Welcome to the H4O - HUMMER 4x4 Off Road.
Page 14 of 14 FirstFirst ... 41011121314
Results 196 to 208 of 208

Thread: The Wanderer

  1. #196
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    moving forward.... roof rack cut

    no going back from here

    sitting in place

    outside view

    bird's eye view



    so to finish it - there will be gear boxes on either side that are open(ish) for wet stuff and for ropes/etc. On the passenger side will be ski-stowage.
    Inside I'll add another brace and move the brace that's in the way back then add another on the front. It seems well-sealed - and I will double check that when I pull the unit back off to install the heater (that I forgot to put in initially).
    I still plan on an internal, propane, external vent heater and I will be adding insulation around the water tank. On top of that, I plan on running propane to the motor for that added boost when needed (it's a 25% increase in power and torque)


    thanks for looking
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  2. #197
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    People talk like it's hard :elkgrin:
    It's interesting to see the reactions of people to the entire concept. I'm pretty certain that most think this is a 24/7 plan to run a/c... no. Of course, most of the harshest critics don't read past the first period so they're blissfully unaware of what happened next. So let's recap
    I have a Renogy 200 watt pair of solar panels on the roof. The a/c (as I'll demonstrate in a moment) draws 1400 watts. There is NO chance you can run a/c off this small of a solar system.... except. I don't need a/c 24/7. Let's recap. My wife does K9 Search and Rescue with two terrorists.... errr.. bloodhounds (the term is interchangeable). She leaves to go to a mission in the dead of night for missions in Western Washington. Traveling to and from the mission - the truck has awesome a/c so rooftop a/c isn't needed. When it is needed is that 3-6 pm time frame when it gets hot. Before and after fans are more then adequate (and the fan draws 160 watts on high). We have solar blankets (reflects the sun), 3 sided awning, and the dogs can handle some heat.... okay... with me so far? good. I also use the rig for non-mission SAR work - think of it as someone people call for help. The a/c is only needed for short bursts and during camping trips just enough to cool the inside of the rig so that I can sleep in it. I don't do indoors if I go outdoors.


    So the requirements are solar for 3 hours that are mitigated by solar and run off 2 - 200 amp-hour batteries. 12*200 = 2400 watts per battery per hour. Between the 2 batteries and 30% draw down, I have 3-4 hours of battery power and maybe another hour if the sun is optimal at full song. Which brings me to the other part. This a/c could easily bring the temp inside down to keep Popsicles cold. So it shouldn't need to run at full song for an hour, further testing will reveal but my bestimate is 5-6 hours of actual run time. This is success because it exceeds what I need it to do. As an aside - the heater was a bad idea, I need a larger inverter to pull that off... don't care, when I go skiing, I can plug in.


    so pictures
    for those who want a Mach 8 with a heater, this is how it goes in - their instructions are abysmal. This picture is look from the front of the unit towards that back

    another view



    yes, I ran an extension cord from the unit.... as you cannot clearly see, it's drawing 1400 watts



    so to recap, we have battery-powered a/c, water, refrigeration, propane, and soon a stove.... and you wondered why I nodded to the Wanderers....
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  3. #198
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    Insulated the area around the water tank

    all the while running the a/c - I can't believe I'm saying this, but it was too cold inside to work... ran for 2 hours, used 27% of the battery (and had little, direct sun)
    reinstalled the support




    I am going to have to do something about the inverter. I was unwilling to pay for a new inverter (this one I had used in another vehicle for a couple years) on this experiment. The issue is occasionally it thinks it got overloaded (it's a 2500 watt, the max observed has been 1440 watts) so I have to hit the reset switch... problem is I can have that when dogs are being cooled... ah well, I'm far more willing to get a better, more efficient inverter now.... for those counting - it costs about as much as the RT AC ... ugh. I have Corvettes to build.
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  4. #199
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    Working on my Suburban and found a Buick

    realized I didn't do a global view

    still not sure what the ceiling finish product is going to be. I could cut up the ceiling panel - but there are issues (like dogs would eat it) that I don't need...
    in the protective level.... dog gate

    on the front will be another gate and a divider to haul two dogs that will be removeable for camping (which is why there is carpet on one side and solid wood on the other side of those floor panels)
    can't have enough power strips

    all that is left is shelving and ways to tie down what is stowed

    more power

    and a way of seeing what the dogs are doing

    and a outside shot.... still lots to do, but I finally feel it's useable (but the propane is next, which is frills)
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  5. #200
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    WANDERERS #27

    IN SEARCH OF ELVIS

    By Rick Sieman





    We join them now as they head Southwest on Natchez Trace Parkway, toward the great state of Mississippi. The Suburban purred quietly along at exactly two miles an hour over the speed limit, and both Carl and Emma enjoyed the scenery as they passed through Lewis State Forest in Tennessee.

