Monday, September 30, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

More Darien Gap news coverage

It seems a lot of Africans and South Asians continue to cross the Darien Gap. Here is a piece by the BBC.

And here's one by a Christian network.

The piece shows the Medellin bus station where I boarded, along with the drive to Turbo. As you may recall, I was on the bus with a small group of South Asian men, but I didn't have the guts to talk to them. Here they were, at a meal stop. I wonder where they are now.

Let's talk FD RX-7

It all started with this example I spotted in traffic earlier this week. Hands down, it's the most beautiful car of the 1990s.

Then, I saw this video on Jalopnik. Orlove and his boss drove one at the Duncan Collection in rural Virginia.

Then I read up about it on BAT. I assume you wrote this, Alan?

Finally, another video of the RX-7. Funny (not funny) story about the presenter. I met Mike Schlee at the only car launch event I have ever attended, for the 2014 Corolla in San Diego. I bumped into him at the bar and he was super nice and welcoming (he's Canadian, after all). He works for Subaru Canada now.

Jaguar XJ220 racing in America

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I have a love-hate relationship with DeMuro's videos. He has access to some pretty rad and rare cars and spends a lot of time on obscure bits like the door switches and rear view mirror. But something about the presentation just rubs me the wrong way.

Well, when I saw that he reviewed an XJ220, I HAD to watch it.

But what's even more fascinating is that there was a racing series in America in the early 1990s to promote the car. Retired racers were invited to drive them, and many of them got wrecked!

I know I've seen four in real life, maybe more. At Vijay Mallya's private collection, the Imperial Palace (Las Vegas) museum, the Marconi down in Orange County, and the Maserati museum in Riverside.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Eating the Globe: Rwanda

I continue to try coffee from around the world. The Rwanda coffee was meh.

Countries tried so far:
Africa: Algeria, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen
Europe: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vatican City
North America: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, USA
South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
Oceania: Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Visiting a Jaguar/Range Rover dealership

After losing a Bring A Trailer auction on a mint 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser, I went to the local Jaguar dealership to check out the electric I-Pace. I just sat in one. I did not drive it. The interior and exterior were sharp and there was plenty of trunk space. The salesman told me it has more room than the Range Rover Sport. The MSRP was $82,000. It is currently discounted at $72,000.

The very cordial and no-pressure salesman and I ended up talking about Range Rovers. He showed me the Virgin Galactic edition of the Range Rover. It was being detailed for a special customer. Everyone who bought a ticket for the first space flight is entitled to this Range Rover, if they pay $253,000 for it.

If you have not done so, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter or to at least check out my timeline. I'm much more active there and there have been some fantastic interactions with fellow car nerds.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Visiting the Pacific Bus Museum

We visited the Pacific Bus Museum today. And we had a blast.

It's a collection of old buses maintained by a group of old timers/volunteers. Many are retired bus drivers. It's in a rented yard owned by Alameda County.

Once we parked, I had to climb into this Crown school bus. I was so excited, I did not even bother to take a photo of the exterior first. This was the bus I took regularly in Orange County in the 1980s when I moved to America. Apparently, these were popular on the West Coast because Crowns were built in Los Angeles.

Even when I was a kid, I realized these buses had very little legroom. The lack of legroom was confirmed today.

I have not ridden in one in around 30 years, but I still vividly recall those big pedals and the instrument cluster. I studied those every time I got on and off the bus.

Here it is from the outside. That's our docent Richard. He became a bus driver straight out of high school.

The museum's office is stuffed with bus memorabilia and shop manuals. Whenever a local bus company is throwing out manuals and literature, they just give them to the museum.

This bus regularly ran the Las Vegas--Tonopah--Reno route in Nevada.

This bus belonged to the Bay Area's Key System. The other gentleman was the only other visitor to the museum. He had also been a bus driver since high school. Between the two of them, they knew A LOT about buses.

This Flxible was my favorite bus at the museum. It's beautiful and futuristic looking and had a luxurious interior. It was last used by Glacier National Park. That open door leads to the luggage compartment.

Here's one in an old timey movie:

This bus was used down in Monterey.

This beautiful Muni bus had livery from the 1960s.

This Flxible supposedly has a very comfortable ride for highway cruising.

I did not get a chance to sit inside the AC Transit Gillig on the left. It was purchased in 1992, which was the year I moved up here for college. My friend and I rode in a bus like that to find a liquor store that supposedly did not check ID.

Aside from the Greyhound Scenicruiser (which was being serviced off-site at the time of our visit), this 1945 Greyhound bus was also very much coveted by the staff.

And look what was stored next to the old Greyhound!

Friday, September 06, 2019

Checking out Point Molate

Point Molate is one of those places where locals never visit. In fact, most locals don't even know of its existence.

Point Molate is just north of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in Richmond. It has been home to a Chinese shrimp plant, oil refineries, wineries, and the last whaling station in America. Now, it's sort of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Local Native Americans want to build a casino there.

We took a windy road down to Point San Pablo Harbor, on the north side of Point Molate, where residents live in a yurt, houseboats, and sailboats. We were greeted by chickens and goats.

This sculpture was first displayed at Burning Man.

Abandoned railway tracks are everywhere.

The residents have weird cars.

The kid loves construction equipment.

On this trip, I did not realize that I could have driven to the western tip of the point. There, you can see the East Brother Island lighthouse and a bed and breakfast there.

Maybe next time.

Carspotting in St Petersburg

F40Sanchez was kind enough to share these photos:

 A Peugeot with a Luhansk People's Republic (breakaway Ukrainian proto-state) plate!

 Evo IX wagon being towed by an E61 wagon.

Shop with two Pontiac Solstices.

Model X behind Kazan Cathedral.

Mitsuoka Galue convertible (based off of a Mustang).

Old Lincoln Continental.