truck

When I started writing this blog I had a lot of things on my mind. Tonight as I look back and realize how long it’s been since I wrote an entry, I wonder what happened. Where did my mind go? Why did I suddenly run out of thoughts? Honestly, I don’t know. I have no idea what actually happened. At least not what made me stop writing. However, there is no time like the present to take a bold step toward the future. Even if it is a step that may not be particularly well placed because I’m looking somewhere completely unrelated to the direction in which I am trying to travel.

A lot has happened since I started writing this blog. I have a great job which I have been at since last April. Given what I do, I feel I should probably be writing entries way more often. I am currently working as a tour guide at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. Come pay us a visit some time. See something cool, hear some awesome stories, and sample one of the many whis(e)y varietals we have at the whiskey bar.

I also now have two kids I’m responsible for. I had my son when I started all of this. Now I have a beautiful little girl too. They are both wonderful little souls, incredibly unique and filled with equally unique challenges for me to face as their father. I have never had something in my life that I both loved to death and felt so frustratingly challenged by.

I also have two things I am currently working toward with a great amount of effort. I have decided to pursue my fascination with long range precision marksmanship and my desire to have a very capable off-road vehicle.

Back in the spring I bought my first bolt gun. I let my limited finances and nostalgia for my army days lead me in this purchase. I wound up having my FFL dealer order me a Remington Model 700 5R Gen II rifle. The stock it came in was a non-adjustable version of the one the snipers I worked with had on their M24. It’s an HS Precision unit, so it’s not a cheap stock. It came with a stainless steel 24″ long barrel with 5R rifling (as the name of the model would imply) that had a threaded muzzle. It’s a short action compared to the Army’s M24, but that is just fine by me. It was chambered in the classic sniper caliber, the .308 Winchester. I got a chance to take it out this past summer and enjoy it, but after that shoot I had a little work done on it. I realized it had some shortcomings, which I had wanted to fix, but the process required to do everything I wanted would have caused for a bit of a waste by making everything but the receiver a completely new item. I still want to have a rifle built that will be capable of getting me through two long range precision shooting courses, so I started looking at my options. My new job has opened up some opportunities for me to pursue previously unaffordable options. I’m excited that I’ll be able to take an assemblage of parts I’ve gathered to a local gunsmith to have a complete custom rifle built. It will be on the same type of short action remington 700 receiver, but it will have a good bit of fine tuning done to it and will have a very high quality barrel to offer me the most precision I can get out of a .308 Winchester round. Inspired by the M24 and the Marine Corps M40, I think it will be a good blend of the two while being a very modern competition-ready platform. More will follow on this as it moves forward, as well as more about the classes once I have an opportunity to get into them.

My second goal of having a very capable off-road vehicle is currently progressing out of necessity. My Tacoma had some work done to it when I purchased it from the dealership back in 2017, but some things have become an issue because of it. A few months back I had an expensive set of tires installed on it. I chose them because they are the same line as the tires that we had on our HMMWVs when I was in Iraq (my time in the military clearly has a very strong influence on my decisions). I noticed that the tires were wearing excessively fast after the install though, so I had an alignment done. It continued, so I had another shop check the alignment. It was corrected again, but the problem has continued. Last week I took the truck to Toytec Lifts, who manufactured the lift that the dealership installed. They finally gave me some actual answers. Turns out that the dealership only went half way to getting me the adjustability necessary for the suspension to get the proper geometry and I need to have another part installed on each side in order to correct it. Those will be installed in a couple weeks. Once I have that done, I will probably end up replacing my badly worn front tires. I also need to install a set of new gears in my differentials in order to drive better and save me gas with the larger than stock tires. While I am doing that, I figure I may as well set them up with locking differentials and the air compressor that I’ll need to operate them. This is just the start of this long road of modifications and repairs, but I figure it’s time that I start focusing on what I have rather than dreaming about having a project car that may or may not ever find its way into my garage.

It has been an interesting few months that have led me to where I am, but having solid goals and the means to achieve them has really changed my perspective on things. This is the first time I have been able to set solid goals and been able to work toward them and it has made a huge difference in how I move forward. My plans and actions now fall in line with a set course of achievements and I feel as I move forward that I am actually accomplishing something. I wish I had found something to work toward that was attainable a lot sooner. I’ve been told since I was a teenager that goals were important, but now I can really see why.

Even if it’s something small, set a goal for yourself. Work toward it, don’t give up, and never stop setting another for yourself to work toward. Having something to drive you forward is a very satisfying feeling.

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