    Carl was having a mid-day snack, while Emma munched on some Oreo cookies. A huge stick of pepperoni was laying on the dash of The Whale, and a loaf of French bread about two feet long was propped up against the seat. A big jar of yellow French's mustard was nestled in a cup holder. Carl ate like this: first, he dipped the end of the pepperoni into the mustard, then bit off a chunk. The pepperoni was then parked on the dash while he picked up the loaf of bread and bit off a piece the size of a baseball. The mass was then chewed enthusiastically for a minute or so, then washed down with a swig of Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Soda.
    While Carl was making grunting, slobbering, chewing and grinding noises. Emma was daintily twisting the top off an Oreo cookie, then eating the white part first, and only when that was gone, did she nibble at the remaining crunchy discs.
    Carl took another huge pair of bites and asked, "Hmmmfruuufffffharr itthhh id thrhhrhuui Mittthhhhitththiiiff i?"
    Emma sighed. "Carl, I do wish you would quit talking with your mouth full. Now, swallow that disgusting stuff and try it again, please?"
    Carl gulped and swallowed, doing a passable imitation of a boa constrictor downing a bowling ball. "I said how far is it to Mississippi?"
    Emma wrestled a Triple A map open and studied it. "We're less than an hour, but first, we sort of cut across a corner of Alabama, then we get in to Mississippi."
    "Great! I can hardly wait 'till we get to Tupelo where Elvis was born. I been wantin' to go there for years. You know what kind of an Elvis fan I am."
    Emma smiled. "Me too. I'll never forget all those wonderful songs from when I was back in school. Blue Suede Shoes... Heartbreak Hotel... gosh, that was real music!"
    "You bet. My favorite was Don't Be Cool and then I like Love My Fender. Say, Emma, why don't you turn on the radio and see if you can pick up some Elvis music? Ya know, he woulda been 56 this year if he'd lived."
    Emma shook her head from side to side. "There are rumors that Elvis is still alive, you know. People say that he just wanted to get out of the limelight. They might be right."

    Emma fired up the huge radio and started fiddling with the tuner:

    "... so stop on by Friendly Fred's Ford and check out the deals on the new trucks and cars. Hell, we're practically giving them away. In fact, we lose thousands of dollars on every car and truck we sell. How do we do it? Easy. Volume! That's the key. So come on down and ..."

    …Dial, dial, dial…
    "...special limited offer. Yes, you can lose all the weight you want to with the new Fat Blaster Nutri-Pill System. The fat just melts away. And you can eat all you want. That's right... stuff your face like a pig and follow it with these little blue tablets, and you'll ..."

    …Dial, dial, dial…
    "...fortunes are being made right now in the exciting world of stamp investing. Our typical investor here at the House of Gold, Silver and Other Stuff gets a 40 percent return on his money. Of course, we can't guarantee that everyone will ..."

    …Dial, dial, dial…
    "...followed by the Bulgarian String Quartet playing favorite themes from the Russian Death March Opera .”

    …Dial, dial, dial…
    "...and that was P. J. Rap Jammer doing his big hit, Suck My Lips. Next up, L. D. Slam Dude with …”

    Carl punched the OFF button. "Boy, there just ain't nuthin' on. What say we stop, gas up, git a bite to eat and see if we can buy some Elvis tapes to slap in the tape deck?"

    ***

    A short time later, they crossed the Mississippi state line, found a cluster of small stores and a gas station, and pulled in.
    Emma went for burgers and fries, while Carl ambled over to a convenience store. Fifteen minutes later, he leaped into The Whale, eyes all bugged out, and started babbling excitedly. "Emma! You ain't gonna believe this, but the old lady who works in that store over there told me where Elvis lives. You see, I bought all these here tapes, and asked her if she knew anything about Elvis, and she told me that Elvis lived out in the woods about 20 miles south of Hattiesburg. He works at a small souvenir stand called Little Guys. We gotta go there!"
    Emma let out a delighted squeal. "Hit it, you big stud-muffin!"
    Moments later, the rear tires of the huge Suburban left a pair of black stripes on the pavement.

    ***

    They spent the night in a Motel 6 outside of Jackson, and headed south early the next morning. Carl got to Hattiesburg and asked for directions to Little Guys souvenir stand. It took a half-dozen stops, but they finally got some directions at a state-operated tourist information facility.

    Apparently, Little Guys souvenir was out in the woods close to the end of the Pascagoula River. Carl had to buy a detailed map and a topo map, because the river had recently flooded, and the only way in was roughing it on some un-mapped two-track fire-roads.

    Before mid-day, they peeled of f highway 49 at Wiggins and headed east on highway 26. About 30 miles later, they pulled off the road and carefully followed the topo map down some ugly roads that were still good and muddy from a recent rain. Carl was forced to go to four wheel drive, and had to pay attention to keep from sliding off the trails.
    He saw a few dirt bikers and asked them if they knew where Elvis was. They told him that about that about four more miles down the road, they'd find the Little Guys souvenir stand and, yes, for sure, Elvis was there.

    Carl could hardly contain his excitement as he drove the last few miles. At last, he'd get to see Elvis!

