The Wanderers build

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OFF-ROAD JANUARY 1993** THE WANDERERS** # 48
FORWARD:
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** Let's* bring you up to date:* While prospecting for gold* with Sheriff and Mrs. Hooter in Nevada, Emma stumbled on a nice* cache of* gold nuggets, much to her delight.* By the time all the* gold was* analyzed* and weighed, Emma found herself with* $129,890* in cash.
** She* seemed* too stunned to speak.* Carl* broke* the* silence.* "Here, honey.* Take this ten spot I got from my nugget;** that'll make* it an even $130,000.* Don't say that I didn't pitch* in* my share.* Not a bad weekend, all things considered."
*** Emma* clapped* her hands together happily.* "Oooooh,* I'm* so happy!* Carl, do you realize that with this kind of money, we can do anything we want?* Let's free our imagination!* What should we do, Carl?"
** Carl smiled broadly.* "I got it!* Something I've always wanted to* do, and I know it's something you'll just love.* Emma,* we're gonna build us a monster truck!"
** Emma was too stunned to say anything, and knew better than* to argue* with* Carl when he was all excited like* this.** She* just sighed and headed for the saloon across the street.
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** They* drove steadily the next day, and unlike most trips* Carl and* Emma* took, they searched the maps and* found* the* quickest route.** Emma* really* didn't* care, as* she* nursed* a* wretched hangover.** Too many Shirley Temples have a way of turning* brain cells into oatmeal.
** Carl* left Winnemucca on U95, turned left on I80 and* hammered the* throttle* steadily.* Normal time from* Winnemucca* to* their destination* was about eight hours at a comfortable pace.** After about* two hours of driving, Emma got on the Uniden FM radio* and squawked at Carl:* "Roger, over and out, wilco, ten-four and good buddy, just exactly are we headed for?"
** Carl spit a wad of Red man tobacco out of the window.** "Where else?** We're headed for Clearfield, Utah.* That's where* we* can build* our monster truck.* There's a whole bunch of* parts* there and* some* people who know all about monster trucks.** So* that's where* we're headed.* Just keep that Bronco of yours right on* my tail so you don't get your butt lost."
** Emma* suppressed* a moan.* Her temples were* still* throbbing.* She fixed her vision on the tail lights of The Whale and* cruised her Bronco along as if hooked to a long ski rope.
** The* smooth road rolled by.* After 250 or so miles of* driving on* I80, they turned off on I15, then 20 miles later, went* north on U89.* A few miles later, they rolled into Clearfield.
** Emma got back on the radio.* "Carl, if we don't stop and check into* a motel and get something to eat, I will simply drive* into the nearest ditch and start eating the upholstery, with or* without A-1 sauce."
** Carl* got* the message. "Whoa there, little woman.** I* see* a Motel* 6 up ahead.* Let's stop there and check in.* Hope* we* can pick up some WWF wrestling on the TV.* If not, we can always look for another place."
* As luck would have it, there was not only a restaurant* nearby, but* wrestling was indeed on the tube.* As Emma and Carl* watched the Hulkster slam-dunk The Undertaker over the top ropes into the fifth* row of folding chairs, Emma got curious:* "Carl,* are* you sure* this* is what we want to do?* I mean, is* a* monster* truck really a practical thing to do?"
*** "Oh* sure.* It's a natural money-maker.* All we got to do* is build* us* a neat truck, give it a great paint job* and* a* funny name, and fame and fortune will come our way.* I been doing* some thinking,* ya know.* I figure that it couldn't cost us* all* that much* to build a monster truck, and we could make a killing* dollar-wise.* So tomorrow morning, we're gonna go over to a* company called* Boyce Equipment Parts and check out some price* lists* on parts.* I was looking in the ads in the back of Off-Road Magazine and* saw where these guys have all of those heavy duty axles* and such.** With the money we got prospecting, we should be* able *to figure* out a monster truck budget real quick.* Now quit* jabberin',* cause* Mean Gene Okerland is just about* to* interview* The Bushwhackers, and I don't want to miss any insider secrets."
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** Early the next morning, Carl got up, woofed down a huge breakfast* of* eight eggs, ten strips of bacon, six sausages,* a* foot* high stack of pancakes, three orders of hash browns, 14 pieces of toast* liberally* coated* with strawberry jam and* five* cups* of coffee* laced with Sweet and Low to save on the calories.** Then, Carl* and Emma fired up The Whale and her Bronco and headed* into beautiful downtown Clearfield.*
** Emma was curious.* "Where are were going, dear?"
** Carl* spit a giant wad out of the window and nailed a* 35* mph sign* dead center.* "Well, first thing we're gonna do is* find* a place to work on the monster truck.* We need a shop of some sort. Some place big enough to build us a beast machine."
** Carl* turned a corner and stomped on the brakes, bringing* The Whale* to* a screeching halt. "Whoa!* Check it* out.** There's* a place for rent."* Sure enough, off to the right was an old* abandoned Sinclair gas station with a "FOR RENT" sign in the window.
** The* price was right, and Carl jotted down the* phone* number, then* did a routine external inspection of the* facility.** "This place* is* perfect!* Not only is it big enough to put* a* monster truck inside, but there's a rack there, too.* Now, let's get over to Boyce Equipment and check out some prices."
** Emma looked confused.* "Boyce who?"
** "Them's the people who can supply us with the basic parts* for a monster truck.* A guy I talked to at the Houston monster* truck shootout* said* this was a good source of hard parts* at* a* good price.** So I figured we ought to home-base here while* we* build our monster truck."
** A few minutes later, The Whale pulled up in front of the Boyce facility.** Carl* walked inside and strode up to the man* at* the counter.* "Yes sir, can I help you?"
*** Carl* shifted* his* chew from his right cheek* to* his* left.* "Well,* I'm here to build me a monster truck.* I* understand* you folks have all the right parts."
** "You* came* to the right place, sir.* Do you have* a* list* of parts you need?"
** Carl* scratched his chin thoughtfully.* "I'm not exactly* sure just* where* to start.* How about I just ask you* some* questions about* prices,* and take some notes?* I got this note* pad* here.* So, what am I gonna need first?"
** "You're going to need some five ton axles.* Figure about $1700 each.** Some people use 2 1/2 ton axles, but not for* competition work.* Those range from $800 for the rear, to $975 for the front.* Are you planning on competing, or just show?"
*** "Competition,* of course.* Why waste time and money* on* some show piece that don't work, I figure?"
* "Fine.** You'll want the five ton axles for that.* Then* you're going to be looking at about $3500 for fabricating on the* frame.* Figure* about* $1500 for a Rockwell* 136 transfer case.** We* get those* from 2 1/2 ton commercial trucks.* It's going to cost* you $4000 or more for a race quality automatic trans.* You can* spend as* much as you want on a good big block engine, but if you* want serious horsepower with all the good parts, figure anywhere* from $20,000 to $25,000.
** "Then* you'll spend about $800 on steering for the* front* and $900* or* so* for rear steering.* A roll cage could* cost* up* to $5000, depending on how exotic you go.* Then there's the cost* of racing* seats, five-point harnesses, good gauges, and a bunch* of miscellaneous odds and ends."
** Carl looked startled.* "Wow!* It sure ain't cheap!"
** "Oh,* I* forgot about the wheels and tires.* You* pretty* much have* to run the standard monster sized tires.* Those babies* are 66 inches tall and 43 inches wide.* And the rims are 25 inches in diameter* and about three feet wide.* The new style tires* are* a whole lot lighter than the old ones.* The whole tire/wheel combination* will weigh in at about 1100 pounds each.* That's a* whole lot better than the old tires;* those things weighed 1700 pounds.* Figure about $10,000 for a set of four tires and wheels."
** Carl* whipped* out* a pocket calculator* and* punched* buttons furiously for a few minutes.* "Whew!* That comes to over $50,000!* Anything else I should know about?"
* *The man behind the counter nodded.* "There's the labor, unless you plan to work on the truck yourself."
