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Home > Magazine > Motors
The Vintagent: Hard-Riding Vintage Motorcycle Action
July 09, 2013 - Here's a blog for folks who love vintage motorcycles. And who love to ride them, hard. And work on them. And dress up creatively and vintagely. It's like a functional Steampunk scene. Some of the bikes are "never existed" models built custom from vintage parts, souped up, made outrageous. You wouldn't want to overlook one of thei...
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Get Bad Drivers Off the Road!
July 31, 2012 - Driver safety is a relevant issue in the Outdoor Life, so I cover it here. In short: People who cause dangerous car crashes MUST be gotten off the roads! Wrecks are THE PROOF of unsuitability for driving. Testing that requires higher skills would be nice, since it happens before the wrecks and would obviously tend to prevent wrecks,...
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DIY Global Moto Movie "Mondo Enduro" -- a Review
June 18, 2012 - Austin Vince has an action hero name, doncha think? And his "Mondo Enduro" is an action movie that wears its cult stripes proudly. Vince and 5 pals set out in 1995 to ride motorcycles around the world. No sponsors, living on the cheap, wild/rough camping all the way. This was before the Web (pretty much) and WAY before Ewan and ...
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Visit to: Motorcycle Hall of Fame
May 04, 2012 - On our recent family tenting drive around Ohio we visited the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. It's worth a stop! It features the guys and gals behind motorcycling and the place where the people make the most difference, I suppose, is in motorsport. So the Hall is a celebration of American motorcycle racing heroes for the most part. Ther...
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All Hail the Deux Chevaux! Econo-Car Supreme!
December 27, 2011 - Are we ever going to see another thrifty, sippy, easy to work on, supergroovy car? I hope so! The Citroen 2CV used to satisfy all those demands. It would get 45mpg with one of its two cylinders tied behind its back. Today car makers strain to deliver 40mpg...and superhighhorsepower...and unrepairable sexiness. Well, sim...
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More Mini-Motos...
October 18, 2011 - Motorcycles don't have to be monstrous to be cool. Do they. Here are pics and links to a bunch of motos that have small engines and lightweight components. Many have pedals. You know I'm down with this kind of moto, having posted about it many other times before. Small, cheap, speedy -- far range, superhigh gas mileage, sty...
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The UP Overland: Dirt Road Moto Tour
August 08, 2011 - Ah, now here's something! I've long championed the two-tracks and Seasonal Roads (Not Plowed) of Up North Michigan. Here's a group that actually goes whole hog for what I only do in tiny little droplets of the rare free time that I gather enough of to wander north. They have the Eco idea, too. No need to churn things up. I'...
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Hot New RV: the Airstream/Sprinter/Westfalia Hybrid
July 31, 2011 - I saw one of these in the Traverse City State Park campground. The three distinctive names on the vehicle combined to kinda blow me away. Airstream. Dodge. Westfalia. *Airstream means vintage trailers to me. *The Dodge Sprinter van is also the new Mercedes van. It's a sweet new tall van -- headroom, the next horizon! *We...
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Blessing of the Bikes! --this May 13-15
April 22, 2011 - [BUMP from 5/21/07. It's coming up!] The 39th Blessing of the Bikes in Baldwin, MI, will be May 13-15. It's an amazing weekend of free events...and the biggest eyeful of *diverse* motos you'll ever see. Yet there's really none of the lawless style other meets are infamous for. It's always been family-friendly in our experience,...
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The RV Continuum
January 02, 2011 - What's the minimum needed to have a useful RV? It seems to me that there's a continuum of things that a vehicle rig could have which would make it an RV. You start from the minimum and work your way up to deluxe. The minimum seems like it would be: *enough room for a pad to sleep on *storage for stuff *privacy curtains...
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Heat: the Achilles Heel of Today's Motor Vehicles
January 02, 2011 - I'm inclined to be a car, motorcycle, outboard, truck, tractor, chainsaw motor freak. A big thing that has recently dampened my enthusiasm has been the realization that the whole shebang is built on a crappy foundation. My naturally sensible designer instinct is simply shocked by this. And it's kinda preventing me from taki...
