Sunday, December 9, 2012

She's Back in the Game!

At long last, and like a Phoenix, she has finally risen from the ashes! After spending nearly a full year under the knife in Southern CA, she awoke with a belch of blue smoke and the characteristic gutteral growl that soon morphed into the low gurgling rumble that is her way of breathing in this world. She was scheduled to make a desert run to Phoeniz with me, but alas, purging the injectors and fuel pump proved a bit trickier than expected for Gabriel the mechanic at Mega Motors who had never before officially brought one of her ilk back to life. So I ended up collecting her on the return trip denying her the pleasure of accompanying me on my Joshua Tree jaunt.
 But now she's pretty good to go. Essentially a totally rebuilt engine; pistons, sleaves, valves, re-ground and hardened camshaft (optimized just a bit for highway speeds), rebuilt injectors, new thermostat, new glow plugs, new water pump, motor mounts, belts, etc etc. Most parts had to be imported from Australia courtesy of
So I ran her up from Southern CA and have been taking her out on weekly jaunts. Nice little trek out to Tomales Bay on Thanksgiving weekend to meet with a friend and injest some oysters. Seen above near Bolinas. She's about due to have her valves adjusted and head re-torked. Then good lord willing and even if the creek does rise (given snorkel) she should be good for many years to come!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cruiser is finally scheduled to be done by Mid May. Will likely be after solstice by the time I have the leisure to go rescue her. And yet the big world keeps spinning round on her axis. Some CA time has warmed my bones and given me time to reconnect with both clients and friends alike. New office space just secured in Portland should "precipitate" some wetter adventures in Risk Management.
The adventure continues. And as Robert Earl Keen would say, "the road goes on forever and the party never ends."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Curses! Foiled Again!

It's never easy to write about defeat... That the mighty landcruiser blew-up just hours prior to heading south across the border was a disappointment substantial enough that it's been tough to even write about. Few years ago I had the engine re-done by someone who botched the job pretty good and never made it right. Result was that she let loose again, blowing a head gasket most likely due to the fact that the valve sleeve clearance at the top of the head was too much which was holding the head up and keeping the gasket from being compressed properly. That it's a diesel engine, never officially imported into the states (Japanese domestic model only) has meant that shopping for parts had to be done in Japan and Australia. So months later now, those parts have yet to even leave the land down-under.  So we're likely still 3-4 weeks away from a rebuilt engine even now.
So it's satisfaction delayed. No escape to old Mexico anytime soon and a big repair bill to pay in order to free her from her unhappy current residence in Simi Valley. Happily, Gabriel and Mega Motors seems exceptionally competent and accomplished. I feel certain he'll do a great job piecing the black beast back together. The cruiser will rise again. As they say in Mexico however...."Manana". And as a good friend once told to me, when they tell you "Manana, it doesn't actually mean it will happen tomorrow, it just means that it WON'T happen today....."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Shrine of Cruiser

Well things were still going great at this point. Riding a wave of good cheer and anticipation while visiting "The Shrine"....Spector OffroadSpecter Off-Road, Inc. Land Cruiser Parts and Accessories in Chatsworth, CA. This is a virtual museum of Landcruisers and Marv helped get me dialed in by replacing worn out glow-plugs etc. He was also good enough to purchase my Toyota Air conditioning unit which is a rare part, but also takes up significant legroom on the passenger side, so I was happy to part with it. Running constantly with no doors and roof rarely afforded me much use of the AC. This was really a great stop and I'd gush more about it were it not for what came soon after. Details to follow...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Packing & Laying in Provisions

Richard Kline said "Confidence is preparation. Everything else is beyond your control". And so the preparations have been both extensive and exhausting. Laying up the proper stores and packing them away hopefully in an efficient and compact manner. It's an open vehicle, so you pack it more like a whitewater raft than a car. Virtually everything is open to the elements and the ride is rough, loud, dusty and sometimes wet. It's all about creating systems. Protect valuables and things that don't like water deep. The things you might need go near the top, as do the less valuable and more durable items and then it all gets lashed down as if you were heading into a hurricane. And you can't really assume she'll remain upright. Made that mistake before! Trying to collect your belongings as the EMT's are scraping you off the pavement is rarely successful. It's all you can do to keep them from cutting everything off of you with the trauma shears....never mind getting them to pay any attention to what's blowing down the highway.....  So just lash it down and hopefully it'll still be there when you collect the remains at the salvage yard.

Taken together, perhaps the most intriguing part of this process is just reflecting on the juxtaposition of fastidious physical preparation and a simultaneous mental readiness for completely letting go.  Because both are part of the game.
You have to use what you know to prepare to the best of your ability; anything less would be foolhardy.
Yet, at the same time,  if you know anything, you know that there's only so much you can do, and at some point, you just have to let it loose and embark on the adventure.

"Buy the ticket, take the ride" said Hunter S. Thomspon.

And if you have to quote someone, while perched on the ragged edge of the American Dream, looking south toward an extended desert road trip into old Mexico, then my money says that someone has got to be Hunter S. Thompson.
Hallelujah & Amen!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heading South

Two days out from the next great Landcruiser Adventure. This one: South of the Border. Back down old Mexico way where one hopes the searing heat will erase all lingering chills and muscle aches brought on by a marvelous fall spent in Haines, Alaska. While the place is outrageous, this year,  the snow has been equally so.  Record of all record November Snow falls this November. 13+ feet of snow in 20 days left clients and friends with tree damaged vehicles and properties. It didn't just eclipse the previous all time snow record for November, it DOUBLED it!
If it's not time to look south after that, I don't know when it would be. The tagline used to be "North to the Future" and so, now I say "South to the Past"! The Vermillion Sea awaits. Orale!