Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jack... the ripper!

Let me just say that I love my new dog. Jack is a cherished addition to the family. That being said, here is a list of the items he has partially or fully injested:
multiple newspapers
two books (one of which I wasn't finished reading yet)
my favorite slippers
a comforter
stuffed animals (too many to count anymore)
and the big item is the bedroom carpet.

Now, to his benefit, the carpet was my fault. I locked him in the bedroom without Dena's dog Solo, so he scratched at the door and the carpet flipped up. Well, the rest is history.

This destruction happened over the course of three days. We went out this last weekend and bought hard bones, rawhide, and a few other chew toys for him and so far so good. He does still have the taste for newspaper, but it's all crap anyway so it may as well end up that way... right?

It's been a very long time since I've had a puppy to deal with so this is a learning curve. It's amazing how quickly he is learning though. things that he couldn't do a couple of days ago he now does without objection. You know, things like "Lay down" and "sit". Things that you take for granted when you haven't had a puppy to train for a while. Oh, and how to walk on a leash or more importantly how NOT to walk on a leash.

Yep, it's all falling into place quite nicely. He's a great dog with a wonderful disposition. He's very loving and enjoys the kids too. It was touch and go when he ate the carpet, but I think we'll keep him... :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

New family members *UPDATE*

The voting polls for "Name our newest family member" have closed. The name that won is Jack, and I think it's a good name for him. Some say that it's not original enough, but realistically, everything except for maybe Brick (thanks again Sis) was a fairly common name. Welcome to the Stephens' family Jack. Here's too a long and happy life for you and the rest of the family as well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little things

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I have found that to be true on so many occasions. Drink a case of beer, fall down. :-) Smoke, get addicted to a nasty habbit (by the way, still not smoking). Ride my bike down a steep hill as fast as possible, well you get the picture. A week ago, I was in a god-almighty bad mood. (I wonder if this will be edited for content for using the word God?) You know the kind. The kind where just the sound of someones voice gives you ample reason to hate them. I couldn't figure it out. Dena and I hadn't fought in months (our fights are typically about 8-12 months apart), work was going... as well as it could, kids are healthy and happy... Don't know. Was just in a bad mood. Well, you know when you're in a really bad mood and then something happens to put the world into perspective and it takes that bad mood away? That happened. I was sitting at home after work. I had just settled into my chair and turned the TV on when my cell phone rang. I checked the Caller ID and it was my Dad.
My Dad doesn't call me. Not on Christmas, or my birthday or Father's day, or any other day unless there is bad news, or they are coming for a visit. Visiting season is gone. So I took a deep breath and I answered the phone fully knowing what was about to be said.
Dad called to let me know that my Grandma had passed away. It was peaceful, and to be completely honest was expected. She has been going down hill for quite some time and we've all be preparing for this day since around August (if memory serves). She is not suffering any longer and that was enough to put the world into perspective.
My Grandma was an amazing woman. She gave birth and raised 12 productive and self sustaining children. How they all lived I have no idea, but just for that one accomplishment (or 12 if you will) she should be made a Saint. She loved everyone like there would be no tomorrow, nor was there a yesterday. She understood even when she didn't understand. She was everything that we should all strive to be. The world is a little worse off without her. I'm glad for her that she is no longer suffering in any way. And I'm glad that her and my Grandfather (died in 1975) are together again. Most of all, I'm glad for the time that I had with her, and the ways in which she touched my life.
I am sad for the loss that we all feel because we will not see her for some time. As we all learn early in life, that's the way it goes. We love you Grandma. We'll meet again. Until then, thank you for pulling me out of my bad mood last Friday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New family members

If you have looked at my facebook you know that we have a new family member. As I'm writing this there is a vote going on to find his new name. He's a 1 year old Rottweiler/Lab cross. Here's a pic: He's such a cutie!
So far the votes are: Jethro: 2, Nico: 2, Jack: 2, Brick: 1. You can thank my Sister-in-law for Brick. She's pregnant, we'll let it slide... :-) Go to my facebook and vote. :-) He needs a name he can get used to.
As you may have also noticed the title of this post is new family memberS as it plural. This one may not be new, but it has recently returned from where I thought it would never return from.

