Monday, December 29, 2008

catch up

Okay, so it's been a while since I last updated this thing. Life has been a little crazy at my house but I have a few minutes now so I figured I'd let you all know I'm still around. :-)

We have added another Jeep Cherokee to our yard. Traded the pickup for it straight across. It's a bit rough, but it's a whole lot more useful than the truck for what we wanted. We wanted a rig that was just for taking in the mountains. After seeing Dena drive the pickup, I quickly realized that wasn't the rig for us. So I put an ad on Craigslist and a guy answered a couple of weeks ago with a lifted Jeep Cherokee.

Yes, it's two different colors. And it has it's fair share of issues that need to be addressed. But I figured it was a good deal anyway because even if there are issues so great that I can't repair them, I can move the lift, tires and most other parts over to my other Jeep Cherokee. However, I have already got this one running, so I don't think that will be an issue. It's going to take a fair amount of degreaser to find all the little things wrong with it, but if I can get in it, start it and drive it, It's already 3 steps above the pickup. It never did run right after the trip to the mountains. Engine was pretty tired on it. :-) Dena gave it a serious workout. :-)

Also, as you can see in the picture, we got snow around here. A lot of snow. 31" in Eastern Walla Walla, 24" at my house in Milton-Freewater. That is basically unheard of this time of year. Last year I think we only had about 8" for a few days. This snow lasted for over a week. It's mostly gone now, except for the plow heaps on the sides of the roads and in parking lots. It was fun for a short time, then it was just in the way, and now I'm happy to see it gone. I'm sure it's not gone for long though. Each day without it is one day closer to Summer time though. :-)

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas, and is planning a Happy New Year. We will be going to our friends house for a party on Wednesday night. I'm sure by Thursday I will be hung over, but that's all part of the game. :-)

I'll post more pictures of the Jeep as I update it. Or I'll rob the parts off it and sell it. Who knows... :-)

More to come...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. This year I am thankful to have all of you in my life. I am thankful for Dena, lord knows she puts up with a lot. I'm thankful for the health of my kids and also my family. Without them, there wouldn't be much.
So to all my friends and family: Happy Thanksgiving. May you all live in peace, health and love.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

May she rest in peace

This one is a little sad so you may not want to read it. I need to take a few minutes of time here and get some of this out. I'm sure most of you know that we had to put our dog Copper to rest today. She was 14, arthritic, and was getting to the point where she could barely stand up on her own and it was difficult for her to stand for more than a few seconds at a time.
What is so amazing to me though is how quickly she deteriorated. She has been kind of gimpy since we got her almost 5 years ago. If we took her for a walk that was too long, or anything like that she would spend the rest of the day paying for it by not really being able to move much. But within the last 3 weeks she lost 17 pounds and looked so terrible. Her fur was starting to fall out in large clumps and she just never seemed comfortable. Except for last night. I got home from work and laid down with her. We had a nice little talk and I explained to her (more for me) what was going to happen today. She has always seemed to understand me when I talked to her so it was no real surprise when by the end of our talk she was very relaxed and asleep on my arm. It's that time with her that will live with me. All the times that she would greet me at the door. Or stand in front of me. Or when she would go out and plop down in the cool grass and dance back and forth scratching herself.
Why is it that doing the right thing, hurts so much?

Rest in peace Copper dog. We love you. We always will.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lottery of life.

Wow, sorry it's been so long since my last post. It seems like the slower I want life to go, the faster it slips past me. Funny how the older I get the more different I look at things. Like a painting shown to a kid in grade school. Most will just see what is on the canvas. Now a bit older than that I look and see vast colors and an eye for detail I only dream of.
I had a long weekend this last weekend. I work for a company that decided that Columbus Day is a holiday that administrative staff should have off. As an hourly employee I didn't mind much. I earned time and a half for spending a day without management, and now that I'm part of the administrative staff it's kind of cool having a day off by myself where even the kids have to go to school. I also took today off just to have an extra day to do some things around the house that I have been putting off. One of which being this rambling conglomeration of words that I'm hoping will all come together by the end. Funny thing about scheduling time to do things, none of them got done. :-)
That's not entirely true. I did get up to Seattle to help my Dad with his Mustang, and I got to spend some more time with him. Another of lifes wonders; the older I get the more I enjoy spending time with... well my Dad at least. It may be late, but we are now getting to do the things I always wanted to do with him growing up. Anyway, one of the things I had planned for this weekend was to get up to Seattle and help him out with some things that he can't (or shouldn't rather) do by himself.
The last two days however I have been kind of bumming around aimlessly. Not really doing much of anything. I needed to mow the lawn because the leaves are starting to fall and frankly that's a great way to pick them up. I have a large yard and a rake just isn't much fun. It's a great work out, don't get me wrong, but not one I enjoy. But, like most of the other plans I had, it didn't get done. I did manage to fill the gas tank on the mower, only to lose interest shortly there after.
Nope, I decided that I have been running hard enough lately. It was time to take some me time. I didn't even get out of my pajama's until well after noon today. I wouldn't have at all except that Dena left me a note that the tub wasn't draining this morning. So I had to get that fixed today. Oh well, even in the car on the way to the store I was able to get some thinking done.
I am one of those strange people that likes to be alone with their thoughts. Maybe that's why I love this blog so much. It gives me the oportunity to get some of my thoughts out so I can come back later and review them. For the most part I like to make them enjoyable for my audience, but they also seem somewhat therapeutic. Keeping all those thoughts wrapped up in the confines of my head seems unfair to them. I must give them a place where they can just be. :-)
So for the last two days I have spent a great deal of time thinking. Not really about anything in particular, just about stuff. Like "maybe I should mow the lawn" or "I wonder what I'm going to do to the truck next". Or my personal favorite "wouldn't it be great to win the lottery?"
But in all my rambling thoughts, and criss crossing mental paths, I come back to the same thing. I truly love my life. I love Dena, and our kids, and our dogs, and our home and our families. I even love our 19 pound cat (who if you've ever met, you'll understand why I had to have a separate sentence for him). I love my life. We have great friends. Friends that you could call at 2 in the morning just because you needed someone to talk to. We have family that would bend over backwards to help us if we needed it, and family that we would bend over backwards to help if they needed it. We may not have much, but we are rich.
So, to my friends, and my family: I love you all. For without you, life would not be worth much.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The 80's were radical!

