Anything I want to say about cars, old and new. Love me some vehicle talk.

A slow, hot, bath

Nothing like giving my baby a slow hot bath. Running my hands over her curves while lathering her up. Touching every line and crevice. Running clean water over her body, and gently rubbing her down afterwards. Yup, I do love washing my car. My Challenger is all clean and shiny now.

I posted that a while back on my Facebook. My then girlfriend, now wife, at first was embarrassed because she thought it was about her. After that she was just supremely annoyed that it was about my Challenger. 🙂

Categories: Cars, Women | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

She was wating for me…..

My dad died last June, the weekend right after fathers day to be exact. He had a major aneurism a couple of days before Fathers Day, as he walked in to The Roadhouse in Kramer Junction. His Chrysler 300C was sitting beside the diner for a couple of days before my fiancée and I drove her up here. After he died she sat up here for a few months, and then was moved back down to my dads house, where it sat. My siblings and I all agreed (even the ones that do not get along), that the car belong to my brother T. T bought the car for my dad about three years before, and before my dad died he probably put close to 3,000.00 in to the car.

When my brother bought the car for my dad it had a little over 74,000 miles on it. As it sits now, it has over 247,000 miles on it, and still runs pretty strong. Mostly highway and interstate miles. The car had been in really good shape, but as my dads health became worse, his cognitive abilities lessened, the miles grew, and the car became a bit battered and bruised, inside and out. Hence, the 3,000.00 that was put in to it. Water pump, radiator, hoses, alternator, oil pressure sensor, windshield, etc.

My brother T let the car sit, he didn’t want to deal with it at first. I think later he just wanted to let the car “retire.” However, as I am getting married on Friday he agreed to let me have the car for my fiancée. She needs something other than my 21 year old, falling apart Explorer, even if it is only for a couple years until we can afford a decent car for her.

The car has been sitting since June and hasn’t never even been started as I had the only key, no ones else wanted the responsibility of the key. So last night I caught a ride to my dads, jumper cables in tow as I figured the battery would be long since dead. I walked up to my dads car wondering if I would have enough gas to drive the 20 miles to the nearest gas station, wondering if I was going to get pulled over for driving a car that wasn’t registered or insured, wondering how much money this was going to cost me in the long run, wondering if I was even going to be able to get the car registered in my name, worried that something would go wrong, and then I got a strange feeling that I should try the key, so I did.

She unlocked when I hit the button on the key fob and turned over when I started her. She had about a quarter tank of gas and all the tires were fully inflated. She had an oil starved tick from the top end when I started her, but as the oil flowed and she warmed up, she quieted down.

I pulled my dads clothes out of the trunk and put them in his house, along with his glasses and address book. I’m not sure what will happen to them, but I know that my fiancée and I will take care of his car.

As I pulled out of the gate and drove down the road, she started running even better. After using up most of the old gas and replacing it with new gas, she ran even more confidently down the road.

It was like she had been waiting for me to come back and rescue her the whole time.

Categories: Cars, Death, Family, Life | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cars and Cats

I like cats. I like Cars. Cars and cats do not go together.

When I stay at my fiancée’s place, where I will soon be living, their is only a small carport to park under. This saddens me as my car is left out in the elements instead of covered by a garage. Then I think about my car in the elements all day at work and I give a small sigh of resignation and move on with my day.

However, this last six months or so cats in the neighborhood have taken to jumping on and off my car, peeing on the powder coated rims, peeing on the wheel wells, peeing on lower parts of the doors, etc. The effect of the cats jumping on my car; all kinds of pay prints and scratches in the clear coat and paint. At the same time, the ammonia in the urine eats up the paint on the body and powder coat on the rims. You can see spots on the rims clear coat that have been totally eaten away already. Not to mention the stench of cat pee around the car when you try and wash it.

I see various cats outside in the morning when I leave for work, so it is hard to pin point which cat is doing it. In fact, it could be more than one cat. I hear cat fights outside the window a lot. I could complain to the owners if I find out which cat(s) are doing it, but I have a feeling my complaints will fall of deaf ears.

Some of you are probably thinking, “get a car cover.” I could, but the car cover in itself is a problem. First, their is just the hassle of putting on and taking off a car cover every day, or multiple times a day. Plus, living in the desert, the dirt and dust that gets under car covers starts acting like sand paper every time the car cover moves. I would be trading cats for a sand paper equivalent. Not a good option.

