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A Bobcat in California

• CATEGORIES: Features

Thanks to Chuck for giving me this Bobcat hood, which has NEVER been mounted. It was purchased and then hung in a California barn. So now I have my very own ‘Brand New-like’ Bobcat Hood!

Over the last two days Ann and I have been driving down to California. This has kept us very busy and mostly out of service, so only a couple posts today.

Our first goal was to drive down the center of Oregon, something neither of us had done. So, on Wednesday we got up early and headed south. When we reached Pendleton, Oregon, we turned onto Highway 395 south and worked our way down to Burns. We didn’t stop during our drive or take any photos, mostly due to the driving rains that shadowed us through most of Oregon.

After Burns, we turned onto highway 205, which took us passed the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which isn’t well known for anything at this point other than the Bundy family’s odd decision to take it over in February of 2016. Again, due to the rain, we drove past the refuge.

I had hoped we would have a good view of the Steen Mountain in southern Oregon, but the rain didn’t let up for a good view of it. I am hoping to return sometime to do the mountain loop tour, which begins and ends on 205, but that will have to be saved for next summer.


Steen Mountain web photo (It’s all one giant mountain).

Eventually, Highway 205 ended at US-95, which we followed into Winnemucca (with the rain still pouring down). After checking the weather, we decided to drive southwest to Fallon, hoping that we would leave the rain behind. That plan actually worked! So, we spent the night at Super-8 and Bonanza Casino, which also provided free drinks for the attached Bonanza casino.


Super-8 and Bonanza Casino in Fallon, Nevada. This may be a web photo, but it is exactly the way it looked when were there.

We don’t gamble a whole lot, but we did spend about an hour playing 5-cent video poker. We ended up losing $10 total, but got three free drinks out of the deal. I can live with that!

Yesterday (Thursday) morning, we left for Tulare via US 95, which took us through Hawthorne, Nevada, home of the world’s largest ordnance depot, where they both manufacture and store ordnance (and I’m sure they do much more).

Our first stop in Hawthorne was at the local park, where they have several wind machines made out of bombs. Ann was thrilled!


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A couple at the park mentioned that there was an Ordnance Museum just down the road, so we wasted no time heading there. The Ordnance Museum didn’t open for an hour (10am), but there was plenty to look at outside. My former-Air-Force-Weapons-Specialist wife found herself in ‘bomb’ heaven.

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After having fun in Hawthore, we left for the drive over Tioga Pass, which also goes through Yosemite National Park. The drive has a lot of turns and twists, along with a bunch of tourists, which made the drive a long one over the pass. Here are a few pics from the National Park:

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Eventually, we made it over the Sierra’s and into Fresno. When we left Fresno, we jumped on Highway 99. About a half hour into our drive we had a BIG scare. At that point, the highway was three-lanes and we were in the fast lane. A 10′ long angle or t-iron of some thickness fell off a truck in one of the lanes in front of us. It was hit by a semi, which caused it to jump in front of us, bouncing and spinning until it slide back underneath the semi’s rear wheels. At that point I accelerated, hoping to get by the semi. But, before we could get clear, the semi spit out the metal right in front of us!


We believe this was the offending truck that lost the piece of metal, but we can’t be absolutely certain.

The metal (similar in size and shape to a drywall corner, but perhaps a 1/4″ thick and at least 10′ long) hit our right front bumper with a giant clatter. I figured we would just run over it; instead, it clattered under our jeep for another 10 seconds before it bounced free from underneath us.

The first chance we got, we pulled off the freeway. Fortunately, after a quick inspection, we discovered there were only some scrapes and small chunks of plastic missing from the front plastic bumper. We checked the tires and checked the undercarriage, but nothing else seemed to be damaged, expect some small nicks in the right back wheel cover. Crazy!


Me checking for damage.


Damage to the passenger side rear wheel cover.


The scraps and small plastic divots aren’t easy to see, but they are there in the mid and lower part of the bumper.

After concluding we were safe to drive, we left to meet with Chuck.

Chuck’s a long-time electrician who decided to take a job teaching high school kids some technical skills. Well, that’s actually not the job he thought he was getting, but that’s the job he has and it’s one he has found rewarding despite the obstacles. Chuck, Ann and I spent hours discussing his experiences with the kids and it was truly eye-opening in terms of the lack of some life skills that he’s encountering in many kids; I couldn’t properly explain this in the short time I have right now, but I’m now wondering if I could’t help kids in the same manner that Chuck is doing. It’s got me thinking anyway …


It’s just too cool not to show it a second time. We were enjoying our time with Chuck so much that we forgot to take any other pics. THAT’S A FAIL ON OUR PART!

All that aside, our purpose for meeting with Chuck was to pickup a Bobcat hood from him. A few months ago I spotted the hood on Craigslist for only $100 (what a steal!). He was nearby, so he offered to get it for me, help I readily accepted. I’d always wanted a Bobcat hood.

However, when I tried to pay Chuck for the hood, he refused to take my money, telling me how much he enjoyed the website (he’s also bought a jeep off the site). So, I owe a big thanks to Chuck for his generosity and for helping me get something I have wanted since I was a kid. One of the coolest things about the hood is that it has NEVER BEEN MOUNTED!! The hood was bought, then hung in a barn, probably for at least three decades. It’s still in great shape. The hinge hasn’t even been drilled! So cool!

Thanks again Chuck!

Tomorrow (thanks to a suggestion by Chuck) we plan to do the General Sherman tree loop, then head north to Walnut Creek to spend the weekend with my daughter Kasia.



5 Comments on “A Bobcat in California

  1. Chuck

    Glad you like the Bobcat hood. I also thought it was incredibly cool this hood had never been mounted. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Biscuit!
    But I’m the one who should be thanking you for all the work you put into eWillys. It has become a morning routine to check what’s new. Yeah – and I ended up buying a great CJ3A that was built just like I’d build it – couldn’t resist it and not once regretted the purchase. It’s a fun rig. But I still enjoy looking at the pics and reading about events, historical articles, Willys Jeep outings, and road trips.

    Thanks again, I really enjoyed the visit, you guys are even better in person! You have a great wife and it is easy to see what a awesome relationship you two have. We need more of that in the world today. Hope you enjoy the Biggest tree in the entire World, post up some pics if you can manage to get the tree all one photo, lol.

  2. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    Dave, glad you didn’t give him any money or you would have been gypped! The hood isn’t perfectly flat like a real regular Willys hood, and it looks like to me it’s not even made out of steel. Fiberglass junk!
    Let me know if you need any guidance picking out a replacement hood, I’ll be glad to advise you.

  3. David Eilers Post author

    Steve, it’s a gloriously non-flat fiberglass hood!!!

    Thanks Chuck! We had a great time.

    Bob, I appreciate the sentiment.

    Mom, I always try to remind you what a blessing I am, especially around June 5th and December 25th 🙂

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