Hello all my friends and family. A few days ago I was cleaning out the magazine basket next to my chair and I found a bunch of pictures from a couple of years ago. Two of them caught my attention and made me laugh. They are from an 80's party that I hosted when I was a DJ at a local bar a couple of years ago.

We are hott! :-) Out of the year I worked at that bar, that night was by far the most fun. The problem was it was summer in Eastern Washington and I am wearing a heavy leather jacket with a denim jacket over it. Needless to say I was a bit warm.

Well, now that I have given you a disturbing image I think I will go now. Have to get to work.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Jeep, or Heap?

Some of you may know that I drive a Jeep Cherokee. I love my Jeep. For the last two and a half years it has been one of the most reliable vehicles I have ever owned and for that reason I will continue to buy Jeep products. Though I am picky about them. Has to be a 4.0L engine and a 5speed transmission. Jeeps had issues with using automatic transmissions that were weak and I tend to abuse the vehicle I drive.
Tuesday my little Cherokee decided it wanted to start leaking oil. I have had cars in the past that would leak oil. I once had a 1974 Plymouth Duster that would leak oil from different spots periodically. But all those oil leaks developed slowly over time. This one is fast, and came on within a few minutes. I left for lunch, went to my moms house and it was not leaking when I left there. When I got back to work, it was leaking. It's only leaking when it's running too, so I know it's not the drain plug. Wednesday I started the Jeep up, looked under the hood and saw a very steady drip coming out of an electrical plug. It's for the oil pressure sending unit which goes to the guage on the dash that tells you your oil pressure. So I pressed the little rubber grommet back in that had come out thinking that would solve it. Nope, still leaking. So I sealed it with some silicone. Nope, still leaking. At least the plug isn't leaking anymore... :-)
Now I get to go to the parts house and see if they can even get the oil pressure sending unit for my Jeep. Hopefully it won't be a dealer part. I'm actually less concerned about the sending unit as I am the plug that I siliconed together. If I have to replace that I'm really going to be upset. The wire from it goes into a cluster of about 15 different wires and I haven't had a chance to chase it down yet to find out how hard it's going to be to replace. I suppose I can always cut and splice the new plug in, but that will just not look good. It's all about appearance (says the man with a Forest Service Green Jeep Cherokee).
Oh well, at least my Cherokee doesn't have the other inheirent problems that some Cherokee owners have. Like oil building up in the air filter box, or electrical gremlins. Well, at least I don't have them YET!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

People kill me.

