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

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.

Like and subscribe to the blog and the YouTube channel if you see fit. I would really appreciate it.

I have a Patreon account setup if you would like to help with the cost of keeping this website up. Okierover Patreon.

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

Fixing the D Pillar Rust (Post #634) 12/11/2023

I can see my breath!

If you follow the blog you have seen the rust damage from open cell foam in the upper D Pillar. The foam got wet and over time ate through the pillar and caused a hole that allowed water into the rear. It wasn’t likely a “stream” of water as the pillar had a cover and the foam also blocked the hole.

In any event, it had to be repaired. I went to some effort to research the removal of the rear quarter panel windows. Damaging the seal is a non-starter. Replacement seals cost in the neighborhood of $500.00(US). And there is also a chance of breaking a window.

I had the Evil German Dude over for Thanksgiving and showed him the damage. He was pretty certain that I could weld a patch there WITHOUT removing the seal and window. Using caution and allowing time for the welds to cool, he was sure that the welding would not be a problem.

Trusting he was right, I proceeded to build a patch and weld it in. The patch was pretty easy to make. You’ll need a bench vise or a metal brake to bend the steel. Well…if you have to bend steel for your patch. I got the patch in place, wire wheeled the paint and primer away and started welding.

My first welds didn’t stick. I had to work through that. Some of the issue was a crappy ground point. The other could be paint I hadn’t removed. I finally sorted that out and made the weld around the piece. I will come back with some seam sealer and make sure there are no holes by sealing them with a bead of sealant.

I was a bit surprised at how well this went. I was expecting a much more complicated repair. I’m not in love with the welds. But such is the way you have to weld thin steel. They also are not in sight so they didn’t have to be pretty…and they aren’t pretty.

The temp cooled off this week. It was 40F degrees when I finished up. Funny how two and a half months ago the temp was three times that in the shop. We got a little reprieve on Sunday and it got above 50F degrees.

I’ve been kicking around an idea if the window had broken. Building in wing window storage boxes. I could use them to pass through power to solar panels, shore power, a heating tube for a propane heater, and the most exciting, water for showers and cooking/washing hands and such. I’ve got the bug so I may build a mockup with cardboard to see if it would work the way I’m thinking. It’s maybe a project for another day. You can check out this video which served as a good portion of the inspiration. Dirt Lifestyle has two videos on gullwing windows for his Discovery II. This is the latest [YouTube], and is an improvement of the original, enjoy.

I hope you enjoy the video of my work. Like and subscribe and if you want to help through a recurring contribution, Patreon is helpful way to do that.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

A Visit to the Air Defense Training Facility (Post #629) October 29, 2023

Half track

I was invited by my friend Correy Twilley to come to Fort Sill and participate in a WW2 living history event. The plan was to take the M3 Half Track and a Jeep with a Pack 75 howitzer out to the field and and have students and family come by and learn some history. Unfortunately the weather for Saturday would be pretty nasty. For dedicated living historians that’s not a big deal but the purpose was to have visitors. Not likely to have many visitors when the north wind blows in the 20mph range, rain falling, and temps in the middle 30’s Fahrenheit (1 to 5 Celsius).

World War 2 is not one of my current periods. I would have had to borrow my entire kit. But Correy said not a problem, so I said, “let’s do it”. When he cancelled I told him I still had the day off and would like to come down and visit the training facility.

If you are following the news, they are deploying some anti-aircraft units from Fort Sill to the Middle East. So I was at first concerned I would be in the way. Turned out not to be a problem as most of the troops were already getting their trashed gather up for deployment. Correy taught a class that morning and had a meeting but the afternoon was available for us to tour the displays.

Friday was pleasant with sunny skies so I toured the gun park. There were several examples of weapons I trained on in the park.

I trained on the M101A4 at artillery school. Fort Sill is home to the Artillery School now, but when I served there were two schools, Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune. They sent me to Las Pulgas, Camp Pendleton.

After school I was assigned to 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, Oscar Battery. We were using the M110A2 howitzer. This beast was a very accurate system and nuclear capable.

