Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh goodness...

You know it's bad when your road bike is dirtier than your mountain bike. I have been riding outside a fair bit still but today I'm on the dreaded trainer. It's in the low 20's but the bigger issue is that Bodhi decided to eat one of my Pearl Izumi Lobster gloves the other day and I've been without booties since they disintegrated during one of the Leadville winter races last year. I can't complain much though. I think I've had both the gloves and booties since I used to work at TC. That was probably sometime in the mid to late 90's?? I usually have to make my stuff last as long as humanly possible.

New Year's Eve

I haven't been able to stay up until midnight on this night in forever. Forever ever. I don't go out on New Year's eve. Up here I guess we could walk to the bar but we loves us to stay home and watch either trash tv or movies. Tonight is the night though. We are ringing in the new year over here at 514. Every year there is a group of mountaineers that climb to the top of Pikes Peak and shoot off fireworks. I don't think we've seen the show in the 6 years we've been here. But that all ends tonight. We're gonna see the fireworks in all their glory. I will put on coffee just for insurance purposes. I'll try and get some pics but that's not gonna work out so much.

Hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe night. Let's not be stupid out there ok?

In other news...I recently had a student tell me that I remind him of the African American guy in all the Jackie Chan movies. Chris Tucker???????? Seriously. Don't get me wrong...he's a good looking dude and funny as hell but I'm not seeing the resemblence.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Sometimes I think I should have chosen a different career path. After several years working in residential I became fascinated with gangs and gang lifestyle and I still am. I applied to the academy in St. Louis and was about to go through the rigorous interview process when I just didn't think I could afford to not have a check coming in while I was in training for about 3 months. After that I looked into going to the border patrol but there was an extensive training for that at either Langley or Quantico. Sometimes I talk about a career change when we go back but I think I'm too old for that and Heather would probably leave me and I couldn't blame her.

Yesterday Spike was showing back to back episodes of DEA all day!!! I was in heaven. Most of those guys/gals have put in long careers with Border Patrol, local police departments, US Marshal's, or Highway Patrol but I think it would be an awesome job. I'm hoping this isn't the beginnings of a mid-life crisis. I can't afford a Corvette. I don't even really like Corvettes. I do think the satin Corvette jackets are pretty sweet though.

I know....I know

For Christmas, Heather and I decided we wanted a spiral ham. We couldn't find one smaller than 10 lbs though. So we got it and, needless to say, we had quite a bit left over. We put quite a bit of it in freezer bags and saved it but I bet there was still a good 3 lbs of it left over. The next morning when we went to do the clean up, we realized that we had left that portion of it out all night. I was going to deliver it to the homeless people since it would have been easy to keep cool outside but they have enough problems, I'm sure they don't want to be sick from bad ham.

We talked about giving it to the critters but I told Heather I didn't like that idea. We have enough large predators roaming around the house (I'm sure) and don't need to send that message. I also recall when we had a neighbor that would throw all leftover food in his front lawn so that he could watch as the bears devoured it during the summer nights. However, last night I went to let Bodhi out and there was a fox sitting in the front yard. He walked right over when I called him. He wouldn't get closer than 20 feet but he sat right down. I figured I'd give him some ham. So I went in and grabbed what was left and tossed it over to him. He ate a bit of it and then grabbed the entire thing and trotted off.

I know this is frowned upon and I'm sorry. In my eyes it was a little different since it was just one fox there and I knew he was getting it instead of just putting it out there and having a lion find it and then be more likely to enter that area again. Still I know it was wrong.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Heather and I went down to catch a movie tonight and then grabbed a bite to eat. We saw Precious and I highly recommend it. Anyway...we came home and found this mess on the couch. This was in our Christmas tree when we left. It was a cardinal that sat in a nest. This was actually my Mother in-laws when she was a little girl. Kind of a bummer but, for once, Bodhi is innocent. He was on lockdown in the guest bedroom and Dharma was the only one to blame. No matter how many times we told Heather's mom what the dog's name was, she always called her Norma. Pretty funny really. She used to always say, "I've never heard anyone name a dog Norma before I met Chris."

Monday, December 28, 2009

field trip

Today I cruised up to Denver to help a buddy of mine out so that he could help me out. Troy is a police officer and does a lot of stuff with Cherokee's on the side. He finds them and buys them up and flips them or he just salvages what's left of good ones and then scraps them. He had this early 90's specimen living on his trailer and needed to pull a few things off it. So we yanked the radiator, power mirrors, hatch struts and the steering column out of it and then took it to the scrapper as the rest of it was pretty played. I had not been to a scrapper before and it was pretty cool.

This guy had a front loader on it and he swapped out for the forks in seconds and then cruised over after we had unstrapped the Jeep.

Then he picked it up and carried it off to have the catalytic converter cut off, the battery removed, and all the fluids drained before heading to the big "chipper". The Jeep was smashed flat and then placed on a conveyor belt of sorts before being chewed up by these 2 massive gears. They grind the whole car down to nothing and then, somehow, what's created is sorted. Fabric stuff goes down one chute, copper into another, aluminum down another, steel in another, and so on. Pretty incredible how things go in their appropriate places. Not sure how they do it.