I'm thinking it may be time for a change of subject. I'm going to venture down a road less traveled now. Some may say it's a paranormal road; some may say it's a road of hoax and pitfalls. To me, it's a very real road and we'll get to why shortly.
A few days ago I received an instant message from my step-son asking if I had seen the news lately. Well, being honest I said no. Apparently two men in Georgia had found a dead body of a bigfoot or sasquatch as some of you may know them. With great skepticism I went to the link my son provided. Hmm, something isn't right here.
Okay, now I think it's time for a little back ground. Those of you with kids know that it's important to find a bonding link between you and each of your children. Individual bonding links are even better, as they give you and the child a one-on-one topic or activity that you can share. Bigfoot is the link between Jarrett and I.
When I was a kid, probably 11 or 12 years old, I was out shooting with a few members of my family. I was walking back to the house alone through the woods and a feeling came over me. I can't really describe it, but something very calm came over me and I stopped. I slowly turned in a half circle scanning the trees for anything that might be around me and my eyes came to rest on a large dirty white / gray creature. At that age I was already somewhere in the 5'5" to 5'7" range and this thing was much taller than me. Hindsight and common sense being what it is, I would bet anywhere from 6'6" to 7' even. His shoulders were broad, there was no neck to speak of and his head was very large. Almost conical, but not dramatically like Dan Aykroyd in Coneheads. The best description I can give would be Harry from Harry and the Henderson's. Only grayish white.
So to say I'm a believer would be a dramatic understatement. I have been in various discussions or debates with people over the years about it and I have come to realize that everyone has an opinion on the matter, and I'm open to any explanation. I do however hold out constant hope that someone in the scientific community will capture a live bigfoot, or find the body of one. Anything that can offer solid proof for the people that have not been lucky enough to witness one first hand.
Over the years I have done my research. I have heard many names, both of those respected in the bigfoot community, and those known to be causes of doubt by concocting hoaxes; and the names that I was reading about I had never heard. Keeping an open mind I thought maybe two people had gone hunting and found the body. Nope, not so lucky. I read on further and found the two people in question had recently started a website where they proclaimed themselves the "worlds best bigfoot hunters". Really? The best? Okay, I'll bite. Is this real?
I did a little more research. I have found the best information and the most accurate information on two websites: and I encourage you to check these sights out if you have any questions about the exsistance but are open to the possibility. Anyway, I figured if anyone had been able to get extensive information on this, they would have. I was right. I found the real story behind what was going on. The people in question were just trying to make money from a gorilla suit in a freezer. It's really sad to think that people actually paid these morons for a glimps of a hoax.
I just don't understand how someone can come up with something like this and then play it out like it's all for real. Isn't fraud a crime? I guess it's nothing more abnormal than the National Enquirer though. They claim things all the time that aren't true. I don't think they go to the extreme that these idiots did, but I guess in theory it's the same thing.
Anyway, if you have a little time, google the Georgia Bigfoot body.
Until next time... :-)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Holy cow! I need a goat!

All winter long I'm chomping at the bit to get back out into my yard. This past winter I had plans for the fire pit, where I was going to put our BBQ, a section on the side yard that needs grass planted, bushes that needed to be yanked out and replaced with smaller bushes, and quite a few other things. I did get the fire pit done, kind of. Oh, and I laid brick down for the bbq. Other than that, it's all I can do to keep it mowed and looking nice.
It really hasn't been a very hot summer for the most part, but there have been so many other things going on that I just don't seem to have the time. Where does it all go? It stays light later, and yet I don't seem to have enough daylight hours. Or maybe it's that I don't have enough energy. Yeah, that's it. I don't have enough energy.
I really should write down a list of everything I want to accomplish in the yard before fall. Things like yanking out the large cedar bushes surrounding my house. Cedars are great for shade, but lets be honest, they are ugly and they hide the beauty of the house. I tried trimming them, but being a rental house, no one before us has really taken care of them and they are so big now that they can't be trimmed down to an acceptable size. There are also two huge Yew "bushes" (they are supposed to be trees, but being that close to the house, they are only up to the roof line) that need to be yanked out. Next to each of the Yew's there are stumps from two other Yews that are starting to grow back. I would think if you whack a plant off at the feet, it should not be able to survive but these Yew's are not having any trouble. These particular bushes don't seem to offer any shade to the house so removing them is not even a slight consideration. I had been waiting to talk to the land lord about it, and he gave me the okay, and yet they still stand.
Again, back to the energy that I don't seem to have any of. It's not like I have a very draining job. I sit in a chair all day. You would think that I would be bursting at the seams with energy, but not so much. I think I'll start with a chain saw on the Cedars. I'll see what I can do to make them smaller. The Yew's are coming out. I'll take some before and after shots to show you all what Im talking about.
Well, better get back to work. It's sooooooo busy around here. Okay, maybe not.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's August already

Remembering back to when I was single it seems like time didn't go by as fast. I'm sure there are people out there that may disagree but it seems to me that time really does fly when you are having fun. And Dena and I do have a lot of fun.
This weekend we had my kids, just like we do on alternating weekends. And like clock work, my daughter got there and asked if we could have a BBQ and a marshmallow roast. The kids really love having the fire at night. It was the best $50 I ever spent. We have a few friends over, light a fire and sit in the yard talking about all sorts of different things.
This weekend was no different. We didn't end up having a BBQ, but around 8:00 Dena's parents came out and we lit the fire. Then a couple of other friends showed up. All in all it was nice and quiet, with the exception of the occasional dog barking (my dog is old and I think she barks because she hears voices in her head). Everyone else went home around 1:30am and I sat outside by the fire until almost 4am. At one point I fell asleep. It was so peaceful and quiet I couldn't help it. The next morning came way to early though. See I sent the kids to bed around 11:00, so they were ready to get up at 8. I, on the other hand, could have slept until... today. Oh well, it was still worth it. The kids love it. I think it makes them feel like they are part of the adult world. It's nice to share something we all enjoy.
The older I get, and the older my kids get the more I realize how short all of our time is together. It's the memories we form while we're together that will stay with us for our lives. I hope that I am able to provide my children with good memories. After all, they will eventually choose the home I go into...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Have you met Tux?