    After what seemed like an eternity, Carl rounded a corner, found a smooth dirt road, and a quarter mile later, a small building popped into view. The sign read: "LITTLE GUYS STAND -HAND MADE SOUVENIRS".
    Carl slid to a stop and leaped out. Emma hit the ground a fraction of a second before he did. They went through the door and up to the counter. An elderly man was behind the counter, reading a copy of Hustler and sipping from a pint of Jack Daniels.
    "How do there. Can I help you folks?"
    "Yes. We'd like to see Elvis, please? If it's not too much trouble, that is."
    "Nope. No problem at all. He probably needs a break. Been carving pine ash trays all morning."
    Both Carl and Emma look stunned. "Elvis? Carving ash trays?"
    "Yup. And there ain't anybody much better at it. Lemme go git 'em for you. You might want to get your camera out. Lots of people want to have their picture taken with him."
    Emma was nearly breathless. "I would imagine so!"
    Two minutes later, a very short little man walked in. "Hi. I'm one of the elves. You folks wanted to meet me?"
    "Uuhhh...we wanted to meet Elvis... that is... I mean...", Carl stammered.
    The little man smiled. "Hey, don't be bashful. Lottsa folks make that mistake. My name is Guy, and I was one of the original elves in the movies years ago. Get it? Not Elvis... elves."
    Carl let out a low moan, which quickly turned into a groan as Emma hit him in the ribs with a sharp elbow shot. "Bonehead,” she hissed.
    With a hurt look on his face, Carl said, “Hey, don't be cruel!”
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  6. #201
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    for the life of me I can't figure why they put the wedges on these springs. One direction, the put the pinion angling above the driveshaft, the other way below - but not at the same angle as the t-case output. In either direction it vibrates.... today I fixed it

    spacers were easy enough to find...

    even creating new pins since the softride ones were junk

    fixed



    and test drove - the problem is gone (and the wheel is now centered in the wheelwell
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  7. #202
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    THE WANDERERS #28




    TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

    By Rick Sieman






    When we last left Carl and Emma, they had just traveled the back roads of Mississippi in a vain search for Elvis. We join them now as they wander (what else?) north, in the general direction of Canada.
    Carl rolled the window of The Whale down and aimed his lips at a roadside speed sign coming up. He carefully allowed for the wind, then launched a thick wad of brown tobacco juice right between the pair of fives. The wad hit with a metallic slapping sound … Pa-tang! ... and the metal quivered on its post.
    "Not bad," said Carl. "A little bit to the left, but the distance was good. I'd give it a 9.5 on degree of difficulty and a 9.7 on style. Should be good for a gold medal, at least."
    Emma shuddered. "You know, Carl, it's bad enough that you chew that stuff all the time, but when you spit it like that, it makes me get queasy. How would you like it if I started tossing my lunch at roadside signs?"
    Carl brightened. "Hey, great idea! I'll slow down and you can give it a few practice shots, just to get the feel of it. And if you get good, we can have some sort of competition. Of course, I'll have to spot you something... figure out some kind of handicap system. Whaddaya think?"
    "I think that your mental pilot light has blown out. You're rowing a boat with one oar. Your deck is short about 15 cards from a full deck. Somebody safety-wired your brain in backwards. There must be a tight knot in your shorts." With that, Emma crossed her arms and leaned backs, smiling smugly.
    Carl looked confused. "So why don't you quit sugar-coating it, honey pot, and tell me what you really mean?"
    Emma started to respond, but thought better of it and simply bit her lips shut and started knitting. Meanwhile, The Whale droned northward on Highway 55 in the general direction of St. Louis, at exactly 2 1/2 miles per hour over the speed limit.

    ***

    The Missouri Ozarks are truly beautiful in the fall, and this prompted Carl to peel off Interstate 55 and head west, into the very heart of those deep forests. Carl drove toward Pacific, a place with a warm spot in his crusty old heart.

    He pulled The Whale into a crusty looking gas station and a scruffy-looking attendant shuffled out "Full service only, bud. Buck fifty-three a gallon. Take it or leave it."
    "Well, in that case you smooth talkin' devil, just give me five bucks worth and check the oil and water. By the way, there usta be a place around here called Pacific Motorcycle Park. I rode there back in the late 60s. Had me a 650 Triumph with real knobbies on the back."
    The attendant wiped his nose on his sleeve. "That place has been gone for years. Five bucks worth, you say? Big spender, huh?"
    "Well, at $1.53 a gallon, I don't think I wanna fill up nearly 80 gallons worth of empty tanks. Just check under the hood and I'll be on my way."
    The attendant grunted and went about his business while Carl hit the rest room, which looked about four times worse than he had expected. He held his breath and tried not to touch anything while going about his business.
    When Carl got back to The Whale, Emma hopped out. “I’ll be back in a minute, dear. I have to use the powder room."
    The attendant looked up from under the hood. "I wouldn't do that, lady. The women's room is a bit messed up. Use the men's room instead. I just tidied it up the other day."
    A bizarre thought darted through Carl's mind, as to what the men's room looked like BEFORE it was tidied up!
    The attendant put the dipstick back in. "Oil's OK, but it looks like you got a problem here, buddy. Take a peek."
    Carl peered where the grubby index finger was pointing. Whoa! The alternator belt was hanging on by the proverbial thread. Carl let out a whistle. "Hokie smokes! Good thing you spotted that. Got a spare belt in stock?"
    The attendant wiped his nose on the sleeve again. “Probbly. Bring 'er around back and I’ll take a looksee."
    Emma came back from the men's room looking a bit green around the gills. "Good Lord, Carl! Did you see that place in there? It was too filthy for flies to land. I don't think I'm going to be able to eat for a week."
    Carl fired up The Whale and gingerly drove around to the back of the station. The attendant came out with a new belt. "Last one in stock. Don't get much call for big block Chevy parts around here. It'll cost you sixty bucks, plus $20 for installation."
    "What!" Carl exploded. “I don’t want to buy your whole station... just a belt."
    "Hey, if ya don't want the belt, buddy, just say so. I'll put her back on the shelf. This is Sunday and just about everything else around here is closed. Good luck."
    You could almost see the steam coming out of Carl’s ears. "OK, I'll buy the belt, but I'll install the belt myself."
    The attendant snuffled his nose into the sleeve once again. "Can't do that. Insurance and all that. You want it, I install it. You don't want it, see you around."
    Carl forced himself to calm down. "OK. Go ahead and do it. Me and the missus will be across the street at the burger stand."

