30 April 2017

Tanker Leak

Little pictures make everything look good.
This tanker truck was dripping water,
actually streaming water.
A small hole sidelined this thing for a week.
The leak was at the pump manifold,
a basic 4" pipe and elbow.
After years working on metal boats,
this was like old times.
Inside was about what I expected,
craters and pits.
Just like any rust cancer spot,
the outer damage is 1/10 of what's hidden behind.
Bring out the ole donkey dick... 
grind away.
If only it was a little longer.
The hole was mig welded in and out.
Crude but effective.
When I remember something like
"everything you learned got you to this point"...
Why didn't I learn how to just make a pile of cash?
Instead I get the dirty job no one else here can do!
My trusty can of epoxy primer.
Yea I actually brought this up from SD,
just in case a side job came up.
The paint fumes musta gave me a little flashback.
A couple partial coats and this was good to go.
If I repair stuff too bulletproof,
I won't have anything to do if I stick around here!
The anxiousness I had when we filled the tank up,
reminded me of all the boats dropped in the water.
Will the welds hold?
Will the seals leak?
Is everything put together correctly?
No problem...
Bring on the next project!

28 April 2017

Oregon Trail Rally 2017

Now that the racing season is here,
it's fun to see why we do all this work,
or better yet get to be here.
The Oregon Trail Rally had a PIR section,
the course half on track and half on service roads.
The weekend would continue on fire roads
off the gorge and in Washington.
Rally racing definitely has a cult following,
there was a slew of spectators.
These fans were really interested in watching Travis Pastrana,
he'll be inundated in that picture above.
I got to meet him at the very end when everyone left,
nice guy!
No I didn't stand here waiting the whole night...
I should have taken pics of the beater cars.
A privately owned ride will be about $14k,
so I can't imagine how much money the pros have in these things.
The mechs were swappin struts and arms between heats.
The poor guys were shaking wheels,
hoping they wouldn't fall off.
Even on a tame track they get torn up.
Another reason for all that hay raking!
This was a cool hairpin turn,
at the end of a fast straightaway.
A couple cars could get on 3 wheels.
Sadly the spectator distance was too far
for the iPhone to get good shots at other spots.
Another guy had a Samsung phone
which seems like it has a way better camera.
There was a good wreck in the boneyard.
A team took out this whole fence.
The busted post is a good clue,
and the remnants are in the background.
Rally cars have a driver and navigator.
This wasn't the car.
This one hit a bumper that fell off another car.
Rally races brought out the Subaru guys.
There were a handful of modified wagons.
A couple cool Cortinas.
There was one that actually raced.
Strange to see the track filled with people.
I think it will be a fun season!

27 April 2017

Grass is Greener

One of the warnings of taking this job,
was the seat time in the big mowers.
Spring time is basically a battle against fast growing 
grass and weeds.
Everything I've heard wasn't as positive 
as it should be portrayed to entice someone.
A mystery project was fixing a glitchy Toro 4000 4wd mower.
It would just shut off.
Grass and dirt had piled up under the covers.
I figured a good cleaning would be a good start,
crap holds water and gets into wiring unnecessarily.
The culprit seemed to be a parking brake switch,
which for some reason shuts off the engine.
A perk is test driving the equipment,
so although it was lightly raining,
I did some mowing.
Holey chit it was so much fun,
basically like driving a boat,
or a slow dune buggy.
The berms and trees were set up like a race course.
The city is going to pay me to do this?
No problem...