This leaves me with three option categories:

1.) Extreme measures. Leave out bowels of anti freeze or just stalk them with my 22 rifle.

2.) Try and find some sort of deterrent. Spray, ultrasonic, etc.

3.) Trap them and take them to the pound.

Category one presents many problems: A fiancée/wife that would probably be beyond angry with me. Don’t want to be kicked out of the house weeks within getting married. Plus, can you imagine our little girls reaction when they find out dad is murdering cats? I shudder to think of the tears. There is always the possibility of fines and/or jail for animal cruelty too.

Category two seems like a viable solution. However, when I read the online reviews I can’t seem to find any that always work. Either some cat’s just aren’t affected by them, or the cats learn that the deterrents are more of an annoyance that can be overcome.

Category three would be pretty easy. The fiancée isn’t opposed to it provided that we give a warning to the cat owners first. She likes to play fair for some reason. I’m leaning towards this, but the pound may have issues with me coming in frequently with trapped cats, especially if they have identification of some sort.

Anyone out there face this issue? Anyone have any ideas?

Categories: animals, Cars | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Me, my Challenger, and the “Mod Bug.”

A while back I was bitten by the “Mod bug” on my car, fairly soon after I drove it off the lot actually. The modifications started out small, cheap, and simple. A drop in K&N filter, dash mat, a Charger air tube to get rid of that stupid “intake silencer,” and durable floor mats. After a time I became irritated at the skip shift feature on my transmission, so I started looking for a way around that. I found a 20.00 resister and wire appropriately called a “Skip Shift Eliminator.” That was ordered and plugged in to my manual transmission right away.

Right now you are probably wondering “What the heck is skip shift?!” My challenger is a 6 speed manual transmission. As an “emissions feature” Dodge, Chevy and other car companies have developed the skip shift; from 19 and 21 MPH, under certain RPM load and I think sometimes certain temperatures, when you attempt to shift out of first and in to second, the computer automatically locks out 2nd and 3rd gear, forcing you to shift in to 4th. This is supposed to bring down emissions under heavy stop and go traffic. It’s annoying.

The skip shift was my last modification for a while; then I needed new tires. Of course that is a perfect time for new rims too! After that I was way too broke to buy anything else. This last year I had a little money saved, refinanced that car for a lower payment and lower interest, and my bumper to bumper warranty expired. A voice in my head cried out LET THE MODS COMMENCE!

The first mod last year was the intake with a Cervinis Ram Air Intake. I took out the existing air filter box, the insulation material under the hood, and the fake hood scoops. I installed a different air box with a conical filter, functional hood scoops, and a panel under the hood with ducting to rout the air from the hood scoops to the air box. When you close the hood, an opening in the panel where the ducting comes together seals to the top of the air box, at least in theory. It seems to work as advertised, but the fit and finish of the air box leave a lot to be desired. I have read of other people installing a Mopar CAI in the air boxes place because it perfectly seals with the Cervinis Ram Air panel. I don’t want to spend another 350.00 on the Mopar CAI though.

At the same time I modified the brakes. Early on I warped my front rotors, which I have since found out is a common problem on the 3.6 SE and 5.7 R/T Challengers. The 6.4 SRT Challengers have upgraded Brembo brakes and they don’t warp. I installed drilled and slotted R1 Performance Rotors all the way around the car and I paired them with HAWK HPS pads. The HAWK’s dust quite a bit and they are semi metallic, so they squeal under low speed braking. However, they stop a lot better than the OEM ones.

After that I put on a Catch Can. A Catch can is basically a canister filter that goes between the EGR valve and the intake manifold. It’s function is to filter out the oil that is the in the gasses that pass through the EGR valve and in to the manifold. These generation three Hemi engines lose a lot of oil in these gasses and it really gunks up the valves.

Just to make things look pretty I put stainless steel braided lines between the EGR valve, the Catch Can, and the manifold. It looks good, but now the engine cover doesn’t quite sit on right.

Next up was a Christmas present to myself; a Barton Industries Short Throw Shifter. I was going to go the traditional route and get a Hurst, but all the reviews were really bad. Evidently Hurst now farms their stuff out to China and the quality isn’t what it used to be. I received my Barton right before Christmas and of course I had to put it in that night. Same night I was supposed to meet my fiancée (then girlfriend) and the girls for dinner. No problem I thought, I read the instructions and watched the YouTube video, this shouldn’t take long.

