Things can go from bad to worse real fast (Post #408) 11/8/2013

You never really expect things to go bad. We all prepare for bad but things can go past bad and on to worse in a real hurry. As evidenced in the above video.

In the Marine Corps we never say, “At least it’s not…(insert something worse here).”
Because as soon as you say “whatever”, it’s like a prayer to the deity of suckiness.
“At least its not raining.” It begins to rain.
“At least its not snowing.” Voila, it begins to snow.
“At least the wind isn’t blowing.” Gale force wind will magically appear.
“At least they don’t have artillery.” Yep you guessed it.

Sadly, this doesn’t work in reverse. Speaking the phrase, “At least I’m not a millionaire.” Does not make you a millionaire. “At least I didn’t win the lottery.” You guessed it, no lottery victory.

I really want to know what happened next to those blokes. I guess I’ll have to find the rest of that episode and finish watching the tide roll in and drowning their Hilux trucks.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.

4.3F Overnight (Post #242) 2/2/2011

35mph winds and white-out conditions

We were blessed with another blizzard the past two days. The arctic air mass settled on our fine land and with it brought temperatures which make you wonder about the logic of 20w50 oil in your crankcase. The overnight low was 4.3F and at 10:00am the temperature on my porch was 5.9F.

I was granted a second snow day by the powers of our autonomous collective. And with that second slack day, I decided to sleep in as my lovely wife Mrs. Okierover decided to go to work. Ten feet out of the garage she high centered the Honda CRV. She came in to wake me and inform me that my morning work out would consist of snow shoveling. RovErica‘s Taurus and Diet Mountain Drew’s Scion xB are not going anywhere today and probably tomorrow. The drifts are just too high. With a little luck we’ll have above freezing temperatures to melt away the snow this weekend.

As you can see, our house and driveway face North and the wind blows the snow into drifts that form a lovely wall right at the bottom of our driveway. From what I saw Mrs. Okierover did not attack the drift with any velocity. Unfortunately she in her efforts blocked the Range Rover in. In order to get her to work I had to get her out first.

My neighbors begin to dig out

An hour of snow shoveling and some strategic driving with the Range Rover allowed me to carve ruts that will allow her to get out. I fully expect a call tomorrow morning while I am at work, telling me she is stuck again.

On the way home from taking her to work I stopped to help an elderly man who had gotten his C class Mercedes stuck in a drift. Why he drove directly into the drift instead of around is a mystery. The man was also transporting his dog, in a cage, to some unknown location. It was difficult to convince him to allow me to drive him to his house instead of him walking. It was also impossible to pull him out. The entire under side of the Mercedes was covered in plastic. I couldn’t find a tow hook on either end of the car.

I gave him a ride home with his little dog. He had a pickup truck there in the driveway and he, I’m sure, took that little dog somewhere. I have a few more posts to finish you can catch them later this week.

Happy shoveling Rovering and stay warm and thanks for reading.

Ever been stuck? (Post #167) 2/3/2010

Admittedly the number of times I have been green laning or on any official off-road activity since I left the Marine Corps (circa 1986) can be counted on my fingers and toes without taking off my shoes. Those unintentional trips off road for this reckoning will not be counted. I will share with you in the story I hope you will soon to be entertained by, what not to do when green laning or muddin’, or off-roading, or bogging, or whatever you call it, where you are from.

As I stated above, we will not count the time my good friend and fellow Midnight Maverick Marauder, Jack (real name) and I went driving around in my Super Banana colored Dodge Ram short bed pickup a day after a snow storm hit.

Admittedly we were “on the sauce” that night. Before driving and drinking was as seriously frowned upon as it is today, it was common for “good ole boys” to grab a six pack and go for a drive around on the country roads in the rural parts of the county you may reside in. The worst you could expect from the local police was a slap on the wrist, a surrendering of your beer, and stern warning to “get home, and I mean now”. The likelihood of even seeing a police car on muddy back roads was astronomical. You were more likely to see a UFO abducting some unsuspecting cows than a cop getting his precious car muddy and possibly stuck at midnight on a week night.

Back in those days these roads were most often unpaved and a complete blast to tear around on. At the very least we would drive out to someone’s hay barn or drive down to the river and sit around listen to tunes and have a few beers. Truly harmless stuff.

Imagine this road, sloppy wet and covered in snow.

The night in question was during a week when Michelob was on sale, making the week basically a holiday in my book. The fall semester finals were over and Christmas (1986) was just a few weeks way. The night began with me, due to poorly fitting passenger door, ejecting Jack out on to the pavement. His landing was judged 9.0, 9.0, 6.5 (damn Russian judge), 9.0.