This was a pile of debris. There were washers and dryers, refrigerators, you name it. They had the cranes that have a claw attached to them and they come down and grab hold of whatever is too big for the front loaders to push around and stack them on top of each other. This pile was probably 2 stories and the guy said they can stack the stuff over twice that high. There were entire cars in that pile. While we were waiting a semi pulled up with a trailer that was getting scrapped. The driver unhooked and left it there. It was picked up by the claw and dropped near the big pile. Then another machine that was basically a massive hydraulic lobster claw came over and started wrecking it. The claw grabbed the axles (after they had been smashed from the trailer frame) right in the middle and snapped them like toothpicks. Pretty impressive. Troy said that sometimes when the place is slow the workers operating the claw will grab a car by the front end and flip it over so it's upside down and then drop the claw on the underside of the motor and rip the entire motor out. I was impressed and wanted to yell out, "Do it again!!!!"

After we got that taken care of we went back over to Littleton to where my van has been on strike. We loaded it up onto the flatbed. We joked about going back to the scrapper but then decided to take it to Commerce City so that my buddy Rick could check it out. It wouldn't turn over so we winched it up onto the trailer backwards. Once we got to the shop, Rick and Troy pushed and I let it run off the ramps and then steered it hard right just as it hit the ground so we didn't have to push it through snow.
Sorry for the terrible cell phone pictures.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today I was going to go down and do the incline but then I realized that my spikes (kinda like Yak Trax but with screws) are in the van. So I decided to do a trail that I actually hike with my bike a lot in the summer. This trail had no sun on it and I got cold so I decided to find a trail that was facing west.A few minutes later and I started hiking up. I eventually popped out on this little ridge. The singletrack is nice but it's rough in the summer.

Pikes Peak looked like it was still getting some snow up on top.

Anyone know what this thing is? It's on the top of a smaller mountain. There's a little door on top of that cement slab.

This is the trail as it climbs up to the ridge. Once up there, the trail goes to the left and right.

This is what I'm frying up tomorrow morning to put in my eggs. Then I'll be driving up to DEnver AGAIN to see if my van is still there.

Friday, December 25, 2009


I just wanted to wish everyone that stops by from time to time a happy holiday. Hope the season was good to you all and your families. Be safe and thanks for checking in.
Santa managed to find his way to 514 and delivered the goods. Some of the things that we both got were clothes, smell good stuff, and a new camera to replace the one that I dropped into the river. My lovely wife got me a new down jacket that is super light and stuffs down to nothing.

Can you tell how excited Bodhi was about his presents?

Dharma's Mickey toy lasted all of 17 minutes. That was money well spent.

This was the best I could do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Well thanks to Richard over at OE Veedub for getting me a warranty starter from California in less than 24 hours. I picked it up early this afternoon and headed up to Denver to install it. It went in just fine and after I got the intake all booted back up I hopped in and.............nothing. The battery was pretty worked over so I had to do some pushing to get the Van resituated in the garage so that I could jump it off the Jeep. It DID NOT want to start. It was as if it was in a DEEP coma. I finally was able to get it started and thought I was home free died. Not only did it die but it did so with all the grace and devotion that it had before I swapped the distributor and Halls sensor. I started it a dozen more times and each time it croaked after a bit. Frustrated and cold in the 14 degree temperature, I decided to give up. I hate admitting defeat. Maybe it would be different if it was in my garage but....maybe not. Now I've gotta figure out a way to transport it over to the other side of Denver so that Rick can take over and do his thing.

While I was in the shower, Heather said that Santa had stopped by. Great I said. Did he leave me a car that stays running for longer than 60 seconds? Sadly, he did not. In other news...I noticed that Santa's hadnwriting looks darn close to my wifes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What now??

Well I went back up to Denver bright and early this morning to try and get my Van started. After a quick detour over to JDM Imports over in Commerce City, Rick hooked me up with a known good distributor and Halls sensor that he had laying around. Then I cruised back over to Littleton and started with the install. I remembered that the previous owner mentioned that the motor had overheated in Oregon once and this resulted in a rebuild. I decided to cut into the harness that contains the wiring for the Halls sensor and check it out. I found 3 breaks in the insulation for the ground wire and in one of the breaks there were several strands of wire broken. A trip back over to Commerce City and my new best friend (Rick) re-wired the harness for me while he took a break from doing a slave cylinder on one Westy and a head gasket on another. Then it was back to Littleton to finish things up. I got it all back together and went to start it. No start. No crank at all.

Grrrrrrrrrr. The battery was a bit low at 11.8 volts but I had tried to start that motor quite a bit on Saturday night. I tried jumping it off another vehicle and still no crank. I crawled under and checked the starter and it had 8.9 volts. A little low I thought but my manual wants a minimum of 8. I removed the starter and reinstalled it and no change. Then I unbolted it from the bellhousing and left it wired and used a jumper cable to ground it to the block. No crank still. Then I decided to jump the terminals on the starter with a hunk of coat hanger. No start still. I'm none too happy. I just bought this starter about a month ago. So I pulled it off and apologized to my wife again (she'd been patiently waiting all day for my dumb ass to get things done). I guess I'll be taking it back tomorrow and have them order another. Then we'll head back to Denver and do it all over again.

I'm a bit disgruntled with the Van right now. We'll see where this leads. I did some thinking the last few days.........................