Here is what it looked like when it left our house 4 years ago: A little beat up, and in need of some immediate engine work, but it was a running and driving car. It's a 1973 Plymouth Duster with a small block V8 and an automatic transmission. I got it from the original owners son in trade for my old 78 Ford 4x4. Here's the story as I remember it.

Dena and her ex had an agreement that he was to provide Jarrett (my step son) with a car when he was old enough. The ex is an Auto Body worker and is quite good, when he wants to be. So he was over at the house talking to Jarrett a few years back, about what kind of car he wanted. A newer car or an older muscle car. Jarrett chose an older muscle car. The ex wanted a little more specific but Jarrett doesn't know much about cars as to what kind it is and that kind of thing. So the ex asked me to help him look online and figure out what he wanted.

That night Jarrett and I got online and looked at Nova's, Camero's, Mustang's, Dart's, GTO's, Imapala's, Skylark's, Javlyn's... you name it, we looked at it. Even a few 32 Ford coupes. Hey, it's not my money... :-) Finally I remembered my first (legal) car. A 1974 Plymouth Duster. Not what I considered a muscle car, but then mine had the trusty 225cid slant 6. It wouldn't hardly get out of it's own way, but it was reliable and I thought it was a good looking car. So I found one, in Lemon Twist Yellow with factory Ralley wheels like mine had been. He liked it. I couldn't believe it. He actually found a car that he really liked. Well, that was easy. So I called the Ex and told him that Jarrett wants a Plymouth Duster. I told him all the others we looked at and everything. He kind of turned up his nose at the thought but said he'd see what he could find.

A very short couple of months later I bought my 1994 Jeep Cherokee to replace my 1978 Ford F-150. I was going to keep the truck because... well... who doesn't need a truck? :-) But then I was talking to a buddy of mine at work who was looking for that vintage truck. And guess what? He just happened to have 3 1973/1974 Plymouth Dusters. So I offered a trade for one and he accepted.

That night I called the ex and told him that I had found it and the car wasn't going to cost him a thing. I took pictures of all body damage and let him know that I would do all the required engine work (he's good at body work, no so much with the mechanical aspects though) and he could do the body work. He said he'd take a look at it. I said no problem, if you don't want to do it, I'll keep it for myself.

A couple of weeks later, Jarrett and the ex loaded it up on a car trailer and that was the last I had seen of it. Over the years there have been stories of some work being done. But to be honest I had washed my hands of it and figured the next time I saw the ex I'd just give him the title and be done with it. He had give Jarrett a "loaner" car. Obviously there is a little more to the story than that, but it's all irrelevant. I had figured the car was lost and gone forever and was done with it.

A couple of weeks ago, Dena called me from work and let me know that the ex was on his way up with (what was left) of the car. "Oh really?" Hmm. I wonder if it's even worth unloading. Remember, when he took the car it was running (had lifter knock from a bent push rod but it ran great) and drivable. I drove it across town to load on the trailer. When he pulled into the driveway this is what I saw on the back of the trailer:
Yep, that's right. Different doors (I had given them to him because of the large dents in the originals) all interior was out (they had brought all that back a few years ago), the wiring stripped out of the engine compartment for no apparent reason, the dash removed for no apparent reason, the trunk lid rusting from being sanded to bare metal years ago and never being primered.
The engine was also removed. In order to get the engine out, they CUT THE HEADER off the drivers side rather than doing the job right and removing it. It's tight, but it can be done. For gods sake, it had to go in there! It's not factory.
This next group of pictures is how the engine came to me. For those of you that are not mechanically inclined the block is the large thing with blue paint on it in the back corner that has rust on it. The internal components are in the boxes surrounding it all. It's mostly all there:
Here is what the engine looked like when it left:
Kind of a big change. Which reminds me... I still don't have the radiator. I guess I'll have to call the ex. Don't have the windshield either... damn it. I probably should just cut my losses and buy the parts I still don't have for completion. It's gonna be a LOOOONNNGGG project. I better sell the wheeling rig to pay for it. :-)
I hope you are all in good health and happy in life. I'll be in the shop if you need me. :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wow, words fail me

Another season, another vacation. As you may know, this year I decided to take my vacations evenly spaced and on weeks where there were already days off. Memorial Day week, and Labor Day week. If you have no trouble following a calendar you also know that I just finished my 2nd week of vacation for the year. I'm sad to see it go.

