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jhitesma

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About jhitesma

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    "Brotherhood of the Slap"
  • Birthday 03/05/1975

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  • Location
    Yuma, Az

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  1. I still lurk Just not much time for posting since I started working "normal office hours" and had a kid. And sadly don't get out to the dunes much anymore either due to the higher fees and BLM/ICSO one by one managing to chase off 90% of the people I used to camp with. Having a lot of fun exploring other areas though and my daughter has been asking to go for a ride in the rail now that she's big enough to ask. Actually have a friend scheduled to come over tomorrow to talk about finally finishing the manx "upgrades" as well. I'm not trying to say the ASA doesn't desert some serious kudos and pats on the back for this. There is a good bit of win here. But selling it as "The win" and claims of "COURT DECISION WILL EVENTUALLY RE-OPEN DUNES" aren't doing our side any favors. This isn't a win to brag about. This is a win to learn from and be humble about as there are some very ugly compromises that will be considerably harder to undo than the fight so far has been...and will be even harder if our side gets the mindset that we've won and can stop fighting. Even 5 years ago when I was last heavily involved a statement like "The ruling sets the stage for implementation of the 2013 plan, which would allow resumption of access to areas placed off-limits to riders through “interim” closures imposed over a decade ago." would never have made it into a press release about this. A more accurate statement with one extra word like "The ruling sets the stage for implementation of the 2013 plan, which would allow resumption of access to some areas placed off-limits to riders through “interim” closures imposed over a decade ago." may have gotten past the BOD...but it would have been a hard fight. The lack of mention of any of the downsides of this latest RAMP in the ASA's announcement has me deeply worried that the ASA doesn't have the will to keep up the fight. And while the closures may not be areas that are frequently ridden they are areas that I for one regularly used to access the bigger dunes and are a major impact on the way that I and a lot of people I know who frequent Buttercup and Gordon's get in and out of the big dunes. (they're also areas I liked to explore at a slower pace because there's a lot of neat stuff there if you're willing to slow to a walking pace and stop to smell the flowers.) All that being said I will be in the backyard tomorrow giving the rail a bit of TLC and maybe replacing the trailer bearing that was the final straw that caused me to miss my last scheduled trip and was in many ways the straw that broke this camels back. Fee season ends on April 15th and I've promised my girls to at least try and make a trip to the sand this year. (Cite: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro/re...permitinfo.html "Permits are required from October 1 through April 15 each year. ")
  2. As long as you don't like camping in the deeper washes (closed under the new RAMP) Oh and permanently closing most of the PMV Critical Habitat which is basically the entire western edge of the old closures which now become permanent instead of temporary. Take a look at the map on page 2-97: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm...-ramp_final.pdf 14 years ago when this fight started this would never have been promoted as a win but at best a horrible compromise we were forced into. To see the ASA selling this RAMP that they opposed as a win is sad. Yes, it's a legal victory. But it's no win for the dunes.
  3. What it comes down to is the type of vehicle. Different laws regarding street legal vehicles and they're a lot less confusing and easy to misinterpret than the OHV laws. Even the greenest imported ranger is going to have a tough time justifying citing someone for having a child properly strapped into a properly mounted car seat in a street legal vehicle. And while the new laws may be written in a way that exempts sandrails I highly doubt that will be what we see on the ground given the "leadership" at the ICSO and BLM's LE department. The new law may say it doesn't apply to vehicles with engine displacements over 1L but I can easily see them writing them anyway and letting the courts decide if it was proper or not. Frankly given how trigger happy they are with the ticket books it's just not a chance I'm willing to take. Especially not over the biggest weekend of the year with the most imported LEO's. Then again simply going out there for T-day isn't an option for me anymore having had too many unpleasant run-ins with the law on big weekends while doing nothing illegal but being "put in my place" for asking what it was that I did to attract their attention in the first place and basically being told that being out there is enough to justify "enough tickets you'll never forget what you did wrong".
  4. With the new rules and regulations CA passed about UTV's and kids I won't be putting my daughter in my rail in CA - and she's 2. I'd love to take her for a ride but I can easily see some random BLM/FS/ICSO LEO deciding they fell it's unsafe to have a carseat in a rail and finding a way to ticket for it. We've never had any problems driving trucks and even cars to Patton. Just stick to the sand highway and it's simple. Air down for sure but other than that I'd drive just about anything out there. Heck my landlord drove his Diesel VW rabbit out to Patton many times, even made it to the top once (going the long way, not straight up the hill!) The only "tricky" bit is once you turn off the sand highway through the passage between the closed bits where there are a few hills. But if you're even remotely capable of driving off road you shouldn't have any problems. Now if the new RAMP goes through as currently written then it will be a lot more difficult since that passage through the closed areas will be gone and most of the flats between the sandhighway and the dunes will be closed. So going through the dunes will be the only way to get to Patton valley. And then making it there in a truck will require more skill and ability.
