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Tuesday March 28: Great Basin Cherries and Alien Cat Houses

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

2017-03-28-armagosy-aliens2On Tuesday, we drove from Pahrump to Elko, Nevada. Most of today’s trip had us driving through the Great Basin Desert, a high altitude area dotted with mountain ranges (we were at 5000 ft plus after leaving Pahrump).


The previous evening, Monday night, we were at the Golden Nugget Casino, Pahrump’s finest(?) spot for high rollers. We are not high rollers by any stretch, but they still let us stay for cheap. Frankly, the online reviews of the place were just okay, which had me a little worried, but we enjoyed ourselves (clean, quiet rooms and cheap, but good food). In fact, our room had one of the highest volume shower heads we’ve encountered on any of our travels. We felt a few pangs of guilt letting so much water pour over us as we took our showers, but it felt so good!

We woke up Tuesday morning to glorious blue skies. Knowing we’d be traveling long stretches without gas, we topped off the tank with gasoline and the cooler with some drinks, then began our trek north.

2017-03-28-pahrump-davidDriving along Highway 160, I noticed a sign for some fresh cherries at a place called the Cherry Patch. As Ann knows, I’m not one for eating cherries, but I like other kinds of fruit.

“Doesn’t that sound like a good idea, to have some fresh fruit?” I asked her.
“No, you don’t like cherries,” she said with a deadpan response.
“True,” I said, “but maybe they’ll have something else?”
“All they have are cherries and you don’t get to have any of those kinds of cherries …”

That’s when it dawned on me that those folks weren’t selling cherries or any other kind of fruit at all! Clearly, we had entered a different world.

Soon, Highway 160 gave way to US 95. We began following that until we spotted a convenience store with aliens.


Inside the store i took some photos with the locals:2017-03-28-armagosy-aliens

Next to it was another business, one that sold some kind of alien cat houses, but I didn’t look too closely as I was focused on the aliens. Yet, I wondered just how alien cat houses differed from regular cat houses. The answer was beyond me, soI decided I should investigate it, but Ann assured me that, just like the cherries at the Cherry Patch, I wasn’t going to find alien cats at the Alien Cathouse.

That’s when, upon closer inspection, I noticed the word “brothel” at the bottom. Ohhhhh.


Even stranger, right next door to the Alien businesses was the world’s largest firecracker. But, I’m pretty sure we’d seen the world’s largest firecracker in New Mexico and it was bigger than this one. Southwestern Nevada has got me confused.


Leaving the alien world, cat women and fireworks behind, we made our way north on US 95. We had decided on this trip to avoid Death Valley. We are saving it for when Scotty’s Castle gets rebuilt.

After some time, we landed in the struggling town of Toponah, probably most famous these days for it’s creepy Clown Motel.



I was quickly distracted from the motel by this early wagon, which was right next door:

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On our way back through town, we spotted a couple neat sculptures:

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And farther down:2017-03-28-tonopah-scupture1

We also ran across this Tesla refueling station. I guess it is design to fuel all the Tesla’s that drive through this remote town???

We left Tonopah, then turned north on Highway 376, a remote road that took us past a series of open pit mines in central Nevada. The scenery was stark, but beautiful. After an hour and a half, we arrived at Highway 50, considered the loneliest road in the nation.


At the intersection of 376 and 50 is a billboard claiming that the town of Austin, Nevada, was this incredible place with SO MUCH TO DO. With a sign like that, shouldn’t we give Austin a visit?
2017-03-28-austinWell, we went, we saw, and we concluded that the remote town of Austin, nestled amongst some hills, felt like a ghost town that a few people hadn’t gotten around to leaving yet.

So, we whipped around and drove east on Highway 50. Another hour and a half later, we arrived at Eureka, billed as “the friendliest town on the loneliest highway”. For me, the town has a family connection, as Eureka is where my great great grandfather, working with Otto Hahn, developed strategies for smelting lead-silver on a chemical basis, which they summarized for an 1871 paper titled “The Smelting of Argentiferous Ores”. It was a ground breaking paper in its time (In case anyone is curious, you can read it here by turning to page 91 of this document).

As we drove around Eureka, we found it a fairly vibrant town compared to others (Tonopah and Austin come to mind). There was even a new grocery store. We soon happened upon a museum. Since it was open, we went inside. The museum’s volunteer was indeed friendly and helpful.

The museum was established in a former newspaper building. When the former owners of the newspaper exited town, they left behind all the equipment inside the build! This was great for the budding museum.




Done with Eureka, we began our drive north on Highway 278, following the same valley the stage from Eureka to Palisade used to ferry people from the Transcontinental Railroad to Eureka between 1869 and 1875. I happen to have a letter written by Rossiter Raymond that explained one particularly awful stage coach ride he took with my great great grandfather. Raymond wrote on September 2nd, 1872: “We had a disagreeable ride last night—nine inside, plus a baby, and among the nine a quarrelsome man and a seasick woman. Eilers and I tried it outside half the night, but the drizzling rain drove us in. Feeling rather played out, I have resolved to go, with Eilers, to San Francisco, and take Virginia City on the way back.”

