Tuesday, September 29, 2020

What I've been doing instead of cards

 I have not really done any card stuff this month at all. Instead, all my time has been spent working on models. For the past 9 years, since 2011, I've been in a major slump, where nothing I had been trying to do worked. I still grinded out of a few models most years, but I have thought about leaving the hobby totally. On multiple occasions. I didn't, though, and finally saw some success returning in 2018 and 2019. It all came together in 2020. My normal success rate on doing anything is under 10%...or at least it had been since 2011. For some reason, and I don't know what other than all the failures taught me what NOT to do...but in 2020, I'm operating at an about 95% success rate! As you probably know by now my passion in modeling is documenting NASCAR history in scale. in 2007 I finished 21 NASCAR models...my all time record. It got worse after that...For the entire decade of the 2010s, I finished a grand total of 15 NASCAR models. 5 of them were last year...but in 2020, I've already completed 11 NASCAR models, and I have 4 more that will be done in short order...and more than 30 more in various stages of completion! 

Here are the first ten models I've completed this year. Since it is the first time since '07 that I've completed 10 in a year, I wanted to celebrate so I made this chart. All but the first three were finished in September, and the 11th, not yet photographed, was as well. May finish off one more before the month ends as well. 

Here's a little blurb about each build:

1988 #63 Jocko Maggiacomo. This is a car I never expected to be able to build. Then decals were surprisingly made. Jocko is from Poughkeepsie, NY, the next town away from me (actually it's a city, but, you know). I actually went past Jocko's race shop, where the real car was built, many times, but didn't know it until it exploded due to a gas leak circa 2004. Luckily it was the middle of the night and no one was hurt. Jocko is most well known for t-boning Bobby Allison at Pocono in 1988, in this car, ending both of their careers. It is the first #63 I've built- and is in fact the only #63 possible to build. 

1999 #58 Hut Stricklin. This is a pretty obscure car, running only three races in mid/late 1999. My main goal right now is to build one of every number and I needed #58, so I built it. 

1981 #22 Stan Barrett. Another more obscure car, Barrett was supposed to be the full time driver of the Skoal Bandit team, but it didn't go well and he and the team parted ways after only 10 races. Harry Gant replaced him...and stayed with the team, albeit with two owners, until he retired after 1994! This project is one that had been stalled out since 2008, because I messed up the paint. I was able to polish it and save it, which is a big deal- first thing I've ever successfully polished. 

2016 #16 Greg Biffle. I wanted to build this one because the paint scheme, only used at Daytona in February 2016,  reminded me of the chicken bucket. It is also the first #16 I've built. The roof and trunk stripes are supposed to go the entire length of both but the decals are too short. I didn't want to spend the money on a second set just to get more stripes.

1999 #24 Jeff Gordon Star Wars. This was a tough one- the hardest decal job I've ever done. The entire car was covered in full body wrap decals, and it was the first full body wrap ever made in decal form..when the car was new. Decals don't age particularly well and this was a major, major challenge. I don't build Busch cars of Cup drivers as a general rule, but I will make exceptions for certain cars. This one has been in progress since 2012 at least,  that's when I posted an in progress shot to my Fotki. 

2001 #36 Ken Schrader. This car was raced only once, the first race after September 11th, 2001. M&Ms took their logo off the car and made it just look like a flag. Totally coincidentally, I finished this on September 11th, 2020.

1969 #98 LeeRoy Yarbrough. I built this one now because the box got wet and moldy and I lost a place to store it, so I figured, might as well build it. Unfortunately I painted the hood black before I realized that the decals were specifically for the white hood version. I later determined that the car ran white hoods in 1969 and black hoods in 1970. If I can locate another hood, I will paint it up and transfer this black one to another car. It's only the second Mercury race car I've ever built.

1998 #12 Jeremy Mayfield. A car I have great memories of, and one I've always wanted to build. Finally, I did, although the Pegasus on the side is way too large and shattered on me badly. As a bonus, it's the first #12 I've built, surprisingly, as that's a popular number with a lot of different decals available. 

