One of those days….

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Time for a trailer project….

This time it’s a Humvee trailer project.

I bought one of the flatbed models, an M116A3 flatbed HMMWV trailer at a government auction. Side note – I miss the days of DRMO and even GL. Now that it’s Ironplanet, it’s not the same. But I digress.

It’s a flatbed model, rated at 3/4 ton, comes with a surge brake, separate parking brakes, and equipped with humvee tires and wheels, this will make a fine little unit to tow behind our 4×4 RV, carrying extra supplies, food, water, and acting as a hauler for our Steyr Puch Haflinger.

I posted earlier on the method I used to get those freaking tires mounted onto the HMMWV rims (ya gotta get a bead seater, I’m tellin’ ya!) so that’s one thing less to deal with.

Now it’s onto some light welding, making some oak or hardwood rub rails, adding tool boxes, spare Unimog can racks, painting, etc. Plus rewiring for 12V civilian lights, but I’m going to use the original military light housings for that, just running 12V bulbs.

First step was hacking the wheel wells to the right width to fit the Haflinger, now it’s on to bending some steel and welding up some things. Then ramps, tie downs, etc.

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Sadly, Dr. Jerry Pournelle has passed on.

Anyone that’s into self reliance probably has read something, or everything, written by Dr. Pournelle.

He passed on Sept. 8, 2017.

Dr. Pournelle’s site, Chaos Manor,  is here Chaos Manor, if you’d like to leave a message go to the “Well Wishing” portion of the site, all the way on the bottom of the page.

Quite a loss, the ‘net is a bit of a darker place now.

I’ll hoist a drink to his memory, sit around with some friends and discuss him and his works.

Sounds like Larry Niven isn’t doing too well either, and so it goes….


Godspeed Dr. Pournelle.

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For those of you on the West Coast…Unimog meet coming up at Calico, CA, October 13-15

All sorts of eurotrash vehicles show up to this meet/trail run.

From the usual Unimogs, to Pinzgauers, Haflingers, MAN, Tatra and so forth. One never knows what, exactly, will show up. Usually we’ll have some domestic vehicles show up also, Jeeps, various other trucks and the like.

But it’s a fun few days, very family friendly, a good bonfire each night, and lots of bench racing.

There are always extra spaces to ride along, even if you don’t have something to wheel with.

No cost, we all stay at the K.O.A. in Yermo, which is more or less Mog central. Then we do a short road trip to the trails behind Calico Ghost Town. Trails runs will go from mild to guaranteed sheet metal damage, if that’s your speed. Usually someone does a night run also.

Anyway, more info here : Calico Mogfest 2017

I’ll be bringing the Swiss Haflinger along on this run.

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Tires, old tires, and bead seaters….

I’ve been mounting and dealing with tires for decades now. Sometimes in perfect situations, sometimes in miserable situations.

Tires are, unfortunately, something almost everyone with a land based vehicle will have to deal with,  at one time or another. (Those of you with tracked vehicles, hovercraft, etc…pipe down).

Not only having a deserved reputation for being a bit fragile, you also have to take into account things like tire size, gearing changes, offsets, caliper clearance issues for the wheels, what size wheel, and on and on. Seems endless.

But in this post we’re going to talk about a tire situation that many folks running campers, bug out vehicles, or your various other survival wheels will have to deal with.

What happens when you roll that tire off the rim while doing a turn, and having the tire aired down or partially deflated due to damage? Once you pull over and assess the tire, whether or not it needs repair, then it comes time to remount the rubber…and therein lies the rub.

Large tires can be a royal pain to re-seat. Depending on how old the tire is, how hot or cold the rubber is, wheel size and a few other variables, your tire might self seat itself on the wheel rim, or you might see a large gap between one edge while the other edge is solidly on the wheel.  Usually you’ll see this kind of situation when you’re running over-sized wheels and tires, but you can sometimes see it with stock units too.

So you’re in a situation where you need to re-seat a tire.

How do you do that?

Old school tried and true methods like running a strap over the outer diameter of the tire and cinching it down sometimes works. If the rubber is old, or the tire/rim gap is too large, or the tire is simply too resistant, that doesn’t work. It’s always worth a try though.

Another good old method is to spray some ether or gas into the tire, wait for it to vaporize a bit, and then flick a match into the tire.  This results in a minor explosion, that hopefully re-seats the tire. If it’s not done right, it results in one of two things – the tire doesn’t re-seat, or the alternative, the tire explodes. Which can be lethal, by the way. This is one of those methods you need to practice, but the problem is the practice can lead to some unwanted results, like losing an arm, or for that matter, decapitation of bystanders.

No, I’m not exaggerating.

Doing the fire and flame reseat is always a bit of a tense moment, but there’s a better tool and method out there.

Enter something called a “bead seater”. I always called them Cheetahs, but that’s also the name of one of the manufacturers, so maybe calling them a generic term is best. Basically they’re a small air tank, with a large ball valve, and a way to direct the blast of air out of the valve and into the tire. Big volume of air suddenly inflates the tire and seats the bead, and boom, job is done. Just keep your air line chucked to your tire valve and inflate away until you get to your desired pressure.

Note that you’ll still need a source of air – a good compressor, a York A/C compressor conversion works fine, or of course you can use shop air.

I had a couple of HMMWV/Humvee wheels and tires I had to mount, recently. No amount of strapping did a damned thing. So I bit the bullet and added to my personal tool kit, and bought a bead seater off of Amazon. Not as pricy as a Kentool, or a  real Cheetah, but I’m pretty sure it is 99% of those, and at better than half their price. Pumped up to 80psi, and it took first tries on both tires to pop them right onto the bead. I should have bought the darned thing decades ago, would have saved me a hundred hours or so over the years, without a doubt.

