Birthday Party, 1998
1948-1998 50 years of Land Rover
Authors: Jeff Berg, Bill Caloccia ("the RTV"), Eric Zipkin ("Wrath of Lucas")
(All 'Southern' members of of OVLR, and members of Empire)
The Trip North
Got back to Connecticut approximately 1:30am. Working in NYC today so sleep was short. This is a quick, incomplete, account of the festivities at Silver Lake this weekend... As many of you know, my Rover is in the shop. Eric Riston's Rangie is also out of service as he's currently building the most tricked out Rangie in North America. FYI:Rumors of that projects delay being my fault are greatly exaggerated. Truth be told it's because he can't find a transformer (to power the neon glow tubes attached to the frame) that's off-road rated. Plus he's been "keeping company" as of late, and never seems to be awake to work on the Rangie.
The Best Damn Rally Car in The World Belongs To Somebody Else!
[Before the event, nasty rum ours circulated that Eric and Jeff were going to show up in a 'Freelander'-badged Kia Sportage or 'zuki, however they managed to locate a rental Discovery for the weekend. After going three rounds with the rental dominatrix in Bennington, VT, the much coveted Discovery was yanked from another customer, who in return received a Ford Explorer. After a bit of cleaning Eric and Jeff took delivery of the '98 Disco with under 1000 miles on the odometer. Tres Chic. Jeff is officially introduced to the plush-mobile way of life. They returned to Troy, loaded up the motor, and were on the road, slightly later than planned.-wpc]
Trip to Silver Lake was uneventful [except a warning wave with a State Trooper while slightly exceeding the speed limit on Route 12]. Hours later, we caught up with Bill Caloccia at Chappy's Diner (Exit 46, I-81) along the way. Bill thought we should get CA$ from the ATM at the duty free before the border. Unfortunately, it dispensed, as we hadn't left the US, it dispensed $US so we ended up using the currency exchange anyway. Not too bad I think it was 1.47:1. No excitement at the border for Eric and I--We sent "the fabulous furry freak brother" through first. All the agent wanted to know from us was "are you going to the same Land-Rover thing as *that* guy?" and "do you have any pepper spray?" Arrived at the Party site, picked up registration materials, went to the OPP campground and checked in. (Jennifer behind the desk was a righteous cutie and all on the staff there are as friendly and cheerful as can be.) Set up our tents then headed for dinner. Drove about 10km to the wrong restaurant thanks to Bill's input. Made it back to the correct place--directly across the street from the Campground--just under the "stop serving" deadline. Marveled at how cheap (and tasty) everything was--and than marveled all the more when we remembered that we were paying in Canadian dollars! After dinner we gathered at Dixons campsite to drink, swap lies, drink, fire the spud cannon, drink, repair the spud canon's firing mechanism and drink. I met John Hong for the first time. He lives up to the advanced billing--"great people!" Russ Dushin discovered that the quickest route back to his camp site was over water, so he borrowed Zippy's canoe. Bobeck fired a few spud rounds across his bows--"just so he knows who he's dealing with." Next morning it was breakfast, then off to the Party site. While the light offroad was going on, Bill, Eric, Quinton, Mike Malone and myself set up three sections of twelve gates each for the RTV trials course. Then "Q" took us for a quick run through the light offroad in the 80. Twas very light indeed this year. Very little mud, the water crossing was a splash and the infamous license plate eating beaver dam was a mere bump in the road. Still, it was fun to be "outback." Back to camp for a delicious lunch, then it was time for the RTV Trial.
Ottawa's own Kevin Wiley and 'Southern' OVLR Members, whom are also Empire principles put on the second RTV in the series leading up to to the ANARC-Atlantic British North American International RTV event in Cortland. The first event was at ROVERS Assateague Island event, and was two sections, due to time constraints. [ I haven't seen the results which Tom Bache collected, but I think they'll be showing up soon in the ROVERS newsletter.] One section tried to make good use of the terrain, but I screwed up in the set up, which prevented progress to the fun part. The other section section included a dash through the waters of the Atlantic an offset slalom on the crest of the beach, and a hub-over ending. Tom Bache and Quintin Aspin provided canes which were generally an inch in diameter and 6' long. Some were still green, (and not light.) Quintin supplied enough for two sections, and Tom for another two or three, but we never cut it down from the 10 to 15' lengths.
