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Old 02-07-2017, 01:20 AM   #1
SuperBuickGuy
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The Wanderers

I love squares. I've had countless, and when I got remarried I owned a 83 diesel burb that got amazing fuel economy (900 miles per tank). My wife and I both do Search and Rescue, I also like disbursed camping (aka overland camping).

I also really really enjoyed a magazine article by Rick Siemans called "The Wanderers." This build is an homage to that - only diesel. There are other differences... but we'll get into that, later. What will happen is the build, but interspersed within the build I'll post stories that Mr. Siemans gave me permission to repost with the caveat that I direct you to his website if you'd like to buy a CD with all his stories on it. http://articles.superhunky.com/bio/Rick%20Sieman
it's really well worth it.

Well the introduction is done, next post... the build commences.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:31 AM   #2
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

So directly, I bought a 1985 3/4 ton diesel. Semi-float rear, ATS turbo, 6.2 diesel, and wiring done by a subsequent owner that would make gay spiderman proud.... there is also, a mouse in there somewhere to add to the fun.


the PO didn't know what all the buttons did... I'm not sure either


the hard part, the turbo install, looks really good and it has a new, stainless exhaust.




shop is a bit crowded, and a Corvette still has to fit in there..


the first step (beside the brake fix) will be remove all the extra wires


and throw on a spare sent of mud tires


dogs fully inspected the inside, 4 paws up


I think I found the brake problem


notice the terrible PNW rust? yeah, there isn't. but they don't use salt on our roads


something I'd never seen.... GM installed brake proportioning valve. It allows more brake force the further the rear squats... I have a Fiat with that system, but never seen on any GM truck... until now


So the plans, declutter, kill the mouse, clean up the interior, give it a quickie paint job (probably silver with dark blue), add a bed, awning, stove, water tank, electronics, air compressor and welder. It's job is to be backup for my wife's SAR dog carrier (a Jeep), and be my camping vehicle that tows the '40 and provides rescue services if necessary. It also will get an AC system, radios and a SAR-worthy rack on top with ladder and lights. No sat dish or fishing boat on top, though. It may get a dirt bike or two.
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Old 02-07-2017, 01:32 AM   #3
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

As for the diesel, at some point I'm sure I'll repower it. I will put an overdrive automatic (or 5 speed). Until that happens, I'll get there - just not quickly *shrug*
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:22 AM   #4
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

THE WANDERERS #2

By Rick Sieman

The Whale, a huge 4WD Suburban, painted a truly awful shade of dull green, lumbered down the Interstate highway at exactly 56 miles per hour. Behind the wheel was Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, and in the passenger seat, fumbling with a road map, was his wife, Emma.

After 28 plus years in the Navy, Carl was now doing what he always wanted to do: that is, explore the back roads of America at his leisure. His choice in vehicles was clear cut: Carlbought the biggest four wheeler he could find, and that was the enormous Suburban.
In a way, it reminded him of the ships he had spent so many years on. Of course, it had a 454 engine under the hood, with enough speed parts on it to nearly double the horsepower.

Carl was an ornery sort, set in his ways. Which is one of the reasons he always traveled at exactly one mile per hour over the speed limit. He hated laws, rules and regulations with a teeth-gritting passion.

Emma was the opposite; patient, calm and very organized. It was her self-assigned task in life to keep Carl from doing any number of dumb things ... a thankless job, at best.

Carl and Emma were on a perpetual vacation. They would drive to a state they'd never seen before and hit the back roads, explore them, and return to the pavement when they were good and ready.

The Whale was fully equipped with most everything needed for camping. In fact, as Emma pointed out all of the time, it was over-equipped.

On the back of The Whale was a 250 cc trail bike mounted on a swing-away rail. Up front was another trail bike, a small 125 cc rig for Emma. On the roof was a 14-foot boat, snugged down between the rear air conditioning unit and the satellite dish that folded down when not in use.

A fold out tent was hooked to one side of The Whale and an awning to the other side. The Whale also had a beefy generator inside, as well as a self contained shower and porta-potty. The TV, tape deck and VCR were right next to the microwave oven, and a smallish kitchen flanked some fold-down seats and a table.

