Friday, October 29, 2010

Prescott Report

Our travel to Prescott Arizona went just about exactly as planned. Our flight out of Seattle left right on time, and we qarrived in Phoenix a few minutes early. We picked up our Renta-Jeep at the airport, and the drive to Prescott even was uneventful. We even had our choice of three Jeep SUV's. The motel where we are staying has a Mexican restaurant attached, and we had dinner there on Wednesday night. Thursday we had quite a good buffet breakfast at the motel (included in the room charge). After breakfast we drove the roughly 25 minutes from Prescott out to the range.

We arrived just as they were getting the final settup completed for the first day's shooting. They were going to shoot their regular Thursday "Mini'Steel" match and also the first day of the three day Arizona State Steel Challenge Championships all on the same day. For Championship entrants entering three classes, they would shoot their first class on Thursday, their second class ofn Friday, and their third class on Saturday. If a Championship entrant was only shooting two classes, they would shoot on Friday and Saturday, and Championaship entrants only shooting one class would shoot their match on Saturday. Since KeeWee and I are both only entering one class, we will shoot the Championship on Saturday. That meqant that we could shoot the Thursday Mini-Match if we wanted to. COOL! Small problem, though. We only brought enough ammo for the main match, but not enough for two matches, even if one of them is a small one.

We had about an hour and a half until the shooter's meeting, so we decided to drive back into town and pick up some more. One of the guys at the range told us about J&G Sales in Prescott, so that's where we headed. J&G Sales is a little bit off the main road and it sits back aways from the street, but their sign was big enough tyhat we spotted the place and pulled in. Although it was just before Noon on a Thursday, their parking lot was almost full. When we entered the store it was quite busy, with a number of customers at the counter and several firearms sales underway. There appeared to be an excellent selection of hand guns and long guns in stock, although I didn;t have time to do any browsing on this visit. Looking behind the counter I saw what appeared to be and excellent selection of ammo, and few, if any, empty spaces on the shelves. Although there was a short wait to be helped, a very courteous young man waited on us, and even apologised for having to wait. I've been in gun shops that weren't at all busy and it still took much longer than that to even get an employee to help you! We were both impressed, to say the least! I picked out a brick of Federal for KeeWee, and 200 rounds of Eley Sport 40 gr. for myself. I haven't used much Eley Sport, but I ran a few hundrede rounds through my race gun a while back, and it seemed really similar to CCI Standard Velocity. Strangely, J&G Sales had no CCI on hand at all.

We quickly paid for our ammo and scurried back out to the range. We arrived just a few minutes before the shooter's meeting, so I had a few minutes to assemble the guns and get all of our gear sorted out for the match. The mini-match, or "Thursday Steel" as they call it, would be five stages of Steel Challenge, but only three runs on each stage, with one throw-our run per stage. It should go by qiuckly, but it would also be a good chance to get in a little shooting before the main match, so we could be sure everything was working as it should.

After we had everything ready to go we walked over to the covered area to sign up and for the shooter's meeting. I looked up from the signup sheet t osee a familiar face, but for just a second I was drawing a blank. ""I move 2,000 miles tp Prescott so I wouldn't have to shoot against you anymore, and you show up down here anyway!" he says jokingly! It was Jasn Schmaling whom I used to shoot against in the rimfire bowling pin matches in Custer, Washington, up near the Canadian border. Jan is a great guy and an excellent shooter, and I remember having some very close matches against him several years ago. It seems Jan moved to Prescott, and has been doing very well in the local matches. What a great surprise to run into Jan here in Prescott! We didn't get to squad with Jan on Thursday as he was shooting three classes in the Championships s ohe was in one of the Championship squads and we were in one of the Thursday Steel squads.

The Eley Sport ammo was a definite question mark for me, as ammunition definitely performs differently at altitude than it does at sea level.Most of the time I'm shooting within a few hundred feet of sea level, and the Prescott range is close to 6,000 feet. That's a big difference! Some powder produces higher energy at altitude, and some produces less. Why? Beats me, but it all depends on the individual powder.

