A Dream About Working As An Engineer

For the past two nights, I have had the same recurring dream about working as an engineer.  I could say that I don’t know why, but I think that I do know why.

I was in a very large city, and I had interviewed and gotten a job with an engineering company, because of my B.S. in mechanical engineering, my work experience, and my age, I am 49 years old.

This engineering company had offices and work space on something like the 18th or 20th floor, the mid-height, of a large modern commercial building downtown.

On my first day of work, the work space of this engineering company was somewhat hectic and chaotic.  Everyone was in a hurried, stressed, unfriendly, shitty mood.  Someone, I believe that it was a woman project manager, was giving me some work assignment, about a specific task, but with very little details.

In order to be polite, and not rude, I attempted to listen to what this woman project manager was telling me, and to try to begin work from the information that she gave me.

But before I had a chance to consider what I could do based on the information that she had given me, a second person was trying to assign me a second project.  I was almost immediately skeptical of this second project, and I don’t know if I will have time to describe it, but I began to wonder if this second project was even a company authorized work project, and not a fool’s errand.

The first assignment that I had been given by the woman project manager, was to devise a way to remotely open a safe.  I was given very little details or information about this existing situation and safe.  I at first wondered was this woman project manager intentionally being vague, or was there some strategic reason to not provide much details or information, such as a customer’s request to maintain security.

I sat at my desk and tried to think about this problem, and block out all the noise, movement, and chaos of this office space.  I began to ask myself, was this a walk-in vault, or was this a wall safe?  Did the lock have a mechanical dial, or a keypad?  Was the lock mechanism mechanical, magnetic, or electronic?  If this was a walk-in vault, and there was a large amount of electronic control on the lock, the manufacturer might already have automation hardware and software for this lock.

As I was thinking about the possibilities in devising a way to remotely unlock a safe or a vault, the individual who had tried to give me my second assignment, stopped by my desk to ask me how this second assignment was coming along.  I told him that it wasn’t anywhere yet, I was working on my first assignment at this moment, I would get to his assignment later.

I began to wonder even more if this second assignment was even a company authorized assignment, and not some whim or thing that this individual thought of himself, having no idea the amount of time that this second assignment would take.  In any case, I was not going to jump through hoops, or split myself in two, trying to please everyone by either lying about working on their project, or dropping what I was doing to work on their project.

Getting back to my first assignment after the interruption, I visualized a way to remotely turn a mechanical dial, using an electric motor that could run in forward and reverse.  The easiest way to control the dial position, was by a camera pointed at the dial and alignment mark.  This solution involved both remote control of an electric motor, and remotely viewing video.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, you would try to buy off-the-shelf components that were as complete as possible for what you were trying to do.  There are many manufacturers that make a variety of cameras whose video can be viewed via cell phones or laptops.  But then, you must consider that you have to be absolutely certain that no one else can view this video of the safe mechanical dial being rotated through its combination sequence.

In order to have a simpler solution, you would actually not even want to have to run a mechanical dial through its combination sequence, you would want to have a way to bypass the combination lock, and just mechanically retract the lock bolts, release a magnetic lock, or deactivate an electrical lock.  You would also want to bypass a digital keypad if it had one.

Now that I had an idea of how to accomplish the remote unlocking of a safe or a vault whether it had a mechanical dial, digital keypad, magnetic lock, or electrical lock, I knew that I needed to get more information and specific information on the existing equipment that was in place, in order to come up with a specific solution.

Also, I was aware in my mind, that if this was a modern commercial vault, the vault manufacturer probably already provided equipment and technical assistance for accomplishing this, and they would be the best ones to handle most of this, not me.  Would I then have to pretend for some reason that I/we had performed any engineering services?

When I tried to explain as succinctly as possible to the woman project manager, what additional information I needed and why, she expressed irritation and discomfort.  I was not approaching her with problems, I was approaching her with solutions, I just needed more information.

I had to try to discern if her irritation and discomfort was because she did not know any additional information herself, or if she didn’t understand what I was telling her.  I would have known that she understood what I was telling her, if she acknowledged that yes, we need to know if this is a safe or a vault, if it has a mechanical dial, digital keypad, magnetic lock, or electrical lock.  Instead she was just irritated.

I didn’t really want to work at this engineering company any more, both because of this first assignment and the second assignment that I was given.  I have seen this before, and I have lived through this before.  It is frustrating, upsetting, and tiring, working for people who do not know or understand what you are talking about or trying to explain to them.  You come to the conclusion that there is no way that you can win or be happy under these circumstances or working for this company.