  5. Agree with one small change. "Unimproved is what it used to be" Not Wilderness. You do NOT want them considering it wilderness (not that it would qualify, not that not qualifying has stopped them from using that designation in lots of other areas.) The TRT and BLM's own surveys have repeatedly shown that users do not want more services if it will cost more and that they would rather have fewer services to keep fees low. Yet the BLM continues to use those same surveys to claim the need for more services by leaving out the "if it costs more" clause and citing those responses as in favor of increasing everything. The day they announced the Buttercup ranger station I knew my days at the dunes were going to be numbered. Really wish I could take my daughter out there I know she'd love it. But I can't risk subjecting her to what the ICSO does with the BLM's support and I can't justify the cost to bring my truck and RV. The really funny part about that is if I bring my RV I actually use fewer resources since I have my own toilet - yet I get charged double even though I still only have one rail and do the same amount of recreation (which is what the fee supposedly covers.) At least she enjoys hardpack camping.
  6. Looks like I'm going to make a day trip out to Gordon's tomorrow finally for my first trip of the season. This would have been the first year since I moved out west in '99 that I didn't make it out to the dunes. With our new daughter and my wife's schedule not getting many weekends off this year we just haven't been able to make it happen. Unfortunately it won't also be my daughters first trip My wife does have the weekend off...but they've got a birthday party for another baby from our birth class tomorrow so I'm going to have to go "solo". (Not really solo, meeting some friends who are already out there.) It will still be the first year I didn't buy a pass (borrowing a friends) and it will be the first year I've only made one trip. But one trip is better than no trips! Just put a battery back in the rail and despite the bit of gas left it in being over a year old it fired right now. Throttle is a little gummy, but a bit of lube fixed that. Top it up with some fresh high octane tomorrow and looking forward to keeping the streak intact and not feeling like renewing my AZ sticker this year was a waste! Hopefully next year Amy's work schedule will be better and we'll finally get to give Katie her first trip out to the dunes. She did get to go camping once this year and enjoyed it - and she gets all excited an curious when she hears anyone in the neighborhood fire up a quad, buggy, truck or other loud motor. So I expect she'll have fun. Now...if I could just find the time to get the manx finished and back on the road.....
  7. Only thing I've heard about is the new RAMP's plan to close the flats when certain rainfall measures have been met. I'd suggest posted over at the ASA forums to see if anyone can clarify. (I sadly haven't had a chance to get out to the dunes even once so far this season even though I'm dying to get my new daughter out there. Just haven't been able to make it happen due to work schedules and most of our camp friends now refusing to go back to the dunes after too many issues with the BLM/ICSO.)
  8. Actually we didn't have a float this year. Our group kind of burned out after last years parade. It was too much of a bummer last year to put so much energy into it only to see the judges pick a winner who had nothing to do with the theme and didn't even meet some of the requirements However this year we did setup the trailer we normally use next to the office and Matt hired a Ska/Reggae band to come out and play before and after the parade. Would have posted here sooner but haven't had much time to check in lately. Was still fun, and we'd love to build another float sometime in the future if the judges decide to start following the rules of the contest at some point.
  9. It was getting really depressing walking out my door each day and seeing it gather more dust and more leafs. I lost my awning in a wind storm back around April and haven't had time to replace it either so all summer the framework has been attracting birds so along with the leaves dust and dirt it was also starting to collect bird crap. Much nicer now to walk out and see it washed off and sporting new shocks Picked up a few parts to finish the shocks and shifter today. Freaking $20 for 8 little spacers at ORBS to go next to the heims on the shock bolts...not even high misalignment spacers or anything just little 1/2" wide steel spacers. Ridiculous. But they're the only place in town I know that has the right size spacers. Oh well just got to be careful not to loose any at that price! Also picked up some rubber blocks and clamps to mount the rezzies with and the shift coupler. Almost got the shift linkage hooked back up but had to go look at a car with Rick. He just scored himself an '85 Turbo T-bird for $400. Previous owner put a new timing belt on and it never ran right afterwards. Took a look at it and the cam and crank were on their alignment marks...but when I pulled the dizy cap the rotor was almost a whole cylinder off - they must have bumped the intermediate shaft while changing that timing belt. Should be able to have it running fine again with about 20-30 minutes of work. Unfortunately this was the last day this week that Amy had off to watch Katie so I probably won't get to make much more progress for another week or two. But it's good to be back on track and have a project that just needs time and so much money at this point! Of course - once I'm done with fully mounting the shocks we'll have to figure out radiator mounts...and where to put the battery...and where to put the fuel pump/filter...and where to mount the computer...... Not really expecting to have it done before the end of the season due to my limited time...but who knows...one or two good weekends of being able to work on it with a good assistant and maybe I will have it up and going for the end of the season still.
