Category Archives: Road trip

Vehicle recovery operations

Vehicle recovery operations….. The back story to this post is helping a guy help a guy get his luxury SUV out of the sand. Not even sure of the brand of the SUV. They aren’t my thing and forgein shit really ain’t my thing but it was 4wheel drive and shouldn’t have gotten stuck. Which brings me to my main point

Don’t get stuck. Easier said the done? Nope. Learn a little about off roading and don’t do dumbshit. I don’t rock climb or go mudding which are different critters entirely but I also don’t get stuck very often because I don’t do dumb shit and I have never needed help getting out of the shit I got myself into. Fact is I get down this stretch of beach in 2 wheel drive so the SUV should have made the trip. Main reason he failed? Lack of experience. The driver had never been off road before, had all the air in his tires, tried to cross the little mini berms other trucks made before him instead of following a proven route because he didnt like how the tire groves messed with his steering and when he got stuck he stomped on the throttle, causing the wheels to spin and dig down deeper for nothing.

Guy #2 had a jeep which was more show then go. It was 4wheel drive, had some extra lift and bigger tires so the sand was no problem but he had a small winch. Not to small just for the much heavier SUV but just to damn small for much of anything. Why? Because he didn’t understand how friction adds weight to the load. In practical terms at any rate. Friction from sand adds about 25% to the weight of your truck, mud adds 50% or more. Mud can be some nasty shit and has stopped more then one army over the years.

Outside of being a Vet and knowing where to go for the information, the army does a damn good job of explaining certian things. One of their better reads is FM 20-22….. Vehicle recovery operations. You can find it online easy as pie. Hell TC 21-305 will even cover the basics of off road driving and I promise you, unless you off road as a sport, the basics and common sense is all you need

Make sure you put your truck in 4wheel drive before you need it. Its pretty standard to let 2/3’s of the air out of your tire before you drive on sand or mud. I don’t let air out myself, but I have aggressive off road tires on my truck and a shit ton of experience. I do carry an air pump you plug into the cigarette liter, but even better I know where to get air a mile or three from where I camp and fish. A few miles of slow speed driving on hard top roads while low on air won’t hurt. Much.

The best thing you can do if you are stuck is stop. The more you try to fight out of it the worse the problem will get. Stop soon enough and you can shove branches or 2×4’s under the tires and away you go.

I carry some 2×4’s in my truck(6). I have holes drilled into them so I can tie them to each other and them to the truck. Last time I got stuck was because I went through some heavy clay/ mud before trying to drive up a rather long sand hill. The tread was full of clay and I got no traction in the sand. Once my forward progress stopped, I stopped, put the 2×4’s under my tires, tied the the boards to each other, them to my truck and off I went. To the top of the hill, dragging the 2×4’s behind me. Which is handy so you don’t have to go back and get them. Don’t get much simpler then that

Next on my list of gear is a Hi-lift jack. . Ain’t nothing but an old school tractor jack but they are rugged as fuck and can be used as a come along too. If I got stuck deeper then the 2×4’s would do for, I’d jack up my truck, then stick the wood under the tires and drive out of it.

My least favorite method is winching. It’s a pain in the ass. I have a 12,000 pound military grade hydraulic winch. It’s a fucking beast. It’s also over kill but I got the damn thing for free so what the hell…. plus nothing works better then over kill. Any rate I have a 6000 pound truck, and realistically don’t need anymore then a 9000 pound winch, weight of my truck plus 50% extra for friction caused by mud or sand. A 9000 pound winch will do everything you need to do… plus I am fixing to teach you how to cheat and double that. Buy a 9000 pound electric winch, read up on it and follow the duty cycle when you use it…. duty cycle is the work vs rest time for the electric motor in the winch

Not only is 9000 pounds enough winch to solve your problems, it’s easy to support regarding rigging. You can find 10,000 pound shackles, wire rope, chain and tow straps with ease at anything like a tractor supply store. I have 4 shackles on my truck, 2 front and 2 back to hook up to if I need to winch myself out of something. Use 10,000 pound shackles to match your 9000 pound winch without worrying to much about shit breaking. Don’t ever attach a winch cable to two points on your truck. You’ll stretch your trucks frame which ain’t good. I would put two 10 foot lengths of 10,000 pound chain in your truck. Make sure each length of chain has grab hooks on each end…. grab hooks which will grab the chain itself. I’d also get a goodly length of 10000 pound eye to eye nylon strap. This gives you options on what you tie off to.