The roof was lined with fishing rods, shotguns, crossbows and a selection of very expensive hand made pool cues. Small cabinets took up every square inch of free space and were filled to capacity with food, beer, canned goods, beer, utensils, beer, snacks, beer, clothing, beer, cameras, film, beer, tools, beer, spare parts and yes, more beer. At the end of a hard day of off-roading, Carl did like to have a cold suds or three, or more.

One small cupboard held a number of Harlequin romance books that Emma enjoyed. Carl leaned more toward Field and Stream and Soldier Of Fortune.

Yes, indeed. The Whale was set for traveling and Carl and Emma were on their way to:

WEST VIRGINIA!

Carl left the tangled web of endless bridges and bad roads that made up Pittsburgh, and headed south on Highway 79, toward the Canaan Valley in West Virginia. A friend of his in Pittsburgh told Carl that he just had to see the Blackwater Falls and the magnificent country of that region.

Highway 79 was a slick, modern road, saved from boredom by only two things: the beautiful tree-lined landscape and the ever-present Pennsylvania Highway patrol. This was the state where the fines were posted right along the road. Ten miles per hour over the speed limit cost you $75 bucks, and so forth, in an ever escalating gouge.

Carl kept the cruise control on 56 mph and listened to all three radar detectors shriek at full pitch every few minutes.

Carl gave an evil grin as The Whale rumbled by the Highway Patrol cars, knowing that even they were not chicken enough to bust him for 56 mph. Fifty-seven, yes!

The terrain became suddenly prettier as they crossed the state line into West Virginia, leaving the Keystone State cops behind.

Here, the state cops were a different story. Still tough, but not as bad as in Pennsylvania. Carl eased The Whale up to 58 mph and kept his eyes open. Out-of-state drivers had to cough up their driver's license until their ticket was paid in West Virginia, so some care was still required.

Emma coughed quietly. "Carl, I wish you wouldn't speed so. We're not in any big hurry, you know."

Carl spit a wad of Red Man tobacco out of the window of the Whale and deposited yet another stain on the flank of the huge Suburban. "Emma, why don't you try to pick up a good country station on the radio, and leave the driving to me. I mean, 58 ain't exactly like I'm racin' in the Baja 1000, ya know."

Carl peeled off on 119 south of Morgantown, swung over to highway 50 and caught 32 south to head into Thomas. Here, the terrain flanking the road was truly spectacular! Tall trees rose to the sky and a tangled mass of greenery filled the space between each and every tree trunk.

The Whale handled the ever-tightening roads comfortably, in spite of the horrifying load, and the 454 engine lugged happily.

Emma squealed happily, "Ooooohhh. look Carl! A deer! Just like in
Bambi. Over there, on the right side under that tree!"
Carl reached up and grabbed for one of the shotguns. "Supper
time! Venison burgers, comin' up!"
Emma grabbed his arm. "Now, Carl! You just can't go shooting
everything you see. It's not nice. Plus, it might not be deer season, and even if it is you don't have a license, and even if you did, it can't be legal to shoot from a moving car, and even if it was, I'll divorce you if you shoot at that darling little creature!"

Carl grumbled and put both hands back on the wheel. Women!

On the way into Thomas, they saw another dozen deer, and then from Thomas into Davis, they saw at least eight more. Carl pointed his finger at the deer like a gun and made loud "bang-bang" noises just to irritate Emma. He almost hit one deer on the driver's side with a wad of tobacco juice. Take that, Bambi.

It was dark when The Whale rolled into the small town of Davis, and they checked into the Best Western Motel and had a great meal at the Sawmill Restaurant. Carl asked where the best off-roading was in the area, and the waitress said that the Blackwater Falls regions was famous for trails, but they were on the tough side.

Carl laughed heartily. "Hey, I got a 454 under the hood of my truck and it'll go anywhere."
Emma sighed. "Now, Carl. Remember when you got us stuck up in
New Hampshire and we had to wait two days for a tow truck to come
and get us out?"
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:27 AM   #5
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

Carl spit a wad of Red Man tobacco out of the window of the Whale and deposited yet another stain on the flank of the huge Suburban. "Emma, why don't you try to pick up a good country station on the radio, and leave the driving to me. I mean, 58 ain't exactly like I'm racin' in the Baja 1000, ya know."