The second assignment that I was given, I am embarrassed to say, was that I was shown a 60″ wide x 60″ tall, large plan cabinet with drawers, that required some effort to get the drawers open.  The frame was metal, but the drawers were wooden.  You could say that this cabinet was old, custom made, or home made.  I was asked to come up with a mechanical assist for the drawer opening.

As I mentioned previously up above, I was skeptical that this was a company authorized project, and not some idea that someone got into their head, not understanding the amount of time something like this would take.

When you perform engineering work, the time that you spend working on something is not billed at the engineer’s pay rate, it is billed at the engineer’s pay rate plus all of the associated company overhead costs.  The actual billing rate for having an engineer spend time on something could be $50 to $300 per hour.

I could tell right away that the plan drawers in this large cabinet did not open very well once they were loaded, because there were no drawer rollers of any kind.  I wondered if there was enough room to install rollers.  I wondered if the drawer rests would have to be replaced with roller-rail assemblies.

I remembered owning a very expensive large office cabinet with drawers made by the manufacturer HON.  Not only did these drawers have rollers and rails, there was a string and pulley system on it so that no two drawers could be pulled open at the same time.  If you pulled one drawer open, another drawer would be pulled closed.  This was to prevent a heavy cabinet from tipping over on top of someone.  This would also be necessary to have on this old home-made cabinet if you made the drawers easy to open.

For the amount of time that it would take me to re-engineer this old home-made plan cabinet, the amount of money it would cost for my time, the hardware, and the installation, it would be cheaper and better to buy a new plan cabinet.  And I wondered, and I doubted, that this was even a company approved assignment, and not something that someone just thought up on a whim.

I woke up from this dream, being nearly as upset as if these things had actually happened.  Yes, I would quit working for an engineering company or any company on the first day, and I have done it.  I have lived through this and experienced this before.

What I have experienced in Dickinson, more often than not, is not only that people do not know, but they do not know, that they do not know.  There is sometimes no likelihood that you can change, fix, or improve anything.

On the second night of this recurring dream, I was able to explain to the engineering company owner as diplomatically as possible that I did not want to do engineering work for his company, however, it was seen that I might want to do maintenance work at a far away rural industrial location.  I was very happy and contented performing maintenance work at this far away rural industrial location.

At the maintenance job, I could see something, and do something.  There was no wasting time, discussion, debate, mis-information, mis-communication, or dealing with people.  However, for some reason, I had to go back to the city and straighten things out with the woman project manager, who was very angry.  She did not know why I left, that I had left, or that I had switched to an entirely different job.

She was complaining that my pay rate had to be straightened out, I was hired under the supervisor job classification, which was entirely different from the pay rate for maintenance work.  I explained to her why I did not want to work as an engineer with this company, which other people in the work area overheard.  She stomped off.  After she had left, two other engineers who had overheard what I had explained to her, said yes, we are always having this problem.

This dream to me, was an affirmation and reminder that I do not want to work as an engineer, that I do not want to work in the city, that I do not want to work in close quarters in an office building, and that I do not want to work with women.

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The Dickinson Mafia And Bank Owners In North Dakota

It has been a while since I have mentioned the Dickinson Mafia in one of my blog posts, probably more than a year.  There may come a time, when circumstance arise that may cause me to identify the members of the Dickinson Mafia by name, there are about eight of them.  But at this time, it would be more trouble than it is worth.

For the newcomers to Dickinson, the Dickinson Mafia are a group of business owners, land owners, and political office holders who try to control what goes on in Dickinson.  They tell themselves, and each other, that what they try to accomplish is good for Dickinson, but these things coincide with what benefits them.

A reader may think, so what, what is wrong with this, what is the problem?  I will give you a couple of examples.  One of the ways in which Dickinson is controlled, is by controlling who is hired.  Often times, hiring in Dickinson is not a matter of selecting the most experienced and qualified applicant.  Hiring involves selecting the applicant that has been selected ahead of time due arrangements being made on the basis of family connections, seeking to win favor with someone, promise of being compensated, threat of being punished, or outright being told to do so.

Another way in which Dickinson is controlled, which people learn when they live here, is by:  who gets stopped by the Police and who gets let go;  who moves forward with being criminally prosecuted and who has charges dropped;  who gets a long sentence and who gets a short sentence, or no sentence;  who gets a building permit and who does not;  who receives building code violations and who does not;  who receives a bank loan and who does not;  who keeps their job and who gets laid off;  who gets awarded contracts and who does not;  who gets good publicity in the newspaper and who does not.

