I don’t even remember how I stumble upon the YouTube channel “German in Venice” but it’s quite interesting and sobering at the same time.
It’s apparent to anyone that lives in California that public order, basic functions of government, and to a degree society is breaking down. I remember moving to San Diego in 2010 and can’t recall seeing so many vagrants or so much trash on the street. Now I can drive on my route along Imperial Avenue (or anywhere near downtown) and the tents extend onto the street. It’s apparent when someone is living in their car.
There was one instance where a man living in his car asked me to jumpstart his car; he left his ignition in “ON” for too long as he was using the blower too long to keep his car warm while he slept. This was about four years ago. The city of Los Angeles has passed billions in bond measures and spending and what has come out of it (2016/2019/2020)? It’s just government money, there’s always more where it came from right?
Our society feels like it’s broken but does anyone in charge really care? Do the LA city employees earning over $150k per year care about the homeless (link/archive)? Does Governor Gavin Newsom care as his royal edicts destroy businesses, jobs, dreams, and the people of California? Looking past public policy though, how much of the homeless problem is just from people giving up? I can’t help but wonder how much longer our civilization has left. Maybe I should just move to some small podunk town…
The Rockhouse Trail is an easy route that any 2WD pickup with some ground clearance should be able to complete. At about the 13 mile point the road that ends in Rockhouse Canyon turns into a hiking trail. The trail gets a little rougher past the junction for Butler and Rockhouse Canyons and the end of the motorized portion gradually becomes indistinct from the wash. Clark Valley and Rockhouse Canyon are awesome areas to visit and I’ll have to hike further up to see the rock houses and Santa Rosa Indian ruins at some point. For now, this page will only contain images from the drivable portions of the route. The video shows the trail starting from the northern end as I head south to return to S-22 just a few miles east of Borrego Springs. Be sure to look for the rest of the details, photos, and videos here on the dedicated page and enjoy!
Bear Valley Road is an easy trail located about 40 miles east of San Diego that is accessible directly from I-8. With dry conditions any 2WD truck with some ground clearance can easily pass through this trail. There are numerous trails that connect to Bear Valley Road but the only other one that the public can routinely access is Long Valley Road (16S15) which I am also including on this page. This trail is great fun if you don’t feel like driving too far away from San Diego and want to avoid getting a full blast of the desert heat during the summer. During the Winter and Spring months the trail will be closed right before and during storms. Unlike many of the trails that I have gone through I went with a rather large group. Enjoy the photos and videos and look for the rest of them here on the dedicated page!
I’m not even certain how this video popped up in my recommendations, but I sat through the whole thing and just had to share it. It really is astounding what is asked of modern technology and equipment. We expect so much life, load capacity, durability, and zero defects (an impossibility) from something like a modern tire (that spins from ~470–750 RPM at highway speeds depending upon the tire size) and don’t even really give it a second thought. Even if we are just talking about auto and pickup tires it is amazing that there aren’t more tire failures. How many men run bald tires? How many drivers never check their inflation pressure? Just to clarify, when I say “truck” tires I mean medium and heavy duty commercial trucks (Class 6-8 vehicles, with GVWR of ≥ 26,000 lbs) and not some dude-bro with a dumb smokestack his pickup bed.
Here’s another video on how to retread a truck tire. If you ever wonder why it seems like lots of trucks have blowouts, it is because truck tires are frequently regroovable and/or retreadable. The tires that are re-used in such a manner would be properly inspected if serviced by a reputable company, but it is still more likely to fail in the second life.
The more I watch some of these informational/infomercial videos the deeper the rabbit hole gets. One place I worked at for only a month had several trucks on the road that really should have been out of service. The worst one I drove actually had a different set of tires on one side of the rear axle; one side was new and the other was old and the sets had very different tread patterns. The tires were clearly not the same size and did not have the same traction. Even just differences caused by tread wear make a big difference over time.
Oh boy, the news media seems to be dropping the façade of being objective with even greater intensity as time goes on. Here’s how the Twitter feed for ABC News describes rioters in Oakland who tried to destroy and set ablaze numerous buildings, including the Alameda County Superior Courthouse.
“A protest through the streets of downtown Oakland, California, in support of racial justice and police reform turned violent when “agitators” among the demonstrators set fire to a courthouse, vandalized a police station and shot fireworks at officers, authorities said.“
Right, it’s just a few “agitators” and the protesters totally don’t serve as cover and none of them supported the actions by the “agitators.” There’s nothing to see here, this was just a peaceful protest about police reform and no one in Antifa is interested in the practical destruction of the United States (be sure to buy their stupid books though[archive]). Isn’t it nice that much of the media and many large corporations seemingly endorse such activity now? I guess that this “protest” is acceptable to Governor Newsom since the protesters are wearing masks… (Hat-tip to Powerline)
I haven’t made a post like this since last year so I figured that I was due for another one of these. I have had two oil changes with different brands just to see how the engine oil analysis results would come out, had some of the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) changed out, swapped out the u-joints on the front driveshaft, and had to have corrective maintenance performed for the first time ever when the passenger side rear wheel bearing started to go out. My heart just sank when I saw gear oil smeared on the brake backing plate. I can’t complain too much since nothing else has actually required repair or replacement on a 2008 model year truck. Anyway, here are the reports from men smarter than myself and associated photos.
Valvoline 0W/20 Oil Analysis:
Castrol Edge 0/W20 Oil Analysis:
Toyota World Standard ATF oil analysis:
The bearing seal just sort of disappeared off of one of the bearing caps on the front driveshaft forward u-joint so I had both replaced.
I was curious about how fat the truck had gotten over time so I went to a weigh station:
Lastly, here’s the part that makes me sad. $1200 later I had the wheel bearing replaced at Toyota of El Cajon.
There is still much more I have to explore along this trail but the Pepperwood Trail winds through an amazing area of land in the McCain Valley. I happened to take two sets of photos on different days near the end of a very wet spring and winter which offered a large array of plant life and flowers for the area. The contrast between the Laguna Mountains to the west and Colorado Desert to the east is stunning and I really need to stop being lazy and take this trail all the way down Canebrake Canyon. I started off near the Cottonwood Campground which is a very fine year-round campground with vault toilets and firepits. The Pepperwood Trail is easily accessible from McCain Valley Road and is a short drive from I-8. I will traverse more of this fine trail soon but for now, enjoy the photos and look for the rest of them here on the full page!