I have a couple dozen of these I have written the past few months. I get them started and quickly lose my train of thought... or interest in sending them in. I think we go through transitions, especially in this hobby at times. Whether it's family, money, time or just tired of it all. A few of them were related to the Hippo and its construction. That has had many twists, turns and delays. Some delays were waiting its turn with the craftsmen who perform their magic and miracles. Some... well... I just have too damn much work and in this society, trying to find anyone willing to stick it out and keep a job... My fellow business owners know the drill. But, I digress.
I don't know what it is that makes us sometimes just turn off. Maybe it's the need for a break. In my case, I previously mentioned the work part. I have many projects around here. 6 of my own that are in various stages, with the Hippo being the major push. Each one has its merits and priorities. Time is always at a premium. Calling it a lack of interest doesn't work, there's too much desire. There is one part that I can't get past though. People out there have got to quit being such idiots, assholes and malicious troublemakers. I did a piece a few years ago on the Superfan, a few of them are contributors to this "disease". Misinformed, judgmental and mean... these traits will never get you far with me and in the larger scope I really believe most people will eventually shun them too. Tolerance of these bums varies, they become pretty identifiable and known...quickly. These types are killing parts of our hobby from within. We all have a responsibility to the hobby and condoning these fools doesn't help. Of course, social media has enabled the growth of this like wildfire. The exponential growth over the years, gaining connections with a wider range of people has created so many opportunities. Finding the missing cars, the hard to find parts and in general, making the world smaller. Now, a lot of folks I have been dealing with and sharing knowledge with over the last decade, are leaving. I've even bugged out a couple times myself. Maybe it's like everything else, it reaches a point where the simple love of something isn't enough for some. Bringing their social, political and religious beliefs drives them to become less than tolerable and they chase off everyone who wanted to just enjoy like-minded lovers of this hobby.
Spencer in The Jeep - Spence cleaning parts
In my exodus, from some aspects, I enjoy working on two new projects that have taken a greater importance. My youngest son, Spencer, with savings and graduation money (a little help from dad), bought a 1969 Kaiser CJ 5. It was an old rally Jeep with some touches still intact from those days. We have been getting it cleaned up and eliminating bugs one by one. We got it running and managed to tune it to where it keeps running! He has a year and a half before he can get his license. But, he is learning a great deal of simple mechanical knowledge. The other is my 17 year old picked up a 1998 Cherokee that looked like someone used it for a garbage can/ash tray/sponge for spilled hot chocolate. It has a newer engine, a sound body and after about 20 hours of cleaning, it is not looking too bad! He is more excited about this than the VW Bug he was working on. Frankly, I am too. When you lose one, you get a little reserved about your other kids driving.
Kody working on the brakes and doing a little cleaning
The Cherokee bug bit him when I showed him a photo of a friend's Jeep I had put decals on. He was hooked and I knew where I could find one and work a deal. The friend... I reconnected with this cat after about 30 years since the last time I had contact with him. This is one of the virtues of social media I will extoll. Catching up with those from our past is something I think that gives us a renewed vigor.
This friend, Randy Blase, came by to finish off the window decals we were doing and checked out my sons Cherokee in all its filthiness. As luck would have it, he had some extras stashed away in his garage and dropped them off the next day. I asked him what he wanted and it was what is seemingly the stock answer a lot of us give..." Ah, don't worry about it. Tell the kid if I ever need anything... he's on the hook." Suddenly, within the period of about a month, I have two newly minted Jeepers and potential off-roaders on my hands. It gets their faces out of the screens for a while, gets their hands dirty and the only drama is whose gets worked and when are the parts getting here. No disputes over whether it's the real deal, was the decal on the lower quarter at the right angle, the car was never raced at ____ , etc. Just me and my sons, the best prescription for the bald guy. I highly recommend it.
I'm going over possibly a couple thousand shots of the Hippo project, trying to get an accounting of its restoration in order. All hopes have it coming together soon. As I have learned, when there is a plan, it usually goes awry. In lieu of giving a set date and using my break from some aspects of all this. I'll be back sooner or later and prefer to just wish you all a safe and productive summer and see you in a couple months...stay tuned.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Eddie Buck