Myself, and other people who live in Dickinson, would like to be treated fairly, but sometimes that doesn’t happen.  It is upsetting, when steps are taken to interfere with your being hired, your work, being stopped by the Police, attempted entrapment by the Police, or not being able to get a bank loan.

For the readers who still don’t know what I am talking about, you can read my previous blog posts titled “They Hide Jobs In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “The Disputed Termination Of David Armendariz”, “Not Being Paid By Employers In Dickinson”, “Being Stopped By The Police In Dickinson, North Dakota”,  “Almost Getting Caught By The Drug Task Force In Dickinson, North Dakota”, “Legal Entrapment Of Manish In Dickinson, North Dakota”.

In understanding Dickinson, it is like pealing back layers of an onion.  After studying things for a while, you may think that you understand Dickinson, but then you realize that there is another layer below what you have already found.

Here is one way to look at these layers of Dickinson:

The first thing that a newcomer to Dickinson will likely experience, is contact with their employer and the Police in Dickinson.  This is what is on the surface of Dickinson.  If you have any sense, you will quickly realize that you are better off saying very little to your employer, your co-workers, and the Police in Dickinson, because they are all trying to find fault with you, and something to charge you with.

The next layer down, the socialization in Dickinson, will be the people that you meet and interact with at grocery stores, retail stores, businesses, restaurants, bars, school, the West River Community Center, etc.  You may come to understand that the socialization in Dickinson is heavily influenced by the German, Ukranian, and Catholic ancestry of the local people.

The next layer down, the economy in Dickinson, you may find out about the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd oil booms in Dickinson, the history of the settlers and agriculture, the history of the poverty and wealth, the historical prices of land, success and failures of businesses and industries, coal mining, Uranium mining, etc.

The next layer you may come to in understanding Dickinson, is the Dickinson Mafia layer.  You may begin to learn about the influence and control of the Dickinson Mafia, what businesses they own, what they are involved in, who they are related to, what they are trying to accomplish.

Unfortunately for me, the next layer that I came to understand about Dickinson, is the crime and illegal drug activity.  Someone a little older than me, who moved to Dickinson twenty years ago said to me, “If everyone in Dickinson knew the truth about the crime and the illegal drug activity in Dickinson, 80% of the people would leave Dickinson.”  You would probably leave Dickinson, if you knew the truth about what is going on.

The furthest layer down, that I have seen, is the Bank owners in North Dakota.  They are invisible, they were invisible to me, until a couple of things made me realize that they were there.  This is funny, and embarrassing, because ultimately, they own everything, far surpassing anyone else or any entity in control and importance.

I read this factual statistic recently, and I have heard and seen this statistic about five times previously, that was uncovered by economists and financial experts, and reported by journalists:

1% of people…………..own or control 80% of the wealth in the U.S.

19% of people…………own or control 12% of the wealth in the U.S.

80% of people…………own or control 8% of the wealth in the U.S.

The two most important things to see, are that the top 1% wealthiest people own 80% of the wealth in the U.S., and that the vast majority of people, the bottom 80% own only 8% of the wealth in the U.S.

I had thought that the Dickinson Mafia control things in Dickinson.  It is true, that they try to control things in Dickinson.  But the Bank owners in North Dakota, have much more control.  However you don’t see, hear, or read very much about the Bank owners in North Dakota, and that is the way that they want it to be.

In Dickinson, there may be griping, complaining, debate, lobbying, protesting, and politicking over such things as:  the permitting of man-camps, people sleeping in their cars, shortage of housing, arrival of street gangs, drug trafficking, prostitution, new housing developments, new business developments, damaged roads, end of the oil boom, people leaving, low occupancy rates, fewer jobs, lower wages, Sears closing, JC Penny closing, Herbergers Closing, new refineries, etc.

Out-of-state workers have their opinions about what they want, which may not be the same as the opinions and what the local people want.  The Dickinson Mafia, have their opinion about what they want, which usually they are able to persuade the local people that this is what they want too, which inevitably is what gets done in Dickinson.

It appears to me, that the Bank owners in North Dakota, do not waste their time and energy paying attention to the daily, weekly, or monthly squabbles and goings on in Dickinson, as if they are of no consequence to them, though they are the biggest land and resource owners in western North Dakota.