** Carl* grinned.* "I'm a pretty decent welder and I know how* to use a tubing bender, so I'll be doing most of the work myself."
** The* man* behind the counter held up a* forefinger.** "There's just one more thing you'll need, sir.* But it was so obvious that I forgot to mention it..."
** "And that is?"
*** "A* truck.* You gotta start with something, and* it* probably should be a late model truck or sports utility rig so you can get some sponsorship from the factories later on if you do good."
** Carl* scrunched up his eyebrows and thought deeply for* a* moment,* then* brightened.** "No problem.* We'll* just* use* Emma's Bronco."
** Emma* let* out a yelp like someone had just driven* a* monster truck over her foot, and glared at Carl.********************************** ***
*** Whoops!** could this be the start of a domestic* spat?** Will Emma* sacrifice* her* beloved Bronco to build* a* monster* truck?* Things* are* getting very strange indeed.* We'll* find* out* next month just how strange.
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OFF-ROAD FEBRUARY 1993 THE WANDERERS # 49
FORWARD: Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-roading areas. The Suburban, nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Here's what's been happening so far: After Emma found a whole bunch of gold while prospecting and turned it into cash, Carl came up with the idea that they should build a monster truck. A real hot spot for monster truck goodies was in Clearfield, Utah, where the Boyce company was located. Since Utah was a short drive away, Carl hopped in The Whale and Emma drove her shiny new Bronco (won at a slot machine in Vegas) to Utah.
Upon arriving in Clearfield, they went directly to Boyce Equipment and Parts Company to find out just what it would take to build a monster truck. He was stunned to find out how much it would cost in parts alone to fabricate a seriously competitive big rig; over $50,000 for starters! But there was one thing that Carl failed to take into consideration. We join them now:
***
The man behind the counter held up a forefinger. "There's just one thing more you'll need, sir. But it was so obvious that I forgot to mention it..."
"And that is?"
"A truck. You gotta start with something, and it should be a late model truck or sports utility so you can get some sponsorship from the factories later on if you do good."
Carl scrunched up his eyebrows, thought deeply for a moment, then brightened. "No problem. We'll just use Emma's Bronco."
Emma let out a yelp like someone had just driven a monster truck over her foot, and glared at Carl. She then nudged her very pointy elbow into Carls' ribs and hissed at him in a low voice: "Listen, buster. We better go sit somewhere and talk right now. Is that clear?"
It was more than clear. Carl gulped. "Uhhh, listen. I'll be back later on. Right now, I gotta go and iron out a few minor details."
They drove over to Shorty's Bar and Grill and Bar, found a quiet table and ordered coffee. When the waitress brought their coffee, Carl couldn't keep his curiosity in check much longer. "Hey, Miss. How come they call this place Shorty's Bar and Grill and Bar?"
"Easy. It's got two bars and only one grill. And the guy who owns the place is about seven feet tall."
"Then why is it called Shorty's?"
The waitress stared at Carl as if he was a slow child. "For the same reason they call all those huge football players Tiny. Now, if you folks want something else, just yell for me."
Carl dumped three big spoons of sugar into his coffee, then a half-dozen Sweet 'N Low packets. "Now there, Emma. You seemed a touch up-tight when I mentioned we ought to use your Bronco as a base for our monster truck. Did I detect the slightest hint of hostility, honey pot?"
Emma extracted the spoon from her coffee cup, licked it dry, then whacked Carl on the forehead with the spoon. "Don't you even think about butchering my lovely little Bronco all up! Carl, I've been a patient woman for all these years I've been married to you, but if so much as remove one bolt from a fender, I'm going to run off and join the Harlem Globetrotters!
Carl bit his tongue and didn't make the snappy come-back that was in the back of his brain. Still, a vision of Emma making a slam-dunk almost enduced a hysterical giggle, which would have been a huge mistake at this point in the conversation. "Now, dear, let's talk this over some. Perhaps a nice cold drink would be in order. Waitress! A bottle of your finest wine, please.
The waitress ambled over. "Well, Mr. Rockefeller. We got some Mogen David and some Night Train. Take your pick."
"The Night Train, please. Chilled to about 38 degrees if you would be so kind."
Carl leaned over the table and turned on the charm. "Emma, my dear, don't think of this as losing a Bronco. Think of it as gaining a monster truck. And not just a regular old monster truck. Why, I was thinking that we absolutely ought to name the truck after you. Can you picture how the crowd would react when they see this huge Bronco roar out into the arena with 'Emma's Toy' on the side in two-foot tall lettering? It would send chills up their livers."
Emma brightened visibly. "Emma's Toy? Really?"
The waitress brought the bottle of Night Train to the table and set it down with two plastic Seattle Seahawks glasses. "Enjoy. Sorry about the Seahawks glasses, but everybody around here steals all the Utah Jazz glasses."
Carl smiled broadly and poured a generous amount of Night Train into the glasses. "Yes, I can see it now. A whole row of monster trucks all lined up, and there, smack dab in the center of them all, would be your mighty Bronco, glistening in the lights like a giant 500 year old sea turtle."
Emma's eyes got big. "Gosh Carl, you certainly have a way with words. You make it sound very tempting. But I'm not so sure about the name. Don't most monster trucks have intimidating names? You know, to scare off the competition?"
Carl beamed. "Good thinking, honey pot. Let's come up with a real good name. Howsa 'bout The Flying Warthog? Or maybe The Wandering Crusher? Or even The Bucking Bronco? Hellsfire, the name is wide open. Got any ideas? Let's hear 'em."
Emma swilled down a hearty slug of Night Train. "Hmmm. Miss Emma? Nope. Maybe Emma's Crusher? No. The Term-Emma-Nator? Perhaps The El-Emma-Nator? Let me think... Emma's Ammo? Give me some more of that wine. This is something that I have to consider very carefully."
Carl poured some more Night Train and Emma slurped it down like it was a Yoo Hoo Chocolate Soda. He chuckled quietly to himself, knowing that the battle was half won.
Emma quickly downed three more large glasses of wine. "I have it, dear!"
She looked more than a little glassy-eyed. Carl was glad that the motel was walking distance from the tavern. "Well, let's hear it, lovely lady. I'm all ears!"
Emma stifled a belch with the back of her hand. "Well, I figure we'll just call it Carl and Emma's Wanderer. Very clean and classy name."
Carl smiled as wide as he could without dropping his chew on the table. "I like it. I like it a lot!"
Emma held up a finger. "There's just two small things."
Carl nodded eagerly. "No problem. You just say it, and it'll be done."
Emma weaved slightly from side to side. "Good. First off, I want the monster truck to be painted bright pink, just like it is now."
Carl stifled a protest by biting his lip. "Sure. Great idea. I mean, how many pink monster trucks are there? Should make it unique. And the second thing?"
Emma clinched a fist and banged it on the table, spilling the last of the wine from her glass in the process. "I want to be the driver! Take it or leave it!"
Carl stared at Emma very carefully to see if she was serious. She was. He sighed. "Uhhh, great. I was about to suggest that myself. Now let's get back to that motel and get some sleep."
On the way out, Emma wobbled a lot and pinched Carl on the butt a few times. Things were getting very strange, indeed.







