Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A week off

I didn't take the time to make a weekly post last week because the wife and I took off on a much needed vacation, without the kids.

We ended up going to Branson, Missouri. Why Branson? First, we where going to go to California and see my brother Dan and be with him for the trip home from Twentynine Palms. His enlistment ended early so the dates didn't work out. Next, we where going to go to Washington D.C. but looking deep into it I figured something that the wife would enjoy more would be in order. So Branson was a third choice. How does any of this have to do with anything automotive you ask? We drove instead of flying. Trip time you ask? 10 hours down, 9 1/2 coming back.

I've done the drive before, on my way back with brother Troy from Twentynine Palms when we took Dan's truck out to his base. So nothing was new to me, I just want to vent a little about some odd laws certain states have. Hello Illinois.

I just get aggravated driving in that State, here are some reasons why. First, Tolls. Sorry Illinois, your sucking extra tax dollars from the drivers and your roads are worse then any other States I've driven in. Where the heck is that money going? Second, like Wisconsin, Illinois has a 65mph Interstate speed limit. Which I think is silly but I'll get to speed limits later. But to top it off they make all trucks over a certain weight and any pulling a trailer stay at 55mph. So when traffic is at a staggered speed you end up in some odd situations when you quickly catch a Big Rig doing 60mph in the left lane trying to pass a Rig doing 55mph in the right and your cooking along at 70+. If anything it makes you stay alert to your surroundings but I sure think you could let the speed limit be a across the board speed. One thing I think they do right down in FIB land is make all the Big Rigs and trucks with trailers stay in the right lane but they have too do that since they have two speed limits.

Wisconsin is by no means perfect. On our way back it seemed everyone was on the road on 90 coming from Rockford towards Madison. We had bumper to bumper traffic and it at times was slow going. I think it could have been smoother if they had the Big Rigs in the right lane so when there where slow downs it is their lane that is the only one coming back up to speed slow.

Now, if everyone could get on the same page and do what Missouri does life would be much easier. 70mph for a Interstate speed, very nice. We keep about a average of 75mph with some 80mph runs with traffic. We made good time threw Missouri because everyone was running the same pace. I couldn't pull off driving times like Troy and I did because the wife wouldn't allow me too. Only a few times where the Rigs stacked in both lanes causing some back ups. For the most part they where trucking along at the same pace as the rest of traffic. Please don't get me wrong when I talk about the Big Rigs, those guys and gals rule. That many miles on the road with a better accident rate then cars and light trucks is amazing. I always give them a wide berth and try to stay the hell out of their way so I won't anger them. Heck, they're a lot bigger then I am. I know I'd lose that battle.

So my solution, 70mph speed limit, Big stuff and vehicles with trailers in the far right lane passing when needed, and no tolls. Now who do I call with this solution?

And also. If your in Branson and looking for a place to stay check out this one.

Outback in Branson

It is in no way a part of the Outback Steakhouse franchise. That chain of restaurants was created a year after these folks went into business.

The Motel portion was really nice, setback from the main drag so there was no noise. The pool area was quite and relaxing. The Restaurant had great food and the Pub was a blast. The wife and I spent a week there one night drinking buckets of Miller Lite and listening to some of the locals sing Karaoke, and it was good Karaoke. Some where really good, I didn't want to leave the couch we sat our tailsides on.


At no time did I exceed any speed limits or break any laws on our vacation, all of the above talk about driving is fiction, poorly written, and full of terrible inaccuracy's :)

Everything about the Outback is true though :)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Glad I'm off on Vacation

Next week I am off on Vacation. The wife and I both need some "Us" time to recharge the batteries. We've both been working our tails off the last few years, swapping our time for everything else in life so this will be a good chance to find out if we can still stand each other.

And the timing couldn't be better. I once said, "Some days your the Dog, some days the Hydrant."

Well, it is fitting this week. The above Chevy Silverado came in with a growling noise. No big deal, it's a common noise you hear when a Hub Assembly for the front wheel is starting to fail. At low speeds it was a growl and at highway speeds a pronounced hum. We slammed a new bearing in and the job went as easy as they should. Once we went on a test drive then the problems started. At low speeds we had no noise what so ever. It was very smooth going but once we hit anything above 40 mph a distinct whistle type noise would occur on acceleration. At first we though we could have shifted the backing plate for the brake rotor. Maybe pushed a pad out of position so we brought it back in and checked our work. Nope, everything looked good. We inspected the other side and where happy with it. Another test drive and we knew it was coming around the front but couldn't determine where. After a few more times on the hoist and a few more discussions about what we missed a light bulb went off in Dad's head.

"The damn ladder rack." He yelled as he jumped from his chair. We quickly pulled the ladder off and went for a drive and sure enough, not a peep out of the truck. It was quite as a mouse.

Once we got over our initial head slap and "DOH" Homer Simpson style we had a good chuckle over it. It was just something we never thought of to check until Dad recalled a incident years ago he had heard about where a ladder on a truck caused a shop to go threw days of testing and checking items. Thankfully we only wasted about 2 hours banging our heads trying to figure it out. What happens is the air moving past the ladder goes into and out of the small holes that are a part of the steps. Those holes act just like blowing over a coke bottle to make a whistle noise. At high speeds it can become audible.

Oh well, lesson relearned. One more tail from the shop to tell.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Nothing new on the Edsel front

It was a week of just work, work, work. Nothing new on the Edsel front. I didn't get a chance to take the toys out either since we've had rain so often.

The only news that is good news is my brother Dan is back in the States and only has 7 days left before he is done with his four year commitment to the USMC. He should be back home a week or so after that and then our planning and building of his FFR Cobra can begin.