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009


Today was our last day of school before the holiday break. Things have been stressful and I'm definitely ready for some time off from the job and time on the water. I deal with some challenging students but I really do like working with them. They stunned me today when I came in to my room well into first period and they had a gift for me. I've gotten plenty of gifts from students before but I wasn't expecting this. The card said, "Thanks for putting up with our shit". They gave me a new coffee maker since mine broke a few weeks ago. They also made sure that I got my special acid free coffee (I get horrible stomach pains when I drink most any other kind of coffee). It was the perfect gift as I can't make it through a day AND keep my composure while dealing with all of their issues without a lot of coffee. I suspect that my assistant Evelyn paid for everything as I know my students don't have any money and would feel terrible if they spent any that they did have. Evelyn said they all talked about what to get me when I was out sick on Monday and quickly decided on the coffee maker. I almost got choked up. Most of my students don't have a ton at home and many of them get really cranky when they know they're going to be away from a big piece of structure in their life. I was really impressed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oh my......

I'm not sure I'm going to keep the Vanagon when we move back so I've been looking into some of the Eurovan's for kicks. I didn't used to like these as much. The motor is up front and they didn't seem to be as cool as my van but I've been seeing some really unique ones lately.

This is a North American model that's got a bit of suspension work, some big wheels, and a nice body kit. I suspect it also has a turbo to help out the 174 horse VR6 motor too.

Today I found tihs on a German site. There wasn't much info on it but it looks to be the company's take on the earlier Tristar from my van's generation. I did crunch some numbers and this hotness would set me back $245,000. It has a ramp that comes out of the back of the bed to help load your jet ski or whatever.

This EV has a 996 motor in it and was clocked at 194.2mph.

This is the motor from the black one. It's another 996.

I've spent most of the night on youtube looking at what those crazy German's are doing with the EV's and Porsche motors that are pushing 600hp while testing at Hockenheim.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm home sick again today. My buddy Scott is looking for a road bike so I'm doing some looking for him. This is an exemplary model of how a bike should fit. The stem is reminiscent of something that I remember being installed on a yellow Scott back at the OG 6606 store. I can't remember the owner of the bikes name but I wanna say it was Christopher. TK would know. He always remembers the minor details that truly bring retro stories to life. I do know that this individual was rather creative in the kitchen and fancied Cornish game hens. This gentle giant also had freakishly large legs.

The water bottle holder all but guarantees you wont go thirsty. The suspension seat post allows all day comfort and those taut cables should keep you going straight.

Oh....the memories. Maybe it's the remnants of last nights Tylenol PM. My viewers and I are waiting on the edge of our beanbag's Tim.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Runny nozes are so dumb

For the last 2 days my left nostril has been running like a faucet and it tingles like just before you wanna sneeze. My eyes have been watering but I just can't sneeze. What kinda joke is it when your nose does this? Sometimes the clogging of the nose will decide to randomly switch from one nostril to the other at the drop of a hat and that's even more of an oddity but, luckily, I haven't dealth with that madness. It's a strange little organ for sure.
Got a call last night about a WRX that was for sale and it would be the perfect car to swap things over to the van. Some kid in STL rolled it and then bought it back from the insurance company. Everything is good but the roof and all pillars are caved in. It would probably make a cool convertible but someone like me could also pull the motor and harness out and throw them into the van. I'm sure I could part it out and make up the 2 grand price that he wants for the whole thing. If I was in STL I'd probably think pretty hard about it but I don't think I could get a conversion done before we move back and Heather would probably skip the divorce and go straight to murder if we had to trailer a hacked up Subie in addition to dealing with 2 other vehicles as well. I don't even think I could get away with it if I put a really big bow on it and called it a X-Mas gift.

Down but not out

All of my germ infested students finally got the best of me late on Thursday afternoon. Despite my routine disinfecting of desks, door handles, keyboards and mice they had me up against the ropes and were pummeling me with body shots. I thought I had a meeting with a potential new student on Friday so I went in to work. The meeting was actually on this Tuesday but I decided to tough it out. By lunch time the germs had given me a cut over the left eye. Like a soldier, I managed to go all five rounds and made it until 3.

Once home, I concocted a magical elixir that included one part night time Thera Flu and two parts Lager. I slept well most of the day Saturday and was actually able to stay up last night to see all 5 rounds (well most of the 5th as that's when it was called due to the 3 inch cut that opened up on his forehead) of the BJ Penn/Diego Sanchez lightweight title fight. While I really do think Baby J is the best pound for pound MMA fighter right now, I never miss watching Diego fight. One of my favorites even though he took a beating last night and was clearly out matched by BJ.

Last night at about 3 the cold turned into that thing where you feel like you're gonna constantly sneeze and the eyes do nothing but water. Good times for sure. On tap for today I have one final reflective paper to write for this class and then I'm done for this semester.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Atta boy

The lows at night have been anywhere from like -15 to -bajillion degrees. In an effort to stay warm I was looking through fishing highlights from the past. Here's Scott puttin' the smack down on a big Snake River Cutt up at the ranch.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Heather and I have been talking about where we want to live when we move back to St. Louis. We both want a nice house but I really wanna be near water and at least SOME fishing. It's gonna be sad for me to be away from the beautiful rivers of the west. We've talked about and have actually looked at some houses with pools. I think I may have found a compromise. There's gotta be some secluded cove-like areas on the Mississippi or the Missouri. Hell...I'd even settle on the Meramec. I'm not sure how I'd feel about a lake or pond. I kinda have a thing for moving water.

