Friday, October 4, 2019

Fixing The Old Bus or What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong

I am the owner of a 1960 GMC PD1404.   Its an old Greyhound bus that has been converted to a motor home.  I am trying to get it to move after having sat for fifteen months.  The last time I moved it, I burned up the clutch.  I was in a campground that flooded and while trying to escape the rising water, I got stuck in the mud.  Totally fried the clutch.  I knew that I would have to repair the clutch before I went anywhere.  It took a a lot of work but, I was able to pull the transmission and take the clutch, pressure plate and flywheel and have them fixed.

After I reinstalled the clutch, the bus would not start.  I pulled the starter and had it gone through and now that's good as new.  Still won't start.  Checked the batteries, recharged them and they read the appropriate voltage at the starter.  Still won't start.

I am a little at a loss as to what to do next.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Old Bus Needs a Clutch and Learning Something New

          Last year I was in a campground that was next to a river.  Great place to live except when the river floods.  I had to move the bus to avoid rising water and I could not get it to go.  I came to understand that the brake pads had sort of rusted to the brake drums.  Eventually I got it moving, but not before smoking the clutch.  To complicate the matter, when I moved to higher ground in the campground, it became struck in uncompacted soil.  The next day, I again tried to move the bus and it would no go.    I had to call for a rig to pull me out of the muck.  Again, I smoked the clutch.  Its hard to tell from the photo, but the wheel are buried and the bus is on it belly
          I decided that I had enough of flood dodging and decided to move to another campground.  I was able to move the bus and discovered that the clutch slipped as I was driving it.  I had ruined the clutch.  I got it parked in its new home and knew that I needed to fix the clutch.  I have replaced clutches in cars on several occasions and had an idea of what I was getting myself into, I thought.  Nope.  That transmissions weights more than my truck.

          I have removed the transmission and had the clutch rebuilt.  I had the flywheel and pressure plates flattened.  I have not put it back together because I am in need of six bolts.  The fasteners for the flywheel to the crankshaft.  Originally I was going to reuse the bolts that came off.  After thinking about it a little, I decided to get new ones.  Here's the rub.  I thought that I could just go out and get grade eight bolts and I would be all set.  The truth is that the bolts as specially design for this kind of application and if I didn't use them, I was flirting with disaster.

The bolts are called Place Bolts.  They are designed to hold in high vibration environments.  I understand that they both stretch and have a special head that makes them suitable for this task.    The problem is that no one local has them.  I sent away and they should arrive next week.  And hopefully, I can get the bus back together.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Playing Poker at Harrah's Cherokee Casino, Royal Flush

The holy grail of poker playing is the Royal Flush.  A Royal is dealt on average one is ever six hundred fifty thousand hands. (650,000).  The World Series of Poker's circuit event is under way in Cherokee.  I was playing cash and ran out a Royal Flush in hearts.  I even got paid.  I was dealt the Ace and Jack of Hearts.  The King and Ten came on the flop.  The Queen landed on the River.  Sorry for the picture quality.

Monday, April 29, 2019

I Have A Writing Problem

I have had a writing problem all of my life.  When I was a teenager I was into poetry, exercising my angst in line after line, with what I though was powerful, deep emotionally charged prose.  Reading them these many years later, I don't see the depth and power.  I believe that there in nothing better for clarifying your thinking than put your thoughts down on paper.  After having to write for work for more that thirty years I decided that I was going to take a stab at writing a novel.

 My first effort that I published was Constant Vigilance.  I had spent years listening to conspiracy theories and wondered what was true and what was spin.  I came to believe that I was seldom told the true facts.  I would examine the story the best I could and come up with my own conclusions.  I took my years of interest in truth and created Constant Vigilance.  The basic premise of the book is found in the title.  We must always watch out, question, challenge authority, and come to our own conclusions.

After Constant Vigilance I published The Mountains of Yellowstone.  A favorite phrase of mine for many years was "I am blessed with self awareness, but cursed with an inability to do anything with the information."  The Mountains of Yellowstone is set in the National Park and follows a couple of souls that are on parallel journeys.  They work in the Park for the summer and explore the region.  Along the way they question their life decisions and chart a new path in search of happiness and fulfillment.

I am currently working on a new novel.  The working title is Excessive Force.  The story is in a small southern town with the County Sheriff and his wife as the main characters.  The Sheriff sees himself as a guardian of his community and runs his Department with that philosophy.  He wants to maintain the character of his community and its way of life.  Others, with less scruples, want to profit from the qualities of the country side and develop the area for vacation homes and tourist.  The proponents for change through dishonest means, unseat the Sheriff and replace him with their man.  The new Sheriff takes the warrior approach to policing and a young man is shot and killed by a Deputy.  The community is jolted by this event that sharpens the divide between quality of life and monetary gain.
I have fifty thousand words at this time.  I estimate that another thirty thousand are need to complete the story.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Wintering In Western North Carolina.

I decided to spend another winter in Western North Carolina.  It really doesn't get too cold here and I like the mountains.  The other day I went over to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  On the way I ran into a herd of Elk.  There were at least eighty or ninety spread around a meadow on the side of the road.  I tried to tell them that just down the road they could find all the grass they wanted rolled up, ready to eat.  They wouldn't listen.  The road along side the meadow was packed with cars, all stopped trying to get a picture of the animals as they ate.  This reminded me of my summer workamping in Yellowstone National Park.  There were a lot of what I called Bear Jams.  Traffic came to a stand still anytime there was an animal on the side of the road.  I even wrote a book about Yellowstone.  Its a story about two people who go to Yellowstone to Workamp, meet and explore the park together.  Its on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I must be out of my Cotton Picking Mind, I never knew I was a Racist

It is amazing how my history and culture are being stolen from me.  I listened to a news commentator use the phrase "cotton pickin mind" and later discovered that he was suspended for using the term.   I grew up in the south and that phrase was used in daily conversation and never had any racial context.  But in today's atmosphere of political correctness, my way of using language and symbols is being re-characterized as racist.  "You're out  of your Cotton Pickin Mind"  is now a racist statement?  It must mean that only slaves picked cotton.  There were no white people ever in a cotton field.  Somebody ought to tell Sally Fields that her movie Places in the Heart is historically inaccurate. 

It's really insanity, these land mines that populate our culture.  My grandfather used the word "boy" when he spoke of someone.   It was almost always in reference to a white person.  "That old boy" was a way he most often use the word and usually referred to a friend.  If he was alive today and someone heard him use the phrase, he would be attacked as racist.

It seems to me that African American don't want the past to be the past.  One hundred and fifty five years ago, slavery came to an end.  But African American will not let it become the past.  They hold on to the affront and use it as currency in their dealing with society.  I personally am tried of being told that I bear some responsibility for the abuse of someone's great, great, great grand parent.  Get over it already!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Nantahala Gorge at 140 MPH

The Nantahala Gorge is a popular outdoor recreation area featuring white water rafting, kayaking and hiking. I drive through it all the time and decided to video a trip through. The video starts at Wesser Creek Rd and Highway 74 and ends around Wayah Rd.