Exhaust Gasket Blow Out (Post #545) 9/21/2015

The Big White Bus started sounding like she was losing a catalytic converter. The sound started as a ticking. However yesterday and today I knew it was a blown exhaust gasket and a missing exhaust stud. I naturally assumed the worst had happened and I would need new exhaust pieces. I was prepared to replace the exhaust starting with the Y. It’s Frankenstein’d together as it is. The next problem or failure is going to require a new exhaust system. I thought that was now. Continue reading “Exhaust Gasket Blow Out (Post #545) 9/21/2015”

Zombies? Don’t get me started… (Post #400)

…too late.
The Walking Dead starts back up with a new season this Sunday. I have threatened to stop watching several times. I don’t think the writers are very “realistic” in their thinking. I know their objective is to keep people tuning in and to that end it seems they are succeeding.

The show is set in “the South” specifically Georgia. I have several observations that I can’t hold my tongue on any longer.

  • There is a National Guard unit in nearly every county seat in America. And that means…firearms, lots of firearms, lots of ammo, lots of portable food. Find one or two, enjoy.
  • If Georgia is anything like Oklahoma, there is a firearm of one type or another in nearly 1 out of 2 homes. No one should be “wandering around” with just a shovel or an old piece of pipe for a weapon. In fact, there is a good likely hood of finding a survival knife/butcher’s knife/etc… in EVERY HOME.
  • Short on ammo? Nope. I would have as many reload stations set up as I could find going TWENTY FOUR HOURS A DAY. Guess what kids, no school today, you get to make ammo! For every hundred rounds, you get a candy bar and a can of soda-pop! Its the South, I promise there are at least 4 out of 100 homes with a reload station and the supplies to make it hum.
  • I know three homes in my home town that I could go into right now and fetch a full blown sword. The fact that Michonne is the only sword-bearing member of this group surprises me. After about 10 minutes of watching her with the sword, I would too have a sword, or two, maybe three, even if I had to make them myself. Did none of these people see 1982’s brilliant movie “Conan the Barbarian”?
  • Zombies can be dispatched by a single solid blow to the head with a baseball/softball bat. Seriously, no homes in the Atlanta suburbs have softball bats? We have at least 6 I can count from memory at my home. Get one, or two people, please.
  • No one sleeps on the first floor of any building, ever, no exceptions. No one ever goes anywhere there isn’t at least two ingress
  • The South has a proud tradition of military service. The only military people I’ve seen in this show were murdered by the Governor a few seasons ago in a classic ambush, an ambush NO TRAINED MILITARY PERSON WOULD ALLOW THEM TO BE IN. Where are the military trained people? I promise at least one Marine, even an old one, could un-f@#% this group in about a week.
  • Civilization is OVER. Stop acting civilized to your enemies. Last season Rick had a “meeting” with the Governor. If I were Rick, the meeting would have been less than two minutes. My entire team and all the people I had sneak in to support me would have known it before I went into the barn. “You will hear a gunshot, kill anyone we didn’t bring with us immediately after that.” I win. I have a fortified town to live in now. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Hot showers!

That’s all I’m going to torture you with today. I hope I can make it through the season and it gets back to the quality of the first two seasons again.

I have a show already drafted in my head. The cast members meets a real deal Army Ranger/Special Forces/Marine Recon/etc…team. The military unit to be designated, spends a weekend getting some rest and free food from the cast before silently leaving in the middle of the night with half their ammo. JUST LIKE IT WOULD IN REAL LIFE! For an extra special touch the military unit leaves them a “Get your shiat together or you will be dead in a month” note.

A local newspaper posted a link to a survival quiz…

I scored 74.1% on the Ultimate Zombie Apocalypse Survival Quiz!

“Well done! Your chances of surviving a zombie apocalypse are better than average! Don’t get too cocky, though. Remember, the undead never sleep…”

Click here to get your score!

So first, not a bad score for a fat, out of shape 49 year old Marine. 
Second, I would never be caught “alone”. No one goes anywhere with out their entire fire team, yes all four of them. Want to go to the head? Good, take your pals.
Thirdly, if someone doesn’t have something positive to contribute…they are resource eating, dead weight. Make it you creedo. Make sure you live by it. Make sure everyone knows you will live by it.
Thanks for reading, prepare for your own Zombie Poxiclips, and Happy Rovering.