One the very first shot string on the first stage the second round didn't feed properly. I cleared it, and finished the string, but the time was terrible, and I was wondering if this Eley was going to be a nightmare all day. The second string went fine, though. The third string I screwed up the time all by myself, and even with the throw out of the worst string, I had a lousy time for the first stage. The rest of the match everything ran perfectly, and in no time the match was over. I had managed a couple of decent stages, a couple of OK stages, and the first stage nightmare! Fortunately this was just a fun match, but it was a good tune-up. The light is very bright and there's a lot of glare, so it was good to shoot in those conditions a bit.

we loaded up our gear, and headed back to Prescott for dinner. We had heard there was a Golden Corral Buffet nearby, and we both like buffet dinners, so that's where we ate. After dinner it was back to the motel for a good night's sleep. When I got back to the motel I fired up the netbook, and the results from the Thursday Steel match were already on line. The guys at Prescott Action Shooters have definitely got it together!

Friday was planned to be a big day, starting out with a tour of the Ruger factory, followed with some sight-seeing. We also will need to get the race guns cleaned and checked over for the big match on Saturday.

Stay tuned.........

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Daniel Brauchli Lost Highway on a Weissenborn Guitar

Since KeeWee and I are on the road (and in the air) today headed to Prescott, Arizona, I thought a little "Highway Music" would be appropriate. "Damiphino" pointed me to this video a while back. Both Daniel Brauchli's skill and the beautiful tone from the Weissenborn guitar are something to see and hear. Oh, and he sings pretty good, too!

Granted, he's using a decent mike and equipment to record this video, but still, if you've ever tried to do a home recording and get it to sound decent, you can appreciate this video. I can only imagine how good it must sound live!

There's some more videos of Daniel Brauchli on Youtube if you want to hear more.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All Packed, Ready (?) to Hit The Road

KeeWee and I are all packed and ready to head out to Prescott, Arizona. We drive to the local grocery store parking lot, board a shuttle bus, and the shuttle takes us across the Clinton to Mukilteo ferry, and then drives us to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where we catch a flight to Phoenix. In Phoenix we rent a car, then drive to Prescott. We plan to take it easy on Thursday, visit the Ruger Factory on Friday, and shoot in the Arizona State Steel Challenge Championships on Saturday. On Sunday we will again take it easy and do a little sight-seeing. On Monday we reverse the route and fly home. Hopefully things will go smoothly, and we can actually get in a little vacationing on either side of the match.

I should have some internet access while we're in Prescott, so I may get a chance to blog a bit, who knows......


Monday, October 25, 2010

SSG Adam Sahlberg and the "DA Best Warrior 2010" Competition

I met Adam only once, at the 2008 Eddie Brown Memorial Steel Match in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. If the name "Sahlberg" sounds a little familiar to some of you Pacific Northwest Shooters, Adam's Dad Bill is the match director for the Eddie Brown Memorial Steel Match.

There is a Army-wide competition for the "Best Warrior" each year, and you have to win some lower level Best Warrior Competitions to be invited to the overall championships.

From SSG Adam's FaceBook:

Adam Sahlberg: A big thank you to all of you who supported me- especially my wife Kristena. I was able to
reign as the "raw data" champion, but the real competition winner is SSG McDougal from the NCR. "Additional factors" exist for the Army's purpose and I couldn't be happier for the new DA Best Warrior for 2010.

SSG Adam Sahlberg

Congratulations, Adam, you make us all proud!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

As usual, times seems to be flying by

As usual, times seems to be flying by, barely allowing time to just manage to get things done on time. I've been trying to get in some range time every day, as next Wednesday KeeWee and I leave for Prescott, Arizona, for the Arizona State Steel Challenge Championships to be held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I've also got plans to get a media tour through the Ruger factory while we're in town. We will be actually shooting the match on Saturday, so we will get in a little sight-seeing on Thursday and on Sunday, before flying back home on Monday. Sadly, this is the last major match of the season, although there will be steel matches through the Winter. This year I am going to try and shoot as many of those as I can, even if the weather is lousy, so maybe by next Spring I will have improved, at least a little bit!

I've been watching the airfares to Holland for next year's European Steel Challenge Championships, and it's not looking too good, at least so far. Two years ago we got round trip tickets for a bit over $600 each. Last year it had gone up to over $1,100 per ticket, and so far it's been around $1,600 per ticket for next Spring. I wonder if yo can get an airline to sponsor a shooter? Like Delta, perhaps? Otherwise I need to either win the lottery or find a metric ton of frequent flier miles! I've been the only American at the European Championships the last two years, and it just doesn't seem right that we don't have some Americans over there. Time will tell, I guess....

I've also been working really hard trying to set up a new business, importing and distributing a European firearms related product. The product is good, but the amount of paperwork and hoops through which to jump is enough to discourage most folks early in the process. I hope I can get it to all fall into place, but again, time will tell.

