It Followed Me Home, Can I Keep It?

No, I’m not talking about Chris and Dagny’s new French bulldog puppy. Lulu just likes a photo op. What followed Richard home on the back of his trailer (because there’s no way it would have made it here under its own power, had it even had wheels) is a 1969 Kaiser Jeep CJ6. (I wanted to say, “what’s left of it” but Richard was deeply offended.) This rare pile of red scrap metal is actually the ideal foundation of Richard’s next 4×4, something that can still drive on the road (when mated to a 1994 Jeep YJ), has the requisite long wheel-base for our favourite rock-crawling locales like Moab (where we’re headed next month), but won’t do the kind of extreme trails Mechano used to (ie, Missezula) in favour of more leisurely wheeling. Poor, beaten-up Mechano will one day rise again as pure extreme event buggy – and I will revert back to camera-lugging superfan on the sidelines. Buggies go faster and I much prefer tortoise speeds, thanks. But we’ll have the Jeep for trail rides, and aside from having to re-learn using a clutch, I’m psyched. Mind you, the CJ6 won’t be done in time for Moab, no way. For this trip, (my third or fourth?), we’ll take the YJ “donor” truck, which other than engine issues is working well enough, and doesn’t have to survive past the last day of wheeling in Moab anyway since it’s going to be chopped up for parts. It’s a much better solution than the steep fees to rent a Jeep there for three days of wheeling! And if I end up denting it in a few places, it won’t matter a bit. I’ll be missing Mechano’s squishy 44” tires, and probably its long wheel-base and airbags as we rattle along in the YJ, but as long as we can get through most of our usual trails, it will still be a Moab adventure. And Richard has a great long-term shop project to alleviate his stress the way gardening does for me. Just not yet, because right now we’re dry-walling and landscaping and the temporary YJ has to be running in 4 weeks!

The Barn Gets a New Life

Those friends and readers who’ve been following our barn renovations from the beginning may still remember the hulking mess shown at left. I’m happy to announce that the transformation from those chicken coops and rodent nests to a working shop is almost done! Getting a heating system in soon is essential with temperatures down below freezing at night already, so he’s taking advantage of this visit from Chris and Dagny to get the gas line finished off (see June 2007 for the first part of that job, the big trench). The barn will also need ceiling insulation, new shingles and siding, a septic system and bathroom fixtures one of these days. But he won’t be out there much this winter as we’re about to continue with renos in the basement, so if we don’t get heat et cetera until spring, I think he’ll survive. There is so much other stuff to do inside while the snow flies. But his progress this fall is the kind that I love to photograph because it’s the “makeover” part of the reno. He’s even started decorating. I don’t think he’s had time to stop, take stock, and do a yippy skippy dance, but he’s a happy man. Tell us what you think!

Boarded Up

Hmm, what could be going on in there? The barn is boarded up even more than usual. Nailed and bolted, in fact. And why did the little guy shown here at left suddenly move out? Richard has been working hard for the past few weeks, determined to get enough done on the barn renovations that we can move all the accumulated tools, materials etc out of the garage. The goal this fall is to stop the influx of rodents from garage to house and make room for our vehicles before winter weather strikes. And his time frame is short, because he got a new job, starting the first week of November. He’ll be on the road again pretty quick. (More on that and other news later.) What’s “enough”? I’m not allowed to say just yet… Richard has let me in to take photos but hasn’t let me post, so as not to spoil the surprise. But I will reveal all at the end of this weekend. Chris and Dagny are coming up for a visit and Richard can’t wait for their reaction. (I’ll try and photograph that, too.) Stay tuned!