My Girl: Gettin' After It!!

My Girl: Gettin' After It!!
My truck on her maiden voyage in Moab 2012

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Not really a mod, but sometimes it's the little things

 I'm not sure that you'll notice the difference.
I've held a long standing opinion of the futility of vent visors. "Why?!" Is the wind that violent for your sensibilities that you feel the need to buffet it through some means? Keep your window up then, wimp! Or, oh, the car gets so warm in the summer with the windows rolled all the way up.

And then I developed my own reason for why they might be beneficial. I spend a lot of my professional life...waiting. I have to be the first person to a construction site; those that follow are not always a prompt 2nd place. Sometimes there are comfortable accommodations to be had inside of a building and sometimes not (if the site ,is just a site). No big deal to wait it out in the truck during fair weather, but if it is rainy, it gets awfully stuffy with the windows up and rather damp with them down. I also, as you may have noted, have developed a penchant for napping in the truck. And on more than one occasion have been awakened to a fair amount of water that has come into the truck during an unexpected downpour during my slumber.

I started getting over my prior reluctance and recognized at least the benefits in this regard. I wondered, however, as to how well they might stand up to offroad abuses. Low hanging tree branches and unwieldy shrub outgrowths. I wanted, at first, to try out the in-channel designs offered by many manufacturers, but then I started reading reviews of how they can interfere with the window operation. These were specific reviews offered by other Frontier owners. Your results may vary. Well, I decided to go with the conventional approach of the tape-on models. Most of them are using 3M adhesives, and their stuff almost works too good at times.

It wasn't worth doing a full build thread on them, as they just are a stick on mod. But I did want to offer a word of caution from my own "installation".

I installed each of the front vent visors first followed by the rear. On each side, I mounted the rear to coincide with the elevation of the most rearward portion of the front visor. Both sides are perfectly aligned. However, comparing the rear visor on the driver side to the rear visor on the passenger side, it appears that either I was drunk or that the guy from the Goonies with the gnarly eyes did my install. The driver side is mounted about a half inch higher than the passenger side. And this is owing to my not having fully followed the contour of the front windows. In isolation, each side appears well done, but you can notice the discrepancy when looking at the two rear portions. I'm a bit bummed about that, but I have definitely goofed worse on more tricky applications. So, yes, it's a stick on application, but if you have a really really detail-oriented friend, it might be worth it to have them come and do it. Just tell them, "I need someone to come over and do something that's really easy, but also requires someone to obsess over the smallest detail for an inordinate amount of time before taking any sort of committal action whatsoever".

So this picture I found on my camera while looking up the first photo. It was about a week before I changed jobs and was invited to go hunting. Fortunately, no one saw fit to Cheney me on the trip. I left town early to make the drive, and actually was the first to arrive in the area (excepting the host who was running errands in preparation). I went to Tractor Supply. I had been here the prior year and knew of the location. I try to visit every Tractor Supply and Bass Pro Shops that I find in my travels if the itinerary permits. This one is in Somerset, PA (or perhaps Somerset Township). I picked up some useful odds and ends in the shopping complex, including a telescoping magnetic pickup tool and telescoping mirror. And for some reason, while in the Tractor Supply, it occurred to me that I might want to put snow plow indicators on my truck. I don't know why or what compelled me. Now big rigs have illuminated indicators and I know a guy that put some on his F-150. I didn't really want anything that lit up, but I also didn't have a practical purpose at the time for doing this. I really think it was just something to do to occupy my time. I installed them right there in the lot. They have, since this time, proven themselves useful in helping me judge tight parking spaces and maneuver amongst trees on the trails. It also reminded me of how much cleaner I was maintaining the truck back then. This was back in November of 2012.

I do have another mod in the works.

I ordered extended, stainless steel rear brake lines and a 3-leaf, Add-a-Pack for the rear suspension. Right now, the truck sits almost level. Although the 2-inch suspension lift is setup such that the factory rake (the inclination of the front of the truck to be lower than the rear) is to be maintained, I think the weight of the toolboxes and the headache rack levels my stance out. What remains to be seen is whether or not this causes my back end to look like a bucking bronco. We shall see.

Monday, August 12, 2013

East Coast Nissan Truck Meet- Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN

I've put some significant mileage on the truck over the past two weekends. I was down in Tennessee for the East Coast Nissan Truck Meet. I heard about it last year on Club Frontier. It is organized by one of the guys form over on Club Titan and Titan Talk. Yes, it turned out to be a Titan Fest, but I was the proud representative of the Frontier culture and there was a 1st Gen Xterra that made it out for a portion as well.