OFF-ROAD FEBRUARY 1993 THE WANDERERS HEADLINES

HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: WHAT'S IN A NAME? TROUBLE, THAT'S WHAT!
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN



NOTE TO ART DEPARTMENT: SUGGESTION FOR ILLUSTRATION: How about a drawing of the outside of SHORTY'S BAR AND GRILL AND BAR with cartoon curse words coming out of the door?
 
OFF-ROAD MARCH 1993 THE WANDERERS #50
FORWARD: Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-roading areas. The Suburban, nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Let's bring you up to speed on the story: After Emma made a bundle prospecting for gold, Carl decided to build a monster truck. They drove to Clearfield, Utah, where Boyce Equipment was located, and found out what it would take to build a monster truck. Carl figured out that he would use Emma's Bronco as the base for the project, but she went ballistic when he tried to talk her out of the Bronco.
However, after plying Emma with sweet talk and cheap wine, she agreed to sacrifice her beloved Bronco... with two exceptions: firstly, the Bronco had to be painted bright pink, and secondly, Emma was to be the driver. Carl bit his tongue, but agreed to the deal. We join them now as the project starts.
***
Carl shook hands with his new landlord and gave him the first three months rent for the old abandoned Sinclair gas station. "Take a look at this place, Emma. It's perfect! Not only is there a lot of room, but it's even got a lift in it. And a grease pit! Think of it, Emma; my very own grease pit! I've always wanted one."
Emma looked a bit pale. "Carl, quit talking so loud. I have a terrible headache. Remind me never to drink that much ever again. Why don't you do what you have to do; I think I'll go back to the motel and sleep for a week or two."
"No problem. I gotta run over to Boyce and order the parts.
***
The man behind the counter greeted Carl warmly. "Welcome back sir. My name is Mark, and you're..."
"The name is Carl. Listen Clark, I'm gonna do it. I gonna build that truck we were talking about the other day. So, where do we start?"
"The name is Mark. Well, we start with the basics. Are you going to build your own chassis, or start with our ready-made base chassis. It'll save you a lot of work, and the price is definitely right."
"What are we talkin' dollar-wise, Bart?"
"Well, the complete rolling chassis, which we call the MSK-500 Kit, comes with an L-shaped frame, we lengthen and re-arch the springs to your specs, and its already set up to accept the five ton planetary axles. All kinds of parts are available to save you fabricating time, including mounts. And the name is Mark. The basic kit costs $6500. The serious five ton axles aren't cheap, but they'll take all the abuse you can give them. Figure about $8500 for the axles. The advice is free."
"Right, Mike. But what about wheels and such?"
"We can sell you some smaller wheels that'll let you roll the rig around, and when you're ready, you can order the big wheels and tires. The bolt pattern is the same. And the name is Mark."
"Sure thing. Can you guys deliver the basic chassis to my shop. I rented that old Sinclair station not too far away. Now, I'm going to be starting with a new full-sized Bronco. How much of it should I keep, Clark?"
Mark sighed. "Not that much. Naturally, you'll want to keep the entire body, and lots of monster truck builders like to retain much of the stock interior just for looks. You can't use any of the rolling parts or the drive train. But you can probably turn those parts into some good money. Nice fresh used parts for Broncos fetch top dollar. Plus you can yank the air conditioning units, the radio and all the stuff under the hood. Does the Bronco have a small-block engine?"
"Yup. One of those scrawny little 351 motors. What can I get for that, Burt?"
"You should be able to sell the complete engine with all the smog and ignition equipment for $3000 plus. And don't forget things like stock wheels, axles, tires, brakes, drive shafts and such. These can all be turned into cash."
"Sounds great, Mark. Guess I'll get started as soon as I pick up some tools."
"That's Clark. I mean Bart. Oh, never mind. Listen, we're here to help. Here's my card and our catalog. Have fun, Crandall."
"Thanks for the info, but the name is Carl. You gotta start listenin' more careful, Mike."
***
Carl stopped by a tool supply house and picked the basic cutters, grinders, air tools, tubing benders, notchers, oxy-acetylene outfit and a Miller-Matic 200 MIG welder. Everything was carefully loaded in the spacious interior of The Whale and headed for the shop.
He backed The Whale into the shop and unloaded everything including the Craftsman tool box that normally resided in the big Suburban. Two hours later, Carl had a rather nifty shop set up.
Moments later, Emma pulled up in her bright pink Bronco. Carl opened up the bay door and waved her inside, directly over the lift. Five minutes later, the Bronco was up in the air. Emma looked a bit better than she had earlier in the day. "What are you going to do now, dear?"
Carl let out an evil little smile. "Now we get down and dirty and strip that sucker to bare bones. Stand back woman!"
Emma got a worried look on her face and took a seat in the corner of the garage on a semi-clean milk crate. Carl leaped into the work like a whirling dervish. Four clicks with a long screwdriver had the hub-caps off. The air ratchet screamed like a banshee and all four wheels were yanked off and stacked in the corner. A whimper of sorts came from Emma. Carl ignored it.
Carl raised the Bronco higher and got underneath, a fist full of sockets and air wrench in hand. The rattling of the air tool echoed off the bare walls of the garage, and a half hour later, the entire Twin Traction beam front end was off and stacked on a shelf. Emma choked back a sob.
Carl darted to the rear and started ripping parts off. Brrrrrrp. Leaf springs off. Brrrrrrppppp. Shocks off. Brrrrrrppp. All the rear end bolts were loosened, the truck lowered to the floor, and the rear end laid there like a freshly cut log. Emma rubbed her eyes with a tissue.
The Bronco was raised up again, and Carl had the transfer case out in less than ten minutes. A half hour later, the trans was out and on the floor next to the growing pile of parts. Emma reached in her purse and extracted a bottle of wine and took a hearty slug.
Carl lowered the truck again, got under the hood and started gutting wires, hoses and accessories. Two hours later, Carl hooked a chain to the engine, lowered the garage hoist down and yanked the 351W V-8 out. Emma emptied the bottle and slumped against the wall.
Carl wiped his hands on a red shop towel, put his fists on his hips and stood back, clearly admiring his handiwork. "Well, there you got it! One each Bronco, gutted right down to the bare essentials. Sort of brings a warm glow to your stomach, don't it, Emma? Emma?"
Carl turned and saw that Emma had her eyes closed and was snoring lightly. Carl smiled. "Hmmmph. Looks like it didn't bother her all that much after all. Women! Who can figure 'em out?"










