Monday, June 18, 2018

Fathers Day, extreme style

OK I must make a quick disclaimer. This foto has nothing to do with today. I'll explain in a few. So, a semi-local 4x4 club I am interested in joining did a run on Saturday that piqued my interest. They went to the Paris Ice Caves located north-west of Bear Lake in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. I had never heard of the cave so I thought to myself, I need to go. I talked to Womak and we agreed that it would be a fairly simple Fathers day run. He called at 11 and said lets go. I was thinking it wouldn't be till mid afternoon but hey, more time to explore this new area. We headed over to Logan and proceeded up Logan Canyon to the Franklin Basin turn off. I must explain that there are various ways to get there but he promised this one would be fun. It had rained lightly 30 minutes before we hit the trail so the dust was non existent. I was very happy with this and thought this is gonna be a good day. We followed the road across the basin and went down Hell's Canyon, according to Womak, and then continued by going up the trail to Mink Creek. We passed a really nice Boy Scout camp along the way and began the climb up the mountain. We arrived at the turnoff and I was like, what the hell? German Dugway.... The road was marked travel at your own risk. The road is barely wide enough to fit a Jeep so I knew this was going to get interesting. I put Old Yellow in 4-LO and began crawling up the hill. It was 2.4 miles of some of the gnarliest rock crawling I have done in a long while. I must interject that the sky was looking like the 20% chance of rain was going to be 100 and right quick. I can say I would not do this trail if it was wet. So, seeing what was coming, I pushed the pedal a little bit more so we wouldn't be on it when the storm hit. I really wish I had used the GoPro on this trail. It was quite the adventure. Needless to say we made it to the end and were rewarded with a lot nicer trail. But, Mother Nature was mad she didn't hinder our Dugway trail so she opened up the heavens and all hell broke loose. Seriously....it was a freezing cold rain mixed with some descent sized hail stones. We went from a lovely 75 degrees to like 52 in 2 minutes. Of course, when I read that there was only a 20% chance of rain I figured I wouldn't bother putting on the bikini. Big mistake. Everything became soaked within 30 seconds. Plus, every time one of the hail stones hit you, it really hurt like hell. I understand the name now. Hail=hell. We tried to duck under some of the trees there but that was worthless. We decided what the hell and made a mad dash to get down off the mountain. Now, I had planned on taking a bunch of fotos at the cave but we blew by it with just a quick glance. 25 minutes later we hit pavement in Paris Idaho. We parked under the canopy of the local gas station while we decided what to do. The lady there was really nice and gave us several garbage bags to try and keep us dry. Too late for that! Womak wore his and I covered my camera bag. The interesting thing about this storm was that there was breaks every so often. One break hit while we were there and so we decided to head for home. We made it to Garden City and Womak had me pull into a KOA Campground. He wasn't feeling very good so he decided to rent a cabin and spend the night dry. I was ok with that. I went next door and bought a tarp and covered the Jeep before I went in to dry out. Now, I gotta tell you this. The people we ran into today were so very nice to us. A young man named Collin I believe showed up at the cabin door with a hot pizza for us. He was so awesome. The staff there helped us get settled in and life was ok for the moment. Everyone who knows me knows I have RLS. (look it up)  I can't sleep or function after about 7pm without certain drugs. Womak Passed out on his bed and I twiddled my thumbs dreading the 13 hours ahead. My body turns into a Mr Hyde and life becomes unbearable. Womak woke up at 8:30 and asked if we should make a run for it or stay the night. I have 2 weather radar apps on my phone for situations like this. I told him there would be a break in about an hour and we could make it home. He went and dried his clothes and my shirt and we packed up and split. We made it about 5 minutes before all hell broke loose again. We went like 40mph for about half an hour because I couldn't see out the windshield. The wipers did fine on the outside but the inside was just a wet mess. As we passed Beaver Mountain Ski Resort the break showed up. The rain went down to almost nothing so we sped up and ran for home. It was dry the whole way pretty much. It did start to sprinkle again in Garland, but it was really nothing. Later this morning I get to go clean out Mother Natures war on my Jeep. I did learn something though. Hail stones have dirt in them. My back was covered with this fine dirt from where all the stones hit. Weird huh? So, ya. What a great day for the most part. I have updated my first aid kit and now I need to update what I carry. I think I will now carry a change of clothes and a days worth of the drugs I take. Plus, next time it says 20%, I'll know it really means 100. Jeep on my friends!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Early Morning Musings