Now this is nice with the wood shingle siding and the deck and who could overlook ample trash containers. French doors are always a bonus to let that morning air/sun in. It's got centrally mounted air.

In all seriousness...I actually would live on this. I think it would be really sweet in some place like Seattle or maybe Oregon. For years now we've talked about getting a group of people and their kids together and renting a big houseboat somewhere and hanging out for a week. If I owned one it'd be like one big party all the time. I see hardly any flaws in this plan.

Maybe if this doesn't work out we'll still be able to look at speed boats. I just think it's a waste of time to look at any of them that don't have a V8.


A Federal Judge in St. Louis just sentenced the four men involved in the dog fighting ring. Based on federal guidelines, attorney's for the men were expecting anywhere from just probation to 6 months of jail time. The Judge, however, thought differently. She gave 2 of the men one year and a day and the other 2 got 18 months. I believe all will be in a federal prison. Although it wont bring back the dogs that the men killed or that the Humane society had to euthanize, it's a start. Hopefully they'll get some more consequences on the inside.

This is a test.

Just trying something new over here.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
How bout these chowderheads in rural Missouri that just got busted for a huge dog fighting ring? This annoys me to no end. 180 dogs euthanized because of their wounds and/or malnourished state? Sentencing is today and they face up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000? Not nearly enough in my opinion.

When I worked in residential facilities, I always noticed that there was usually one type of student that presented more of a challenge for staff than others. For some staff it was working with sexual perpetrators, or students that did intriguing things with their bodies or feces. I always had to be aware and check my emotions at the door when dealing with my students that tortured animals.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow and COLD!!!!

It's so cold it should be illegal. For the last few days it's been arctic up here. Now...I likes me some cold weather but this is downright uncomfortable. Last night I sat on the hearth of the fireplace. My wife needed to be at work early this morning so I decided I'd treat myself to a bit of Ron Burgundy. I went out to wake him up and he was on strike. I ended up hoofing it to work in negative digit temps. Good news is there was no shortage of snotsicles. My ass cheeks were frozen until about 0830. I'm not too fat in the ass and today, I was definitely wishing for some junk in the trunk. I tried to start him up when I got home tonight so I could pull him in the garage and I finally was able to persuade him but then I got out and noticed gas underneath it. I quickly got him into the bay and then found a loose fuel hoser at one of the injectors. I don't even wanna know what the insurance company would offer to give up if he went down in flames.
We're currently under a blizzard warning until sometime tomorrow. That means we'll probably get anywhere from 2 to 27" of snow. I personally think it's too darn cold to snow but we'll see. In the meantime Heather and I are going to play rock, paper, scissors to see who's taking the dogs out.

Friday, December 4, 2009

This picture was taken right by the intersection of 24 and I25. There is a creek called Fountain Creek that runs along 24 as you come down the mountain towards Colorado Springs. Monument Creek runs along the I25 corridor. The 2 meet right at this intersection. Over the last year the area along this creek has become heavily populated by homeless people. Most are probably drug addicts and alcoholics but there are some folks down there that have lost their jobs and homes in this terrible economy. It's developing into an interesting situation for sure. The city has been talking about issuing a "no camping" policy where this would be illegal. While I do think it's an eyesore these people just don't have anywhere to go (literally). Recent estimates have the number of campers to easily be in the hundreds along this creek alone. There's no way the police could arrest that many people and even if they would, many of them would be glad to go to a place where they could get a warm bed and 3 squares. The other talk has been about creating a fenced in camp with porta showers and toilets for them to use.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's been a few years since World Rally could be seen on tv in the States and I've been spending the last 6 or so Sunday nights watching it on HD Theater. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) and Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) have been slugging it out. It doesn't matter what make a car is, they're all killer. It is a bummer though that we don't get to see the Ford Focus in ALL it's glory over here. The Subaru that Mads Ostberg is running is no where close to what we have over here but it makes it easier to root for him. It also doesn't hurt that he's a privateer and that for the last few weeks his girlfriend has been co-driving with him.

Year's ago the Corbitt's and I used to make the trip down to St. James, Missouri for the 100 Acre Wood Rally. At that time it was pretty much a club event but from what I hear, it's taken off and is now attracting some of the bigger boys over here in the states like Travis Pastrana and Ken Block. I'm going to try and take a Friday and Monday and do a long weekend back home watching those guys tear it up. The last time I was there Adam was driving what would eventually become my last Audi before coming out here. We hauled ass doing up to 75mph on gravel roads trying to get to the next point where the racers would pass by. Dave was in the front and Seth and I were in the back and, at the time, Seth was quite sick and I was trying help him change a medecine bag that went into his heart while we were bouncing around. Seth passed away shortly after that but it sure was a fun way to spend one of my last times with him. The Corbitt's have always been like brothers for me.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I went back out to where the van went on strike yesterday and started from square 1. Fuel? Check. Spark? Check. I unplugged the fuel pump relay and the ECU and plugged it back in and Herman came to life. I shut him off and reinstalled the spark plug and the wire and started him again and things were back to normal. At the speed of lightning I threw everything in and told Heather to get moving before he changed his mind again. We made it back to Woodland which is great since towing was gonna run me 150!!!! I'm thinking about getting a tow truck and doin that on the side.

