🚘 Rides πŸš—

My Rides

First Rides

It all began while growing up in the early 1960s. Dad had a fairly long commute to the Cape during the week. Always motivated by spending the least amount of money, he bought a 1964 Volkswagen Beatle as a second car. I was intrigued by the minimalist German design. I mean – why label the fuel gauge 1/1 instead of F? How cool was that! Heaters that worked by opening a vent to allow air warmed by the engine to slow and, badly, warm the cabin!

Early 1960s vintage Volkswagen Beetle. I remember our car being a darker green. Dad did his own maintenance and kept records of fill-ups. When he sold it, he proudly proclaimed that it had cost him 4 cents a mile to operate!

I was desperate to start driving by the time I was old enough. Dad took me to a driving course that the high school had and let me drive. I learned to use the clutch and fell in love with the idea of selecting my own gear. Before driving, I was a ten-speed bike enthusiast and loved shifting my gears! I later took a driving class on the same range as part of my high school curriculum.

1966 Buick Special Thin Pillar Coupe. I remember the very distinctive styling on the rear window and how cool I thought it looked! The one shown is the same color as our car.

After getting my license, I was able to drive the car. Mostly, I drove the bigger Buick Special, which we used as the family car. Dad was good about letting me do it, including using it for my paper route. The only stipulation was my brother Rick had to throw the papers. He also had a route, so it worked out. Actually, he never threw the papers – I always did. He would throw his route, which was two condominium towers, and then I would pick him up.

Before moving to California, I was in Mom and Dad’s front yard at Blakey. The car is a Plymouth Valiant that Holly owned.

When I shacked up with Holly during Junior College, we had an old Plymouth Valient. It was cool because it had a push-button transmission. The engine was butt simple, and I could do my own repairs. I learned the joys of auto repair to help my Dad maintain the family cars as we grew up.

Datsun 510 Wagon circa 1972. I seem to remember mine a bit brighter yellow (aka Canary Bird-Shit Yellow πŸ˜€)

Holly moved to California several months before I did and bought a used, yellow Datsun (not Nissian) 510 wagon. We did a bunch of diving and a road trip to Seattle via Crater Lake. After that, she dumped me and gave me some money to buy a portion of the car.

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I was in college studying mechanical engineering. I was bitten hard by the car bug while watching the gearheads work on cars in the mechanical engineering building. Quite by chance, I came across a partially restored 1967 Sunbeam Alpine. It was the final version with a new five-bearing 1,725 cc (105.3 cu in) engine with twin Zenith-Stromberg semi-downdraught carburetors producing 93 bhp.

Sunbeam Alpine 1725. The ‘Tiger’ version of the car had a small block V8 and was featured on the 60s comedy show Get Smart!

I had it painted blue and painted the wheels black. It had a tonneau cover in addition to the soft top. It was a hoot to drive but ultimately proved to be too much for a poor college student to own. I had to replace the differential and then the differential seal on the replacement. I found one in Arizona and had it shipped to me. Other parts were harder to find. It was damn near impossible to get the two Solex carburetors in sync. But it was a blast to drive, and I enjoyed it for the brief time I owned it.

I briefly owned a nasty Ford Courier pickup truck during my senior year at college. I bought it with the money I made working the previous summer for Union Oil. It was jacked up and red, had mag wheels, a NATO gas can in the bed, a roll bar, and a light bar on top. I had to do the valves at my parent’s house over winter break! It was a piece of shit and drove like crap, but it looked cool, and I sold it before graduating.

I owned this car in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I believe this is a 1962 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans although I can only find this model online in a convertible. It was unique in many ways including a flexible torque tube, transmission located on the rear differential and variable speed u-joints on the rear tires.

I ‘married into’ my next two cars. My fiance drove this very quirky 1962 Pontiac Tempest Le Mans. It was sporty with a push-button transmission, torque tube drive shaft, and a rear-mounted transaxle. It had a big four-cylinder motor. It was a beast and rather unique. I drove it back and forth to the bus stop during my days at graduate school. We dared not drive it too far for fear of it breaking!

