Sunday, April 29, 2012

I gotta get to camping!

Yesterday I actually worked on tackling a garage re-do and clean. I don’t deal with clutter very well, especially not in the office or garage, two of the places I love the most in this world. So I put on the work gloves, fired up some old Tesla, and began dismantling the mess.

I was re-arranging the camping gear when I realized how long it has been since I’ve actually camped. Each item made me wish I was in Big Bear, feet propped up, soda in the drink holder, good book in my lap. For me, there’s nothing like a couple/few days in the wilderness to reset the system.

I’m also considering the purchase of a small camp trailer so that the sweetie and I don’t have to set up a tent and pack the vehicle every single time we go. We’d just leave the camp stuff in the trailer, and worry about food/water/beer and extras. That’s what I’m talkin’ bout.

Of course, the thought of yanking a camp trailer to a remote spot and spending the weekend filled my stomach with butterflies. I’m so glad the camp season is upon us, because a get-out-of-town is definitely on the docket.

I missed SoCalFest this year, and it is the first one since ’06, I believe, that I couldn’t make. I’ve just started a new job and the first paycheck hasn’t come in yet, so I really didn’t have much choice this year. Also, SoCalFest was moved to Calico, and I’m not much of a rock crawler type; I’d much rather be surrounded by trees and green than, well, rock. I like Calico, though, and will probably camp there someday.

Anyhow, that’s the story at this point. Who else is itching to get into the outdoors for a weekend but hasn’t done so in a while? We’ll have to set something up this summer. If we go to Big Bear, we can also shoot guns. Who’s in?  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My New Old Colt 1911

My dad’s Colt 1911 was the first pistol I ever saw, and I was instantly in love. Thirty years later, I purchased my first handgun, a Kimber TLE 1911, black-on-black, just like Dad’s. It wasn’t Dad’s, though, and that was always in the back of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great piece, but there’s something cool about a Colt.

Recently, he gave the Colt to me. Just like that. It was mine. I did some research on the gun and I found out that should a person want one today, he or she had better have about $1,500 to shell out, because it’s now a collector item.

The 1911 in question is a Colt MK IV Series ’70 Government Model .45. I looked up the serial number and found out that this particular gun was manufactured in ’76, making it an original specimen. It’s in wonderful shape, too.

Colt re-introduced the Series ’70 in the early 2000s, but the purists weren’t big fans because the gun was really an 80 Series with Series ’70 internals. Just about any Colt 1911 lover covets the original ‘70s, and they have become highly desirable.

The only thing I didn’t like about the gun were the wrap-around rubber grips. They looked out-of-place on such a beautiful pistol. Besides, age had gotten the best of the ones on my dad’s gun, and they weren’t in the best of shapes.

When I bought my Kimber, I also bought beautiful wooden grips to put on it. When I received the Kimber, however, I found that I really liked the feel of their synthetic grips, and so I opted not to change them out. Good thing I kept hold of them, though, because they look spectacular on the Colt.

I have yet to shoot the thing, but I did take it apart, clean and lube it. The gun is amazingly tight; I don’t think Dad sent many rounds downrange. It does feature an annoying “finger-collet” barrel bushing that makes the gun extremely hard to get back together, but is supposed to vastly improve the inherent accuracy. We’ll see.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

So, I finally broke down and bought a metal detector. I had been doing loads of research on them, and I even joined a forum. They aren’t exactly cheap, so I wanted to be sure it was something I wanted to do before I chucked $200 or more out the window.

After reading tons and tons of information about the various types, I ended up with a Fisher F2.

I liked some of the other detectors such as the Garrett Ace 250 but honestly, I’m real picky about how things look, and not in a normal way. The Garretts are awesome, but they are yellow; I have nothing against the color itself, but the thing reminded me of those waterproof radios from the late ‘80s that folks in the commercials were taking into the shower. Yellow electronics were lame then, and they are lame now.

The only yellow electronic thing I can think of that is not lame is the DeWalt construction site stereo-boom box with the roll cage around it – that thing rocks all day.