Two hours later the sun was down, I couldn’t see, and my fiancée had to come over and hold a flashlight for me. She was of course freezing, miserable, cussing me, cussing my car, and not understanding why I was putting in this short throw shifter right now. My response: “because I want it in right now.” She was less than thrilled with me.

I had to re learn to shift my car. Strong centering spring want to bring the shifter back to the center of neutral as soon as you bring it out of a gear. I really had to concentrate to make sure I was staying in 1st and 2nd, not 3rd and 4th. Barton also claims that the shift throw is reduced 40%, I for one believe it.

As a nod to the old school shifters, I went with the classic white shift knob. It looks like an out of place cue ball in my black car, but I love its uniqueness.

The next modification came curtesy of my fiancée; as a gift she purchased a Diablo Trinity Tuner. She informed me that she was going to buy it, and I of course became excited. The tuner actually reprograms the car computer, giving you more performance, gas mileage, etc. A good human tuner can actually take the Diablo Trinity, put your car on a dyno, and give your car a personal tune. This would give you much more horse power and torque vs what the “canned tune” that is already on the Diablo will. Of course, the canned tune is a vast improvement over the stock tune.

My fiancée informed me that she was going to purchase this for me, so I of course jumped the gun and went to a website that specializes in these parts and ordered an A-pillar gauge pod mount and a Trinity adapter. The A-pillar gauge pod mount replaces the cover on your cars A-pillar with one that has a cavity built in to it to mount a gauge. My plan was to permanently mount the Trinity on the A-pillar as it has all kinds of cool gauges, a virtual drag tree, shift light, etc. When I was searching for the gauge pod I found a regular one, and a “Trinity optimized one.” Of course the optimized one was only available through one vendor, was a couple of bucks more than the regular one, and the shipping was 30.00. I went with another vendor on the regular gauge pod to pay a cheaper price and free shipping.

I received the gauge pod about and then the Trinity. I hooked the trinity up to my car, put in the canned 91 octane tune and immediately felt a difference in the throttle response and available power throughout the RPM range. I then customized the tune by making my throttle 20% more sensitive. As Challengers and Chargers have electronic throttles with no throttle linkage of any kind, you can do this. The whole car is basically drive-by-wire.

Once I was satisfied with the throttle sensitivity, I proceeded to put on the A-pillar gauge pod mount. I of course find that the gauge pod is so low on the pillar that it is impossible to correctly mount the trinity. I called up the vendor and they tell me I really should have gone with the Trinity optimized gauge pod from the other vendor. I can send their gauge pod back, but it is a 15% restocking fee, so I won’t get my full 230.00 back. I pull it out, send it back, and order the one I should have ordered. Instead of saving myself 35.00, I ended up costing myself about 50.00 more.

The new gauge pod is in, the trinity is mounted, and it looks good.

Next up was a ported throttle body. OEM throttle bodies are 80mm; I went with a throttle body ported out to 87mm. I went with what I was recommended by the company. I’m not sure if it is doing much of anything HP or Torque wise, but the throttle feels even more consistent now. Either that or it is my imagination trying to justify the purchase. I’m told it will really make a difference if I put on a better exhaust manifold, which I plan on doing some day.

At the moment, sitting in my garage are a set of new spark plugs, and a 180 degree thermostat. The new thermostat is so that I don’t burn my fan up with the new 91 octane tune as the tune changes the fan settings. The Hemi engines are prone to heat soak too, especially out here in the Mojave. A cooler thermostat definitely won’t hurt.

The spark plugs need to go in soon too as I am at 38,000 miles and they are supposed to be changed out at every 30,000 miles.

On order, and probably the last things I will buy for my car this year, are strut braces. They serve to stiffen the suspension on the car and help with body roll and flex. I bought one for the front that mounts in the engine compartment, and an arched one for the back, that mounts in the trunk. They have better ones for the rear, but they take up more trunk room than I want to give up.

What’s all this leading to and why are you doing this you may ask? Well, more modifications! Each mod builds on the next and improving performance. I plan on a whole suspension kit, stainless steel brake lines, shorty headers, better cat back exhaust, and someday a high performance cam and cylinder heads. I live in California so I can’t put high flow catalytic converters on, or I would.