OFF-ROAD MARCH 1993 THE WANDERERS # 50 HEADLINES

HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: EMMA'S QUANDARY
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN
 
OFF-ROAD APRIL 1993 THE WANDERERS #51
FORWARD. Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-road areas. The Suburban, nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Here's what's been happening so far: Emma made a small fortune prospecting for gold, and agreed with Carl that they would realize a dream to build a monster truck. They went to Clearfield, Utah, where many big trucks are built, and set up a temporary shop. Reluctantly, Emma agreed to let Carl use her beloved Bronco as a base for the truck, with some conditions: first the monster truck had to be painted the same color as her Bronco (pink!) and secondly, Emma was to be the driver. Against his better judgment, Carl agreed. We join them now as Carl heads back to Boyce Equipment (suppliers of monster truck parts) for more advice:
***
As usual, Mark Boyce was behind the counter. "Good morning, Carl. How's it going with the truck?"
"Pretty good. Got 'er all gutted like a dead carp. Guess the next logical question is, where do I proceed from here?"
Mark scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Hmmm. I'd say we ought to get the MSK-500 chassis over to you. I'll have the guys deliver it over to your shop with the smaller wheels on it, so you can roll it around, or work on it at eye-level. You don't want to put the big wheels on until later. Your best bet is to get everything mounted up basically, and then proceed from there. I wouldn't go crazy and build a hydraulic tilt cab or anything like that for your first effort. Just remember the KISS rule."
"The KISS rule? What's that?"
"It's something we say around here that makes sense: Keep It Simple, Stupid. I've seen too many builders try to get too fancy, and end up with a real mess on their hands."
Carl beamed. "Got it! Keep It Stupid, Simple."
Mark shook his head. "Close enough. Then you better think about getting a motor and trans installed, so you can work around that. You don't want to fabricate something, only to have to modify later on when you have a clearance problem. I'm gonna give you some photos of trucks that were built out of here. This'll give you a better idea of how to get it done. As long as you're handy with a flame cutter and a MIG welder, it should be no problem."
Carl looked puzzled for a moment. "Hells-fire, I never even thought much about a motor. You got any good builders in town here?"
"Sure. Go over to A & A Automotive and talk with Andy Tucker. He knows his big blocks and his prices are a lot better than you might expect. As far as trans builders go..."
Carl interrupted. "No problem there. I know this transmission builder name Greg in El Cajon down in California that all the big-time off-road racers use. In fact, he fixed the trans on The Whale..."
"The Whale?"
"Yup. That's the name of my Suburban. I couldn't keep a trans alive in it until Greg went through it and beefed it up. He runs an outfit called Valley Transmission. I found out about him in one of those tech articles in Off-Road Magazine. He can make a C-6 trans that'll take a bunch or horsepower. Maybe I better go see this Andy and find out how much horsepower I'm gonna need."
***
Andy turned out to be a pleasant sort with plenty of knowledge about monster truck motors. "Well, since you're going to start with a 460, I'd say you can take it out to 521 inches. With a blower, you can get about 1250 horsepower. That's enough to get the job done."
Carl whipped out a note pad. "What's it gonna cost, Randy?"
"The name is Andy, and you can get the job done on a budget deal for about $10,000, but if you're going to run it hard, you'll need a special crank and some other goodies. With the really good stuff inside, you'll be talking about $15,000 to $18,000. So it's up to you; the high bucks stuff or the low-priced spread. You pay your money and take your pick."
Carl thought long and hard for perhaps 1.2 seconds. "I'll take the good stuff. You got an old block around I can use for a template while you build the engine?"
****
Ten days later, Carl had the killer engine bolted in place, and a few days after that, a big truck pulled up and dropped a pair of shiny built C-6 transmissions off strapped to a wooden pallet. Emma was curious. "Why two transmissions, dear?"
Carl snorted. "Hell, woman. Don't you know nuthin' about racing? You gotta have a spare! We could be at an event and land all crooked with the power on and hurt the trans. With a spare, you could still make the finals."
"Oh, I thought maybe because this was a four wheel drive, you had to have one trans for the front wheels and one for the rear. Why don't they do it that way, Carl? It seems to me that if they split the power through two transmissions, that it would double the life."
Carl looked confused. "Well... uhhh... that is... you see... I mean ... er ahh... it's real simple why, but I don't have time to explain it to you now. I gotta hook up this here steering apparatus."
Carl spent the next half day installing the front and rear hydraulic steering. On a monster truck, both ends steer, to allow the big rigs to make sharp turns. And it's all done with stout high-volume hydraulic hoses and pumps.
Two days later, Carl had everything hooked up, the trans in, and the drive-shafts installed. Then there was the big moment when he fired the brute up.
Very few things can match the sensation of hearing your very own project come to life after a lot of hard work. Carl hit all the switches and listened to the clicking of the fuel pump until it stopped, primed the throat of the intake, gave the throttle a few squirts, then hit the large marine starter button.
The fresh tight engine turned over slowly as the starter growled away, then it lit with a raspy roar that yelled HORSEPOWER! Carl immediately checked the oil pressure gauge and saw it settle down to 75 p.s.i., right where it was supposed to be. The huge engine actually idled, although it was a lumpy, rough, vibrating, rocking idle that let you know something serious was going on inside that chunk of cast iron.
After letting the engine warm up for a few minutes, Carl gave the big engine a few raps that sent chills up his spine. He turned the main switch off, and the huge motor stopped immediately, like a really good high-compression engine should.
The shop was filled with a blue-gray smoke and Carls face was filled with an ear-to-ear grin. He opened the big garage door and let the smoke drift out.
"Emma? Why don't you go out in the street and make sure no traffic is coming. I'm gonna back this beast out of the garage and take 'er around the block just one time. Not real fast or anything, but I wanna see how she runs, ya know, just to get a feel."
Emma looked worried. "Carl, I'm not so sure about this. Maybe you ought to wait until that big trailer shows up?"
"Naw! What could happen? After all, I'm gonna take it real easy."
Emma walked out into the empty street and peered both ways, then waved an "all-clear" to Carl. He buckled the belts up, turned the switches on and once again fired up the healthy powerplant.
Very slowly and cautiously backed the Bronco out of the garage. Even with the small tires on, it sat quite high up in the air. Carl didn't even have to move the steering wheel to back straight out.
He backed all the way across the street into an empty dirt lot, then paused to check things over. Oil pressure: check. Water temperature: check. Pump the brake pedal hard: check. Wiggle the steering wheel from side-to-side: check.
Carl then clicked the trans into low and gave the throttle a little blip. The truck lurched forward a few feet, and Carl hit the brakes, just to check again.
Well, he thought, here goes! He eased the gas on and headed for the street. When the front wheels touched the pavement, Carl turned the steering wheel smoothly to the left... AND THE STUPID TRUCK TURNED TO THE RIGHT!!!
In a mild state of panic, Carl yanked the wheel harder to the left, and the truck turned sharper to the right. He stabbed for the brake pedal, but nailed the throttle instead. The big Bronco veered wildly to the right and headed for the side walk. Carl fought at the wheel, but no matter how hard he tried, the truck seemed to have a mind of its own.
The sound of trash cans being crushed was next. Then the sound of trash cans being dragged and mutilated under a moving truck screeched through the air. The last sound to be heard was the sound of the massive front bumper of the Bronco smacking into the tail lights of a parked car. A parked cop car, to be exact.
***
Luckily, the cop was a nice guy and didn't impound the monster truck, but he did give Carl a ticket and a long lecture about damaging city property, and how much all that was going to cost.
A hour later, after a frantic phone call, Mark from Boyce Equipment sent a fellow named Brett over to see what the problem was.
Brett tucked his tall frame under the Bronco and peered around for a moment. "Well, you just hooked the hydraulic lines up backwards, Carl. That's why it steered exactly opposite the way you pointed. Let me get a wrench and switch some lines around to the right way. It's a good thing you didn't get yourself killed."
***
Later, while noisily sucking down a pitcher of beer, Carl tried to calm Emma down. "Look, honey-pot. It was just one of those things. You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. A rolling moss gathers no stones. Better sorry than late. Or something like that. Anyway, I got some good news. This weekend, we get to put the big tires on the monster truck and we're gonna go out and practice crushing our first car! Ain't that romantic?











OFF-ROAD APRIL 1993 THE WANDERERS # 51 HEADLINES

HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: THE KISS FACTOR REARS ITS UGLY HEAD
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN



(NOTE TO ART DEPARTMENT) Suggestion for illo. How about a drawing of a monster truck (with small tires on it) blasting a bunch of trash cans into the sky? The small tires are what Carl had mounted when he crushed the cans. Put the body of the Bronco high up above the small tires.