Holy Crap on a Cracker (Post #385) 8/29/2013

Yes, that is a broken water pump pulley.
How does a water pump pulley get broken you might ask?
That’s a good question.

As you know the two pulleys you see here are nested and bolted to the water pump shaft. You don’t expect that to EVER fail.

When I saw that today and said the very words titling this post. I asked Mickey of Mickey’s Garage had he ever seen one broken before. His answer was a resounding, “No.”

I have blogged before that my truck came to me after a front end wreck restoration. The first thing I replaced on my Range Rover was a failed water pump. It had failed because during the wreck the shaft had been pushed back toward the motor. Actually slipping in its sleeve from the impact.

That impact must have broken or weakened that pulley. Mickey pointed out some older rust and the fresh (silver colored) break. It had probably been wobbling there for 125,000 miles, give or take a mile or so. It’s amazing to me that it lasted as long as it did.

Mickey called me and told me the news and asked me if I could stop by Rover Cannibal to pick up the replacements. I said sure and drove over there right after work.

Ryan was helping a customer with his Discovery. He described a whining sound which is common to Land Rover Discovery’s. I told him he needed to change the transaxle fluid. It will quiet, but will not go away.

I got caught up with Ryan as he hurried back through the shop. The engine shop looked awesome. I too was in a hurry as five o’clock traffic starts about five minutes after four. Turned out the traffic had already started backing up. I need to get my list together and get back down there.

I have a quick note here. You may have noticed I’ve had a lot of work done lately at Mickey’s. The AC pump that had just been put on failed. Mickey was going to swap it when the pulley left me chained to the back of a wrecker. I had the BWB at Mickey’s already and since it wasn’t going anywhere with a broken water pump. I had him fix it. I trust him with my truck so it’s all good.

If you aren’t already a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you should be.
Penny and her signature catch phrase…

Thanks for reading, do business locally, and Happy Rovering.

Marine Corps Reserve…Yeah, It was just like that (Post #317) 1/21/2013

Yeah, my enlistment looked just like that.
Except, I lived in Oklahoma, so no ocean beaches.
And, I didn’t drive a Corvette, I drove a 1973 Ford Maverick Grabber.
And, I didn’t have a girlfriend, I was lucky if I could get a date.

My friends would ask me, “Do you play G.I. Joe this weekend?”
Yeah, my enlistment was just like that.

This commercial from 2012 gives me goosebumps every time I see it.

Thank you to those who have served.
Thanks for reading, Happy Rovering, and Semper Fidelis.

Preppers Anthem (Post #316) 1/19/2013

If you don’t watch “Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel” (National Geographic) then this song really doesn’t mean anything to you other than a message about how we are destroying the world around us. To those of you who do watch “Preppers” you “get it”. I enjoy watching the Preppers show. I have learned something different in every episode. For me, the hardcore preppers are a trip. One of those guys has at least a million dollars invested in his plan to survive…whatever happens next. Seriously, if you watch that show you will see people who are preparing for an end to the way of life as we currently know it.

Think of a worst case scenario, really think about it, now take the severity of that and multiply it by ten, there is a person out there preparing for that to happen. The show goes through several of these scenarios:

  • Failed financial system
  • Comet/meteor impact
  • Civil unrest
  • Famine
  • Natural disasters
  • Dirty bomb attack

All of these might happen.

If you watch the show you know that they assess each prepper at the end of their segment. The give them a score on their readiness and the “experts” give their opinion of the likeliness of the particular disaster actually occurring. I haven’t heard one that said, it was very likely.

I am a firm believer in the momentum approach. You know the physics adage, “objects in motion tend to stay in motion”. Just a decade ago, people had over-inflated worries about the Y2K bug. Remember that? It was the thought at the time, that all the computers would just magically stop working when the date rolled over to January 1, 2000.

Did a lot of people spend a LOT of money to make that not happen, sure they did. Not all of it was necessary. I worked for my buddy JagGuy back then and he made a pretty good living off the regulatory concerns of the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the banks it serves. Among the many things we did for the clients, we helped banks certify elevators that didn’t even have a computer in them, “Y2K ready”. Madness.

Let’s get back to my momentum theory. I had a concerned citizen back then ask me about Y2K and their concern there would be no power. They detailed how they were going to buy a generator and stock up on food, “Just in case.”