During all of this, I do plan on driving some time trials, the Mojave Mile, autocross, etc. Although I have to say that this big beast of a car on an autocross, amongst Miata’s, Evos, BMW’s, (etc.) will be interesting.

Also…well… I just want to. What better reason should I have?

Categories: Cars, Life, money | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Motorgrounds, a Cars and Coffee type event


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More fun with vehicles, this time my 2012 Challenger R/T

Lately I have been experiencing hard shifts from 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 and downshifting between the same gears. I never had it before, just started intermittently and slowly encroaching it’s way in to my shifting to the point that every other time I drive the car it is rough shifting. I have read countless threads on Challenger, Chrysler, and Dodge forums on the issue. Evidently Chrysler is aware of the problem and has a technical service bulletin on it, but only for 2009 and 2010 vehicles! The issue is that there is a lubricant on the input shaft that doesn’t really lubricate. It instead gums up the works and does not properly allow the clutch to disengage from the flywheel. Weeks of research led me to discover a few things:

1.) The Challenger uses the Tremec TR-6060 Transmission, which is the same transmission used in the Viper (which I already knew). What I didn’t know is that Dodge is using the same lube on the input shaft of the Challenger as they do the Viper, which on the surface makes sense because they are the same transmission. However, the Viper is configured differently and the transmission area runs a lot hotter than the Challenger. The lube has such a high viscosity that the Challenger just does not get hot enough to actually make the lube do its job.

2.) Star Case # K38556860. This is Chryslers internal tech bulletin network number. It was a known issue on the 2009 and some 2010 Challengers. So Chrysler/Dodge wrote this:

Case Verification; Vehicle affected is the LC Challenger equipped with a manual
transmission. It may be difficult to shift in and out of gear.

Recommendation ;Repair this condition by removing the transmission, cleaning the
transmission input shaft splines and the clutch hub splines, re-greasing,
and putting all the same parts back together. No parts need to be replaced because clutch disc wear or shaft/hub spline wear are not contributing factors.
The clutch should be removed from the flywheel to properly clean
the clutch splines, because it is not possible to thoroughly clean
the clutch splines otherwise. Do not use harsh spray solvents
(brake clean, etc.) on the clutch discs… care must be taken to
keep cleaning solvents away from the clutch friction material.
Mineral spirits or similar will get the job done. Both of the clutch
hub splines and transmission input shaft splines must be
carefully cleaned. When applying the grease for reassembly, the
entire exposed length of the clutch hub splines (both discs) and
the entire length of the input shaft should be lightly coated with
the P/N 05083150AA grease, spread evenly on all splines
without excess. The flywheel does not need to be removed for
this repair. New clutch pressure plate to flywheel bolts P/N
06508880AA (quantity 6) must be used.

3.) This problem is only supposed to apply to 2009 and 2010 Challenger 6 speeds. In 2011 they changed the input shaft splines and supposedly used a new lube. However, 6 speed owners in 2011’s and 2012’s are also starting to have the issue.

The good news: I called the nearest Dodge Dealership, talked to a service rep who is an owner of a 2013 6 speed, had him look up the case number and he said that he is absolutely sure the powertrain warranty will cover the work. He also said he has been experiencing rough shifting between the first three gears and may have the techs look at his too!

The bad news: If it can’t be fixed under the warranty it will be around $900.00. Also, the nearest Dodge Dealership is two hours away. They said that basically never having done this before they want my Challenger for at least two days…and they don’t work weekends. So working around that, work schedule and the holidays, I can’t take my car in until January 29th. At that point I may have a local shop do it just so I don’t have to go out of town.

In the meantime, I am going to have my transmission fluid serviced this Friday (differential too) at a local shop. If that takes care of it, then I don’t have to make the trip or wait over a month for a fix! If not, the fluid needed to be serviced anyway, so I am really not out anything.

Categories: Cars | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fun with Ford F250

About then years ago my grandfather bought a 1984 Ford F250, with a gas guzzling 460ci V8 under the hood. This was right before fuel injection, but while everyone was trying to meet newly stringent emission standards, so the engine is carbureted and a MESS of vacuum tubes. He promptly threw on an MSD ignition system to do away with the “abomination” that was the Ford system, a K & N air filter, two chamber muffler, air bag suspension and then plopped a big Lance camper in the bed. You know the kind that sit in the bed, hang over the top of the truck, have a bathroom in it? Yep, that kind. He took it on a few trips, one of which he developed an vacuum leak and burned up a cylinder. My grandfather, not one to half ass anything, bought the best crate engine (still a 460) he could buy and had it installed. The engine has a brand new crankshaft on it, not a regrind and probably has less than 2,000 miles on it since it was put in the truck.