Fortunately, Ann and I had just two inside. Even better, we could travel at 70 mph rather than 10 mph (or less). What we did in an hour and a half would have taken them ten long hours at least. A grueling stage ride for sure. Yet, the landscape they covered has changed little in the last 145 years; the valley would have looked to them pretty near as it did to us. That’s how unsettled that region of the country feels.

Despite the comparatively few deprivations we endured during the day, we were still relieved when we arrived at our destination, the Stockmen’s Hotel and Casino in Elko, Nevada.


On Wednesday we’ll likely drive all the way back to Pasco.



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1964 CJ-3B Goodyear, AZ $11,000


Looks good.

“Runs good
Good tires No rust or body rot
4 cyl. F Head Engine”


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1948 CJ-2A Newcastle, CA $7900


This has one of the rare miner hood ornaments. I’ve run across a couple others on jeep hoods.

“Some restoration, engine, transmission, interior, body and paint. Has been parked, covered and stored inside the barn for the last 15 years.”


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1946 VEC CJ-2A Madera, CA $8000


Looks solid.

“Rebuilt T-90 transmission and
re-end. New front axel, brakes,brake lines, master cylinder, tires rims, exhaust, wiring harness, shocks, windshield glass and sets. Radiator has been rebuilt as well. Motor has not been rebuilt but runs great. All gauges work as well.”

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1954 CJ-3B Fresno, CA $5800


Not the most helpful pics.

“54 Cj3b willys has the hurricane f head engine runs great.. 2in spindle lift new federal tires and spair tire.. smittybuilt front and rear bumper..smittybuilt front and rear seats..winch and highlight jack a new carb and electronic ignition…aftermarket plastic fuel tank.. 4wd works great has a radio to! Asking 5800 obo”


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1957 FC-150 Mead, CO $4900

• CATEGORIES: FC150-FC170-M677

Runs and drives.


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1948 CJ-2A Dewey Beach, DE $4200


Craig spotted this one. It might have rust along the sides under the diamond plating.

“Turns heads wherever it goes. Ready for the beach with its wide tires, 4-wheel drive and lockable brakes. Inspected and tagged through November 2017. Clean title.
Original flat-4 engine, chassis and body. New radiator, brake cylinder and exhaust system. Front and rear brakes rebuilt, front axle differential also rebuilt. The engine head has been milled. Soft top and doors. Side-mount wheel. Has a working heater. Starts the first time, every time. ”

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1942 GPW Huntsville, AL $4000


If you put $15k into it, you might get $15k out of it. Has mods and the wrong head or engine.

“Early GPW. No Ford insignia yet. Willys motor. Does not run, but steers. It has sat for a long time. Will cost 5k to restore, but will be worth 15-25k post restoration.
Will entertain all reasonable offers.
Alabama does not require a title on vehicles this old.”

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1954 M-170 Tacoma, WA $4500


UPDATE: Still Available.

(07/14/2014) “1954 M170 Army Ambulance Jeep
-Strong Original 4 Cylinder
-Very little rust
-Starts, runs and shifts
-Fun project with little effort

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1954 M-170 Eugene, OR $2000


UPDATE: Still Available.

(03/02/2015) It doesn’t run.

“1954 front line combat ambulance, have original top, correct tail gate, 2 replacement front fenders, mostly complete, no litters, not running, has been converted to 12 volt.”

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Monday March 27th: Storage Joy

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

UPDATE: The connectivity is poor, so just a few updates today.


Just not something you see everyday, unless you go to Alien Beef Jerky in Baker, California every day!

On Monday we drove from Palm Springs, California,  to Pahrump, Nevada, via Riverside. Our goal was to save two sets of DJ front axles in the hopes that someone could use them.


On Monday we drove from Palm Springs to Pahrump via Riverside.

We started the morning in Palm Springs. The night in our Extended Stay room was cheap, but nice. The view in the morning of the Santa Rosa mountains was just stunning. It’s not hard to see why Palm Springs became a popular destination to escape the LA basin.


Panoramic photo from the Extended Stay’s grounds.

Our first objective was to meet Jim in Riverside to pickup a set of DJ-3A axles. My biggest worry was that they wouldn’t fit in the back of the jeep, but then serendipity in the form of Paul Dubois, an eWillys reader and a regular at the FC Roundup, came when he offered to store them if I couldn’t pick pile them into the jeep (he lives in Riverside — Thanks Paul! … Spoiler, I got them in).

