Sony AUX-AX100 Installation

I should preface this by saying that it’s not completed yet, but I’ve mostly installed the new stereo head unit in my 1991 Mitsubishi Delica Chamonix. This whole thing turned into a bit of a wiring nightmare which is why it took me so darn long to finish up. Well, that and the fact that I decided to wait for installation of several elements until I get an intact windshield back in the van.

What Was I Dealing With?

So the van came from Japan with a karaoke machine and a TV installed. All of these electronics were vintage 1990’s junk that could only work in Japan (Japanese radio and TV stations transmit within a sperate frequency set) and I’m pretty certain that most of it was in questionable condition regardless. Consequently, my first task was to rip all that junk out of the dash. And, well pretty much the rest of the van too (the TV was wired to the back as well the microphone for the karaoke machine and a bunch of tuner equipment).

I pulled most of this wiring in about a day of diligently unscrewing headliner and lifting carpets. There are still a couple of things I’m going to need to return to once all this is complete. Primarily, the diesel-timer (a common device used for slowly cooling diesel engine after you cut the ignition) and a bunch of early 90’s lighting, but the entertainment harness, all the way to the fuse box, has been cleaned and uninsulated wire (of which there was much) has been replaced.

next came manual mapping of the harness. This took me a good long time and then was complicated by the fact that I reverse the order of the wiring on the stereo side. Oops! Eventually, I ended up double checking my map and then writing the pinouts on both sides of the harness with a permanent marker. My flawed wiring was immediately obvious then so when I rewired the stereo side everything began working.

What’s Left to Do?

The backup camera and the dash cam, on hard-wired power, need to be installed. Also, I’ve purchased a USB harness that will fit flush in the dash. That’s going to take some cutting to get it in there right, but shouldn’t be that difficult.

As soon as I get the van back I’m going to replace all the interior lighting with LED equivalents. I’ll need to completely take apart the dash this time to make this happen, but since most of the existing bulb died back in 1997, it’s a project long overdue.

I *may* spin up a second project from this to reprint the speedo template with KPH and MPH (right now it’s all metric). Given that I’ve gotten pretty good and doing the conversion math in my head it’s not necessary, but I also think I’d prefer a white background on the dash instead of the stock black.

Right now the van is with the auto body shop. Once they’re finished fixing the paint, roof, and windshield I’ll complete the electronics package installation.

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Invigorating

I just spent an hour wandering around one of the many island beaches we have here on Vashon taking pictures and wallowing in the autumn weather. Thick gray clouds, chilly air and the umami scent of big leaf maple detritus decomposing. Consequently, I’ve got sand in my shoes and a song in my heart.

 

My New Old Van

If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed a number of strange vehicle pictures creeping into my feed. If you know me at all you know that my superpowers have a weakness. My dumb ass just can’t stay away from old vans. Vanagans, microbuses, pretty much anything that looks like it was designed to roll over Martian sands. Well, I’ve gone and bought another one. This time the king-daddy of vans (IMHO) a 1991 Mitsubishi Delica L300 Chamonix Space Gear.

Mine began its life in Kyoto, Japan where, apparently, it spent most of its early years sitting in someone’s garage. It’s 26 years old and has appreciably very few miles on the odometer (81,000 when it arrived). Most systems in the vehicle resemble their state when new, although since I received it I’ve uncovered some minor issues.

Right now the biggest outstanding problem comes from it transportation. After months making its way to the Pacific North West, on the last day it was inbound, the driver of the truck it was loaded on drove it into a low-ish overhanging tree in Bellevue.

The good-ish news is that I’ll have it in the body shop next week to see how much we can unfunk.

Last Sunny Days for a While

Aral and Nathan make it to the border of Wilderness

Last Friday, because there wasn’t any school, I loaded up Aral and his good friend Nathan and meandered my way up into the Cascades. The goal was to get the boys and me out on a trail to enjoy some of the last dregs of sunshine before its gone. We ended up climbing up to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness border via the Pacific Crest Trail northbound from Snoqualmie Pass.

To be sure, this section of trail is a favorite of mine, so it’s no wonder when given an opportunity I gravitate toward it. In particular, I love the ascent up to the Kendall Katwalk because it traverses a narrow face of the mountain and goes through all the different biological regions. I should add that once you’re high enough you get out of the noise pollution of the I-90 corridor. Back in the day, I never had any trouble climbing up and out of civilization. It’s an escape route.

Friday both boys drug their feet from time to time. I’d mistakenly let them pack whatever they wanted along on the trail and so in addition to all the spare clothing and water they had in their bags they were both toating a hefty load of toys. They did this even after I warned them that the extra weight would bother them while we hiked.

Oh well. C’est la vie, non? I was able to coax them both along until we reached the Alpine Lakes Wilderness border sign. I ceremonially stepped into the wilderness and let the sunshine beat down on me for a moment. Ah, momentarily cleaner somehow. Then we traveled back down to the van in good spirits with a healthy load of vitamin-D coursing through our veins.

As I get my van together I’ll also work on building out my go-bag and kit so these trips will become much easier. For the first time, in a long time, I’m excited to get off-island and up into thin air.

Fire Weather

This is the view from the upper deck of my house, across the East Passage looking toward Mount Rainier right now. It’s cleared up considerably, can’t you tell?

In good weather, we’re usually able to look out over the rail and see the volcano some 40-ish miles away. Often, we can even see the Cascade Crest, situated well beyond the volcano, in the blue distance. So, when the air quality is this bad you know something is up.

What is up is a complex of fires burning in British Columbia. The whole area has been socked in since Monday varying amounts of smoke and ash. I’ve had a headache since about then, and my only relief is when that pain becomes punctuated with periodic lung sensitivity and shortness of breath. Who knew a 45-year-old man could develop asthma?

Well, apparently I did. Starting about two years ago I wrote the bones of a story called Fire Weather. It’s a spec-fic piece about an Air Quality Refugee who flees summer fire weather in Chi-town only to become entwined in a pirate fire-fighting effort working off the coast of … wait for it … British Columbia.

It’s got everything too — semi-autonomous wild fire-fighting robots, boats, heroes, anti-heroes, swine, disaster, and rescue — and there’s no reason (other than a keyboard failure) that I can’t find an editor and get this thing out there.

Look for it on Patreon first.