The United States is well known for its national parks. Laura and Julian tell you the next part of their adventure aboard their Rainette.
“Here we are in Denver, Colorado. We picked up my parents (Laura) at the airport and after a city tour we were ready to hit the road to Utah! We will visit Colorado on the way back to Denver.
Utah is beautiful! We visited Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The forces of nature (rain, snow, frost) have, over time, shaped majestic landscapes: stone arches, fairy chimneys, balancing rocks, vertiginous red cliffs. Then we drove to Monument Valley which is a park owned by the Navajos. Julian enjoyed driving through these huge formations. In Colorado, we visited Mesa Verde National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Colorado Springs. It was just as beautiful! It is also recommended that you visit the Cadet Cathedral in Colorado Springs. It is located in the Air Force School. With a very original architecture, it contains several chapels, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and ecumenical. It was a pleasure for us to discover all these magnificent sites with our family. Especially since we are now halfway through our 11-month journey and we still miss home "a little".
Once we left Denver, we went from one national park to another and it is really difficult to recommend one over another. Although they are quite close, they all have their own specific features and have bluffed us: Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, Glen Canyon and Lake Powell. Each one is more beautiful than the other. At Page, we took the opportunity to visit Antelope Canyon, also owned by the Navajos. We could have stayed there for hours in both Lower and Upper canyon. On the other hand, you should know that it is a well-established tourist factory! They tell you where to take the pictures with which filter and no time to really stop because the next group is already there. Not to mention the price: $40 (35€) per person for each visit. But what a beauty!!!!! Don't forget to make a small detour through the impressive Horseshoe Bend! We left Page yesterday and are now at the gates of the Grand Canyon, with the mythical name!
At this time of year, it is pleasant to walk through all these parks with, in fact, very few people. We have the impression that we have the park to ourselves and it is hard to imagine the crowd that must be there in summer and the heat! The less pleasant point is the fact that there are no more leaves on the trees and the grasses are often burned by the sun and the dryness of summer. We would be curious to see these beautiful places in May-June when the flora is more enchanting.
But in the end, traveling with our 1983 T3 is like what? It's happiness, happiness, happiness, happiness, but also trouble!
Julian is in charge of the technical/mechanical part. Every morning, he checks the coolant level and every 500-1000km he checks the oil level. We add about 1L every 1500km. We also change the oil every 7,500 km, due to the old engine, and every other time we change the oil filter. Other filters and gearbox oil also require replacement, but less regularly.
Traveling with such a car also means paying attention to any suspicious noise. We know that if we do not deal with it quickly, it is a guaranteed failure in a few hundred/thousand kilometers. In addition, the only indicators we have are the battery and oil pressure. So, our controls are rather auditory. The van being also our home, we can at any time remain blocked for an indefinite period. That is not what we want. Even if we have time we prefer to visit beautiful places rather than the local workshop. The other negative aspect is the budget. The longer we wait to repair, the higher the cost is likely to be. On the positive side, since we have restored it together, we know our van almost by heart and can usually diagnose and repair it ourselves. If we don't really know what's going on, Julian's best friend makes a diagnosis by phone. A practical help! We go to the garage when we can't do the repairs ourselves or when we lack the right equipment. We are quite happy mechanically. We have had breakdowns and will have more, but they are not very serious. It must also be said that many parts are no longer manufactured by Volkswagen and, therefore, the quality is lower. Moreover, our van is already 35 years old and we have done 39 000km in 5 months! Usually, with an oldtimer, you do that in a few years. Our breakdowns are therefore closer than they would be in Luxembourg.
On the other hand, if we don't talk about mechanics, the charm of this car is guaranteed. People approach us almost every day whether they own a T3 or not. We are photographed on the road and sometimes we are sent the photograph. We are smiled at, waved at and we are not used to this. We are pleased that our van gets a smile or even just a look from people.
In terms of space, the T3 is small but it's more than enough. We get used to not having too many clothes, dishes... and the big positive point is that we have everything at our disposal! Do you want to go swimming? No worries!
Traveling with our Rainette has both positive and negative sides. We advise you, however, to be familiar with mechanics. It is not essential but it will reduce the cost of repairs. A joke that circulates around here is that traveling in a T3 is like going from one workshop to another.”