The Eclipse (Post #650) 4/12/2024

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Unless you just crawled out from under a rock or came down from a cave in the mountains you probably know there was an eclipse on April 8th, 2024. I told Mr. Fisher and our newest add on Mark Obermiller that we had to go see it. So…we did.

Let’s talk a little about comms first. All three of us got our GMRS licenses prior to the trip. Mr. Fisher splurged and bought several radios.

First was the Midland GXT1000X3VP4

My personal experience with it? Battery life A-. We used them while we were driving for 6 hours. The knock on it was the battery life indicator showed full, right up to the moment it died. That’s pretty disappointing. Sound quality, B-, they were scratchy at the beginning of each transmission. We didn’t really test how many “far’s” it would work but a mile they seemed to work okay. Three pack for $99.00(US). That’s an inexpensive option.

The Second was the Rugged GMR-2 Plus

Mr. Fisher used this one when his other died. It took him a bit to program and his main complaint was getting it setup. We also were broadcasting on Channel 19 privacy 19. But on this radio the display showed channel 19 privacy 10. Not sure about that. Two for $150.00(US)

We’ll have more to say about these and others as we get further into GMRS. Almost all the options for GMRS radios are made in China. There are some made in Japan.

I did fiddle-fart around a little bit and didn’t bother to secure a campsite. Thankfully my friends at Fort Towson were hosting a Eclipse Watch Party. They consider me family, mostly because I visit them with my 1820-1840 Cherokee living history presentation.

We started out on Saturday morning. Mr. Fisher had plotted our route and I fell in behind him and Mark. Our first stop was Lexington Wildlife Management Area. This is a public hunting and fishing area in Slaughterville, Oklahoma. If you watch my videos, you may have seen a sign in my shoppe. Look for it next time. I have a creepy Slaughterville story, so ask me some time we are around a campfire.

We saw some fun stuff along the way including this moderate sized snapping turtle. Which apparently I can’t add a photo of right now. Thanks Google Photos, good work.

We drove around visited the Lake. My camera didn’t record while we were at the lake. Bummer cause we had some fun stuff to say.

Mr. Fisher’s remainder of his route had us weaving through to the Atoka Wildlife Management Area.

The wind was blowing pretty hard 20-25mph with gusts to 30mph. We looked around a bit to find a campsite. We started where you see above but also went down to the lake shore but the site was too windy. With Mr. Fisher and Mark in tents, that wasn’t ideal. I went around to the opposite side of the lake but there wasn’t a suitable site over there either. We’ll be back to this site another time.

We setup camp and had some delicious sirloin steak, fried potatoes, and yeast rolls. Dessert was cookies. We had some adult beverages and started a small fire. We were expecting storms and they did not disappoint. We had a nice gust front hit us and then the rain started. I ducked into the F150 and they to their tents.

We rode out the weather which turned out to not be all that impressive. Considering I’ve slept through two near misses with tornadoes, once outside Kansas City dressed for 1750s living history where I slept in a wickiup and the second I was in the back of the Big White Bus at American Horse Lake, this one barely rates mention.

It was my turn to lead so I used Gaia to map out a route. I didn’t have as much trouble mapping as I did when I tried to use the PC. At this point, if it doesn’t get better I’ll probably cancel. I need to try the Overland Bound app.

We had a mostly uneventful second leg. That is until we were traversing what we call a “jog” in the road. This one made a right and then an immediate left all on a 10% or greater grade. There were some brick-sized rocks. Mark must have caught one just right because it separated and cut the tread on one of his Wrangler SR tires. Not necessarily rated for “trail” running but I didn’t think they would fail.

Without a spare we got back on the pavement to avoid another incident. We didn’t have another tire and it was a Sunday so better safe than sorry.

We arrived at Fort Towson and setup came while I found my friends and said hello. We cooked dinner and got setup for the night. They had a nice spread and we had some delicious food. Homemade cinnamon rolls really finished the night off right.

We were tasked with parking duty. We had a good time and welcomed everyone. I shared some fort history to those who hadn’t researched it themselves. All in all we parked around 75-100 cars and roughly 375 people came to watch.