I don’t know if the Bank owners figure that whatever gets decided, whichever way things go, either way they will make money.  Or, if when something matters to the Bank owners in North Dakota, when something affects them, that they decide to intervene.  If they do intervene, I have never seen, heard, or read about it.

Doing The Right Thing In North Dakota Can Cost You Your Job

In North Dakota, doing the right thing can cost you your job.  I have seen it happen to other people, and it has happened to me too.  For instance, you can read my previous blog posts about “The Disputed Termination Of David Armendariz In Dickinson, North Dakota”.

Some of my blog posts are too long, so I want to try to get right to the point about something that happened to me this week, where I almost lost my job.

For the past year, I have worked at a site that is approximately 100 acres in size.  This week, an outside independent contractor was hired to perform some work at this site.  This contractor had four, one-ton four-wheel-drive trucks on this site.  On the second day of their work, one of these trucks got stuck in a low lying wet area.

This contractor drove up to me, to ask me if I had a tow strap, they could not find any of theirs on any of their trucks.  I had a new 30′ tow strap in my personal vehicle, and also a 30′ heavy duty rope.  I said that I would drive down behind them in my vehicle.  I already had an idea of where they got stuck.

I wanted to have the owner of this contracting company, pull his stuck work truck out from behind, because this looked like the best way.  The contracting company owner wanted to try to pull his stuck truck out from the front, so that is how I hooked the tow strap up.

The contracting company owner driving his one-ton four-wheel-drive dual rear wheel diesel Dodge truck could not pull this other one-ton four-wheel-drive truck out from the front.  I said let’s try it from the back, and if this doesn’t work, I will get the site owners to pull this truck out with their front end loader.

Luckily, this truck came out of the mud, when it was pulled from the back, but it just barely came out.  I did not want to try to get the site owners to start up their loader and bring it down, because they look at this as someone being an idiot and messing up.

In general, I was told by my employer, to always stay away from the site owners, this is how my predecessor lost his job.  However, the site owners had pulled one of my co-workers out with their front end loader last year.

When I got back to my work area after helping the independent outside contractor to get their work truck unstuck at about 3:30 p.m., I realized that the site owners were all gone, there was no one else around, there was only me.  If the independent contractor had not been able to pull their truck out using their own one-ton four-wheel-drive dually Dodge diesel truck, the only thing that would have gotten that truck out, was the front end loader.

I probably would have gotten on the loader, carefully driven it down there, pulled the truck out easily, and taken the loader back to where it was parked.  I would not have thought too much about it, I suppose, because there was nothing else to do about the situation, in my opinion.

I have worked as a laborer, foreman, superintendent, project manager, inspector, engineer, and contractor.  In my work experience, you do what you can when another contractor is in a bind, because you would hope and expect another contractor to do the same thing for you.  Also, in my work experience, it is expected by the site owner, that there is to be cooperation among contractors, you do not withhold help when it is needed.

In my work experience, I have operated a loader, backhoe, dozer, excavator, crane, lull, bucket truck, trencher, plow, and directional drill rig, without ever having an accident or damaging anything.  Would I have gotten fired for using the site owner’s front end loader to pull another contractor’s truck out?

The following day, I asked my co-worker who has been working at this site for four years, and he said, yes, the site owner would have demanded that the company that I work for, fire me immediately for using their front end loader.

I had very little to do with the work that this independent outside contractor was performing, I just happened to be the only other personnel on site when they got stuck.  It did not benefit me to help this contractor, it only benefited the site owners to help get this other work completed.

I felt bad that I came close to losing my job, by helping someone else which did not benefit me in any way.  But I would have lost my job, and this type of thing is very typical in North Dakota, completely different from anywhere else that I have worked.

Why There Are So Many Crimes Of Sexual Perversion In Western North Dakota

Western North Dakota’s outlook and approach to sex and sexuality is backwards and repressive.  Even before the most recent oil boom that took place from 2007 through 2014, there was a much greater number of men than women in Western North Dakota.  During the oil boom, the ratio of men to women in Dickinson was probably about 3:1, in Watford City and Williston it was probably as high as 8:1.

The worst possible approach to the lack of women in Western North Dakota, was to encourage or force Law Enforcement to not allow any prostitution whatsoever.  People like the big, overweight, unattractive Senator Heidi Heitkamp were so against men trying to find women for sex, that she advocated for every possible scheme that Law Enforcement could come up with to entrap men seeking to have sex with women.

It seems like it was a team effort of Heidi Heitkamp and other big, overweight, unattractive women to prevent men from having sex.  I don’t know exactly when, where, how, and why Western North Dakotans got the idea that sex was wrong, immoral, wicked, and evil.  People and animals have been having sex for a long time, since the beginning of creation.

