Christmas – December 2017

21 Jan

Leaving Georgia where the snow was just melting:

Amy joined me in Denver and we went to Keystone Colorado for a week of Snowboarding. The snow had been almost non existent until a week before we arrived. We were very lucky to get several dumps of snow during the week which kept the snow powdery. The place we stayed was at the base of the mountain (3-4min walk to the lifts.) This shot was off the balcony on Christmas morning:

We had bought “Epic” passes which allowed us to use all the lifts at Keystone and A-Basin, they were about $350 so it worked out pretty good.

We were able to board everyday (except for me one day, when I hurt my shoulder AKA getting old)

On the way back to Georgia we stayed in Mid-town Atlanta and spent a few days walking around and checking out the sights, the Atlanta Aquarium is pretty amazing (worth a visit if you get the chance.) They actually have Whale Sharks and huge Manta-rays in one of the tanks – its that big! Also the Human rights museum is right next door and is not to be missed. Not too many pictures of the fishes else you will get bored (I took a lot)

Walking home one night we stumbled upon a really neat restaurant called “Negril Village” which served Caribbean food. It’s built in an old fire station, the food was very good and seemed pretty authentic (not that I’d really know.) I think I was the only white guy there and I was definitely not cool enough to be there.

We ended up spending ages there and talking to a group at the bar, turned out one of them owned the place. Good food, good people, good times.

Next stop will be California, it’s really hard to leave the south… but I can’t stay on holiday forever. Going to really miss my friends down here.

I’ve made some good progress on the truck, the steering can actually be operated from the right (hand) side now! Will add some photos at some point.

Finally!

18 Dec

I was starting to think that I wouldn’t be able to find the engine I wanted for the C10 and have to look at other options like new crate engines, which would be too expensive, when we got a lead on a motor from a 2010 Camaro. It’s a Aluminium block 6.2 ltr V8 with a electronic 6 speed Auto gearbox.

Unfortunately it was a few hours away, but that ended up being a good thing in the end as Brad and I had an amusing road trip and got to hang out properly.

Once we got it back to the shop I got some Sulphuric acid from a local boat shop and washed it down to make it look new’ish.

I also needed to swap the oil pan out so that it would fit in my truck.

Is this gonna fit? The biggest concern was with the transmission being a 6 speed its much bigger than the 4 speed I had originally planned. I spent most of today trying to work out if it would.

Yep!

So its now mocked up in place, I still have a few minor details to work out, actually not that minor as my steering rack no longer fits… but I should hopefully be able to find solutions to most of the problems…

No updates for a bit as Im away for a week!

C10 Project build – Dec 2017

18 Dec

Just over 2 weeks ago I got cracking on the truck, if you are not in to cars/trucks then stop reading now.

This heavy old front end needs to come out…

I’m making way for some tubular Independent front suspension.

Which I had to d.a. and prep before “learning” how to paint.

 

Almost looks to good to paint

Building the coil over shocks and new disc brakes

Things are staring to come together, I was pleasantly surprised with my paint job:

Food break – How about a “Hail Mary” which is a burger but instead of burger buns they use 2 toasted cheese sandwiches

The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but I had random people stopping and asking what it was and looking slightly horrified.

Glad I didn’t ride the bike this day, we had several inches of snow

Back to truck stuff and time to get serious, I want to convert it to RHD and put a late model engine in it. a couple of problems with that, hopefully nothing a cutoff wheel and mig welder wont fix. First I cut out the transmission tunnel

Now I have a Flintstones car, who needs a motor.

Then got to work on the firewall since the steering needs to be swapped over.

Lucky Justin stepped in to help, as I found my welding skills from 20 years ago were a little (lot) rusty, with his help we were able to get my first patch panel tacked in place.

I though the Dashboard would be easy but although it looked like a simple cut and paste, unfortunately the glovebox and instrument panel had slightly different angles going on. So cutting them was easy, getting them back in will take a little while.

I think the project is off to a good start, I’m feeling so lucky to be doing this here in Georgia surrounded by awesome friends.

And as a mate from NZ pointed out the other day its a real experience, so much better than just working on it in a Garage back home…

New project time – November 2017

4 Dec

A while back in one of my unrealistic schemes I decided it would be a good idea to buy a 45 year old truck body on the other side of the planet. So I did.

An incredibly good and generous friend picked it up and stored it for me.

Its a 1972 Chevrolet C10, with a 1968 Front clip.