  10. (Originally written last night, we're caught back up!) Wow, big progress today! First off a few photos of what was done before I showed up at Davids today. First the slight modification to the support bars so they fit again: I wasn't there to see exactly how he did it, but basically I think David just Cut the ends off, trimmed them to fit and then re-welded the ends so it all fit with the new rear bracket location. He also had to modify the motor mount on the drivers side to get the rear cage to fit back on again. Again, just some work with the grinder to cut the old mount off and the welded it into location where it fits now. The passenger side he just had to oval out the holes a little to give it a bit of adjustment room and it fit with no other modifications: We did do a few more minor adjustments to the rear cage while I was there but nothing photo worthy. Basically I didn't give David the big bolts on the bottom when I gave him the cage and his improvised bolts didn't quite work well. Once I bought the real bolts over today we had to make a few little adjustments to get it all to fit right. The main goal today thought was shock mounts. After shuffling vehicles in Davids driveway and giving the situation a good look, a few test measurements and some serious eyeballing we decided the best course of action would be to cut out a section of the fiberglass wheel well and see what we could do. We looked at making the smallest hole possible at first...but fairly quickly decided we just couldn't predict where the hole would need to be. So instead we decided to cut out a fairly large section and later on I could trim the removed piece to fit around the shock location and use some new glass and bondo to fit it back in. Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera so there were no early progress shots today But with a chunk of fiberglass gone we were able to put a bolt in the bottom shock mount and see where the top came...and as luck would have it it ended up right in a spot that made it super easy to build the upper mounts. You can see in the photo we took the springs off and let out the nitrogen on one shock so we could easily use it to test fit things - while the other we left the springs on (but loose and no nitrogen) to check for clearance. David's friend has a nitrogen tank so refilling them is no big deal. Looks like one of them was leaking a bit and probably needs to be rebuilt anyway. For the upper mount David made tabs out of some 1/4" steel had had laying around. You can't tell from the photo but the other side the tab under the bar not on the side like the part you can see. As long as the tubing the frame is made out of is of decent quality these should be nice strong mounts: For the nitpickers. Yes, we know that the force from the shock isn't perfectly in line with the tabs. But the tabs are VERY beefy compared to most of the rest of the construction on this car so we feel confident that the frame itself is the biggest potential weakness with this. We debated making the tabs a little different so they'd be right in line with the force of the shock...but it just didn't look right or like it would give that much more strength. With the one tab almost directly under the bar it should take most of the force. While David worked on finishing up the welds on the first side I went to work on cutting the fender well on the other side. This time having the experience of the first side under my belt I was able to make a much smaller cut - there will probably still have to be some fiberglass patching but overall I probably need to do a bit more material removal than replacement: And as you probably noticed I did get my camera partway through todays progress. I had to run out to get some new shock bolts and while I was out I stopped by and grabbed the camera. While I was doing that David made himself a new chipping hammer which quickly became one of his favorite tools: One broken drill bit, one piston pin, and a bit of scrap rod he had laying around. Ahh, the joys of homemade tools! After that we loaded the Manx back on Davids trailer and brought it back to my house. We did climb on the back and jump on it to test out the new suspension. Right now it still has torsions in it and the coil overs have pretty much no pre-load in them...but it's looking pretty good. Maybe a little stiff but not as bad as I was expecting. I'm thinking once I get the torsions out and put a little bit of pre-load into the coils it may be pretty darn good. The coils probably aren't optimally sized but seem like they may be good enough until I can afford to buy some "perfect" coils. Need too look into rebuilding the shocks as well since at least one was obviously leaking a little oil and the bump stops on both are disintegrating - they probably need to be revalved for this application as well. Hopefully over the next few weeks I'll continue to make progress with getting the manx back together. Need to pick up a few parts at the buggy shop tomorrow (some spacers for the shocks, a bus to bug shift linkage coupler, maybe some nice billet rezzie mounts if I can afford them....) but the big issue now is just going to be finding time to work on it since I'm watching Katie most evenings. Need to find some friends who want to come entertain her while I wrench to get this thing going again! (of course there are a few "major" issues to figure out still like the radiator mounts, fuel system mounts and other such details. But right now I just want to get it together enough to drive on and off the trailer so it's easier to take to David (or Rick's) where we can work on those major issues!