This photo was taken at my house in Issaquah, Washington. When we graduated, Margaret’s dad bought her a Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback. You can see my first Chevy pickup truck in the driveway. I later bought a small Toyota pickup to replace it.

When we got engaged, her Dad bought her (us) a used Toyota Corolla SR5 Hatchback. It had a small rice-burner motor but a cool 5-speed manual transmission. We drive the hell out of that car, starting with a cross-country trip after graduation. I put in a new clutch and two new water heater control valves. We finally traded it with about 100,000 miles for the first car I really loved – at least to a point!

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Trek 510 Ten Speed

My first real bicycle was an English Racer! It had a three-speed hub and hand brakes. I went through several other 10 speeds before I bought my Trek 510 in the 1980s.

My Trek 510 Bike. I still have this bike, although it has been decades since I subjected my prostate to the bike seat 😳. Rode the shit out of this bike when I lived in Colorado.

Later, when I moved to Colorado, the bike got a lot of miles put on it. Every Saturday morning for many years, I would take off and do a big loop around Fort Collins. After work, I would ride from Fort Collins to Loveland and back. I would get stoned, put on headphones, and make the best time I could!

I later got a Mountain Bike, but it was too much. After a bad fall, I decided to take my chances with snow skiing instead. After I moved to Atlanta, I pretty much quit riding. Atlanta was outright hostile to bike riders when I first got there. Over the years, the flood of yuppies changed that scene.

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1983 BMW 318i

We decided to look at a new car. I was hot on the new turbocharged cars that were coming out, including the Volvo and Saab. I was also interested in the Maza rotary-engined RX7. My brother had recently bought an older BMW 2002 and was in the process of restoring it. One of the guys I worked with had one, too, and was a hardcore BMW fan. We drove them all.

BMW recently introduced the E30 3 Series with a four-cylinder 318i. Despite being the least powerful in horsepower, I loved how the car looked and handled. Ultimately, though, I was really impressed by the car’s fit and finish. We bought this one, and my love affair with German cars started!

1983 BMW 318i – My first Bimmer in Cosmos Blue. I hated the numbers on this car!

The car was problematic from day one. Fuel injection was still a relatively new technology, and the early BMW injectors were fought with problems. The air conditioner was a lemon and needed to be replaced several times. After 50K miles, the engine was leaking oil! Despite this, my love affair continued.

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1990 BMW 325iS

In 1987, I moved to Germany for a foreign service assignment. It was a sweet deal, including an apartment and a company car. I got a BMW 324d (as in diesel) four-door while I was there. I drove that car all over Europe, including a road trip to England. It took forever to accelerate, but it would cruise at 100 mph on the autobahn all day long!

I lived in Germany in 1989. On the left is my new factory-delivered 1990 BMS 325iS, my 1987 BMW 324d company car, which I drove while living there.

Toward the end of my assignment, I bought a 1990 325iS using the European Delivery program. Not only did I get a good price, but I also got to drive around Germany for a while.

1990 325iS at the factory in Munich. I drove it for a couple of weeks before moving back to Colorado.

This was the last year for the E30 body style. It was always my favorite for the 3 series. It had smaller bumpers and a wicked front air dam. I modified this car quite a bit in the 10 years I owned it but did not put a lot of miles on it. I

I upgraded the wheels, springs, and shocks. The handling was excellent, and it looked sharp.

I stopped driving it into the mountains to ski because of the gravel they used on the roads in winter. My windshield was heavily pitted. Fortunately, I used a bra, keeping the paint in good shape.

I always loved the front view of this car. The E30 remains my favorite 3-series BMW.

I installed an aftermarket performance chip and upgraded the springs and shocks. This lowered the car a bit and made for a harder ride, but it radically improved the cornering performance.

This is the last shot of my 1990 BMW 325iS, which I bought while living in Germany in 1990. It had around 45K miles, and I got half of what I had originally paid for it. I sold it online to a tech guy from Colorado.