Okay, so after kicking and screaming about having to learn Linux at work I have decided to go completely the other way with this one. Life for me is like that. I hate change and I will fight every bit of it until finally I get so irritated that I cave in and accept it.
Over the past several days my bosses and I have been going around and around. I personally think I have made the best points about not learning linux because we don't support linux users in any way, and I'm not the network administrator so I don't have to take care of the servers. When I made this point, like a 2 year old my boss simply said "okay, now we support linux. Learn it. "
I'm not saying that Microsoft has written the best operating system ever. Hardly even functional at times, but I am used to it and I am comfortable with it. I know, get out of your comfort zone Matt. I'm getting there. I have been researching the different distrabutions of Linux and I must say that what I'm finding is very helpful.
I'm going to be getting an old server out of storage and building a linux machine out of it. If all goes well, I may be converting my house computer over as well. I'll keep you all posted on how this goes. Any opinions, feel free to share. I may not comment back but I do read the comments you leave.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What a beautiful day

As a child living in Seattle, I never really paid much attention to the fact that it was raining most of the year. After living in Walla Walla and visiting Seattle (even moving back for a stint) I see now how beautiful the weather is there. Sure, it rains sometimes but there is beauty to be found in rain. Like green grass that you don't have to water. And all the trees. Really, if you take the traffic away, it's beautiful.
Today in Walla Walla is like most summer days in Seattle. It's only 79 so far (it's almost 5pm) and there is a light breeze. The sun is fading between clouds so there is a lot of blue sky but it's not blinding. It's just plain beautiful.
I hope all of you are having a better day than I am because then I will know that you're all happy and content.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Well, that was a close one. Thursday, Dena and I were going to go to my sisters house. When I got into Dena's car, I noticed one of those "we missed you" post it's from the Post Office. So I looked at it and it was for me regarding a certified letter. I don't know how many certified letters you all have received in your lives, but they are never good news. NEVER!
I had just heard that the person that traded me the truck for the Bronco had been arrested. I don't know all the details, nor do I want to bore all of you with them, but he was driving the Bronco when he was arrested. So while talking to my Dad I put two and two together and figured the certified letter had something to do with the Bronco. My guess, it was impounded and the person hadn't switched it into his name.
Okay, I know. You are thinking that I'm the dummy for not filing my release of interest form. And you're right. I'm the dummy. In Washington, the release of interest form is easy to remember because it's on the title. In Oregon it's not so easy. You have to either go into a DMV office or you have to go online. I think there may be one on the back of the registration too, but I didn't keep that.
Anyway, on Friday I got the letter and sure enough, it was from a towing company in Elk WA north of Spokane (sorry Dad, it was Elk, not Elm). The balance due at the bottom is $638.00 and rising. The daily cost is $39. I didn't know the Bronco took up that much space, but oh well, it's not really my place to tell them they are ripping people off. :-)
The date of the letter is July 14th so by my calculations the balance is up to $1,184.00 and rising. I reluctantly called the number on the bottom of the letter hoping to at least be able to stop the rising cost. I was ready to admit to being a dummy and be done with it. Sure, you can still auction it off, I don't want it. Anyway, I called their office and spoke to a very nice woman named Linda. She explained (in great detail I might add) how the guys brother had called claiming to have the title so she already knew it wasn't my rig anymore. She also said that because I live in Oregon she didn't want to fight out of state to get the money from me knowing that it wasn't my rig anymore. She's just going to hold on to it and auction it off for whatever she can get out of it and cut her losses on it. She did suggest that I file the release of interest form in the future if I should sell a car though.
For those of you in the Elk, WA area that may need towing service you should call R&B Towing South at 509-292-5075. They really are very nice, polite and professional. And, if you're looking for a spare vehicle, they have a 1989 Ford Bronco that is stronger than I ever gave it credit for that has a very strong rebuilt transmission in it. The action is August 31st at 12:00pm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's time to rant

Most of you know that I work for an internet company. I manage the technical support staff, and most of the time I do the exact same thing they do. I answer the phone and help people with their internet related issues. Also, most days I'm perfectly content doing this. Then there are days like yesterday and today.
I have a few questions. Don't feel obligated to answer them, they are rhetorical questions. Just little things that I ponder from time to time.
Why is it that when the internet isn't working because we have a server or service down, people don't get upset, but if they make a simple mistake that prevents them from getting online, they yell at the technician like we caused their stupidity? :-)

Do fish get thirsty?

When there is a network outage, why is it the first person to call wants to talk about the outage for an hour while they can hear the phones ringing in the back ground?

When a person calls tech support, isn't it because they can't figure out the issue at hand? I can't tell you how many times I have asked a customer to do something, only to have them come back at me with "that's not going to fix this, I've been fixing computers for 3000 years..."! Blah blah blah. Countless times after hearing that statement, I hear this one: "oh, hmm. It seems to be working now..." Yeah, because I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

Did you know that computer illiterate senior citizens are easier to deal with than people in their 20's?