About four years ago he went to start it up, but it wouldn’t start. Battery was good, starter solenoid was good, and relay was good (at least he thinks). In his trouble shooting he decided it must be an ignition switch or wiring issue under the dash, so he started tearing all that apart. he didn’t get very far as it was the middle of summer, not in a garage or in any shade at all and laying down under a dash board is ruff on a young person, let alone an (at the time) 82 year old man with a bad back.

So, he stopped working on it, saying he would get to it when it cooled down…..four years later he decided to just give it to me. So now that it has been sitting for four years without being started it has more issues than just the ignition.

1. All three batteries are horribly corroded (one truck battery, one deep cycle batter for the camper in the engine compartment of the truck, one deep cycle battery for the camper in the camper) to the point that the clamps on the wires are messed up.
2. Gas doesn’t last that long. Both fuel tanks (19 gallon midship and 17 gallon aft) need to be dropped, pumped out and flushed.
3. While the tanks are out, the fuel pumps will be replaced.
4. Carburetor need to be cleaned out.
5. Fuel lines should be flushed or blown out.
6. Original ignition problem needs to be diagnosed and fixed.
7. All fluids need to be replaced and anything that can be lubed and greased (oil, auto tranny fluid, diff, etc.) needs to be lubed and greased.

Did I mention this truck is sitting about an hour away from the nearest decent mechanic? Consequently I will be doing all this in the dirt of my grandfathers yard, with the help of an 86 year old man who can’t really help. Grateful for the truck, just wish I had a little help with it. Nothing I can’t handle though 🙂

Categories: Cars, Grandfather | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Dodge Challenger Shenanigans

I’m a car/truck nut, always have been. I think it was something I picked up from my dad as he was a truck nut, especially old Dodge trucks. When he died he left a backyard full older Dodge trucks in various states of disrepair, except for the 1972 Flatbed, which is about 80% restored, driveable, and registered with the American Truck Historical Society. We would always stop and look at old cars and trucks, and he would tell me stories about the old stock car racers from the 50’s and 60’s. It took root and I always vowed I would get a muscle car. And I did! Sort of….

I ended up the proud financer of a 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T, with a 6 speed manual transmission, painted in “Pitch Black.” It’s a muscle car, but it’s a modern muscle car. Not as fast as the V8 Fords and Chevy’s, you want the SRT8 over the R/T to think of competing with those, but still plenty fast…at least at first. I wouldn’t mind having more speed, a new R/T Scat pack, a full on SRT8, or as long as I am dreaming how about a Challenger Hellcat….

Anyway, I digress. It was not long after I drove off the lot in my Challenger that I was bitten by the Mod bug. For those of you that don’t know cars, the Mod bug bites you and you immediately want to start changing things, adding aftermarket parts, making the car faster, handle different, look different, etc. So, I started saving and I started planning. My plans are coming along nicely.

First off was a dash mat and floor mats. A dash mat in the desert is an absolute necessity, the sun will bleach and crack your dashboard in no time.

Next came the skip shift eliminator. Some modern manuals will lock out second and third at certain low RPM’s, making you shift directly to 4th. It’s supposed to be a gas/emissions saving thing for stop and go traffic, when in reality it’s just a distraction. So I put a little 25.00 resister in and eliminated it, as the name says.

When I needed new tires I also bought new rims. 🙂

Next up was the seat covers, especially after the Halloween candy incident. *shudders*

This summer I splurged; I put on a Cervinis Ram Air Intake with a Charger air tube and new brake rotors and pads. Not sure if it does much, probably could have saved a little money on a different intake. Plus now I need to reconfigure the crank case line….ah well. The brake rotors were needed as I had warped mine…..

Just a few weeks ago I out on an oil catch can, and cutting the lines wrong for it made me realize I should have purchased the lines that are already measured and braided with stainless steel. So… I have those on order.