I took this car on some great road trips, including several trips into the southwest. There, you could find great windy roads with perfect visibility ahead. I upgraded the headlights to Hella bulbs. They light up the night sky like daylight!

When I owned it, BMW introduced the E36 3 Series and the M3. Previously, it was a 16-valve four-banger boy racer. This one was much more sophisticated, with a 32-valve 6-cylinder motor ultimately producing 240 HP. The first ones I saw were stripped down for racing, including windows that you rolled down by hand! During this time, they became a significant player in the US market. That meant all of the cars started growing upscale and getting heavier.

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1993 Ford Explorer

When I ordered my 325iS, I included the option for a ski bag that went through the middle of the back seat! I outfitted it for the first couple of winters with good snow tires and a ‘bra’ to keep the rocks from damaging the front of the car. However, when driving in Colorado during winter, I could not avoid the gravel they put down after a snowstorm. After pitting the windshield badly, I decided to take it off the road in the Winter.

1993 Ford Explorer in Georgia

I ordered a 1993 Ford Explorer from a fleet dealer in Denver. It had four doors, a manual transmission, and on-demand four-wheel drive. I drove it the remaining time I was in Colorado, outfitting it with a utility trailer when I built my house several years later. In fact, I drove it so much that I put very few miles on the 325iS after that, saving it for road trips and weekend drives.

I drove the Explorer until I got married in 1998. We traded it in on a Lexus RX 300. It was a great car despite replacing the clutch at 50K miles due to a fluid leak.

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1998 BMW M3 Convertible

The soft-top bug had bitten me. Despite what my Dad had told me about them being a mistake once the uniqueness wore off, I vowed to own one if they ever made a soft-top version. By the late 1990s, they did.

The 1998 BMW M3 convertible had a 3.2 liter, 24-valve, 6-cylinder motor that produced 240 HP. It was a blast to drive with the top down.

Something happened to me in the late 1990s. I was tired of moving around so much and needed new diversions. In 1997, after nearly 25 years of absence, I bought a set of drums. I went to the huge BMW dealer in the city’s north on my birthday. I ordered a 1998 Convertible M3 in Brilliant Red. It was due to arrive in several months.

Top Up!

Near the time of arrival, I got a call letting me know they had a special edition model in my color. If it was fully equipped and had spent the year touring shopping malls. It had 57 or so miles on it, and I could have it for the same price as the car I ordered. In addition, it had several options I had not ordered on my car, such as an onboard computer.

Interior view

I outfitted it with a wind deflection for the rear seat. It was a blast to drive with the top up or down. After a while, I got tired of how loud and cold it could get inside. However, I drove the car for nearly 100K miles in the 15 years I owned it.

Final shots of the M3

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1998 Mercedes Benz 430ML

I bought this car in 2004. It had fairly low miles on it and a bigger V8 engine. It was a beast: driving and pulling a trailer to the beach was super comfortable. It had its share of problems and was going south when I upgraded to my next car.

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2006 Piaggio Fly 150

I went to Turks & Caicos in 2006 to do some diving. While there I rented a scooter to get around the island. I enjoyed it so much that I looked for one after returning home. In 2008, I bought a slightly used (300 miles) one in central Georgia. A guy had bought it for his wife, but they then decided to get bigger motorcycles.

Piaggio Fly 150. I drove this extensively during the last years I lived in Atlanta and after returning to Florida in 2014. I eventually sold it when it became too difficult to maintain in the Florida climate.

I learned to ride on the street we lived on. I had a learner’s permit that I kept renewing! I drove it around the area and got pretty good at it. When I moved to Florida in 2014, I first signed up for Motorcycle School to get an endorsement for my license.

I drove it regularly in Cocoa Beach, once even fairing to Orlando to get it serviced. This was my big problem – keeping it running. It lived outside, exposing it to the harsh, salt-rich Florida coastal breezes! Even though I kept it covered, it was hard to stop the corrosion. I eventually got tired of working on it and decided to sell it after I got Excellent Adventure.