When I got home I took a gander at the Hall sensor coming off the distributor and gave it the stink eye. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the plastic was busted off around the connector and wondered if the wires were grounding out against the distributor body. So I started it up and jiggled the connector and it died. I think this sensor talks to the computer and lets it know how much fuel to dump through the injectors so if this thing cuts out it would cause the motor to hiccup like it's been doing for several months now. So now I have slathered a liberal amount of silicone on the edge of the distributor body and later on I'm gonna see if that provides a bit of insulation to keep this from happening. It beats spending 125 on a new sensor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This is the thanks I get???

After all I've done for Ron Burgundy these last few days and today he decides to leave me stranded?? My wife told me I should go fly fishing while she got dinner ready. Who the hell am I to argue? About 1.5 miles after turning off highway 24, the van stumbles and then dies. I got it started a few more times after that but it died immediately each time. Now luckily, the road was slightly downhill so I just let it roll backwards. I eventually decided to try and turn it around in the middle of this road and was able to do so. Facing the right direction now, I pushed with everything I had (ever try pushing a van on your own?) and then hopped in and coasted the rest of the way back to the highway and parked it in a lot right there. Of course I had no service so I started to hoof it back towards Woodland until I could call. Wouldn't you know it...a student and his mom happened to come by. She works at a local fire station so we turned around and went back there so I could root through their tools and take one slide down the pole.

I went back out there to check the coil before we ate and I think it's ok but it's been so long since I've done anything with a coil. Initially, I wasn't getting spark at the plug I pulled. The second time I had my protoge crank it over, it did spark and I got shocked. I'm hoping there's an intermittent spark issue and maybe that's why the coil kinda tested funny. I suppose I'll head back out to it in the morning and see if there's fuel at the rails and re-check spark and coil again as well as the Hall sensor. Kinda pissed. If I can't get it fixed then I'll have to have it towed home and there's no way they're getting up the driveway let along in the garage. I also don't think I can take it somewhere. Those that know me understand that one. It's not so much the money (although we are broke) as it is just me wanting to fix it on my own.

Hope everyone had a good dinner.

Happy Turkey Day

I wanted to wish all of our friends and family a happy turkey day. We miss everyone back home and are anxious to get back that way.

We don't have too much planned for the day. I did something to my neck the other day and haven't been in this much pain since Adam's daughter's convinced me that it would be a good idea to try and do a flip on their trampoline. It didn't work out but everyone said it looked pretty bitchin' until my rag doll body finally stopped bouncing nand they heard me moaning. I recall hearing the giddy laughter of children saying, "Do it again!!"

Someone fairly local is selling these wheels for $50. Fitting aftermarket wheels on the van is a huge pain but that's a price that I think even my Chief Financial Officer would be ok with. Normally you have to worry about spacers, different bolts/lugnuts, the centerbore usually has to be enlarged, grease caps don't usually fit the new wheels (and those are hard to come up with), I've even seen it where the sliding door hits the tires because they're now pushed out too far. The bolt pattern of 5x112 is a bit odd but Mercedes wheels are pretty popular in the Vanagon world. I've got a friend that specializes in custom wheels for vans and he's checking on how much of a pain it would be to fit them. These may be pretty much bolt-on so I might just grab them and let em sit in the garage until I figure out what I'm doing with the thing. I think if I were to keep it after the move, I'd wanna slam it down pretty low and then these might look cool since they're different.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back when I was in college I had a black Scirocco that I loved. I drove that car hard and eventually cracked the sub-frame and both shock towers. You could stand on the front bumper and watch the car give near the skuttle area. So I needed a new car and didn't have much cash. I found a guy selling an Audi 100 for something like a grand and my pal Adam and I went up to check it out one night. We were surprised to find out that it was actually a 4000 Quattro when we got there and the guy just didn't know what he had. It was pitch black that night and with no flashlight it was hard to see it but I knew it was gonna need work (brakes, exhaust, etc.). The guy told me it needed a clutch but there was a nice puddle of brake fluid under it. The clutch was hydraulic and we were pretty sure that it was just leaking from the slave cylinder and might not be too hard to fix. We drove it and I liked it. It still is one of my favorite cars.

I remember getting it home and parking it in front of my apartment. The next morning I woke up and went to the front window to look at it....and screamed. Someone had vandalized the car. I went out there and was stunned at what I saw. Someone had taken primer and painted the ENTIRE thing without taping anything off. There was primer on the tires, the lights, the windows...everywhere. Then I opened it up. There was fast food containers and countless chicken bones in the car. It was the filthiest thing I've ever seen. Long story wasn't vandalized at all. This is what the PO had done. Anyway...I drove that car for about a year and then sold it to a guy named Russ (who happens to own Mesa Cycles in St. Louis). I think he was gonna use it as a rally car. Don't know what ever happened to it.

What I do know is that Russ used to own a bitchin' white 4000 Quattro. In 1986 Audi made a commemorative edition 4000 that was white with red leather interior. Now I don't think Russ's was this model as his was naturally aspirated and the CE was turbo'd. Russ eventually did turbo the car and dump it with some killer suspension. I remember it being pretty violent. He sold that car to another buddy of mine named Steve. I believe on the way home, Stevie missed a shift and blew the motor. Steve never has less than 13 or so cars and so it sat for years. I recently learned that another bud of mine (Dave) bought it and is going to bring it back to life. These are some pics of the CE edition.

This is a car that I would be very interested in acquiring. I can't wait to see it again...and drive it.


Do you think this is enough firewood for an overnighter down by the river?