Also on order, a Barton Industries shifter
I went with the white shift knob to give it that old school look 🙂 I almost went Hurst, as they are a little cheaper and used to have a solid name, but the reviews from people that have had them for a few years are not good. Blown out bushings, broken shift arms, etc.

Not on order, but next up will be exhaust and a tuner. Going to put some JBA shorty headers on along with a JBA Catback exhaust and a Diablo Trinity tuner. It’s a lot of work to put the shorty headers on, as you have to lift the engine block an inch off the mounts, so I am taking it down to Lancaster to R&E Racing. They have done it before, know the price down to the cent and the time down too.

After that, probably go ahead and fix that crank case line by making my own air tube and installing a fitting for it. At the same time I would like to replace the 80mm throttle body with an 85mm throttle body. I’ll put the money out for a custom tune after that. I will need it to take advantage of the exhaust and intake mods.

When the more tame and easier bolt on performance mods done, I plan on focusing on the suspension. An Eibach Pro-Plus kit will serve me nicely. Heavy sway bars front and back, new bushings, new springs, new struts and the car will be lower by about 1.5″ in the front and 1.7″ in the back.

If, after all this is done, life hasn’t altered too drastically and if I have the cash (two big things to ask for, I know) I will have new, ported and polished heads put on with a new performance cam shaft. Again, a custom tune will have to accompany this. The parts alone are around 3,000.00 and I will have to have the install and tune done, so I know I am looking at a big chunk of cash.

Or I could say screw all this, save up close to $10,000.00 and have a supercharger installed……..

Categories: Cars | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Writing Challenge: Map it out

I’m a few days behind on reading everyone’s blogs, and attempting to write a blog that someone may read. So I just saw this neat little writing challenge, which is something I have been meaning to do. I have just never been sure of the format, so as usual, I am going to wing it. If you haven’t guessed already, I just sit down and start writing, I never have a plan.  I could go in to more detail about this trip, but this will be long enough as is.

As I previously said in a post, I love my car. Not long after I got my car, I went through a really tough time. Heartbreak (I’ll end up talking about that in another post), health issues, friend of mine killing himself, and getting in a lot of trouble at work for losing my temper. This was all in about a 3.5 month period. So, in the spring, I decided to take a road trip in my new car. I wanted to travel some of the back roads of Nevada, and I especially wanted to travel on the Extraterrestrial Highway and see the dinky little town of Rachel, and basically drive around the whole Nevada Testing Range, Area 51, etc. My brother decided to go with me.

Here is a map of the whole trip, all 1,100 miles of it.

I will break it down for you so it is a little bit easier to see just where we went.

We left Ridgecrest (where I have lived for the last 15.5 years) and drive North to Bishop,  where we had a late breakfast at the world famous (literally) Erick Schats Bakery. This trip was high desert, going in to mountains, and is quite pretty.

Afterwards we left Bishop,  we headed up up Route 6 through the  Chalfant Valley, and eventually the town of Benton. Not much in Benton except an overpriced cafe/gas station and a trailer park type community. From Benton we headed East and over Montgomery Pass , down in to the Nevada desert, and then on to Tonopah. I may blog more about Tonopah one day.

After getting gas and a snack in Tonopah, my plan was to head on to Rachel and hang out for the rest of the day and night. I wanted to stay in the trailer park hotel, drink, and look for UFO’s. My brother asked if we could take a detour to Austin; “It’s not that far out of the way, and I’ll pay for gas” was his argument. He also said that I could really open up my car on the road to Austin, and if I got a ticket he would pay for it. Hard to argue with that. So we headed North up the Big Smokey Valley towards Austin. Now, this is a long and lonely drive. I think I saw two other cars, which on these Nevada back roads is not uncommon. It is a pretty drive, and I don’t think I did less than 95 mph the entire way there 🙂

Austin was actually a neat little place, I wish we had explored it a little more. I will probably head back one day to do so. After looking at the airport in Austin (my brother is a pilot and is looking at remote airports for a business venture), we headed back down to Tonopah. While there we grabbed another bite to eat, gassed up, took a wrong turn, and headed to Goldfield before we figured out we went 30 miles the wrong way. We were paying very little attention, just enjoying being brothers on the open road. We could have ended up in Florida if we had been paying a little less attention!