    ***

    Twenty minutes later, Carl and Emma walked back to the station. The attendant was standing there, shaking his head. "Bad news. Looks like you got a real bad oil leak here. Take a squint where those two lines are runnin' to that fancy filter you got? See there? Yup. You got a leaker... maybe two. I can't tell, because there's so much oil on the fittings and the lines. You want me to check it out, it'll cost you a flat $75. Or you can just head on down the road and hope that the lines don't pop and turn your big inch, big bucks motor into a doorstop. It don't make no never-mind to me."
    Reluctantly, Carl gave the attendant the OK and headed across the street to the burger stand again.

    An hour later, they walked back to the station. "Got 'er fixed up. Both end fittings were cracked. Lucky for you I had some decent used ones in my tool box. Cost you twenny bucks per."
    Carl's jaw was so tightly clenched Emma thought his teeth were going to explode. Emma stepped in, smiled, and spoke quietly: "That's fine, young man. I'll pay for this repair. Just write us up a receipt and we'll be on our way."
    The attendant wiped his eternally runny nose on the other sleeve, leaving a large smear that greatly resembled snail tracks. "Before you get ready to hit the road, there's one more thing you ought to take a look at. There's a puddle of gas under that big old carb you got there. My wild guess is that you got a stuck float, or a leaky float bowl... somethin’ like that. Either way, if that gas slops on those fancy headers of yours, the whole mess could go up in flames. I can check it out for you, but..."
    Carl sighed. "How much?"
    "Hunnert bucks, including gaskets. Lucky for you, I got a good selection of Holley double-pumper gaskets and such. Take it or leave it."
    Carl looked stunned. "Look, I got two questions: How long is this gonna take and where can I get a cold beer around here?”
    The attendant blew his nose on his sleeve, snuffled, and said, "Jist walk a block or so down the same street the burger place is on. Same side, too. It's called the Dew Drop Inn."
    Carl sneered. "How original."
    The attendant yawned and snuffled. "Thanks. Thought the name up myself.”

    ***

    Carl drank three quick beers, ate eleven pickled eggs and a half-dozen Slim Jim sausages, then calmed down. The bartender ambled up. "Hey, pal. You ought to pace yourself. Them pickled eggs will make you hate yourself in the morning."
    Carl downed egg number 12. "Maybe you're right. But I need something to take my mind off of my mechanical problems. My truck has been in that damned station over there for near a half-day. It's one thing after another. Makes me wonder why I ever retired from the Navy."
    The barkeep smiled. "You an ex-Navy man?"
    "Yup. 28 years, six months, two weeks, three days, nine hours, 17 minutes, 46 seconds. Chief Petty Officer.”
    "Well, put it there, Chief. I was in for 20 years. Came out as a Second Class Bosun's Mate. Got busted quite a few times, but I was a Chief twice. Spent some time on the Forrestal."
    "Yeh? Me too! Well, put 'er there, pal."
    The bartender leaned forward in a conspiratorial fashion, and spoke quietly. "Listen, Chief. The guy who's workin' on your truck? Well, he's the guy who owns the station."
    "What? You mean that runny-nosed little guy owns a gas station?"
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  8. #203
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    "Yup. And he owns the burger stand across the street, and this bar, and the motel over there, and the junk yard at the end of town and the parts store and just about everything else around here. The guy is worth millions, maybe zillions. He makes his money by screwin' up your vehicle when you pull in for gas."
    "What?"
    "That's right. Did you notice that he offers full-service only? That's so he can get under your hood. Did he find a bad belt when he checked your oil?"
    "Uhhh... yes."
    "See, he keeps a razor blade in his pocket and just slashes the belt while he's checking the oil or the ATF. Then you gotta buy his "last belt in stock," right?"
    "Right."
    "And then he found a bunch of oil dripping from somewhere, right?"
    "Right."
    "Well, He keeps a little squirt bottle up his sleeve. The sleeve he's always wiping his nose on. His points it at a critical area, gives it a squuuooosh-squuuoosh or two, and you got a serious oil leak. Right?"
    "Right."
    "Betcha he hit you up with the biggie next; the old leaking gas deal. He pours a couple ounces of gas under your carb, and you freak out. You figure your whole truck is gonna catch on fire, and you're happy to pay whatever it takes to keep from turning into a crispy critter at 55 mph. Right?"
    "Right."
    "So guess what's next?"
    "I'm afraid to ask. But I will. What's next?"
    "Well, you'll go back and he'll have squirted some trans fluid on your inspection plate, and tell you your trans seal is leaking. This will take two days to fix, so you'll have to stay at his motel while he "fixes" it, and you'll be eating at his burger place and drinking beer here. That's his racket, in a nutshell. Got it?"
    "Right."
    "All right! Now go bust his chops, Chief."