One of my neighbors (who looks just like Gilligan....he even has the hat) stopped by yesterday and asked if I wanted some firewood. So I drove the van over and loaded up.
One of the odd things about the van that I really don't get is the headlight switch. Yes...the fact that it contains no relays is strange. They are spendy little buggers and they're pretty easy to fry. But...why is the switch not illuminated? I always have to fumble around with my thumb while trying to turn it off in the dark. The first generation Jetta's came with one of 2 switches and one of them is supposed to be a direct replacement and it's illuminated. If those crazy German's were using that switch in the Jetta's up until 1984 (then they changed to the A2 and used a switch that wont fit the van) why on Earth did they put this one in van in 1988? Doesn't make sense to me. Since I can't find one in a yard out here I've been scouring the internet. I finally found one last night. These switches can cost up to $70 but I scored one for $7. I'm not entirely sure it's going to work but I figure it's worth the gamble for that price.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Play time

I decided to paint the wheels back to their original color. I love black wheels but I actually think this looks better.

I hated the switch that came with the driving lights. It was big and really bright. So I went with tihs one.

I really wanted to mount them inside the lower grill but I was more ok with drilling holes in the bumper rather than cutting up a perfectly good grill that I can't find anymore if a situation arose.

They turned out ok I suppose. Here you can also see Richard Cabessa in the drivers seat.

This is what it looked like with the black wheels.

Let there be light...but no washer fluid

The stock low beams on the van have been killing me. 2 Maglites taped to the roof would put out more light. There's about 1/2 a volt drop from the battery to the headlight connector and that doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot. I considered adding in 2 relays so that more power (always the answer right?) could reach the lights but I'd have to tap into the wiring harness inside the steering column and that's always dodgy. The real decision was made at the parts store when they told me that each Bosch relay was gonna run me $12. After connectors and wire I'd be close to $45 and I figured I could get some driving lights for that. I'm not a fan of drilling holes in bumpers (particularly this one) but I didn't have any other options. So I mounted up some lights last night.

After messing around with the main fuse panel to get power, I went to button everything back up and noticed one wire hanging there. So in a sea of wires I needed to figure out where it's home was. I decided to call it quits around 10. While having coffee and pouring over wiring schematics this morning, I realized that the wire in question controls the front windshield washer pump. The bugger of it all is that now I have to figure out how to make this work again. This is one wire in a plug that contains 15 different wires for various things in the front of the vehicle and I'm going to have to get the connector out from deep inside the plug and then repair it. I have a few ideas so we'll see how that goes.

Whilst monkeying around under the dash I did find another connector that wasn't plugged together. I have no idea what it controlled but I'm hoping it will equal about 47 more horsepower at the wheels. If so then I might be close 90.

I know you're dying to see pictures of the install so I'll appease you later.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Salvage yard

The van has quite a few dings and dents from the previous owner and probably the worst one is right on a wheel well and would take a lot of work to fix and then you gotta deal with the paint. You can get flares out of South Africa and they would cover this little mishap perfectly but they are well over a hundred dollars. So I walked around trying to come up with an idea that would work. The problem is that the arches on the van are longer (front to back) than the Passat, Jetta and Golf so that's not gonna work. I did find a really nice set of GTI mud flaps and started to pull those off when I realized that the inner lip of the wheel well is different on the van and that these wouldn't fit. The Vanagon is the bastard child. can find flaps out of South Africa but I think the last time I checked they were 50 for one set. Flaps are so Rally though. This yard didn't have one Vanagon! It had a couple of GTI's and about a dozen mid-90's Jetta's and Golf's.

What there were a lot of was ABA 2 liter motors in those Jetta's and Golf's. This is the 115hp motor. It wasn't anything special but it would be more reliable than the 2.1 in the van. I stood there thinking about it for a while because they are a dime a dozen. It could work in the van if you use diesel parts to connect it to the trans. After a bit of research when I got home I found that the 2 liter head sits 17mm higher than the motor that's in the van. and that would interfere with the bed. BUT......if I use a 1.8 head it would shoehorn in the engine bay since the head is shorter. I love looking around the yards at all the older cars that I've owned.

You're also gauranteed to see lots of interesting people at the junkyard too which is another reason to go. Yesterday a guy approached me. This guy was limping towards me and I noticed him out of the corner of my eye. There's a lot of people that limp at the junkyard only they normally can't even pick up said leg so they let it drag on the ground behind them as they approach unsuspecting people. As soon as he got close enough he let fly with the tried and true junkyard banter: "There sure is a lot of junk here". I put this one right up there with being in a sauna and having some jackass comment about how it feel's like a sauna in here. Anyway...this guy slurred like he had already had several pulls off the Ripple or 20/20 and then it came; "Hey brah....can I borrow some tools?" This bothers me. People that come to a junkyard are there hoping to find something for a vehicle. Generally, these parts are not just randomly laying around. There is some disassembly required. Now the only reason this is a real problem for me is that I once had a guy run off with some of my tools and that's just shitty. So in my head I'm thinking, "Fool me twice....shame on me?" So.....I told him no. Immeadiately this was a problem and I was the mean guy which is perfectly fine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Working it out

This past week I started putting together a workout routine. At this new school, they have a crap ton of free weights so I'll be doing a lot of squat work. The football coach has been helping me out with coming up with stuff to really work the core muscles and the legs. He did call me a pussy because on day one I told him there was no way I was going to try and squat over 300lbs. but that's ok. He also kept staring at my legs until I finally broke the ice and said we could talk about leg shaving if it would help. It's ok...I'm pretty sure I'm a real man.

