Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dog musher racing and broken exhaust pipes

My Soccer-Mom van had been getting a bit throaty over the last couple of weeks indicating some repairs to the exhaust system was in order . I was hoping it would hold together so I could make it through winter without having to mess with it but it was not to be . Last Wednesday it reached the unbearable cacophony stage . Since we had a Sunday date to go to the Musher's Bowl Dog sled Races in Bridgton with our friends Peter and Laura I figured I best do something about it .
Leaving the cat on her latest favorite spot on my desk . . .
I put my soccer-mom wheels up on the ramps in the garage . . .
And torched off the home-made wood stove to knock the edge off the cold . It gets the drafty garage just above freezing when its 10 degrees F outside.
And found the offending joint just behind the "Catholic" converter had let go . The nuts had plain rusted off  and there were no threads left on the studs . So I beat some of the loose rust off it , dug up some of my mini C-clamps slathered the joint with hi-temp 650 degree silicone and clamped it all together . I put some safety wire on them in case the clamps slip off I don't lose them . This summer when the temperatures are more amenable to wrenching under the car I will grind the studs off ,  drill holes and replace them with bolts but for now it will have to do.
Not one hundred percent secure with my cheap red Chinese clamps I did a bit of searching and came up with these handy cast hangers that pipe-fitters use to hang black pipe off steel beams and thought hmmmmmm
A bit of work on them with the angle grinder to make them smaller . . .
and a little trim to make the tips fit easier on the limited flange space available
And Voila!!! a quick and dirty repair. I safety wired them so I would not lose them either . And best of all the van is quiet once again . Minimal busted knuckles, and limited suffering under the van.
So off to the dog races we went. We arrived just in time to see the last of the competitors from the first heat make it to the finish line. So we ran to the barn for some hot soup and coffee . Annie and Laura posing for the camera.
The scene in the barn , that's Peter on the first table facing the camera
Soon the PA announced it was time for the second heat so we went back out and spotted this beast . Harry you need one of these .
The first sled departs the start line
And zooms past us
Peter with his back to me, with Laura and Annie on the other side of the track
The second sled whizzes by
In a couple of minutes the first sled comes back around the double back
And the second sled was a real good experienced team unfortunately it did not serve her well as the course had been changed from last year and the dogs insisted on going the way the knew and took a wrong turn that delayed her significantly .
The apple orchard bowl viewed from the finish line
And we see the first sled come across the orchard
A couple of the dogs from the first race in their cage
On the way home we stopped at a little gas station with a real nice no frills eatery and had a wicked good late lunch and shared a big bottle of Alagash Porter.


  1. ¡Congrats! BTW, pooor doggies...

    1. Nothing poor about the doggies, they love it and are eager to run.

  2. I like it, you did a great temp. job on your van. I always enjoy a good sled dog race. Miss the days I ran dogs. Sometimes, a simple eatery has the best food. Pretty soon, our Iditarod will start. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi John, its the first time we have been to the sled-dog races even though it has been going on for about 15 years. Today's race was quite laid back and was mostly a demo/practice run. But it was a fun day and we saw something we had never seen real live before.

  3. Nothing like a little ingenuity! lol

    1. Yea Gorges, I do manage to figure my way out of a hole every now and then. This time I made it with minimal foul language and only had to pick the rust out of my eyes for two days. Not too bad if I do say so my self. I'll need to crawl back under it in the summer and do it right or it won't pass state inspection.

  4. I love the idea of mushing and have reade many books on guys that have gone out and done it. I love your fix on the car, I think you and I have a lot in common!

    1. Hey Kev its the first time I have seen the dog sled races in person. Interesting but a bit too cold a sport for my tastes, never mind owning and feeding a pack of what amounts to semi wild and very rambunctious dogs. It was a fun outing however and we will surely go back for next year's Mushers Bowl event. The bodged exhaust was a matter of necessity, the repair shop would have wanted to sell me a whole new exhaust system for 700 U$. That would be half the value of the van. Besides schleps like us work to hard for our money to give it a way just like that.

  5. I do need that! It's exactly what I want for going down and checking the mail. I need a mount for my Thompson on it though, in case I am set upon by brigand squirrels on the trail.

    1. Harry, I saw that rig and immediately thought off you ... LOL I am sure a mount for the Tommy gun can be sorted easily... on the other hand you could get a dog sled and let your big dogs pull you up and down the hill on the snow...I mean you are feeding then anyhow they might as well earn their keep. LOL