A few blog posts ago, I included a YouTube video from the spiritual teacher named Teal Swan, about sex, and the normalcy of sexual expression.

In this blog post, I want to include a YouTube video from the sexual education teacher named Dr. Lindsey Doe.  Dr. Lindsey Doe has over one hundred short YouTube videos about sex, which are very to-the-point, open, and entertaining.

I am trying to make North Dakotans understand, that sex is completely normal.  It is completely normal for men to seek to have sex with women.  When there is a shortage of women in an area, one of the easiest and best solutions, would be to allow prostitution.

When you take the approach of North Dakota, to try to make normal adult heterosexual sex illegal, and even have Law Enforcement try to entrap men when they seek to have sex with women, you are creating the situations that we often read about in the North Dakota newspapers where sexually depraved men are accused of seeking or forcing sex with minors, children, and animals.  If you didn’t make normal adult sex with women in North Dakota illegal, maybe so many men wouldn’t become sexually depraved and sexually assault women, minors, children, and animals.

Here is one video from Dr. Lindsey Doe, where she explains the normalcy of being propositioned by men:

I highly recommend visiting Dr. Lindsey Doe’s YouTube channel to browse the many topics that she addresses.

Watch The Cute Young Hippie Girl Stephi Lee Make A Painting

For the past several months, I have been watching YouTube videos made by the cute young hippie girl named Stephi Lee.  On this blog website of mine, I have included about three of Stephi Lee’s videos in the past.

Stephi has had a lot of tragedy in her life, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was an infant and was not expected to live past the age of 30.  She had selective mutism as a child, where she would only talk to her mother, and hardly anyone else.  Then, her mother died when she was 11 years old.

Stephi grew up on a small horse farm in Massachusetts, and she went to art college in Boston after graduating from high school.  After college she decided to drive to Los Angeles, and live in her small Honda Pilot SUV, which she named George.

During an episode of coughing up blood from her Cystic Fibrosis, Stephi telephoned her doctor, who told her to go the emergency room immediately.  She was crying and coughing up blood while driving, she didn’t see a car coming, and she was hit by a car which totaled her Honda Pilot named George.  Then, she didn’t even have a car to live in.

Stephi returned to Massachusetts to her father’s small horse farm and auto repair shop, where she also has two younger twin sisters who were adopted from Thailand.  She got a new mini-van, traveled a little, and returned home where she made a painting.

I am attaching this YouTube video, and writing about Stephi, so that people don’t immediately assume the worst about hippies, and try to run them over with their car, or do other mean things to young hippies.

Would I Buy A House In Dickinson, North Dakota At This Time?

Would I buy a house in Dickinson, North Dakota at this time?  My answer is that I personally would only buy a house in Dickinson at this time, if it were less than $80,000.  There are several reasons for this, and I will explain these reasons.

First reason, though the housing prices in Dickinson, North Dakota have come down some since the oil boom ended in 2015, most houses are still priced too high.  I believe that in the next several years, house prices in Dickinson will drop by about 20%.  It would not be a very good idea to buy an expensive, over-priced home in Dickinson at this time, because house prices are going to continue to decrease.

Second reason, this happened before in Dickinson during the second oil boom that occurred from approximately 1978 to 1983, that housing prices shot up, then fell once the oil boom ended.  However, the assessed property values determined by the tax assessor remained at their peak values for years following the end of the second oil boom, in order for the City and the County to cover the amount of money they had spent on infrastructure improvements during the oil boom.

In other words, if you buy an expensive, over-priced home in Dickinson at this time, you can expect your assessed property value for property taxes to remain at its peak value for years and years to come.  Who wants to pay high property taxes?

Third reason, it is possible that there could continue to be job losses in Dickinson, decreasing wage rates, and people moving away.  More home vacancies, fewer jobs, and lower paying jobs, mean housing prices will continue to fall.  Also, who will be able to buy a house, and how much money will they be able to afford?  You would have a much better chance of being able to sell your house at the low price range, or rent out your house at the low price range, which is why you do not want to buy an expensive house in Dickinson.

The other thing that I need to say about buying an $80,000 house in Dickinson, is that the immediate area of the house would have to meet certain conditions.  In Dickinson on the north side of Villard Street and the south side of Villard Street, and on the south side of the railroad tracks, there are old residential blue collar neighborhoods, where some of the older smaller wood frame houses are in the $80,000 price range.