Even though deep down inside I wanted to laugh at them, I didn’t belittle them, I thought, “If this helps them sleep at night, good for them. At least they are preparing.” I listened to their concerns and then I asked them a simple question.
“Does the power company make any money if they can’t provide power to their customers?”
They finally said, “No, I guess not.”
Then I said, “Don’t you think they want to continue to be able to bill their customers for power?”
You could see the lights come on, and they said, “So I shouldn’t buy a generator?”

I told them that was not my call. Do whatever you think will be best. They were preparing for a disaster. Why discourage them? They are working out a plan for some unforeseen event. GOOD!

I believe the momentum of the society we live in will continue. People will always need water and food and fuel and electrical power and the basic necessities of life. There will be someone there to provide those things in all but the absolutely worst case scenarios.

World War 3 was once a real worry, some of you younger readers might not remember the START treaties and how we were all sure we would die from nuclear war. Nuclear détente (Wikipedia) was inevitable. People planned for this event by building bomb shelters and stocking up on food. “Blast from the Past” (1999) (IMDB) was a romantic comedy about a naïve man who comes out into the world after being in a nuclear fallout shelter for 35 years. As you know, it never happened. It will most likely never happen on that scale.

Not a Prepper
I’ve had people say I was a prepper. I have seen the 1984 version of Red Dawn (IMDB) literally 100 times. Thirty years ago, we believed it was a real possibility that Russians might invade America. This isn’t even part of any serious discussion at the Pentagon today. There is no way we are being invaded, not even by China. (Who would they sell all the stuff they produce to?) With this in mind I’ve been prepared to wage a counterinsurgency since 1984.

I think it is important to clarify my position:

  • I believe it is important to be prepared for EVERY situation.
  • I believe I am more prepared than most people.
  • I believe our system of government and the organization of our society will survive nearly all man-made catastrophes.
  • I believe within two hours I could leave my home and live anywhere for at least a week.

As far as I am concerned, I am not a prepper. Am I prepared for an event that might change the way I live comfortably off the resources provided by an organized system of government and society?
Short answer, not as prepared as I’d like to be.

What should we prepare for?
Our biggest worry should be natural disasters. Tornadoes wipe out communities almost every year in Oklahoma. Being ready for an interruption in basic services is probably the place you should put the majority of your resources. We are not likely to see a tsunami wipe out tens of thousands of people, or a volcano spew magma all over our cities. But a tornado could plow a mile wide path through your hometown tomorrow (any tomorrow). I’ve seen it.

So to wrap this up. If you want to prep/be a prepper by all means go for it. My advice for most everyone else in Oklahoma in descending order of importance:

  • Have an alternate source of water
  • Have some sort of shelter and or a way to heat your home
  • Store some rations if you plan to bug in
  • Be prepared to repel looters

If it is a natural disaster, the government and the aid societies will be onsite in a few hours after it strikes. Your friends will be able to help you too so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you are just getting started I suggest you read about making a Bug-Out Bag (Art of Manliness.com) and formulate a plan. This type of planning will get you a LONG way toward being prepared for something temporarily terrible happening.

Arming Myself to the Teeth

Contrary to what you may read on some websites, you don’t need a fully kitted-out expedition-class Land Rover Defender with ring-mounted MK19 40mm grenade launcher to survive. (I didn’t say you shouldn’t have a MK19, I just said you don’t NEED one.) A full tank of gas for your Range Rover will get you a long way toward getting out of the way of danger.  I see a lot of guys paying for some very expensive firearms. For what an well configured AR-15 costs, you could buy 3 months worth of portable food and a very reliable Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun.

Well that was a lot. It was possibly a little scatter-brained but I think most people will get the gist of this post.

Key points…

  • Something bad will probably happen (think natural disaster not societal collapse)
  • Make a good Bug-Out Bag
  • Be prepared, have a plan

Thanks for reading and Happy Prepping Rovering.

Winter is Coming (Post #307) 12/8/2012

I love that line, “Winter is Coming”. If you are a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones you know the phrase Winter is Coming has a special meaning. It is appropriate in this post because ONE, winter is indeed here although you wouldn’t know it in Oklahoma; and TWO, it implies that there is a impending doom upon you. Oklahoma weather is like that. One day you are wearing shorts wondering if you should reopen the pool, the next day you are wondering if you have enough firewood and if it would be cheaper just to open the freezer doors because its colder outside than inside the meat freezer in the garage.

