Milva potato

We planted a short row of Milva potatoes this year. Hadn’t tried them before, we usually grow some Yukon Gold, Norland, various fingerling varieties, and a blue potato. The Milva was a success, pretty good yield in so-so ground. Some grew to a fair size and appear to be more scab resistant than the other varieties. But some of the tubers had growth splits. That might have been a result of not watering regularly.

That’s a 6″/15 cm rule.


Couple more things found in the garage

This is even more self indulgent and boring than usual, but I had to show you more unearthed treasure.

Lovely little light meter. Bakelite body, great dial. Has a perforated disk that you can place over the photocell to increase the range so to speak.


And half a dozen or so 16″ BBC transcription disks. Some music, some spoken word. The disks are aluminum covered in a black lacquer.


Old saw not saved

Found the other chainsaw I mentioned in the post about the Stihl. It’s a McCulloch 5-49. Not 100% sure on the model, but it’s a McCulloch. I actually have the original manual, somewhere. The handle for the end of the bar is missing. It, the bar, manual, and one old chain was in the barn when we moved in.

I’ll never restore it so I’ll try and unload on someone nearby. If that fails then I’ll post it up for grabs here.


Vanagon – fooling around with gas pedals

Clossic displacement behaviour, I should have been doing other more important things. But I’ve been sort of obsessed by what I thought was sloppy gas pedal feel. You know, the pedal moving sideways. So instead of looking at my pedal to see what’s what, I put it down to the stock design that uses thin plastic to act as a hinge. Spoiler alert, the hinge was partially broken and that caused the sloppy feel.

But I went ahead and made a couple of pedals to try out. Here they are, pretty rough but as I said I’m just trying things out. I have a spare stock pedal, shown in the pics, I could have just installed that, why didn’t I?


Yes, pretty crude but good enough to try out. I decided on the middle one, has a spring return built in. Thought it might be interesting to see how helping the throttled close will feel. As usual installing the pedal took longer than I thought. You know I have the factory rubber mat laid over the composite foam underlay that came standard with carpet but not with the rubber mat. The rubber mat therefore didn’t fit in quite as nice as it should. It was ok though, but this time when I pulled the underlay out and it broke up even more than before I decided to trash it. There was a bit of surface rust starting in the driver’s side footwell, I wire brushed that and treated it with rust converter then a couple of coats of paint.

The stock pedal was attached to the floor by a couple of pop rivets. I drilled them out and enlarged the holes to take a pair of 10-24 threaded inserts ( I don’t have any metric threaded inserts) .

Test fitting the pedal.

I agree, without that pressed foam underlay will be more road noise coming through the floor. Haven’t figured out completely what to do about that but made a start by sticking down some thin self adhesive asphalt based tape. Yup, tar based not butyl. It’s what I had on hand and I don’t think off gassing or the tape sagging during hot weather will be an issue in this location. Good god but I ramble on. 

I have to find a better route for those wires running forward. They haven’t been taped down in place when I took the pic, bout where I did tape them really wasn’t that great. You can feel them under the mat.

Mat back in, pedal installed. The top surface of the pedal is removable. I’m thinking I might make another that is slighlty wider at the top, the extra width on the brake pedal side. It feels ok underfoot and I can feel the resistance of the extra spring. I’ve yet to road test it. 

 Ok, tried it out on drive to work. Yes it feels firmer, a little more effort to depress it. But I don’t find it a probelm. But what is a problem is that it’s too narrow. It’s approximately the same width as the stock pedal. I know I must be obsessing over this but it bugs me that half my foot is hanging off the side. Do I have some sort of mental issue, i quickly made another pad to replace the narrow one.

Oh yeah, as clunky as it looks, it’s so much better. No really, it is. I mean it, I’m not kidding. It’s the best things since the last thing I thought was the best thing since…


Old saw saved

People who know me know that I tend to hang on to things and I’ve let the barn/garage become a pigsty of unfinished projects and bits and pieces of this and that.

