Where Does it End?

This is a questions that I can imagine some of you asking. Others I know are wondering why I only have three. Still, others are thinking,"why three of those." The simple fact is that it doesn't matter, I'm having fun.


Once again I headed off to California to harvest another mid-80's Volkswagen. I flew in to SFO, bought the car, and spent the rest of the weekend with some friends in wine county (Napa). Doesn't it all sound so high brow? I would love to say that I was staying at someone's vineyard, but the truth is that it was a commiserating car junkie who happens to do estimating for a construction company in Napa. Fine people by the way.

I didn't even have to make any harrowing trips to the Pick-n-Pull this time.

This new addition to the collection is a 1986 Volkwagen Quantum Syncro Wagon. It was purchased new in the bay area and I am it's third owner. It has been well maintained. The previous owner had owned it for the last 15 years and used it to get up to his time share in Tahoe to go skiing. The rest of the time it enjoyed the endless sunny days in costal California.

The Quantum was built in German and only 3000+ examples made it to US shores. (only a handful of those that were imported were the Syncro all-wheel-drive models). The Quantum is the predicesor to the more familiar Passat model. The Syncro model is unique in that it comes with the same drive train that the famous Audi rally racing coupes of the 1980's used. The engine is a 2.2 liter in-line 5 that sits entirely in front of the front axle. The engine is mated to a 5 speed manual transmission that sends the power from the engine out to all four wheels through 3 open differentials. Using a knob on the dash the driver can lock the center and rear differentials. This locks three wheels right to the engine. (For your information that's more than a 4x4 truck, the most they lock is 2 wheels) The car has 4 wheel disk brakes and some other fun options. I tried it out in the snow and ice yesterday and it was a blast!

Sure, I could have just bought some good snow tires for the GTI or got out the ever trusty Bug, but come on people--there are cars to be bought!



How the Max stole Thanksgiving

Alright, now before everyone goes rushing to point out that this is actually a UCLA vs BYU game picture let me me assure you that I know. It is against my morals to post anything having to do with the U of U on my blog, and the picture fit.

Twas the weekend before Thanksgiving and all through The Valley BYU fans were holding their breath. Of those fans that were holding their breath for a BYU win over Utah most probably chose to voluntarily quit breathing and die at the half out of shear disgust.

"How did a it come to this after such a good start to our season?" some of you may be asking. It's simple really, it can all be attributed to the mormon factor. Mormons are notorious for doing one of three things when required to preform:
1. They show up late.
2. They don't show up at all.
3. The show up early so they can
leave early.

The Courgars chose option three this year. It really isn't taught in sunday school that enduring to the end means showing up on time too.

After throwing five interceptions during the Utah game, Max Hall is about to learn what BYU are really like. Oh yes, these good Christian people are usually just one bad throw from turning and rending you (yes, like swine). I feel we've really given the team quite a bit of slack this year on account of their outstanding wins early in the season. BYU fans can almost forgive anything if the team will hand us win over Utah. However, Max has made the one fatal mistake, a really sucky game against Utah. For many this Thanksgiving the turkey will taste dry no matter how good it really is, and that is how the Max stole Thanksgiving.


The Propostion 8 Debacle

I would just like to get my two cents out there on this topic.

When I first heard that the LDS Church had come out with an official letter asking members in California to donate of their time and means to get Proposition 8 passed I was a little taken back. In my mind, as Americans, people have the right to marry llamas if they want. Personally I don't see either humans marrying llamas or same gender humans marrying each other as a good thing. If they want to do these things then that is their business. Just like it's my business if I want to go on a mission for two years or do temple work for those who have already passed on. However, it wasn't until I read the report on the meeting that LDS leaders had with California church members that I realized what Proposition 8 was actually fighting.

If Proposition 8 isn't passed gay marriage will become a public issue. Schools will have to teach kids about gay marriage, and churches and other organizations that do not support gay marriage could loose their tax free status and other rights. I am in favor of gay couples having the same legal rights as traditional married couples: hospital visitation, tax benefits, life insurance, etc. Nonetheless, I do not think that means that children should be taught in school that gay marriage is just the same as traditional marriage any more than I think that schools should teach kids that marrying a llama is something they should look into when they grow up. This kind of issue is not in the government's scope of work.

In my mind the issue here is whether or not gay marriage is a public issue or a private issue, and in my mind it is strictly a private issue. What other people choose to do in their lives, homes, and/or llama pastures is their business and in no way does it or should it diminish my home or my relationship with my family. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it is my duty to be an example of Christ-like living. The LDS Church has nothing against people who profess to be gay. It just is not a lifestyle we think is good for the people who choose to live it nor does it provide a good environment for the rearing of children. It is a shame that the government of California has backed both parties of this debate into a situation where the exercising of one group's rights will infringe on the rights the other. In my opinion the fewest rights will be infringed if Proposition 8 passes.