 This past week has been one that truly wasn't a very good one. I suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome and when mixed with the damage to my spine, can make make sleeping damn near impossible. I take 3 different drugs to counter the effects of all the problems and when I run out of one, it makes for a very painful night of attempted sleep. This past week was hell. I ran out of one of the pills and needless to say, my night life was ugly. Friday night I got my refill and life went back to as normal as it can get. Knowing I was going to sleep good again, I had my arm twisted into another Jeep trip to Indian Springs. Who could say no to such a great offer? After the last disaster out there,(see the last previous entry) I was more than ready to return and continue the exploration of The Indian Springs area. There are 3 trails that lead to areas away from the main canyon itself. The first was one that took you over the top of the mountain and down to the other side of the range. We did that trail last year on our first visit to the area. Yesterdays trip was to explore the other two roads. First up was the trail that leads south from the main road. We followed it til it got too narrow for Old Yellow and we had to turn around. We found the remains of a mining camp on this trail and of course we had to explore them. Above you can see what is left of some sort of building. 
 I really have no idea what it was but I am guessing that it was a good size cabin. If you look at the 1st foto, you can see some type of work bench under the tree just of of the Jeep. The pile suggests it was a good size cabin and I really wonder if there is a foto of it somewhere of when it was still standing. During our meanderings of the site, we ran across Leonard. His mingling with humans must be zero to barely, because he let us get to within inches of him and he didn't move. He was quite large for a common lizard of Utah and I would guesstimate him to be close to 10 inches long. 
 Leonard was soaking up the sun on the door to the pile of rubble in the foto above. This mess of lumber was the old outhouse for the cabin. It has collapsed like the cabin it served and judging by the debris in the hole in the ground, it has been down a long time. I wonder what could be found by digging out the hole it once covered? Yes that sounds gross but its a known fact that back in those days you dropped just about any type of garbage down the hole. Plus, I have heard of coins being found that more than likely had fallen out of the users pocket. Who knows what you could find in this one?
 What type of blog entry would this be without a foto of my trusted partner. We had to stop in Brigham City for a minor repair on the trip down. I was getting a nasty vibration from the tires so I figured I had better get them balanced before we continued on. Wow, they were not even close to being balanced Our tire technician quickly did the job and from there on out, it was smooth sailing. Old Yellow drives like new again. I like it! Now, back to our story.
Across the road and down in the area that I believe was once a small stream, we encountered the cold house for the cabin. These buildings were your basic refrigerators of the time. They are built into the sides of hills and were the best solution to keeping things cool as possible for the time period. Some even used ice to help lower the temps, but I am 99.673% certain that this one didn't. My reasoning? Ice used to cool this type of cool house has to come from ponds or lakes that completely freeze in the area. At one time, could there have been a pond nearby? Possibly, but I saw no evidence of one in the area. Could I be wrong? Yup I could, but I'm sticking to my no ice theory until I am proven wrong. 
Road 3 went north and appeared to go over the top of that canyon to the other side. I didn't follow it to its end due to the fact I was running out of places to turn around. Backing down steep trails with large drop offs isn't my favorite thing to do. All in all, it was a great trip. We will return again someday and try to get up to a couple of mines we spotted. When that will be is unknown. Its time to move down the range and see what other cool things we can find. Jeep on my friends! 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hall Guy, part II