If he had not knocked the bottom off the bottom of his bottle of Michelob, which he was still holding when he rolled to a stop against the curb, he would have taken gold that night. A nasty head injury resulting in a black eye and a dead soldier were the only ill affects. Instead of ignoring this omen we continued on, trusting that the beer bottles were cold enough to keep the swelling down on Jack’s eye for several more hours of driving fun.

After a few successful treks on some very muddy roads and treacherous roads we took a turn down a road we would not drive back out of. As we progressed down the road we were trusting my driving skills and a limited slip rear differential that I proudly exclaimed I had left me stuck. Fateful words indeed. After two deer had ran past us on the “trail” we were driving on, it was decided we should turn around.

After 24 years of recollection I’m pretty sure this is the road.

View Larger Map

I nice sized puddle of water ahead of us obscured the “road” (we’ll use that term loosely). I took it with high revs and crossed with an awesome wall of red muddy water crashing over the hood. Great fun. I found a wide spot to turn us around and deciding not to temp fate again I attempted to cross the puddle on the opposite side to avoid my own ruts. We got about half way before we came to an abrupt stop.

Lots of wheel spinning later we were well stuck. A small tree was sacrificed (cut down) and jammed under the rear wheel. All it managed to do was provide a friction device to heat the tire to the point of bursting when the 33 degree water rapidly cooled the tire. When that tire popped it sprayed everything with red dirt water. Everything.

So you have the situation as such. We were a mile and a half down a muddy dirt road. Pickup buried to the axle. Freezing temperatures. Snow falling on and off. And I in jeans a formerly white KATT sweat shirt. Jack was similarly attired. Neither of us had a coat or even a stocking cap between us.

We walked back up to the last paved road we had crossed. And after a while of standing around, we saw an 18 wheeler pull up to a house down the road. We walked down there and careful not to scare anyone, I went up to the house and asked to use the phone. I tracked that red mud straight across the floor and called my apartment for assistance. Scott defaulted and left the rescue to Mike, who after an expletive filled paragraph describing the hour we had called, I hung up. Mike had eloquently informed me that it was 3:30 in the morning on a work night. Work for him, but not for me.

I was confident we would be rescued. What I wasn’t confident in my physical condition when the rescue arrived. It was cold and that is understating it quite a bit considering we had nothing but sweatshirts and jeans on.

My confidence in our rescue came from what I believed to be EXCELLENT directions to our location. “We are north of Norman, I can see the radio station towers of KOMA directly west of us, there was a lake and we were on the east side of it, and the road is kind of curvy. Hell, anyone worth their salt would have triangulated down on us no problem. Mike informed me in another expletive laced paragraph what he thought of these directions. Apparently they were not as good as my beer soaked brain thought they were.

Jack and I walked back up to the road and surprisingly 35 minutes later a very salty Mike flew by in the infamous Red Van. We screamed for him to stop and amazingly he heard us. He turned around, picked us up, and we got an expletive filled ride home.

When me and my hangover got to Midwest City the next day, hiring a tow truck driver was a bit of a challenge. The bigger challenge was finding my truck. It is still a mystery how I managed to find the road. I had enough money to get my truck out. But when the driver told me just before he turned on to the muddy road, “you realize, if I get stuck you have to pay to get my truck out too.” I told him, “don’t get stuck.” He paused, and then turned down the road.

He navigated the ruts and holes expertly and winched my truck out of the pond that had formed in the road we were trying to drive down. His comment as we reached the lake and followed the road to my truck, “Are you sure your truck is down here?” I was just about to answer him when there in the road ahead of us was my truck.

He found solid ground and started to reel out the winch. He gave me the business end of the winch and without a word looked at the truck and then at me. I turned and waded out into the freezing water, knelt down and hooked up the winch.

When my pickup was on solid ground. I thought he would abandon me but instead he loaned me his high lift jack to change my tire. I’m not sure the gesture was because he was impressed that I had just soaked myself to the waist to hook up the winch or recognized the skill it took to get as far down the road as I had in just a 2WD pickup or just felt sorry for my poor shivering ass.

I paid him, thanked him for the use of the jack and I followed him up to the paved road. The ordeal was done. The last 24 hours was all on me. Even to this day I take full responsibility. Jack still had a black eye two weeks later at our 1st Annual Formal Christmas Party.

Pictured: Mike and Jack.

Mike and Jack
What we did was stupid, dumb even.
Drinking and driving is dumb.
Letting me drive you around all night on back roads is brave dumb.
Leaving your apartment with just jeans and a sweatshirt in an Oklahoma winter is stylish dumb.
Getting stuck on the east side of Lake Draper where people dump bodies is very dumb.
So the next time you are out ripping it up in your Landy, just remember my story and try to do it a little less stupidly.

