Thursday, April 26, 2018

Jeep Modifications

In preparation for towing a RV trailer, I had U-Haul install a 7 pin connector and brake controller on my Jeep. Although it came with a tow package, there was only a flat 4 pin connector which does not have the ability to brake the trailer.

Newly installed 4 pin & 7 pin connector

Much to my surprise, the tow package used a 3.73 gear ratio instead of 4.10. In an effort to improve the overall performance of the Jeep including towing, I purchased a Superchips Flashpaq.


This device comes with several preset performance tunes along with the ability to do a custom tune. It will even correct the speedometer if you go to bigger tires. Lastly, you can return the Jeep back to stock mode before taking it to a dealer.

Click on image to enlarge

I am currently running the 87 (octane) Performance Tune. I have not noticed any significant change in power but the automatic transmission appears to shift smoother. There is a Heavy Load Tow Tune which requires 91 octane gasoline that I will switch to when towing. I am also curious to see how the Crawling Tune performs on those really gnarly trails. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Friendly People

One of the surprises here in Las Vegas has been how nice most of the people I have met have been. It started with the office personnel in the RV park. Although they are generally very busy, they have always been helpful and accommodating in my interaction with them. I have also found the same to be true with servers in restaurants and clerks in retail stores.

I realize that Vegas is built on the service industry but I have often been amazed at how some companies will put employees with little or no "people skills" up front to work with the public. I discovered this early in my career as a sales representative calling on industrial corporations.

Perhaps, it is the nice weather (I always feel better when it is warm and sunny). Perhaps, it is the booming economy (I always feel better when I have more money to spend). Perhaps, it is no state income tax (I always feel better when I have to pay less taxes). Whatever it is, I hope it continues as it makes life much more pleasant.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fixer Upper RV

After dinner I met this fellow in the shopping center's parking lot, who was kind enough to pose with his RV...


He offered to sell it to me and as an added incentive was going to throw in the trailer...


He assured me it had never been in a wreck and had only 65,000 original miles on it...


When I asked how it was damaged, he said it was the weather in Mexico (I think we're talking hurricane or tornado). If I had not already put a deposit on a R-pod, I might have tried to negotiate a good deal.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Seenager

My friends, Steve & Jayne, sent me this image...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Panhandlers

Most of the major intersections in Las Vegas have panhandlers holding signs asking for help/money. As in any highly competitive market, there are those individuals on the cutting edge of their profession, who are always looking for new and innovative ways to differentiate themselves from their run-of-the-mill competitors. It appears the latest trend in panhandling is the "Why lie..." signs. In the last year, I have seen signs that read "Why lie, need beer". Now, in keeping with the recent legalization of marijuana, I see signs that read "Why lie, need reefer".


Ironically, it is against the law here to panhandle or give money to panhandlers (it is considered a traffic hazard) but due to the huge homeless population, it is rarely enforced.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lift Kit

I had 4 The Truck in Henderson install a 3 inch BDS lift kit with Fox 2.0 shocks on my Jeep. Now, I can hit those speed bumps at the mall without fear of bottoming out. The next step in the evolution of my machine is to replace the stock tires with larger ones once I have put a few more miles on the current set. The downside to this setup is having to pole vault into the driver's seat (it's not easy being "inseam challenged").

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

UNC Alumni Association

It has been 50 years since I graduated from the University of North Carolina. In the interim, I have moved more times than I can count including a three year stay in Mexico. I never once sent them my new address. And yet, whenever they want a donation, I get an alumni letter asking for money. I believe the FBI, CIA, NSA, et. al. could learn a great deal about locating "person(s) of interest" from them. Unfortunately, now that they are politically just to the left of Lenin, I no longer donate.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours

I think most people would be surprised at the number of interesting places within an hour's drive of Las Vegas. Today, I visited Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours located in Eldorado Canyon at the historical Techatticup Mine (the oldest, richest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada). I photographed so many old and unique vehicles that I thought a slideshow would be the best way to display them...


If you would like to view a full screen version of the slideshow, click here

After the mine, I continued east to some remote areas of Lake Mead where I discovered a late model Ford F-150 trying unsuccessfully to learn how to swim...



This occurred within a national recreational area so I suspect the owner will be hit with some massive fines in addition to the cost of repairing or replacing the truck.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Vegas Heat

Although my RV came with two 15,000 BTU roof air conditioners, it is all they can do to keep the inside temperature under 85 degrees F when it is over 100 outside. In as much as I want to see if I can take the heat in Las Vegas this summer, I needed to look at other ways to cool the RV.

I spoke with some people in the office who live here year round and they recommended a portable air conditioner that vents to the outside. However, when I looked at those units, I discovered that they were not only more expensive than window conditioners but did not work as well.