We met Jim in the morning at his storage locker. As the door slid up, it was clear that DJ axles weren’t the only thing he had. After we made a deal on the axles (anyone need one??), he began picking through the parts, then held up a set of never-used Buick V6 headers. Well, I did need a set for Biscuit. He cut me a great deal at $100 — one heck of a great buy. Then I bought a couple more parts. Next thing I knew, he was tossing some free parts at me, hoping I could find them a home. So, I tossed a can Blaster Dry Lube courtesy of the Blaster Corp. (A sponsor of Alaska Or Rust). I told Jim I would do my best to find the free parts homes and I’ll list them when I get home.



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M-677 in Fused Glass

• CATEGORIES: Artists/Drawings, FC150-FC170-M677, Features

Benita made this cool fused glass pane for the annual FC Saturday raffle as a dedication to Dan Horenberger and his love of the Military FCs. 


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1974 CJ-6 Charleston, SC $22,000


David’s updated this nice looking CJ-6. Contact him at (843)607-8310

“I have the itch to start a new project and need garage space. I limped this ’74 CJ 6 home about five years ago and started out to freshen it up, but ended up doing a body off restoration. The body work and paint were professionally done. The frame was painted, and I had a custom roll bar and front bumper made. They are powder coated. It has the original I-232 and three speed transmission. Most everything else has been replaced. Steering box, Borgeson shaft, heavy duty springs, stainless custom bent brake lines, new drum brakes, gas tank, ignition coil, Weber carb, high capacity alternator, radiator, Speed Hut aluminum gauges, painless wiring harness, Corbeau seats, custom canvas top, warn m8000 winch, custom steel wheels, BF Goodrich all terrain LT265/75/R16 tires, custom receiver hitches front and rear, hilift jack, and on and on.

It drives and tracks better than new. I tried to keep the look as original as possible, and it would be fairly easy to take it all back to stock. I have saved most of the salvageable parts. I will wipe the pollen off and take prettier pics this weekend.”




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1949 Wagon JeepRod Painesville, OH $12,500

• CATEGORIES: Jeep Rods, Willys Wagons • TAGS: .

UPDATE: Still Available.

(11/13/2016) Nice looking rig. Apparently lacks heat & air.

“Frame off restoration, Chevy 350/350, Mustang II suspension, Many custom parts and modifications, too much to list.”

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CJ-5 Sand Drag Jeep Los Banos, CA $10,000


UPDATE: Still Available.

(10/24/2016) Looks fast.

“Sand drag jeep- Willys
Big Block Chevy 468 with forged internals and balanced running a 1050 dominator on 112 octane
Solid roller cam with all roller valve train
A built 2 speed power glide with trans brake and an 8 inch torque converter
Dana 60 rear end with Morser engineering cover
6.20 Gears
Fits behind garage in toy hauler.
This jeep is fast and loud!
Motivated to sell. All reasonable offers will be considered.
Ready to take to Pismo for Thanksgiving!!”

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Year? FC-150 & Parts Vernon, CT No Price

• CATEGORIES: FC150-FC170-M677

Maybe someone can use these parts?

“Bought a couple FC trucks only gonna use 1 and maybe not all the parts. If youre looking for a good base to start with I can give you mainly everything required to assemble a truck. I do only have 1 engine and 1 bed however I may not use them. Serious inquiries only please.”


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1946 CJ-2A Macomb, MI $3000


UPDATE: Price dropped to $3000.

(11/13/2016) Appears to have an f-head or other later engine.

“Runs good do not have time for a project needs some work”

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1946 CJ-2A Buffalo, NY **SOLD**


UPDATE: **SOLD** Was $1000.

Craig shared this one. Between the plow and the half cab alone there is value. It has an f-head swap. It runs, too.

“Up for sale, a friend has a 50’s something Willys Jeep. Either one of us know what year it is exactly. He last used it 2 years ago, to plow his driveway and it has sat since as it needs brake work so it can stop, he never got to it. He wanted me to try and unload it for him. Easier for him to just have me do his snow removal. Anyway, it runs and drives, just doesn’t stop, plow works, tires hold air, 4-wheel drive works, I think the cab heater works, and maybe the wipers too. He ended up with this Jeep when he bought his house and it was the sole vehicle for snow removal at his place, but it needs some work that he’ll never get a chance to do and it needs a new home now.

I’m pretty sure he has no paper work at all for it and neither did the last owner he got it from. Have no idea if it was ever registered and on the road in its lifetime, but my guess would be no. Floors are decent in it, and from what I can tell it’s still got plenty of life left after some TLC it would be a great little work horse around cabin, farm, or house and snow removal. I think it’s been patched up here and there and some obvious stuff not original to it by the pictures and would have to be picked up by rollback or car hauler to move from location, with it not being able to stop. Thanks for looking, any interest, text or call me.”