I made the mistake halfway through my vacation of checking my work email. It was a mistake because I found that one of my techs decided to quit without leaving the customary 2 weeks notice. To her defense, she did leave almost a week... kind of. However she had told me two weeks prior that if she decides to leave she will give 2 weeks notice... whatever... water under the bridge. Just makes my return a little more stressful. Especially since the one tech I have left was cut to very part time a while back and has planned things up for the next 2 weeks. So basically it's me for the next two weeks. I have a little help from my network administrator but due to him not doing this job on a day to day basis he doesn't know that he needs to follow a few areas to keep on top of things. It's a constant battle of catch up from open tickets to voicemail and so on. He's doing better than previous times he has needed to help out though. And his help is VERY APPRECIATED!!! Thank you Mike!

My vacation did start out on the right foot though. We went camping over Labor Day weekend. It gave us a chance to take the new Jeep into the mountains and test it out on some light off roading. :-) I did go through a ditch or two. And my little Jeep did excellent! I did put a very minor ding in the windshield frame that I'm not convinced wasn't there before hand. It also came home with twice the weight in dirt and dust. :-) But it was fun, and that's really all that matters. :-)

On Labor Day my friend Erik and I were getting a load of firewood for his house. My foot slid out from under me and before I could get to the chain break, the chain saw and bounced off my leg. As you can see in the picture below, it's not a big deal. Just a minor flesh wound:

That is my index finger to give you a point of reference as to the size of the "scrape". Just enough to make me remember to check my footing before I start a cut, or finish a cut in this case. I got very lucky and I know it.
The remainder of my vacation went fairly smooth. My brother Adam and his girlfriend Kellie came to visit us from Wednesday through Sunday. It was great to see them and we had lots of time to visit. Saturday we had a rather large BBQ even by our standards. I think when I counted there were (including kids) 27 people there. Judging by the "beer mote" (a ring around the fire pit where everyone throws their beer cans to keep the yard clean) we had more than that there though. It's full. Yes, still. I was tired yesterday and didn't want to clean the yard. I'll get to it tonight.

Well, that should pretty well update everyone. I hope all is well with everyone.

Friday, August 14, 2009

You know you're driving a TJ when...

Hello all, and sorry that it's been a while since I last wrote. Seems like the slower things are here at work, the more I find that I need to get done. But it's Friday now, and I simply don't care that much. I'm ready for the weekend.
Two weeks ago I took the new Jeep on it's first road trip. Okay, it's first road trip with me at the wheel. I couldn't have picked a worse weekend either. It was hot. And by hot, I mean driving through hell would have been a welcome relief. That is, until I got to the west side of the Cascades. It cooled down to 85 then. It was 109 when I left Walla Walla.
Anyway, the road trip didn't really amount to much that I need to talk about. The Jeep drove like a Jeep, and mechanically the trip was event-less. Although I would like to mention that it lacks a bit of power on the top end. Coming home she slowed down to 55 coming over the pass. That was a bit irritating. But other than that all went well.
This morning I was checking out my favorite website ( to find new ideas for what to do to the Jeep. I found a thread titled "you know you're driving a TJ when..." and I had to take a look. Two of the posts were significantly funny to me and I thought I would share them with you.
You know you drive a TJ when everyone on the highway is passing you by, and you just don't care. This is exceptionally funny to me after my little road trip. Normally I'm in the left lane with the cruise set around 80+. This trip I found myself in the right hand lane with the cruise set at 70 (the speed limit) and I was enjoying every minute of the drive, except the heat.
You know you drive a TJ when you get asked how long it is going to take to get somewhere and you have to take into account the wind speed and direction for your answer. This is no joke. When you are driving a 4500 pound vehicle with the aerodynamics of a house and a 190 horse power engine, a strong headwind is going to slow you down. Especially with the automatic transmission. A 3-speed just doesn't have enough gearing options for the lack of aerodynamics.
Anyway, if you'd like to check out some of the posts, they are pretty funny and will really give you an honest documentation of what it's like to own a Jeep TJ. Here is a link to the thread:
I hope this summer is finding everyone in good health, and happiness. I'll write again soon. :-)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