He's got some interesting thoughts about working out. He's come over to me a few times and said, "That's not doing shit ya know?" I told him I will be his guinea pig as long as he makes my core super strong and doesn't put any weight on me up top. I don't really care if I gain some lbs. on the legs. So he's makig some changes to my routine but he's got me working out Monday and Tuesday and then again Thursday and Friday. He said that Monday, Wednesday, Friday crap is old school. What do I know. I just want him to think I'm cool.

New rubbah

I finally got around to fitting the van with some proper tires. A lot of Vanagon afficianados are a bit like the older air cooled guys. They're a bit eccentric and, while they mean well, they can some times get a bit carried away. The Vanagon originally came with a tire size that is extremely hard to find now and if you do it'll set you back a pretty penny. A lot of guys install Nokian tires but the cheapest I've seen them is a bit over a hundy a pop. To make a long story short...I opted for a lesser expensive tire and while it doesn't have the load rating that some guys think is absolutely mandatory, it is a better tire than what was on there and so that's a good thing. We're supposed to get some snow later this week so I'll be eager to see if they help. They sure as hell can't hurt.

As you well know, I love the van, but I have been mulling over a possible trade. I don't know if either of us are all that serious but if it does happen...I'll be road tripping. Fortunately, it'll happen in St. Louis so we'll get to visit some friends.

These look a bit like Blizzacks with all the crazy siping but they can be fitted with studs. Although that sounds like a pain in the ass it's nice to know I can do it if need be.


He looks like he's actually a good dog.

He's truly a magician though. Somehow...he got this entire sweater into his crate (while he was in it mind you) and destroyed it. It's important to keep in mind that the holes in the side of the crate are maybe 2" in diameter. There wasn't just a portion of the sweater in the box but the ENTIRE sweater. The jury is still out on how in the hell he got it. Dharma and him may be working a scam. I told Heather she could still wear it just so long as she doesn't turn her back to anyone.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Like my rack?

Yesterday was really nice up here. Temps were about 55 so I decided to go and check out some areas that I hadn't been before. I knew about where I was when I hit the third hour. This area is supposed to have a nice population of mountain lions and as I was riding along I caught a whiff of something dead. Normally it's not a good idea to check out a food cache but this one really stunk so I figured it was probably pretty old. I walked for a few hundred yards before I found it. Both of these antlers had barbed wire twisted all around them and there were 2 fence posts that were 6" in diamter that had been broken off. By the way the wood looked, you could tell that it hadn't been like that for long. The bull was 20 yards or so further into a drainage and was mostly gone. I suppose someone could have taken a poor shot and it eventually bled out in the drainage but based upon what the area looked like I almost think a kitty may have been chasing it or even gotten hold of it. Maybe the bull fought as much as he could until the antlers broke off after getting tangled and then he was defenseless? Either way it's sad. After sitting there for 30 minutes or so trying to play out what may have taken place, I headed for home. I came back later in the evening and retreived the rack. They are in bad shape. The barbed wire really did number on them and there's even a few chips where it looks like he was fighting for his life. Nature sure is beautiful but there are definitely times when it can be really depressing.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New bed

I got my new sleeping pad yesterday. This year I was using a section of a yoga mat that weighed in at about 10oz. This one is an astounding 1.5oz. I might go take a nap outside later on. I'd post up a picture of it but the camera has decided it os not going to work at all anymore and it would just be a 1/8" piece of foam anyways so......just imagine it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow Day

Woke up yesterday to our first real snow storm. I thought for sure we'd be out of school early but no such luck. It continued to snow all day and through the night and we do have a snow day today. Heather just whipped up a batch of rice krispy treats and we're gonna watch bad tv and sit by the fire all day.

I drove the van to work yesterday and about 400 yards from the house, I was involved in a minor bump with an SUV. It was my fault. When I rolled down my window and asked if he was ok he said yes and made a comment about how bad the roads were. I asked if he wanted to exchange info and he said, "No I don't think that's necess.......", I said, "OK see ya bye." I threw it into gear and tried to make a quick getaway before he changed his mind but I ended spinning the tires for several minutes and going nowhere before I put it in reverse and backed away from the scene.

In other news...Bodhi ate his bed that we just bought for his kennel last night. Later on I woke up from napping on the couch and, with blurry eyes, I could make out some carnage in front of me. And a brown creature. He ate half of a North Face winter boot. Leather, furry lining and all. Once was Heather's boot. All she said was, "I don't even give a shit anymore" as she walked away shaking her head.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back in bidniz

I got the brass bushing back in with no issues and threw that new stahtah motuh in and got everything buttoned up and Herman came back to life. We'll see how he does tomorrow morning when I go out to wake him up in the cold. The high tomorrow is going to be 25. I guess we're under a weather alert and are supposed to get anywhere from 12-25" of snow.

HD Theater has a show about Vanagons on right now that I'm watching. Those UK folks sure like the Vans. They were working on properly sorting a cracker of a panel van into a rather tasty specimen. I wish they had taken off here like there.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow. I'll be happy when it's over.

