Friday, May 15, 2009

My Balzer: Not Tom Wigley's Land Rover, But It Was A Contender!

I have not posted or visited blogs this week, as there have been a lot of things going on. Late last week I decided to replace my 96 Chevy Blazer as it has been a "money pit" for the last few years.

It loved gasoline even more than I love Diet Mountain Dew, which is saying something. In addition the air conditioning compressor died, the front driver's seat needed re-upholstered and I no longer trusted it on long trips as its' wheel bearings and CV joints had been subjected to a daily diet of stream crossings, which is not conductive to longevity.

The Final Day

Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officers furnish their own vehicles for patrolling and this one was the official color. Strangely, I never photographed it with the decals and red light attached. (We were furnished with magnetic Pa. Game Commission Decals for each front door and attached a rotating red light with magnetic base to the top of the vehicle-these had to be removed when we used it for private purposes) I used it for this purpose from 2004 until I resigned from the deputy force in late 2006. It looked so much like the real thing that a conservation officer from a neighboring district saw it parked at a PGC maintenance building and wanted to know if someone from the Harrisburg Office was visiting and I had to point out that it had the magnetic decals and that the red light was not as large as a state issued one.

Friday was mostly devoted to making the deal for a 2005 Ford Escape, and then cleaning out the Blazer and transferring my base of operations to a 2001 Ford Escape, which I have used for the past year for long distance photographic trips and general- purpose travel. The 2005 Escape in turn will replace the 2001 for this purpose.

Moving Out

It is with mixed feelings that I think about subjecting the 2001 Escape to the beating that I gave the Blazer and two Ford Ranger pickup trucks before it. I wish I had had someone photograph some of the stream crossings I have made with these vehicles. Once I was crossing when two people were traveling down stream by canoe. One shook his head, and said, "I don't think I would have done that!" It basically boils down to a choice between a twenty minute to 1/2 hour drive to reach my favorite spot if one doesn't cross the stream, and goes to the nearest bridge, or five minutes or less if one uses the fording, which is featured in the post of April 30th.

For those of you who are familiar with Tom Wigley and his famous Land Rover, I must say that I still think he has me beat. I have seen photos of him crossing water much deeper than I and the Blazer have attempted.

I was in Pennsylvania's Elk Range from Monday afternoon and returned Thursday afternoon. It was a moderately productive trip and I hope to post photos from that trip soon, and return to visiting your blogs.


SaraG said...

You have been a busy guy!!
I had a Escape for a couple years and then my hubby decided I needed a truck!
I got a Toyota FJ Cruiser 2 1/2 years ago and I love love love it. Hubby won't be trading this in on anything!
Look forward to seeing pictures when you are out snapping them once again!!
Take care and have a wonderful weekend!!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I also made an "out with the old, in with the new move" and am very happy with my choice. I wish you many, many years of safe and enjoyable travels with your new wheels Willard. :)

Tom said...

Hi Willard
Thank you for the mention.. for my land rover more than me.. :O)
The one thing about my old landy's is they have no comforts at all... the heater is no good in winter... it as leaf springs, still running on drum brakes and no air-con...unless I open the two vents under the windscreen. As for power steering.. ha! that's down to my arms.
I'm sure this new vehicle will serve you well.. I have a post due Sunday on my land rover which you may find funny after this post and the one about your river crossing.

Tom said...

I have left a link to show you and your readers the fun of an old land rover.. the green one in the river is now 41 years old.. The blue one is a little younger at 38 years old.

Land Rovering Fun