230LBS? Are you serious?

The title says it all. I'm up to 230 pounds!!! And I say that as I'm eating a small yet significant piece of German Chocolate Cake. As you can also probably guess I'm still on the no smoking wagon which would account for the significant weight gain. I didn't realize I was eating more until a week ago when one of my "not-so-intelligent" techs blurted out "Hey Matt, have you gained more weight?"
Okay, on a more positive note, I am 6'3" so 230 pounds is not all that big, but it's a lot bigger then I want to be. At least as far as body fat is concerned. I wouldn't mind weighing the same, but I really need to exercise more.
So that's the plan. I'm going to sell the motorcycle and by a bicycle. A mountain bike to be specific. I love mountain trail riding. I've even been known to make my own trail from time to time. I'm going to start riding on my lunch break on the path that I currently walk (2 miles) and then I'll do some trail riding on the weekends. That mixed with the cardio exerciser that Dena and I bought and I should be able to get rid of this chocolate cake filled spare tire that I have accumulated since I quit smoking. One thing I have to say for smoking... it does save you time on exercises.
Wish me luck everyone. And if you know anyone that wants a classic "putt around town" motorcycle, let me know. It's a 1974 Honda CL360. :-) Runs and rides great.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Life is better topless

As many of you know, I have kind of a small fetish for Jeeps. I can't help it. I think they are the best constructed, longest lasting vehicles on the planet. Well okay, maybe not longest lasting (I've seen some rust buckets) but for the type of driving I do around here (mud, snow, and pavement) a Jeep is the only way to go.

For the last 3 years I have had a 1994 Jeep Cherokee Sport. It's proven to be the most reliable car I've ever owned. Maybe that can be contributed to the fact that I actually took care of it (maintenance does make a difference) but I think it's a combination of care and a good product. For the last 27 years (how long ago did Uncle John have the CJ?) I've wanted a Jeep CJ or Wrangler, and for the last 10 years I have found a few worth buying. If the deal was right, the credit was wrong, and if the credit was right, the deal was wrong. In the last couple of years I have been actively looking and researching and trying to find just what I wanted. And for the first time, I forced myself into staying picky. And I found exactly what I wanted, at exactly the price I was looking at. It's a 1998 Jeep TJ Sport. It has a 6cylinder engine (4.0L) and an automatic transmission. But you people don't care about that... you want to see it. Well folks, here it is. Matt's new Jeep. I know it's not Forrest Service Green like the Cherokee, but try to like it anyway... :-)

Yes, it has a top. It has two actually. It came with a full soft top and a bikini top. It also has full doors with glass windows rather than the half doors with plastic windows. It also came with a set of diamond plate aluminum half doors for the "custom" look. I have also ordered my first upgrade. If you look closely in the pictures, you'll see no side mirrors. They are attached to the doors. I have ordered relocation brackets that will move them to the windshield frame. Gotta have those side mirrors. :-)

Anyway, I just wanted to share with everyone. It's a blast to drive and I think everyone should own one. :-) If you want, the lot I purchased from has three more. I get $100 referral if you buy one... :-) Just putting that out there. :-)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vacation or vacation?