 Welcome to the first real Jeep trip of 2018! The day began with me driving over to Logan to get my  stitches removed from my leg. It had been 14 days and they were ready to come out. The whole process took all of 3 minutes and I was free to go home. I stopped by Womak's place on the way home and we decided it was a great day to return to Indian Springs. We got on the road at about noon and headed south to the Simpson Mountains. This time I did choose the correct road up to the canyon where the springs are located and we soon arrived at the desert oasis. The metal cabin above is a leftover from the areas mining period.
 With this year being a lot dryer than last year, I didn't expect to see a lot of water, but the spring area was nice and wet. The road through here is a bloody, muddy mess which makes it all the more enjoyable. We scouted around and found 2 of the mines that are in the area. 
 The first one was basically a hole in the side of the mountain. Womak went in and found it to be quite small. Total depth was around 15 feet and that was it. Bummer! I was hoping for something better. We then decided to head over and check out mine number 2 when disaster struck. Me, being the graceful swan that I am, tripped over an ancient barb-wire fence. I landed in a sticker bush and thought to myself that I am turning into a real klutz. 
 I picked myself up and started walking back towards the Jeep when I felt moisture running down my leg. I looked down and my new stitch free scar was now gushing forth with a whole lot of blood. Needless to say I was not happy with my life at that moment. We were miles from the nearest paved road, let alone a place that could fix me up and that kinda sucked. We broke out the good old first aid kid and tried to stop the bleeding the best we could. The fix lasted all of 10 minutes before I bled thru the bandages on my leg. We arrived at the bottom of the mountain and pulled over to try something new. We took an old surgical towel and put it over the soaked bandages and then since we had no way to keep it there, Womak cut one of his sleeves off of his shirt and tied it around my leg, kinda like a tourniquet. This seemed to satisfy the blood gods and we headed out to the nearest place for repairs: Tooele. 
 An hour later we arrived at the only place open in Tooele, the hospital. We picked the perfect time, NOT! The wait to get in to be seen was over an hour. The place has 9 ER rooms and they were all occupied. They finally got me in and stuck me on a gurney in the hallway. From that point on, I was known as "Hallway Guy". There were 2 Dr's working in there and since I wasn't bleeding anymore my priority status was low on their list. The Dr finally came over and looked at it and agreed it did need to be stitched, again. He got his trusty needle out and numbed up the area and said he'd be right back. Well, about 1 minute later an ambulance arrived with a cardiac case and my priority dropped again. After about an hour, he returned with his suture kit and cleaned it up and started in with the first stitch. My leg was awake. It wasn't super painful, but its not something I would want to do again. He got a funny look on his face and went and got another needle of numbing juice and shot me up again. He wandered off to work on other patients and about 25 minutes later returned to finish what he started. I told him there were stitches inside that might be ripped also and he looked and agreed they were. He ignored that and finished sewing up the gash. He said a nurse would be back to put a bandage on it and sign me out.  
The foto above shows my new and improved stitches before she came and covered it with a bandage. Of course it took another 15 minutes for that to happen, but eventually she showed up. I signed my life away and was told to have a great evening. By now it was like almost 9 so we headed out towards home. Such a lovely day.....  Needless to say, I will be returning to Indian Springs to continue our quest to visit all the mines in the area. As for the title of today's post, this wasn't the first time I have been on a gurney in an ER in the hallway. I really thought it was funny and to be honest, it's really cool sitting there where you can hear and see everything that is going on. Not that I want to do it again, but it wasn't too bad, really. All in all, it was a great day. We now know where 2 of the mines are so we will have to return to explore it all some more. Sounds like a plan to me. Jeep on my friends! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Week of Fixes

 Good day, afternoon, or evening and welcome to another boring blog by me. Today marks the first real time this year that the Jeep has been driven and not felt like it was totally falling apart. I am serious on that. The damn thing did actually self destruct, but more on that in a bit. The Jeep, after a few long arguments and faxes with the corporation was delivered to Heritage Motors here in town for some much needed warranty work. I bought Old Yellow when Jeep was offering lifetime power-train warranties. The problem is that they expect you to do certain things to maintain this benefit. Lucky for me I do read the fine print and I do save receipts. So after a two day battle I won and the Jeep got to go in and get new oil pan gaskets and a new front main seal. Plus, I supplied the new oil and filter so it got changed on their dime. The Jeep went in at 8am and was done by 1pm. No more oil leaks, I hope. So, that ended round one. I will give kudos to Heritage Motors for their help in all this and their fine service. I am a happy camper. 
 Round 2 arrived on Friday when the Jeep was slowly driven to K&N Automotive. And I mean slowly. The ball joints were toast and as one last act of defiance, the bastards shook the front end so bad it snapped the bracket that held the steering stabilizer. It was so bad, some dude in a truck got behind me and flashed his lights till I pulled over. He yells out his window saying did I know my front wheels were wobbling out of control??? Duh! Not like the steering wheel was sitting still. So, I limped it to K&N and had Nate slap in some new Teraflex ball joints as well as new front bearings. The problem showed it ugliness between 41 and 50 mph. The job was also done quickly and I drove out of there trying not to get a ticket while I checked to see if the problem was cured. Max speed limit between them and my house is 40 so I couldn't quite check it 100%. I will say this tho, the steering was nice and tight and it went strait down the road. Nate does great work and I highly recommend his shop also. 
Round 3 was a personal battle of sorts. I stuck in a hi capacity all aluminum radiator from Mishimoto a few years ago and it went bad. Not a real problem, lifetime warranty. Well, #2 went bad a month ago and I was not pleased. It had only been in just over a year. I called and bitched and they admitted the quality hadn't been good and they were awaiting the v2 or version 2 to arrive. Supposedly this is an improved radiator and the problem will go away. Lets hope so. I started it Friday night and finished it Saturday morning. It looks the same but there was one noted difference; one of the bolt hole did not line up. Lucky for me it was one of the bolts that holds the A/C condenser. I got 3 of them in and said good enough. I did an initial fill Saturday night and topped it off today. I then took it out on a long 80 mile drive to see if it was going to hold itself together. And, so far, it has. The wheel has a minute vibration now but I am betting it has to do with wheel balance. The temp gauge held steady and no signs of any leaks. Knock on wood! The sun was out and it was just the perfect day. I folded back to top over the front seats and life was good. Of course I just read it might rain so I may be running out later to fold it back into place. Now, its time to plan a good trip out to some long lost mine and get back to doing what I love! Jeep on my friends! 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

