Monday, March 16, 2009

Honda and Uwharrie

Yes, I'm still alive, though you wouldn't know it by looking at this blog. So, here is a report to scotch any rumors that I might have perished in the local swamp.

I have started some gardening, but the pictures of that endeavor are nothing to write home about yet. I've hiked the local neighborhood and a few local trails, but I've gotten into the habit of leaving my camera at home, so the few interesting photo opportunities were missed. So, you may be asking, what do you have to show for the past few weeks??

Well, I have been practicing my shade tree mechanic skills under the careful tutelage of Jeremy. The engine in his Honda Civic recently bit the dust, and after some evaluation and visits to Ebay, we decided to buy and install a used engine. A few afternoons were spent, and voila, the old Honda has returned to life. Here, for your entertainment, are a few pictures of the process.

We removed the transmission and the old engine.

We attached the transmission to the new engine and transferred various bits such as the wiring harness, distributor, alternator and power steering pump. We installed a new timing belt, water pump and accessory belts.

Under the hood looked a bit vacant at this point.

Then, it was back in with the new engine and transmission. Fix a few problems, troubleshoot a few issues, and! I had a bunch of fun and learned a lot...not to mention suffered a few skinned knuckles and sore muscles, contributing greatly, I am sure, to my character.

Then, it was off on a backpacking trip to Uwharrie National Forest. I did the southern half of the Uwharrie National Recreational Trail a couple of years ago, so this time I visited the northern half with first time backpacker Gail.

We had a great time, with clear blue skies and temperatures in the 50-75 degree range. We camped near the summit of one of the 1000 foot mountains. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it gave us enough challenge with various ups and downs. These mountains are some of the oldest in North Carolina, and were once over 19,000 feet tall. Here is Gail, on the trail and preparing to roast sausages over the fire.

Here are a couple of pictures of Yours Truly, first on the trail and then relaxing on the banks of a gurgling creek. Yes, clearly, I'm still living the life of Reilly.

And, here we are back at the trailhead, looking none the worse for wear after 12 miles and a bit more than 24 hours in the wilderness.

And the fun continues. I'll be planting the summer vegetables soon, while harvesting some of the early stuff. The attic project continues. Myles will be celebrating his first birthday in a few weeks. I'll complete my bracket and enjoy March Madness, as usual. And Amanda has been promising to organize an exciting backpacking trip into the Appalacians soon. Who knows, even the stock market seems ready to resume its upward march...or is this just another bear market rally? Either way, I am truly blessed.

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