The past few years we have taken vacation as a family. Two years ago, it was Arizona and Las Vegas. Last year it was the Oregon Coast. A few years back it was Wallowa Lake. All of these places were fantastic. Especially Wallowa Lake. It was our honeymoon... :-)
Correct me if I'm wrong here but when you go on vacation it's almost like you need another vacation to recover from it before going back to work. You are so busy at work for the whole year, and then you are busy on vacation, and all you really want to do is relax.
All of that said, I chose this year to be relaxing. I think its the "Year of the Lazy Boy". I decided early this year (January 2nd to be exact) that I was going to schedule my vacation days in advance, but I was not going to go anywhere. I would like to report that I just finished my first of two weeks vacation and all is well. I didn't go anywhere and upon returning to work I actually feel rested. I feel like I had time off. Time away from stress and deadlines and all that cra... uh, stuff. I feel like I can complete the day without wanting to reach through the phone, grab a customer by the throat and squeeze until orange juice flows from their once lively veins. Okay, that may be an exageration, but anyone that has worked in a call center will understand completely.
So that brings up the question: Vacation, or VACATION? Do you go somewhere and enjoy family time, or do you just stay home and do nothing? Which is better? Although I don't really feel like I had any time off when we have gone on family vacations (driving from Milton-Freewater OR, to southern AZ, back through Vegas in 7 days with two teenage boys in the back seat of a VW Passat still gives me nightmares) the family time is still necessary. I love the fact that we are able to go on vacations and enjoy our time together. Well, other than the time spent in the car I suppose... :-) And then on the flip side of that coin, sometimes you just need some time to yourself. Time to stand in the yard and think "I don't have to do anything today". Light a fire in the back yard (we have a fire pit) and sit there staring up at the stars at night. Go to bed when you want, wake up when you want... it was like summer vacation as a kid. It was great.
I guess what I'm saying is I really don't have an answer to the question. Family time is wonderful and traveling to places I wouldn't go myself was priceless. Staying home and enjoying some "me" time was just as enjoyable though. All in all, I feel more rested than I have ever before but I'm not really sure that should be the deciding factor, although the customers I normally would have wanted to cause harm to may disagree... :-)
I hope you have enjoyed my rambling. Let me know what you think...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ah the life!

Hello again. I know, I know, it's been a long time since my last post. I'm not very good at keeping up on these things. You would think working for a national internet provider that I would be better at it. Oh well. I guess you could say I don't really have much to talk about on the day to day.
It finally warmed up around here though. My Dad was in town this last weekend. We all went out to Dayton and watched my nephews launch their rockets that Dad and I helped them build last fall. We also found out that we can launch them on our own as long as we don't go any higher than a C class engine. That makes this a much more enjoyable hobby for us. We don't have to wait for the organized launches. David was able to take a really great picture as Micah's rocket launched. I'll have to get it from him and post it later.
My two boys were in awe of the rockets, so Dena and I bought them each a rocket to build. Bryan and I will do his this coming weekend and Kaleb and I will do his the weekend visit after that as he's going camping with his aunt and uncle this weekend. At any rate, I think I'm looking more forward to the building then they are. Time spent together is time well spent.
Oh, an update: Haven't smoked in 52 days. At least not first hand. I was surrounded by smokers this weekend so it was hard not to breathe it in at some point, but I haven't smoked on purpose in 52 days. :-) I'll be heading up to Seattle next week on my vacation and considering everyone up there smokes in their houses it's going to be challenging to say the least. I can do it though. I'm strong. :-)
Well everyone, I hope your spring is going well. Ours has been wet and cold so far but is getting better. I'll be posting more as more happens. Love to all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thank you

Thank you everyone for your support. I truly appreicate it. And you'll all be proud to know that I have now made it 26 days and counting.
I gotta go for now though. Just wanted to say thank you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

19 Days and counting

Okay, so 19 days ago, I came down with the flu. It's been a long time since I have been that sick. However, looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. You see, I have quit smoking.

Yep, that's right. I am currently a non smoker. I say "currently" because who knows if it will last or not. What I will say though is that it has been really, REALLY easy for me because the first 6 days of quitting I didn't want one because I was so sick. So really, all I'm having to do is break the habbit rather than fight the addiction. The withdrawls were over before I could even think about wanting a cigarette.