In the infinite wisdom of the Corps they sent our M110s to California changed our unit designation to 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines, Fox Battery. These towed behemoths required modern trucks (M939) to pull them. I was not a fan.

When Correy was finished with his classes he gave me a tour of the training facility. As you will see in the video, they have an amazing collection. Several of the systems are 1 of a kind or there are less than 3 of these known to exist. Several of the trucks and Jeeps are near fully functional and could be taken out if a little work was done on them. Several of the systems are demonstrated for students with live fire exercises.

As promised, Correy said we would take the M16 Half-track out for a spin. It is an M3 based Multiple Gun Motor Carriage equipped with the Maxson M45 Quadmount (specifically the M45D) with four M2HB machine guns. Our first stop was to drive it to the gas station and put in a couple of gallons. The looks on people’s faces when you roll up to the station is pretty fun. After that we took it over to Medicine Man Bluff and then around the old post and finally back to the museum.

I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to go down to the base and to go out in the field with my friends. The weather has turned cold. Seems like we skipped Fall all together this year and went from 90’s to 30’s Fahrenheit in two days.

Thanks for your patience while we went to St. Croix for a week. We needed the break and took a lazy week to recover from work and life. I did manage to see 5 Land Rovers on the island. You can see them on my Instagram account.

I’m working on the backup fuel pump and plan to get the BWB started and turned around in the shop. That will allow me to tackle the rust on the passenger (starboard) side. I’ll have another video up next week.

Like and or subscribe to the Youtube channel, every little bit helps. As always, I’m happy to see comments and will comment back as soon as I see them.

Thanks for visiting and Happy Rovering.

The Big White Bus Will Not Start (Post #625) September 25, 2023

spark plugs

In this post I am sort of after the fact prepping the motor for it’s first start in several years (at least 3 years). I was given some advise that I should lubricate the cylinders prior to starting for the first time. The reason is obvious. The cylinders are dry.

I’ve already tried to crank the engine. That was evident in the last video. So perhaps doing this NOW is a bit superfluous. Meaning I’ve probably already damaged something. But maybe not, I’ll know when I get the engine started.

I’ve pulled plugs and I’ve squirted some WD-40 inside each cylinder. How much you say? That’s a great question. I was told at least a couple of seconds of spray. The WD-40 fluid is going to adhere to the cylinder walls and if the rings were stuck, would have acted on them hopefully freeing them. They make a special “foggy spray” for this application but I was told just to use WD-40. I highly recommend you do your own research on this. I’m damaging my own stuff. I don’t want you to damage your stuff if I’m wrong.

The fuel pump is on the way and might arrive today 9/25. That would make it 8 days since I ordered it. They don’t work on Saturday or Sunday so Monday was the first time they started to “fullfill” the order. I am also in the farthest away region from their shipping hub. So a minimum of 5 days of transit. Looking at their location, I could have driven up there, picked up the part in person, and arrived back at base camp before the shipped part arrived.

Next step is to get a fuel pump installed and the Big White Bus started. Drive it to the top of the driveway. Hose off the parts so I can coat them with rust conversion paint. I will then turn her around and have the starboard side on the same side of the shoppe as the welder. I have some rust under the starboard rear wheel well the might need some patching. I also have the repairs to the existing rust spots identified in other videos. B pillar, D pillar.

You can support me on Patreon if this content is appealing. I would be greatly appreciated. Like and subscribe to the video channel.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Video Blog: Panhard Rod Bushings (Post #573) 6/24/2017

Professional driver, do not try this at home.

I discuss panhard rod bushing failure and deathwobble.

I demonstrate how knackered my panhard rod bushings were.

Removing the failed bushing requires you to use a “punch”, I used a socket which is slightly small in diameter than the bushing, to press the failed bushing out. It is similar to the process of pressing them in except when you press in new ones you used a socket that is larger in diameter than the bushing.

I demonstrate how to press in new bushings. Find the beveled side of the panhard rod and the bushings will go in easier than the side that is not beveled. I used a vise to get the bushing started. This helps with getting the bushing “square” in the hole before you apply the press to the bushing.

Getting the tool lined up correctly is 90% of the battle.

Victory is mine. The bushing is pressed in. You do this for both sides.