Thanks, Rick Sieman
 
OFF-ROAD MAY 1992 THE WANDERERS # 52
FORWARD. Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-road areas. The Suburban, nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Let's bring you up to date: Carl and Emma set up a temporary shop in Clearfield, Utah, to realize a dream: building a monster truck. Emma reluctantly let Carl use her new Bronco, with some conditions: he had to paint the truck her favorite color (pink!) and let her race the truck.
After lots of work, Carl got the truck built, but nearly ruined everything by hooking up the steering backwards and running over a bunch of trash cans and into a cop car while taking the first test ride. We join Carl now, as he's leaning on the counter at Boyce Equipment, working out the details with Mark Boyce, about the upcoming car crush test:
***
With his checkbook in hand, Carl got down to business. "Well, how many cars are we gonna need to get the feel for this car crushing test?"
Mark punched some numbers in his calculator. "Hmmm. I managed to line up a bunch of beat up old State Highway Patrol cars at a good price. These are real beaters they've been storing in the yard that aren't worth fixing up. Somebody bought the engines and the transmissions, so we can get the rest of the hulks for about fifty bucks each. The only thing is we've got to haul them out on a flat bed truck. A wrecking yard will be out there to haul them away for free when we're done crushing them. Figure a few hundred for the hauling and 50 bucks each for the old cop cars; and we're getting eight cars. That should be plenty to learn the basics."
Carl's eyes were wide with excitement. "Wow! I can hardly wait! Just think, tomorrow I get to join the ranks of Pig Foot Grave Robber."
Mark sighed. "That's Big Foot and Grave Digger."
"Right. That's what I said, Clark. You got wax in your ears or something?"
***
After spending a near-sleepless night, Carl and Emma went over to the trailer place and hooked the new long widebody trailer to the back of The Whale. It took nearly an hour to load up and tie down the Bronco monster truck, even with the small tires on it. Mark said he would meet them at a section of farmland not too far out of town, with the big tires and wheels.
Emma had to admit that the Bronco looked impressive sitting on the trailer, even though the paint job was still primer, and it was poised on the small wheels.
***
Twenty minutes later, they met Mark and his crew at the site and both of them stood back and watched the Boyce crew unload and mount the big wheels. Using heavy duty jacks with long extensions, they got the Bronco into the air in minutes, and removed the small wheels.
Four men man-handled the huge monster truck tires into position, whipped out the air tools and ratcheted the multi-lug nuts home. They worked so quickly and efficiently, that almost before Carl's mind could accept it, the Bronco was shod with the huge tires and sitting on the ground like a true monster truck.
Carl walked around the Bronco, jaw hanging, not even realizing that tobacco juice was dribbling out of his mouth onto his shirt. "Why, why... it's huge! I never realized in the shop that it would look like this! Emma, whattaya think of your Bronco?"
Carl looked at Emma. Her eyes were gleaming. "It's beautiful! I love it! Carl, you're a genius!"
Amazingly, Carl actually blushed. "Aw, c'mon Emma. Don't get all mushy. The guys are gonna make fun of me."
Emma ran over and gave him a big hug. "I don't care, you big teddy bear. You've made me a happy camper!"
Mark came over and put a hand on Carls shoulder. "Hey, you big teddy bear. It's time to learn how to drive this thing."
Everybody in the crew laughed good-naturedly. Carl got even redder. Mark took Carl off to one side. "Look, driving these big rigs is no different than driving any off-roader. You're just dealing with more of everything. More power. More height. More suspension travel. Things happen quicker. You're way up in the air, and you have a higher center of gravity. Even though both ends steer, you've also got to learn how to steer with your throttle. In fact, if you try to turn with the power off, things can get ugly in hurry. Most racers have been taught that whenever you get in trouble, hit the gas. This is the rule here. If you get crooked, gas it. If you land on one wheel, gas it. Power will straighten you out more times than not. Now, let's go over and we'll take a look at one of the cars we're going to crush, and talk a bit about lining up correctly."
While Carl was taking lessons from Mark, the Boyce crew started setting up a row of cars for crushing. While they were doing this, several State Highway Patrol cars pulled up to observe, and chatted amiably with the workers. The idea of seeing some of their old cars get crushed interested them, and a few cameras were whipped out to record the event. A good time was being had by all.
Carl ran over the instructions that Mark gave him. "I think I got it right. Line up dead straight. Don't get crooked while accelerating. Hit the front wheels square on the front car and keep the gas on when you make contact. Chop the throttle in the air. Get back on the gas just before the wheels land. Keep the truck straight. If I get crooked when I land, make sure the gas is on when I make a steering correction. Don't use too much throttle when correcting. Hit the brakes hard once all four wheels are on the ground. Is that all there is to it? No sweat. Stand back, Mark, and I'll take a run at it!"
Sure enough, Carl did as he was told, and hit the first of the cars in the row dead square on. The front end of the Bronco lifted nicely, Carl chopped the throttle, then hit the gas again when the rear wheels hit the roof of the cars mid way through line-up, the front end came up again, then Carl landed smoothly on his front wheels with the gas on. The Bronco settled down nicely, and he hit the brakes hard and early. His truck came to a stop a mere 90 feet from the end of the row of cars.
The cops and the crew let out a small cheer, and Carl beamed as he heard the noise. After a half-dozen passes, it actually got easier as the roofs of the cars got flatter. Like Mark said, "Once you get 'em flattened out a bit, it's just a matter of going as fast as you can without getting out of shape. That's the one thing you never want to do: get crooked! That's when you hurt the truck. Now, let's get over and practice jumping over one car. That's actually harder than doing a whole row. I set a few cars up off to the side, so let's give it a shot."
Carl buckled up his helmet again, and fired up the Bronco. He rumbled around slowly, saw the car, lined up and waved back at Mark who was waving frantically at him.
He nailed the throttle and hammered at the car, hitting it square, launching the Bronco clean and high and landing just like the textbook said.
It was no wonder Carl was confused when Mark dragged him out of the Bronco, all wide-eyed. "Now you gone and done it!"
"What's your problem? That was a perfect jump! It couldn't have been better."
Mark sighed. "It might have been better if that wasn't the Highway Patrol Chief's car. And he was sitting in it when you jumped it!"
***
Holy smokes! What has Carl gone and done now? We'll find out next month.


OFF-ROAD MAY 1993 THE WANDERERS # 52 HEADLINES

HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: CRUSHING CONFUSION
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN



(NOTE TO ART DEPARTMENT) SUGGESTION FOR ILLO. DRAWING OF A MONSTER TRUCK, HIGH IN THE AIR, (IT MUST BE A BRONCO!) WITH A BUNCH OF HAPPY YELLING SOUNDS EMANATING FROM THE CAB. I.E., YEEHAA! WAHOO!
 