 This was my first overnight road trip with Maddy. When I first got her, I took her the next day up to Philly to go get Jenn and help move her stuff back down to MD. That was just a short day trip compared to this. She was a little anxious for the first hour or so but then she settled down quite nicely. This is her taking late dinner in a Walmart parking lot outside of Pigeon Forge. We tried to sleep there, but then some dude brought out a leaf blower, at 2am, and started cleaning the lot. I think they do this to shoo away us vagrants. We tried two or three other lots before settling down in a gas station just outside of Smoky Mountain National Forest. I really feel that the word smoky should have an 'e' in there, but apparently this is the correct spelling. I was certain this was some backwoods bastardization of the word, but the spell check just confirmed it. Instead I'm just some egotistical aristocrat then.
 So I was all set to let Maddy romp through this stream until we saw this sign. We don't do feces. Remember, we're aristocrats.
 I will do a little mud though to get this picture. We treaded lightly.
 This one has Maddy peeking out the window.
 She is determined to not look at the camera when I use the self-timer.
 One of the Calhoun's staff assisted us with this picture. We were first there. So much for stereotypes. This brother arrives EARLY.

 I got her a new bone. Content.
 The first Titans arrive. And I got introduced to Loud Pipes. That's a thing in the Titan community.
 The first guy to arrive showed up in a Kia. I almost shoo-ed him away, but then he rolled up and knew the secret password. He also brought this scale model of his truck.
 More of the trucks started pulling up.
 I like to call this one the Stormtrooper edition. I liked the custom white bumper.
 The one thing I learned is that these guys and gals LOVE to tune their exhausts, and then REV the hell out of their trucks. I thought I was at a bike rally. I was fine with having a smaller truck. But having a small, quiet truck actually made me feel a little out of place. I tried to make it make other noises before just getting on my loud speaker and repeating "Loud Noises". It elicited some chuckles.

 The one on the right might be my favorite. I liked the hood scoops and the aggressive stance.

 Nice Pre-Runner style bumper.
 At first glance, I thought this might have been a Titan-swapped Frontier. Nope, full Titan.

 I couldn't figure out what type of lift this guy had. It looks like a Calmini-style drop bracket, but not with the signature blue styling. I don't know Titan mods nearly as well as I do Frontier mods; so, I was a bit out of my element.

 Maddy sought some relief from the heat as the day wore on. Initially it was a bit muggy and overcast. The creek ran right behind us and the mosquitoes were eating me alive.

 Lining up in Sugarlands Welcome Center prior to the cruise. There was one Xterra there earlier, but he had to leave for a work issue.
 So Maddy kind of made new friends, except for the bitch was a real bitch. Sasha was a more dominant female; so, she saw fit to take Maddy's bone and few times she made Maddy get up off her blanket that I had laid out for her so she could lay down instead. When she came back to Deebo my dog again, I stepped in as the Alpha male that I am. I just stood in front of Maddy and looked at Sasha. She understood my dog language and walked away. Then Maddy laid down. Rocky was just mischievous. He also stole her he could bury it. Like, I knew dogs did this, but I've never known one to do so in my presence. I was going crazy looking for it because I had to take it away from Sasha at one point when I again asserted dominance. I was thinking I misplaced it; then Mike alerted me to the antics.
 I intentionally captured these people in the photo. My scenery pictures are often pretty boring. I needed some people, even though I didn't know them.
 It started raining at the end of the cruise.

 Another waterfall of sorts.
Maddy was pretty tuckered out. She was a hit with the kids, both chronological and otherwise. All of the loving made for a sleepy pup. I tried to catch her knocked out in the backseat while driving.

Toronto Carnival and Brewery Tours- International Edition

Well, I drove to Canada two weekends ago on a whim. I've got some friends whose ancestry originates from some Caribbean nations. They were going; I didn't have anything else to do. I like driving. I have a blog. That pretty much sums it up.

So since I jumped on the bandwagon too late to actually obtain a costume and be a performer with one of the Mas Bands, I figured I'd come observe the preparation and then go get lost for a while with some other activities. That other activity was Beer. And then there was a Soca concert later on. I went to that too, but I didn't bring a camera. Sorry. Without further adieu:

 I don't think I previously had a picture of the New York crossing. Even if I did, it wasn't from this road. Except now, it has been so long that I don't recall what road this was that I took. I need to do more timely updates. I.  checked just now, and I did not take the most direct of routes. I learned on this trip that a GPS is not necessarily a key to the world. You have to buy/download maps. My GPS didn't have a map for Canada. So I mapped a route to Buffalo and assumed I would buy a new GPS there with a Canada map. When it appeared I would not make Buffalo by 9pm, I rerouted towards Erie, PA to catch a Best Buy there. So I ended up crossing PA and then heading Northeast towards Buffalo

 The new GPS actually displays icons of nearby attractions right on the map. I owed the wife a new GPS, but I think she'll get my newly updated original and I'll keep this one. She doesn't drive more than an hour at a clip anyway. Daddy needs this. I actually researched means of adding more maps to a single GPS. My old one only had enough memory capacity for one map. I want to ultimately add maps for Mexico, (Canada is now on the new GPS) and South America for another concept I am working on.
 Crossing into Canada. It got rainy like 5 minutes from the border.