Here's the crappy thing though. I have 9 unopened packs of Marlboro's in my freezer now. I had just bought the carton before I got sick. What a waste of $39.00. Yes, only $39.00. I live in Oregon where they were $38.75 until just recently when the taxes increased them $12 a carton. :-) Why do you think I kept smoking, it was still cheap here... well, relatively speaking.

So wish me luck everyone. I think I may have actually kicked the habbit this time. Only time will tell but I'm doing well and breathing easier every day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time for a happy dance

How did you spend your last days of winter? Me, I had the flu. Yep, strapped to my chair for a week. It was not fun, but there is a silver lining. You never know how good you really feel most of the time, until you really are sick. Oh, and another silver lining: I haven't had a cigarette in 11 days. I was planning on quitting in May, but since I wasn't smoking anyway being sick, I figured I'd do it now. And it's been amazingly easy. I've had a few cravings but really not many. I don't really miss it at all.
So now it's spring and it's beautiful outside. The happy dance is for the fresh cut grass, and the smell of BBQ in the air. Sleeping with the windows open, and driving with them down. You don't need the heater, or the air conditioner. Life is absolutely perfect.
I hope that everyone is having as good a time as I am this spring.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Groundhog? How does he know.

I can't tell you how ready I am for Winter to be over with. I'm really starting to not like the color white. I went to bed last night and had green grass, but I woke up this morning and it was all white again. Yesterday I was out in the shop with the door open working on the Jeep. It was windy out but it was sunny. Then I looked out and it was friggin snowing again. "Are you kidding me?" I'm tired of the way my yard looks, the fact that I can't keep my car clean, the clouds and wind... everything. I used to like winter, what happened to me? I think it was living in Seattle.. :-) (Just kidding Dad...)
With nice weather comes bon fires in the yard, kids playing outside, BBQ's, camping trips, friend and family visiting from the other side of the state (and other parts of the country for that matter). As if that weren't enough to make me love the summer time, vacation is just an added bonus. This year I'm not yet planning on going anywhere for my vacation, although I may head over to Seattle for a couple of days. I'm going to spend a majority of the time in my yard. I have about 8 bushes that are going to become firewood. :-)
As I type this I glanced out the window to find that it's snowing. Only it's not real snow. It's the kind of snow that looks like the insides of a bean bag chair. It's what I call "crap snow". It's not even pretty to look at. It's disturbing. Like living in a snow globe where some drunk idiot keeps shaking the damn ball. :-) It's time to warm up here. The Groundhog said 6 more weeks of winter. It has been 5 weeks as of today. So next Tuesday if it's still snowing, I'm going to track that little rat down and have him over for dinner. That will be the first bar-b-que of the season. :-) Grilled Groundhog.
Well, thanks for playing along. More to come with warm weather. :-)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jeepin' through the snow

Since my last post, I put larger, more aggressive tires on the Jeep project. I had to do a little trimming of the fenders to keep them from rubbing, but we got them to fit. So it was time to take it up on it's first trip to the mountains. And I must say that other than a couple of stalls, it did really well. And how nice it was to be able to drive home in the same rig we took up... (reference last June if you don't know what I'm talking about).

A friend of ours has some property up on Basket Mountain, so we decided we'd make a weekend of it. Once we got up on the mountain the fog cleared and it was 50 degrees and sunny. It was a perfect day to take the Jeep out and see what she could do. One thing she's very good at is digging holes... :-) Honestly though, we only got stuck a couple of times, and I only had to dig once... er twice.