Carl peeled off on 119 south of Morgantown, swung over to highway 50 and caught 32 south to head into Thomas. Here, the terrain flanking the road was truly spectacular! Tall trees rose to the sky and a tangled mass of greenery filled the space between each and every tree trunk.

The Whale handled the ever-tightening roads comfortably, in spite of the horrifying load, and the 454 engine lugged happily.

Emma squealed happily, "Ooooohhh. look Carl! A deer! Just like in
Bambi. Over there, on the right side under that tree!"
Carl reached up and grabbed for one of the shotguns. "Supper
time! Venison burgers, comin' up!"
Emma grabbed his arm. "Now, Carl! You just can't go shooting
everything you see. It's not nice. Plus, it might not be deer season, and even if it is you don't have a license, and even if you did, it can't be legal to shoot from a moving car, and even if it was, I'll divorce you if you shoot at that darling little creature!"

Carl grumbled and put both hands back on the wheel. Women!

On the way into Thomas, they saw another dozen deer, and then from Thomas into Davis, they saw at least eight more. Carl pointed his finger at the deer like a gun and made loud "bang-bang" noises just to irritate Emma. He almost hit one deer on the driver's side with a wad of tobacco juice. Take that, Bambi.

It was dark when The Whale rolled into the small town of Davis, and they checked into the Best Western Motel and had a great meal at the Sawmill Restaurant. Carl asked where the best off-roading was in the area, and the waitress said that the Blackwater Falls regions was famous for trails, but they were on the tough side.

Carl laughed heartily. "Hey, I got a 454 under the hood of my truck and it'll go anywhere."
Emma sighed. "Now, Carl. Remember when you got us stuck up in
New Hampshire and we had to wait two days for a tow truck to come
and get us out?"
"Hey, that was a fluke, woman! How was I to know I'd bury the wheels in a mud field with no trees or rocks to hook a winch to?"
"Well, I did tell you not to go into that field, you know."
"Finish your French fries, Emma, and be quiet, or I'm going to go out and shoot Bambi."

***

Early in the morning, Carl gassed up both of the gas tanks and asked the attendant where the best trails were.
"Well, they usually go through town and across the river, then follow the arrows, but I don't think I'd take a truck back in there, because... "
"Because you ain't got a 454 under your hood, pal. But I do. See you on the flip-flop. That's trucker talk, ya know."

The Whale idled through the narrow main street of Davis, seeing only one other vehicle on the streets, a ratty '51 Chevy pickup loaded with logs. Carl guided the Suburban over a rickety board plank bridge at the end of town and headed out on a bumpy two- track dirt road.

The Whale shifted and wallowed as the trail deteriorated.
"Gotta get me some of those new Rancho shocks one of these days," Carl grumbled.
Emma giggled. "Carl, you'd need a dozen of them on each wheel the way you load this poor rig down. If you'd take half this crap off the roof, the stock shocks would probably work just fine."
"Any more out of you and I'm getting a deer license!"
Emma shut up and went back to enjoying the scenery.

Soon Carl came to a junction and saw a trail heading off to the right marked with bright red ribbon and cardboard arrows.
"Hah! This must be the trail that guy was telling us about. Hang on, Emma. We're gonna do some serious trail driving!'"
"Now, Carl. I'm not so sure we should just go driving off by ourselves in a strange place. Remember how we had to spend a whole week stranded up in Utah that one time?"
"Hey, that was before we got all the trick parts for the 454. We got torque now!"

The terrain before them was almost an eye-hurting green, with lush grass growing over the rolling fields. Emma said, "I was talking with the waitress and she said it rains or snows almost every day of the year here. That must be why it's so green."
Carl looked over at Emma and shook his head. "Yup. It probably took some real rocket scientist thinking to figure that out. I always thought that foliage grew best in sandstorms before you explained that to me."

