Friday, April 25, 2008

Ahhh, Spring in Alaska. Big Whoop Tee Friggin' Do

The last week has been gorgeous.

Beautiful, sunny, warm. All the snow is gone, finally. Tuesday and Wednesday it was 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Hell, I was even glad to see the mosquitos.

Convertible weather. Woohoo.

My wife drives our Jeep Cherokee in the winter, but in the summer she drives her pride and joy - this:


That's an '88 Mustang ragtop, otherwise known as a 5.0 liter, 5-speed, fuel injected rocket sled. We found it for sale sitting in a field, next to a crappy rundown bar on the road to Patuxent River, Maryland. The paint was faded and the top rotting off. One of the tail lights was broken and the tires were basically bald balloons. But it only had 26,000 miles on it and the drive train and body were in excellent shape - so we bought it, for about half what it was worth.

New tires, custom paint job, new top (and it needs another one now), exhaust system, a tune up or two, various and etcetera - and it turns a few heads. Especially with my stunningly attractive wife behind the wheel.

But, it's not a winter car. It's just too lightweight and too powerful to drive on icy roads, especially on Alaskan icy roads. So we put it away when the snow flies. I fill the tank with fuel preserver and and park it in the unused stall of the attached garage and disconnect the battery. And there it sits, forlorn, until greener days.

So, the weather. Sunny, beautiful, and etcetera. Monday my wife called and got the insurance reactivated and I charged up the battery. Tuesday I started the car and pulled it into the shop for pre-season maintenance. It was running rough, fuel injectors were a little gunky from sitting for the last six months, so I pulled the throttlebody, fuel injector bar, manifold and injectors and gave them all a good cleaning. Then I put every thing back together yesterday and it runs great.

This morning I washed and waxed the car in the shop while Vista installed SP1. Understand, I started the SP1 installation and went out to the shop, it was sprinkling just a bit and looked like it might clear up, so I figured I'd do a little woodwork while I waited for it to stop raining - then I figured I'd take the Mustang out for a test drive.

About an hour later I opened the bay door to find this:

Snow 2

No, that's not cottonwood fluff - that's giant flakes of very wet snow.

Try to imagine the words I was thinking right at that very moment.

So, no test drive. I shut the bay door and went back to turning. It'll clear up, said I to myself said I.

Four hours later, it looks like this:

Snow 3

Now I've got to go move stuff around in the shop in order to move the Mustang back far enough so that I can pull my truck in for the night.

And once that is done, instead of tooling around in the Mustang with the top down - I'll be getting the plow back out. 'Cause it's three inches deep out there, and still falling.

Oh, and we took the studded tires off the jeep last weekend, so my wife will be coming home tonight driving 60 miles from Anchorage through blowing snow with the summer tires on.

Peachy, just peachy.


  1. Sorry about the lack of snow tires. I'm sure she's a careful driver though, because I think it's the law you can only have one crazy person in a relationship.

    On a less positive note, I think your garage is bigger than my house. :(

  2. Would it help, Michelle, if I told you that you're only seeing about a 1/4 of it?

    And the wife is home safe. Over 8" of snow in Anchorage and still falling, we're about 5" deep here now.

  3. Alright, I don't envy you the snow, but, you've now posted three days in a row of stuff I can't do.

    1. intall entirely new operating system.

    2. fix all the bugs in said operating system while making sawdust and other manly endeavors.

    3. do anything to your car more than fill it with gas or oil.

    I say this with love, but you suck and you're fucking up the curve big time.

  4. I can't play sports of any kind, and I've got absolutely no musical ability at all - I'd say it balances out, Nathan.

  5. Jim, I empathise. It start today with rain, then freezing rain, then snow, tand we're getting snow mixed with freezing rain and the winter storm warning has been extended through noon tomorrow.

    No bugs yet, but we did have one day into the 70s. Northern Minnesota isn't Alaska, but our weather can sometimes be just as crazy.

    And glad your wife is home safe.

  6. No, not it doesn't help. :)

    But glad your wife is home safe.

    And on a positive note, the unexpected snow seems like a good excuse to stay home, curl up on the sofa, and cuddle.

  7. Looks like Jim's garage is a tiny bit bigger than my recently documented garage, but just as organized. Of course.

    Here in CO, snow is often proceeded by a warm front, which means I am suspicious of all warm weather until summer. However, in the winter, when I hear snow's coming, I do a little jig, 'cause that often means some warm weather before it. (Sometimes warm enough to get out the bike!)

  8. The one benefit of hardly ever seeing snow anymore in the North Carolina Piedmont is that I've had the top down every day on the '04 Beetle convertible I got last week.

    I'm sorry. I'm bragging. That car has really made me insufferable right now, but I can't help it. Hope you get some warmer and drier weather soon so you can share the topless joy.


    You know what I meant.

  9. Eric, no matter what the weather, there is no topless joy for me.

    Unless I want to 1) wear a swim cap or 2) shave my head afterwards.

    (Blithely ignoring your innuendo)

  10. Well, from the looks of it, we ended up with over 8" or more.

    Which means a couple of things, neither particularly good.

    1) I have to plow. Which does not thrill me.

    2) I can't put the Mustang back in the garage - so it'll have to stay in the shop until the snow melts. See, the picture above is my shop, which is detached from the house and where I park my truck. We normally keep the car and jeep in the attached two-stall garage, but the approach to that is up hill and the Mustang can't get enough traction for that. So it stays in the shop. Which harshes my mellow, so to speak.

  11. Ah. I see. What you're saying is that the picture on this post is not 1/4 of your shop/garage. It is 1/4 of your shop and your garage is a separate building, located near the servants' quarters, but not as far away as the stables and serfs' cottages.

  12. Anne, that's mostly correct - except that the serf's cottages are between the boathouse and airplane hangers, near the stables and right up hill from my private Disneyland.

  13. Jim, your Mary-Sueness continues to grow.

    You're like a Heinleinian hero - capable, slightly cranky jack of all trades. Useful trades.

    It probably wouldn't help at all to say that we took our MINI out for its first big top-down road trip Saturday. (It was raining again on Sunday.)

  14. Gas prices keep going up, and I'm going to look into getting a mini.

  15. Don't limit yourself to Minis for good gas mileage.

    Our Corolla got 38 mpg going to Canton, OH on Saturday, and 40.8 mpg going to Silver Spring MD Sunday.

    For in town driving, we fill it up at half a tank, and it's usually 2 to 3 weeks between fill-ups.


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