Monday, July 13, 2015

Monster tires

Summer in Canada ... long twilit evenings sitting on the deck, swatting mosquitos in hot humid weather while trying not to spill your beer into the pool. What could be nicer.

Well, I spent two weeks in Iceland where the sun, technically, 'sets' at about 00:15 and rises again at 01:15, but where it doesn't actually get dark in June or July, mainly because Reykjavik, the capital, is at 64 degrees north. Sort of like Anchorage, Alaska. Very freaky ... but mainly there are no mosquitos.

What they do have is monster trucks.

The country is crawling, literally, with trucks running big suspension and high flotation tires for off-road expeditions to glaciers, fording streams or crossing lava plains full of sharp rocks in the interior, etc. I have never seen so many off-road capable vehicles in any one spot other than a meet.

I really like the shot of the Ford Expedition next to the mini-bus. A lot of perspective there: 21 people in the minibus but limited to pavement, or 7 people in the Expedition but let's go anywhere.

And the tour bus on Mercedes Class 8 chassis, with 5 axles and lots of tire, is pretty impressive too. Probably seats 40 ...

There were lots of Land Rovers but plenty of Japanese or US stuff as well, even a number of jacked-up  Mercedes mini-buses.

At least one Ford E-350 van sported a tag proclaiming Quigley 4X4 conversions with a 1-800 number that would probably not work outside North America. turns up in a Google search but the link doesn’t work ... Note in particular the stretched 6-door Ford Expedition with F350 running gear. It must have cost a fortune to build that one. (The Model A in front of the Hotel Geysir was pretty neat too).

I watched the driver of a Nissan 4WD crawl by me up a snowy slope in first gear, low range, the driver keeping the diesel just above idle with his left foot off the clutch, moving slower than I could walk up a 15% to 20% grade in deep slush, each wheel in turn trying to slip and being caught by one of what I have to assume was a full complement of limited slip or locked diffs. The most challenging parts required getting out to let more air out of the tires; he had a big battery operated compressor in the passenger footwell for reinflating these monster tires as needed which appear to carry two tubes (at least there were two tire valves, side by side, in each rim). Very impressive, not just because he was delivering our food supplies to our mountain huts.

So I've got Jimmy Flintstone's 1955 Suburban resin body, and AMT's 1957 Cameo is on order; now I just need the tires. Big donuts with minimal tread, not the tractor tires as in arena truck meets; to be continued.
Meanwhile I avoided the hot and sticky weather back home by staying in the cooler garage and building a paint booth with extraction fan. Cost so far, for the fan, 1/4" plywood sheet and wiring, is about $20; now I just need some dryer hose and a cardboard box. Pictures to come. Bring on winter, baby! Time to start building again.