Global Skywatch

remembering 20 years of friendship

Freshly out of the US Air Force, still full of vim, vigor and barely-bridled enthusiasm, I went to a randomly selected used car lot to spice up an otherwise uneventful day with a bit of joy-riding. I had never driven anything but Detroit Iron. This little yellow car called to me. A couple hundred feet down the road, it owned me. I am still, and have always been A CAR GUY. The fit, feel and mechanical precision of this car was light years away from anything I had experienced. I did not figure a part-time clerk/shelf-stocker attending college on the GI Bill would qualify for a loan on it, but the very next day, I traded my ’67 Plymouth for […]

ode to Valentine One

I road raced toy cars as a rug rat. I pushed brake-less wooden coasters to hilltops and drove them hard through corners on the way down. I was the same with my bicycles. Throughout my motorized years, superior cars or bikes disappear from from my mirrors every time curves are involved. I LOVE the art, science and skillset of driving. From two wheels to eighteen, I have always paid attention to driving machines and environment like nobody else I know. I observe my ten-and-two hold on the steering wheel in maybe one out of a hundred drivers. I see lounge-chair seating positions, one-hand at the bottom of the wheel, double-arm hug, fast food in one hand, driver focused on back […]

storage unit on wheels

The Missus bought a fixer-upper 80s Ford F350 van nose attached to a humongous (for it) 24-foot Leprechaun motor home a year ago. This project is NOT on my list. She finally found a shop to make it functional (plumbing works, but no water heater), but I had not been able to get excited about it. “Just think, Honey, the forest fires come ripping down our canyon, we throw what we can into the Leprechaun and can park in safety somewhere.” …. or whatever Bugout motivator you come up with. Crumb! I am neck-deep in getting this homestead where I want it after a year of working steadily at it. Bugout plans are NOT on my agenda. Besides, where would […]

Small Town Automotive

by Jeffrey Nichols A friend wrote this essay as a college assignment. I liked it on many levels and, with permission, republish it here. By the way, the dilapidated pickup he mentions is mine. The high-G ‘rat-rod’ CRX Nick custom-built an exhaust system for is also mine. Planning to show my high-G rat-rod next to Jeff’s similar one was the reason I went to the Memorial Day car show. But on to the pleasant guest essay… I took the drive down from Missoula and walked in the back door the other day. Under a dilapidated blue S10 pickup Ben Roland, my father’s current grease-monkey-in-training, gave me the most sincere ear to ear grin a guy could ask for. His arms […]

Memorial Day Car Show

The Hamilton Montana Bitterrodders car club helped put on a fund raising car show for the Valley Veterans Service Center on a beautiful Memorial day. It was cleverly designed where people showing their cars donated ten bucks to the cause and admirers voted for their favorite cars by putting dollar bills in the cups in front of each. I put my “rat rod CRX” in as a minor contribution. Someone (not me, I swear) put a buck in the cup in front of my car … a sympathy vote, fershur. […]

For Sale

I have some clearing out to do. I am posting the information and photos here so I can reference them from other sites. Of course if you are interested in any of it, send mail to Ted at BitterrootBugle dot com Flock of Chickens – $100 This is a nicely balanced flock with 15 hens in their prime, three of them had yet to start laying when winter set in. Quite a few breeds in this flock produce multi-colored eggs, brown, tan, blue and green. I thinned out 2 middle aged roosters a few months ago, keeping grandpa who the girls liked to hang out with and one who was too young to bother the hens. Two of the hens […]

driving … or not

While wearing my baby teeth I was racing toy cars over road-race courses of my own making on the carpet. Smallest of the bunch, I was beating all other home-made coasters on our downhill courses, making maneuvers others did not dare. In bicycle boonie-crashing I had no peers, not from muscle mass, of which I had none, but, well, I am and have always been a driver. Graduating to internal combustion engines, and automobiles didn’t change much in relative skill levels, just put me into a new league. Autocrossing had my Porsche 912, then Porsche 356B, the Porsche 356A Speedster winning consistently. At the time I thought my cars were magical. My 650 single-carb BSA was the lowest horsepower in […]