    ***

    Carl wandered (what else?) over to the garage, and walked up to the attendant. "Howsit going? Makin' any progress?"
    The attendant wiped his nose on his sleeve, leaving a long, stringy track on the fabric that was once a dark blue, and smiled: "Well, I got the carb all rebuilt just fine. Lucky for you I had them Holley gaskets, ya know. But guess what...?"
    Carl interrupted. "Let me guess. You found a trans leak around my inspection plate, right?"
    "Uhh, yes. How'd you know that?"
    Carl whipped out his fishing license and jammed it into the attendants face. "See this, pal? Well, I'm from the Department of 4x4 Investigative Abuses, and I'm afraid that you're gonna do 80 years in the Big Rock Pile."
    The attendant blanched pure white. "Uhhh, can't we work this out. I mean, how about a few hundred bucks that you can give to your favorite charity. Here!"
    Carl took the money, stuffed it into his pocket, and said, "I'm filing this as evidence. This is bribery, and could cost you an additional 25 years, scumbag. Now look, I'm going to take this bribe money and deliver it to the local police office. You wait right here and don't move. Not an inch. Is that clear?"
    "Right."
    Carl and Emma got into The Whale and headed down the road. Emma, eyes wide, wailed, "Oh, Carl, where is the police place? We've got to find it, quick Carl smiled. "Says who? I've got two crisp hundred dollar bills, five dollars worth of free gas, and a gas station crook running for his life before the police show up. All things considered, not a bad pit stop. Right?"
    "Right!"
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  9. #204
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    It was neat today with the AC running without the truck running. Go into the store, truck off, come back and it's a nice 75 degrees inside.... can't wait for my better inverter to arrive... anyway, all was not perfect. For some reason a door was sticking in the hvac system and blowing cold air on my feet and a trickle from the mid vents.... put vacuum to the system and it works fine again (boosted vacuum)... maybe has some stick after all the years of not working.
    while I was at it, I figured I'd see if more air would help with the boost...
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  10. #205
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    someone once asked what's taking my time... this stinking deck is the issue... and those doors below it will take my Sunday. *rant off*



    bought a decent inverter/charger... the tl;dr will be and it doesn't work as well as the other inverter... needs more cowbell for sure


    I think it's major malfunction is the batteries are 60% of capacity (ignore the display, it's lying to us) by experience I know it won't work below 73% - and it's not had 24 hours to recover from the last time I drained it low... ah well, along with cowbell comes the plug it in ability I have now
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  11. #206
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    THE WANDERERS #29





    POKING AROUND FOR A LITTLE BIT OF THE PAST

    By Rick Sieman





    When we last left Carl and Emma, they had just left a crooked mechanic in an utter state of dismay. We join them now, as they head north, toward St Louis, with The Whale purring gently along at exactly two miles per hour over the speed limit.