Dena had a lot of fun driving. The Jeep fits her much better than the truck did, and the Jeep didn't come home with additional body damage like the truck did. It's a little easier to manuver the Jeep around the trail than the long box Chevy we had. :-)

Anyway, here is a picture of the Jeep when we got it home. It's a little dirty, but to be fair it looks better that way. :-)
Dena really loves going through the mud and muck. All the way down the mountain if she saw a good patch of the sticky stuff, she'd swerve over and nail the skinny peddle. It's really kind of cute to see. She's 5'1" (on a good day) and just a petite little thing, but you get her behind the wheel of a 4x4, point her into the hills and she'll go anywhere you tell her she can... or even can't go. I have seen her go through things she shouldn't have been able to. I don't know if it's untapped skill or dumb luck, but what ever it is, it's working for her. :-)

Up on the mountain we were playing around in the meadows finding hills for Dena to climb. Erik and I were in his Toyota and Dena and Chandi were in the Jeep in front of us. We were probably 5-10 car lengths behind then following in their tracks when all of the sudden the snow gave out under our front passenger side tire. Dropped us so far that the front bumper on his truck was at the snow level. He's running 36" Irok tires, and you couldn't see any of it.

And no, Dena was not digging it out. We were able to drive it out by simply backing up. But as you can see, the snow was a bit unstable. The Jeep went right over it though. It's got a little better weight distribution.

There are some more things to do to the Jeep project though. I'm going to build some bumpers for it because the stock ones aren't strong enough to pull from or to jack the rig up from, and when you're burried axle deep in snow or mud, you really want to have a good strong point to pull from. I also am going to build a roof rack and a light bar. It's amazing how dim the factory headlights are. Extra lighting is really nice at night on the trail. Also coming this summer (hopefully) will be a roll cage. If you've ever seen Dena drive, you'll know why I want that. :-)

So if anyone is looking for a great project that is extremely capable off road, find yourself an older (87 - 90) Jeep Cherokee. They are easy to work on, reliable as hell, and cheap to find parts for. Stay tuned for future updates. It looks like I'll have this project for a while. Dena likes it too much to let me get rid of it. :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's alive!!!

You may remember that a while back I traded our pickup for another Jeep Cherokee. Fully knowing that it had an overheating issue, but ran and started right up with no issues. Well, after lifting the hood I found it had more than just a couple of issues. It has a great many little issues. But they are little things that just need a little time to fix. Things like wiring that wasn't done right, a missing electric fan (Cherokee's have two fans), the center console is not bolted down... you know, little things.
It's been so cold around here lately that I have neglected to work on it. So last night I took it over to my friends house (heated shop!!!) and we tore into it. Within about an hour, we had the biggest issue fixed. It no longer overheats. Not only does it not overheat but according to the temp guage it runs cooler than my daily driver. We'll see how it does in July.... :-)
As it gets warmer I'll continue to fix the little things, but for right now, it runs and drives so I'm happy. I'll try and remember to post some pics when we take it up on it's maiden voyage to the mountains. :-)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Old man winter moves too slow

I'm sure you have all been going somewhere at some point in time and been stuck behind an old man. You know the one I'm talking about. The one that can't see over the steering wheel, or can't turn his head far enough to see if anyone is coming, or the one that has the brakes locked on his walker so it seems like it could literally take all day to make 3 steps progress. Yeah, that's "Old Man Winter" your behind.
In the past few years Walla Walla has not really had much snow. An inch here, an inch there. Heck, two years ago we didn't get any at all. This winter, just before Chirstmas BAM! Here you go. Here's 3 feet. That stuck around for about 2 weeks and then melted off. Since then we've had a couple of inches at a time that stick around long enough to make the roads really icy and then melts off.
I get it, it's not as bad as it is in some places (thanks for the story Amanda) but we're not used to this. I'm a person that used to love the cold weather and snow. I must be getting old because I'm not so into it anymore.
So I say for everyone: get out of the way old man winter. I'm not scared to run your slow butt over. :-)
On to a previous topic: I haven't had much time to do any upgrades or repairs to my new Cherokee due to the cruddy weather. We have been up in the hills a couple of times since we got it, but sadly it had to stay home because the cobbled together lift that is on it is just not safe enough for my liking. Plus it is in serious need of front tires. :-) More to come on this as it warms up.
Gotta go for now. Stay warm everyone.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Congratulations Doug and Marie

Happy New Year everyone! Especially happy for my cousin Doug and his wife Marie. Congratulations on the birth of your precious baby girl. And welcome to the Stephens family Emma Rose! :-) We can't wait to meet you.