wrong with some sort of voltage changer I had in my dash. It's a square piece of porcelain that acts as a conductor of sorts for 3 different cables (lights and wipers I think). Anyway, it was cracked pretty bad and hot. I could tell it'd been repaired before, as there was melted glue all over it. I tried to fix it, and I did get the wipers working again - but soon noticed a plume of smoke from my dash. At this point, I decided to abandon ship, disconnected the wires and drove back home.

The funny thing is that this is just the day in the life of an old VW owner. Hopefully in the next few years, "Daddie's Bus" will become a new VW and these problems will be a thing of the past. Yeah right.

Posted in The Bus at Aug 10 2004, 08:48:55 PM MDT Add a Comment

Pictures from "Bus Rescue" Road Trip

As I mentioned earlier today, we made it back to Denver in one piece. Click on the pictures below to see a bunch of pictures from the trip. We flew in Thursday night and got a room at the beautiful Catamaran Resort on Mission Bay in San Diego.

Bus Trip

On Friday morning, we picked up the bus in Encinitas, which is about 30 miles north of San Diego. The bus started right up and I was able to drive it right onto the freeway. The first couple of things I noticed were (1) the brakes didn't work too well and (2) the top speed was close to the speed limit. We parked at the hotel and walked to breakfast. When we came back, the bus didn't start when I turned the key. The dash lights came on, but nothing happened. Push starting it in reverse fixed the problem. From there, we headed to a parts store, got an oil change and headed out on the road around 3:00 p.m. The "starter didn't work" problem seemed to be quite random as it worked sometimes and not others. I fixed it this morning by securing some wires that were flopping around.

The first leg of the trip - between San Diego and Las Vegas - was a little brutal. The traffic was ridiculous, it was hotter than hell (approaching 100) and when the speed did pick up - we were the slowpokes in the right lane. We did make it to Vegas after about 8 hours, and stayed at the Stratosphere. We ended up hitting the sack around midnight, and woke up promptly at 4:30 to get back on the road. Our biggest concern was the heat - since the bus has an air-cooled engine. In Vegas at 5:30 a.m., it was 80 degrees! Leaving Vegas, on the freeway, we had a very close call. There was a guy behind us that was swerving all over the road. My dad could see (in the rearview) that the guy was falling asleep and appeared to be wasted. We kinda forgot about it, and then all of a sudden, my Dad hammers the gas and shouts out some obscenities. I looked back and the guy was only a few inches from rear-ending us at 60 MPH! After that close call, we quickly pulled over and let him pass. I tried to call the cops, but had bad cell reception and gave up. 2 miles later, we saw a car overturned in the middle of the freeway. It's likely there were deaths because the roof was flattened. It wasn't the guy who almost hit us, but I hate to think that he might've caused the accident. Scary stuff.

Zion As we entered Utah, I suggested we take a back road and head through Zion National Park. From there, the trip got much better. We spent a day and a half tooling through Utah - enjoying its beautiful canyonlands and light traffic. Lastly, we drove through Western Colorado via Montrose and Gunnison and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The lack of traffic and awesome scenery was great. The bus also seemed to really enjoy being off the freeway. Good times, great memories.

1500 Miles, 4 days, 4 quarts of oil used. Pretty damn good for a Volkswagen.

Posted in The Bus at Jun 09 2004, 12:16:59 AM MDT 6 Comments

[VW Bus] Could this be the one?

A 21-window Volkswagen Bus showed up on eBay this morning - and I could "buy it now" for $9,650. If you look at it, you'll think I'm crazy. $9000 for a old beater of a bus - let alone a VW?! The problem is that these things are pretty rare. The 23-windows are even harder to find. The last 23-window on eBay went for $32,000! Granted it was a bit older and a little better shape - but still, that's ridiculous. The difference between this one and previous ones is that you can "buy it now" for under $10,000. Julie is all for it and thinks it'd be a great 30th birthday present (my birthday is in July). Also, it's in San Diego - where her sister lives, so she'd love an excuse to go out there. If I do buy it, it sure would be fun to road trip across the country to bring it home!

Hmmm, if I could buy my dream car today and DU wins the National Championship tonight...

Update: Woooo HOOOOO - DU WON!!! I told myself earlier today that if they won, I'd buy the bus. So w/in 2 minutes of the win, I bought it! What a day. ;-)

Green CheckYou purchased the item using Buy It Now!

Update 2: On Sunday: it figures, buyer's remorse is starting to flood my brain. The good thing is that it's not because of my purchase. It's because a 1965 21-window showed up on eBay today for much less. It's got 6 more days until the auction ends, and it's at $360 right now. The nice thing about this newest one is that it's already been stripped for restoration. Oh well, I still think I made a good decision yesterday. And as long as Julie does too - I'm golden... ;0)

Posted in The Bus at Apr 10 2004, 09:34:30 AM MDT 10 Comments

VW Bugs Rule

Nice Orange Bug I don't know if any of you are into Volkswagens - but I've been a huge Bug fan for many years now. I got my first VW Beetle in 1991 - a 1969. I rebuilt the engine (1835), repainted it (hot pink) and thoroughly enjoyed it. In college, I killed it by driving it from Salem, OR (remember the 1993 story) to Denver. So I bought a 1968, in very good condition, for $600 and swapped engines. I drove that for a couple years until I was cut off on the way to the airport on Christmas Eve 1997. It was snowing and slippery roads, so I found myself wrapped around a tree and the victim of a cut-off and run. Luckily, a undercover cop saw the whole thing and busted the guy. It was probably a good think I wrecked my old bug, 'cause I met Julie 3 weeks later, and she would've hated that thing! It was a POS with a nice engine, nice stereo and nice wheels. You know they kind of car I'm talking about - I didn't have any primer on it though. I waited a couple years before buying my next bug - a 2000 Turbo Beetle. It's been a great car, fast and fun and for sale. But that's not the reason for this post - just wanted to share some cool VW desktops I found from one of my favorite magazines - VWTrends.

It's amazing how much more fun it was to write this post than all the other ones today.

Posted in The Bus at Nov 15 2002, 05:23:18 PM MST 3 Comments