So today we had an outage if you couldn't figure that out on your own. It lasted about 6 hours. We took about 9 billion calls before lunch. Each call lasted an average of 30 seconds. Yeah, I know, the math doesn't work there. It's been a very busy day, and I was looking very forward to going to lunch. I was going to get out of the building, go buy a pop and maybe go get a hair cut. I left the office and drove over and got a pop. Then I drove up Main Street in Walla Walla on my way to get my hair cut. I heard someone yell so I looked over and saw a friend of mine that I used to work with and decided to stop and talk rather than get my hair cut. (Priorities).
Anyway, we're standing there talking and I look over and notice my tire is almost flat. Hmm, bummer. So I cut my visit short and headed up to Les Schwabs. Turns out the valve stem was leaking. They replaced it and I was off on my happy way again. I looked at the clock and my lunch break was just about over. Nice. Didn't get to relax at all really. I did stop for about 5 minutes to talk to a friend, but that was it. Didn't even have time to eat. Oh well, back at it again.
As I type this up the office is pretty dead now. All systems are back up and other than the occasional slow person that didn't call in this morning and hasn't tried connecting since then calling in, it's pretty calm. Being able to rant a little I feel much better though.
Oh, I just remembered. The truck is being a butt again. Yesterday I got in it to drive it to get a tool and just to make sure it was still in running order and it wouldn't start. I opened the hood and the positive battery cable was smoking. Yes, smoking. I know. Not a good thing I'm sure. It had melted the bolt-on terminal end and had started to melt through the negative cable (they touch but I never thought about it being bad because they are both covered). Yeah, so needless to say I need new battery cables. The saga continues.
I hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I plan to. My children will be joining us for the weekend and I'm looking forward to my parents visiting next week from Seattle.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Does your body get in the way?

Last weekend I decided that I was going to look the truck over and find out why it wouldn't stay in 4-wheel drive that fateful day a couple weeks back. I pulled it over to the shop, removed the shift boot and found my problem.
The 4-wheel drive shifter was hitting the body of the truck before it was going into 4-low. That would explain why the front wheels weren't turning... :-)
Well, I'm happy to say that after about a half hour with a jig saw (and safety goggles that make me look like a mad scientist) the truck now goes all the way into 4-low. Had I really thought about it while we were up in the mountains, I probably could have saved us some time by fixing this on the trail.
Oh well. Lessons learned. At least the truck was still intact when I went up to get it. Now I just need to do a little dent pulling (Dena found a few trees) and some welding (cheaper than buying lockers) and try it out again. :-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The flood recedes

Apparently the reason the truck wouldn't start up again when we were stuck in the mountains a week ago was because the carburetor was flooded out. Sitting in the mountains for a week must have given it time for the carb to drain. From the looks of things it was draining out on the intake through the accellerator pump. Here's the kicker though, I got in it with a fresh battery and it fired right up. No, I'm not kidding. Turned the key for half a second and it fired. The truck was sitting at over a 50 degree angle for over a week and it simply fired right up. I can hear my father now: "Damn Chevy". :-)
A great deal of the snow had melted over the week between getting stuck and getting out. There was still a fair amount up there though. I blew the tire off the bead twice coming down and had to be pulled out of a couple of nasty spots. When I made it out of the deep stuff I looked under the front of my truck and there was snow packed in my suspension so much you couldn't see the suspension. Kept the engine nice and cool though.
So we got out of the snow and a couple of the other guys were taking goat trails off the main road. I walked up a hill to watch them try and articulate up a steep hill, with a "V" notch at the top. The thing that made it difficult was the tree running down the center of the "V" notch. Two of my buddies made it over it, and the third busted an axle. So we all sat around telling jokes and playing around while he pulled his front axle apart. He would have just driven home, but with all the broken pieces in the housing, he couldn't steer.
All in all it took about 11 hours to go up and get my truck down. Later that night I had the guys come over and we sat around the fire pit in the back yard drinking beer and listening to music.
In a few weeks I should have the truck back up and running the way it's supposed to be. I'm going to replace the carburetor rather than rebuild the POS that's on there. Then, we'll take it up and break it again. That's kind of the name of the game though. At least it's not my daily driver... :-)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Trial and error... err fail.