Potatoes for everyone

Well, I've talked about going for years and I've finally made it; the Idaho Potato Museum. Alright, so I didn't even know this place existed before my trip to the Eastern Idaho State Fair, but how can you pass up a giant baked potato.

Ho-Made Pie

I found myself in Malad, Idaho during Labor day weekend this year. A cohort and myself were headed for Idaho Falls to spend a weekend with another cohort and her cats. At the behest of my insatiable tap worm I made my friend pull off the freeway in Malad. After several passes up and down the main drag we stumbled upon this, a restaurant advertising Ho-Made Pie. Unfortunately, they were closed and we ended up chasing a motorcycle towing a trailer with a dog who was wearing a bandanna and goggles, and eating in Pocatello. What's next.....


Fun and Sun at the Pick`n Pull

Well folks, I'm at it again; traipsing around the country, buying up half dilapidated, German cars. This time I took a pass on the fine Bavarian leather and back seat martini coolers. For the reasons behind this decision see post 2.3.2008. Other reasons not stated in the previously mentioned post include:
  • The evils of high mileage, automatic, German transmissions.
  • The unbearable temperature of black leather that has set out in the sun.
  • The price of tires for rare, 16", BBS rims.
  • The curiosity of owning something else.
Oddly enough, the seed for this latest acquisition was planted by my father (unbeknownst to him). I was on the hunt for a mid 1960's station wagon at the time (see first post). In an effort to talk me out of purchasing a large behemoth of poor, American build quality, my father mention in passing a 1984 Volkswagen GTI that was on the same listing as a 1967 Dodge Monaco Wagon that I was trying to get his opinion on. The seed was sown.

After months of looking I finally found an admirable candidate in Berkeley, CA. It took about a month of e-mailing back and forth and some squibbling on the price and even then I only agreed to come out and look at it. I was pretty nervous as you can imagine. In merely going out to look at it I would already be out the cost of the plane ticket (for which I hadn't purchased a return ticket). Should I have decided against the purchase I would be taking Amtrak back to Utah. Not to mention the fact that I was traveling with the cost of the car in cash in my pocket. I flew out to San Francisco International where my cousins were good enough to pick me up and drive me over to a shady part of Berkeley at 9pm. The guy wasn't there so I ended up riding BART back up to Berkeley in the morning which worked out better in the end. Despite the broken and nearly unusable front seats the car was everything the seller said it was, and I bit the bullet and bought it. That's when the adventure began....

To avoid driving the car for 14 hours while trying to sit on seats that were little more than a mess of foam padding with sharp frame rails protruding, I nipped on down to the local Pick`n Pull in Fremont. I figured that my chances were slim that they would even have a 1984 VW GTI, let alone one with usable seats, but I might as well give it a try. This was my first trip to an actual Pick'n Pull so I really wasn't in on the procedure. Apparently, you have to pay to even get in to look at what they have. So, it's like a two dollar gamble. They may have it, they may not. You have to go in and look because they don't know. I paid my $2.00, they stamped my hand and gave me a map. I would say this place was about 10 acres. They had it organized by car size and continent of origin. GM/ midsized; Asian/compact; etc... As I looked at this map I realized that the "Mixed European" section is really small and the furthest away and I started hiking. 15 minutes of walking later and the first car to greet me on the corner of the "Mixed European" section was a black, 1984 Volkswagen GTI with nice, blue bucket seats! The hand of providence. Packing those seats back out of there was another ordeal, but at any rate I had seats to drive home on and off I went. The car drove wonderfully and I didn't have one problem. I stopped at my parents home on the way back to spend the weekend and show of my toy (I was really the only excited one, but they pretended and that was nice of them).
"Hot Hatch"
A little info on the car:
  • The Mk1 Volkswagen GTI, is considered the first real successful sporty economy car.
  • GTI's that were sold in the U.S. were actually assembled in Westmorland, Virginia with the drive train being imported from Germany.
  • The Sept. 2007 issue of Automobile Magazine's "25 Top Cars" list the Mk1 GTI under the sub heading of "Drivers Cars", next to the Porsche Carrera.
  • The 1.8 liter engine has mechanical fuel injection and produces 90 hp, and 115 ft/lbs of torque.
  • The transmission is a close ration 5-speed with no overdrive.
  • My car comes with no factory options except for A/C and a leather wrapped steering wheel.


Why I Like Quails Above Other Fowl

Birds.......what obnoxious things they are. As far as I'm concerned they are no better than large bugs. Birds make noise, they fly around, and they crap on my car. The last on the preceding list of offenses is probably the most aggravating. Now I do get a certain amount of joy in watching birds do what they do, just as I enjoy watching an insect do whatever it does. It's more of a curiosity really. However, in general, birds annoy me. Now why can't birds take a lesson from their relative the quail. Quail are generally quiet, and are obsessed with try to keep out of sight. Most importantly, a quail has never defecated on my car. I'm seriously, what other beast in this world goes around dive bombing with their excrement. It's absurd! Yes, indeed. All birds should be more like quail.


Get a typewriter,.....nerd!