After some careful window measurements and then shopping online, I found a 6,000 BTU LG air conditioner that appeared to be just what I needed. It arrived on Monday and much to my relief fit the window in the slide-out perfectly. I used some water hose insulation that I bought several years ago during a cold snap in NC to seal the ends of the unit so there are no drafts in or out of the RV.

Since then, we have had two days where the outside temperature was in the low 90s and I am pleased to report that it not only worked well but cut down on the time the big roof A/Cs were needed. Hopefully, I will stay cool this summer and lower my electric bill at the same time. 😊

Inside

Outside

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

13 Mile Loop

The 13 Mile Loop is part of the Logandale Trail system south of Logandale, Nevada. It is an insanely beautiful trail that easily makes my "favorite rides" list. Although not difficult, I would recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle due to the soft sand (which may be impassible when wet). The southern portion of the trail goes through the Valley of Fire State Park which is known for its red rock formations.

Beginning of the trail

One of many spur roads

Bighorn sheep

Unique arches

Now that's a trailer
(note man sleeping under trailer behind truck)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Bitter Springs Trail

The Bitter Springs Trail is about an hour northeast of Las Vegas. I have mixed feelings about today's drive. Although the trail has some beautiful rock formations along the way, there were too many long, boring sections for me to get excited about doing it again anytime soon.

I chose to drive the trail from east to west in order to have the sun at my back. This was accomplished by going through the Lake Mead National Recreational Area which is worth a day's trip in itself. Click on photos to enlarge.

Redstone Hiking Trail in the Lake Mead recreational area

Colorful layers of rock

Cactus growing out of a rock

The road less traveled

Old dam 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Restaurant Heaven

One of the disadvantages of staying more than month in small towns is the limited selection of restaurants. I like to eat out (if you ever tasted my cooking, you would know why) so it does not take long for me to get bored eating at the same places.

As you would imagine, Vegas has an endless variety of culinary delights. The tough part is deciding what and where you want to eat. For lunch today I had the Gourmet Shrimp Tacos at Rubio's...

Delicioso

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Back In Sin City

I have moved from Lake Havasu City to Las Vegas (aka Sin City) but no worries as about the only thing I do anymore that could be considered "sinful" is have Death By Chocolate for dessert after a dozen hot wings and a couple of cold beers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#NoNetTax

Once again, Congress is trying to tax Internet sales. I find this ironic, not to mention harmful, as we are just beginning to see how much the recently enacted income tax reduction has greatly benefited the economy and business in general.

Politicians like to point out that not taxing Internet sales is unfair to "brick and mortar" stores (in my opinion, it's much more likely those politicians are more concerned about revenue than fairness). My position is that these businesses can currently create their own online stores and sell their goods/services to a worldwide market without the burden of a tax that varies greatly from state to state and makes them less competitive.

If you agree that Internet sales should not be taxed, eBay has made it very easy to contact your members of Congress and register your concerns. Just visit https://t.co/nCGgykJmZ4, fill out the forms and submit.

Government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem

Saturday, March 10, 2018

FutureMe

FutureMe is a website that allows you to send yourself a letter at some designated time in the future. I will turn 100 in 2046 so I am going to have a Happy Birthday message delivered to myself in 28 years. Considering I cannot remember what I had for breakfast, it should be a big surprise...

Monday, March 05, 2018

Wonderhussy

In anticipation of relocating to Las Vegas next week, I have been doing some Google and YouTube searches to find things to see and do while in the area. One of the more interesting finds is a site, www.wonderhussy.com, authored by a young woman who describes herself as "a foul-mouthed, flat-chested bon vivant and adventuress who likes to curse, drink, smoke and run around nude" (who says there are no real women left).

As an avid photographer and outback explorer, I could not help be attracted to a particular service she offers: "for $500, I will personally drive you in my busted-up old pickup truck to all the beautiful desert locations shown to the left, plus pose nude at each location, over the course of an 8-hour day". I was going to offer the same service but charge $500 for keeping my clothes on.


This might be a good time for me to open up one of those GoFundMe accounts to finance my next big adventure!

Friday, March 02, 2018

Rock Hounds

I had been looking for a good excuse to take the new Jeep off-road so when Jim, Bill and Nicole indicated they wanted to go rock hunting, I said count me in. Jim used a magnet to locate meteorites, Bill used a metal detector for gold and Nicole just wanted some pretty rocks. At the end of the day, Nicole was the only one who could claim success.

It's always a pleasure watching professionals at work

Thursday, March 01, 2018

COBRA 75 WX ST

Yesterday, I installed a compact Cobra 75 WX ST CB radio in my Jeep that is an ideal choice when space or mounting options are limited. I also included a remote speaker (so I can hear calls over the screams of passengers) and a microphone mount on the passenger grab bar...



I mounted the control box under the passenger seat and was able to conceal the wires under plastic panels for a nice, clean look.