On some city blocks in Dickinson, though the houses are older and smaller, the residents all take pride in their homes and their yards.  If you were to purchase an old small inexpensive home on this city block, you might not have to worry too much about noise, theft, and illegal drug activity.

However, on some city blocks in Dickinson, the battle has already been lost.  A few neglected houses have become rental houses, or subdivided rental units.  You would likely have a constant turnover of low income neighbors.  People who do not have good sense, or know or care about right and wrong.  Loud ghetto music at all hours, yelling, fighting, illegal drug activity, traffic at all hours, and theft and vandalism to your home and your property.

Another way to say it, you would be looking in a nice neighborhood, for the absolutely least expensive house, maybe the house that doesn’t even look like it belongs with the other houses.

Because I expect readers to disagree with me, that there are no $80,000 houses for sale in Dickinson, North Dakota, here is a listing for a 2br/2ba house for $65,000:

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Talking To People About Their Vehicles In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have liked cars since I was about two years old.  At that time my mother had a blue Plymouth Roadrunner, and my father had a yellow Lotus Europa, just like the ones shown below:

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My father wanted to be a race car driver.  He wrecked the yellow Lotus Europa, and the previous Plymouth Roadrunner, by driving too fast.

Prior to my birth, my father and mother had other Plymouth Roadrunners, and two Jaguars, which they used to talk about, both the good and bad characteristics of the cars they once had.  After my father came home from the Korean War, and was a college student in his mid-20s, one of the ways that he made money was transporting illegal alcohol in his Plymouth Roadrunner, bootlegging.  Bootlegging in the South, was the origin of NASCAR and stock car racing.

When I was growing up, my parents owned several Plymouth Furys, a Jensen Healey, a Fiat, an Audi, and a couple more Jaguars.  When I was a kid, my father, my sister, and I would look at AutoTrader classified magazines to see the exotic cars that they had for sale in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Jacksonville:  Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, BMW, Lotus, and Jaguar.

When I was in high school, an anonymous person sent a subscription to the DuPont Registry magazine to our house every year, which was a color magazine of exotic cars for sale throughout the United States.  I think that it was the daughter of the person who owned the Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, Toyota, Mercedes, Porsche dealerships in our area.  She was in some of my classes, I liked her, and she liked me, but she was much taller than me, and much more mature.

When it became time for my sister to learn to drive and get a car, she was four years older than me, she wanted an E-type Jaguar.  She test drove a couple of Jaguar XKEs with me and my father, but she couldn’t drive them, they were too hard for her to shift.

My father bought her a white Porsche 914, but she never drove it, she couldn’t drive it, it was too hard for her to shift.  It wasn’t until my sister was in her 30s, that she had driven enough standard transmission cars to where she could shift O.K.  Now she has a Porsche 911 Turbo, one of the fastest and most dangerous fast cars to drive, and I think she also has a Porsche Boxster.

Below are shown a Jaguar XKE, a Porsche 914, and a Porsche 911 Turbo:

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I used to like to ride in the Porsche 914 very much when my father drove it, but like I said, my sister couldn’t drive it, and it got sold before I turned fifteen.  My parents didn’t know what kind of car they should get me when I was sixteen.  My father wasn’t driving his white 1978 Jaguar XJ6L at the time, partly because the air-conditioning was broken, so I took it, and it became mine.  Shown below a 1978 Jaguar XJ6L:

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When I was 36 years old, I bought my 2nd 1978 Jaguar XJ6L, which I still have to this day.  Below is a picture of my 1978 Jaguar XJ6L:

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There are many vehicles that I like, from the time when I was growing up.  Here is my 1978 Mercedes 300D:

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Over there in the corner is my guards red 1977 Porsche 924:

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I had to sell my guards red modified 1967 Porsche 911 S in 2013:

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As I explained in a previous blog post, collector cars or hobby cars can be like a piggy bank.  On the one hand, they are something that you can use and enjoy, and when you need money, you can sell one of them, just like breaking a piggy bank.  On the other hand, they aren’t a very good piggy bank if you keep having to spend money on them and they aren’t worth anything.

Two weeks ago, my father who is 83 years old, he sold his 2000 forest green Porsche 911 Carrera.  I had thought that he might give this car to me one day, but either he thought that I could not afford it, I had no where to get it worked on in Dickinson, I had no where to keep it in Dickinson, it would get vandalized in Dickinson, it was not practical in Dickinson, I would soon lose my driver’s license in Dickinson, or it would cause bad feelings with my sister and her husband who might have wanted it.