    ***

    Carl bit off a plug of tobacco and stuffed it in his left cheek, then he took a huge bite of a Triple Whopper hamburger and stuffed that in his right cheek. This was followed by a small handful of greasy french fries that went in the front of his mouth. Somehow, he managed to chew the burger, the fries and the chaw without getting them mixed up.
    Or at least Emma thought he kept them separated! She shuddered at the thought of any human being eating food mixed with chewing tobacco juice. "Carl, how can you eat food and chew tobacco at the same time?"
    "Hmmopph? Thhhsss go frprommman. thfff.."
    "Never mind, dear. I guess I shouldn't ask you to talk with your mouth full."
    Carl reached up on the console, grabbed a bottle of Yoo Hoo Chocolate Soda and somehow managed to get a drink past everything else in his mouth. Emma shuddered.
    Carl disposed of the fries first, then transferred the burger home. "What I was sayin', is that it takes practice. Many is the time when I was in the Navy, that I had to grab a bite on the run. You learn some valuable skills in the service. Why, how do you think I learned how to eat breakfast, go to the bathroom and shine my shoes all at the same time?"
    Emma just shook her head. "Well, are you still going to stop in St. Louis and see your old friend who owns that motorcycle shop?"
    "Sure, if he's still alive. Old Fat Jack was pushin' 70 when I used to race motocross. I ain't seen him for 20 years at the very least. That old buzzard taught me everything that I know about dirt bikes. He used to be a great rider in his days, back when men was men and bikes were, too."
    Emma looked confused. "I'm not sure I understand that, dear?"
    Carl laughed. "Hah! you wouldn't. Because racin' is a man's sport. How do you think I got to be such a great off-roader? By learnin' on dirt bikes when I was a kid, that's how. I read in the magazines where lots of the best racers learnt on dirt bikes. Rod Mears, Ironbutt Stewart, Roger Hall, Dan Adams, Murray Esquerra, Walter Evans, Gordy Gordon, Parsley Jones, Snoot Vessels... you name 'em. Dirt is dirt, and dirt bikes ride on the dirt. Hard to argue with that logic."
    Emma didn't even try.
    "Anyways, I hope the old coot is still alive. He usta have a Triumph, BSA, Greeves and Bultaco dealership back then. I was one of the first guys to race a 'Bul. Man, I flew on those things! 'Course, it wasn't real reliable. I think I only finished four races in three years. Or was it three races in four years? Either way, I was a force to be dealt with back then.
    "I was stationed near St. Louis back then before I met you. You shoulda seen me ride, Emma. Poultry in motion! I made moves that even dazzled me! Sometimes I'd go sixty, seventy feet off the jumps, with one hand in the air, wavin' to all the pretty girls. In fact, I once jumped over eleven guys at one time to take the lead, but got disqualified for cuttin' the course. You see, I jumped from the sixth turn all the way to the eighth turn in the air, without touchin' a wheel down in turn seven. The crowd went nuts!"
    Emma's eyes were wide! "So that's why you can ride our trail bikes so good! I thought it was just a natural talent."
    Carl beamed. "Oh yes, it's that, of course. But a lot of it has to do with incredible balance, keen eyesight and a feel for machinery. Hmmmm. Wonder what that thumping sound is? Hope I didn't hit some poor animal...."
    Emma looked up from her knitting. "You just flipped a tread on your left rear tire. I felt it "bubble" a few miles back, but didn't want to interrupt you while you were talking. Shall I get out and change it for you, dear?"
    "Naw. You did them last two flats. I owe you one."

    ***

    Twenty minutes later they were under way, and a half hour after that, St. Louis popped into view. Emma got out the map and read the directions to Carl, and not much later, The Whale pulled up in front of a huge motorcycle shop. The sign said "MOTORCYCLES 'R US", and dozens of brand new gleaming bikes were lined up in front of the huge plate glass windows.

    Carl parked The Whale in front, and walked inside. There was a machine directly by the door with a sign on it: “Take a number, please." Salesmen were flitting around the Salesmen WITH DAMNED TIES ON! Carl was stunned! What motorcycle shop was this?
    Carl walked up to the counter. “Uh, ‘scuse me, but is this here …”
    The lady behind the counter (lady!!!), smiled. “What’s your number, sir? We're serving number 92 right now."
    Carl took a deep breath. "Lookee here, is Fat Jack still around, or is he dead?"
    She looked startled. “You don’t mean Mr. Splinkowitz, do you?"
    Carl beamed. "Yeah! You mean that old buzzard is still alive? Well, I'll be! Is he around? If he is, go git him."
    The lady looked startled. "Oh, I couldn't do that, sir! He's the boss and nobody bothers him when he's in his office."
    Carl fixed the lady with a cold stare. "Well, tell you what. You get your butt back in there and tell him old Crash and Burn Carl is out here, ready to race again."
    She stuttered and stammered for a while, but gave up and headed toward the back of the huge dealership.

    Less than a minute later, a huge man with a large nose, three chins and an imposing beer gut charged up to the counter. "Carl! Old Crash and Burn Carl! As I live and breath. Thought I'd never see you again, not after you blew up three of my bikes in one day, and set a fourth one on fire when you took out the hot dog stand and nearly killed the ambulance driver.
    "What brings you here? Wait. Don't tell me... let me guess? You're here for the Old Timers Motocross Nationals this weekend. Wow! I am impressed. Didn't think you had it in you anymore."
    Carl looked at the crusty face of his old friend and sponsor, smiled weakly, and answered: "Uhh, yeah... that's what I'm here for all right. Can't stay away from racing, you know."
    Fat Jack beamed.
    Emma let out a low moan and started pounding her head against the counter.

    ***

    Good grief! Is Carl really going to race again, after all these years? And will Emma let him? And if he does, will he get severely killed several times over? We'll find out next month.
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  12. #207
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    THE WANDERERS #30





    CARL PUTS ON HIS MOTOCROSS RACE-FACE

    By Rick Sieman





    We we last left Carl and Emma, they had just arrived at a motorcycle dealership in St. Louis to look up an old friend, Fat Jack Splinkowitz. Fat Jack owned "MOTORCYCLES R US," a modern fancy facility that was a far cry from the old grubby bike shop Carl remembered with great fondness. More than twenty years ago, Carl used to race dirt bikes out of Fat Jack's shop.
    Carl was surprised to see the huge facility, and was pleasantly surprised to see that Fat Jack had not changed much in the last two decades. Even though he was over 80 years old, he was still huge, with a large nose and three chins. We pick them up as they greet each other:

    "Carl! Old Crash and Burn Carl! As I live and breath. Thought I'd never see you again, not after you blew up up three of my bikes in one day, and set a fourth one on fire when you took out the hot dog stand and nearly killed the ambulance driver.
    "What brings you here? Wait. Don't tell me... let me guess? You're here for the Old Timers Motocross Nationals this weekend. Wow! I am impressed. Didn't think you had it in you anymore."
    Carl smiled weakly, and answered: "Uhh, yeah... that's what I'm here for all right. Can't stay away from racing, you know."
    Fat Jack beamed, and Emma let out a low moan and started pounding her head against the counter.
    "She Ok?" Fat Jack was genuinely concerned.
    "Uhhh, yeah. This here's Emma, and when she gets hungry, she gets cranky."
    Fat Jack smiled. "Well, then, hells-fire, man. Let's catch a meal. It's on me."

    While Fat Jack was up at the bar ordering drinks and sandwiches, Emma ripped into Carl with a vengeance. "You big boob, what do you mean that you're going to enter a dirt bike race? You have haven't raced a bike in over 20 years!"
    "Yeah, honey-pot, that's true, but I ride our trail bike all the time."
    "What? If you count riding down to the store for a six pack and a bag of chips off-roading, then you're in great shape for racing. The last time you even got those tires in the dirt was when we ran out of gas and you rode across that farmers field with a gas can on your lap. And you're going to race a bunch of kids? Hah!"
    "Well, now, Emma... they ain't exactly kids. Old Timers are over 40, ya know."
    "Carl, compared to you, they ARE kids."
    "C'mon, Emma. You really shouldn't worry. After all, like they say, once you learn how to swim or ride a bicycle, you never forget."
    Emma remained unimpressed.
    "Hmmmph. Carl, I've seen you swim, and it looks like you're trying to ride a bicycle in the water. If you think that you're going to race..."
    Fat Jack wallowed up to the table, with three pitchers of beer in each hand, and a waitress behind him with a huge tray of hamburgers and fries. "Here we go folks. A little snack to hold us over 'till dinner."
    Both Carl and Emma were stunned! There were are least two dozen burgers and fries on the huge tray. Emma's eyes bugged out. "Is all of this for us, Mr. Splinkowitz?"
    "Heck no, little lady. We got some cole slaw, onion rings and fried zucchini coming up. By the way, just call me Fat Jack. Everybody else does."

    With that, Fat Jack proceeded to show why he was not skinny, as he quickly ate six double burgers and washed them down with two full pitchers of suds, before he relaxed and leaned forward to chat. "There, that takes the edge off. Now then, Carl. What class you want to race in?"
    "Uhhh, whataya got? I don't want to take advantage of anyone, ya know."
    "Well, we got Beginner, Novice, Amateur, Expert and Master. Then we also got these divided into over 40 and over 50 years old. I know you're over 50, but you might not want to run with the Experts. Some of those old guys are pretty quick. How about signing up as an amateur?"
    Carl started on his third burger and answered: “ggdddoo ppppprrepp slluuuup szooodd...”
    Emma cut in. "Carl, how many times have I asked you not to talk with your mouth full?"
    Carl grunted and swallowed a mouthful the size of a grapefruit. "Sorry. But these are great burgers. Anyways, I usta be an Expert, and I say once an expert, always an Expert. Anyways, more important than that, what kind of bike are you gonna line me up with, Fat Jack? You know I don't like 125s and 250s. They just don't have enough beans to pull a real man around the old course. You got a decent open class bike around, like a nice 360, or a 400?"
    Fat Jack laughed. "Where you been, boy? Them days are gone forever. Nowadays, we got full 500 cc bikes and even bigger four strokes. But I'll tell you what. If you want some horsepower, sling a leg over a 540 KTM. It's got plenty of beans and it's the biggest two stroke around."
    Carl beamed. "That's for me! Serious horsepower. Yup."
    Fat Jack leaned over and whispered in Carls ear. "Boy, your missus is sure putting the suds away. She's on her third pitcher already!"
    Carl scratched his chin and looked puzzled. "Odd. She hardly ever drinks more than one or two glasses of Boones Farm Strawberry Delight. Must be the excitement of the upcoming racing."

    ***

    Three days later, Carl drove The Whale down the dirt road leading into Chicken Licks Raceway, paid the gate fee and found a nice level place to park and set up camp. The scene around him brought back many wonderful old memories: people were cooking breakfast and warming up coffee over small campfire stoves, tents and motor homes were everywhere, and a seemingly endless wall of trucks and vans of every type and size filled in the gaps.

    And the bikes! Long, tall and lean, the new dirt bikes were brutal-looking, singular-purpose machines with one thought dominating their design: to go as fast as possible off-road. Carl found Fat Jack next to an impressive-looking display of bikes and ATVs under a huge tent with a MOTORCYCLES R US sign on the front. Beautiful young ladies with string bikinis and great tans were handing out brochures to goggle-eyed potential customers.