Even when I was a kid, I would buy shoes based on how the soles looked. Yes, the soles; I didn’t really care what was up top, but the tread and the colors of the rubber had to be bitchin’, or no-go. It may actually explain a lot, but I’m no psychologist and so I just pretend it doesn’t.

So anyhow, I have only had the chance to use my detector once, but the thing actually works. In the span of a single hour, it netted me a rusty screw, a rusty nail, two old bottle caps, and what could be half a coffee can or some aluminum siding. Exciting stuff! And, what’s even cooler, is that all those items were in my very own backyard.

My house was built in 1934, and I’m hoping that someone in the ‘40s or ‘50s buried a fortune back there, all preserved in mason jars. Then I can retire and have a lot more time for blogging and writing novels. How sweet is that?

I’ll keep you all updated on my groovy, life-changing metal-detecting finds.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New 1981 Smog Bill

So, rumor has it there’s a new bill on the docket that is trying to raise the mandatory smog date all the way to 1981. Let me tell you, that would change lives, and not just a few of them.

If we didn’t have to smog pre-1981 vehicles, then millions of ’76-’80 work trucks just became a viable option for the little guy who makes his own cash. It means that low-income families who are more or less forced do drive something from the late ‘70s get to save money and hassle. Unless, of course, CA triples the registration on vehicles from those years; wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

It also means that you can drive that ’76 Cordoba you always wanted without having the referee futz with it – who could ask for more?

This bill really needs to pass. Also, if it *does* pass, I know a lot of folks (myself included) who’ll be a little upset that they sold some vehicle or other. My dad gave me his ’76 Chevy long bed 4x4 that he’d owned since ’77. I put a new engine in it, I had a lot of fun with it, but I eventually had to sell it because I couldn’t afford to register and smog the thing while also getting a neat 8 mpg.

If this bill passes, it means I could have kept it. Well, I guess it’s for the best, because I really, really like Dodge trucks better. I’m a MOPAR guy, and there’s not a thing I can do about it.

Anyhow, below is the information about the bill, and contacts you can make to voice your opinion in the matter. Do the right thing, here, and get Uncle Sam’s greedy-ass hands out of our older vehicles.


In 2004, legislation was enacted to repeal California’s rolling emissions-test exemption for vehicles 30 years old and older and replace it with a law requiring the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. This year, a bill has been introduced in the California Senate (S.B. 1224) by Senator Doug LaMalfa ( ) to exempt all motor vehicles prior to the 1981 model year from the emissions inspection requirement. The bill will be considered in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on March 27, 2012.

We Urge You to Contact All Members of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee (Contact Info Below) Immediately To Request Their Support for S.B. 1224

· S.B. 1224 recognizes the minimal impact of pre-1981vehicles on emissions and air quality.

· S.B. 1224 acknowledges that pre-1981 vehicles still constitute a minuscule portion of the overall vehicle population and are a poor source from which to look for emissions reduction.

· S.B. 1224 endorses the fact that pre-1981 vehicles are overwhelmingly well-maintained and infrequently driven (a fraction of the miles each year as a new vehicle).

· For years, legislators, regulators and stationary source polluters have felt the heat from failed efforts to meet air quality goals and have looked to older cars as a convenient scapegoat, using false data and inflated annual mileage assumptions to further their case. S.B. 1224 helps validate the truth. The old car hobby should not continue to carry the burden of past mistakes!

DON’T DELAY! Please contact members of the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee immediately to request their support of S.B. 1224. Please e-mail a copy of your letter to Steve McDonald at Also, please forward this Alert to your fellow car enthusiasts. Urge them to join the SAN and help defend the hobby! Thank you for your assistance.
Senate Transportation and Housing Committee

To e-mail all members of the Committee, copy and paste the email address block below:;;;;;;;;

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (Chair)
Phone: (916) 651-4007