OFF-ROAD MAGAZINE JUNE 1993 THE WANDERERS # 53

FORWARD: Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-roading areas. The Suburban nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Here's what's been happening: After building a monster truck in Clearfield, Utah, out of Emma's Bronco, Carl and Emma went out for an orientation day. The guys from Boyce Equipment lined up a bunch of junker cars in order to teach Carl how to jump and crush. Everything went fine, until Carl wandered off on his own to practice jumping single cars. After Carl made what he thought was a perfect jump, he was more than a bit surprised when Mark Boyce waved him down and dragged him out of the truck:
"Now you've gone and done it!" yelled Mark.
Confused, Carl protested: "What's your problem? That was the perfect jump! It couldn't have been better."
Mark sighed. "It might have been better if that wasn't the Highway Patrol Chief's car. And he was sitting in it when you jumped it!"
Everybody scrambled over to see if the Chief was OK, and they were relieved when he kicked the tweaked door open and stumbled out. His hat was sort of flattened, but he appeared unhurt. But he wasn't overly happy. "What in the #^*%^@^%* blankety-blank %@#$&&$## dag-blag it &*(%$##%%@$% blue-blazes *^&*%$#%%$@ is goin' on here? Stanley, get the cuffs out and put somebody in jail!"
Carl was genuinely concerned. "Hey there, Chief. I'm sorry I sorta flattened out your car here, but you see, I thought it was one of those junkers I was supposed to crush."
The Chief shook his head from side to side like a large hound dog. "Well, it looks like a junker now. I hope you got insurance that covers smashing a cop car, fat boy."
"Fat boy? How would you like a pop in the snoot, Dick Tracy?"
"Oh, threatening an officer-of-the-law, eh? Let's see... I figure a couple a years in the slammer for destroying police equipment, then another couple for threatening me, and maybe we can get some equipment violations tacked on to that. You ain't gonna have much hair on that balding head when you get to see the light of day, buster."
"That's Mister Buster to you, J. Edgar Hoover. What were you doing parking your Bat Mobile in the middle of a test area in the first place? You better thank your lucky stars I didn't squash you flatter 'n a 78 rpm record."
Carl and the Chief got nose-to-nose and proceeded to try and out-yell each other. Mark stepped in and tried to calm things down: "Boys, boys... please! I think I have a way to resolve this little problem. Let's go have a cup of coffee and talk my idea over..."
***
Two hours later, Carl and the Chief shook hands. As it turned out, both of them had been in the Navy at right around the same time and both had been Chief Bosun's Mates on the aircraft carrier Forrestal.
The deal was this: the Chief would have the local high school body shop class fix the roof of the patrol car and not file any charges. In return, Carl would run the Highway Patrol logo on the side of the Bronco during the upcoming Clearfield Smash And Bash, a special event to be held in two weeks at the Fairgrounds. Since all of the proceeds of the event would go to the Highway Patrol Orphans Charity Fund, everybody was happy.
Carl was especially happy to have any sort of sponsor, because he knew it was easier to get more sponsors if you already had one. And he figured that having the Highway Patrol logo on the side would give him some serious leverage for new sponsors.
The rest of the week was spent painting the Bronco a horrifyingly bright pink in because Emma had insisted on that before giving up her truck to be used as a base for the monster truck.
Carl spent a few days acquiring some sponsors. Harry's Feed and Grain popped 20 bucks to put a small sticker on both sides. Wong's House of Tacos parted with $12.50 and a certificate for three free meals to get the name and phone number lettered on the hood.
Arnold's Pest Control came in big and paid one hundred bucks to have a huge plastic spider attached to the roof, with "Arnold" on one side of the bug and his phone number on the other.
Marvins Septic Tank Service gave Carl a check for $65 to glue a plumbers plunger to the rear part of the roof with a small flag on the handle with his company name.
Burt's Burger Palace popped for $10 and a dozen McBonzo Burgers with fries to put a pair of small stickers on the rear fenders.
Emma even got into the spirit of things and talked Wanda from Wanda's House of Fashion into spending $32.50 to letter her name on the rear window of the Bronco.
Pedro's Dog Grooming Service got into the spirit of things and paid $40 to attach a pink stuffed dog to the hood with his name emblazoned on both sides of the stupid looking dog with sequins.
The local pizza shop, Three Guys From Cleveland, didn't want to spend any money, but agreed to supply a dozen large pepperoni and mushroom pizzas at the event, in exchange for Carl throwing a bunch of dollar-off coupons to the crowd before each run.
Tyrone's Health Club and Dance Studio paid $10 and three free Lambada lessons for the privilege of putting a 12 x 12 magnetic sign on the tail gate.
Guns-R-Us coughed up with $65 to put a pair of styrofoam Uzis on the top edge of the front fenders. Carl really liked the look this lent to the Bronco.
Bowl-O-Rama reached deep into their wallet and popped a big hundred dollar bill to have the monster truck crew wear bowling shirts with the Bowl-O-Rama name on the back.
The local beer distributor, The Suds Connection, got five big stickers put on the Bronco for no charge. The fact that they agreed to supply a whole bunch of beer for the party after the event had nothing to do with it, Carl claimed to Emma.
A local roofing company was turned down for sponsorship when they wanted to exchange a coating of Thompsons Water Seal on the underside of the Bronco in exchange for a large pair of stickers on the quarter panels.
Still, Carl felt that he didn't really have any real high performance-type sponsors stickers on the Bronco, and a real racer definitely need this. He hit all the speed shops, auto parts suppliers and lubricant people in the area. Unfortunately there were no takers.
Then Mark Boyce stopped by to take a look at the Bronco. When he saw all the bizarre stickers covering the monster truck, his eyes got real big. Carl slapped him on the shoulder, real friendly-like. "Say, Mark. The only thing that seems to be missing is a Boyce Equipment sticker on all four sides. Whattaya say, big fella? Can we count on you for a little sponsorship?"
Mark stood there quietly for a while, scratching his chin. "Tell you what, Carl. I'll give you a reverse sponsorship. If you DON'T run the Boyce stickers, I'll pay you a hundred bucks. Deal?"
***
Wow! Things are heating up. Next time, we'll hopefully see some real monster truck competition!









OFF-ROAD JUNE 1993 THE WANDERERS # 53 HEADLINE

HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: STICK 'EM UP!
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN


(NOTE TO ART DEPARTMENT) Suggestion for story illustration: How about a drawing of a Bronco monster truck completely slathered with the stickers and attachments named in the story?
 
