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Guinea Hen on a bumper

guinea hen on a bumper

guinea hen on a bumper


   This is our neighbor’s Guinea Hen.  It likes the sheltered area that this bumper gives… solar radiation is concentrated here by all the black paint…. it is sheltered from the breeze…. a good spot for a bird.

  Guinea Hens are very interesting birds…. I think they are a bit smarter than your average fowl.
   This one likes cars and often runs alongside our car when we go to visit the neighbor’s.
   It runs alongside Vickie’s car… sometimes in front of her bumper…. its head almost level with the bottom of her window….
   They make a screeching sound that a lot of people find annoying.  As far as I know, people don’t raise them for meat or eggs….. they mainly have a reputation of being an ‘easy-to-have bird’… they don’t really need to be caged… anyone we’ve known that had Guineas just let them roam free. They tend to find the place they want to live, and hang out there, eating the bugs all around… they are also very vocal, and when someone comes onto the area, they will sound an alarm…. it’s hard to sneak up onto a house with Guineas, Dogs, or Geese.  These birds used to live at another place up the hill… but they wandered and became friends with ‘Little Man’ the pony and lived with him in his pony run. Since they had no fear of cars, and would try to chase people away… one got run over by a car and died. Now there is just this one Guinea left.. and Little Man.

Summertime is for travel



  Yep, this looks like fun.
  I wonder if I could get one with a small bed that would hold a few hundred pounds of cactus in boxes?


Chevy Nomad

Chevy Nomad


  On the other hand… this looks like a lot of fun also! And I could carry a lot of cactus in the back of that wagon.  the long spring travel on that beast might smooth the ruts of our dirt road out pretty nicely.

   It’s summertime now… the freeway is crowded with motor homes, Subarus with luggage on top, antique automobiles cruising… and motorcycles

   Yeah… it’s all good.

Drifting Accident

Drifting Accident on dirt road

   There’s plenty of misconceptions about any group of people anywhere. Outside folks will have their ideas, which are usually re-inforced by Hollywood films (Hollywood is so cliche.. but that’s part of the fun of it all).

   In most Hollywood films, country-folks living on dirt roads tend to drive really fast… sliding around corners on the dirt and gravel…. tires leaving the earth as saddles are topped…. in actuality, such driving will get you dirty looks from most folks you’ll encounter on those roads…. if you go out of control you’re going to run into their fences or trees, or other vehicles on the road.

   Regardless of how much fun it is to slide around blind curves… it is not something you should do… and driving fast on a  dirt road raises huge ripples that will cause costly damage to any vehicle that uses them regularly.

  We have hardly anyone living back in this canyon…. yet we still see several vehicles go into the creek each year. And this particular fence gets whacked every so often also… it is at the end of a straight-away that is really fun to slide around…. but here we see three recent impacts… two of them that still bear fresh tire marks.   Your right to drive like a lunatic ends where my fenders begin.

  Don’t drive like ‘The dukes of Hazard’ in our canyon!

Canyon Cruiser

A neighbor has a Chevelle he’s had since High School.
He takes it ‘out for a spin’ now and then.

A Masterpiece of ‘Muscle-Car’ engineering….
A Classic of Detroit Steel


Hippie Love-Van

A Blast From the Past

Colorful, interesting.
Memories of another time



Expensive way to save money

   Saving money is good… everyone has some things they can do themselves and save a bit of money. When it comes to cars… the best way to save money is buy one you can work on yourself…. also having a model that does not have a ‘cachet-name’ with it helps…. one of the brands that is a good vehicle… but seems to have higher associated repair costs is Lexus…. We have one… which sounds really cool and affluent until we mention that it is 20 years old, and has about 235,000 miles on it …. and some 40,000 of those miles are on our dirt road.   A dirt road is not a place to take a ‘luxury car’…. and while I used to be a half-way capable ‘wrench’, these new cars with their computers, smog-control equipment, front-wheel-drive, and other exotic components mystify me. On the other hand, these cars don’t need all the maintenance that the older cars need. ‘Back-in-the-day’, I used to change my oil every three thousand miles…. I would pull my plugs out every-other oil change… and clean and regap the points…. and then I would have to reset the timing….. once you’ve done this a number of times on your vehicle… it’s not such a big deal. But with these newer cars the computer takes care of the ignition process…. and the new breeds of spark plugs with their exotic alloys typically last for years.  But gone are the days of me packing my own bearings….. or changing shocks…. I don’t really understand how all drive-train/suspension components operate… and the parts are VERY pricey.   We bought the Lexus because I ran our truck into a deer and totalled our truck out. The neighbors were selling their Lexus, and Vickie had driven it several times and liked it a lot.  They gave us a good price since cars are hard to sell here due to our remote location.  Oh yes, it’s a nice car… once you get onto the highway…. it cruises down the road very comfortably… luxuriantly even.  But a rutted dirt road is not a good environment for a luxury car… which our mechanic tells us often when we go in for routine suspension-component replacements.




   A few weeks ago we noticed the car had a tiny bit of a miss…. and the idle speed was ranging up and down. So I decided to take off a big hose that leads from the air-filter to the injection manifold. There is a little flap in there that controls the amount of airflow…. this little flap can gather bits of material on it which will impede the airflow, and cause problems with idle speed. As I took the hose off I noticed the hose itself, surely twenty years old, and being in a hot engine compartment for nearly a quarter million miles was hard and had cracked. This was allowing some air into the system after some of the smog-control equipment measures the airflow… this gives erroneous readings to the computer which fouls everything up. So it should be a simple task to replace an air-hose.