Below is my father’s 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera that he just sold:

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My father was probably right not to give me this 911 Carrera, I could not have afforded it, I had no where to keep it in Dickinson, it would have gotten vandalized in Dickinson, it would have gotten damaged by hail which is very common in North Dakota, it would get damaged if I drove it in the winter in North Dakota, and the Police in Dickinson would have ticketed me so much that my license would be suspended in a matter of days.

Since leaving my home in Idaho in 2011, to work in North Dakota, Utah, and Texas, I have seen that I have hardly ever been home in the past seven years to drive the cars that I have there.  I have thought about bringing one or two of them over to North Dakota to have something to work on and enjoy while I am here, but the cars would be impractical in the winter in North Dakota, and I don’t have anywhere to keep them.

What I have also seen and learned, is that I would have been better off, instead of buying any of the cars that I have, to have taken that same amount of money each time, and have instead bought a four-wheel-drive Toyota truck.  Instead of having a Mercedes, Jaguar, or Porsche, which are impractical in the winter and not very useful, I would have been better off having three Toyota trucks which I could have driven in the winter.  Toyota trucks hold their value, are very reliable, and are very inexpensive to maintain.

I wrote all of this background information above, to try to describe my history and my interest in cars.  In my teen age years, I liked Audis very much, but by the end of my teens, I realized that they were too delicate and impractical at that time, the late 1980s.

When I was in my mid twenties and working as an engineer in Tampa, I had some interest in the large Mercedes S Class, the large four door Mercedes cars built in the mid to late 1980s.  These cars were very well built, very solid, very heavy, very fast, very luxurious, and very beautiful.  There was a time in the United States, from about 1965 to 1990, when every young engineer, architect, lawyer, doctor, and dentist dreamed of buying and owning their first Mercedes automobile.

But as the 1990s were entered, the Mercedes automobile company switched from being mechanical perfectionists, to begin trying to attempt to accomplish the same things or advance further technologically by using electronic and computerized components, which I believe has been a disaster for Mercedes.  Soon, Toyota Camry quality and reliability was better than a Mercedes.  Lexus, Acura, and Infinity became better cars than Mercedes in the 1990s.

In my late 20s, I found that one of the best ways to know what cars were like, was to be observant, and to ask car owners what their cars were like.  There was an engineer who I worked with, who was about twenty-five years older than me, who I talked to a lot about cars, especially Mercedes, because he was an expert on Mercedes.  From 1965 through 1990, whenever you were buying a used Mercedes, you always asked to see “the book”.

Mercedes owners in the past, kept a log book of service, maintenance, and repairs performed, that was stamped by the Mercedes dealer each time work was done to the vehicle.  These log books were treated as seriously as airplane log books.  Just like an airplane can lose 20% to 40% of its value if its log books are missing, because there is no proof that required maintenance was done, or they are missing due to an attempt to hide mechanical problems, it was treated the same way if a Mercedes automobile was missing its “book”.

Through the years, I have had friends, co-workers, and other engineers who I have talked to about cars.  Some of my beliefs have stayed the same for the past twenty-five years, such as the 1970s through early 1980s Mercedes 240D and 300D being the best cars ever built.  These are 2.4 liter and 3.0 liter, 4 cylinder and 5 cylinder diesel engine cars that last for a million miles even under hard use in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

Some of my beliefs have changed.  After owning two 1980s base model Jeep Cherokees, and driving several company owned 1990s base model Jeep Cherokees, (not the Grand Cherokees), in my late twenties and early thirties, I was convinced that these were cheap vehicles that didn’t last long, because it seemed like they all needed a new alternator, radiator, or water pump.  But as time passed and I got older, I realized that was all these 1980s and 1990s base model Jeep Cherokees ever needed, nothing else seemed to ever go wrong with them!  That’s not bad, only having to replace an alternator, radiator, or a water pump.

As I grew older, I became even more interested to hear what people had to say about vehicles that they had owned for a long time, and I would ask people when I got the chance.  At gas stations around the U.S., when I would ask Mercedes 300D owners, or Toyota 4Runner owners about their vehicles, they would not hesitate to say how happy and pleased they were with them.

Another vehicle that lasts a surprisingly long time, are 1980s and 1990s Ford Crown Victorias.  Law Enforcement, government, and taxi services used hundreds of thousands of Ford Crown Victorias.  After Law Enforcement or government agencies put 200,000 miles on Crown Victorias, they would go to public auction for sale.  Taxi companies would then buy them at auctions and put another 200,000 to 300,000 miles on them.