In other news...I have found that the DVR allows me to more than double the amount of tv I am able to watch. Tonight I watched 2 episodes of Man vs. Wild, the Abu Dhabi WRC rally race, and the Isle of Mann TT. Commercials are for suckers.

The best part of tomorrow will be when I get my new starter and come home to put that thing in. When the gear gets kicked out of this starter, it engages with the flywheel and the end of the shaft goes into a brass bushing that is in between the trans and the motor. I have to replace that bushing tomorrow and I'm worried about it. It looks like I get one shot at it. If the bushing falls down into the bellhousing...guess what? Time to drop the trans. To make things more interesting...the spot where the bushing goes is several inches inside the bellhousing. I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of how to go about it without shelling out 30 clams for the special tool. Special tools are for suckers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A mountain martini

Fishing and drinking go pretty well together. I usually always have a flask in my vest. Now I don't want you to get the idea that I'm drinking more than I am fishing. Those that know me will attest to that. Rarely do I break out the flask at all but there are times where it is mandatory. If a trophy fish is landed (and this could be a fish of exceptional size or it could be a fish that just took an exceptional amount of time to fool and size doesn't matter much)
and someone is there to witness it, then we usually celebrate. Sometimes in the summer when lightning storms cause you to run for some sort of shelter (not always easy to do) there's just not much else to do but wait things out and enjoy some whiskey.
Several weeks ago the boys got together for a long weekend of high alpine fishing and, I gotta tell ya, the variety of drinks was impressive. I brought the standby....Jim Beam. Some opted for an interesting mix of Rum and cider mix (which was quite tasty). Of course there was a bottle of Jagermeister there. Scott lugged up a sixxer of Old Chub and we toasted with those the first night. Scott also lugged up a Nalgene bottle full of vodka and in the bottom of said bottle were about 6 olives stuffed with jalapeno's. I'll admit, it was pretty damn good. Until we started getting closer to the bottom. All we talked about for hours was how good those olives were gonna taste. Long story short...they were HORRIBLE. They tasted like olives and jalapeno's that that had been soaking in vodka for days. In the picture, I am not laughing but trying to figure out what to do next and still retain my man card. Way to keep it down Scotty.

We're coming up on a year old for Bodhi now and ever since he was 8 weeks old, he has been fascinated with fire and the fireplace. I've seen dogs be intrigued by flames before but I don't know that I've seen a dog that actually will get hot coals out of the fire place and then eat them. I keep thinking he's gonna get hurt one of these times when we aren't looking but he takes it in stride.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Productive little day

First I removed the starter off the van to go get it bench tested even though I'm not a fan of the bench test cuz they aren't always accurate. As soon as the computer started spinning the starter I knew it was gonna fail. It was spinnin' slower than Scott Dobbins after a hard night of Belgian beer. NAPA wants 230 clams for a rebuilt starter. I made a call out to Richard at OE Veedub in Lake George. He's got a little mail order business and deals with air cooled and water cooled van stuff as well as the older bugs. He had one in stock and it was gonna be 150 after the core. When I pulled it out of the box I didn't think it was the right one but Richard insisted that it was an upgraded unit that Bosch had put out. After I installed it and the van would not start I knew it was for an auto trans. So I ran back out there to return it to him but he's gotta order one for a manual trans. I actually work with his wife who has a bitchin' Westy and she's gonna bring it to me on Tuesday so Herman the German is down until then. Hopefully we wont get too much snow on Tuesday. It's in the driveway and I have to do the repair there unless I wanna get creative to get it in the garage and I really don't for that quick of a repair.

Next I headed to the bathroom. I actually needed to fix the toilet and not use it. Our water bills have been unbelievable for months now. The average home of our size uses approx. 2,100 gallons of water. We have been using almost 25,000 gallons. After getting those numbers from the gal at the water company (after she asked if we had 10 kids??????!!!!!) I decided to investigate. The needle on the gauge was spinning faster than Scott Dobbins after a hard night of drinking (see it works either way). If I shut off the water supply to the crapper the needle stops but you couldn't hear the toilet running which was strange. So I rebuilt that bad boy and now the needle is at attention unless it's flushed. It'll be so nice to not have a 300+ dollar water bill next month. No I'm not kidding.

Next I had to install a new dryer tube as the old one split the other day and lint was everywhere. Bodhi thought it was great but me.....not so much.

We also walked the dogs today and got stopped by a toothless guy in a pimpin' Escalade. He asked if our dogs were pitbulls. We said yes. He said that he just got a puppy and it was a Golden Retriever puppy pitbull. I found this odd but decided to give him the horns anyway and replied with resounding, "Rock on dude!!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Way cool but....

I ran across a guy today who was installing the calipers from a Porsche 993 Twin Turbo onto his Vanagon. I'm all for cool car stuff and especially when it involves a van but this is a lot of work. He's using rotors off an Audi S8 (345mm!). In order to get these babies to fit he's using an adapter that is a stock van rotor that's been cut down on a lathe. It took 8 hours to cut down each rotor.

To get these calipers to fit he designed a bracket and had a machine shop make it out of billet aluminum. In this pic you can see it's not quite right yet as the caliper needs to come in towards the rotor about .5" still. I'm sure these bad boys are gonna slow that van down in a big hurry. I was anxious to see what motor was in the back that mandated all that stopping power. It was a stock 2.1. Most days I walk to work b/c it just takes longer to drive my van. Good thing it makes me smile.