This is the model I bought, and I think I’ll be buying another one, just to keep on the truck. Highly recommended!

ARKSEN 10GAL Bead Seater Inflator Blaster Tire, Yellow

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Hurricane Irma on the way, and U.S. Virgin Islands set to start confiscations…..

Got an ex-military vehicle? How about a high profile vehicle? A nice boat? How about an RV? Generator? Weapons?

Well, guess what….


NATL-GUARD virgin islands governors order

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Yet another thing to think about…Law Enforcement encounters during evac

There are good cops….and bad ones.

Some of them seem to have lost the concept of “protect and serve”. Such as this guy, from the Orange County, Texas Sheriff’s Department. He’s a detective that seems to have a slight bit of difficulty in recognizing who’s doing valid work, and who’s not.

Anyway, I’ve been in the same situation as the operator of that swamp buggy. More than a few times, as a matter of fact.  There are no good solutions, and possibly the best is just avoiding the entire encounter completely.  If you can’t do that, at least have a valid reason to be in the area, and keep a cool head during the encounter.

It also helps if you’re a member of known rescue/aid organizations, and can carry credentials.  Likewise, sometimes having press credentials can aid in transiting areas that are hard hit.

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Hope you’re paying attention…

It sucks to be in a situation like the Harvey storm event.

Unfortunately, it sucks even more when you’re not prepared.

Hopefully there will be no more tragic deaths, and this storm will dissipate, and things can get back to normal over the next few years.  But seeing what’s happening in that area, it looks bad.

But for those of us that aren’t in that area, take notes on what’s happening: very slow or nonexistent evacuations for those that waited too long, fuel, food, lodging, emergency services overwhelmed.  Looters, and looters that aren’t hesitating to open fire on search and rescue folk.

Plus, of course, what we’re seeing on the media is being filtered heavily – those of you that have been in dire situations know that the situation on the ground is usually much worse than what’s portrayed by the talking heads in media.

  • Have an evacuation plan
  • Have backup evacuation plans
  • Have locations to go to
  • Know where resources are along the way
  • Keep communications open, and have multiple ways to communicate (no, a mobile phone isn’t enough)
  • Keep updated on what’s going on – evacuate early rather than late.
  • Keep your vehicles prepped
  • plus the thousand other things we talk about in this blog…or plan on talking about.


If you’re donating items, or funds, look for a local charity in the stricken area. Often the resources will get to the needy more rapidly than through the massive relief organizations. Alternately, if you’re in the area stricken, lend a hand – but only if you’re capable of doing so. Don’t dig yourself a hole you can’t get out of.


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Top 5 this, Top 10 that…

It always amuses me when I see lists that start this way. I can pretty much guarantee that these lists have been generated by someone that hasn’t used many, if any, of the items in the list.

Case in point – there’s a site out there in the wilderness of the ‘net that lists the “3 best survival motorcycles”. Feel free to Google, or Bing it if you’d like.

The writer considers these three bikes to be the best survival bikes – the Rokon 2×2, the KLR650, and the Christini 450 AWD.

Well, ok, then.

I’ll bite.

Actually, let me start by saying this: Everyone has a different situation, there are no easy solutions that fit every circumstance. One person that lives in a rural area has different needs than another person living in an urban area, and so on and so forth.

Select the correct tools for your situation, and don’t pay a helluva lot of attention to what someone else in a completely different situation requires.

Again: First, define the problem, then select the tool.

OK, on to the Rokon 2×2.

One of the original Rokon 2×2’s, with the 2 stroke engine.

The version that most folks become enamored of is the modern version, not the good old 1970’s style that I have. Not a real issue, since even the newer ones are still a fairly simple bike, but comfort, speed, and range suffer a bit in comparison to a more conventional machine. You do gain some degree of load carrying capacity, and all terrain capability though.

The load carrying capacity, and the all terrain capability come at some cost though, and it’s not just the dollars and cents type of cost. What you’re also looking at is complexity, parts that sometimes aren’t easily found, and a bit more maintenance.

Later model Rokon Ranger, 4 stroke engines this time, and with leading link suspension. (By Aceregid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons)

Still, for someone in a rural area, these bikes can be a large asset. The earlier ones like mine used a 2 stroke Chrysler engine, lots of power for it’s size, but also lots of noise. Later models use much quieter, but more complex 4 stroke engines such as the Kohler. Another popular conversion, and one that makes quite a bit of sense, is to swap the original engine out for a Honda CT series engine, such as the 90 or 110cc model. Or even one of the Chinese clones.


The redoubtable Kawasaki KLR650. The older 600 version looks much the same, but with both of them displacement can be bumped up to 800cc or so. (By avidd (originally posted to Flickr as KLR 650) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons)

Not a bad choice, from multiple angles. They’re relatively inexpensive, relatively easy to ride, OK on fuel efficiency and capacity, and there are lots of them around so parts and maintenance can be had much easier than…..

the Christini 450 AWD

Nice – and nicely complex.

Great idea – for a race bike, pro enduro person, or someone that’s mechanically inclined and knows bikes inside and out. For the average person – no way, no how.

This bike, from a survivalist standpoint (90% of the survivalists and preppers out there…the other 10% can handle it, but they know it’s not a great choice) is a cluster of issues.

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Never forget


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