Saturday, May 4, 2013

More from California: Tim Kardos's Austin Mini

How about another quick round of photoblogging from California, this time on my friend Tim Kardos's Austin Mini?

Tim brought his Austin Mini to work Friday, and gave me a bit of a tour. It was fun to see it again, since I remembered it from when he first got it. That was well before I entered the world of British car ownership, but knowing somebody who had picked up a classic British car successfully was certainly one of the influences that led me to my MGB.

The Mini's 1.3L four-cylinder engine, certainly a corporate cousin of my MGB's 1.8L engine. There are some interesting differences. Tim still has the original dual SU carburetors, and the engine is transverse-mounted because the Mini is front-wheel drive. That causes the radiator to be over on the side, not facing front, and can lead to a bit of an overheating challenge. Still, in a car this small and light, a zippy 1.3L motor moves it along quite nicely

The "Does a big lummox fit?" test. The answer is "Yes, mostly." The headroom wasn't too bad, but the legroom was a bit tight. Overall, though, better than you'd expect.

One of the fun things that I'd forgotten about Tim's Mini is that it was originally an Italian car. So all of the labels on the dials and dash are in Italian.

And away goes Tim! It was great to see another cool classic British car still on the road, though I don't suppose I'll be able to persuade him to drive it out to Michigan for this year's "Battle of the Brits."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Photos for our Facebook holdout

Somebody among our little group of Patio Boat blog followers refuses to join Facebook. So when I sent her a link to the photos of my current little work trip to California, she couldn't see them at all.

So for her, and anybody else holding on to the last shreds of his or her social media independence, here are a few photos from the non-work portion of my trip to California.

I've been staying with my Aunt Carol and Uncle Joe in Berkeley this week.  They have a very nice house up in the hills.  For the first few days I stayed in the house, then this week I've been staying in the guest apartment over the garage:

I'm not lonely up here. The deer come to visit.

Here's a photo of the main house and its historical marker.

Sunset view of Mount Tam across the Bay.

This is Joe with Nell. She's a black English Lab puppy, and one of the sweetest, best natured puppies I've ever met. So why does she have the muzzle? Sadly, she was bitten by a pit bull a couple of weeks ago and pretty badly wounded with a broken jaw. She had to have some pretty extensive surgery. Then she got an infection in the wound, so she had to have another surgery today. Tonight she's in both the muzzle and the Cone of Shame.  Hopefully this time everything will heal okay.

Last Saturday my friends Tim and Jennifer Kardos hosted a little "Welcome John Back to California" shindig. Okay, the truth is that it the occasion was mostly an excuse for Tim to clear out the dribs and drabs that cluttered up his Scotch shelf.  But the Scotch was tasty and the companionship delightful:

Jeff Harm. You'd have a slightly mysterious smile, too, if you'd had that much Scotch.

The Patio Boat's faithful Indy Colts haiku correspondent, Mary Campbell-Droze, with her husband Jerry.

Your humble photoblogger. The guy in the background pointing at me and laughing is Mark Berger. He's not blurry because he's out of focus. He's blurry because he drank even more Scotch than Harm.

And finally....

... the California coast, just South of Half Moon Bay.

And that's it from Berkeley.  What I really should have here is a Russian dashcam (TM) for my daily commute across the Bay to the office in Belmont. There's a lot of crazy stuff on those highways, and it seems to have gotten crazier every year. I miss a lot of things about California sometimes. But that commute? Never.