But sometimes, spontaneous off-roading makes a hell of a story.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

December 27th, 2004 (Post #55)

December 27th, 2004
Head liner, New tires, Recovery points, Got stuck, FTP down, Lense project, Transmission service

Head liner
I pulled the fabric off the moon roof cover this past Sunday. It seems the cover is made of fiberglass. The fabric came off faily easy. I was surprised by the noises you normally don’t hear when the head liner is removed. I will try to refit a new liner cover on the moon roof cover hopefully this weekend if the weather holds.

I have decided NOT to take the moon roof cover out of the truck to put the fabric on. I have several reasons for this but the biggest is: I don’t know if the cover will come out of the moon roof assembly. I will have pictures in the write up but it is not easily assertainable how this would be accomplished. So I will cut the fabric just short of the edge and glue it in place while the roof is still in the truck.

As the glue is “spray glue” this shouldn’t be too much trouble to get the glue on there but the potential for mess is high. So I will treat it like a painting project and use a drop cloth just in case. Check the head liner page for more details soon.

New tires
I have been researching new tires. I originally wanted to put 235s on the Big White Bus but after asking several friends it seems a body lift and lift kit would be advisable. So I would need to also replace my springs and probably do my break lines while I was at it. So I will wait a bit and see if I can get off-road instead. While I would love to do all this I just can’t justify it right now
and will put Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo (235/70R16) on the BWB. They seem to score really high. I’d love to put Michelin XZLs on the BWB the pocket book and their availability due to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan prohibit me from pursuing that option. Some boards say I could get a used set from Canada but I will wait.

Recovery points
A recent episode of getting stuck reminded me that I have no recovery points on the front of my Rover. This is a major problem. So I did some asking on several message boards and decided to get a couple of simple hooks from one of the many domestic trucks available in the U.S. I went down to Del City Pickup Parts salvage yard in Del City, Oklahoma (405)677-2431. They had a few hooks on a display but did not have two of a kind. So I asked about a Ford F-250 and he directed me to the yard where I found an F-250. It had a closed loop “hook” on the truck and the base of the hook was too wide for the mounting point I was hoping to use. Right next to
it was a Suburban. It’s too hooks were easy to see and were very long on the attach side of the hook. That would give me enough distance to clear my brush guard. I believe I will have to drill a hole in the hook to match up with my connection point but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I had considered J.A.T.E. rings available from OKRovers and other sites. They have a ‘cool factor’ of 10 but I would have needed to manufacture a connection point and I would have to remove my air damn permanently. I am not ready for that as I like the look of the truck with the air dam on it. I know the air dam will need to go if I am off-roading. It only gathered a bit of mud in my recent incident getting stuck.

I am planning a quick release method for quickly removing the air dam. I already have the lamps wired with plugs so they can be disconnected.

Getting stuck
Many of you have probably read my posts titled “NOT AS FUN AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN”
and “Dumbassery”. Dumbassery is my new catch phrase and I hope I can get it registered as a trademark. Sorta like Trump and “you’re fired”. Just kidding. You all are free to use the word as much as you like.

I wish I could say I had fun doing this but it was just pure and simple stupidity. When I had nearly given up hope I found a tow truck driver with some moxey and with his 100 foot of cable and my newly purchased 70 foot of tow strap and 30 foot of chain we got it out.

I was doing pretty good until I hit the giant red sandstone rock. Then all my progress was going down instead of forward.

I know now my tires must be replaced. And my transfer case wouldn’t go into low range. I have an appointment about the transfer case and the tires are coming pretty soon.

Check out the Got Stuck page for pics and more text describing my recent episode of dumbassery.

FTP service down
My host CRT Online has been having FTP problems as of late and I haven’t been able to update. Hopefully each of you have been busy with projects and toys Santa brought you to miss any writings I may or may not have been putting up.

Lens problem
My right turn signal indicator lens fell out of it’s position a couple of weeks ago. As you know my truck was wrecked way back before I bought it and this was a simple problem that finally failed. I have a write up about the lense repair you can check out on the Lens repair page. Getting the right materials was the key.

Transmission service
My recent episode of getting the center console back in the Rover and my getting stuck pointed out that my transfer case would not go into low range. I am having Cottman’s do a transmission service on the BWB on Wednesday of this week. I asked them investigate why the transfer case was also stuck. Cottman’s rebuilt my transmission a few years ago and I so far have trusted them with fast service and have had no problems with the rebuild. So again they will get my business to do a service on the fluid that is now approximately 2 years old.