Now…. here is how you ccheat your winch into doubling it’s capacity….. The word is Snatch Block which will double your pulling capacity through the magic of mechanical advantage…. that FM 20-22 will explain the how and the why of it but basically it allows you to add a second line of wire rope off your winch to give you a combined pulling power of 18000 pounds. Fuck you mud! But this is where that warning about never hooking up a winching cable to two places on your truck. That 18000 pounds of pulling will fuck up your frame

How to use the snatch block…. well you set up your winch anchor point…. which is any damn thing you would use to tie into to so the winch can do it’s magic. Then instead of hooking your winch up to the anchor point you hook the snatch block to the anchor point, run your wire rope through the snatch block and back to ONE of the shackles on your truck. 18000 pounds of pulling power. Now some folks will make the case that you only use a snatch block when you need the extra force. To that I say… fuck no snake. Use that bitch every time.

Out there on your own and no truck or big ass tree to use as an anchor point? Get something like this

Personally I love this kind of shit and camping, off roading etc is easier to get into then a lot of stuff out there but I also think these sort of things are entry level man card shit…. old school knowledge damn near every man use to know. It’s the kind of toxic masculinity shit that makes vags drip and soy boys feel even worse about themselves

Ranger the fuck up my friends

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I love this shit

There is nothing in this world like a Harley. My metric bikes are fine machines but they lack the vibration, sound and feel of a Harley. Harleys are heart and soul, flesh and blood in chrome and steel,your best friend and 1st love… with you mile after mile, day in, day out… she love you long time and that soul is universally felt in men across the globe

UMC and their disdain for the nation of their birth

Occasionally I will do certian formal events Gril#1 attends as part of her semi doctoring job. Plus its always fun when people realize I own a tuxedo. A basic Kelvin Kline tux, which oddly enough all of their shit has proven to be easier to customize for my build and sidearm of choice then any other brand I have tried. Wouldn’t that be a hell of an advertising campaign for them? Buy our shit because it fits burly rednecks and XDM’s better then the other rags….. any rate its always a weird crowd to me. I have talked at length about some of the things that strike me as off. Like them not being all that wealthy, not nearly as wealthy as they would have folks believe or as well educated as they believe themselves to be and how unaware of the world around them they are. They live in this bubble that makes them damn near insufferable. With a little practice, you can sit in my bar and pick out the UMC folks vs the truly wealthy folks by how they interact with the world around them, with the UMC types being much more uncomfortable when their bubble is bumped around some.

Wasn’t all that different as any other event. As far as black tie shit goes. We got there early so we could change in our hotel room and I could make her walk around the party with a box full of Ton batter. The car in front of us at the valet station was a 328 BMW with a “gotphd” vainty plate….. right there is about all you need to know about this ass clown. Not sure a 33k-51k automobile is a ringing endorsement for the college debt of a phd……

That bit of the shit show just got better and better though. The couple in the car was what any redneck would expect. An overly effeminate guy with long hair and an ear stud, an overly masculine woman with short hair and a scowl. You can tell they do cross fit because he looks like a fag and she is built like a dyke. Girl#1 works with the “lady”, some kimd of hospital admin bitch, but a fairly high ranking one, the dude has a phd in something usless and gets paid by the state to teach other fags the same usless shit, but they know us, so they wait while their car drives off and we go through the valet process, and I do mean wait. We have to get our stuff out of the car, which takes time but what takes the most time is talking to the young guys working there. They were drooling over my ride, absolutely dumb struck in love with her, asking questions and telling me how they don’t want to park her in case they mess something up. This absolutely bugs the shit out of Mr phd ponytail but man was it fun talking to those young men. Yes the car brings me joy but I also love how she lights up the eyes and souls of other car guys. The compromise on moving my car was they would pull her up 10-15 feet and leaving her covered and under their watchful eye all night. One thing women and girly men don’t get is how respects builds respect and lifts other men. Those boys weren’t sullen that some old dude had a nice ride and a younger woman, they were stoked with the possibilities of their future and treated my beloved Cobra and my blonde bitch with the utmost respect. I tipped well and offered them my gratitude and assurances if they did the smart thing vs the conventional thing they’d end up where I am.

So Mr phd ponytail is pissed, extra pissed because I wouldn’t shake his hand, the short hair bitch is clearly unhappy with the patriarchy oppressing her with boys engaging in silly boy talk and I reckon they are probaly pissed we were staying the night too. They seem like that type and to be h the only overtly rude UMC types we dealt with all night. The story about my car made the rounds while we were mingling and expect for the older folks, you could tell the appreciation for American muscle cars wasn’t there. I did make 3 trips put to the valet station to show off my beloved to some older folks. And I so mean folks. A couple of the older gals followed their husbands out to see what the fuss was about. They were good women. At least that night. How could I tell they were good women? Their eyes light up when their husbands else light up over the car. This is an IOI they can’t fake

800 words to set the tone for the rest of the story. Mostly you stand around, eat finger food, drink a little to much, listens to people talk about the important shit they do for the “community” and bullshit. When they talk about food, they talk about weird shit and not about how two local restaurants made the list for best in the state. Pull pork and fried seafood is to American for their tastes. When they talk about wine they won’t mention how a wine competition took a away a local winery’s silver star medal because it cost less then the minimum bottle they would rate. When they talk about cars it is never about lead sleds and horsepower. They talk about spending serious money to go overseas but haven’t seen shit here locally, or locally in the national sense.