1992 #1 Rick Mast. This one is, by far, my favorite build of the year. I have been trying to build this car since 2005. This is the third different body I've started trying to do it. I had to combine decals from 6 different sheets to build it since there was never a sheet made for it, specifically. I also had to polish it...a lot of work went into this build. Rick himself commented on it on Twitter! 

2005 #16 Greg Biffle.  I actually started this one in 2019, before I even had the decals for the KFC car, but it took longer to fix it so I ended up completing the KFC car 3 weeks earlier. Pretty unusual for me to build two cars from the same driver in one month, as I am all over the map. Now I have to decide which 16 I want to put into my chart. 

I'm not sure if I ever showed the chart on here...back in April I made something in PhotoScape that shows the numbers I've built and the spaces for the ones I have not built yet. Since I made it in April, I've finished 4 new numbers, and was able to add 36...not a new number, but I was unable to find the photo of the #36 I had built previously. Not pictured above is #03, which I finished last night. I have #s 02, 48, 57 and 60 progressing nicely and other numbers will join them, hopefully. Since I paint outside, it usually gets too cold to build by the end of October so they may have to wait until 2021. I'm doing fast work, but not rushing. If I didn't want to put in the effort to make them right, I could go a lot faster, but I want to have something I'm happy to look at, instead of looking at it and thinking "I could have done so much better"

Although the number project is my main focus, it's not the only things I'm doing. Finally able to build properly, I'm jumping all over and doing cars I've always wanted to do, which includes another #7, #8, #11, #42, 43, 98, and more. 

The biggest thing holding me back over the years was body work. Monogram made the bodies in multiple parts, where the real cars did not have these huge gaps, and I couldn't live with just ignoring them anymore. I have been fighting with the seams for more than 15 years, and always failing. Until 2020. At Christmas last year we visited a hardware store, which has a Christmas train display, and I purchased a tube of Bondo. I had read that it was the best thing to use several years previously, but had not been able to find it. That changed everything, literally, this was what I needed and now I've been able to do seams. That has allowed me to pull out dozens of old projects- about 30- that I had considered failed projects. I have been able to resurrect them, and although I have not finished any of the cars that I resurrected with the filler, they are coming, soon. I got the first coat of paint on one of them and getting closer to paint on many others. It's not exactly a fast process but I'm getting there, and spending a lot of time working on it. 

In fact, I'd be working on models now, but it's going to be rainy for the next three days, and I took tonight off to watch the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals. (writing this at 1:40 AM on Tuesday...basically still Monday)
But even though I'm not actually working on models today I'm still thinking about them, still looking at my chart thinking about what cars I want to build for those numbers, and more. My modeling hobby has my full attention and will continue to do so until it gets too cold to build this year. 

Wednesday is my brother's birthday so I likely wouldn't be doing much building that day anyway, since we will need to celebrate that occasion! 

It really feels good to be able to say "I build race cars" again. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Lake George run

 We were scheduled to spend a week in Lake George, capped off with the Adirondack Nationals, which is my favorite week of the year. Well, then the coronavirus happened. Put an end to that. However, knowing that many of the cars would be in town anyway, my brother and I made a one-day trip up and back, along the way stopping at the Saratoga Automobile Museum so I could see the Dyson Exhibit, and say goodbye to the two cars from the permanent collection that they are auctioning off this coming weekend (or they have already by the time I publish this, not sure)

Our first stop was the Capital District Welcome Center. It opened last year and has become a favorite stop.
Me in front of the bas relief of the Albany skyline.
The new exit on the Northway, specifically for the Albany International Airport, is now open. They said it would open during 2020 and they were correct. 

This photo, of the Twin Bridges over the Mohawk River, is my favorite photo from the entire trip.

Part of the reason for going on this adventure was to get my favorite places for my Places I've Been project, which I began last October- just weeks after we had been in Lake George. 
Does this business make you bloggers think of anyone? :) 
Now at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, we see the Dyson Racing exhibit. Dyson Racing is based in Poughkeepsie, NY, which is the next town from me. 