Okay, as I write this I am fully aware that someone (probably my grandma who is far more computer savy than myself) will scream foul and call me a caveman, but hear me out. Something has gotten lost in our new digital world, perhaps even a lot of things have been lost. In our world of instantly correct, delete, erase, and start over people have some how lost the notion that what the say, do, and/or step in has an affect on the world around them. Conversation has become flippant and senceless as we communicate through text messages to our BFF's instead of actually talking to them. We plug in our ipods and surround ourselves with music of our own choosing, refusing to listen to anything that we have not preselected. It is entirely possible to surround ourselves in a digital cocoon of our own construction; effectively blocking out our exposure to ,quite nearly, anything that may be new and/or different. You can even block out the birds and anything else as you walk to wherever it is you're going. Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" is not going to brought about by pesticides (mostly thanks to the enviromental nut jobs) but by technology. Guys in particular, being able to run an exel spreadsheet is no substitue for being able to successfully run your own lawnmower or change a tire. The modern day "nerd" is not the new "do it yourself-er". I say quit insulating yourself from life. It takes time to learn to enjoy a good piece of music by Charles Mingus. Take a look (and listen) to what's going on around you. Get out the old typewriter and throw your correction tape to the four winds. Mistakes happen, and you need to start taken responsibility for the ones you make.


True Colours (because it looks fancy)

There was a time in my life were I was looking into buying a BMW. It was nothing new, but it was a BMW nonetheless. I eventually decided against buying the car because I had come to the conclusion that I just wasn't a "BMW Person". I'm sure you are well acquainted with the type of "person" to which I am referring. They wear pants whose purchase price was comprised of three digits, they wear knock-offs of expensive sunglasses (because they lose them all the time), their taste in food is dictated soly by the price, and they love to give rides to people (so people can be informed that they do drive a BMW without them having to inform them verbally). Having been a staunch Volkswagen supporter since at least the age 5, I decided that even though this car was wonderful (because I am an appreciative conessuire and not a self indulgent wiener) I would pass it up and stick to VW's. After 5 years of driving VW's another one of these particular models of BMW came up for sale in the area where I attend college. I made the mistake of taking a test drive and it called to me. In consequence of it's siren song, I decided that, pricks aside, I had to buy this car. I did and it was glorious. Not only was it breath taking, but it came equipped with a refrigerated martini cooler in the back seat. It was the epitome of German driving fun. It was also an ego inflating ride and it drove me to do things like buy more expensive pants, look to get married, and start offering rides to people. To make a long story short, the pants wore out quickly, the marriage idea didn't pan out, the people I gave rides to began to annoy me, and the car quit working (all at about the same time). So, I returned to my roots. I went to the small, one car garage downtown and I got out my trusty 1974 VW Bug, and I went to California for a few months. This past weekend the BMW (which still doesn't work) found a new owner and I have began my hunt for my second, second car (most definitely a VW,....or a station wagon). You see, even though I decided that a BMW is just not for me until I can hid it in a garage and make it a dirty little secret, I decided that I thoroughly enjoyed having a collection of cars (a dream that I have harbored since I was......5 years old). My pants now cost no more than $20.00, I don't give rides, and marriage will come as it sees fit. I happy ending by all accounts.


"That's a nice tiger,...he looks proud."

This month's meeting of the WVVW Club (Wasatch Vintage Volkswagen) was a little sparse, but well attended considering it had snowed 4-6 in. and the temperature was hovering somewhere around 20 degrees. I think there was a total of 6 cars. The owner of that recently, perfectly restored '64 double cab (a.k.a. the white truck) braved the moisture and salt to show off his new toy. I actually won $5.00 because of the snow that day. I pulled my car into a particularly snow clogged parking spot. When I got out the kid who pulled in next to me told me that I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting back out of that spot. I thanked him but I replied that I wasn't going to have any trouble getting out. He bet me $5.00 and I took him up on it. I then collected my $5.00 and told him that they use VW bugs in Antarctica. You just can't beat a VW bug. I haven't been in the club for too long, but I've been going to their monthly meetings off and on since 2002. It's always nice to get together once in awhile with some people who have a similar complex as you. After all, isn't that what clubs are all about.


Returning behind the Zion Curtian

Two days down...... After a very short break I am happy to report that I am back at school. I hadn't really signed up for my classes until yesterday, but my class schedule has worked out beautifully. I was even able to get away with a pretty cheap text book bill thanks to some creative text book borrowing and some willing friends. The semester looks like it is going to turn out pretty good. As for my vacation: I spent most of it on the road; some of it Mesa, AZ; some more of it in Logandale, NV; and the remainder of it at home. The nicest thing about Arizona were the sunny 60 degree days. All of the vacation was spent with lots of family, I even got to talk with my brother who is on a mission in southern Florida. I also attended a homecoming, a wedding (with all of the reception and whatnots), and a birthday. It has almost been nice to get back to my relatively quiet apartment in happy valley. The VW continues to run well and work about the same.