Friday, May 30, 2008

Orange Juice, Milk, and Gasoline

I know, your thinking "What do these things have to do with the price of tea in China?" (I think I got that adage right - my father will correct me if I'm wrong, he always did like that one). Well, nothing really except they are all commodities - or at least OJ and Oil are. Milk must be one as well - even pork bellies are - why wouldn't milk be? I'll look into that later... on to the point (what little point there is).

OJ and Milk are both renewal resources and Oil as we all know... isn't. I don't hear people complaining about the price of a gallon of OJ (now pomegranate juice, that stuff is spendy). Granted, you don't fill up your tank with OJ or milk, but if you did, both would be even more expensive (look at what is happening with the price of corn around the world -- see I do have a point now and then). If it weren't for the government subsidies on E85....

I guess what I'm saying is, quit your griping, it is only going to get worse. Drive a motorcycle that gets 30+ miles to the gallon, take the bus, get a used Geo, or do the unthinkable... car-pool. I have no sympathy for those that complain and do nothing about it and continue to drive the expensive guzzling vehicles with no purpose. Drive what you want, but quit complaining. Or even better, do something about it.

It is kinda amusing that I couldn't give away biodiesel 2 years ago when I started making it... and now I have to beat people away with a stick. Ironic....

And if you are thinking I am a tree hugging, granola crunching, long haired hippie... you are severely mistaken (I did have long hair for a short while, but not any more (read: male pattern baldness -- thanks for the genes Mom). I just don't contribute to the watering hole complaining sessions at work about how bad life is and how I am not going to be able to feed myself, etc... now that gasoline is 'X' dollars a gallon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Vehicles are like socks.... or maybe not?!

Vehicles are like socks. They start out crisp and new, and you toss them when they get uncomfortable and ratty... at least I do - I also have a strange thing with socks, but that is another story entirely.

I've gotten rid of another vehicle (like that is any surprise). This time it was Boris' time to go. Boris was my 1993 Dodge W250 POS (yes, there was a POS model, and I had it). Boris came fully equipped with two burgundy mini-van seats, one locking door, a roof with my weight in rust, a leak in the windshield seal, a leaking steering box and pump, a leak in the front main seal large enough to crawl into, a dead spot in the steering wheel that'll make sure you get "white knuckles" from the wind when even a Geo tries to pass you, a shimmy that'll make you think your on the "Egg Scrambler" in Disney World, a transmission that had a mind of its own and would decide to shift into over drive when IT felt like it, and... I can't forget the exhaust... this thing sounded like a semi on steroids.

All-in-all... this was a great truck :-) It never left me stranded (well only once, but that was more my fault - and no I didn't run out of fuel). The good thing about Boris that I will miss... Boris was incorrectly titled as a Gas truck. Because of this he only had to get FTD tested (Fuel Transmitted Disease - ok so that wasn't funny) every 2 years (and with that funky RapidSCreen Roadside Emissions truck I drive by a few times a week it wasn't even that often). Oh well, I'll just have to get used to bending over ever year (and paying the $65+) to prove that running my biodiesel emits less harmful emissions than the truck did the day it drove off the showroom floor.

Now, I didn't just get rid of Boris without replacing him with something else... I did say that vehicles are like socks. When you retire a pair of socks you do get another pair... don't you? (I don't label my left and... never mind... so maybe they aren't like socks... but I am getting off track).

So, Boris was replaced with a 1995 Dodge 2500 (Cummins Diesel as well). I'm thinking of calling him Johnny 5 (from the theme song Who's Johnny from Short Circuit by El DeBarge) but haven't settled on it as of this writing. We'll refer to him as Johnny 5 in this posting for simplicity sake.

As I was saying, Johnny 5 is my "new" truck. Johnny 5 comes complete with 215,000 miles (yup, that's right folks '2' with '5' zeros (and some change of course), a rebuilt tranny sometime in the not so distant past, a set of tires that'll probably last a season or two, a tonneau cover in very decent shape, power seats, and a broken sun visor clasp (that hooked thingie where the visor sticks in place so it doesn't flop around and bang you in the head.... yeah, that thing... its busted).

The best thing... it is still Diesel, so I will be running on my Home Brew on the next tank.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Camping... and a Snow Cave?

Friday afternoon, Kenny, Gabe, Lyndon, and myself headed out to Guanella Pass to go snow camping. Yeah, exactly...what the hell was I thinking?! It was in the mid 40's when we departed. Well, we got up there a little later than we had originally planned, but we still had a few hours of light left. It was getting cold and there was plenty of snow. We found a parking lot of sorts (all the usual camping grounds were closed for the season still), unpacked and began preparing for a fire. As we were unpacking it started to snow.....
Ken was able to get a roaring fire going using only one match (granted it took him 3 to get the match lit). Once the fire was going Lyndon took it upon himself to unpack the chairs and have a seat to stay warm and cozy. Gabe started assembling the tent for the night, and Ken and I began shoveling....

Yup, we started piling up snow into a huge mound and packed it down nice and good. After we got a decent hill, we started tunneling. I kept thinking of "Escape from Sobibor" as I was digging (that and a cave-in that would kill me).

That night, we ate chili by the fire, has some drinks, and sat around doing what people do when they camp.

When came time to hit the sack (in the wee hours of the morning), Gabe and Lyndon headed for the tent and Ken and I headed for "The Cave".
The Cave was roomy (but could have used a little more head room) and quite warm. I had to take off two layers of clothes I was wearing while sitting around the fire. After the 10 minutes or so it took to get situated in there with the two of us we settled down for the night comfortably.

Morning came (as it always does) and Ken and I arose from our "Cave" just about the time Gabe and Lyndon were getting up from their slumber in the tent. Evidently, (from looking at how Lyndon was dressed) Ken and I had a warmer sleep.

Gabe started taking down the tent, Ken and I started packing things up, and... Lyndon picked up the chairs and stowed them back on the roof where he got them the evening before.

We got home Saturday afternoon to weather in the high 80's... go figure.

The drive home was 'almost' another story....

"Official documentation" on building a few types of Snow Shelters. Kinda funny as well.