My FJ-60 in Toyota Trails magazine

http://tlca.org/toyotatrails/2016/0304/html5.html#page/48

 

Toyota Trails magazine has a “Trail Rigs” section in each edition.  I sent in a write up and some photos and was selected to be published.

 

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Remote lighting system and 12VDC power supply

My friend lives in Florida and I wanted to make her a remote lighting system and 12VDC power supply for power outages.
Tractor supply had 14” Flambeau dry boxes on sale for 50% off and I picked up two. I took one of the boxes to Batteries Plus and found that two 20 amp hour deep cycle batteries that fit in the box with room to add outlets and an integral charger.
The build was very simple. I wired the batteries in parallel, drilled for the outlets. I put in two cigarette lighter plugs and a dual USB plug. I found the switched voltmeter on Ebay and it fit perfectly inside the case.
I had an old Black and Decker 2 amp charger that fit perfectly inside the case. Rather than opening the case to plug in the charger I found the NOCO Genius GCP1 Black 13 Amp 125V AC Port Plug on Amazon.
Next up was lighting. I found a tripod for $18.00 and a 50 watt light for $10.00 on Amazon.
The power pack was able to power the LED light for 40 hours. Below is the supply list.IMG_20151219_171006026 IMG_20151219_171043710 IMG_20151220_110204603 IMG_20151220_174952294 IMG_20151221_135250635 IMG_20151221_135256752 IMG_20151228_231342476 IMG_20151230_205856632 IMG_20151230_205930695

https://www.batteriesplus.com/productdetails/wkdc12=20nb
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JH4H93G?keywords=flambeau%20dry%20box&qid=1457395993&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00APBRMX2?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008XZAPV8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009ANV81S?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Z0HVHA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-2USB-Car-Cigarette-Lighter-Socket-Splitter-12V-Charger-Power-Adapter-Outlet-/171968222241?hash=item280a1ad421
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Motorcycle-LED-Digital-Display-Voltmeter-Waterproof-Meter-12V-24V-W-Switch-/131634808802?hash=item1ea60bc7e2

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Camino del Diablo February 2015

I’ve been remiss on keeping up with my posts.  Now I am trying to catch up.  My friends and I planned and went a on an extended trip to the Camino del Diablo in Southern Arizona.  Since I was writing an article I really could not write about the trip until the article was published.  The trip was great with fantastic scenery and great traveling companions. I’ll add more pictures to this post.

Here is the link to the article.  I hope you like it and appreciate your comments.  Highway Men Camino del Diablo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alamo MTN Mar. 1, 2015

This past Sunday, a small group of us went to Alamo MTN.

The weather was perfect for such a trip.  On the way out, we stopped to find a Geocache.  For most of our group, this was their first experience with this activity.  Lucky this cache was an easy one; we found it and logged it.

A pickup drove by and stopped to chat.  The driver was the Ranch Manager of one of the ranches. The ranch he managed consisted of 230 sections; 230 square miles.  We chatted about the wildlife and listening to this gentleman speak about living out there made me envious.

At the cattle guard, before the parking lot, we met John and Camille. They were out with their new Cricket camper.  They were gracious enough to show us the camper features and mentioned that there were more art on the back side of the mountain.  I told John about the trip we make and hopefully  they will join us on one of our trips.

No trip to the mountain is the same and this time was no different.  As we started to make out way up the hill, I had my GPS set to take me to the closest panel.  As I was picking my route through the rocks and cactus I was keeping a general bearing towards the panel but scanning the area with my binoculars. I saw a rock with art and checked my GPS and did not see any previously marked panels close by.

This was the start of finding 27 new panels.

All these panels were west and lower on the hill than all the previously discovered panels.  The first one was covered with snakes, a frog , cross, bear claws and other symbols.  Next up was another rock with several symbols most notably a man in a box.   The next rock was dominated with a large cross.

Pam’s sharp eye revealed some pottery shards on the ground.  The small pieces still had the color that was applied to the pottery.  Nicole’s Geologists eye spotted numerous pieces of chert that had been worked and chipped.

We spotted a hole in the ground and speculated what lived in there.  I took a peak into the hole, from afar and spotted a badger looking right back at me.  This was the first time I saw a badger in real life.

Once again Alamo MTN did not disappoint.