As for the OVLR event, Empire principles, Jeff Berg, Eric Riston (aka. 'our man at Atlantic British'), Quintin Aspin and myself, along with Quintin's charge, Mike Malone set up the course. Due to a comedy of errors (my getting up North a day late, Ted Rose being lost, [as usual], having to _clear_ the trail into the area, and Kevin committed to taking his son on the light off road), Kevin only got to work on setting up one section. As Kevin, Quintin and Mike did not drive the course, they were allowed to compete. (right: Andrew Finlayson, OVLR)
The first section was a up/downhill, with a 'free' turn about on top of the hill due to space constraints, everyone cleared it, as expected. The second section was more turning and maneuvering on mostly level terrain, and the failure to set up for subsequent turns caught out a few participants, as did the hub-over at the end, it should be noted that Bill Rice successfully piloted the 109" SW (below right) through this section, while a number of 88"s failed to negotiate it. (right: Andrew Finlayson, OVLR) The third section was the 3-D section, which went up a rather steep 12' hill, curved right, around to the left, through 4' high clump of brush, hooking to the left and down a rock face. The 109" got caught in shunting at the top of the hill. I was rather concerned as to if it was a possible course layout error, or merely a driver error. Eric's call was that the error was between the seat and the pedals, that the driver should have been able to make the shunt. Thus, from a set-up view, the OVLR course was more successful than Assateague.
When complete, there was a four-way (triple-zero) tie, with two 88"s Ben 'the road is my bride' Smith [NCRC] and Ted Rose [OVLR] and two 80"s: Andrew Findlayson [OVLR] and Quintin Aspin [Empire].
(Kevin Wiley right, Andrew below right.)
For the first tie-breaker we then flipped numbers on the last section and ran it in the opposite direction. Ted Rose tagged a cane, and we still had a three way tie. At this point Quintin (at right) again suggested running the section in *reverse*. Quintin's 80" had no top (allowed at OVLR, but not under ANARC rules), Andrew's had a soft top, and he rolled up the sides, however Ben's 88" is a hard top. I offered Ben the opportunity to drive an 80" in this tie-breaker. Muttering something about "the Devil I know or the Devil I don't" he elected to run in the 88" and asked permission to remove the rear door, which was granted. Quintin reversed up the hill with not-quite reckless abandon, and tagged the 4th cane. Andrew paced his progress and completed the task as if born to it. Ben, with John Hong along to navigate, took to the task, and made it to the last few canes when the gear in the back of the 88" started tumbling out. Shovels. Picks. Axes. I called for him to stop, but it was clear a few bouncing tools wouldn't deter Ben from that last gate. All said and done, Ben and Andrew were each first in their respective classes and tied for first over all. Prizes were awarded before the auction for both First Place winners and a compact road atlas was awarded for 'Dead Last But Finished' (so as to help him find his way on the road :-) After the event, the canes were left up to allow other folks present to have a go at it, and then we saw a couple of Disco's give it a go. At 13, participation was a bit lower than I'd hoped, but in general terms, about that many went on the heavy off-road, and just under 40 went on the light off road. Also a few players were busy extracting Dale's Range Rover from the mud hole, and/or, Zippy, who apparently dragged his 109 in instead of dragging Dale out.
Driver ANARC _Section_ Tie Break Place
________________ CLUB CLASS 1 2 3 4 5 Class / Overall
Andrew Finlayson OVLR 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 / 1*
Quintin Aspin Empire 1 0 0 0 0 4 2 / 3
Mike Malone Empire 1 0 1 0 3 / 5*
Martin Rothman OVLR 1 0 6 6 4 / 10
Ben Smith NCRC 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 / 1*
Ted Rose OVLR 2 0 0 0 4 2 / 4
Szpilfogel OVLR 2 0 1 0 3 / 5*
Bill Rice S.OVLR 2(5a) 0 0 6 4 / 7
Russ Dushin S.OVLR 2 0 7 0 5*/ 8*
Dave Bobeck S.OVLR 2 0 7 0 5*/ 8*
Kevin Willey OVLR 2 0 7 6 7 / 11
Francois Kirouac OVLR 2 0 9 6 8 / 12
2 Leaf Sprung SWB
5a Leaf Sprung LWB
OVLR Ottawa Valley member
S.OVLR 'Southern' OVLR member
NCRC Northern California Rover Club
Empire Empire Rover Owners Society
Zippy and the Wrath of Lucas
Driving up to the BP, I noticed my charge warning light coming on intermittently...figured it was probably a loose wire or something..I'll worry about it later.
Rule #1: Never ever think you'll do a mechanical repair at the BP unless it is absolutely nescessary...you'll just keep putting it off.