That's the latest for now, but you never know what tomorrow may bring!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Things To Think About......

  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong.
  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
  • I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.
  • A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.
  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "If an emergency, notify:" I put "DOCTOR".
  • I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on I said "Implants?"
  • Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America ?
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  • Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.
  • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.
  • Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
  • There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.
  • I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lime, and a shot of tequila.
  • When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  • You're never too old to learn something stupid.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
  • Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
  • A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
  • If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Interesting Day......

Mount Rainier and a beautiful DC-3 at Thun Field.
The original plan was simple: on sunday morning we'd catch the 7:30 ferry to Mukilteo, then drive the hour and a half South to Puyallup and shoot the Paul Bunyan Steel Match. After the match we'd grab some lunch, then drive back to the ferry and then home. Right...........

Saturday afternoon, the day before, the Washington State ferry folks broke one of the 130 (approx) car ferries. Normally there are two ferries running every half hour each way. Instead of running the remaining ferry a bit faster and heading across as soon as the boat was loaded, they decided to stick to the one round trip per hour schedule, just as if the second boat was still running. Needless to say, cars were backed up for miles and it took many hours to finally get to the dock for the fifteen minute crossing. With that in mind, we decided to arrive at the ferry dock at least an hour in advance of the 7:30am trip, since the Sunday morning boats aren't usually too full, but with only one boat running they may be more full than usual. That plan worked fine, and we made the 7:30 run without problems, other than having to sit in the car on the ferry dock for longer than usual.

The drive to Puyallup was mostly uneventful, although I missed one of the exits due to a combination of fog, construction, and poor signage. At the next exit I was able to loop back around and get back to the correct exit and on our way. By the time we got to Puyallup the fog was starting to burn off, and it looked like we were in for a pretty nice Fall day, not a "Gully-Washer" lake last Saturday at Kitsap.

The Paul Bunyan steel matches are usually only five stages long, and the stage layout is always something different. Double-taps, triple-taps, five on the same plate, plates close together, plates spread out all over the place, you never know what to expect. This time there were a lot of medium difficulty size plates usually quite close together, and sometimes one "Orphan" plate off on one side or the other. All of the stages were very very fast. Since it is only five stages, they let you enter the same class twice with the same gun, or enter multiple classes with different guns so you can get in a lot of shooting. I entered Open class twice and KeeWee entered it once.  Interestingly, all rimfire pistols and all centerfire open guns (optic sights, compensators, etc) are all in the same class. Some of the regulars weren't there as they were of hunting deer as it was opening weekend. Even so ,we had approximately fifty guns entered, which isn't a bad turnout for this late in the year and the weather always being an unknown.

Scott and I had a lot of fun seeing who could get the fastest single run on each stage between us. Scott is an absolutely amazing shooter, and even though he was shooting a Glock 35 in .40 caliber, a much slower setup, our times were often within hundredths of a second apart. On a steel match this is a very bad strategy if you are trying to win, as when you throw caution to the wind trying for fast runs you also get a lot of slow runs mixed in as you tend to miss a lot and have to take extra shots. The strategy for winning is to try to get four good runs per stage first, then go for it on the fifth run knowing that if you mess it up it gets thrown out anyway. We were shooting most every run like it was our fifth run! Since fast misses are always more fun than slow hits, we had a lot of fun, but had a lot of misses, too!

It seemed like the match was over quickly, and our squad picked up all of the target stands and plates and carried them to the storage shed so the guys who set everything up wouldn't have to.

A lot of the scores had not yet been totaled, but I had a look at KeeWee and my scores, and KeeWee had done very well. When I said that they were fast stages, I wasn't exaggerating.  My total time on one of my entries was 45.01  seconds. That figures out to 9 seconds per stage, or 2.5 seconds per shot string. I wish I could get those sort of times on the full scale Steel Challenge stages! Since all of the scores hadn't been totaled, I have no idea where I finished, but we sure did have a lot of fun flingin' lead downrange!

After the match we stopped at the restaurant at Puyallup/Thun Field for lunch and airplane watching. If you enjoy watching airplanes, the restaurant at Thun field is outstanding. Just outside the picture windows is the gas pump, a tie=down area, and just beyond that is the taxiway and runway. In addition to the usual Pipers and Cessnas, there was an amazing variety of aircraft of all types coming, gassing up, and departing. There were several RV's, a Navion, a Stearman, a J3 Cub, a Super Cub, A Pitts s1-S, a ten or twelve passenger twin turbo-prop, and more. Parked in from was a beautiful DC-3. Last month we watched a Helio-Courier land, re-fuel, and levitate back out. Truly a great spot to eat and watch airplanes!

