Tag Archives: Marmaduke

Advanced DIY

Really successful engineering is all about understanding how something will break or fail.

For some strange reason I am blessed with the ability to fix almost anything, install almost anything, make almost anything, and build almost anything.

I built myself a Caterham / Lotus 7 sports-racing car, which I then drove all over Europe on long road trips.  The trip I enjoyed most in this little car was driving down the entire Loire Valley in France.  (Or maybe it was the Stelvio Pass.)

Minor pieces of carpentry are child’s play for me ~ which is why I could rip out the old kitchen in my garret and replace it with something that I liked and suited my needs.

(With help from my friend Marmaduke of course.)

I’ve also erected log cabins and built vacation homes from plywood.  (This is a stock picture, not one of mine)

Sometimes, half way through a project, I’ve wondered why I started, and if the thing would ever be finished.  The picture above shows this kind of ‘why am I doing this’ project. Although, this wreck of an Austin-Healey Sprite turned into a really beautiful little car, finished in British Racing Green as a frog-eye.  (the almost completed little car, I like that I did the white stripes)

For my next project I’m thinking about finding an old school bus, rebuilding it as an RV, (Recreational Vehicle), and then spending an entire year in the thing, touring as much of the USA as I can, on the longest road trip ever.

Something you need, if you want to tackle advanced DIY projects, is a really, really comprehensive tool kit.  And, take my advice, always buy the very best tools you can afford.  (You may need a hard hat.)

This post is sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

some power tools are a must have

click on the power tools picture

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Happy Marmaduke

Discretion is the better part of valour.

I wanted to write some very destructive

things today, but posting pictures of Marmy is a better idea.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Weird Wyoming

Wyoming; like no place on Earth.

For this well-travelled Englishman, Southern Wyoming has the weirdest landscape I have ever seen.  Not only that, one can drive for a hundred miles in total isolation, and everything looks the same for every single mile.  I love California, I liked Utah, I’m not yet certain about Wyoming.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken with a Lumix,

by the girl riding shotgun

Pacific Surf

The Pacific Ocean is nothing like the cold North Sea.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Long USA Road Trip

I’m beginning to recover from the 3,500 road trip I had in the USA recently.  There were some strange places on the route.  Like Beaver in Utah.

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Downtown Las Vegas.

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And Big Bear Lake.

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The girl riding shotgun did get very buzzed in Big Bear, but that’s more down to the altitude than anything else.

I would not have missed this trip for the world.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Dusk and Dawn

Morning without her is a dwindled dawn.

Betwixt sunset and dawn is a mystical place

where the warrior’s path shows its truest face

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The worst hot dog I have ever not eaten was served to me in Fillmore, Utah.  Otherwise it’s a lovely place.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke home alone

Marmaduke has seen me looking at the internet ~ making plans for this year’s Christmas and New Year Holidays.

As I’m not taking him to Barcelona next week he’s worried that I won’t be taking him along this Christmas, so he’s been making his own Christmas plans.

Where ever Marmaduke is thinking of going for his Christmas Dinner, I’m thinking of a Christmas Caribbean cruise~ providing I can find the right girl to take along.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Cars for Road Trips

Nissan Rogue SUV

I’ve been on long road trips, (Tuscany, The Loire Valley, back to Tuscany, Exploring California, and driving 3,000 miles to witness an eclipse), in all kinds of cars; Triumph TR6, Lotus 7, Ford Mustang, and lastly driving from California to witness a total eclipse of the sun in a Nissan Rogue.

Although it isn’t always completely possible, the car should completely suit the trip.

And this choice of car comes down to where you’re going, how far it is, what’s the weather going to be like, what kinds of roads are you going to be driving , and exactly who is the girl riding shotgun.

For my recent trip I knew I was going to be driving up to 600 miles in a day, on a mixture of LA freeways, long desert roads, and mountain climbs.  Also I knew that the girl riding shotgun was going to want to feel safe, be comfortable, and carry an unconscionable amount of luggage.

There also had to be room for Marmaduke.

Ergo, I chose to rent a reasonable-sized SUV, and Enterprise at LAX could offer me a Nissan Rogue, which was vastly over budget, but my friend with all the luggage was worth it.

What’s good about this car?  It’s big enough for two on a long road trip, (swallows luggage with ease), it does good mileage, (we averaged 29 mpg, and that’s US gallons), it’s quiet, comfortable, holds the road well, and the engine has a lot of low-down power.  What’s bad, well, it was very over budget, and has some annoying blind spots.

Would I recommend this car to a friend?  Yes.  In a New York Second.  With definite confidence.  (Of course, you may find your dream car on a long road trip.)

Another important thing on a long road trip:  don’t have a girl riding shotgun who thinks she can drive better than you.

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jack collier

jackcollier&@talktalk.net

Jet-lag

With air travel there is no distance, there is only time.

Air travel, especially long haul flights, can be very exhausting.  Getting to the airport 3 hours before the flight, endless queuing, cramped seating back in coach / economy, noise, dry air, and airports are just horrible places to spend much time…  But it’s only recently that I’ve become prey to terrible jet-lag, which mostly affects me when I’m flying from west to east

There are some things that will reduce the effects of jet-lag, paying for a better seat, not drinking on the aircraft, and sleeping as much as possible on the journey.  Melatonin helps too.

However, following my last trip to the USA, I have been wrecked for a week with jet-lag.  But it’s all worth it when one has a great time on vacation.  (And, I don’t do business travel any more.)

The best thing of all is seeing wonderful sights and creating great memories.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Scenes on Sunday ~ Marmaduke USA

It’s Very Nice To Go Traveling.

But it’s so much nicer to travel home.

Carrying a teddy bear from England to the West Coast of the USA isn’t quite as easy as you would think, what with curious Homeland Security sniffer dogs and all….

On the other hand, I know Marmaduke did better than me when it came to exploring the romance and attractiveness of California Girls.  Although that wouldn’t be so difficult. I can be so very stuffy, preppy-style, repressed even, some of the time.

On the other hand, poor Marmaduke struggled a bit in the desert ~ what with his fur coat and everything.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

all these shots taken with a Panasonic Lumix

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