It Just Ain't the Same Anymore........

Years and years ago, going to a concert was pretty much the highlite of that given time period. I can say that now, it's more......take it or leave it. Tonight was my final, don't hold me to it, concert. Judas Priest at Vivint Arena was something I really looked forward to, but it just didn't do it for me. Why, you ask? Lets go over the pros and cons. First and foremost is the arena. The acoustics there really truly suck giant aardvark balls. The 2 opening acts put their amps to 11 and thought all the noise was cool. It wasn't. It all sounded like a blur.....you know, like when you throw a bunch of shit into a blender and it mixes it and removes any recognizable individual unit. The opening acts sounded just like that. The Priest on the other hand were not at 11 and you could hear every element in their set. Only issue was the voice. The sound of his voice was having the turn it to 11 issue. To me, the tone of it was set at a flat setting. I know this is hard to explain but it just didn't work. Next in the cons is 60 year old head bangers head banging. There was one guy who was banging away and the dumb shit had to hold onto the railing so he didn't fall over. I was waiting for him to go over, but he disappointed me and stayed upright. Another con, band members. Judas Priest is known for their dual lead guitars, K K Downing and Glen Tipton. So, K K retired, and was replaced by Richie Faulkner. No complaints here, he is an extremely talented guitarist. Just before this tour, Glen announced he would't be touring due to advanced Parkinson's disease. They replaced him with Andy Sneap. Needless to say, when you are missing your top guns, your sound isn't going to be the same. Glen and Richie made a good team. Tonight, it was basically Richie doing maybe 90% of all the lead work. It really sounded good, but it was missing Glen. Last but not least, I'm thinking that I am too damn old. In my younger years, concerts were a huge party. I don't party anymore, and to be honest, I couldn't afford to if I still did. I mean, who in the hell pays $11.00 for a single beer? Really???? I watched the people around me come and go with beer. Whoever owns the beer stands is making big time bucks. I am one who cannot justify $11 for a drink. It's crazy! So, I am certain that I will not attend anymore concerts at an arena. As for the pros.... I really can't think of any. Tonight was fun for the most part, but lets face it... I am not 18 anymore. But, I could be tempted to head over to Wendover for a show there. It's not that big and the sound has always been great. So I guess I can't say never...... On a different note, I did order my new ball joints for my Jeep. They are coming out of Denver so hopefully within the next 2 weeks Old Yellow will be up and running again. Lord knows I need to get out and explore. Jeep on my friends!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

We Made It !!!!!


Way back in the good old days, November of 2008 to be exact, I began writing this blog for reasons I don't even remember. It has damn near been 10 years and I finally made it to the 10,000 visitor mark yesterday. I know that really isn't a lot of visits, but to me, it's kinda cool! So, I just wanna say thanks to all of you who read this. I am hoping for more entries this summer and will start writing again when the Just Empty Every Pocket (jeep) gets repaired.  Stay tuned and Jeep on my friends!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

What the Hell is Going On?

