Monday, November 8, 2010

Another day prospecting

I have decided that prospecting is a lot like computers. The more you do the more of the toys (I mean TOOLS) you need to play the game well. I guess I have bought about all the “tools” I need to make metal detecting fun, although I still have a ways to go before becoming productive.

I went out this morning and found what I thought looked like a good spot, lots of rock, lots of quartz and caliche. After 3 hours I found two tin cans, a couple of bullet casings and 3 non-descript hunks of metal, so decided to do a bit more scouting.

The “road” I was on did not show up on the GPS but looked to be headed further into the claim, so I followed. We went along fine for a short ways, but then the road headed for the ridge top. The further I went the more the “road” transformed into a quad trail.

It seems the more I drive the Jeep off-road the less inclined I am to turn around. I always want to see if we can make it through and also see what’s over the next ridge. Today the Jeep has a few more brush scrapes and the tires have some more rock scrubs, but we finally made it back to a real road without issue.

Here are a couple of pictures I took from the ridge top. Please don’t be too critical as they were taken with my phone and one was through the windshield.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

I love my Jeep, BUT

I really have to say I have never enjoyed a vehicle as much as I do our Jeep Wrangler. With that said I have to admit I am not real thrilled with the way Chrysler handles selling parts for these vehicles.

This tale starts a few months ago, we were driving along and suddenly the cruise control stopped working. Turns out the rubber elbow that connects the vacuum line to the intake manifold finally gave up the ghost. It was still there but heat had taken its toll and it would no longer seal to the nipple on the manifold. It so happens this same vacuum line runs not only to the cruise control but also over to the air conditioning to control the various doors controlling the air flow. I tried to get the elbow at the local auto parts stores but could never find the correct size. I did manage to stretch one enough to get things working until I could get to the dealer and get the correct part. So I head to the dealer and order the correct part, only problem is they only sell the whole vacuum line assembly that runs all the way across the firewall and connects to the AC controls. I bit the bullet and paid $12.90 plus tax to get the elbow.

This last weekend we went on one of our road trips to the Smokey Mountains in TN, hoping to get a little prospecting in. We were taking the back roads just looking and were hoping to find a stream that looked promising. We came to one of those places that required a pass, which we didn't have, so parked the Jeep and did the self registration thing so we could continue. I got back into the vehicle and started it, shifting into reverse to get back under way. When I shifted into reverse it felt a little too easy, like the shift cable had broken or come unhooked.

My first thought was hopefully it came apart inside the car where it connects to the shifter. I now know how to take the console apart and put it back together again. Now I am crawling under the vehicle to see if I can find the issue. There sitting on the skid plate I found what was left of a small nylon bushing/retainer that connects the shift cable to the lever on the transmission. Now I usually don't carry any tools in the Jeep but I was lazy when I was packing the coach and tossed in the tool box I used while on duty at the resort. It's by no means complete but it did have enough tools to allow the console tear down, and between the paper clip, electrical tape and screw I found, I was able to get us going again.

The nearest town (about 30 miles) had a Jeep dealer, so we headed there to see if we couldn't buy the 50 cent bushing/retainer needed. Well once again it seems you can only get the bushing by purchasing the entire shift cable assembly. They just happened to have one. It was a small dealer so it must be a good selling item so $30 later I had the 50 cent bushing we needed. We headed back to the coach where I had more tools to finalize the repair. Oh yeah, did I tell you that was another 100 miles away?

Since we had been on the road for better than half the day, one of us needed to go potty. Now you all know Bud and I can just go along side the road, so this may give you an idea who needed the pit stop. Since it was also past lunch time we stopped at a McDonalds. I parked in the back so I could get out without putting it in park and having to back up while we grabbed a quick bite and relived some inner pressure!

To make a long story short before we could leave I had to crawl back under the Jeep and get the trans back into drive to make the rest of the trip. Did I tell you we didn't have enough gas to make it all the way back? Well we didn't, but I was not going to take any more chances so we re-fueled with the engine running, the trans in gear and the parking brake set.

Once we made it back to the coach, I let the trans cool down while I worked at getting the little bushing out of the shift cable I had purchased. Two hours later I went out to get the job done. There was no way Bud was letting me out without him again so I hooked his leash on the front bumper tow hook, got my little carpet samples out to lay on and crawled back under for what I hopped would be the last time. Since I was on Buds level, and he could get to me from where he was staked out, I got a bath as soon as I was on my back. It only took a couple of minutes to snap the bushing on the shift lever pin and snap the cable onto the bushing. A job well done, hopefully it won't need to be done again for another 85,000 miles.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wild Flowers Part: 3

Still more flowers from the Falcon Dam State Park.

This is a grave yard below the dam, on Swordfish Dr. GPS Co-ordinates 26.5347 N 99.1498 W.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wild Flowers Part: 2

More of the flowers we found along the nature trail at Falcon State Park from last weekend. I did manage to find a couple of names but that's all.

I am hoping that when we head to Hill Country next weekend we will be treated to many more photo opportunities.

Evening Primrose

Lantana, Calico Bush
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