  11. (This was originally written this past Saturday. Just behind in updating over here.) Had planned on spending the day watching Katie...but Amy caught the cold I had this week and ended up home sick. So she volunteered to watch Katie and let me get some progress on a few projects. Called up David to see if he was up for working on the Manx...and found out he has a wedding to go to today But he has made progress. The cage is back on, the tranny/motor supports are back in place and the motor mounts have been tweaked to fit again. In other big news those shocks that were posted a few posts back (little over a year ago) are officially mine as of today having finally payed Rick for them! Which means the last big expensive pieces are fully mine. Yeah, I'll probably have to buy or trade for better springs still...but the big expense is now out of the way! Tomorrow I'm supposed to head over there to help with the shift linkage and see if we can't figure out some shock mounts! With the shift linkage done though all I'll have to do is put the floor and pedals back in along with the axles and it can drive on and off the trailer for the first time in WAY too long. No photos yet since I haven't even seen the progress...but tomorrow I'll have my camera so updates should follow soon.
  12. Wow, my thread is still here. I guess it hasn't been THAT long since I made any progress Due to a combination of taxes, house projects, baby expenses and other interruptions pretty much no progress has been made on the Manx until the past week or two. I did however get a new back door on my house, new A/C Ducts on the house, a "new" door on Amy's truck, a "new" hot tub for the yard and an amazing new daughter. So progress on life has been made even if progress on the Manx has been stalled. Each time I had saved up for the shocks something came up. But something happened about two weeks ago that changed that: (this was originally written last Monday. Just been too busy and sick to cross post from the ASA site.) We took Katie out to Plaster city for a few hours to check out plaster blaster. This was also Katie's first "off road" trek. (We never left the staging area but it's not paved and not groomed so I'm counting it.) Katie loved the quads and bikes she saw. And the smaller rockets she enjoyed. A few of the louder ones scared her - we found if we counted down with the announcer and then got really happy when they launched that she tended to follow along and not be caught off guard and upset. Well, the point of all this is that the Manx is finally moving forward again. I just helped David load it up on his trailer to go to his house for a few days. He's going to take care of a few odds and ends and think some more about the shock mounts. Even if it doesn't have shock mounts by the end of the weekend it should at least be back enough that once I re-wire the motor and put the floor/pedals back in it will be able to drive on and off the trailer again. And since David and his Cousin got their cars running and are camping with a even younger girl than Katie it looks like we will get getting a dune pass again this year after all. Even picked up some 6V golf cart batteries for the RV...it's got a few projects coming off the back burner too. No photos because I'm ashamed to show how the car looks right now. I didn't even have time to pull out the leaf blower and get the leafs off it. Plus it basically looks just like a dirtier version of the last photos since nothing has been done since. Hopefully I'll have new photos in the next few days of progress to share instead.
  13. Don't know if I originally posted it...but I assume you're talking about: http://www.kiddofspeed.com/ Yeah, I love this kind of stuff. All the ghost towns and other abandoned stuff out in the desert was a big part of what convinced me to move west. Though oddly enough I have a much harder time finding interesting relics out here than I did back in Ohio. Though I think that's mostly because the stuff I knew about in Ohio were things that weren't abandoned when I was a kid so I knew where to look for them...out here things are easy to miss if you don't know where to look
  14. If you like that kind of stuff check out: http://www.artificialowl.net/ Another of my favorites but it's Ohio centric: http://forgottenoh.com/ Another good site with abandoned things in Ohio: http://illicitohio.illicitohio.com/ And one dedicated to abandoned amusement parks...though again rather Ohio/midwest centric: http://sbno.illicitohio.com/ And the movie "Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness" It's on Netflix and can be streamed instantly if you're setup for it.
  15. Sounds to me like a spam farm that got shut down. 73,000 blogs on one server - they aren't going to be very serious blogs. Most likely automated installs used to try and fake SEO ratings to drive traffic to whatever they're trying to drive traffic to...which in this case sounds like their pirate sites. Note they say that he has other servers with the same host that weren't shut down. So I doubt this was random.

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