Such is life on the plains. Be Prepared, is not just the Boy Scout’s Motto it is a warning, be ready for what ever comes your way. I’d like to say I am always ready. Fact is I am ready more than I am not. And compared to other people, sometimes I’m just down right psychic in my level of readiness. A regular Okienostradamus.

So with that, whether you drive a Range Rover, Discovery, Defender, Series II or III, Air Mobile, or Forward Control you should have a nice kit of preparedness in the boot. You all know this is a Land Rover blog, but this advice extends to you even if you drive a Jeep or a Honda Civic, get some basic items together and be prepared.

While I was suffering from insomnia last night brought on by a runty little skunk spraying our rookie watch dog, Bocephus (RovErica named him) at 0230, I was thinking of the kit in the rear of the Range Rover and this post.

I have written about this before, “What’s in Your Console” is found on my website OkieRover.com. I talk about all the items I carry in my quest to be prepared. So I thought I’d list a few items to deal with what will surely (I know, don’t call me Shirley) make you one of the most prepared flatlanders on the plains. You never know when you might be in the middle of a Snowpocalyse.


Handy for digging yourself out of a snow bank when you are in a Target or mall parking lot or dispatching zombies. If you exercise your option to UPGRADE you could get one of these, Cold Steel Spetznaz Special Forces Shovel. Prices vary, so shop around. I have one in the Range Rover. Very handy in many situations.

You could also opt for the traditional G.I. Joe Entrenching Shovel.

These are available almost anywhere. The ability to have the spade set at 90 degrees to the handle is excellent for digging and pulling snow out from under the body of your motor. It also folds up and can be tucked out of the way easily in your boot (trunk). It can be used as a weapon if necessary too. I’ve heard many a story of troops using them as a last resort.

Jumper Cables

Winter is jumper cable season. You may be surprised to learn heat kills more batteries than the cold, but it is true. I can safely say I have used my jumper cables in winter four times more often than summer. Get a pair of the higher quality ones. They last longer and will be easier to use when the north wind is attempting to cut you in half. Jumper cables are not very useful as a weapon unless you are a ninja or have Mel Gibson strung up by a chain to be tortured ala Lethal Weapon (1987).


Every vehicle I own has a blanket in the trunk. They are useful in summer when you need a ground cover while you enjoy a picnic or fireworks show. In winter they might just save your life if you happen to slide off the road and can’t get yourself unstuck. You can get a blanket from any number of places. I like the woven blankets of Mexican origin. They are cheap, so cheap that if you were to get them covered with goat heads, stickers, or whatever you call them, you just leave in the nearest waste bin.

Ice Scrapers

I buy these when they are on clearance for a dollar at the end of winter. I toss them in the trunk and hand them to the EXCEPTIONALLY UNPREPARED MORON scraping their windshield with a credit card or their keys or their sandals. Seriously, really, I’ve seen it. Not only did the moron not have a scraper but they were wearing SANDALS IN WINTER TIME during an ice storm on the plains. I should just let natural selection take her icy course on these idiots but the condescending judgmental looks I get to give them when I hand them a free scraper are too good to pass up.

Tow Strap

Having a tow strap might be a nice addition. Don’t scrimp on this one. Get a REAL tow strap. Rope, cord, etc… will not cut it. Chains are impractical due to the weight to distance ratio. Twenty foot of grade 70 tow chain can move up to 4,700 pounds but it also weighs 20 pounds. A tow strap capable of pulling 6,000 pounds weighs only two pounds and can be purchased for around a saw buck (ten dollars).

Know Where Your Recovery Points Are
Crawl under your car now while you are dry and warm and look for the recovery points. I’ve run into many cars that don’t even have recovery points. As a matter of fact I ran into a Mercedes sedan in my neighborhood that didn’t have a recovery point in the front. What ever you drive, find out if there is a place to hook a tow strap and how to get to it. It isn’t any fun to dig under your car when it’s in 8-12 inches of snow to find the effing recovery point only to learn TOO LATE you don’t have one there.

I could probably go on for nineteen pages with suggestions. I’ve heard people say they put bags kitty litter their trunk. I can probably see that for traction on the ice sheets we often have here in the southern plains. Never used it myself. There are a hundred more items but I will not dwell on them here.

Winter is Coming. Be Prepared. Take the bull by the horns. Endeavor NOT to be “that guy/gal”.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention today is the 71st Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. 
Never forget.

God Bless America, Thanks for reading, and Happy Rovering.