    Fat Jack dragged Carl under the tent and pointed. "There she is! One nearly brand new KTM 540. It's a demo model." Fat Jack leaned over and whispered in Carls ear: "Don't say anything, Carl, but this one here is sorta special. It's got a ported barrel, a special pipe and a trick over-size carb. I mean, the stock one is plenty fast, but when a customer slings a leg over this beauty, it scares the livin' hell out of him, and he's got to have it! Anyway, you're already signed up, so why don't you get your gear on and get some practice laps in."

    An hour later, Carl had his riding gear on and was trying to figure how to get his leg over the saddle of the ultra-tall bike. With the aid of a stout milk crate, Carl eventually got seated and fired up the big Austrian mount.
    His first few laps were a study in terror. Every time he cracked the throttle on the 540, a huge rooster tail would spurt out from the rear wheel and the front end would point up to the sky. Before Carl had gone ten minutes, his forearms were cramped up and he was breathing like a rabbit being pursued by the hounds of hell.

    A humbled Carl pulled into the pits and leaned the KTM against the side of The Whale. Emma was sitting in a lawn chair, reading a Harlequin romance thriller, and looked up from underneath her large straw hat. "Still alive, I see. Well, champ, do you still have all your old moves?"
    Carl shook his head. "Boy, this may have been a big mistake, Emma. This thing is so powerful that I can barely hang on. Oh well, at least I only have to ride one 30 minute race, instead of the usual two race format. Meanwhile, I'm gonna lay here in the shade like a beached carp and try to rest up before the start. Jeez, Emma... I sorta forgot how tough this sport was."

    ***

    Two hours later, they called Carl's class to the starting line. Forty riders lined up, revving their engines, with puffs of light blue smoke burping out of the exhaust pipes. Carl figured he would play it safe and not try for a good start. No sense getting tangled up in first turn traffic.
    To play it safe, Carl slipped the big KTM bike into third gear, instead of taking off in first like he normally would. Carl assumed that the 540 would ease off the line in third, instead of digging trenches.

    The gate dropped and the pack roared off the line. The 540 hesitated a moment as Carl slipped the clutch, then came to life and thundered off the line like a top fueler.
    Sooner than he expected, Carl approached the first turn with the motor howling, only to find the turn full of bikes.
    In an advanced state of panic, Carl did what many old time riders used to do out of bad habit. He laid it down. Or at least he tried to. The KTM went into a full lock slide at full throttle, and blasted into the cluster of bikes.
    Both tires knocked bikes down like pins in a bowling alley, and Carl was frozen at the controls, and left the throttle on. Perhaps it was this that lent the bike a semblance of control, as the fierce gyro effect of the spinning rear wheel literally flipped other bikes out of the way, and kept the chassis from flopping over on its side.
    Carl closed his eyes and figured death was near. What a way to go! Flat out, in the first turn at a motocross
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck

  13. #208
    Super Swamper
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Woodinville, WA
    Posts
    3,217
    Thanks
    164
    Thanked 589 Times in 437 Posts
    race! Well, at least Emma would have something to talk about after the funeral.
    A moment later, Carl opened his eyes, mostly because all of the crashing and sounds of impact had stopped. He squeezed the clutch in and rolled to a stop about 25 feet past the first turn, then looked back to see what had happened.
    Good Lord! There were exactly 39 bikes in a giant pile-up, and Carl was not part of the carnage. Well, he figured, better lucky than skillful, so he slipped the clutch and darted off down the course.

    It was a full two laps before they got the mass of bikes untangled, and Carl used the time to circulate around the course, using as little energy as possible. Even so, his arms started pumping up, his hands turned into claws and his legs started to burn like he was running a marathon with Kate Smith strapped to his back. Little red dots danced in front of his eyes, and his breath got more and more ragged. His mouth felt like someone had stuffed a bag full of dog hair inside.
    Emma gave him a signal with a chalk board. Whoa! Someone was closing fast. His lead had dropped from two laps, to less than 20 seconds. Carl picked up the pace a bit, but this just made things worse. The bike was now literally an out-of-control projectile. All Carl could do was hang on and hope that the rider behind would not catch him.

    With a half lap left to go, Carl heard the sound of the pursuing rider behind him and gave it everything he had. A long section of sandy bumps separated him from the checkered flag, but the rider darted past Carl on the outside, and wheelied by to take the checkered flag and the win.
    Carl slowly rode to the pits, let the bike lean against The Whale, and slumped to the ground, heaving and gasping. Emma ran up, removed his helmet and gave him a big hug.
    "Well, dear. At least you got second. I'm very proud of you!"
    Carl groaned. "Man, that guy got me right at the end. I thought I had the win. Well, the guy earned it, coming back from two laps down. Who was he, anyways?"
    Emma beamed "Oh, that was your friend, Fat Jack. Isn't it wonderful that a man his age could ride that fast? And on a little 125 cc bike, to boot!"
    Carl moaned. "Emma, get me a beer. No. Make that about 14 beers. I think I have just officially retired from motocross forever."
    This too shall pass
    on a tow truck


 

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Logout