I hate myself for this, inside there is a minimalist trying to get out.

So this long weekend I made a start in cleaning things up. During this labour I uncovered a chainsaw that I preferred to forget. It’s a Stihl 041av given to me a few years ago by my step father. He must have bought it in the early or mid seventies and it worked fine for firewood cutting. When he gave it to me, or I should say I asked for it when I saw it being thrown out, he told me that it just came back from the shop with the terminal sentence of not being fixable. Ha! I said.

I took it home and got the pull start mechanism mostly working and fired it up. Snarled like a beast and then stopped. Couldn’t pull start it, seemed to be seized. I looked in the gas tank and the liquid was clear. What the heck? What was in there? No oil mix for sure.

I was really disheartened. I felt like a pillock. I put the saw in the garage and tried to forget about it but it nagged at me. Today I uncovered it during my clean up and, in a perfect example of optimism over experience, I gave the cord a pull. It turned over. No way, could it be? Gassed it up with proper mix and it fired right up. What a noise, like a real chainsaw. And it has power, test cutting in maple it seemed to have more power than my old reliable Husqevarna 353. But boy is it heavy, yes much heavier than the husky and no chain brake. Sort of hell on wheels. A back up saw now, but for an old man like me it’s a tiring one.


Vanagon – Westy luggage rack mod

Good friend Stephan came across a Westy owner who made a very interesting hinged cover for the luggage rack. You all know that area is a source of wind noise and some owners have put in a flat plate to reduce the turbulence caused by the front edge of the rack.  This mod is a bit different and although I’d love to meet the owner and have him argue the reason for the trailing edge design, the entire structure looks very well made.

Got a couple more pics. Yes there are latches on the front.


Trip – fogust in the Klanawa valley

Quick report on a four day trip into the Klanawa valley here on Vancouver Island. It’s the main east west valley between Nitinat watershed and the Alberni Inlet. We like this watershed despite it being extensively logged, you don’t meet many other travellers and it has a few special spots. We’ve exported this area a few times, “Klanawa” and the search box on the right will bring up previous posts.

First night was at a small lake. You have no idea how good it felt swimming in that lake after the 3.5 hr hot and dusty drive. Ok it’s hyperbole, but jeez it felt good.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the fog from the Pacific was thick the next morning. Dripping wet and chilly. So off we went further west into the fog and found a hill to climb out of it.

About 450 meters elevation we broke through the fog.

We parked on the side of the hill, facing south. By about 2 pm the fog retreated back to the coast. We got too hot, drove down to the Tsocowis river/creek and cooled off. This creek never seems to warm up, its not head numbing cold but it’s not “let’s just float around and enjoy life” warm either.

Than back up the hill and set up for the night. 

The road went a bit higher but no better southern view up there. Spot the van?

Yup, the fog/cloud creep back in the evening.

We smelled propane that day, I tried (soapy water) to find the leak. Somewhere at the tank I thought. No luck at detecting it. Ran out of propane during that night. Sheesh. So on Monday we packed up and drove into Bamfield to fill up with propane. Also took the guard off the tank and was able to get a bit of tightening on one fitting. Or maybe it was the spit valve leaking? In any event the leak didn’t re occur. Thought about staying at the campsite at Pacheena Bay, but decided to go back to our spot on the hill after some unsuccessful exploring for the other perfect spot. Do you get the idea we like high places with no one else around?

Yup, fog back in the morning. Actually I forget which morning.

Next day we drove back down into the clouds ( to be honest, the entire valley cleared up around 12 pm). This shot gives you an idea of the maximum grade of most of the roads. I think this is about 18, maybe 20%. Sometimes you find it steeper, and often it’s quite a bit steeper around the switch back corners.

Well that’s it, short report. To be honest it all seems much of a muchness and pretty dull stuff. But the pics don’t do justice at all to how spectactular the area is, and really how much fun it is to explore.