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2006 Porsche Cayenne S

2006 Porsche Cayenne S Titanium Edition

This was the only Porsche I ever owned. It was a fantastic SUV, and I loved its looks. It was a 5,000-pound 911! You could easily hit 100 mph if you were not paying attention.

2006 Porsche Cayenne S Titanium Edition

Boy, howdy – was this ever an expensive car to own – or what Pilgrim! A new battery was over $500, and you had to take the driver’s seat out to replace it. A tow hitch must have set me back 2 grand. It got hit in the local Marta parking lot. The coolant tubing underneath the chassis failed spectacularly – a common problem when they started using fucking plastic heating pipes to save weight! Luckily, I got the factory to cover it. All it took was letting the service manager sleep with my ex-wife.🀩

The Saga of the Porsche Panamera & Sugar Tits

I was last married to a clothes horse. In fact, she was:

Sugar Tits – $3K a pop!

Given the whole thing about brevity, I will refer to her as Sugar Tits. I also happen to know they are, in fact, not real because I bought the fucking things. Set me back $6K.

I did get some of it back, though. You see, the Porsche Service Manager had a giant boner for her. We’ll call him Frank. You see, when our fucking plastic hot water pipes broke, we found out there was an acknowledged design flaw in the automobile’s designs. Lawyers were involved, etc.

So we went in to see Frank, and Sugar Tits stuck her tits in his face, and he agreed he should think about not charging for laying any new pipe, as the case may be. To the tune of thousands of dollars, they replace the pipes.

But that’s not all, folks – as a loaner car, they gave us a Panamera to ride around. The thing is a fucking 911 with four doors! After I came to my senses and got the hell out of Dodge (or, as the case might be, Atlanta), she bought one from him. No doubt there was a lot of personalized service involved.

I divorced her and the Cayenne. At least the second one was fun while it lasted. The first one was a fucking nightmare.

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2000 BMW M Coupe

2000 M Coupe

I never cared much for the Z3 when it came out. It looked very odd with the flattened front end. I became aware of the M Coupe after seeing a couple around town. I was fascinated! I was so wound up buying the M3 in the late 90s that I failed to notice they had introduced an M version of the Z3.

2000 M Coupe

I learned it was designed specifically as a neutral-handling car with stiff torsional characteristics required for racing. The one huge annoyance with the M3 Convertible is that it did not respond well in tight turns. The lack of a roof greatly reduced the twisting experienced during hard cornering. The extra-large roof on the M Coupe was the answer for the Z3. BMW also made a version without the bigger motor called the Z3 Coupe. Both cars are quite rare as their production run lasted less than five years.

Without a doubt – the best-looking ass on any car out there!

The first production run of the M Coupe for the North American market had the same engine that was in the M3 – 6 cylinder, 3.2 liter, 24 valves – producing 240 HP. It was produced from 1998 to 2000, and 2180 cars were sold in the North American market. In the last two years of production, from 2001 to 2002, the motor was upgraded to produce 320 HP. These cars are very rare, as only  1,112 were made for all markets.

I added some much-needed driving lights. The low beams on the car were never very bright.

I started looking in 2013. I found one at a dealer in Oregon with less than 100K miles, and it looks in good shape. I bought it sight unseen and had it shipped to Atlanta. It arrived on a trailer with many old pickup trucks, no doubt headed offshore. I was happy when it arrivedβ€”it was in great shape but needed some work and detailing. I ended up replacing the water pump and adding Redline to the sticky transmission. After detailing, the car looked stunning 🀩.

When I first moved to Florida, this was my only driver. I also Kayaked quite a bit, so it seemed like a good fit!

Over the years, I have replaced the clutch and refinished the wheels and headlight covers. I recently discovered that the wire bundle going from the rear into the hatchback was fubar. This and other defects have popped up that need repair. But the car drives and looks great. The new clutch really helped. The suspension is badly in need of replacement, too.

Recent prices for cars similar to mine are starting now around $23K. I paid $15K and put on around 30,000 miles, the first time that has ever happened to me.

