Rebuilding the beast

In ‘Tail of the Dragon‘ Rick Stevens rebuilds his Pontiac Firebird. Instead of just buying a new car, he guts out his old machine and installs new technology under the hood. One of the reasons for this is that cars can hold a sort of spirit about them. After a few bumps and bruises, a minor wreck or a major service, you still feel a connection to your old machine. You might have to hold the ignition a bit longer while you pump the gas pedal, or there might be a funny way you have to jiggle the indicator switch to turn on your headlights. Each car develops a spirit over time, and that can be the difference between a machine and a real beast under your feet.

For all your petrol or gear heads, you’ll know of Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson, who has been with the show in its various formats for the last two decades. In this one on one interview, he speaks of the passion behind motoring, and the difference between supreme engineering, and motoring soul.

What has been your favorite car over the years? And when was the last time you went out for a good long drive?

firebird dreams

Switching gears – literally

I just bought a brand new 2013 Jeep Patriot.

My old car was a 1998 Chevrolet Monte Carlo which has 210,000 miles on it. While the engine and transmission are running just fine, the rest of the car is falling to pieces and becoming increasingly unreliable.

I love automobiles, I love engineering. I love all technology which improves life and propels humans forward.

My wife bought her first car when we first got married and it has served us well since.

We have both chosen our cars for their quality and prices. Quality is extremely important in life. When you feel proud of something, you take care of it, and in turn it takes care of you.

Here is to my new jeep, and many great years of service!

Back to the old country

It was a very busy and productive weekend after a very busy and productive week. We shot photographs for my friend’s wedding and we had a blast. It was probably the smallest wedding we have done to date, but it was a great crowd of people, and everyone had a good time.

Last night I packed my suitcase and gathered all my important possessions, including my Columbia jacket, wrangler jeans, leather jacket and Canon Rebel camera. Brooke and I have been working very hard lately and are in need of some down time. I haven’t seen my extended family in England since we got married, and it seemed like the perfect time to go back for a visit, since I am now a US citizen, and tickets are cheaper this time of year, before the summer rush.

Today we set off for 10 days in old blighty. It will be strange going back, I’ve grown up a lot since I left. I was barely 20 years old when Brooke and I got married and I decided to stay in the US. By the end of this year I’ll be 25. Since moving here, I’ve been married, bought and ridden three motorcycles and two cars. I’ve adopted a puppy, who is now our loyal dog. We rent a large town-home in a nice suburban area of the Greater Cincinnati area, we have furniture and all kinds of utensils and other homely appliances. We run our own photography business, and we’re looking at buying a house and studio later this year. All in all, we’re doing quite well, and I’ve gone from being a teenager in love, to a devoted husband and striving toward being a successful businessman.

I’m looking forward to seeing my family again and seeing familiar sights, and sitting down to old favorite meals. For those of you who I’m flying out to see, I’ll see you soon! And for those who I am leaving here; I’ll be back!

Maintenance and repairs

Yesterday I worked on my friend’s car. We were worried that it had a blown head gasket, but after talking to a guy at work, he suggested that I replace the oil regulation sensor first, and flush out the oil and radiator fluid.

I got home from work and got changed so I could work on the car. My head was still spinning from the work day, and I wasn’t paying full attention to what I was doing. I dropped the new part, and it managed to fall into the car’s elaborate air intake system, and I ended up spending two hours taking off the wheel, front bumper and many nuts and bolts to take the blasted thing apart to get back the part that I needed. After many swear words and shakes of my head at my clumsiness, I retrieved the part, and set to work bolting it on, to replace the broken one. After I replaced the module, I drained the oil, replaced the oil filter, and then flushed out the radiator, which had become a brown mess from the leaked oil. After filling the radiator with fresh coolant, and the engine with new oil, I double checked to make sure everything was fastened down where it should be. I lowered the car back off the jacks, and fired the old girl up. To my relief there were no leaks and the new part seemed to be holding on just fine. I texted my friend to let him know that the car was fixed, and he was ecstatic to find out that I had saved him a fortune on repair bills.

To pay me for the work I did, I said he just owed me dinner. I was starving after a full day of work, and my wife had been home for a couple hours already, waiting for me to get done. So I took a shower and we headed over to the place that my friend works and we had dinner. Those pork chops and mashed potatoes never tasted so good, especially washed down with a good beer. Brooke enjoyed her meal also, and found the cocktail to be the she had ever tasted.

All in all, it was a busy but productive day, and everyone was happy. Even though I had clumsily dropped the part, I kept my cool and eventually retrieved it. I saved my friend a great deal of money by doing the work for him, and I got a good meal out of it. All is well that ends well. Sometimes you just have to get down and dirty and do a little maintenance and repairs. And afterwards, through the hard work and the frustrations, everything turns out right as rain.