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A Critique of Roadkill
November 18, 2010 - I've long known that *roadkill* has political and structural implications that are just ignored and denied in our fetishistically car (and commodity) biased society. (And I've posted about it, too, at OYB.) Here's a link to a paper that finally really spells it out. *** Some quotes from the paper: "Roadkill candy and ot...
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Roadkill Etiquette: Let's Pick Up After Ourselves
October 19, 2010 - Memo to ourselves: If you hit an animal with your car, stop and clean it up. Pull it off the road. Keep a stick in your car if you're squeamish about touching it. Keep a bigger stick in your car to dispatch a critter that is wounded. If we drive a car, we're responsible -- in every way -- for anything we hit. It doesn't mat...
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X-Prize: $10M Shared by 3 100mpg+ Cars
September 20, 2010 - It might not seem very "backdoor"-ish, but the X-Prize is about innovation and it seems to me that lots of innovation can be done in backyards. Micro performance is done in the lab. But macro changes start in the yard. For instance, improving current racing bicycles within the current rule system is done on the micro leve...
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Flint Gear Grinder's at Rocky's!
August 19, 2010 - ...At least that's what I think we saw. Henry and his pal and I were out driving up near Flint, an hour away from home where we usually don't drive. We tried visiting one certain destination after our errand was done -- Guns Galore in Fenton -- and it closed a minute before we got there. Drat. Then we checked out a cool l...
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Cool Rigs, Spotted
August 09, 2010 - I like seeing nifty "everyman" type vehicles and rigs on the road or nearby. Here are a few I spotted recently...
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Now, THERE's a Rig...
June 23, 2010 - This photo is a bit murky but I hope you can see what's going on. Superhost Dave canceled last Thursday's Poto Ride Revival because he had to go to Wisconsin to help clean up his grandma's house. Understandable. He had to leave early to catch the ferry across the lake. Cool. So I just now get this photo showing HOW he got to W...
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Thrills! The Old Trailer Came Outta the Bush
May 24, 2010 - No photo for this one. I went up north yesterday to haul our old vintage travel trailer outta the Baldwin bush and to pull it home for sprucing up. We plan on living in it up north this summer -- July/August -- while Martha does 7 art fairs. The plan is to have it planted mostly within Sutton's Bay, a walk from the beach, etc. Sh...
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MTU Winter Driving School: in the Keewenaw
January 28, 2010 - Here's yet another great reason to make a pilgrimage to the Keewenaw: MTU has a Winter Driving School for $150. They have a great vehicle testing facility at their school and it's great that they open it up to students from the general public. That's the Keewenaw style! I bet there aren't many other such schools and probab...
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Wild DIY Moto
November 02, 2009 - I saw this moto in the parking lot of Menard's in Lansing the other day. Wacky! I don't know much about motorcycles. What's going on here? Anyone know? It's super-modified...but why? Hey...I might've just figured something out. Is it built on the classic Yamaha 650 Special? That was my old bike! What a fave! They're really ...
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Hydroxy Gas Mileage Boosters
October 02, 2009 - Here's a gas mileage boosting system that seems to be popping up in the high-mileage scene these days. I guess this stuff is called Hydroxy Boosting. Here's another outfit selling this stuff: And here's what they say about t...
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The New OYB Mobile!
August 27, 2009 - Here's this weekend's rig for the new OYBmobile. I think it looks pretty good. Bold. Striking. Red'n'yellow don't kill a fellow, I hope. People say a rack don't matter, but I disagree and say that a parade is important. Not for everyone, sure, but if ya like to represent... 15-year-old stuff CAN look pretty good. Keep ...
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Easiest Minivan RV Conversion?