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After moving back to Florida, I was ready to get back into the boating of my youth. The first boat I ever bought was an Ocean Kayak I named Serenity.

Ocean Kayak Serenity on the beach

We explored the Thousand Island of Cocoa Beach and the Indian Harbor Beach area. Sammy was still alive, and we had some of our best moments together on the Kayak. It was Jake’s first introduction to boating later on. We did a lot of kayaking after moving to Valhalla. I could walk the kayak down to Ramp Road Park on a wheeled dolly.

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2017 Key West & 2003 Ford Ranger Edge

In 2018, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a motorboat! Growing up, Dad was only interested in sailboatsβ€”much to the despair of a young boy growing up in Florida! I had to depend on my friends – whom I sought out if I learned they had a boat. Bill had a great 14-foot runabout with a 20-hp motor on it. It was perfect for zipping around and waterskiing. I vowed I would one day own one.

2018 Key West 1520CCβ€”the perfect boat for a man and dog. Fifteen feet long with a smooth-running 70 HP Yamaha outboard, it will go about 35 mph at full throttle. It was exactly what I needed to reimagine my youth 😎.

I found one near Gainsville. My brother Rick was being an ass at the time, so I ended up renting a truck to tow it home. I then started looking for something to tow it with. I could use a pickup to help with my home renovation in the late 2010s.

The 2003 Ford Ranger Edge is a very cool-looking truck. It ran great but developed an oil leak after a trip to Colorado.

It had to be a smaller red Ford – I was unfamiliar with their small pickups but found the perfect one at a dealer near Lake Ockachoobee. A 2003 Ford Ranger Edge. It was low miles and perfect for my needs!

It was in great condition, as it appeared to be a Powder Puff car! I say that because when I bought it, there was a sticker on the back window of Tinker Bell. I removed it, but it had been there for so long that I could still see her imageβ€”the Ghost of Tinker Bell!

I drove the car for three years, including a trip to Colorado and several trips to North Carolina and Panama City. I bought a nice hardcover for the back to keep stuff dry when traveling. I put an aftermarket media player with a big subwoofer in the back jump seat area. It rocked!

Unfortunately, it developed an oil leak during my 2019 trip to Colorado. I eventually sold it to a friend when I bought the X6.

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2016 BMW X6 xDrive35i

I decided to get an RV in 2000.

Starship Excellent Adventure!

The first step was the muscle. The Ford Ranger was fine for pulling the boat but would not cut the mustard for pulling a trailer. It was also dull to drive. I had envisioned a scenario where we could travel to different places, park the trailer, and explore the local area in style!

Flamingo Red

I had my eye on the BMW X6 for a while. It seemed like it would do the job and not look like every other SUV out there. Plus, it had the Teutonic attention to detail and performance I have so loved in BMS since the 1980s. I checked them out, and the 6-cylinder version had better-than-average feedback. I found a nice, low-mileage one in the right color – red – at a dealer in Fort Lauderdale.

Jake & X6 at White Sands
Jake & X6 at White Sands Excellent Adventure 2021

This was right at the beginning of the COVID panic, and I had to wait several weeks for them to get enough staff back in the dealership to sell cars again! I got them to install a trailer hitch before I picked it up. This turned out to be a big fucking mistake. However, the car was great; it drove as I expected and clearly had the power.

Excellent Adventure at Wind Farms in Montana
Excellent Adventure 2021 at Wind Farms in Montana

After educating myself on what was needed, I reworked the trailer hitch. I bought an aftermarket receiver (which was easy to install) and a combination sway bar and load stabilizer. Lowering the trailer a couple of inches is also required. After a lot of work, the results were great!

Crescent City, California – Excellent Adventure 2023

With plenty of power, the mileage drops by 50%, but the car tows the trailer like a dream. Even heavy winds and mad truck drivers passing at 80 MPH don’t have much of an effect. The mountain roads are easily managed with the electric brakes for the trailer and downshifting. We’ve put nearly 40K miles on it, starting with our first trips in 2021.

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