 Canada road signs. They're in a foreign language or something.
 I went to get gas just across the border. Canada gas stations won't let you do debit at the pump. You have to come in and sign. They also will pretty much take US dollars at about the same rate. I got some Canada cash at the ATM.
 This is the street the next morning. I slept next to the hotel my friends were staying at. I got into town at about 130am. It was just enough time to hit one bar and have one beer. I was so mad and so thirsty. People looked at me like I was some crazy booze hound as I walked the strip asking if it was last call  yet.
 It turns out, I was parked on my own street.
 I like to find signs that say where I am.
 I took an economy bath in the cab of my truck. I used disinfectant wipes and brushed my teeth on the side of the road. I actually had found a parking space pretty close to the Caribana route despite the numerous street closures. However, I opted to park on a lot as I had already managed to get a parking ticket within my first 4 hours in the country. I was right there asleep and they ticketed me. I thought maybe they would prevent me from crossing the border to come home, but I don't think they are quite that linked in. I do wonder about international extradition between the US and Canada. Can they really come after me?

 Yes. I still use a digital camera and employ the self-timer. I'm a dinosaur. An American dinosaur.
 His shirt is on backwards, but it is supposed to convey something about not killing Black people because our lives are important too. Respect.
 I posted up and took pictures of the band participants as they arrived. There was actual Carnival Paparazzi that would jump out and mob the people in costume. Then there were also creepy old men who would swarm; however, their camera focus tended to be a bit suspect. I didn't want to fall into either category. My photos are more of the wide angle variety from a ways back.

 These are my friends. I thought I was going to miss them. And that would have sucked after so many hours of driving. But I did eventually find them. International calling rates applied and NO ONE was trying to use their phones to actually place or take a call. Text messages galore though.
 It was a long winter. I don't think Canada was ready for me to take my shirt off yet.

 Erica is the craziest of my friends, I feel.

 This was probably the most ornate float there.
 This was the most technically impressive. They have their own GenSet mounted on a tractor trailer. You win, sirs. You win.

 I got a little more bold with the last two shots.
 And for the beer. I went first to Steamwhistle brewery. They make one lager and it is good. They were started by 3 guys who were downsized from another brewery before it ultimately was shuttered. They almost named their new enterprise "Three Fired Guys". Fortunately someone steered them away from that and along with serendipity which landed them in their current digs, the rail-themed Steamwhistle brand was born.
 Our tour guide had a cute accent. Imagine a cute Canadian girl talking about beer. Yup, that's the sound. that huge bottle behind her is a fridge which has a 500 bottle capacity. Want. Now. She shared beers from there.
 Lovely day for a brew.
 Again with the self-timer. Parking here was a bit tough. You will not find street parking. Suck it up and park in the garage. If you stay just for the tour and a souvenir, it'll be about $4 Canadian. Not bad.
 On to Amsterdam Brewery. Small lot, but not a ton of people on a Saturday.
 There were a couple of guys who weren't even there for the tour. But they don't do bar sales, only bottle sales for carry out. So they 'signed up for a tour' which they never took so they could just drink the samples. Well played, Canadians. Well played.

 Self timer at the bar after the tour.

 Finally to Great Lakes Brewery. There wasn't actually a tour, just a retail location. You are welcome to show yourself around the upstairs offices though. Not really, but they are along the way to the restroom and I needed a few trips.
 There were four on tap that you can sample. They weren't really set up for samples. The young lady was trying to do inventory and complete bottle sales. When I offered her gratuity as I purchased a hat, she was like "Wait, what's happening?" I stated I was giving her a tip. She replied, "That has never happened," and then proceeded to ask how else she could be of service. At the time, I think there was maybe one more I hadn't sampled; so, she set me up with that and loaded me up with some free stickers. Yes. That's what I really wanted. Stickers and merch. A little good consumership goes a long way. And yes, I made up that word. Consumership is being rejected by the spell check. Consume it.
 Taking pictures of my truck, because that's normal to do.

 Pretty cool that they have their own custom hearse associated with one of their brews.

 On the way back, I stopped at Niagara Falls. I didn't on the way up as it was dark. And I almost neglected to check it out on the way back. There was another car that drove onto this part. It is definitely a pedestrian walkway, but I decided this could be my one, obnoxious American moment.

 Self-timer is a must when travelling alone.

 Some signs and such from right before the falls.
 Some of the scenery.