May 26, 2009 - What would you think is the easiest way to convert a minivan into an RV? Say you wanted to go live in your van, down by the river... Or say you wanted to just make an action adventure country-touring vehicle. For one or two people. And a few outdoor sports toys. Now, you could just write away to one of the $5-10k add-on ...
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The 2009 Blessing of the Bikes, Baldwin
May 21, 2009 - We went up to Baldwin to see the 37th annual "Blessing of the Bikes" on May 16-17. About 10,000 motos show up and drive thru a parade set-up at the airport to have the local bishop bless them with good luck during this riding season. The family had never seen it in any detail. They concluded that all motorcycles look alike. ...
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A Visitor at OYB HQ: Bob on his new Beemer
May 05, 2009 - Our friend Bob was headed up north to Traverse City from Ann Arbor, so he stopped by our house along the way, for a little snack and a rest. He recently bought this new BMW F650GS, a dualsport moto that is said to get 60+mpg. I gave it a test ride and it goes up to 50mph in 1st gear in about 2 seconds without trying. That dar...
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"Sleeper Cars" with Good Gas Mileage...
April 08, 2009 - The keys are: manual trans and/or a famously efficient engine of whatever size. Didja know that the 3800 engine in the GM line is a V6 that gets 26mpg? (Some claim better.) And it comes in some pretty big cars, like the LeSabre. These are cars that you can get used, in mint condition, with low miles, for $4K. Spacious, powerful,...
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In Spring, One's Ear Turns to Motorcycles...
April 07, 2009 - I don't like really loud street bikes, or repetitive buzzing in a dirt bike, but... There's a lot of bike sound I do like. For passive listening, even a two-stroke dirt bike can be tasty now and then in the mid-distance, for a few minutes. A Harley has a nice sound, in moderation. The snag is that Harleys aren't in modera...
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A Little Truck can do a Lot
April 07, 2009 - Here's a YouTube a guy put together about him and his truck. It's a little one. It's a classic. A 4 cyclinder Toyo. 2wd. They are still cherished and they still get 30mph. 1984. It's the truck I want someday. I'll drive south to pick it up. It'll be my 2-tracker. Ya know, there were several trucks in the "little and economical"...
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A New "Car for the People"?
February 17, 2009 - The Model T was the first car for the People and it changed the world. The VW Beetle and Deux Chevaux (2CV, however it's spelled) were 2 more such cars. In the 1960s/70s, Hondas, Volvos, Fiats, Opels and maybe even a few US cars (Chevette! Vega? Valiant?) might be added to that list. These cars were all contributors th...
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January 10, 2009 - [BUMP FROM 12/05] I love not getting stuck! I love driving where others can't. Until recently if it was snowy our new/old Volvo could be held to a standstill in our driveway with one hand on the grill. Even with sandbags in the trunk. Boom-aire. It was a winter disaster. Zero traction. Well, I recall that an old pal over the ...
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A Real Car Race, for a Change
January 10, 2009 - Here's a winter fun idea! Now, big pro sports can be kinda dull. Tickets cost a lot. The players aren't from around here. The spectating is highly manipulated/controlled/passive. Sure, some communities learn to embrace and try to live off a major corporate event but it often gets kinda ugly. Like, you can't get around town on ...
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The $2500 "People's" Car -- 54mpg!
September 21, 2008 - India makes sweet new-tech motor vehicles. (I have a post here about their zippy motorcycles that go 50mph and get 100mpg. Not allowed in the US, yet.) The Tata car company recently announced its $2500 car, the Nano. It's called the People's Car. They say it's meant to bring cars to India's masses. Well, America ne...
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Fiddling with Cars, Motorcycles & Bikes for More Efficiency
June 08, 2008 - EcoModders are part of the Hypermiling Movement, doncha know. Cool! They're into getting the most out of your vehicles, drive-style and common sense to improve the pump, that is. What a thrill! (I think so!) All I can say is WOW. And...Why haven't I heard of these guys before? This is a community th...
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Royal Enfield: a classic motorcycle for today...75mpg!