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Sunday March 26th: A Military Jeep Kinda Day

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: , .

Climbing on Weasels at military shows is allowed, right?? But, Ann said it was a good idea!

Today was another great day of jeeps!

We began the day at Hotel Hovel (aka the Vacation Inn, a run down former Days Inn). It was neither the cleanest nor the best maintained place we’d ever stayed (peeling bathroom paint, linoleum glue stains on the walls, and caulk filling holes throughout), but, to its credit and despite our concerns, it turned out to be a very quiet place to stay. so, we weren’t sorry to say goodbye.


We began in Phoenix, drove to Mesa, then to Sun City, and finally to Palm Springs.

Our morning objective was the Southwest Military Transport show, organized by the Arizona Historical Military Transport Association. It’s President, until yesterday, was none other than our beloved Joe-in-Mesa aka Joe Snodgrass. His reign over the association came to an end in a coup or vote or something like that (or maybe he said he’d finished his term …). So, on Sunday, he had the time to show us around and meet some of the people from his friends. It was greatly appreciated!

The first thing I saw when we walked in the gate were a couple columns of military jeeps.

2017-03-26-smts1I didn’t realize just how many jeeps would be there, so that was a wonderful surprise! The earliest I saw was a slat grille.

There were MBs, GPWs, and at least one Higgins reconditioned jeep, too.


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Year? MB? Washougal, WA **SOLD** (Was $400)


This popped up on Craigslist last night and sold very quickly.

“1946 or 1947 willys jeep, no title, rust, probably best for parts. Can deliver within reason. Asking $400.”

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1952 CJ-3A Tacoma, WA $6000

• CATEGORIES: CJ-2A • TAGS: , , , .

This has a Bobcat fiberglass body with a very very rare (we only know of a handful) tear drop Bobcat hood.

“1952 Willy’s Jeep, all new floors. 231 Buick v6 rebuilt bottom end. Front dana 27 welded. Rear dana 44 trans T14. Clean title.”

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1947 Wagon Danvers, MA $11,500

• CATEGORIES: Willys Wagons

This one looks nice.

“COMING OUT OF WINTER STORAGE SOON . This is a very well preserved and solid unrestored vehicle that appears to have spent most of it’s life in the South. It has new springs, shocks and wiring making it a solid feeling and comfortable driver. The stock 4 cylinder engine is quiet and smooth running. There are chips and scratches in an older repaint, showing natural patina for it’s age.

If you know these vehicles you know there are a number of places they commonly rusted; floors, rockers, tailgate, tailgate hinges and around the rear wheel wells. All these areas are unusually rust free except for a small patch under your heel at the accelerator. Also, there is an unusual rust line in the back just under the roof gutter due to a hole in the gutter. Been assured by two body men this is an easy simple fix. It’s a fun, simple vehicle to tinker with.

I’ve looked for this vehicle for over 30 years, just because I liked how it looked. Turned out it’s a much more solid and better driver than expected. Problem is I’m also another 30 years older. I have too many cars and am in the process of down sizing, losing much of my garage space.

So reluctantly, I’m putting it on the market, along with other cars, for a fair price for what it is and for a bit less than I have into it. If you have ever been interested in these early 2 wheel drive wagons this may be the last one you will see in this fine shape and price range for the next 30 years. Historically these have been more expensive than the Jeepsters on the same chassis. Jeepsters have taken off the last few years, making this a good potential investment. $11,500 or best reasonable offer.”


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1943 GPW Powell Butte, OR $8000


A lot to like here.

“For sale, 1943 Ford built GPW Jeep. All body work is original (Tub, fenders, hood, windshield, grab bars). Mechanically all original (Engine, trans, Transfer case, front and rear dif.) Top is like new. Koenig PTO wench. Runs and drives. This Jeep has been in my Family since 1972 and has been in storage for the last 20 years. Always stored inside. Please, serious buyers only. Cash sale only.”






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1948 Truck Bellingham, WA $6000

• CATEGORIES: Jeep Rods, Willys Trucks • TAGS: .

Looks like a good price.

“1948 Willys flatbed , 2 wheel drive, 400 small block Chevy, 400 turbo trans. Auto., 9 in. Ford rearend , front disc. brakes, no wipers (easy fix) , good heater, runs and drives good, very dependable. 1948 extra parts truck both have clean titles. Serious inquires only please. $6,000 no emails .”

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1948 CJ-2A Olympia, WA $5900


This might be a good price.

“A very original CJ-2A. This Vintage Jeep spent most of its life in the dry desert Southwest. Still has the original 6 volt system and the original body is very sound. A great candidate for a vintage restoration or leave as is as a daily driver. Most of electrical electric system restored with new or rebuilt parts in 2009 and 2010, along with new water pump, brake master cylinder, windshield wiper vacuum motor, and rebuilt carburetor. Low mileage since.”