I don't know about all of my family and friends, but Sunday was a very long day. So long in fact that it lasted well into Monday. Okay, I'll tell the story. It could be a long one though. I hope you have some time.
As you can see by the pictures at the top, we ran into some snow. But what you are looking at is not anything really. it's only about two and a half feet deep in the drifts. It got much worse. But lets not jump the gun here. I'd have more pictures buy the battery on my phone died.
Sunday started off as normally as most. We had a 4-wheeling trip planned all week. My friend Erik stopped by at 9:45 am to wake me up and make sure we were going. I got up, got ready and then got the truck fired up. We all met at another friends house around 11. By noon we were on our way.
We drove up Lincton Mountain Road. It's mostly compact dirt, rock (not to be mistaken for gravel) and a few puddles. Nothing major. On this road I found that the suspension in my truck is very stiff. Dena found out too. The glove box door fell off onto her feet.
We were almost to the end of that road, which intersects with Oregon Highway 204 / Weston Elgin Highway (going up to Spout Springs for you skiers) and the lead vehicle pulled over. Like cattle we all stop. It seems that the custom shock mounts on Brian's 4-runner weren't welded on very well and had just snapped off. Since Brian didn't weld them we couldn't give him to hard a time.
So Brian took the shocks the rest of the way off and we all continued on our merry little way. We got on the highway and drove to Skyline Ridge Road. This is the road that you take to get to Jubilee Lake. We came around one corner and there was a snow drift that was still taking up half the road way and went straight up the cliff side. I wish I would have snapped a picture of this thing. It was incredible.
Anyway, we got to the lake and walked around a little bit. We let the dogs cool off in the water and the kids play around. After about 20 minutes it was time to keep going. So we all jumped back in our rigs and headed out. We continued on Skyline. Not very far from the entrance to the lake is where those pictures were taken. In the first picture you can see the ruts I dug when I got stuck going into it. This is where we learned about the first problem my truck currently has.
It seems that my truck does not like to stay in 4-wheel drive. This could be a problem, but like the rednecks we are, we decided to chance it.
After I got pulled out of the first little hole I had dug (I was pulled about 8 feet) we unhooked from the other truck and I learned something else about my truck. It needs a carburetor. BAD! Just to add a note here for anyone not paying attention, I have only had this truck for a couple of days at this point and I hadn't really driven it at all (you know, to my defense). Anyway, I found out that it has a Holly Carburetor on it. Anyone that knows old Holly's knows right now what my truck was doing. Every time I stepped on the gas the truck would back fire, and nine times out of ten it would then die. Getting it out of that first patch of snow took some work, but we got it.
On up the trail we went. We drove up the road a little further and came to a clearing in the trees where all the snow had melted off. That's when Brian's 4-runner and Erik's Toyota pickup went off the road. They drove up the embankment (2 feet straight up) and up the hill. The hill is about 100 to 150 yards long and is about a 30 degree angle. Not really all that bad for most rigs. Mine on the other hand had to cough and spit and sputter it's way up because the carb was flooding out horribly. Not to worry, this isn't the first POS I've driven. I made it up the hill. I had to go around the embankment, but I made it up the hill. Up on top it was a muddy soupy mix of dried grasses, snow clumps and clay. It's fun. But I'm looking at a hill that is well over 45 degrees straight up. It's not long but it's steep. I know my truck is not going to do this. I had pretty much had enough already so I got in with Erik, and his wife Chandi got in with Dena. Let me just make this clear right now: Dena can drive. She made that truck do things it never should have done. It was a beautiful sight to watch.
Anyway, Dena and Chandi tried at this hill several times, but the carb would just flood out and they would die, or they'd get just to the top and lose power. So they went off to play. They didn't make it very far and I heard the truck die. After about 5 minutes I see they are still sitting there so I walked over to see what was up. You could tell they had been trying to start the rig because it just smelled flooded. But there was something else in there. A stale plastic smell. I looked a little closer and called Erik over. We opened the hood, sure enough the damn thing is on fire. Erik is yelling at the girls to get out of the truck and he's telling me to get the air cleaner off. It was happening a lot quicker than it needed to, to be honest with you. It's a carb fire. Sure, you need to get it put out, but come on. What is it going to spread to in a 79 Chevy? Everything under there is metal.
Anyway, the air cleaner came flying off (by the way, I have one of the longest air cleaner studs I have ever seen. It took forever to get the wing nut off) and flames "whoosh" are about 2 feet high. Erik and I are throwing snowballs down the carb to get the fire out because the one tool we forgot was the fire extinquisher. The snow has melted enough to be covered in dirt and pine needles. Just what I want going down the intake. But I suppose it's better than the alternative.
After the fire was out we all kind of sat around looking at the truck. No noticable damage, other than the lingering pine needles hanging out of the carb. Dena started appologizing. Like it was her fault the truck caught on fire. We all calmed her down, and sat around laughing about it. The kids and Erik all had a snow ball fight as we let the truck sit. About 30 minutes later, and about 4 tries we started the truck back up. Yes, it fired back up. This thing is a die hard truck. I'm sure the plugs are fouled, I know the carb is shot and the 4wheel drive keeps kicking out.
So I ask everyone, can we turn around and head back the way we came? I know what is wrong with the truck and I'd like to get it home to fix it. Nope. Not gonna happen. Everyone takes off. I would have just turned around myself, but I know there was one spot where I'm going to get stuck and there would be no one there to pull me out.
So we continue on. I let the girls continue to drive it. Oh, we adjusted the idle up a bit so it wouldn't die so easily. Anyway, the girls are having a ball in it. Any time it died they just turned the key (didn't give it any gas) and continued on their merry way. About a mile or less beyond the scene of the fire :-) they blew a bead on the tire. So we dig out the front tire, and set the bead (ether is wonderful for this, but having onboard air like my friends helps much more) and continued on. A short time later, same bead blew again. Reset and go again...
Then the snow started to get deeper, and deeper and deeper. By 10:30pm the truck was stuck against a tree and Dena was getting frustrated with it. To be honest, I had past frustration and I was into aggrivation. The drifts were sloping across the road and I was not having a good time anymore.
After getting stuck twice in a row Dena decided it was time to let Chandi drive. A short time later (not sure how as Erik and I were having trouble in his Toyota pickup) the truck ended up at the bottom of a 10' snow drift. Again, the 4wheel drive wasn't working and they slid down it. While trying to tug them out the truck died and wouldn't restart. Erik tried and tried and it just wouldn't start. My suggestion at this point was to leave it. Dena and I had to work the next morning and it was already very late.
Erik put the jumper cables on it to charge the battery sometime around 11:30. I'm not sure when but at some point while waiting I fell asleep. It was late, I was tired and cranky. I woke up a very short time later to Dena poking me in the arm saying choice words. She gets rather worked up quickly when she's tired. Anyway, I guess Erik had tried starting it again and it wouldn't start. So the decision was made to leave it up there.
Shortly after leaving it, Brian blew a bead on his truck. This night is just getting better and better. His front end was burried. But we all pitched in and dug it out and reset the bead.
Things finally started looking better. The snow was going away, the rigs were moving faster (anything beyond stuck is an improvement) and I could see an end to this experience.
And then Mother Nature, or Karma (as I like to call it) threw in another wrench. Across the road, with no way around it, was a 20-24" thick tree. I think it was a Tamarack, but at this point I didn't care. It was just after 2 in the morning.
Erik got out the chain saw and started cutting, but we had dulled the blade getting rid of a fallen tree earlier that we thought my truck was hung up on. Dirt and rocks have a tendancy to do that to a chain saw blade. So one and a half tanks of gas and three quarters of the tree later, the chain saw BREAKS IN HALF! No, I"m not kidding. The rubber bushing that connects the two parts of the chainsaw busted right in half. The bar on the saw is not as thick as the tree so we really don't know how far through it we are, but we know it's not all the way. After a few minutes of standing around thinking "what now" we decided we would take a chance and strap a truck to it and pull. If we are through it enough it will snap, and if not, we'll be leaving another rig up there. Luckily (and much to my surprise) we were more than three quarters of the way through it. It snapped and we pulled it out of the way.
Down the road a bit further there was another tree down, but we were able to go around that one.
Dena got home shortly before I did. When I got home she met me on the back steps and said "our day only gets better" and took me by the hand. She led me inside where a 25-30" patch of the lath and plaster from our ceiling had fallen down. It just fell down. It wasn't wet, it just decided to drop. Jarrett was home when it happened said that a small piece fell, and then the rest of it all came down about 30 minutes later.
As you can all see, it was a very long day. And for those wondering, yes I did make it to work on time Monday. I came in, worked until I new we had enough coverage and then left. I left here at 10am, got home at 10:25 and was asleep by 10:30. 24 hours to the minute after we left the day before.
A word to the wise, and a lesson learned the hard way I suppose. I hope you have all enjoyed reading about it, because I'm fairly certain you wouldn't have had much fun with us. :-)
More next time.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Redneck fun