 Welcome to April 2018. I have not even enjoyed a day out in the Jeep yet. Why you ask? Well, due to a funding shortfall, the Jeep sat thru January, February and most of March. Well, that and the damn battery took a dump. So, funding returned, it got a new battery, and then the shit really hit the fan. Old Yellow has had a wee bit of death wobble for the past few years. Twas never much, just a tiny bit of shaking between 42-50 MPH. So, to my surprise on the first trip out on a, for lack of a better phrase, test drive, I was shocked when it felt as if the steering wheel was going to come off in my hands. I took it in to Jim and Dave's and we discovered that the cheap-ass ball joints that have plastic in them had gone south for time and all eternity. In their infinite wisdom, Jeep ball joints have gone from all metal to metal/plastic ball joints. Lovely! So now, I have to purchase new ones and have them installed. The bad thing about it is that unless you buy a decent aftermarket brand, you will get another filled with plastic. The choices start at $199 and go up to $250 for the set of 4. To add insult to injury, while we had it in the air, I noticed that the mighty p.o.s. 3.8 mini-van motor was leaking like sieve. I thought no big deal, I have the lifetime power train warranty so it will be fixed for free. It just so happens that the 5 year inspection was due so I took it to the dealership. They noticed the leaks too and went to order all the parts and Jeep sent back a note saying it was not under warranty due to the fact I had not done the first 5 year inspection. Wrong! I had done it and had all the paperwork to prove it. Long story short, after the back and forth calls between me and Jeep, I faxed in my copies and supposedly, the warranty was reinstated. We shall see. This past week has been so busy with crap I haven't had time to go back and find out for sure that it was reinstated. Since we all know that bad things come in 3's, it shouldn't be a surprise that we found number 3 while on the hoist. My 14 month old radiator took a shit and was leaking again from the same spot the last replacement was leaking. Knowing the procedure, I took the fotos and sent in all the paperwork. I will say that Mishimoto is quick and helpful but it seems that they have had quite a few of the Wrangler radiators fail in the same spot. Their return letter was yes, my return was approved but I would have to wait on the new re-designed Jeep model. Again, long story short, I do have the new version sitting in my front room waiting to be installed. What pisses me off the most about this Jeep is the fact that while it will go anywhere I point it, it seems to have a lot of shitty parts that are prone to fail. I put 125,000 on my 95 wrangler and the only bad part I had with it was a jumped timing chain that cost me $600 to fix. Hell, even the brakes were still good after all those miles..........
 My next hope was/is above in the foto. I inherited 80 1884 O Morgan silver dollars from my grandfather. They are uncirculated and quite pretty. He was given these when he retired from his job the 2nd time. According to my mother, the Las Vegas office brought these to his retirement party. If you walk in to a coin shop, you can get on the average $32 per coin. But, if you have them graded, the value can go thru the roof. These coins are not from the preferred mints of Carson City or San Francisco, ours came out of the mint in New Orleans. We sent 8 in to be graded and ended up getting 1 ungraded due to surface contamination, 1 ms63, 4 ms64 and 2 ms65. On today's market, we took $256 worth of coins and made them worth $700. You are probably thinking that was awesome. It really wasn't. The fees to grade the coins totaled approximately $300 so actual profit is $400, or basically $50 a coin. It really is a gamble on grading. You have to more than double the value of your coin to make any money. Why you ask? Let me show you. If you have a $32 street value coin, and it costs you $35 to get it graded, you are in the hole $3 dollars. The coin would have to be graded to an amount over $67 to break even. The ms63 coin I have is worth only $65 so I lost $2 on the deal. lucky for me, I only had one of them. I did fairly well on the other 6 coins, but not enough to send in more coins. I am thinking of selling them in groups of 7 or 8 for $55 a coin and let someone else gamble on their value. Who knows? I only know I need to unload them so the Yellow Jeep will run again. One word to you, if you ever get a rare coin, DO NOT try to clean or polish it. That will destroy any value in the coin. Like I said, I had one end up in that category. I have no idea what they found on it. The only thing I can think of is that when my grandfather was showing them to his friends that night, someone had something on their hands when they touched it. Since that night, they have been in the coin wraps until I took them out to inspect them for grading. Who knows? If you are interested in buying some, hit me up and we'll talk. Jeep on my friends!