“Study Hard – Or you will be a Mechanic”

In the early 1980’s I was a young kid in high school. I certainly wasn’t at the top of the class, and the kids with lower grades were typically directed by school administration to auto mechanics.  My Dad, as most parents do, was hoping to motivate me to work harder, get higher grades and pursue a career path other than auto mechanics.

He was geophysicist working at the Geological Survey of Canada, and a Adjunct Professor at the Ecole polytechnique in Montreal. My Dad could also fix cars – sort of.  We had several old beaters, a couple of which were destined for the scrap heap by the time we were done with them.  For him – fixing a car was more out of necessity than pleasure. One car had a massive hole in floor at the back seat. My brother and i would sharpen sticks on the pavement while my Dad dove us to school.

My brother is also pretty smart, so there was no need for Dad to give him a “pep talk”. But me – well, I sometimes needed a bit of extra motivation.  I remember my Dad saying “Study Hard – Or you will be a Mechanic” .  Not sure if that particularly motivated me, though i did graduate high school, and went on to get a Bachelors degree and Masters degree. 

And now now i am closer to the tail end of my career, and also a parent trying to motivate my own kids, i find myself more and more drawn to auto mechanics.  It is mostly for pleasure as long as I am able to keep at least one of the fleet in operating condition. Safety in numbers doesn’t always go in my favour…

Most interesting, the vehicles that I am most drawn to now were new back when i was a young kid in high school. !!  Yes – these vehicles are really…really old ;>.  Actually, one is nearly as old as I am, and that is more that half a century old.

 

Taking apart the Tacoma. What better way to learn how the pieces go together.

Taking apart one of my favourites – 1980’s vintage Toyota Land cruiser.

Obviously, I don’t say to my kids….”Study Hard – Or you will be a Mechanic”

My Daughter spinning the lug nuts putting on the winter tires.

End of the Road & Yoga Mechanics

For this 1982 Toyota Landcruiser it literally is the end of the road. It has approximately 370,000km on the dial. Is it restorable ?. Probably, but not economical.

Its parts will live on in other vehicles. Conveniently, most of my fleet is also 1982 BJ60 Landcruisers and also the BJ42.

Thus far, two days to get to this partially disassembled state. I’ve never taken an entire vehicle apart. Actually, I do my best to avoid taking things apart – as that usually mans what ever it was is broken, and there is no guarantee that me taking it apart will ever result in a successful re-assemley.

In this case, instead of cutting and hacking the vehicle to pieces, I am trying to be organized. Bags of screws and bolts from each….except I forgot to label the bags (frown).

It is a therapeutic process. Not simply sweet revenge on something mechanical, bashing with with a sledge hammer, smashing al the pieces into smithereens. Instead, it is a thoughtful process, determining the order that parts were assembled, and how there were attached. How is this thing attached, where are the nuts and bolts, which tools do I need, and how do I get my fingers and hands in there to turn the wrench.

Sometimes it is easy. The screws loosen and the piece is easily removed. Overtimes, I just can’t find the darn bolt, or can’t get my hands in position to turn the wrench, of the screw is stripped, or – I just don’t have the right tool. Ok – be like McGiver and figure it out. In case you are too young to know, McGiver was a TV character who could always build a tool using only what was available.

And, then there his the physical effort of reaching in and over, in awkward positions, dropping a bolt an drawing under the truck, back to the tools, back to the engine, get another tool…over an over. It isn’t cardio activity, more like yoga. Stretching, holding poses, and mindfulness. Yoga Mechanics ?

Purists will scoff. Call it what you like-
For me, it is a welcome relief from sitting (“driving a desk”), moving only my index finger all day.

After a couple of hours of Yoga Mechanics my body and mind feel relaxed.

What is your equivalent of Yoga Mechanics ?

Covid Illness

A guy and his truck. Trucks are a new thing for me. Yes – I’ve had trucks before but nothing like now. Since Covid, I’ve taken up an interest in trucks, fixing them (or trying to), and collecting them. I call it my Covid illness. The covid pandemic has affected every one differently – for me, it is Toyota 4runners and Landcruisers. More importantly – it is an activity to keep me busy. Yes – it is just a big piece of metal and I’d rather be spending time with friends. But – busy lives and Covid has changed all that.

May be an image of 1 person and outdoors

Fun Friday: Leica-r 19mm on a Leica M240 Icefields Parkway (Jasper National Park)

I recently returned from a driving vacation (6,000km in 2 weeks).  As usual, there were a few cameras in my bag, including a Leica M240 and my favorite lens – Leica 19mm/2.8 V1.  Yes, it is SLR lens on a rangefinder. An unusual combination: a huge and heavy lens on a compact (though still heavy) camera.   I use a Leica EVF for focusing and a Nikon-to-Leica M adapter (Leica lens has a Nikon F lens mount). Ok – lots of complicated camera gear.

Before the pictures….one more thing to add.

The Leica 19mm lens has a big blob of fungus and lots of dust (so does the camera sensor).

Icefields Parkway (Jasper National Park, Alberta). Sept 14, 2021.

(Click on the picture to make them Bigger).

Good – bad, or downright Ugly ?

Leave me a comment.

Timeless –

This road between Yellowknife and Alberta has been there for many years and will remain more or less unchanged for many more years. The vehicle, a 2002 Honda CRV has maybe a few more years of life (2002 – 2025?).

 

This picture however is Timeless –

Human memory will always remember the years of Covoid-19 and the mask on the dashboard is the time marker for this picture – 

The mask years (2020/2021)

 

Road Trip: Yellowknife (NT) to Nainaimo (BC)

First major road trip in what seems like ages. My last road, to Edmonton from Yellowknife was for medical travel, and the return route was entirely face down in a pillow.  ;<

This trip, solo driving from Yellowknife (NT) to Nainaimo (BC) – 2593km with a 740km detour to Smithers (BC).

For fun, similar driving distances:

Amsterdam – Moscow: 2446km

Amsterdam – Istanbul: 2720km

Amsterdam – Athens: 2870km

Amsterdam – Helsinki: 2264km

 

Lots of long sections of nothing – rocks and trees and intermittent cell phone coverage, Even radio coverage is spotty. Thank you Audio Books !

 

Dingne (France)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘D’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

Dinge (France). Pictures from April 28, 29 2015.  Camera – Fuji X-E1, X-Pro1 and Revue-3 film camera.

Chero Village (Kampong Cham, Cambodia)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘C’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

These pictures taken during a two week volunteer session at OBT (Organization for Basic Training), a Cambodian-run non-governmental organization established in 2007 by Sophal Pot to provide education and empowerment of the children living in Chiro Village.

November 30, 2014 – December 12, 2014.

 

Bhaktapur City, Nepal

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘B’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include. 

All photos from March 3, 4, 5 and 6 – 2015.

GoPro2, Fuji XE-1 and X-Pro

 

Aix-en-Provence (France)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while.  We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘A’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

All photos from April 24 & 25, 2015, with either a Fujifilm X-Pro + 55-200mm 3.5-4.8 or Fujifilm X-E1 + 14mm/2.8