Greetings Y'all!

Okay, so the Bronco project was fun, but it's over now. A few months back a friend of mine acquired a 1979 Chevy 3/4 ton 4x4. It has 8 inches of suspension lift, 2 inches of body lift and it's sitting on 35inch tires. Because there is so much lift, the 35 inch tires look kind of small. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I have a redneck streak running down my back much like a skunk's white fur, so as you can imagine I instantly fell in love.

I know, I was brought up a Ford boy and I stayed true to that for a long time. But this truck is just cool. Sure, it's rough, but it's everything I need for what I wanted to build the Bronco for.

Anyway, three days ago I was let down. My buddy had sold the truck to his wifes cousin. The person that bought it is maybe a few french fries short of a happy meal and he makes me look very white collar, so I figured the truck was meant for him. Sad to see it go, but happy to have the temptation out of my life. Then the phone rang.

I was on my way home from work last night and my buddy calls me. He says "Hey, Jimmy's over here and he wants to talk to you about your Bronco."

A little back lash here on the week. Dena and I live in a house with an old oil buring furnace. It works, though it's not that efficient and with the price of fuel I have been slightly concerned about this coming winter. I was looking through the paper in the "freebies" section and some idiot was giving away a tank with some diesel in it. I called, and it turns out there was over 110 gallons of furnace diesel in it. All for free. That is about $400 worth of fuel for nothing. So as you can see I'm already having a great week.

Okay, so I'm on my way to my friends house thinking "he's not going to trade." My Bronco is stock, well used, the paint is falling off. No one in their right mind would trade that truck straight across for my Bronco. Did I mention that his redneck streak makes mine non existant?

I get there and he asks a couple of stupid questions (typical guy kicking the tires kind of thing) like "does it run?". He's a little slow I'm thinking. So finally I just ask him "What are you thinking here? Do you want the Bronco?" and he said "I'll trade you."

As soon as the words came out of his mouth I was ready to jump on it. I wanted to hand him the title, build sheet on the transmission and send him on his way. But I couldn't do it. I had to play this out a little so that he didn't back out due to my uncontained excitement.

So I took a few minutes to think it over. I called Dena and told her what was going on and got her blessing (anyone married knows if Momma aint happy, aint no body happy), and then said "well, I guess I could do that. As long as I can take my CB out of the Bronco". :-) This dumb ass actually said yes. He not only said yes, he started piling his crap into the bronco before he had even heard it start.

