A new routine

I finished up work yesterday and planned my next step to making the island my regular home.  I’ve started to get my routine sorted by getting up at 5.30am and going to the gym, then showering at the gym and going into the office.  The routine is working well and next week I’ll just ride the motorbike in so I don’t have to pay for parking.  That saves me $100 in parking and A further $60 on the barge. 

I had to figure out a way of getting my motorbike/sidecar, the jeep and my bicycle across.  I didn’t want to make several trips back and forth so I looked at the sidecar for a while and pondered some solutions.  The motorbike and sidecar have three wheels so it’s virtually a trailer. I just needed a way to tow it.  I managed to get enough parts this morning to construct a makeshift tow coupling which would transport the bike safely being towed by the jeep.  Now for the bicycle.  

This was the final solution.  I made it to the barge without any problems and this could become a regular way to transport the motorbike or if I ever need a very small trailer …

It does get a few curious looks and started some conversations with people, who I’m sure thought I was completely mad.



It was steaming hot today and although Cutty seemed excited about going to the island, she was feeling the heat.



Once we arrived on the island I was keen to see what the garden was offering up for the weekend.

I had 2 more sweet potato, capsicum, some more eggplant and lots of cherry tomatoes, but unfortunately no more chillies.

There were even a couple of strawberries, which I ate during the harvest.



Island living is good. And plentiful.

New delivery

I have a shipping container on he island to keep tools and gardening equipment in. I have so much gear that I decided to get another delivered. It arrived on the block last week but was about half a metre away from where I wanted it dropped. I also needed to raise it on some block so it’s not sitting on the ground. I have some security cameras around the block that are motion activated. I forgot to turn them off when I arrived and I later discovered I’d caught myself on camera. So I figured I’d post some of the photos of the process. Moving a container is not that difficult with the right tools and some creative thinking.

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I used a hi-lift jack to get under and lift the container. Once I lifted one end I gave the jack a nudge and let it fall over, moving the container a few inches each time.

This worked well initially but it was a slow process. I hooked the jeep up to the front corner to drag it. This didn’t work as well as I had hoped since the container is heavier than the jeep. I could have used big red I suppose but I was only inches away from being finished.

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That little jeep is almost 40 years old and the transfer case is a great bit of technology. Unfortunately, even with the diff lock it didn’t move the container very much. The fact that I was on loose gravel didn’t help.

And finally jacked up with the hi-lift and some blocks underneath.
Perfect!

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Gardening

The garden is coming along nicely. Each time I go to the island I take a few bales of sugar cane mulch to spread on the trenches. Here is the jeep fully loaded. It’s days like this that I miss the old troop carrier.

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The pole on the roof rack is an aluminium lifting boom from a Nordhaven yacht. I bought it from a boatyard for the bargain price of $50. It has a 24v winch and gerhaur stainless pulley. I’m considering using it on the big truck or in my workshop to lift items.

I’m still spreading gravel around the yard and on the driveways. The Lilly Pilly trees are growing quickly and I’ve already given them a trim to promote some lower growth. Hopefully by next Christmas they will begin to form a hedge and hide the ugly fencing.

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Jeep Issues

Problems with the jeep. The body mounts on the side aren’t working and the rear brakes are playing up. I paid to have all the brakes rebuilt and they still have issues. It’s so frustrating when people don’t do things right the first time. They don’t realise when they say, “just bring it back and I’ll fix it” that it means time off work and further expenses. The job I paid for ends up costing me hundreds of dollars more in inconvenience. Frustrating!

The other frustrating item are the new gauges. I paid a small fortune for “Classic Instruments” gauges and the tacho was defective from new. It had a dirty smear mark on the inside and looked like it had been water damaged. The dealer offered to repair it under warranty but it was defective from new and not a matter of warranty. I don’t have the time for the fight so anyway it’s still crap even after the bodgy repair job since it now fogs up on cold mornings, has dust particles inside and still has remnants of the dirty smear marks. I will be writing more on these gauges in the near future. They are crap and will be going in the bin. I’ll be buying a better brand next time. If you are considering new gauges, give Classic Instruments a wide berth and go for something better known and a company who has dealers who stand by the product and don’t just fob their customer off.

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CJ7 Project

I was born in 1972 and I can remember well as a kid the cars of the 70’s, especially the big American cars. I remember when I was about 12 I loved the big Ford Broncos and jeeps with their soft tops and big tyres. These are the advertisements I remember as a kid.

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I’ve always had an interest in restoring cars and I suppose it’s the romance of having something old and imperfect that appeals to me. I’ve always had old cars. The first car I restored was a VW beetle when I was about 19. That was a little beauty and by strange coincidence I came across it about 15 years later while driving interstate, but that’s another story.

So 30 years later I’m finally fulfilling my fantasies of having an 70’s model jeep. I bought a little 1979 CJ7 a while ago and although it was in pretty good condition there was plenty of work needed to get it in good running order. I’ve done a bit to it already but it’s getting to the final stage where it’s a nice usable little buggy. Since I spend most of my time on or near the water, I’ve developed a phobia of rust. I can’t stand it! No matter what steps you take to avoid it, rust will eventually rear its scaly head.
The original body on the CJ7 was of course made of sheet steel. That was replaced with a hand built fibreglass tub. Now the only steel parts on the jeep are the bonnet, doors and grill (apart from the chassis and running gear of course).
Goodbye rust!
I’ve managed to also track down some fibreglass doors which need some work but will eventually be fitted.
The great thing about the old jeeps is the availability of parts. I’ve sourced most of the parts from the U.S. where these were (and still are) ubiquitous. Parts are not only cheap but easy to find.

The most recent work includes:

All new body mounts;
New original seats from the U.S.
Spring and shackle hangers replaced;
Convert auto shifter from column to floor mount with a Lokar auto shifter;
Removal of old dash and gauges and replace with hand made custom brushed stainless panel dash and new gauges;
New soft top direct from the U.S.; and

Much more to come.