This was a very half baked idea considering I had no way to work on it and it was in another country. Fast forward to now and I’m in the same country so that is a good start.

Sometimes things have a way of working out. The person I originally bought the truck from owns and runs a local Hod rod custom shop “Hot Rod Syndicate” in Buford and happens to be one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. We are now friends (at least I think we are…) and he is letting me use space in his workshop and offering plenty of awesome advice.

This is probably the most difficult project Ive ever started so it should be interesting.

Am I one of those friends that is always asking for favours from other friends….? don’t answer that.

The whole team at the shop are really cool and helpful, we spend a lot of time talking about food and beer from each others countries, (one of the guys is busy researching how he can import Bluff Oysters and Crayfish from NZ) The other day we were talking about Southern BBQ, next minute we are chowing down on probably the best ribs Ive ever eaten.

Speaking of good food, check out this Bison/Buffalo Burger, I didn’t even know you could eat Bison:

Sorry for the crappy photos, Ive been lazy and using my phone camera which is rubbish.

I’ll upload some pictures of the truck on here, as I go.

You have won the lottery US$30,000,000

3 Dec

Long overdue update, considering Im already in the country.

No money was sent to Nigeria for this lottery. Although it did take 7-8 years and 4 entries in the US yearly green-card lottery (which really isn’t that bad) and… I am now official.

 

I’m currently in Georgia working on a project and in the process of attempting to organise a job in our LA office, things are looking good so far but nothing has been confirmed yet.

I’m living in a place called Dacula, with some good friends and a small dog named Ivan who is slowly getting used to me. Although he is still not sure if he should sit on my lap or rip my arm off, dual personalities in dogs is real.

The first weekend I was here NZ Craig (who now lives in Canada) came down to visit. Really good to catch up after quite some time, we managed to see a reasonable amount of Atlanta, visit many bars and meet some interesting folk. Looking forward to the next one.

We drove up to Knoxville the other weekend to pick up my bike which has been sitting, lonely but well looked after in my friend’s mom’s (mom not mum, I’m American now) garage for the past 6 years! I’m glad she wasn’t accruing storage costs. Its nice to be mobile again, although the weather is starting to get colder down here so there are very few other bikers on the road.

Ive been wanting to change the colour scheme of my bike for a while now. Since I’m on Holiday I have time.

Before:

After:

 

This paint is actually only temporary (its like a rubber coating that can peel off when you get sick of it, or don’t like it) Which is perfect to work out if I want to do something more permanent in the future, or just to work out what to do differently.

Nickname has been changed from “Bumblebee” to “Black adder.”

I’d like to put a 21″ front wheel on it and lower the back a bit, but that may have to wait.

California/Nevada. November 2016

19 Jan

LA all day ev’ry day.

Amy met me in LA and we spent a few days checking out some sights

(Click the pictures for supersize)

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If you are in to Hip Hop there is the compulsory stop at Roscoes’s Chicken and Waffles

And line up for Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood.

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Thanks go to my buddy Jin who drove us round most of the night!

Food was a big part of our time in LA…

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In-N-Out Burger… yum:

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Next Destination Death Valley (via Vegas!)

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Decent wheels are needed in California so I ended up booking a Mustang convertible, it was better than I thought it would be. It was the V6 model not the V8 but it still had plenty of power and was really nicely spec’d definitely the best rental car Ive ever driven.

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Stopped for a break in the desert and saw this group who had just driven the last 50miles off-road, apparently there are tracks everywhere, I really wanted a go, looked like heaps of fun.

mmmm… beer!

The online reviews of the Panamint Springs area in Death Valley were really sketchy, expecting something from the Hill have eyes, we struck it lucky with this little cabin, it was almost brand new

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And… they have Coyotes and Road runners! We only saw photos of Roadrunners, but found this dude on the side of the road:

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Not much to do in the desert at night so I sat in the freezing cold with the Coyotes and attempted some night photography, it’s harder than I thought, need more practise.

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Stopped in Ventura for the night on the way back to LAX, turned out to be a choice beachside town with good sights and shops

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Georgia Gun Club. November 2016

19 Jan

Nestled oddly between a Childcare/School, a Church and a waffle house sits the Georgia Gun Club:

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Its pretty flash looking, kinda like a government building or something.

After a going through a few clips on the AR15, we had a fair amount of 9mm ammo that “needed” to be used up, since it only seems to get used when I come to stay, who am I to complain so we spent quite a few hours going through box after box of 9mm. Unfortunately my skills with a hand gun are really lacking and the practise didn’t really seem to help, it was fun tho.