freshly bathed CRX

I spent over 20 years with a ’56 Porsche Speedster as my main ride. I wouldn’t give up a minute of it. But I sold that to finance my escape from The People’s Republic of California. About 16 years later I got a little runabout that scratches the same itch. Today I gave it a bath. It is very un-pretty. The Speedster highly rewarded washing and waxing. The CRX does not. I probably have not washed it in a year. It may be subtle, but I did notice and appreciate the cleaner look. It would be a treat to drive them one after another at Sears Point, Laguna Seca or over the Lost Trail Pass. That, of course, is […]

DUI vs drunk on power

Literally half a lifetime ago, I read a great essay in either Car & Driver, or Road & Track (I used to subscribe to both) about alcohol-impaired driving. It was a thoughtful, honest appraisal developed with real world field testing. Different people react differently to consumption of beer, wine and liquor. Some at .08 had distinct reduction in driving competence. Others could out-drive them at double that. If you have spent any time around such people, YOU KNOW THAT. But the assumption of prohibitionist legislators is that drink is BAD… any and all. The only limit to what rules they can lay on drinkers is what the legislatures can get away with… almost no limits at all in Utah. In […]

special airplane

The world’s largest airplane just rolled out of its hanger. This is the most ridiculous looking aircraft I have ever seen. It begs for treatment by The Onion. You may want to check with them occasionally to see what the professionals came up with. Meanwhile, I’ll give it a shot, and them some food for thought. Boeing rolls out transporter for clans who don’t get along, but are forced to travel together. FAA rules force airliners to accommodate gender-gymnasts and homophobes on future flights. Airbus halves the time spent loading and unloading passengers with four-door airliner. Cessna, Superglue and JB-Weld partnership develops very special airplane. Billionaire Paul Allen turns Boy Scouts balsa-wood project from his youth into full scale […]

get a grip

I found this post and graphic, but have a much simpler view of it. Number 4, called the 10 and 2 o’clock position, taught in driver’s training, is the correct one for street use. While reasonably relaxed, you can make instantaneous steering changes while retaining complete control of your vehicle. In intense driving situations, such as racing, when you are demanding 100% from man and machine, 9 and 3 are better for control and recovery. They are just more tiring to hold. The only other choice is to remain parked until you are ready to drive. All of the rest are non-driving positions, ready for nothing. It was unavoidable… Accidents happen… If you are lounging in the driver’s seat, you […]

impaired driving

These clips from a news article hardly need an introduction… business as usual for the politicians, the lobbyists and the industrialists. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), citing federal statistics, last week issued an update of a comprehensive 2015 report saying that 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, higher than the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol. MADD officials also questioned the methodology of the research in the report, noting that there is no scientifically agreed level of impairment with drugs such as marijuana. There is also no uniform test, roadside or otherwise, to determine such a level. To some, the report smacked of an […]

Weekend of a Champion

Last night we enjoyed a 2013 movie, most of which was made by Roman Polanski during three days he spent with Jackie Stewart in 1971, leading up to and including Jackie’s drive in the Monaco Grand Prix. Ya’all ought to know I am A CAR GUY. I have been a dedicated car guy, and in particular, road-racing car guy since I was five years old, or so. Anything that involves high-performance driving turning right as well as left has my interest. I subscribed to Road & Track and Car & Driver in the 70’s, watching Jackie via those pages during his peak. I also found autocross and began legitimate sports car performance competition about that time. I differentiate that from […]

speed limits

Writer and publisher Eric Peters is A Genuine Car Guy. I know, because I am A Genuine Car Guy. We recognize our own kind. His article and video on speed limits below are spot on, inspiring me to share them and a bit more. In my case, I held road races with my model cars on the floor in our house … amusing myself for hours, days and years … just my models and a little kid who loved cars. Mom the librarian, concerned I didn’t read enough, brought home books on auto racing and dogs. Turns out I liked reading the good stuff just fine. In later years I was a loyal subscriber to either Road And Track or […]