Sunday, September 28, 2014


Rainy weekend.  Faucet repair completed.  School is all planned for the next week.

So, what did I decide to do for this Sunday?  Yup – go find some mud to play in out in the West Desert.

As usual, I fill the gas tank before heading out.  I reset the average gas mileage indicator and about 30 miles out on I-80 I check to see how I’m doing.

27 MPG?  Wow.  My old one could only have made that if I’d driven it off a cliff.  And turned off the engine on the way.  Now, I know the onboard MPG computer is not completely accurate.  I kept track of it for a while and compared it to my actual mileage, and it was off by about 2%.  But that’s still over 26 MPG.

I get to one of my favorite spots out there and I see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the highway.  Nobody in sight, so of course I wonder what is going on.

Along the dirt road, just off the highway, I see the first abandoned vehicle.  I’m pretty sure nobody got hurt because I didn’t see any blood on the inside.

Somebody seriously rolled their Jeep.  But just one vehicle is not a bad omen.

A little further down the road I find this truck abandoned, with a flat tire.  Man, there was some bad luck out here this weekend.

I keep going, having a blast getting my wrangler all dirty, spittin’ mud all over the place.  Then I come across this Subaru, another abandoned car out here, but this time there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it.  Kinda getting creepy.

I head down another road, cruise around for a half hour or so and then come back around the vehicular graveyard.  A young couple are walking along the side of the muddy road, carrying a gas can.  I flip around and offer them a ride to their car, thinking it’s the one I can see way down the road.

As it turns out, the next car isn’t theirs, but another abandoned one instead.  We could see why this one was abandoned.

So deep into the water that the floor behind the driver’s seat is flooded with murky water.

Well, as it turns out Janice and Cam were part of a party out here in the dry lakebed that made the news when a heavy rain storm hit and flooded the whole area.  Their description of the whole thing was crazy.  People in cars stuck all over the place, they waited 6 hours in the car before a group of school busses showed up to bring them back into Grantsville.

We went to the lakebed to find their Jeep.  At first I drove onto the flats figuring that it would have dried up enough that I could drive on it.  Yeah, but just barely.  A couple of times I almost got stuck, and if I hadn’t heeded the advice “whatever, don’t stop moving”, I would have.  I was just barely moving, but I headed uphill and got out of the slick, snotty stuff onto the edge, which was just better enough that it was manageable.  From that point on, we skirted the edge of the lakebed.

It was surrealistic.  We drove all around the lakebed looking for their Jeep, a couple of miles, and saw at least two dozen abandoned vehicles.  Tents were left out there, as was a couch somebody brought.

It looked like some of the people stopped before they got stuck, figuring they could just drive out when things dried out a bit.

Other people look like they fought the mud, and ended up losing to it and would have to be pulled out.

Anyhow, 2 miles of abandoned cars littered all over the place, in my Jeep with 2 strangers and a can of gas, I felt like I was in some kind of apocalypse movie.  Maybe “Return of Lake Bonneville: The Brine Shrimp’s Revenge.”  Yeah, they must have got sick of being sold as Sea Monkeys.

Finally we found their Jeep.  I parked up on a (dry) hill and made them walk the couple hundred feet to their vehicle.  I wasn’t going to become a victim of the Brine Shrimp.

There’s Janice taking a picture of their Cherokee buried up to it’s axles in mud.

I was going to stick around for a little more mudding, but it was almost 4, and it started to rain.  I’d seen what happened the last time it rained, I was getting the hell outta there.

Fait Accompli

The faucet is fixed.  I started around 9:00 am yesterday and finished sometime around 2:30 in the afternoon.

My fear that getting it apart would be the hardest, most complicated part was unfounded.  It took me only 25 minutes to get the old one out.

The bulk of the time was spent on three trips to Home Depot, one trip to England Plumbing and trying to get pipes to perfectly match up through the small holes in the wall so they would screw into their respective spots.  I ended up having to make the holes a little bit bigger to get things to go together.

But alas, it’s done and I got to take a well needed shower.  Two days of no shower or tub and and all that fighting plumbing in a small space, I was just a little bit rank.  Good thing home repair places kind of expect that sometimes from their customers.

Friday, September 26, 2014

That’ll teach me.

Ever had one of those home projects where fixing makes it worse than it was before?  That was me today.

One of the cheapo faucet handles in the shower broke the other day.  It was working fine with a pair of fliers, but I decided to actually replace it. 

The screw that held it on was rusted, and the valve it was screwed into was a little cracked, I thought it would be best to replace the whole thing now and save me time later when it finally gave in.  $5 in parts was all it should have taken.

Thanks to piss poor design, I’m going to end up replacing the whole faucet.  A little spring in a little hole that press a little rubber gasket onto the back of the valve was gone.  The rubber was shredded.

I went through 3 sets of rubber gaskets and springs, trying to get them into a small hole, inside the pipe, 3” inside the wall through a 1” hole.  All 3 springs sproinged out and fell down the wall into oblivion.

By 3:00 I gave up, stuck a rubber grommet in behind the valve and turned the water back on.  Oh yeah, I have a shower, as long as you want to shower in straight hot water.

First thing tomorrow morning the water is going off and I’m going to start taking things apart.  I have no doubt that I’m going to be swearing a lot, since the faucet has been there at least 20 years, and who knows how long before I moved in.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Over 50, with the inner mind of a 16 year old, washboard stomach and Zombie Hunting permit.

Yes, that’s one long title.  But here’s the 16 year old mind part.  I took one of those stupid Facebook “What ____ are You?” tests and here was my response:

I never can see the connection between their questions and the premise of the quiz, but I’m sure the people who write these have a PHd in psychology, so they know what they’re doing.  Right?

Well, at least as much as the student who drew this picture of me.

He’s got my physique down to a tee.  Trust me, and please don’t ask me to prove it.

But what I am sure of is this Zombie Hunting Permit I got from the Wrangler Forum.

So, watch out Zombie Apocalypse, I have a permit and I’m not afraid to use it.

And just to round things off, here’s a couple more pictures students drew this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New doors for the Wrangler

A while ago I posted about getting caught in a downpour with the doors off.  Friday I received my cure for that problem.

2-piece canvas doors.  Getting caught in the occasional downpour wasn’t enough to justify buying an extra set of doors, but the cool mornings and beautiful afternoons were.

I haven’t been taking the doors off because it can be a little chilly driving to school at 7 in the morning.  But then by the time I head home, I’m thinking it would be nice to have the doors off.  These new ones fix that, because they are easy to take off and store in the back.

They come apart in two pieces, mainly so you can drive around with just the bottom half-doors, but the 4 pieces fit perfectly in the back behind the seats (I have the back seat out).  So they can easily be on in the morning and off for after school. 

They are not the epitome of luxury, you have to unzip the windows and fold them down by your side and they’re a lot noisier than the metal doors.  But they will be perfect for spring and fall days when I have to be somewhere when it’s still chilly yet it’s warm enough in the afternoon to want them off.  Well worth the $400.