Went for a ride on the lite off-road...pretty dry but still got the driving cobwebs out. Lunch came around and Dale appeared soaked from head to toe. Seems the Gin Palace had impaled itself on some bottomless mud. To make it even better, he used chains to make sure he was good and stuck. The battle cry was sounded by Roy; "Let's yank him out...and maybe we'll have a go at the mud bog while we're at it..."
Rule #2: Don't listen to Roy.
So, down to the mud pit we went and surveyed the situation. I went to one end of the mud pit with my winch with Roy on the other. The requisite photos taken, Dale was successfully yanked (or rather, dragged) from the clutches of the mud. I went back to my Rover to back out to make room for a Unimog that wanted a try. No dice. In the time it had taken to pull out Dale, my Rover had sunk and now wasn't going anywhere. Not content to wait for Roy to come around and pull me out, I figured; "what the hell, I've got a winch, I'll just go forward." That netted me about 10 feet.
So, out comes the winch cable....a lot of it; This isn't a little pit...its looong. Begin to winch. Watch the bow wave of mud get pushed in front of the vehicle. Watch the mud begin to crest over the winch. Watch the winch stall out.
Rule #4: Electric winches are not made to work submerged in mud.
Once again, Roy comes to the rescue and drags me out of the pit. On exit, the pesky charge warning light is on. And the temperature gauge is pegged at full hot and the oil pressure warning light is on...not good signs. I figure this is a wiring problem...park Rover and have a beer. Next morning, I quickly check the leads to the alternator and clean them up...everything seems ok. No charge, however. Proceed over to the BP site to confer with everyone. Hood goes up, the swarm of onlookers comes around. A little fiddling around...alternator charges again...smoke comes from alternator...alternator stops charging. Hmmmm... After a little more trouble shooting with Al Richer's help, the alternator is presumed dead. Luckily, I had fitted a GM Delco alternator for just such a situation. Time to find a new alternator. We all hop in Churchill and Bill Maloney's Rover and head into Perth. In Perth, we visit the only auto parts store open on Sunday....Canadian Tire.
Rule #5: Don't count on any sort of brain function from the parts people at CT.
Canadian Tire doesn't have the proper alternator (I think) and they send us out to a couple other places, all closed. Time to have lunch and head back to the BP site. Upon arrival, the rest of the crowd is returning from the heavy off-road. The assembled masses are now attempting to find an alternator for me. Roy once again leading the charge. Harry Bligh comes through with a junkyard in Perth...they have just what I need...but its expensive (a whole $25 Canadian). Now we have to get back to Perth to pick it up. Up steps the local Land Rover dealer....lets just take my Discovery...and why don't you drive...
Rule #6: Air conditioning is very nice.
After an uneventful ride to pick up the alternator we return to the BP site...replace the alternator and fire her up.
Rule #7: Isolate the reason why the alternator failed before replacing it.
After two minutes of brisk charging...a little bit of smoke...no alternator. Not good. Remove alternator, pull it apart, inspect brushes, etc, replace try again. This time it was Ted Rose's turn to help. More troubleshooting and Aha! I think I've found the problem: The dead winch is shorted out and still connected to the charging circuit...overloading the alternator and blowing it. Need a new alternator. The next morning, Quintin, Ann and I take a ride back to the junkyard. Quintin needs a wheel for his trailer and I'm looking for another alternator. Quintin found a wheel but no dice on the alternator. Over to the local NAPA store (these people actually have a brain) and they can have it for us in an hour. Just a whole lot more expensive than the junkyard. After a very enjoyable lunch, we head back to the campsite. Replace alternator, inspect and cut out a part of the engine wiring harness that has toasted itself (aha! found the problem and also why the gauges were reading screwy) disconnect winch and secondary system...fire her up!
Rule #8: Isolate the reason why the alternator failed before replacing it.
Two minutes of brisk charging and poof! no alternator. Now I am not happy at all. Loose patience, close the bloody thing up, borrow Quintin's 80" battery and hit the road...in hopes of making it home before dark.
After calming down a bit and driving for a couple hours, we make it to Watertown, NY. I realize that there is no way I'm going to make it home before dark. Pull into a local auto parts store (a good one at that) and go for alternator number four. Now, I'm not playing any games: new alternator, new battery, new main leads from alternator to battery, disconnect everything except what is needed to run the car. Install alternator and a new belt for good measure and fire her up.
Rule #9: Isolate the reason why the alternator failed before replacing it.