May 29, 2008 - This from an email I just received: "Take a look at Royal Enfield. They're (relatively) affordable as far as motorcycles go [$5k], can achieve top speeds of about 75mph (though they are a bit whiny at that speed), and have a published fuel economy of 70mpg. I rode one about 8 years ago and found it to be a bit clunky compared to m...
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The Velo-Solex is back!
May 29, 2008 - I think this was the first pedal-moped. It was a super-popular one anyway. Our neighbor had one while we were growing up. They get 200mpg. The brand went away for awhile but now it's back. (Mopeds are cool again. But this is perhaps the smallest and most classic one of them all.) Is it a bike or is it a moped? Who cares! Ri...
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Motorcycle Gas Mileage: buy right and double your savings!
May 28, 2008 - The motorcycle market is a MESS in terms of common sense. Nearly all models have great performance as far as any normal person could tell. Yet nearly all models only have slightly better fuel economy than cars. From my survey it looks like 90% of motos get 40mpg, no matter their size. Thankfully, there are 3-6 fairly av...
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To Save the US Car Industry: 60mpg Car & 50mpg Minivan
November 07, 2007 - Here's my obligatory annual plea for the cars that will save the US auto industry. If the US made a car that got 60mpg and a minivan that got 50mpg, we'd be all set. To do this, we need to make a vehicle totally aerodynamic. It also has to be lightweight and low-power. It also has to be safe. Airbags don't weigh mu...
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September 24, 2007 - Yeah, you could google Microcar yourself, but I want to put in a good word for the concept here. High gas mileage cars and motorcycles seem like a good thing. It seems like a good idea if folks who drive quite a bit all had a thrifty car that got at least 50mpg. If they wanted a motorcycle, and also zipped around quite a bi...
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Moped Army & Scooter Frenzy...they swarm...
September 17, 2007 - Mopeds are making a comeback, if you haven't noticed. Even the old ones are being brought out of mothballs or being repaired and put everwhichway back into running condition. Here's a group that started in Michigan, which has a very clean, spare website, that promotes the friendly low-cost moped swarm lifestyle... Scooters a...
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A Trailer with Vintage Style, New Technology
September 17, 2007 - Martha saw one of these a couple years ago on a roadtrip in Indiana---it turned out to be parked in their factory parking lot, so she got a tour of the place. Here's a tiny vintage teardrop trailer that's packed with all the hightech a modern traveler might want. Specifically, it's packed with efficiency, light weight and go...
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Adventure Motorcycle / DualSport News ... Jun '07
August 17, 2007 - [$6] OUT OF STOCK The newstands are full of motorcycle magazines. Who needs another one, right? Well...try to find a mag about VERSATILE motos. There isn't one! All the mags are about: choppers, roadracers, mxers or collectibles. What's missing? A mag about just plain old motos! ---Allrounders. COMMUTERS even! ...

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Multimodal is the Answer?
June 22, 2007 - Some bike activists get into car-hate and think the car is the enemy. I think that it's situational. In some cases, like when you're frequently being assaulted by idiot/lazy/ignorant/violent drivers then it's smart to consider the car as the enemy. It keeps your defensiveness up. Heck, other drivers need to consider each other a...
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We Went to the Car Races!
May 07, 2007 - The ladies were out of town this past weekend, so I took Henry to the stock car races on Saturday night. Oh yeah! It was our first time ever. We had a great time. It's cheap and local and out in the sticks. It was really so stunning that I forgot to take a picture. Dang, I had a GREAT one lined up, too, when I realized I left my c...
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Versatile Vehicle? -- A Dual Purpose Moto!
October 01, 2006 - I prefer bike, paddle, sail, foot, ski---but there are times when a jaunt is a bit too far to be convenient for those modes. As I posted earlier, the Traverse Bay area has several nice destination harbors all about 15 miles apart: too far for cheery sea kayaking. Something about 20 feet long with some sail is more like what y...