I have been all over the world and the usa has just about everything you could want to do in the world. Unless you want to see castles and ancient ruins that is. World class sking? Folks tell me we got it. World class diving? Got it. Sleepy country roads, high altitude dessert, endless grass lands, remote islands, huge ass cities, local festivals you name it. It’s this travel thing that really struck me this time. I have been to Rome. It’s a giant tourist scam and it sucks. If you have been to Germany, England and anyone one of the Nordic countries you know what every place in Western Europe looks like…. no disrespect intened. I have enjoyed all most all my time in Eurpoe…..  So on and so on. These aren’t bad people per say, but they live in a bubble. Their own different type of blue pill bubble. They know Rome is a giant tourist trap but didn’t see the reality until I mentioned it out loud. They know the grand canyon and Yellowstone are unequaled natural marvels but at the same time they don’t know they are. They have never seen the mighty Mississippi, they have never seen the serene beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway. They have become dull to the natural wonder of our barrier islands and inter coastal waters. These things that don’t take a 10 hour plane ride and a passport aren’t on their radar screen. They cant see wealth as anything beyond a Eurpean car, the right house and formal schoolimg. Well the middle age ones. The older folks get it. One of the he older doctors said “fuck medical school should have opened a bar” when he saw my beloved, referring to the money required to build a car like that. Another older couple laughed when I dogged out Rome and most of the older folks there had done one or two European vacations and a lot more domestic ones.

Like I said they live in this bubble that makes them damn near insufferable. Can’t even have a rational conservation about Pit Bulls with them because in their bubble all bulldogs are evil or all are wonderful but victims of bad owners. I can’t imagine being happy in such a life. Can they appreciate what they have when they are willfully blind to those who are struggling? Can they fill good about the good they do when they refuse to the misery in the world ? Can they enjoy their daily life and weeknds when only Europe etc is worth visiting? Can the appreciate and rejoice in the wealth and successes of others when they can’t see the difference between themselves and folks who really have money?

Maybe I would potty them if I were a better man but I ain’t so mostly they will annoy me

 

*** I always imagine some Ferris Buller day off deal when I valet park that car but so far there has never been any extra miles on her. Man if I was 20…… though I reckon most young men are better men then me in that regard

Easy Rider; 30 days in the wind and under the sky

Well I am planning my next ride. Not my most challenging ride ever so I am being slack on the planning but this post should help folks who are sort of new to long distance ridding or camping or the combination of both.

I want to do 30 days under the sky, the bike (and sidecar) dog and me. This will be a proof of concept test ride for my trip to Alaska next year. I will meet up with a couple of friends, test out the gear, see how things go with the dog and side car plus route recon ie explore some areas so I won’t get sidetracked when I do the Deadhorse AK  run, tryout some camping spots, meet some guys who own bike shops along the route in case I have problems etc etc.

I have done some hard ridding over the years, and loved setting out with nothing much more then a saddle roll, a gun, pocket full of cash and a toothbrush stuff into my boot top. I took a great deal of pride in ridding coast to coast with limited gear or old-school gear our great-grandfathers would have used. The wear and tear has added up and I got to start throttle back some so I can stay on the road longer. Plus Alaska is a no shit kind of ride and I want to ensure my gear is good to go and comfortable for 11000 miles, round trip.

The 1st thing I tend to before rolling out on long rides like this is the bike. If I had a particular destination in mind I would start with route selection, but I’ll be mostly fucking off on this ride.  I keep my bikes in good working order and all I needed for this trip was new break pads. Because I ride often I understand how long tires and breaks last given my bike and ridding style.  Because I ride almost daily, the battery stays charged and healthy. All my lights work, all oils, break and clutch fuild checked out fine, both in quantity and quality. I tightened every mounting bracket and hardware I could get a tool one without removing the tank or fairing. Anything that was loose got some thread locker to help keep things in place. I also readjust my highway pegs. They always slip on long rides and I want to start off in the most comfortable position.