Goldfield is a spooky place, you can feel the weight of the dreams that went there to die. I have been there before, and I never wanted to go back. We turned right around, went back to Tonopah, and then went up and around the Tonopah Test Range, and on to the E.T. Highway and then Rachel.


The E.T. highway should be named the Cattle Highway. It is all open range, and absolutely LOUSY with cattle! So here I am, at night, on an unfamiliar road, driving about 25 mph, and dodging cattle. What should have been a little over an hour drive, ended up being closer to three hours.  Good times 🙂 We finally reached Rachel about 9:30 PM, and quickly decided we were not going to stay in this place. Though we did stop for a drink and talk to some very odd locals.

My brother said if I was willing to make the drive, he would put me up in his favorite hotel in Henderson, which is on the other side of Las Vegas. My brother has a business based out of Henderson, but never goes in to Vegas proper, not his style. So, we (I) made the drive to Henderson. I think we checked in to the hotel room some time between 1:00 am and 1:30 am.

The next morning, after some great sleeping in and a late breakfast, we drove down to Boulder City to see the Hoover Dam. What gave this part of the trip some extra spice was a convention in Boulder City. The Mongols Motorcycle Club was having it’s convention there, and the police looked nicely out manned. If you want to read up on the Mongols, go ahead, you will get an idea of why the cops were crapping themselves.

From the Hoover Dam, we decided to drive on to Beatty, stopping only in Indian Springs (home of Creech Air Force Base and a squadron of Reapers) to grab lunch and converse with a really cute waitress.

From there we went on to Beatty. The only things to do in Beatty are eat, drink, gamble, and sleep; which we did. There are also a couple of brothels…..but I don’t think I will ever be desperate enough to go to a Beatty brothel. Those are some scary women. I also got hit on by a chubby drunk indian girl off of the reservation. I told her I was gay.

The next morning we had breakfast, and headed over to Rhyolite. Rhyolite is an amazing ghost town, and if you have never been there, you should. I encourage you to read more about it, and visit it. The header picture on my blog page was taken there.

From Rhyolite we went up the Daylight Pass Road, which goes up over the Amargosa Range, and in to Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley. I think the road goes over the foot of a sub range of the Amargosa’s, named the Funeral Mountains. I’m not sure, I just wanted to put Funeral Mountains in my blog 🙂

Long story short on Death Valley; a bunch of 49’ers took a never before taken route to California, went through an unmapped, unknown, and inhospitable desert, and most of them died. The only thing that kept them going was some big black mountains in the distance, which they thought were the Sierras. Unfortunately it turned out to be the Panament Range, which borders Panament Valley…another desert. They eventually made it just North of Ridgecrest, to what is now the Indian Wells. Most had died off at that point though. Fortunately for my brother and I this is not 1849, and instead of being on foot (the 49’ers had ditched the covered wagons, at the oxen, and even resorted to drinking ox blood while traversing Death Valley), we were in a Dodge Challenger.  So from Stovepipe Wells we went on in to Panament Valley, through the town of Trona (another place where dreams died hard), and back home to Ridgecrest.

Over 1,100 miles of driving lonely back roads, mining towns, cattle towns, Vegas, and bikers. Near Area 51, nuclear test sites, and Reaper Drone squadrons. I was home, and ready for a nap. My car was ready for an oil change, and my brother was ready for a shower.

Edited Post Script: Seems the maps didn’t turn out too well 😦 I’ll have to play around with this later and see what happened.


Categories: Cars, Daily Prompt, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Car

I love my car. It’s the first new car I have ever had, even though the bank owns in for 6 my years, I still love it. It was probably the worse financial decision I have ever made, but I do not care.

I drove a 2012 Challenger R/T off the lot 14 months ago, she had 6 miles on the odometer when I test drove her. 🙂

She has a 5.7 Liter (345 CI) Hemi V8 paired with a 6 speed manual transmission, and a 3.73 rear axle ratio. She pumps out 375 HP to the flywheel, not sure what it is at the wheels. Speedometer says 160, and I had her up to 145 when the governor kicked in.  Their was plenty left on the Tach, so I know she could have hit the 160 mark, easy. She isn’t the fastest thing out there, especially coming in at almost 4,000 lbs curb weight, but she is still plenty fast.

She may not get the best mileage, but I get a smile on my face every time I get in.

My girlfriend says she hates my car because I love my car more than her, she is mistaken on that. Image

Categories: Cars | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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