26 April 2017

Portland international raceway auto swap 2017

Longtime readers have heard me ramble on and on
about the Big-3 swap meet in San Diego,
sadly at risk with the future of Jack Murphy stadium.
Well guess what,
there's a similar event held here in the Pacific Northwest,
and it happens to be where I work!
Supposedly 1500+- vendors,
on 5+- miles of maze like heaven.
It's like a dream come true.
Other than the fact that having an event at work,
probably follows with working the event.
And in this case the job description takes a bit of a hiatus.
With a skeleton crew,
ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
And if that means getting paid to get there early,
and drive through stalls and stalls of hot rod castoffs,
you'll not hear me complain!
I rarely go to these swaps early,
as my funds are severely limited.
It's tough to see deals and not legitimize
a way to spend next months rent.
Or add another 40 project to the quiver.
Yea just what we need!
The first day was overwhelming.
Some things were so cheap,
or so rare,
and then they were gone.
I made a list/map of certain items to go back too,
and kicked myself for not at least taking pics.
So now you guys are stuck
seeing a bunch of big things.
Looks like I'm swaying towards a 4x4 in the future.
So the first day was uncharacteristically dry.
Shoppers were everywhere.
Drinking and swapping go hand in hand,
it's like the grease that lets money slip away,
or justifies letting precious hot rod parts
go for peanuts.
But Friday and Saturday were a different story.
Swappers up here are a different breed.
They don't run away from the storm,
they wear plastic bag ponchos,
lotsa camo
or matching foul weather gear.
These pics must be later in the day.
There really were people walkin around.
This picture should have been a video.
The wind was blowing ez-ups across the fields.
Rain was sideways.
There was a group of guys wearing shorts that had just passed.
Fortunately it was an intermittent rain,
the clouds wring themselves dry,
and normal people would emerge
from wherever they were hiding.
I met a handful of online people I've known for years,
and also talked to dozens of people that hovered around the old hot rod.
These guys in the pic above were from the Ventura area.
I've known Ojai Rick for over 20 years,
and him and his daughter Vanessa
know how to shop a swap meet like the best.
Good to see you guys!
A dry Saturday evening was the perfect wrap,
can't have too much of a good thing.

23 April 2017

What the hay!?

So the car parts swap meet here at the racetrack was amazing.
100's of junk vendors,
an event I can relate too.
More on that later.
I'd never worked a swap meet before,
especially of this magnitude.
Also I've never been to a swap meet that was based on grass,
in rainy weather.
Come to find out,
wet conditions turn grass into mud.
People bring all sorts of stuff to combat it,
like plywood, 
wood chips,
I showed the guys how to properly load a flatbed Papa style!
My grandfather knew how to pack a truck!
We did this a couple times.
The track supplies hay bales for $5,
but vendors don't take it away.
They leave it for a sparse group of volunteers,
and us track workers to rake up.
Lotsa hay.
Lotsa wet hay.
These guys had been doing this hay thing for years,
and had never figured out the tarp trick,
another Papa thing learned when I was 5 or 6.
They'd walk each pitchfork of hay,
20-80 ft to the asphalt.
It was borderline ridiculous to watch,
and surreal to think of the lost hours and wasted footsteps.
I tried to bring it up during our morning meetings,
but these guys are a lead by example type crew.
There was that "ohhh..." moment for sure,
when they watched me and another noob worker Andrew
finish a section in 1/3 the time.
As the hay piles mounted around the track,
our boss Andy would scoop it up with the loader,
which meant Andrew and I packing the bucket
with pitchforks and rakes,
cause hay doesn't scoop easily.
Thankfully nobody was stabbed or crushed.
Since I may be the only one capable of backing in a trailer,
I got to load and unload a few...days...
Later on some other guy shreds the brush pile,
and the mulch sits and roasts while it composts.
Last year this pile caught fire.
I'd wondered why the tractors had ash in the filters!!
Just when ya thought the hay was handled,
there'd be more hay spots,
scattered in the 100's of acres of grass.
Three or four days,
lotsa overtime,
how could I complain?
Not much different than brickin or yardwork.
It actually was a great workout,
and the weather stayed relatively dry.
The swap meet cleanup started Sunday.
The track was hot on Thursday!
These racers are an antsy bunch!
These guys zippin around the racecourse,
like nothin' ever happened.
One guy slammed into the guardrail.
A big reason why it's so important 
to have the grass clean.
Slide not roll.
I got called in to do some metalwork.
Just like old times,
working til midnight using a (less than) 34 watt drop light,
cutting and fitting with a torch.
Needless to say I've got a bit more appreciation 
for what the heck goes on here!