Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Western Railway Museum visit

We visited the Western Railway Museum near Rio Vista, California, on Saturday.  The weather was very un-Californian.  It was overcast, windy, and it was spitting rain.  The museum has an extensive collection of trolleys that crisscrossed the Bay Area before World War II.  Two of the trolleys are actually operational.  We rode the two trolleys pictured above.  The one on the right is a streetcar and it offers visitors a 15 minute ride.  The interurban to the left offers a longer, 45 minute ride.

We took the shorter streetcar ride first.  These are some shots of the interior.

This old timer/volunteer/conductor was really cool.  He answered all of my dumb questions with a sincere smile.

At the halfway point, we had to reverse directions.  Here's our conductor switching the electric line.

Can you tell the museum is in the middle of nowhere?  It was a relaxing and pleasant ride.

We had some time between the trolleys so we visited the cars stored under the huge hangar.

The car below is from Melbourne.  While in service, it traveled over a million miles.

Semi-old school Muni streetcar.

We then hopped aboard the interurban for a 45 minute ride.  We were the last ones on and there were no seats left in the passenger department.  So the Mrs. and I sat in the luggage compartment on top of some vintage wooden boxes.  Que romantico!

Mystery car from movie 30 Minutes Or Less

Answer in the trailer:

Carspotting: 1990 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park wagon

Went to a train museum last weekend and look what was in the parking lot!

Here is a quick tour of an '89 from a fellow in Taxachusetts.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My fortune cookie fortune

From Locke Garden in Locke, California.  Dinner, May 28, 2011.

Iraq postcard

Received this postcard from Iraq this Memorial Day weekend.  It reads, in part,:

"...it is miserably hot.  People all across Iraq are lucky to get 4-5 hours of electricity per day!  The level of violence is creeping up here as more and more troops leave."

BTW, Does anyone know the make and model of that blue truck?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Radio silence until Tuesday

Well, it's Memorial Day weekend.  Unless Heidfeld wins in Monaco, there won't be a post here until Tuesday.

Thanks for your thoughts on the Merkur.  Keep the comments coming!  Here is an interesting shot of the speedometer.


In the early 1980s, all cars sold in America were required to have 85 mph speedometers to get people to slow down.  Well, the XR4Ti followed the rule, but the ticks kept going up to 140+.  Now that's thinking outside the box.

And if you absolutely have to stay indoors in front of a computer this weekend, here's a recent Wheeler Dealer episode featuring a Ford Sierra Cosworth.  Have a fun and safe holiday, all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carspotting: My next ride?

I really dig the original blue/yellow California plate.

I am very enamored with this 1985 Mare-coor.  I spent a bit of time this afternoon chatting with the owner, a friendly octogenarian.  The infamous bi-plane rear spoiler sits in his garage.  The owner didn't like its added weight or the fact that it actually increased drag.

It's a two-owner car.  The original owner was a mature businesswoman.  This car was never hooned.

Cosmetically, it has seen better days.  But there is hope.  A tree branch fell on the hood and damaged the two front fenders as well (near the base of the A-pillars).  The hood came from a red model.  I think a trip to the body shop; some paint on the hood and fenders; and a nice wash and wax job can do wonders.

The car is practically all original, save the 14" Enkei rims (tres '80s) and the manual transmission out of a Mustang.  It's a daily driver, is regularly maintained, and the turbocharger just had a rebuild.  Did I mention it's got less than 90,000 miles on the clock?

The interior is in very decent shape.  A carpet covers the dash, so I doubt it's cracked underneath, despite being a car that hasn't seen the inside of a garage for at least a decade.

I think this car has a lot of potential.  I gave the owner my contact info and asked him to call me when he's ready to sell it.  Does anyone want to talk me out of it?

Porsche Engineered for Magic ad (school bus)

Driving Trabants around the world

Across Central Asia:

Africa expedition:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Citroen DS Mitt Romney drove

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a Mormon missionary in France in 1968 when he was involved in a serious crash.  Full story here.

Risking It All-- Congo truck driver

The 650 km trip was supposed to take four days.  It ended up taking ONE MONTH due to the poor road.




Jon Huntsman is the Republican who could beat Obama

Ambassador Huntsman's car in China

In the general election, Huntsman has the best shot of beating Obama because he:

  • is moderate politically;
  • has executive experience as a successful and popular governor (of Utah); 
  • knows foreign policy (was ambassador to China and Singapore-- he speaks Mandarin and Taiwanese from his time as a Mormon missionary);
  • can work with Democrats, as he worked as Obama's ambassador to China; and 
  • has business experience, running his family's successful chemical conglomerate.
However, he can't run against Obama without first winning the Republican primary season.  This will be incredibly difficult, as primary voters are very conservative.  His challenges during the primaries include:
  • he is a Mormon (a big negative to Southern Christians and Catholics),
  • he is in favor of gay rights,
  • he believes in climate change, and
  • he worked for Obama.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Towe Auto Museum/California Auto Museum review

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento (formerly the Towe Auto Museum) is a volunteer-run operation.  It has a very eclectic mix of cars.

This Jag was parked outside when I visited one bright sunny afternoon.  I'll bet it belongs to one of the docents.

In addition to a permanent collection, private car owners lend their cars to the museum for display.  One example is this bronze Maserati Mistral.

Here are a couple of Fiats.

This Maserati Indy owner happens to love guns.  Got a problem with that?

Mistral, Indy, Bora.

Motorcycle from TV series CHiPs.

Firebird!  I so wanted this as my first car.

1971 Star Streak RV.

Nissan Altra Electric Vehicle.

Chrysler 300.

Edsel.  The museum has dozens and dozens of pre- and post-war American iron.  I've neglected to take pictures of them due to time constraints.  Apologies.

Not a fan of the Countach's color.  But this is an interesting juxtaposition.

At the gift shop, I saw this set for $95.  I got mine for $25 on Craigslist!