One of the cars in their Auction is the van used in the Dumb & Dumber movie. I've never seen it and have no intention to, but you better believe I will photograph the van.

The most famous Dyson car.
An actual AAR Eagle.

1913 Isotta Fraschini race car. There are better lit images in the album, but this photo is just too cool.

An unrestored Model T.
This Pierce-Arrow...
...and the Maxwell are the two that are being sold at auction. The 1910 Maxwell- the second oldest car in the museum- is being sold with no reserve so it was absolutely my last chance to see it. It's the only Maxwell I've ever seen. I'm quite unhappy they are leaving. Maxwell, if you don't know, became Chrysler, after Walter P. Chrysler bought it and renamed it after himself in the early 1920s. He would later buy Dodge Brothers and launch Plymouth, DeSoto and Imperial, becoming one of the "Big Three" auto companies, with Ford and General Motors. 
This Franklin Airman was once owned by Charles Lindbergh, and was also once part of the Henry Ford Museum collection. 

One of the cars used in filming the Christene movie. Which I refuse to watch since I know what they do to one of the cars. 
After we left the museum, we had to get lunch, and Long John Silver's was the choice...long one of our favorites, we can only get it up there. Well, it was drive-through only...what to do. We couldn't get chicken grease on the steering wheel or my camera, so my brother had the idea to use some of the gloves that my mom keeps in the car- and it worked perfectly! We were both able to eat and then just took off the gloves- no grease on our hands at all. Perfect. Now every time I look at this image it makes me hungry for more. If only it wasn't almost 3 hours away...
The Northway in Queensbury- one of my favorite views in the world. Prospect Mountain in the distance, a place we have been.
Didn't expect to see an airplane in the water!

I always knew this is the exact spot I would take my photo for Lake George in my Places I've Been project.

Lake George isn't ALL about the water, there's also scenes like this.

Now, while the Adirondack Nationals were cancelled, many of the cars went up anyway...and there was all kinds of controversy about it. So much so that they may not allow the show to come back, which would really stink. But here are some old cars anyway. 

We didn't actually get out of the car in Lake George. It may be our only trip there this year, I don't know yet. I sure hope not.

The photos are broken up into three places on my website: Lake George 2020 Dyson Racing Exhibit 2020 Adirondack Nationals

As an aside, Blogger seems to have changed the photo addition tool in the middle of creating this post, so if the sizing is off that's why. 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Roebling's Aqueduct and into the Forest(burgh)

 Last week my brother and I took three adventures- our first three in months- when he had the week off from work that was originally scheduled for Lake George. Although I already posted about Space Farms, which was our second adventure, the first was actually back to Roebling's Aqueduct. 

Back on March 1st, our last Adventure, we visited Roebling's Aqueduct, which connects Barryville, NY, to Lackawaxen, PA. But it was freezing cold, there was all kinds of glare, and I didn't realize my camera was zoomed in, and the historical markers were all messed up. We knew we had to go back, and finally, we did. As an aside, it's awfully hard to use a smart phone camera when you can't feel your fingers.

The overlook on I-84 heading towards Port Jervis is a favorite of mine...although the historical markers there are unreadable. 
That little white dot that I circled is actually an airplane, and we were ABOVE it on I-84, as it was going in for a landing somewhere in either Pennsylvania or New Jersey. I'm not sure where it landed, as all three states meet in that area. 
Going up Route 97 means the Hawks Nest- a curvy road on the side of a cliff. It's ok going north, scary as heck going south. We didn't come back the same way.
You can see the Delaware River down in the valley below. That's what separates NY from PA. 
We are now in the parking lot for the Aqueduct, looking at the Delaware River, and into Pennsylvania.

