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    ggdad1951 reacted to TrampSteer for a blog entry, The destination doesn't tell you how the road winds   
    I've been asked a lot of things by a lot of different people in my life. Giving advice, lending a hand, being politely asked to leave..., they are all generally of a similar class of requests such that not many are ever a surprise anymore. That was true most of my life until as of late. Now I'm getting surprised all the time. Here's some examples.
    Looking for any and every excuse to drive my truck, I took my kids to a birthday/costume party. In a few minutes parents were asking for kids to pose in and on the truck. Why not?

    A couple weeks later, again looking for an excuse to drive it, we used it to go to the local Chili Cook-off. It was pretty easy to just put the old slow cooker in the back and drive over. I stopped to drop off my entry and then went and parked. Within 30 minutes the organizers were looking for the owner of "that old black truck". They wanted to park it in the middle of the event for ambiance. Well, ambiance and picture poising. So many people wanted to crawl in and out of it, my view was obscured more than once.

    The wife bought a new mattress and box spring from Sears but refused to pay the $80 delivery charge. She was going to bring it home on the top of the Ford Escape. I mentioned that I had a truck which she had not considered. Not sure why she didn't - too "special?". We laughed.
    So we drove down to the outlet, tied the new items up and headed home. Near home I was trying to make a lane change but was blocked by some lady in a car. She kept matching my speed! I finally just decided to turn right. She ducked in behind us and followed. I remarked to the wife that if she pulled along side that the truck was $17,5k firm. We laughed and turned left. The lady followed.
    A couple of stop signs later, the car behind us pulled up and waved for my wife's attention. Seems she was getting married Saturday and wanted to be taken to the church and reception in my truck. My dirty, old, smells like gas, farm truck. If you would have seen her smile, heard her excitement, you wouldn't have said no either.

    What to charge her got me thinking about one of 48Dodger's blog posts. The question was about being able to put a proper the price on our parts or services. I was struggling with that and it took me a while to come up with a clear answer for myself.
    In the end I didn't charge her a penny. Couldn't really. There was no price on a blushing bride, clearly happy about going to her wedding in an old farm truck. There was no payment large enough for the looks on people's faces, the thumbs up, as we passed them on the way to the church. You certainly could never have found enough of any payment of any kind for the entire church gathering's collective look as we drove off with the newlyweds in the front cab.
    I got paid with this story. With smiles. Good feelings all around. I'm lucky enough to be in a position to make some people happy.
    Whether you know it or not Tim, you do the same thing for a lot of people here. Did for me.
  2. Like
    ggdad1951 reacted to 48Dodger for a blog entry, Zen and the Art of Impatience   
    In 1936 Eugen Herrigel wrote a 20 page essay about his experience using Daishadokyo to learn archery (under the direction of a master), or more specific, kyūdō (Japanese bow). He later put those writings into a book called "Zen in the Art of Archery". It was published in Germany in 1948 and in the U.S. in 1953. He was interested in how the skills used for sports could be improved by using Zen (meditation), repetitive motion, and less concessions thought. Don't think; let the subconscious do the work. He felt progressive learning was to be practiced until the skill needed was effortless. The title of his book has been used, in variation, extensively. Most famously for the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
    "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was written by Robert Maynard Pirsig in 1974. A great book about individuals who looked at life form opposite ends of the spectrum, with the main character attempting to find the middle. They rode for a time across the country, from Minnesota to Northern California. "Sutherland" would represent the romantic character of the story (Zen). He believes all will be alright in the modern world without his help. His is the new motorcycle that needs no care, no maintenance. And if it does, others with the technology will fix it. He lives for the moment. "The Narrator" is the character who rides the old bike, maintains it, knows when something isn't right with it, and fixes it (Mr. Maintenance).
    Left Brain vs. Right Brain, the Artist vs. the Engineer.....
    This is where I find myself in the world of my “old truck”. My truck hasn’t died; it will live longer than I will be remembered. But its built from parts across several generations. The term I hear most is Vintage Mod. It looks like it was just pulled out of the barn and put on the street, but really, the original steel is hiding the present day technology. I can feel the conflict in my heart. I love to meditate on the history of my 1950 truck and where its been, what its seen, and where it may end up…..but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna drive 25 miles per hour all the way to town! The first book had put Zen into the art of learning Archery, the second put Zen against the world of mechanized technology. I want to be the guy who enjoys both worlds. Zen can mean to “live in the now” and preventive maintenance could mean the opposite, to think ahead and plan for the best or worst outcome. It’s during the PM work on my truck that I lose my Zen. There is no romance and no apparent reward when it’s done. It’s work, nothing more. Sometimes I drive it with my senses tuned only to the bad sounds and not the good. There is no perfection, and there is no definable “quality” is there? So I ignore the romance of the “old truck” and get the work done.
    … when its sitting perfectly still…..not making a sound….Zen finds its way back to my heart. Not touching a door, a handle or a steering wheel….I stare. My thoughts run deep into how I feel about something that could take me far away, and maybe even bring me back. I wonder if I will ever be able to feel that way when I’m actually driving the thing. Maybe not. Maybe it’s not supposed to be that way for me. I demand performance from my ride, not beauty. But man, is she a beauty. I could never say that too much. I wonder about the guy who first bought her. My truck was saved from the crusher, only 7 vehicles away. They had stopped crushing that weekend, and I bought two trucks that day. Two 1950 trucks, side by side. They were owned by the same guy, who put them directly in line, ready to be crushed. When I was driving on the highway, one truck on the trailer, I had Zen. When I drove the highway again with the other truck, I had Zen. Those two trucks made one good truck. A fast truck, a truck that needs lots of stuff other than Zen.
    Herrigel and Pirsig are good guys. They both studied philosophy and took the time to write books I enjoy. I read what they are saying, but question if I understand it. I strive to understand myself, but not too much…..I don’t want to miss the things that matter. The stuff that has nothing to do with me. The stuff I keep around the place to remind me “cool” was happening long before I was even thought of. Stuff like my truck. She’s been here awhile, she is here right now, and will be here when I’m gone. I want to find the patience, to give my truck the care it needs and the love it deserves. That part, I do understand.
    I have created an art to impatience. I need to change that, I want to slow down and let "it" in.
    I’m working on it…..I’m driving my old truck and working on my Zen.
  3. Like
    ggdad1951 reacted to TrampSteer for a blog entry, It looked a lot easier on you tube   
    Cleaned up the frame yesterday with an angle grinder and 3" wire wheel. Took seven hours including two coats of rust prevention. Man am I sore - my old knees hate me. Never had so much fun though.
    After cleaning with the wire brush and noting the areas to touch up we coated the entire frame with Zero Rust. My friend used it on his early 60's Willies Jeep with good results. Plus it was only $81 a gallon instead of the $165 for POR-15. Some day we'll see if that was a good cost-cutting decision.
    Can't wait to start making the cut and splice that will close up this chapter.