OFF-ROAD JULY 1993 1993 THE WANDERERS # 54
FORWARD: Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-roading areas. The Suburban, nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Update: After building a monster truck in Clearfield, Utah, Carl and Emma found themselves almost ready for their first competition. They even managed to scrape up more than a dozen strange sponsors, including a pest control service, a local gun shop, a plumbing outfit and a dog grooming company.
Only one thing remained before they were ready for the upcoming Clearfield Smash And Bash, a special event to be held in less than two weeks at the Fairgrounds. Everyone agreed to meet at Howard's Bar and Grill and Bar to see if they could come up with a name. Besides, it seemed like a good idea to relax and celebrate a bit, since all of the hard work had been accomplished. We join them now, as the third round of beer has just been ordered:
***
Carl poured a round of beers from a big frosty pitcher, stifled a belch with the back of his hand, and stuck his forefinger into the air to get some attention: "Well now, as long as we're gonna come up with a name, let's make sure we get a good one. I don't want one of those wimpy names. This here is a big truck and should have a manly macho handle. And ideas? Emma?"
"I was sort of thinking of THE PINK FLAMINGO. After all, Carl, you agreed to keep the pink color if I agreed to let you use the Bronco for the project monster truck."
The Highway Patrol Chief furrowed his brow, pursed his lips and shook his head from side-to-side. "I'm not so sure the boys at headquarters would be too thrilled with that, ya know, havin' our logo on a truck with a name like that. It sounds like the name of some club in one of the shadier parts of San Francisco. I tend to lean towards something a bit more on the military side, like maybe the BRONCO BULLET, or the BLAZING BAZOOKA. Something with some punch."
Arnold, the owner of Arnold's Pest Control, who had paid a hundred bucks to have a huge plastic spider attached to the roof of the Bronco, set down his mug and spoke: "I personally lean toward something like BUGZILLA, or ARACHNAPHOBIA. Think about it; most everybody is scared to death of spiders and bugs. I ought to know. I spend most of my time gassing and squashing those creepy critters."
Emma shuddered. "Ooooohh, noooo! It's bad enough having a big ugly plastic bug on the roof as it is. Carl, do you have any ideas?"
Carl was in the middle of taking a huge bit out of a Double Bongo Burger, while he had two pickled eggs and a Slim Jim sausage already stuffed in one side of his mouth. "Thhhure. Vhuff zfuulg fffttph grrruumf vidd ..."
"Dear, I shouldn't have to remind you not to talk with your mouth full." Carl took a giant gulp, making his neck look like a snake that had just swallowed a 14 pound bowling ball. "It wasn't full. I had room in there for a slice of pizza, minimum. And look... I still had my chew in my left cheek, so ..."
Emma shuddered. "Never mind, never mind. Anyway, now that you have that cavern empty for the moment, would you like to try again?"
"Sure. I was sorta thinkin' on more sophisticated lines, like calling it the FLAMING INCREDIBLE FLYING MUGGER. Ya know, a name with a touch of class. Or maybe the WICKED WART HOG, or the MONSTER OGRE FROM HELL. So, whaddaya think?"
Everybody at the table shook their heads "no".
One of the mechanics from Boyce Equipment Company came up with an idea. "Personally, I think the name should be threatening and intimidating. This way, you set the tone for the entire competition. Think about it; you got one truck named TEDDY BEAR, and the other truck named the GUT SLASHER. Which one are you gonna think is the one you gotta worry about?"
Carl smacked his palm on the table enough to make all the glasses jump a good inch. "I like it! This sets my brain cells into high gear. Let me run a couple by you. Let's see ... NASTY PUTRID CARBUNCLE. Or maybe FELONIOUS BANDIT MUGGER. Hmmmm ... ROWDY VOMIT FLINGER. Perhaps the BARBARIC HAIRY BOIL. Wow, I'm on a roll! You guys stop me when I strike gold, OK? Try this one: the GUTS & GORE GAGGER? Maybe the REPULSIVE REVOLTING RAT. Or the ROTTEN GRUBBY ALIEN. The FILTHY MURKY MERCENARY? The RABID SAVAGE? Jeez, they're all so good, I don't know which one to go with. Any comments?"
Emma sighed. "Yes. I think we need another round of drinks. And I definitely think we need to search for names in another direction. Personally, I think we need a noble name, so I got out a dictionary and looked up some words that might work, and wrote them down. Words like DARING, DAUNTLESS, MIGHTY, INVINCIBLE, SUPREME, DEFIANT, INCREDIBLE, MAXIMUM and POTENT are some of my favorites. So if you gentlemen can tie those words in with some other inventive words, maybe we can come up with a winner. Carl? Do any of these words trigger some creative names?"
"Lemme see ... hmmm ... howsa 'bout THE DARING WART HOG? Or maybe the INCREDIBLE GUT-STOMPER? Maybe the INVINCIBLE TERMINATOR? The MIGHTY EYE-BALL RIPPER? How ya like those, Emma?"
Emma downed a half-glass of wine in one gulp. "Carl, those are horrible names! Does anybody have some reasonable sort of suggestion?"
One of the sponsors, Marvin (from Marvin's Septic Service) leaned forward eagerly. "Looka here. I got this idea that might work. Back when I was a high school kid in Texas, we had to come up with a name for our new football team. The way we did it was to put all kinds of words on little pieces of paper in a can, and then draw out names. The first ones we drew sounded good, so we went with it."
Carl blew some foam off his beer. "So what name did you guys come up with for a team?"
"Oh, we were known far and wide as the Thunderdog Road Kills. First season, we went 11 and 2 and won the city championship."
Carl beamed. "I like it! Why don't we all write down as many good words as we can think of, and stuff 'em in my hat. Then we'll let the Chief draw out a couple at a time. We just might pick us a winner. Emma? Why don't you tear up a whole bunch of pieces of paper off that there note pad you got. I'll get us some more pitchers of suds to help speed things along."
For the better part of an hour, the only sounds that came from the table full of people were the scratching of pens on paper, punctuated by slurping sounds.
Eventually, all the words were gathered up and dumped into the hat. Carl swirled everything around real good, then handed the hat to the Chief. "OK, Chief. Have at it. Let's find a name!"
The Chief stuck his big hand in the hat, rooted around at the bottom, and extracted some bits of paper. He peered over his glasses intently, then in a deep, official tone, stated, "Folks, I think we got ourselves a name!
He got up from the table, walked over to the blackboard where they normally write down the specials, grabbed a piece of chalk, and carefully wrote down these words:
KILLER WHALE
A cheer went up from the table and a call went out for another round. Carl was ecstatic, and Emma was literally beaming. She leaned over and whispered in Carl's ear: "I'm so happy I can't see straight! I put those words in the hat. Now we have your Suburban, The Whale, and my Bronco ... the Killer Whale!"
***
Wow! It looks like The Killer Whale is ready for competition, now that it has a name. But how will it fare? Next month should be revealing, indeed.
OFF-ROAD JULY 1993 THE WANDERERS #54 HEADLINES
HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN


(NOTE TO ART DEPARTMENT) SUGGESTION FOR ILLUSTRATION: How about a drawing of the outside of HOWARD'S BAR AND GRILL AND BAR, with all kinds of words (like MONSTER, INCREDIBLE, GUT-STOMPER, TERMINATOR, and so forth) blasting out of the door and window like cartoon curse-words.

Thanks
Rick
 

k9lestat

Expedition Leader
i think it would very cool and different. not sure how much it would effect the range(mpg) but it couldn't be that bad i imagine. i was doing alot of keyboard mechanic(lol) research on the subject myself a couple years ago day dreaming about a similar idea but with a van. but i lack the experience and skill for sure. i saw many different ways to do it. one of the ones that stuck in my mind was from either ww1 or ww2 but basically it was a normal drive line, except for the rear axle. where the axle would connect with the hub, it was another dif that connected to a 90 degree gear assembly and the wheels. it looked weird but seeing the amount of travel it allowed was impressive.
 
I keep coming down to what I am going to reasonably use my camping rig for.... my wife does K9 Search and Rescue along with trailing competitions, so having a motorhome of some form would be useful. We can use the Suburban, but I'm afraid that we're going to have 4 dogs traveling (3 bloodhound and my Mastiff) so things are getting pretty crowded...
This summer will be the burb, next summer? I dunno, what's like to happen is I bring the '40 on a tow bar behind a motorhome and go play while she chases dog tails.... I dunno, it always seems I need what I don't have, and I don't have enough parking to have it all so the quest continues.
 