The trail wandered slightly downhill as they headed to the bowl of the valley before them. The grass grew thicker and lusher and little streams criss-crossed the beautiful meadow. Fertile-looking black mud flanked the streams Carl noted: "Boy, bet you could plant some real good beefsteak
tomatoes in that soil. Looks real rich!"

Emma shifted around uncomfortably. "Carl maybe we ought to turn back it seems that there's more and more water the further we go. And we are heading downhill, and water does go downhill, and I don't want to get stuck again like we did back in Delaware, and ..."
"Hush up, woman. Nobody gets stuck going down hill."

A small stream crossed the trail up ahead, perhaps three feet wide. Carl stopped, studied it for a minute, then shifted into Four Low, second gear. "Guess I'll play it safe and blast through."
"Carl, shouldn't you get out and poke a stick in it and see how deep it is?"
"How deep could it be? That dumb trickle of water is only a yardstick wide. Get your belt tight and watch how a 454 handles this little slick spot."
Carl revved up the big engine, charged forward at full throttle and promptly buried the nose of The Whale over the headlights and half way up the hood.

Carl sat there, stunned, then got out of The Whale to inspect the situation. When his foot touched the ground, he sunk in to his knees and yelped, "Quicksand!!! Don't get out, Emma!"
Emma sighed "it isn't quicksand, Carl. It's mud. Real black, gooey mud. And it looks like we're going to be here for a while."
"No way, woman. I'll just winch it right out of here."
"What are you going to hook the winch to Carl? There aren't any trees or rocks out here."
Carl looked around frantically for a while, let out a deep. deep sigh, then said. "We'll. as long as we're going to be here for a little bit, why don't you rustle up some breakfast. I think better on a full stomach."

Several days later, a rider came along the trail on a dirt bike, saw the Suburban buried in the mud at a weird angle, noticed the tent out, the satellite dish up, smelled the bacon cooking, and stopped. "Can I help you folks?"
Carl poked his head out of The Whale. "Oh, nice of you to stop. You see, we were just camping and this stream came up during the night and buried the front end real good. Come on in and have some coffee. We got some tag team wrestling on the TV."

The rider kicked the mud off his boots and entered The Whale. He gladly accepted the coffee, and looked around at the inside of the Suburban with pure awe. "You know, you folks are out on the Blackwater 100 race course. It's considered the toughest place in America to ride a bike. What you're in right now is a real natural bog. This whole valley sits on top of mud and water. You got the grass, six inches of water, three feet of black mud and another layer of water under that. Nobody, but nobody, ever brings a truck back into here. Especially one this, this, this...uhhh, big."
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:28 AM   #6
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

Carl looked out of the window, glanced at the rider, then stared at Emma, who was discreetly watching Hulk Hogan body slam Greg "The Hammer" Valentine on the tube. "Emma, don't say a word or were gonna have Bambi for breakfast."

***

Authors note: There are a lot of wonderful and interesting people in America, and many truly beautiful places for these folks to experience their off-road adventures. You can consider this an invitation to follow the travels of Carl and Emma, as they explore this great country. Who knows? Maybe they'll explore the back roads of your state next. If they ever get out of the Canaan Valley bogs, that is.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:29 AM   #7
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

So what color do I paint it? It needs to be a light color on the top.
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Old 02-08-2017, 01:31 AM   #8
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Re: The Wanderers

Tires on it...


new trailer tires are these
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:15 AM   #9
SuperBuickGuy
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Re: The Wanderers

talking to myself. I'll stop
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Old 02-09-2017, 01:52 PM   #10
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Re: The Wanderers

I can see the pics on this computer, but I'm listening!
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:29 PM   #11
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Re: The Wanderers

Keep it coming
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Old 06-26-2018, 05:17 PM   #12
LT7A
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Re: The Wanderers

Hey Super Buick, I noticed you're local to me. Any chance of posting the pictures directly? Or renewing your account at the picture host? I'd like to see what you're building. Honestly, I'm kind of ambivalent about the story since there is a fair amount of imaginative thinking in the writing. But it'd really cool to see what you're building.
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