    The other plus is that I finally got to use the truck. I had lunch in it!
  4. Like
    ggdad1951 reacted to 48Dodger for a blog entry, Speed and Fear   
    I like to race. The 1950 Dodge Pilot-House Truck I built for myself allows me to do that. I took a stock frame, gave it a 1985 Dodge Diplomat front-end, a 1997 Ford T-bird IRS, a 408 stroker with a 850 dbbl pumper with mechanical secondaries, a 904 tranny, and a rollcage. It's a fast old truck.When I dust it off and check the equipment...I sometimes wonder why I do it. Why does anyone like to race? And I'm not talking about those who make a living at it, or those who make money off of others. I'm talking about the guy who spends his "free time money" on going fast. There really isn't anything heroic about it. It's hard work and when things break, it gets even harder. In my case, it's not a bucket list deal, I've raced plenty. It's not pride, or a need to get back on the horse. So maybe I'm asking myself a deeper question? I have always believed it's Fear. When I get to that point whenI feel like I can't control it anymore, I get afraid. It's not a vehicle anymore, but a place to challenge my nerves and self-preservation. I respect my truck. It can kill me, and it can kill others. It is not a toy. Any vehicle has that risk attached to it. But when you put yourself in a position to "see what will happen"....it seems different.I've asked other racers why they do it, and the standard joke is, "it's a disease." But I've found lately, that the best guys to talk about speed and fear with are vetern war pilots. And that's really what I wanted to share.
    I've been fortunate enough to work in an area where a lot of pilots trained during WW2, Korea and, to a lesser extent, Viet Nam. My favorite pilot is my Uncle of course. I remember speaking with him about his experience as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. He flew a F-104 Starfighter. A fighter jet capable of going Mach 2...twice the speed of sound. He told me the most fear he ever experienced was not even during a flight, but rather sitting on the runway, ready to end the world during the Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962. He had been a pilot for 2 years and was 25. He liked flying, but wasn't concerned about the speed so much as getting his job done right. We talked about a lot of things, but when we talked about racing, he said it's amazing. He didn't know how I could do it, because it looked so dangerous. I laughed and said, "I've never gone Mach 2," and he replied, "I don't know...a hi-tech jet vs. a chopped up car with roll bars..." We laughed, I got his point. He gave up his wings in 1984 "to let the younger guys handle it". He retired as a Colonel. Another pilot I spoke with was a radioman/bombadier/gunner of a TBF bomber, who fought in World War 2. If you don't know the TBF/TBM Avenger, it has 3 in the flight crew. The radioman sits on a bench in the middle with the navigation/radio equipment, and would crawl through a "tunnel" to operate the rear "stinger" gun. The turret gunner and radioman had no access to the pilot. Talking with him I said, "diving out of the sky, getting shot at, and having no chance to recover the plane if the pilot got injured?" Now that's scary. He said two things that stuck with me. First, being in the TBF was realitive to his stituation. At his hieght of 5'7, he was worried he'd either be put in a tank or a ball turret of a B-17. He was more than happy with his assignment. Second, he entered the war at sixteen....no one checked his age. In his words, "Through the whole war, I was to stupid to know I should be scared." He is a vet of the Guadalcanal Campaign, and many others. Both those guys shared kind words about my love of racing, and I thanked them for preserving the freedom that allows me to do so. The thing I learned most from my uncle is that fear is an excellent co-pilot, and should be respected. And my friend who flew in the TBM? He cherishes the long life he's had so far, and studies philosophy as a hobby, to find maybe even a little bit more to the meaning in life. What he shared with me, was his understanding of balance and perspective. Something I try and do everyday now. So why do I race? Maybe I really don't know why, and maybe I never will....but lately, I've used the question to start some really great conversations, with some really great people.
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