OFF-ROAD AUGUST 1993 THE WANDERERS # 55
FORWARD: Carl and Emma live the good life. Carl, a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, drives a huge 4WD Suburban all over the country to explore off-roading areas. The Suburban, nick-named The Whale, is loaded to the max with every goody known to man. Emma, a very patient lady, tries to keep the short-fused Carl out of as much trouble as possible.
***
Let's bring you up to speed: After building a monster truck in Clearfield, Utah, Carl and Emma eventually got ready for their first competition. At this point, they even managed to scrape up a few odd sponsors and had come up with a name for their monster truck: THE KILLER WHALE!
The event they decided to use as a shakedown was the Clearfield Smash And Bash being held at the local Fairgrounds. Well, everything was set, the Bronco was named and there was enough sponsor money to cover the entry fees. All that remained was the question: How would Carl and The Killer Whale do in real, no-holds-barred competition?
***
Carl and Emma made quite a sight rolling down the road, with The Whale (their loyal Suburban), pulling a trailer, and on the trailer, in all its majestic glory was Emma's Bronco, The Killer Whale. Except it looked sort of goofy with the small transport wheels on it. You see, monster trucks are way to wide to fit on a trailer that'll fit a normal sized road. So they have small wheels and tires on just to transport it, and to load and unload. And nothing looks stranger than a huge truck with scads of wheel clearance and ordinary-sized tires underneath.
When they arrived at the Fairgrounds, the folks from Boyce Equipment Company helped with the un-loading and the big wheel installing in the parking lot. With the wheels on, The Killer Whale took on the look of a true monster truck.
Carl wandered over to the sign-up area and got in line. A huge bearded guy with a T-shirt that proclaimed "Arnold's Pig Farm" on it was in front of Carl, effectively blocking the view of the information posted on the board, but most of the state of Utah, as well.
Carl tapped him on the shoulder. " Say, Arnold. You one of the drivers?"
Arnold scratched one his chins as if lost in thought for moment, then brightened. "Yup. That's me. I drive a hemi-powered Dodge that goes by the name of PIG PARTS R US. You see, I raise oinkers and sell em when they're the right size."
Carl raised one eye. "Is there money in that?"
Arnold smiled, revealing two teeth on the top and one on the bottom. "Well, chances are if you ate some ham, sausage or bacon anywhere west of the Mississippi, it was probably from my outfit. Pigs is not only big, it's big business. So, you a driver, too?"
Carl beamed. "Yesiree bub, I drive a new Bronco called The Killer Whale. Say, how many trucks we got in this here event? By the way, my name is Carl."
"Glad to meet ya, Carl. Well, most of the local regular guys is here. You got THE GARBAGE TRUCK; it's a front loader ex-sanitation truck from Salt Lake City with a 454 Chevy under the bucket.
"Then you got ITCHY FOOT. That's a '65 Ford stake bed truck. He wanted to call it Large Foot, but them Big Foot guys threatened to sue him.
"If you like older rigs, there's THE TRENCH DIGGER, a '39 Chevy Sedan with pirate skull 'n crossbones painted on the side. Sort of a take off on the Grave Digger, if ya git my drift.
"There's NUT CRUSHER; I do believe he's showed up. It's called that because the owner is a walnut grower from Indiana. Lessee... you got BEAR TRACKS and USA 6 7/8 and ..."
Carl interrupted. "Whoa! Back up a bit. What's this USA 6 7/8?"
"Well, USA 1 was sorta taken, and since the owner runs a hat store, it makes sense, I guess. Then you got SPECIAL DELIVERY. It's got an old UPS truck body on it and I got no idea what's under the hood.
"One you gotta watch out for is THE STINKER TOY0; it's a real light Toyota pickup with a 540 inch Chevy mounted in the center. The only weird thing is that he went and painted it pink. Can you beat that? Imagine, painting a monster truck pink! Haw, haw."
Carl reddened visibly. "Hold on there, Arnold. My rig is pink, too."
Arnold peered at Carl suspiciously. "Pink? You ain't one a them light-in-the-loafers types, are ya?
Carl bristled. "Now hold on, you pig farmer! My Bronco is pink because my wife refused to give up to make into a monster truck unless I kept it pink."
"Hey, no offense, Carl. It's just odd to see pink trucks. It's sorta like seein' a bright blue pig, if ya git my drift. Anyways, there's a coupla more I can think of. You got PRIME SUSPECT; it's a Ranchero that's painted in half dozen different shades of red and gray primer. Naturally, it's sponsored by a paint store.
"The last big name truck I can think of is HOUND DOG. It's the strangest thing I ever did see. I got no idea what kind of power plant it runs, or what it's built from, but the stupid thing has a big wooden dog house built on it. The owner runs a pet store, so I guess it makes sense, in a weird sorta way.
"Lessee...including yours, that makes a dozen that I know about, and there's sure to be another four or five. Yup. We'll have a 16 truck field, minimum. Should make for a good payday for the winner."
Carl's eyes widened. "Money? How much?"
Arnold stifled a belch with a huge meaty hand. "Entry fee is five hundred bucks each and the promoter matches the entry fee, dollar for dollar. So if we got 16 trucks in the field, that makes a $16,000 total purse. Not too shabby."
Carl was curious. "So what's the breakdown?"
Arnold sighed. "That's the problem. Or the good part, if ya happen to win. You see, the winner gits $15,000, second place gets $750 and third place gits $250."
Carl let out a low whistle. Wow! That's pretty tense. Almost all the money for first and damn near nuthin' for second and third." Arnold shook his head from side to side. "Well, you gotta admit it does give a fella some incentive to win."
Carl looked puzzled. "So what's the trick to winning the whole ball of wax, Arnold?"
Arnold squinted his eyes and pursed his lips. "Hmmmm. Good question. Well, now that I think about it, the key here is to jump as long and far as you can. You see, the field is all lumpy and un-even, and if you try to ride over the tops of the cars, you're gonna git pushed off to the side. So your best bet is to just launch it and try to clear all the cars. The only problem with doing that, is that you ain't got much run-off room to slow down and stop.
"So the way they tried to extend the run-off area is to leave a gate open and you can go out through a tunnel to the outside area. Only problem is that the tunnel is only about two feet wider than the track of the average monster truck, and if you ain't aimed up just right, chances are you're gonna leave part of your truck scraped all over one side or the other of that tunnel.
"It's just a matter of if you got the nerve to stuff it through the tunnel. I know I do. I've won here that last few times, Carl, so you're lookin' at the man to beat. However, if you can bring yourself to jump all the cars, land straight, and make it through the tunnel, then you got a chance to beat me. Well, my butter ball new buddy, are you up to the task?"
***
Holy smokes! Will Carl be able to go for the gold by gathering up enough nerve to jump all the cars, and then make it through the narrow tunnel un-scathed?
Well, folks... it's taken us a long time to get to this point, but I can personally assure you that in the very next issue, we'll get to see Carl finally get to put The Killer Whale to the test. The tension is building!























OFF-ROAD AUGUST 1993 THE WANDERERS # 55 HEADLINES


HEADLINE: THE WANDERERS
SUBHEAD: GETTING READY FOR THE MONSTER TRUCK RACE!
BYLINE: BY RICK SIEMAN




(NOTE TO ART DEPT. SUGGESTION FOR ILLO.... Drawing of a huge, fat bearded guy with "ARNOLD'S PIG FARM" on the front, waving his hands in the air, indicating a huge jump.)
 
Rogue Fabrication makes all sorts of cool stuff, are in Oregon so quick shipping, and I need a tube bender.* 2 out of 3 ain't bad.* I just have one thing to say before we start F*ck FedEx.* They are the most backstabbing, worthless group of a company there is... the short is there was a cold wind blowing up to where their dangly bits were and they didn't deliver to my house.... and didn't knock on the door to get a signature... yeah.

However, now that that annoyance is done...
bits


base plate


instructions... funny, the first picture, they are on the very bottom of it - after the annoyance of delivery I was holding my breath hoping that I didn't have to try to find assembly instructions on google.



assembly begins


washers welded on


and starting to go together... tomorrow wheeling, but I should have enough time to finish dry assembly

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