  After lunch we drove back to Mukilteo to catch the ferry back to Whidbey Island and home.  We had no idea how long it would take to get back to Whidbey, but it was approximately two hours to drive North, get on to Whidbey across the Deception Pass bridge, and then drive the length of Whidbey to get back home. There is a cell phone info access number for the ferry system, and that said it would be a two hour wait to get to a ferry. I'd just as soon wait the two hours as spend it driving, so we decided to get in line. The ticket seller figured it would be about two hours too. The ferry system had added a second boat to help, but it only carried thirty cars, so it would help a little bit, but not a lot.

After we had been in line for about an hour they announced that the second big ferry had also broken down, and we were now down to one ferry with a 30 car per hour capacity. I did a quick estimate, and I figured there were at least 300 cars in line and perhaps 150 of them were ahead of us. The two hour drive was looking better all the time! Unfortunately we were solidly boxed in, so getting out at all was a problem. Some of the cars started shifting around, and a few cars got out to drive around. I figured once we got clear, we'd probably do the same. After a bit, though, they announced that the big ferry was back in service, as they were able to fix whatever had gone wrong. About 15 minutes later the big ferry docked, and they started loading. To our relief, we were able to get on board, and fifteen minutes later we were back on Whidbey. Fifteen minutes after that we were home.

If the Swiss can build a 35 mile long tunnel under the Alps, why can't we build a three mile long tunnel (or bridge) from Whidbey to the mainland?

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Friday, October 15, 2010

An Easier Way To Load Pistol Magazines

Stuffing centerfire ammunition into a magazine can be a pain, and there are some aftermarket loaders that work really well to simplify the task. However, you may not always have the magazine loader with you. GG from "Girls <3 Guns" blog has made up a video that shows you an easier way to load the magazines without hurting your thumbs in the process.

Have a look:

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mossberg 500 Disassembly & Reassembly Video

An anonymous comment to an older post and video about the Mossberg 500 mentioned another youtube video that covers disassembly and reassembly of this popular shotgun. It can be a little tricky, but this video shows clearly how to do it.

If you have any trouble viewing the video, then here's a link to the video at youtube you can try.

Thanks to the commenter for pointing out this video!


Monday, October 11, 2010

A Nice Article About GBR-V at Soldier's Angels

There's a nice article about this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous up over at the Soldiers Angels / Project Valour-IT website.

Go check it out!


Amphibious Steel

Our trip over to the KRRC Steel Challenge match was kind of interesting. We made reservations for the Whidbey Island to Port Townsend ferry a couple of weeks ago, and when we go that way instead of going across the Clinton-Mukilteo and then Edmonds-Kingston ferries it saves us about $40 in ferry fares. The problem with the Port Townsend ferry route is that if the wind is blowing, or it's foggy, or the tide is too low, or whatever, they cancel the run. The weather forecast looked like fog shouldn't be a problem, but there was some wind forecast. Not a big wind storm, but some wind, none the less. The ferry did leave almost on time though, and even through the whitecaps we only got hit with salt spray a couple of times. Because of the rough water the skipper took a longer route across to Port Townsend, avoiding much of the worst areas. We arrived a bit late, but not bad considering conditions. The one hour plus drive to the range near Bremerton was uneventful. After stopping by the range for a bit, we headed down to the Big Apple Diner for dinner, one of our favorite places to eat. After a big dinner we headed back to the range for the night. Even though gun ranges are pretty noisy during the day, they are usually very quiet at night, and  the KRRC range was nice and quiet all night. We hit the sack early and got a good night's sleep, although one of the outdoor parking lot lights would turn on and off every so often, and that woke KeeWee up a few times. I didn't notice it at all.

Saturday morning I pitched in and helped get the steel plates and target stands put out into the various pistol bays for the match. The wind from Friday had disappeared, but was now replaced by heavy mist alternating with rain. It looked like it was going to be a wet one, for sure. Fortunately there were covered areas at each bay so you could keep out of the rain most of the time.

After the short shooter's meeting we headed out to shoot the match, and try to keep from getting totally soaked in the process. Although it was raining most of the day, the temperature was mild and there was no wind, so even when you got wet it wasn't all that cold. Ty, Aaron, and Steve (?) from Yakima came West to give KRRC a try, and we squadded together, along with Scott, Matt, Matt's Mom Liz, and KeeWee. Even though we all got pretty wet, we had a great time!