The clouds were sparse early but built up more and more as the day went on. It was looking like we weren’t going to see the eclipse. But just as one of the guest said the parting of the clouds would occur and just in time.

There are no words to describe the eclipse. It was in the top 5 events I’ve ever attended. The light right before the eclipse was eerie. It was like an old Argon street light. Such a special event. Seeing the ring, seeing the solar prominence, it getting dark right in the middle of the day. Birds stopped singing, a tree frog croaked, basically nature thought it was night. I said “so cool” about a dozen times during my video. Like I said, there were no words.

The fort staff set off a cannon during the totality.

They say the next one is in August of 2045. I’ll be 80 years old. The path will go right through Oklahoma. If I’m still residing in Newcastle, I’ll only need to drive 75 miles to be in the center of the totality.

I hope you enjoy the video. I know it is a bit long, but it was a big weekend.

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Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering (of F150-ing if your Land Rover is in a shoppe).

Footwell Repair Part 2: Disassembly (Post #649) 3/24/2024

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In this installment I begin the disassembly of the front fender to expose more rust. And I was NOT disappointed. I found just about what I expected. A rusted through footwell. On a positive note…I think I found where the water was getting in to soak my carpets. I have no idea how to correct it, but at least I found it.

In order to get to all the rust the front fender had to come off. I encountered a bunch of rusted screws and bolts. I had to cut several of them off. I even used an air chisel to remove some spring type U nuts (yeah I had to look that name up, I had no idea what they were called). I can tell you they were a bitch to remove. But after you deconstruct them a bit they came right off. I’ll likely replace the U nuts with stainless steel bolts and nuts.

The fender didn’t put up much resistance after I got the U nuts off. I then had to remove a plastic fender piece. You can probably guess that the plastic clips weren’t going to survive being taken off.

Underneath I found a lot of surface rust. I put the angle grinder with a wire wheel to work. I cleaned up some of the rust and found a bunch of really bad metal.

In the seem between the wheel well and the footwell I found what I think is the source of my wet carpets. This spot is going to be hard to fix. I don’t know what needs to be cut away and what needs to be welded on.

Inside where this failed bulkhead is is covered with Fat Mat. That will need to be removed. Heat gun and patience I hope will assist me in getting it removed. There is a nice cluster of wires and relays right there too. So joy of joys I’ll get to relocated all that too!!! Woot!

I also took the lug nuts and cleaned all the rust off them. I have the first coat of paint on them. They’ll get a second before I put them back on.

That’s about it for this week. I got to watch some severe weather out in western Oklahoma on Sunday. It all petered out before it got to the Okierover Base Camp.

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https://youtu.be/Hr4vN39uf8c

Footwell Repair Part 1 (Post #648) 3/17/2024

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“Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In!”

– Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in Godfather: Part 3 (1990)

That’s how I feel every time I find a new rust patch that is going to require a major repair. I have already repaired the passenger side footwell. You can check that post out here…

Good times….

Investigating the rusted panel has revealed the patch rusted out. This is going to be a complicated repair this time. This time, I have to figure out how to connect the new panel to the side wall of the footwell.

I’m not sure I have the tools or the talent frankly to bend the steel and to shape one side at a 90 degree angle. Sorta like this image but with more curve in the panel.

Or that’s what my pea-sized caveman brain thinks I need. I haven’t found any videos on line demonstrating how to do this complicated piece. Even Church House Classics [YouTube] didn’t have it in his latest video. I’ve got a couple of ideas how this is going to go. None of those ideas seem easy at this point. They make a replacement footwell but there are none in America. It’s a $60.00(US) part that costs $86.00(US) to ship.

Once I get all the rust removed this project may reveal itself. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Once I complete this I have to up to the front wheel well and get the surface rust under control. It never stops, and I keep getting pulled back in!

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Footwell Repair

https://youtu.be/knlOFCR9sEU

B Pillar Post Repair Part 2 (Post #647) 3/10/2024

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Part 2 of a 2 part video series for repair of the B Pillar. In this video I cut (poorly) and weld (even more poorly) the premanufactured B pillar end cap on to the Big White Bus.