If you are in the market for a CB radio or accessories, I highly recommend Right Chanel Radios. This was the second time I have done business with them and their products and service have been outstanding. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Jeep Mystery Switch

While looking over my newly purchased Jeep, I discovered an on/off switch located on the side of the console just behind the gas pedal...


Initially, I could not find anything that it controlled either inside or outside of the Jeep and there was nothing about it in the manual. So, I posted the above photo on the Jeep Wrangler Forum and asked for help in identifying its purpose. It was immediately recognized as an after-market switch and a number of suggestions were given as to what it might be connected to but to no avail.

Then, while watching a YouTube video on the features of the Jeep's after-market Pioneer sound/video system, I discovered that a switch was required to by-pass or override the "do not view while driving" message. Sure enough, that's what the switch does. Mystery solved!

Lastly, a caveat to guys out there thinking of buying a Jeep - women will want to drive it...

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

2014 Jeep Unlimited Rubicon

I traded in my 2010 2-door Rubicon for a 2014 4-door Unlimited Rubicon. The 2010 was a good vehicle but it had a few minor drawbacks that I believe the newer model will address:
  1. The 2010 was under-powered on the highway. In 2012 Jeep went with a bigger engine that made a significant improvement in performance. 
  2. Although the 2-door has a backseat, it takes a bulimic contortionist to get in it. Now, I can carry up to four passengers in comfort.
  3. The 2010 does not have a cabin air filter. Whenever I would follow other Jeeps off-road and then turn on the air conditioner, the interior of the cabin would fill up with a fine dust (I like driving on dirt, not breathing it). The newer Jeeps have a filter just behind the glove compartment.
  4. The 4-door will tow up to 3,500 pounds versus 2,000 pounds for the 2-door. I may be buying a small RV trailer which would require the larger towing capacity.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Havasu Fireworks

One of the nice things about spending the winter in Lake Havasu City is there is some sort of "event/show" almost every weekend. This weekend it was the 29th Annual Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics Show, one of the largest and best fireworks displays I have seen. The volume and variety of fireworks was simply amazing.

Once our team of professional judges took their VIP seating...


We were first treated to another spectacular Arizona sunset...


And then the fireworks (be sure to watch the last couple of minutes as they save the best for last)...


Sunday, February 04, 2018

Jeepin' In The Desert

My neighbor, Jim, had not been out in the desert here in Lake Havasu so we jumped in the Jeep and took off for the mountains east of town. We rode over all kinds of terrain including one obstacle that gave him a sense of what the Rubicon can do...


Friday, February 02, 2018

Difference Between Guts & Balls

My friend, Sunny Weathers, sent me this medical explanation of the difference between Guts and Balls...

"There is a medical distinction between Guts and Balls. We've heard colleagues referring to people with Guts, or with Balls. Do they, however, know the difference between them?

Here's the official distinction; straight from the British Medical Journal: Volume 323; page 295.

GUTS - Is arriving home late, after a night out with the guys, being met by your wife with a broom, and having the Guts to ask: 'Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?'

BALLS - Is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the butt and having the Balls to say: 'You're next, Chubby'.

I trust this clears up any confusion. Medically speaking, there is no difference in the outcome; both are fatal."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Vblogging

Between fake news, spoiled sports millionaires and really dumb reality shows, I have not been watching much commercial TV lately. As an alternative I have started watching YouTube videos which have turned out to be surprisingly entertaining and informative. There are some talented people out there who make a very good living producing professional videos.

After a long and exhaustive study of these videos (okay, it may have been a few hours of binge watching while consuming mass quantities of alcohol), I believe I have discovered the secret to successful vblogging...
  1. Initially, you have to reach a large number of viewers. This is generally done by creating a video that goes viral. First, you need an interesting title such as “What Would A Chair Look Like If Your Knees Bent In The Other Direction” or “Microwaving Cats For Fun & Profit”. Second, you need an eye catching thumbnail photo (aka "clickbait"). Scantily clothed women or cute kids/pets work best. Third, you need a video about something that very few people have seen before. Things like a politician telling the truth or California reducing taxes would be good examples.
  2. Second, although a viral video will get you a large number of views, you need to produce quality, engaging videos on a regular basis to add subscribers to your channel. This is known as WORK! I suspect this is where Millennials still living with their parents lose interest in this post.
  3. Lastly, you need to create the illusion of a personal connection with your viewers. I believe this is why attractive, young women and eccentric, hyperactive men do well. This is also the reason I will never make the big bucks vblogging as the only people interested in my lifestyle are insomniacs looking for ways to fall asleep.
I hope this short tutorial is helpful and will prepare you for a successful career as a YouTuber.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Havasu 95 Speedway

My neighbors were kind enough to invite me to join them for today's races at the Havasu 95 Speedway, a short track south of town. Although it was fun watching a variety of cars race around the track, it got progressively colder throughout the afternoon with a bitter wind that chilled you to the bone...

Jim, Diana, Shirley, Tom