After the match most of the shooter's took off, leaving just a few of us to break down all the stages and haul everything back into storage. If you shoot IPSC, SASS, IDPA, or steel matches, you should make an effort to help set up and break down the match. Those of us that set the match up would like to go home right after the match too, and if you hang around after the match for a bit and help us put everything away, then WE get to go home sooner, too. At least ASK the match director if he needs a hand. If he's got enough help already, that's fine, but most of the time it's the same folks doing all the hard work, so why not show a little appreciation and help out a bit?

By the time we had put everything away, we had run out of time to get something to eat before driving back to Port Townsend to catch the ferry back to Whidbey Island. I had a breakfast roll left over from morning, and Keewee had some peanut butter and bread, so that was our "On the Road" dinner as we drove back to Port Townsend. The ferry ride back to Whidbey was much smoother, and by 8 p.m. we were back home, tired, still a bit soggy, and ready for some sleep.

A long, soggy day, but a lot of fun in spite of the weather!

Next match: Paul Bunyan Steel in Puyallup on October 17th.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mr. C. on KING TV

Just before I left for Piru, California for the Steel Challenge world championships I was contacted by Mike King from KING TV in Seattle, the NBC local affiliate. He was interested in filming a short piece for their locally produced Evening Magazine program. We didn't have enough time to schedule a half day to shoot the story before I left for Piru, so we decided to get together at my practice range after I returned. Once back home from California we set a time to get together at the range.

That morning Mike (the interviewer) and Mike (the camera guy) and I hit the range for a little interviewing and a bunch of shooting. It was a lot of fun watching how something like that is filmed. It was obvious that they were really good at it, and that they had a pretty good idea of what shots and angles would tell the story best.

After they had completed the filming, I brought out a somewhat more conventional .22 caliber competition pistol and let both Mikes have a go at shooting the steel targets. They both did very well, probably well above average for first-timers!

After putting all the toys away it was lunch time, so we stopped by a local cafe and had lunch. KeeWee was now home from her morning job, so she joined us. The lunch was good, the conversation was good, and we kinda hated to see Mike and Mike leave.

Now that I've seen their final results, I think they did a fine job. If this story encourages others to get out to the range and continue in the sport they enjoy even if their eyesight isn't as good as the young guys, that would be great!

Maybe we'll see you this Saturday at the range over at the Kitsap Rifle & Revolver Club's Steel Challenge match.

Why not give it a try?


October e-Postal Match is Underway!

US Citizen at Traction Control is hosting this month's e-Postal match, and it's a nice straight forward back to basics sort of match. It's set at 7 yards, and it's all about basic accuracy. No Halloween critters, strange targets, or anything else. That is, unless you see the eyeballs of ten Homer Simpsons looking back at you. If you do, that will probably creep you out to where you can't shoot!

Don't forget, the September e-Postal match has been extended through this weekend, so why not print out some of those targets too and shoot both matches this weekend?

The more times you enter the better your chances of winning a $50 gift certificate from Cheaper Than Dirt. The certificate is awarded by random drawing, not by score, so get those entries in ASAP.

Have fun!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Yakima Steel - A Short Report

We got back from the Yakima Rifle & Pistol Association's five stage Steel Challenge match yesterday evening. The traffic wasn't too bad, although I-405 through and around Bellevue wasn't a lot of fun. The weather in Yakima was really nice, somewhere in the upper 70's to low 80's during the day and around 50 at night. From now on through the Fall and Winter the mountain pass conditions deteriorate big time, so we don't know if we'll be able to get back to Yakima until Spring. Sometimes the passes are bare and dry during the Winter, but a few days later it's blizzard conditions. Our Mini-RV land yacht is definitely not something you'd want to drive in the snow.

The match itself was great and we all had a lot of fun. KeeWee shot well, and Matt from Kitsap showed up unexpectedly, so he and his wife Shara joined our squad. We were easily the loudest and  most fun squad of all! Since it was a five stage match we got done not long after lunch time and headed home. We stopped at Big Red's Diner in Moxee, which is only a few miles from the range, for some excellent hamburgers. From there it was a bit over four hours and we were back home.

It was a great weekend, and the RV ran perfectly both ways.

I love it when I can go somewhere and return without having to lift the hood or crawl under anything to do repairs!

For more info on the match and a few pictures, check out KeeWee's Report.


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