Sunday, June 7, 2009

Successful Shakedown

Don't worry, I did not spend the weekend shaking down kids for money although it might make for a profitable side-business. It is amazing how much money kids bring to camp each week to spend in the camp store. You'd be absolutely shocked.

Anyway, a "shakedown" for those of you who don't know, is the term used by off-road enthusiasts for the inaugural trip for a newly created or rebuilt off-road vehicle. In our case, this weekend we took a rebuilt and modifed 1987 Toyota 4-Runner out on the trail for the first time. Leni has been working hard the last few months to get this thing up and running.

Shakedowns make me incredibly nervous. What if it doesn't start right? What if something breaks in the middle of a trail? If anything is going to go wrong, odds are, it'll be at this point. Guys who like to go four-wheeling often LOVE this. I can understand it too....the rush if having to fix something while on the trail...having few tools at your disposal and no parts store nearby. But if you are just an innocent bystander like myself along for the ride, its a long time to wait with no tools or skills to offer to help speed things up. Anyone who knows me knows that I like things to happen fast and I like to stick my nose in there and do whatever I can to make that happen. Being on the side of a trail watching a couple guys struggle to fix a broken truck may very well be one of my many personal hells.

What is it about this sport that is so appealing? Some of you who have never been involved with anything like this may be asking yourself the same question. Let me break it down for you:

Step 1: Start by buying a second (or in some cases, third or fourth) vehicle. It is probably rusty, inoperable, and has been sitting under a tarp in some guy's field for over a year.

Step 2: Pay a ridiculous amount of money to have it shipped to you if it was located far away

Step 3: Figure out how much money the "new" vehicle is worth and then go ahead and spend about 4 times more on new performance parts for it

Step 4: Calculate how much time it will take to finish the project and tell everyone when you plan to have it done.

Step 5: *Finish* project only after you have far surpassed your projected finish date by 2-6 months and have spent about twice as much money as you planned.

* The term "finish" in this case is to be used loosely. In most cases, it will merely mean that the vehicle starts, at most, 50% of the time and ocassionaly leaks fluids and spews ugly black smoke out the tailpipe. Nothing on the dash will be trustworthy including speed and fuel. Make doubly sure you do not report this information to any other possible drivers.

Step 6: Take "finished" truck to a place to drive it off-road. Drive it so hard that you break many of the expensive parts that you spent the last few months of your life putting into the truck.

Repeat steps 3-6 as needed

Being a penny-pinching tight-wad, you perhaps can see how it has taken me some time to warm up to this new part of my life, now that I have married one who is SO into it. I can hardly afford it and when anything goes wrong, there's nothing I can do to help with it. Awesome. But perhaps that is just part of marriage. Throwing money at stuff you don't care about to make your spouse happy. Can't wait until it's my turn :)

Here's a picture of Leni driving his "new" truck over a rocky obstacle:

Huge props go out to Leni on the great performance of this truck! No break-downs, no suspicious noises, and no having to pull it off its side because it flopped over (although we did have one tire up about 3 feet off the ground at one point!). Maybe next time, we could do without the couple small flames we saw!

Keep it Real!

1 comment:

  1. Now, just imagine how many purple station wagons you could have, if only your Beloved would part with Perhaps a small parking lot full? The world may never know. Ah yes, such is the Sacrificial Love of Marriage!