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Show Us Your Rigs!
August 14, 2006 - Hey, people! I think it would be neat if folks posted photos of their fave adventure rigs via the Reader Remarks below. It could be their own rigs or ones they've seen. What I mean is pics of the vehicles and racks you use to get to your action scenes. The latest rig that I imagine to be a fine one would be an old 4WD Toyota o...
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Motorcycles: too bad it's "one size fits all"
July 30, 2006 - As far as I know, there's no sizing in motorcycles. It's one size fits all. That's just stupid. Riding a moto is a totally ergo activity. Heck, even desk chairs are more ergo than motos! The only moto I know that declares itself to consider sizing is the new Dan Hurley line of Alligators. They're for big guys. So he's not really...
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Tin Can Tourists Rock!
July 28, 2006 - Vintage trailers have all the comforts of home...a nice oldstyle home, that is. You can still buy them cheap. Their elderly previous owners often cared for them meticulously. We've hugely enjoyed ours over the years. 1964 with birdseye maple interior and blue enamel appliances. It all works fine. Classy! (The photo is from th...
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Car Safety: Save Thousands of Lives...
July 26, 2006 - ...By having driver's license exams be twice as hard, both written and driven. ...By having helmets required for car driving. ...By having 5-point seat-harness for car driving (4-point plus anti-submarine, I think it's called, between legs). *** Why not add a super-easy, almost free way to save maybe another thousand liv...
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Motorcycle and Car Fairings: aerodynamic boosts for gas Mileage and style!
July 06, 2006 - We just made a standard Michigander vacation drive from "downstate" to "up north" of about 200 miles each way. We have little kids and 2 dogs and bikes, so we took our old minivan. 17mpg. ...For $100 in gas for this little jaunt. Ouch! Thankfully the kids are getting bigger and more nimble and we're not going to travel with a bi...
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Microcar Revival!
June 25, 2006 - Sustainable cars are bigger than ever these days. Start with improving mileage then move on to reducing space. I've been googling around but so far only found the heroes of Vintage Small Cars. I discovered the great zeen that these guys put out, Minutia, back in the 90's. I'm still looking for a great resource for today's modern ...
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Customize Your Car for Aero Advantage!
February 18, 2006 - Bryant Tucker was a regular guy on the HPV racing scene. He sadly died of cancer awhile ago. But he was a big aerodynamics buff. He used to drive racecars (and win), and design them, and enjoyed tinkering with the aerodynamics of cars and bikes for years, getting several patents. He had a Honda car that he installed several ...
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For a U.S. car comeback...drop musclecars, beat Civic!
January 19, 2006 - OK, US automakers are in the tank, right? Where is American carmaking strong? --RV's, trucks...and now musclecar revival. OK, that's maybe 5% of the car market. Doh! If they want to get back into the game there's an easy way: compete against Civic or Camry. They should pick just ONE SIGNIFICANT car to go up against o...
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It takes 6 horsepower to go 55mph...
November 23, 2005 - Yeah. That's all it takes to make a regular 2000-pound go highway speed. Give yourself a few gears to shift up to it and that's all you'd need. Think of that whenever considering solutions to traffic, safety, expense and pollution.
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New OYB Mobile --- better than the old Buick?
August 20, 2005 - The new OYB mobile is up'n'running. Well, it's been in action awhile now. Reliable and packed with features, 25mpg: cool. I really like the sunroof---not only for the sky-view, but I realized that I can also admire a bike while I drive while it's on the rack, so I put my favorite one on the side away from where I'm sitting. Th...
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"Loud pipes save lives"---sucks!
May 24, 2005 - I like motorcycles as much as anyone. But I have to take a stand against the noxious fad that even law enforcement is obviously going along with in violation of law and decency: make a huge noise so that people "see" you...supposedly. (But really do it because you want to lord it over the "public" and because you have an otherwis...
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It's a new era for the camper van...