This time, the alternator doesn't even try to charge...nothing. Now, I'm perplexed, I've covered everything...what the hell is going on here? I'm ready to return the alternator under the lifetime warranty of the auto parts store and go for number five. I switch leads, the field with the warning light, and vice versa...I rant, I rave...etc. etc. Then I realize that the alternator warning light is not shutting off when I disconnect it from the alternator...hmmm...that doesn't make any sense. There's got to be a short somewhere. Pull the dashboard...charge light goes out. Fire up the car and the alternator works! But neither does the charge light....that's OK, its charging....pack it all up and hit the road.
Rule #10: Never, ever underestimate the power of Lucas.
Saturday Evening and Beyond...
After that it was back to the trailer for more chat. We didn't stay too long though, we were pretty drained after standing about in the sun all afternoon so we headed back to the campground for showers, swims and (oh the shame of it) power naps. Thus refreshed, it was back to the trailer for a delicious supper prepared by Dave Meadows and Eric Zipkin. As darkness approached and the bugs got bad we headed back to Dixon's campsite for another evening of revelry--which was uncharacteristically subdued by OVLR/NetSlum/EROS standards--Is it possible that we're getting old? The next morning we struck camp, dined across the street and headed to the trailer again to stake out front row seats. Bill presented the awards for the RTV and then it was time for Al Pilgrim to take center stage as auctioneer. There were less bits and more chachkis this year. Bill donated a Series II steering damper mount (one of the extra bits after his frameover), and British Bulldog provided a number of gift certificates. Rover's North, Atlantic British, and (?) supplied a number of clothing items, including Land Rover Gear, as well as many Land Rover and 50th Logo items, all of which experienced very competitive bidding (under Al's direction). In the end, a decent quantity of money was raised to cover some recent trailer expenses (it's sporting a new hitch amongst other things). Thanks to those who donated goods and those who bought stuff--often at prices that exceeded retail. After that Eric, Bill and I bid farewell to everyone and hit the road. From there we hit Tim Horton's (tin of coffee for an expat friend), Canadian Tire (Riston had never been and Bill and I wanted to by gadgets that we never seem to find in the States). The border was even easier this time-- "Citizenship?" [US] "Any merchandise?" [A couple of T-shirts] "Okay." Next Bill heads for the first rest area after the bridge, for a quick pit stop. Sixty-five miles from Silver Lake, time for another quart of oil. Without shutting off the the engine and dumps a quart of oil into the filler tube. There is a sucking sound, and a gurgling sound, and then from the tail end of the car forms a mega-smoke screen, worthy of any effects from one of Bond's vehicles. Just about dissipates by the time we reach Chappy's for a late lunch. After lunch and ice cream I was forced to abandon the comforts (A/C and Jimmy Buffett tapes) of the Disco so that I could keep Bill company. (Music was just as good, some would even say better, but the seats are worse than those in FINSUP, never mind the "Barca-Disco.") [What Jeff didn't know is that the temperature probe, when left on the passenger side floor, registered some 118 degrees Fahrenheit.] We meandered home, stopping frequently to fill Bill's motor with oil and occasionally to check the gas. A quick photo op for with the boys of "Team Rental Rover" took place roadside just before sunset. Finally we split off. Eric and I arrived back at his place and with the help of Eric's charming and delightful sister Heather and his trusty regular sidekick "Silent Bob" we soon had the Disco unpacked and my gear was stowed in my rice rocket. Foot to the floor I took off along the Taconic, dodging deer...hallucinated giant armadillos (the damn things go *crunch* as opposed the *splat* that I get from the giant cats that usually appear in front of the car when I'm too tired)...and sleep. Home at 1:30, in bed by 2, up and on my way here at 6am. It was worth it. RoverOn!
From: Dixon Kenner
One BP equals (in brief, please add)
- 138+ people
- 60 plus vehicles
- one head exchange (Dave from Chicago done by Al Richer)
video taped for our future enjoyment.
- Jeff & Eric (Team Rental Rover) show the best mall-runner is
a rental (as does John Hong in a different fashion)
- high 80's in temperature.
- one vehicle fire (Dave Lowe)
- very few dragonflies this year
- 39 vehicles on the light off-road. Very little water this year.
- Dozen or so on heavy (didn't finish it)
- Big parties everywhere.
- John Hong challenging Al for the Dorktari, dark candidate coming
up the inside for the award (more on this later)
- Zippy brought a canoe (Useful for Dushin beer supply runs down
to their campsite)
Bill Caloccia, Jeff Berg, Dixon Kenner, Eric Zipkin
Silver Lake Ontario Provincial Park
22 June 1998