I had trouble with the width of the bushing sleeve and it require a bit of grinding to get it mounted. I used a bench mounted grinder. Just take off a little of the material and try to fit. If you need more, grind off a little more then refit. I went to the bench grinder four times to get both sides right before mounting with the bolts.

Thanks for watching and Happy Rovering.

Fender Swap (Post #556) 3/6/2016

If you are a regular reader you will remember some late unpleasantness when a distracted driver smacked into the Big White Bus while she was parked on a city street. I was determined to get the BWB back on the road. After all we already have one car payment and my budget would not allow for a second. Besides that, I love this Range Rover. We have a lot of miles together and I know her inside and out. I didn’t really relish going through learning another automobile.

So the day was set aside for “mechanic-ing”, but before we managed to get started some friends of Rogers showed up with a lovely 1932 Buick. I don’t remember all the specs on this car but it was a Buick and nicely done. The trunk was a dealer option and still had the original leather clad luggage inside. A time capsule to another time.

1932 Buick. You never know what will show up at the shoppe.

To get the fender straightened was the first thing. We got the Range Rover lined up with our pull point. We did not believe the under structure was damaged but we needed to pull the fender out to make sure. JagGuy got the “come along” out and hooked it to a M54 military truck parked in front of the shoppe and on to the bent fender.

That worked nicely. “The panel “wants” to go back the way it started.” he said admiring the job. So pulling it straight will help with a lot of the work. We did learn the bumper was a loss. I couldn’t see any reason to try and straighten it. I’ll have to get a new bumper. I’ve got my eyes on some aftermarket ones.

We took a break after that and went over to Back Door BBQ. The “Beastwich” sounded appetizing so I indulged. This might have been the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. No, really. It was amazing.

Beastwich. Something different each day.
Beastwich. Something different each day.

Satisfied we decided to attempt to put a coat of paint on the new fender I had salvaged from the Pull-A-Part yard a few weeks back. We got it on to the table and I was instructed to rough it up and wash it down with a solution that removed all the grit and oils. These are basically all the same, sorry I didn’t remember the product name.

After JagGuy applied a layer of paint he wasn’t terribly happy with the results. Knowing we weren’t going to be able to install the same day as paint, he told me he would put another coat on during the week and it would be ready for the next weekend to install.

The results were mixed. I should have probably bought medium drying instead of the fast I wound up buying from English Color and Supply. Good folks there, and they have the expertise and a nice disposition. I didn’t pretend to know what I was doing and asked for help all the way. Highly recommended.

English Color and Supply
English Color and Supply

So I retrieved the fender and a couple of weeks later I installed it. I had already disassembled the fender on the donor Range Rover so this was old hat to me. There really isn’t anything special about removing the fender. Remember these are built to be worked on.

Remove the lights.

Remove the pozi-drive (The Garage Journal) screws (use a number 1 or 2 Phillips) from the inside.

 

You will need to remove the plastic box on the seat release. The push button unscrews.

You need to remove the two bolts on the inside of the fender above the tire.

What she looks like without the fender.

Fender off.
Fender off.

Reattached the lens cover rubber to the fender BEFORE you put the new fender on. You can do it after…its just harder. I ground down the rust spots as well as I could and gave everything with rust a coat of self-etching primer.

I reattached the fender. The rear inside is attached with pop rivets. So you’ll need to put some elbow grease on the fender to get the holes lined up.

Pop rivets
Pop rivets

I think there were 4 or 5 needed. That’s it except for putting the light assembly back on. I used the new one I salvaged from the wreck. In the end, it looks great.

It is now the third different painting she has had. I really should get an orbital buffer to her this summer and get the oxidation off and get the panels shining and perhaps closer to the same color.

That’s about it. The removal and reassembly of the fender is a 1(one) on the Okierover Difficulty Scale. The painting however is another thing. If you REALLY, REALLY care about the paint matching and there being a nice coat of paint this might be a 3(three) on the Difficulty Scale. You would need to apply bondo and sand a great deal more than we did. Every minor imperfection on the panel will be magnified by ten once you start to apply paint. I didn’t care all that much about perfection.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.