Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mike Parker Arrives, Preparations Begin

Yesterday Bill Kirkpatrick and I drove down to pick up Mike Parker from AMTRAK's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. It was so great to have company on the ride down and we were both excited and delighted to meet Mike in person at last. We had so much to say to each other that the ride from Philadelphia to Lansdale went really fast!

We set Mike up at the Morgan Hughes Homestead Bed & Breakfast and then brought him over to NMTCC to check out the workshops, classroom and conversion supplies. Here is Bill outside the school reviewing the directions for disarming the alarm system, since it was Saturday and the school was closed.

We got in with no difficulties and toured the welding and machine
shops, which Mike (a former precision sheet metal designer/mechanic and sometime machinist) pronounced "top-flight." We checked out the room for the workshop and Mike and Bill went over some of the plans and classroom supplies needed. Then it was time to hit the auto shop itself. I was thrilled to see my Vanagon again, and Mike and Bill were eager to dig into the conversion kit supplies and the batteries!

Some of the conversion kit items are still en route -- the battery cables, the controller, and the DC-DC converter among them. (If you're not sure what those items are, you'll learn along the way!) I was sweating a little about the controller, but then Matt reminded me that if all else fails, we can always take apart the Dodge Colt and use its controller instead. Still, I wish I'd ordered and inventoried these materials a little sooner so I had them all safely in hand now.

Bill and Mike were unflappable and assured me that no matter what, we're going to get this Vanagon rolling in ten days and have fun doing it. They can't wait to get going!


Mom said...

What a great way to watch this evolve! The pictures are a real help, putting faces to names and providing an image of the various parts. Keep them coming!

Aaron said...

Don't know if this is already in the works, but have you considered making a video of the conversion process, step by step as you go along? The edited video could then be a resource that BCR offers.

Enjoying the blog,


jisaacs said...

Thanks for the kind words! While I had originally hoped to videotape the process, I think the blog is going to be in some ways a better way to document the activities. Since this is a group conversion, there's just no way I could be everywhere filming everything at once in real-time! Also, there are already some excellent instructional conversion videos out there. (EVAmerica sells one for Chevy S-10s, and Electro Automotive offers them for Volkswagen Rabbits and Porsche 914s, as well as a video companion to Convert It, the textbook for our workshop.) What I hope is that this blog will be of interest to friends and family (hi, Mom!) and also informative for those who are thinking about making their own conversions. An interesting balance to try to strike, let me know how I'm doing ...