All the measuring in the world could not have prevented me from screwing up the B pillar end cap. Not having the right tool, I should have used a bandsaw for the cut, led to me making a bad cut. Probably didn’t help that my measurement was off by 1/8 of an inch. Leading me to attempt to bridge that gap with welds. I had…mixed results.

I was careful, real careful, measured more than once. None of that kept me from cutting this wrong. What’s worse cutting too long and then cutting too much off trying to fix it OR cutting it too short on the first try???!!!?

Thankfully this entire section will be reinforced and protected with a rock slider at some point in the future. My worst fear is this rusting out again. Or maybe its not… at some point this entire vehicle may become scrap. Only the Fates know.

Thanks for watching. Like and subscribe.

Thanks for reading and as always Happy Rovering.

Getting close to finishing this side.

Hyperlink to the video https://youtu.be/rQdrRkAOw_k

B Pillar Post Repair Part 1 (Post #646) 3/3/2024

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In this video I start the repairs on the B Pillar. As you have seen it rusted out. I was able to find a replacement part from YRM. It cost the equivalent to a really nice bottle of rum to ship it over from England. The shipping was as much as the part. Such is the world of British vehicles and getting parts from the motherland I guess.

This repair involved removing the passenger side rear door. The workshop manual was very helpful. I actually read the instructions. Three C clips and some liquid persuasion (Liquid Wrench).

I got the bottom of the post cut off. I should have scribed a straight line and cut along it. But I’m a moron. I got to use my new air chisel, that was kinda cool. That coupled with my new air compressor worked quite well.

I got the bottom of the B pillar off and made a template for the sill where I had to patch it. The really terrible lines I cut made the repair patch pretty hard to work with. A better way would have been to make a template, place the template on the sill and cut around it. Live and learn I guess.

But I finally got it made. I think it looks pretty good. I mean, I’m not a professional auto body guy. I put primer on everything. The entire sill should probably be sprayed with bedliner/stonechip/whatever. There will be rock sliders built and installed so I’m not worried about the structural quality of my welds. The entire weight of the sill will be distributed across the sill in the end.

Off camera I also cleaned off some of the rubberized underbody and wire wheeled a bunch of rust off. The welds of the floor repair the Evil German and I completed a while back were rusting. I got the rust removed and got primer on it. It’s now ready for some stonechip seal/bedliner stuff.

Also off camera I found that the floor repair we fixed has completely failed. The rust was really bad. I have another repair to sort out now. This one was a gut punch because I was hoping to wrap up all the rust except for the rear floor panel. Heavy sigh…..

As my son said, “Rut row Shaggy.”

If you were wondering why I jumped from Post #642 to #645, I posted two videos without accompanying blog posts. You can check them out here on these two links.

OKC Overland Meetup February 2024 (Post #643) 2/18/2024

More Rust (Short) (Post #644) 2/19/2024 (which you see above)

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering

https://youtu.be/ElkExlyY-dA

Mmmm templates…..

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Part 7: Reassembly of the Rear Quarter Panel (Post #645) February 10, 2024

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I’m pretty sure I have the rust sorted in the passenger side wheel well. So it was time to reassemble.

What I didn’t investigate was all the ADDITIONAL spot rust. I spent some time arresting rust on the inside of the fender. I also covered the welding spots on the inside of the wheel well. And I got crazy with the cheese whiz, seam sealer, and covered some spots there too.

I didn’t forget the light assembly this time. I did forget the fuel filler door latch. Soooo….I got to do the job twice. I’m getting pretty good reassembling the rear quarter panels!

I nearly forgot that I had to install the mud flap and had to finish that job before I could call it a day. It went together pretty well and was easier to to than the drivers side in my opinion.

With this job done, I am able to concentrate on the rusty B pillar.

Thanks as always for liking and subscribing.

Hope you enjoy the content, cause I enjoy making it.

Your comments are always welcome.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

https://youtu.be/fK9uDGD0wrA