This is the old torn hose.  The right end is where it hooks to the engine…. the little connection-point in the middle is where air-flow/vacuum measurements are taken by the computer…. since the break was after that point it messed with the computer’s data… causing uneven idling.


   Here is the replacement hose… and this is where the story really starts….
   This is not one of those common hoses you can pick up at a discount Auto-Parts store…. no, this is specially molded for Lexus….  I told Vickie that a hose like this should be maybe $30 to $40…. but I was worried since it is a Lexus it would probably be $70… LOL.

   It was $135 after I paid the California State extortion-tax of over 7%. Yeah, $135 for a molded hose…. and that’s just the hose…. Installation would probably be another hundred or more dollars.


   This is the hose installed onto the engine…. it took maybe 15 minutes for us to replace the hose and clean the valve in the intake.

010610LexusAir5  010610LexusAir6

   While we had the hose off, it was easy to access the air filter. Air filters should be cleaned regularly, especially if you are on dirt roads….
   You can take a dirty air filter and bang it on a hard surface to knock off most of the dust…. make sure you knock the correct side off (the side where the air flows through)… and don’t allow dust onto the clean (engine) side.  Usually after a couple of cleanings, I replace the filter. This one is not too bad off, we knocked it off to show the dust that can accumulate, but I replaced it with an extra I had bought on sale last year… two-for-one. 

   The old data about a dirty air filter using more gas is not quite so accurate anymore… the computer systems on newer cars will detect a clogged filter and adjust the air/fuel mix accordingly… so you won’t be running rich like in the old days. But since you have less air/fuel mix going in, you’ll lose power, acceleration and response.  So it’s still worthwhile to keep your filters open and passing plenty of clean air for the engine.


   While we had the filter out we vacuumed the filter housing… there will be big things that dropped off the filter in there… might as well get rid of them. You can see how dusty the engine compartment is… dirt roads are not the place to drive luxury cars… trucks and Subaru’s are the best bet for our roads.

   At any rate… the hose replacement worked… after firing it up, the engine roamed up and down for a few moments… then the idle settled down to a stable speed and the miss is gone…. it really is a nice (if dusty) car out on the highway.



1959 Chevy Bel-Air

I was in Santa Maria last week and saw this 1959 Chevy Bel-Air

The fellow driving it said he uses it for his daily vehicle and that it’s easy to maintain.

A pretty clean car. It’s good to keep a vehicle going for a long time.

Chasin' Sun on 101

Chasin’ Sun on 101

Where I come from
Alan Jackson

I was chasin sun on 101
Somewhere around Ventura
I lost a universal joint and I had to use my finger
This tall lady stopped and asked
If I had plans for dinner
I said “no thanks Ma’am, back home
We like the girls that sing soprano”Cause where I come from
Its cornbread and chicken
Where I come from a lotta front porch sittin’
Where I come from tryin’ to make a livin’
And workin’ hard to get to heaven, Where I come from




pre-runner in Ventura

I was heading through Ventura when I passed this Pre-Runner
rolling on its modified chassis.
It was so impressive a vehicle in terms of engineering
that I had to take a photo of it as I passed.





Calif Spring, 2007

Our  blog posting from April 12, 2007
California Spring

torn fence

The spring is on us in it’s full glory.
In this small pasture, the California Poppies, the California state flower are blooming, lending a bright sunny spot to the soft green of the hillsides.

   This particular fence seems to get run into every few years, you can see the repairs done to it. I’ll go by it and see a ten foot section torn out by a car or truck driven by people who find it too hard to keep to a reasonable speed on this dirt road. Every year we see or hear of someone who does even worse, and drives into the creek, in some spots it is a twenty foot drop into the rocky creekbed.
   One time I saw a vehicle in the creek with a man crawling out of his crumpled van, he had a headache from hitting his head on the steering wheel. He also had an anvil that was in the back of the van (he is a farrier) that had gone through the windshield. Luckily it flew between the two seats and missed hitting the back of his head. If it had, it’s a fair bet he would not have crawled out.
   We’ve also seen vehicles that landed upside down in the creek.
   My thinking is that way too many people watched the way the ‘Duke Boys’ drove on ‘Dukes of Hazzard’, and think that sliding around dirt roadways is fun….well yes, it is, but it is also dangerous for you and other users of the roadway. I must admit, I get a little mad when I see the marks on the road showing that someone was fishtailing all over having fun on the dirt, blast it! I’m acting like an old curmudgeon here now, but running into trees, fences, creeks and other vehicles is what happens when a person races along a bit too hard. Know your limitations, and remember, your right to fishtail and drive reckless ends where my fenders begin.


Lao Tzu
Chapter 24
`Tao tehChing’

He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm
he who travels at a speed beyond his means,
cannot maintain his pace.
He who tries to shine dims his own light.
If you boast, you will have no merit.
Pride yourself and you will not endure.
These behaviors are wasteful and indulgent,
so they attract disfavor;
therefore those who pursue
the Tao do not accept and allow them.

New Photo Gallery

  We just put up a new photo album. It is arranged into twelve albums and has over 1,300 photos.


The photos cover some of  the beaches, hills, deserts and cities of California.