Senator Ted Gaines (Vice Chair)
Phone: (916) 651-4001

Senator Tom Harman
Phone: (916) 651-4035

Senator Christine Kehoe
Phone: (916) 651-4039

Senator Alan Lowenthal
Phone: (916) 651-4027

Senator Fran Pavley
Phone: (916) 651-4023

Senator Michael Rubio
Phone: (916) 651-4016

Senator Joe Simitian
Phone: (916) 651-4011

Senator Mark Wyland
Phone: (916) 651-4038

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lookin' for a '70s Dodge Pickup

So, I’m in the market for a ’72-’75 Dodge 4x4 pickup. Why? The reasons go on and on, actually, but I think it comes down to “I’m getting older”. Here are a few other reasons, though:

1. I love that body style; the ’72-’75 Dodge trucks really get me going. The ones released just before that look pretty weird, most of the time. Sure, some of 'em look hot when they are lifted and have big tires, but those “swept side” trucks are all a bit strange to me. I have liked a few of them, and they definitely have personality, but I’m more drawn to the ‘70s truck look. Maybe it’s because I was born in ’75 and my dad drove a ’76 Chevy long bed forever.

2. NO SMOG. I repeat, this cesspool of a state doesn’t require owners to smog vehicles that were built before 1976; that’s what I’m talking about. I’m so tired of computers, sensors, harnesses, smog junk, and the inability to radically modify an engine, I could scream. I’ll take an old V8 any day, because I can slap on a 4bbl, a mild cam, some headers and an electronic ignition whenever I’d like to for more power. Substantially more power. Plus, I save on the stupid smog bill every couple of years. Screw The Man. I don’t wanna Go Green; I want to run 300 horsepower or more in an old, carbureted truck. So there.

3. I can work on the shit. There is nothing sweeter than working on an older vehicle, in my opinion. Everything is simple, it’s right there, and problems are very easy to diagnose. Changing the alternator isn’t a finger-breaking nightmare, and there are *no* sensors to go bad, causing me to have to hook the vehicle up to a code reader in order to figure out what the hell is wrong with it. Not for me. I like a simple engine that makes simple power in a simple engine bay.

4. Pickup trucks rule. Yes, this cesspool of a state charges me for that, but so be it (CA tacks on a “weight fee” to all pickup trucks unless they have a permanent shell). There are things I can do with an old pickup I cannot do with my current Jeep Cherokee. Like towing. Sure, the Jeep can yank things and it got my boat home fine, but it was pushing hard to do so. Even the smallest V8 in a pickup will do much better. I wouldn’t tow a travel trailer or another vehicle with my Jeep – not a chance. I can get more shit inside it, which is good for camping and whatnot. Even adding a shell to an old pickup is superior to the storage space in the Cherokee. There’s way more room in the cab, too; I get tired of squishing into the thing sometimes. I’ve never been one for small vehicles. Plus, I’m a big fan of bench seats; I actually and truly love 'em. About the only thing an old Dodge pickup won’t, for sure, do better than the Jeep is trail. The Jeep is superior in that aspect but as I said, I’m getting older; the trails aren’t near as fun as they used to be. I’d rather just yank a cool old camp trailer somewhere and setup for the weekend. Old people style. *lol*

5. I can lift a ’72 Dodge four inches and fit 37s under it with zero issues. A Jeep Cherokee with a 4.5” lift still has to be trimmed to properly fit 33s. I do realize that because of the size differences of the actual vehicles, the 33s are likely as big on a Jeep as the 37s are on a bigger tuck, proportionally, but still, it’s hard to argue with 37s. 35” tires actually look small on a big truck with a four-inch lift. That’s what I’m talking about. Oh, the lift kits are far cheaper, too, but probably because they aren’t designed exclusively for flex and/or trailing. However, I’ve seen a few of the ‘70s Power Wagons straight-out getting down on the trail with nothing more than a lift and tires. Trucks are versatile like that.

So, anyhow, there are probably more reasons, but you get the idea. I once had an old pickup, too, but it was a Chevy (Yuck!) and it had a gutless 400ci small-block, and it was a 1976 – smog monster. In fact, it was the one my dad had that I mentioned earlier. It could climb anything and go anywhere, though, and it was fun off-road while it lasted. Now, on to bigger and better (Dodge!) things.