On the way out of the range I saw this:

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So another visit was required.

This thing is a beast .50 cal sniper rifle. Its usually operated by a 3 man team, and shoots so far that when you fire it you need to take not only the wind in to account but also the earths curvature!

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Lets doo dis! It was $10 a shot so I only did 2…

If the video doesn’t work open it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJtjQsBQJv0 

To give you an idea how big the shells are for this here it is lined up against a shotgun shell, 9mm, 38 and 22.

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Apart from the bruised cheek, pretty good attempt for a first timer.

Atlanta, Georgia. November 2016

5 Dec

Finally made it back to the ‘ol USA, 2 days after the American people elected a reality TV star to be the Leader of the free world!

First stop was LAX airport where I had allowed a 4 hour transit to enable me to get my Green Card stamped, 5 minutes later I had my passport validated and became an American permanent resident. Now I had 4 hours to wait till my next flight to Atlanta…

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) in Atlanta is by far the busiest airport in the world, I made it out eventually. By the time I got to bed I had been up for 30+ hours so was feeling a little tired.

Time went by very quickly in Atlanta, I ate loads of really tasty food, including some proper southern BBQ for lunch one day. Lucky I had my Knoxville translator with me, because I only understood a few words spoken by the lady on the counter, it was a serious accent but not as serious as the food. I had collared greens, baked beans, a pork plate, and something that looked like mashed pumpkin but was actually a bread pudding of some sorts… didn’t need to eat again until the evening of the following day.

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I was lucky enough to have my friend Chrissy come down from Tennessee to visit, we drove in to Little Five points which is on the East side of Atlanta and is known for its alternative culture. Its pretty trendy, but kinda grimy and rundown at the same time

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Plenty of record shopping and street art around, I scored some decent Keith Murray and Rakim albums

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We stopped on the main street for lunch at a place called the “Porter Beer bar,” 49 beers on tap and probably about 300 by the bottle. They have a great menu too, I ordered the porndog which had a note that you didn’t need to order any sides, when it came out it was a huge oversized hotdog with pickled vege’s, its hard to gauge its true size in this photo but I couldn’t finish it. It was seriously good and I def recommend it:

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Another day we packed a picnic lunch (well Doug made sandwiches and I ate them) and drove out to a place called Lake Lanier which is a man-made lake, created when the Buford Dam was built, with a circumference of over 1,000 km its BIG. It was off season so apart from the squirrels, there wasn’t really anyone else there.

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If you are one of the 300 3 people who have been reading this blog for a while, you will know that no trip to America can be complete without shooting some ridiculous guns, I’ll put that on a separate post soon hopefully, followed by the California leg of the trip.

Conion V-121f Boombox restoration and upgrade

27 Aug

This was a long but fun project.

80’s box with a media server built in to the case. Controllable by using a remote app on your smart phone. It has a lithium battery to power it, the charging circuit is wired in to the ‘beat cancel’ switch on the back.

or click this link to watch if the above video doesnt work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeToEX3HTII

The finished box. It actually comes apart in to 4 separate pieces like a mini component system, but I didn’t take a photo in that layout:

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It didn’t start off so clean, the tape head was a bit dusty:

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The tape belts had turned to goo:

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After cleaning up the internals the case got a scrub in the sink…

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The plastic case had gone a nice yellow colour, I found a recipe for Retr0bright https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retr0bright which you basically use to coat the case before wrapping it in Gladwrap and putting it in the sun to let the UV do its thing.

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Raspberry Pi computer, battery and charging circuit being tested:

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Configuring the software was pretty easy once I had it powered up and connected:

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Republic of Vanuatu January 2016

28 Jan

3.5 hours flight from Sydney. Vanuatu is comprised of 14 Islands, we flew in to the capital Port Villa and bussed/ferried to Erakor Island.

Stayed in a beach “hut” on the beach

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I took my Actioncam with me to get some underwater video, its fairly rough since I was just holding it in one hand while I swam, watch it in 720 resolution otherwise its not very clear:

Apart from Snorkelling and lazing on the beach there was not a lot else to do so I got to spend some time playing with my camera. Click image for full size picture

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Plenty of somewhat boring sunset photographs

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This was the only one processed with a filter:

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And some evening/night long exposure stuff

25 seconds, F5.6:

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4 seconds, F22:

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25 seconds, F6.3:

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5 seconds, F6.3:

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10 seconds, F10:

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2.5 seconds, F4:

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