May 22, 2005 - There's a new 'big van' hitting our shores these days from Europe. I guess the car-scene news is that the big maker 'big vans' need to get competitive again. The "Sprinter" is a hot delivery van in Europe and they're ready to take over the "big van" market here. The neat thing (I gather) is that they have headroom. They also supposed...
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Tin Can Tourists
May 20, 2005 - A friendly bunch of folks who enjoy little old trailers. (Not the kind that require a dually-hemi to pull and which hog the world with their dangerous bulk, noise, waste, frivolousness and other bad things.)
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Dodge Sportsman Wagon: cool camper!
May 20, 2005 - VW Campers are legendary, but to me they're a little tippy and overly sewing machine-like. Here's the American take on them. The Dodge Sportsman Van (Wagon) seems more stylish and robust yet still trim and compact. There was a mint condition one for sale down the street a few years back. V8, low miles, Arizona, turquoise, jumping...
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Links to Vintage Trailer Action
May 20, 2005 - Cool pics, restorers...and renters.
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GTRV Westy---a compact RV van
May 20, 2005 - Vans seem to be fine as RVs---no need for a behemoth.
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Great West -- RV van
May 20, 2005 - RV van
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A New Vision of Passenger Trains?
April 30, 2005 - I took the Amtrak from Michigan to Chicago last month to catch a flight. The train started out 3 hours late. So Amtrak put everyone on a bus. Amtrak didn't have a train. It seems as though Amtrak won't much longer be substituting busses for trains that it can't find. Amtrak is plummeting into chaos. Too bad it can't find a ...
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Litestar: a 70mpg car...that was built just down the road
January 26, 2005 - In the 80's and 90's there was a nifty new little car company trying to do something cool just down the road from here, in Owosso. They built Litestar and Pulse aerocars. These rigs were aerodynamic in-line vehicles built around motorcycle wheels and 750cc (?) engine, with outriggers. They got 70 mpg economy and could go 105m...
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Biodiesel: cheap, new eco-fuel?
January 26, 2005 - This is old news in some ways. Most folks heard about the van that drove across the US on free used burger grease. The newer twist is that the issue has gone bonkers online. There are lots of folks sharing their diesel-conversion project tips and stories. Old Rabbit Diesels are apparently highly favored for this project. But ...
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The Waterbuffalo--a 2-stroke wonder
November 07, 2004 - The Suzuki GS 750 is a 70's bike that's cooler and much faster than a Harley and usually only costs $500 for bikes still in good shape: a 2-stroke street bike: crazy fast, crazy loud! They have groovy 70's color schemes. A really neat thing abou...
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Yamaha 650 Special
November 07, 2004 - The Yamaha 650 Special fan club. This is a simple, classy bike that sounds great, and can be had cheap. Easy to work on. It was a rip-off of the Triumph. It's a twin.
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The greatest all-vehicle racer of all time
November 07, 2004 - Do you know Tazio? Here's a great quick bio. He raced everything. Well, cars and motorcycles. And he didn't care if they were broken or not. He'd win on them anyway. Drag his foot for a brake. Or race with broken bones. He'd win. Great stories abound about this guy.
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Jiffy RV Mini-Van Concept Car
November 07, 2004 - Here's a scheme. Otherwise, there's the fine Westy to ponder, for $40K. I once saw a 70's Dodge Sport Van 3-on-tree mint green RV, $1500 perfect. Woulda been sweet!
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Our U.P. Family Tour!
November 07, 2004 - We went to the U.P., as usual, in our vintage trailer jammed with weird goodies. Even so, there were twists and surprises, and we explored, discovered and learned a lot. You will, too, as you follow our wandering ways... Includes a great pic of our classy Town Car pull...
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Best car in the world...ever
November 06, 2004 - The Citroen DS takes the cake. That's what some folks say. Other Citroens are darn cool, too. You can't go wrong. --Provided you know a good mechanic. They still offer advances...and style...that new cars can't beat. DS World is a stylish site (of course)...
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