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Land Crusiers and other cool vehicles I’ve seen while in Afghanistan

I’d thought I’d share some pictures of the many Land Cruisers and Land Rovers I’ve spotted while in Afghanistan. The trucks with all the antennas on the roof have ECM – Electronic Countermeasures. The Arctic Truck belonged to the Lithuanian Special Forces. It was fully armoured. Please feel free to ask any questions on the comment page. Mike
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Herat Jihad Museum 8.24.2014

Having been in Herat for several months and with the end of my tour on the horizon, I knew I wanted to visit the Jihad Museum. I had previously invited my friend Colonel Mohammed of the Counter Narcotics Police Afghanistan (CNP-A) to my camp for lunch and introduce him to the Narcotics Interdiction Unit Commander.
After lunch, we went into town to visit the Citadel (already posted on this blog). From there, we went to the Jihad Museum. Once again off we went with me as the only infidel, yet I felt completely comfortable with the Afghans. Looking Afghan helped but my M4 gave me away, not to mention the large security detail for the Colonel and the detail for the NIU commander and me.
When we arrived at the museum it was closed. Having a powerful Colonel helped to open the doors and get a private guided tour for us. I know the Afghans in our group were as excited to visit the museum as I was. They had never seen it before, even the guys from Herat. A former Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide. He explained the many battles with the Soviets as well as the weapons displays.
Fascinating parts of the museum were the dioramas. As the local population is mostly illiterate, written descriptions would be useless. So the museum utilizes many different lifelike dioramas depicting major battles to relate the history. Our Guide explained the battles to us in great detail. This museum is certainly a world class war museum. (Links below)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/world/asia/afghan-museum-recalls-a-previous-war.html?_r=0
http://www.stripes.com/news/exhibits-defused-afghanistan-s-jihad-museum-reopens-its-doors-1.250337
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/03/the-jihad-museum-afghanistan-remembers-the-soviet-invasion/100693/
A bonus highlight of the visit was meeting the infamous Bakhretdin Khakimov, now known as Sheik Abdullah. Khakimov first came to Afghanistan as a Soviet intelligence officer and his mission was to kill the mujahedeen. He was wounded in battle, went missing, and ultimately was nursed back to health by an Afghan family. After recovering, he decided to remain in Afghanistan and converted to Islam. Abdullah now works at the museum. (See links below.)
http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130305/179834151/Soviet-Soldier-Missing-for-33-Years-Found-in-Afghanistan.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2288544/Russian-soldier-missing-Afghanistan-33-years-FOUND-living-nomadic-sheikh-remote-Afghan-province.html
http://www.stripes.com/news/thrust-into-afghanistan-by-war-ex-soviet-becomes-a-keeper-of-its-history-1.250308

 

 

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NIU CMD,COL. Faruk, COL Mohammad with me on the first floor of the museum.

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With my two translators. They are brothers and really great guys who helped keep me safe.

With my two translators. They are brothers and really great guys who helped keep me safe.

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A former Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide.

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The NIU Commander with me.

The NIU Commander with me.

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Bakhretdin Khakimov, now known as Sheik  Abdullah with me.

Bakhretdin Khakimov, now known as Sheik Abdullah with me.

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This Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide

This Mujahedeen fighter served as our tour guide

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The NIU CMD and me. We had to wear booties over our boots to protect the marble floor.

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Captured Soviet PPSh submachine guns.

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Captured Soviet weapons.

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Old British weapons. SMLE Enfield rifles are still found on the battlefield.

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Rolling Block rifles used the fight against Communism.

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Other rifles used by the Mujahedeen against the much better armed Soviets.

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The Herat Citadel

I like to take in the historic sights wherever I go and I won’t let a little terrorism stop me. In talking with the Counternarcotics Colonel, he insisted we go and see some of the most notable sights. Having a six man PSD ,of course, helped with the security situation. The caretaker was kind and took us on a guided tour of the castle.  This was also an excellent trip for the Police  to see a piece of their history that they would not have normally been able to experience. 

The Citadel of Herat, also known as the Citadel of Alexander dates back to 330 BC, when Alexander the Great and his army arrived to what is now Afghanistan. The Citadel was restored between 2006-2011 Herat is on the UNESCO World Heritage site list.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1927/

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/17/world/la-fg-afghanistan-citadel-20111117

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050554/Crumbling-ancient-citadel-Afghanistan-restored-glory.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herat_Citadel

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