And here's the Aqueduct
There were a TON of caterpillar nests in the trees, more than I've ever seen, over there. 
This sign made me laugh, and got "got a mule, her name is Sal" in my head for the rest of the day, even though it was a different canal.
We walked the towpath, which is where the mules once walked, pulling boats along the Delaware River and the D&H Canal.
The Delaware River is really peaceful and beautiful. I could see myself spending many days in those chairs watching the water. Nowadays it's somewhat secluded, but back in the day it was a major commercial river. You can see some of the remains of one of the lochs in the foreground from when it was a working river.

We saw a ton of Kayakers that day. Probably about 20 of them. OK, so 20 may not be a ton, but it's the most I've ever seen in one place. (To compare my use of "ton", there were literally thousands of caterpillar nests)

The buttress was impressive. 
Looking up at the bottom of the Aqueduct.

I like big buttresses and I cannot lie.

I also took a video while standing here but I have not figured out how to load it on the new blogger format yet.

That water there is a remnant of the D&H Canal...and looks like it hasn't been touched since the Canal was closed in 1898. It's completely closed in and stagnant. 

Really weird pattern on the tree.
Although hard to capture in a still photo, this is an eddy, where the water flows backward in a circular pattern. There are many along the Delaware, and they give their name to many towns along it.
This is as far as we went on the Towpath, the further we went the more bugs there were so back we went.

Now we begin to see some historical signs. They are only shown in full here, but I have closeups of the words on my Fotki, which the link is placed at the bottom.

Looking down at the towpath we just walked.
Because it used to be filled with water, for boats, the cars are actually down low in the bridge. When you drive across it- which we did back in March, but not this time- you can't actually see the water.

You can see where the remains of the dam are still in the water.
Pretty sure we have now crossed into Pennsylvania by this point, walking across the bridge.
Looking back into NY

There were a ton of cars crossing the bridge that day. When we visited in March there were maybe 4 the entire time we were there.

That brown house on the right has some great views of the River...and they can hear it too, as the bridge is in an area of rapids. 

It must have looked a lot different back in the day. This is a detail shot of the sign in Lackawaxen.
Taken in PA looking back at NY
The bridge, and the remains of the Dam, make the area directly south of the bridge into a rapids. 

I held my camera out over the side and pointed straight down. This is not without risk as there's no strap on a smart phone.
Even the carving is nice.

I decided that I want to live in that giant brown house, or one of the ones in Lackawaxen, and spend a lot of time watching the water. 

There's a somewhat less stagnant remainder of the D&H Canal.

OK, being honest, I mostly took this for the Mustang.

Unfortunately, the Toll House museum was closed due to the corona virus...meaning we will be back at some point. 

This is inside the museum, taken through the window.
Taken from the museum's porch.

When looking up the town of Barryville NY, where this is located, on Wikipedia, they had an incorrect date for the toll house, so I corrected it. Only the third time I've edited Wikipedia. (Just in case you are curious, the other two were correcting the listing for Jebidiah Springfield, and clarifying the entry for Kari LaRaine Miller to make it clear that she was not driving drunk, but had been hit by a drunk driver- information taken from her Topps card)

After we left the Aqueduct, we headed inland, exploring some new towns...along the way, we found the Mongaup Reservoir, which was also very peaceful and serene.

This is representative of most of the roads we were on that day. Small, two-lane, curvy, and mostly woods around. It isn't called Forestburgh for no reason! 
We ended up finding a cool old house, which we stopped for a photo session of. 

Nobody celebrates sesquicentennials anymore.

There were a lot of little old houses along the way. I'm big time into architecture and I enjoyed seeing them.
We crossed and drove along the Minisink river. 
I didn't expect to find a race track, but there one was!
The burial sight of the first European settler in Sullivan County, who fought in the Revolution. His house once stood here but it's totally gone now.
We ended up back on Route 17, which I'm not particularly fond of, despite enjoying superhighways as a general rule.
Great old barn.
Finally back on I-84, crossing the Hudson river on the way home.

We ended the trip at Wendy's and I saw two old cars. I didn't photograph the spicy nuggets I got. 

I took "only" 397 photos on this trip, which you can see here: Roebling's Aqueduct

Thanks for reading!