Next I look at my tools. Normally I am a tool snob but snobbery is wasted on roadside tools. These things stay in my saddle bags for months at a time. Typically they don’t come out of their bags unless I am cleaning them for a road trip. They all got a nice WD40 bath/ rub down. I carry a toolkit I picked up from Cycle Gear  for $40. I use to cary a lot more tools but bikes have improved, a lot and so has my tool skillz and my thinking. Fact is you only need a few tools to help get yourself back on the road, and the more experience you aquire the easier it becomes to get by on less. My tools are in small zip lock bags, and then placed into customs tool bags designed to fit into some of the dead spaces of a Harley’s saddle bag. They look like “L”‘s and i bought them at a bike rally years ago. These are nice because space is at a premium on a bike. There are a lot of small, clever items like that out there for biked, especially Harleys. I have a small electrical repair kit, wire, fuses, circuit tester and some bulbs. There are fuel cans designed to fit into the dead space of a Harley’s saddle bag. In theory they hold a gallon of fuel, I figure it’s more like. 8 gallons when you figure in spillage but I have one in each saddle bag plus a quart of oil in each bag and a small, unopened bottle of DOT 5 break fuild, which for me takes care of both the clutch and breaks. 1.6 gallons of fuel extends my range by 45+ miles. Not to many places in the lower 48 where you are more then 45 miles from gas or help.

Because I ride often, I get the maximum life out of my batteries but I still cary one of those portal jump start boxes. Any one of us can leave the lights on over night and drain our battery. No point be stranded when $80 will get you back on the road if you do something dumb.

By far the most common problems I see on long trips is shit falling off bikes and tires. People tend to strap shit everywhere on these long trips. I bring a goodly number of zip ties in a variety of sizes, plus duct tape and electrical tape. I bring 3 ways to repair and inflate tires. The most simple is fix-a-flat. You can find small bike size cans of it on the interwebz. I bring two tire patch kits, two -45 gram size cans of compressed air, two cans of fix-a-flat and a small air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter on my bike. I keep the fix-a-flat handy but it’s all cross loaded between the  bags.

I always cross load my gear so loosing a bag or something loosing it’s water resistant seal or a bag opening up on the road and dumping its contents while I ride or any number of things won’t leave me zero balance on something important.

I also keep a set of frog togs for riding in bad weather on my bike, two cords to charge my phone/ tablet, WD40, JB weld, super glue, thread locker, roll of quarters, 3 hondos stashed in 3 different places, two lighters, ear plugs, ear buds, baby wipes, sun block, rubbers, spare set of sunglasses, two sets of clear eye protection, pair of smart wool socks, baby powder and more zip lock bags. Just about everything goes into a zip lock bags before being packed into a weather resistant bag. Double the water proofing. Ever and always double down on water proofing your shit

One of the reasons I suggest Harleys to folks is the support gear that goes with them. I have a set of these that pair up with the fuel cans. Very helpful product. Easy to get in and out of your saddle bags even after you pack a lot of shit into them. Something like this let’s you keep all manner of small stuff handy. Like chapstick, sun block and bolts to throw through windshields. My least favorite way to add extra storage but they are helpful. These sit on top of the saddled bags. They look like ass but are hella convient, easy on and easy off.  I keep stuff I need quickly or stuff I need everyday in these bags. Fix-a-flat, socks, toothbrush etc and stuff I want to take indoors with me if I am saying in hotels or with friends. Two easy quick connect fasteners and off you go with the shit you need for a night or two. My camping stuff goes into one these, with the tent and sleeping bag rolled up and stuffed into the bag on top.

I use a homemade version of this to hold my tablet to the gas tank. Again, looks ugly, works like a boss, putting my map/ navigation and music within easy reach. Use to be back in the day you had to stop to read your map, or write your exits numbers and milage on your tank with a grease pencil. Now you look down and there is a 10 inch, live update map, turn by turn directions and local weather reports courtesy of Google, not to mention Molly Hatchet pouring out your speakers .

I have a lot of storage on my bike and yet space is a major factor when camping off a bike, even more so when you plan on staying out for 30 days. A lot of shit will happen in 30 days, some you can predict. Some you cant. Somethings will certinaly happen, but you can’t predict when. Like when you will get rained on. You need to pick gear that will cover more then one oh shit or you will consume your space in no time. I will have the side car, but that will be full of dog and dog stuff. Normally how you pack, with the weight evenly disturbed is an important factor as well, but the side car makes it less so.

The number one way to save space is to cut down on the clothes your bring. Which means buying a new shirt and new pair of socks every few days or doing a small load of laundry every few days, or getting really fucking nasty. Or some combination of all three. Well I don’t wear underdraws so that will save space. I will  be wearing under armor shirts and socks ie $$$ so that will mean laundry every few days or smelling really, really bad. Body order and wood smoke gets rank. I’ll probably do laundry every 4th day. Which means packing 4 pairs of socks, 2 extra shirts (one long sleeve, one short sleeve) and one pair of gym shorts for when I am washing my britches. Weather can vary a lot during this time of year but not so much I need to bring a lot of winter gear. Once again it will be under armor stuff, this time the long John type. That plus ridding leathers, gloves and a pair of smart wool socks will get the job done and then some.

Ps don’t forget the shower shoes

Part two will cover the camping gear I plan on bringing, how I will eat and drink and sleep.