Saturday, April 3, 2010

Greetings from Busy Town

I've been stupid busy this week at home and work - no time for blogging at all - writing to my own or checking out other people's blogs for updates. At work I'm involved with a side project editing a corporate video, which has been a blast - not stuffy at all, lots of goofy humor involved. I've edited lots of home movies for fun, so getting paid to edit - in a sense - good change of pace.

On a sobering note, one of my son's 10 year old pals - schoolmate and teammate on his basketball and baseball teams - is in the hospital. Super athletic little kid woke up with a headache one day last week, then later at school carted off to the hospital unconscious with some sort of brain aneurism issue. He's been in a coma for days and from what I hear is facing brain surgery. I don't have all the details, but wow - as a parent, that would the worst thing ever to go through. I've talked to his dad a few times at sport practices - nice guy. I hope everything works out and the kid pulls though.

On a much less important note, my car search continues. Two schools of thought - something big enough to serve as the bike hauler/camper mobile. Maybe a VW camper, wagon or mini van. I'd really dig a VW camper, 'cept the resale values on those - from ancient to modern - is pretty nuts. When you think of it, a pretty big surcharge for a pop up top, mini stove and ice box. The other thought would be something small and fun to drive - my usual style.

After spending way too many hours cruising the Internet for car deals, something in the $3000 - $6000 range, I've bumped the budget up to $9000 or so. Plenty of cars in the lower range, but obviously with plenty of miles on 'em - like 125,000+, which easily turns the $5000 used car into the $6500 car after the head gasket or CV joints explode. Being the recovering gear head guy, I understand that's the risk you take. I really don't have the time or motivation to deal with that.

That also throws out another option I've been considering, the old school Volkswagen Bug. I was into the VW scene many years ago - owned a '68 Bug and '73 Thing. You can score a pretty clean Bug for $4000 - $5000 and that kind of stuff is always sellable down the road. The wife ain't too hip with a 40 year Bug being the second car however. Oh well. What's wrong with no heat or defrosters, suspect safety issues, and the number 3 cylinder exhaust valve meeting Mr. Piston at 60 mph? Women, they just don't know how to have fun.

I'd usually go with something like a VW GTI, Subaru WRX, Mini Cooper S - small and performance oriented - as was my Sentra SE-R before it blew up. For the most part, that's out of the budget. Thought now is to go bargain but with a factory warranty. I'm thinking Toyota Yaris, the cheapest model from Toyota, now available used for under $9000, many with low miles and full factory warranty. Almost 40 miles per gallon and small and goofy enough to be fun.

I drove a Yaris today and it was much better then I anticipated. It's more fun to go fast in slow car, then slow in fast car - my current motto. The used one I checked out had 57,000 miles on it, but a little banged up for a 2007 model, so I passed. I'm hoping to look at this one tomorrow, with only 22,000 miles on the clock......

Add bike rack, stir gently, enjoy for many trouble free miles. I hope so anyway. If I don't pick up this one, will find something similar.

To continue my car theme, my old Mackie Designs pal Dave stopped by to check out my dead SE-R. Dave is big into vintage Datsuns, owning two '60s pick up trucks - one of which he drove over (complete with optional hand crank start motor) - and five '60s Roadsters. He thinks one of the rod bearings is toast (I agree) and is running my car past his fellow Datsun/Nissan freaks for possible sale. He later sent me an eBay listing for new long block. $1200 and many hours later, car could run again. I'm not going there, but maybe one of his pals will and I'll unload the SE-R.

That's enough car nonsense for one night. Let's move to something more fun - like bikes.....

During one of my Garage Sale posts, I mentioned getting a free bike from a neighbor, then shipping it off to my old pal John in Virgina, for a utility bike project. Sure enough, project completed with actual photographic proof. John sent me the pic today. It came out great, perfect donor bike for the Xtracycle kit.....

What every garage needs.

My eBay Garage Sale continued last week with a few items re-listed - with much success. I'm gonna dig up even more bike history in the garage and list 'em as well. What sold this week.....

Funky old Campy crankset - now sold. These were originally on my old Raleigh back in the '80s. Been laying in box ever since and went for $67 on eBay.

Pair of vintage Ringle water bottle cages fetched $51 - amazing. Plus $38 to ship to England. Dude must have really wanted 'em.

The old Scott cantilevers even went - for a whopping $10. Still better then collecting dust in my garage.

Bigger news is the completion of Project Access - bike I've been building up for son Ian. I was up until 2:00 AM last night putting the finishing touches on it. It came out great - super light and looks good. Ian took for a little spin on the street today, we'll hit the woods soon.

My mail order Sette Razzo 29er has landed as well. Pulled from the box, assembled and quick street ride to test. It's pretty cool. I'm looking forward to getting it dirty.

I'll devote full blog posts for both bikes soon, maybe even tomorrow if time allows. We have some family Easter festivities planned including dinner guests - busy day.

Enjoy your Easter. Give the kids a extra hug. Ride your bike.


  1. Oh man, the Volkswagen Vanagon is the best vehicle I've ever owned. We had a 1984 Westy and 1987 Syncro. Something we did not know is the blue ones are cursed (We were later informed by a friend after we got one and it proved to be true. Although, the Syncro was well worth all it's trouble.). Best race support vehicle ever and I literally cried when we sold the Westy. So many great trips in that van. They certainly do hold their value as both were sold for more than we paid and I don't think I'll ever be able to afford to replace them. Retrofitted with all kinds of sporty new engines, Westy's can go from more than $40K. So fun to dream about...

  2. I REALLY would dig a VW Westy Camper. The restored Vanagons with Subaru motors are ultra cool - and big bucks.

    The really old school ones from the '70s are fun also - though underpowered and require a fresh motor. I had my eye on a super clean '77 on eBay this week, located in Tacoma. Once the bids past $10,000, I stopped watching. Incredible.

    The new Eurovan models are really loopy priced - even with mega miles on 'em.

    Looks like a "normal" car for me - no camper......

  3. There are affordable campers out there, the best price ones are 80 through to 90 or so - the T25 or wedge shape ones. The earlier T25's are engine troubled and hence cheap, just factor in some engine finances - but the interiors are very practical and the value if maintained will remain or increase. Campers are so much fun on trips with or without friends and family - just pull over somewhere cool and relax - enjoy the outside.

  4. @Camper. You're right on with the maintained or increased value. I totally agree.

    I just balk at the high cost of entry, then still potentially having to swap motors and/or spent fun time laying on my back in the driveway, with 30 year old rust falling in my eyes.

    Still - I'd dig one.....