Some might see a red flag at this point. What is so wrong with the truck that he's that anxious to get out of it. I've driven it. This thing handles like a train. It corners like it's on rails, but will tip if you go TOO fast. The interior is trashed, the body is rough, but the running gear (the expensive stuff to fix) is all new. With the exception of the engine. It's an old, tired 350, but you can "refresh" a 350 in your back yard with basic (and I do mean basic) hand tools. You just about have to have a degree in engineering to work on the Bronco.

At this point I was feeling a little bad. Not to see the Bronco go, but because I really felt like I was ripping this guy off. I don't know why, but I just didn't trust the Bronco any further than I could throw it. So I told the guy to get in, and I'd take him for a ride in it to show him... well basically what it was. I took him up the highway and down some back roads. He was drooling on himself. It was really sad. He had it in his head so far that he could see no faults in this thing.

So we got back to the house, and I said okay bud, it's got a tail light warranty. If you don't know what that is, you obviously have never bought a used car from a "shady" character. Ask your fathers, they'll know. He got in it and drove away.

A tear fell down my cheak. Just a single tear. It was brought on by the hysterical laughture that was pooring out of my body. I could make twice what I was asking for the Bronco by parting this truck out. Or, I can use it for the purpose it was built for and go bang it against trees (not literally).

In the picture I would like to add a point of reference. Dena is 5'1", and Jarrett is 5'5" ish. The top of the bed rails are taller than the top of my Jeep Cherokee.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Time management is a relative term...

In October last year, I traded a 1967 Chevy 1/2 ton 2 wheel drive for a 1989 Ford Bronco. I wanted a project to work on over the winter/spring months, and Dena wanted something that we could take to the mountains. If only we had stopped to think about the rising price of gas.
My Dad and I rebuilt the transmission in March, and between then and now I have been replacing things with the "since I'm in here anyway" attitude. I finished it up late last month and have given it a few test drives. I must say that I'm very happy with the transmission and the fact that the truck even runs considering my limited experience and the difficulty of working on a vehicle that has more wires and vacuum lines than the space station. Other than a small exhaust leak I'm very pleased with it. And driving it with the top off always gets people's attention.
Now the down side. This thing has a 32 gallon fuel tank. It gets about 15 miles to the gallon, less on the trail because you're going so slow most of the time. With gas at $4.08 a gallon at the cheapest place I have found it will cost $130 just to fill it up to go play in it. I wonder how hard it would be to lift a Geo Metro...?
On the other hand, the Bronco has served it's purpose so far. It was a project for the months I wanted something to do with. It was also a great learning experience, and most of all it gave my Dad and I time to spend together. Well now my Dad and I have another project going (Yes, I mean the Mustang) so that reason to keep the Bronco is gone.
So if anyone around here knows anyone that has a need to spend money on gas, or is in need of a cheap (to buy) reliable rig, let me know. I happen to have one for sale. :-)
I'll have to post some pictures. I regret not taking any pictures of the build up, but anyone that has looked under the hood of a late 80's early 90's Ford V-8, you already know the nightmare of working on one.
On a different topic, we had our first real "party" of the season. I had run into a friend of mine from high school earlier this month and we wanted to get together and have a BBQ. So last week Dena and I decided Saturday would be a great day. We had the kids over and they love to have a fire in the fire pit out back so it would work out well.
Those of you that have been to my house know that I love my yard. I spend a great deal of time mowing and watering and making it look good, although I must say that it doesn't look as good this year as it did last year. Anyway, I woke up Saturday morning at 6:00am. The sun was shining and it was already getting warm. So I started mowing. After an hour of just mowing the back yard, I removed the fire pit, leveled out the ground under it, layed down some bricks, put the fire pit back on the bricks and then built up river rock around it. I must say it looked very nice when I was done, compared to what it looked like prior. Then I mowed the front yard and got to watering.
As the day progressed, the sky looked angrier and angrier. It was ugly. I thought for sure it was going to poor down rain and chase us all into the house. But then it started to get a little lighter and it cooled off and I was thinking it was going to be perfect.
The BBQ went off without a hitch. Beautiful cloudy weather (not too hot). We ate and sat around talking. The kids rode the 4 wheeler our friends daughter had brought over. it was really nice. It got dark and we lit the fire pit up. About 5 minutes later, the sky opened up and it poored down on us. I don't mean that Seattle mist crap of rain. I mean full on, center of the desert, rain drops the size of baseballs kind of rain. It was impressive.
We all grabbed chairs and coolers and ran for the shop.
I found out very quickly that we don't need the fire pit, or perfect weather to enjoy our friends. We sat in the shop for about an hour while it rained and talked, joked and laughed. A couple of us even decided to take the 4wheeler through the puddles in my road. Living in the country, on a dirt road, you can imagine how much fun that was. :-)

Monday, June 9, 2008

The beginning

Hello to all my friends and family. Welcome to the beginning of my blog. I figured everyone else was doing it, and it's not as dangerous as jumping off a bridge or a tall building, so what the heck. Now, we'll have to see if I stay on top of things and actually continue to update this thing or not. Life can be very busy when you have nothing to do. I'll try and keep things updated with pictures as well.
If you aren't interested in things like trucks, yard care, and fire side parties, this may be a little boring for you. I'll try and keep things as interesting as my life allows though. :-)