Here is a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria:

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Here in North Dakota, when I became bored because there is not a lot to do, I would look at Bis-Man online classified ads for cars for sale.  I would look under the manufacturers like Porsche, Mercedes, Jaguar, Range Rover, and Toyota.  I haven’t mentioned Range Rover yet in this blog post, but I have an interest in Range Rovers, they are cousins to Jaguar, because they were once under the same parent company called British Leyland Motors.

I wrote a long blog post about working on my 1978 Jaguar XJ6L, all the peculiar problems that it had, and I know that Range Rovers and Land Rovers, being cousins to Jaguar, have their own special problems, that will cause these vehicles to break down at the worst possible time and place, like the busiest intersection in your city, the most remote place you have ever been, or the coldest day of the year.

In 2014 in Dickinson, I saw on Bis-Man online classifieds, a 2004 Land Rover Discovery with 80,000 miles for $4,500, and I saw a 1994 Toyota Landcruiser with 195,000 miles for $4,500.  The Land Rover Discovery was 10 years newer, had a custom lift, custom roof rack, and only had 80,000 miles on it.  I read about fifty owner reviews on two different internet websites for the Land Rover Discovery.  About ten of these reviews, that’s 20%, said “Do Not Buy This Vehicle!”

The biggest warning about the Land Rover Discovery, was that the driveline sometimes has a catastrophic failure due to a U-joint coming apart, which at highway speed causes nearly instantaneous destruction of the transmission and the transfer case.  A repair so expensive, that it costs nearly as much as the vehicle is worth.  About 80% of the Land Rover Discovery owner reviews, also complained about endless electrical problems with things like window switches.

Here is a 2004 Land Rover Discovery:

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I bought the 1994 Toyota Landcruiser for $4,500.  I have been very pleased with it, though some buyers would not be.  When I bought this vehicle, I was not aware that it was using engine oil or leaking engine oil.  Within a few months I found out that the front main seal, and the rear main seal were leaking some oil.  Also, this engine has 24 valves, the valve guides wear, and some oil passes through each of the valve guides, which causes the engine to burn some oil.

I don’t care that the engine uses oil, the vehicle has an engine oil level warning light that comes on when you need to add oil.  This vehicle is full-time four-wheel-drive, and it has push button differential locks, which locks each wheel into the driveline, with no limited slip of the wheels allowed once the differential is locked.  It is very good in snow, here is its picture:

1994 Toyota LandCruiser Damage 006

Even though I read many, many bad owner reviews of the Land Rover Discovery, especially the catastrophic failure of the driveline, I continued to do research on them.  One of the things that I learned, was that the owners should have been able to tell from the “clunk” sound when putting their Land Rover Discovery in gear, that their drive shaft universal joints needed to be replaced.

On YouTube, I watched and commented on videos about “overlanding” in Australia with Land Rover Discoverys.  Several Land Rover Discovery owners assured me that “Discos” as they call them, can be made very reliable and trouble free by understanding them, learning about them, and getting to know them.

In 2014, I saw this white 1991 Range Rover in the parking lot of Arby’s restaurant in Dickinson.

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I asked a lady who was working there if this was her Range Rover, and she said that it was.  I told her that I liked her vehicle, and that I had liked Range Rovers for a long time.  This lady did not want to talk to me at all about her Range Rover.

As months went by in 2014, gradually this lady would talk a little bit more about her Range Rover.  In 2015 and 2016, she was used to me asking about her Range Rover.  Her daughter was driving it for a while.

In order to clarify things for the reader, as I have had to clarify things for myself by doing some reading, let me explain the difference between the Range Rover and the Land Rover Discovery in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In the 1980s, the Range Rover, with the box shape, tall windows, and high roof, like the white color one shown in the picture above, this vehicle was very expensive, and affordable only by the very wealthy people in England, South Africa, and the United States.  The Queen of England owned one, for instance, this was her personal vehicle that she drove on her estate in Scotland.

This Range Rover of the 1980s, was very solid, very rugged, but luxurious on the inside, with carpeting, and leather seats.  These Range Rovers, I believe, were full-time four-wheel-drive, with differential locks, that would not allow limited slip of the drive wheels when the differentials were locked.  I believe that I read that the 1986 to 1987 were the best ones to get because of the suspension configuration or the differential lock configuration.  This style Range Rover was manufactured from 1970 until 1996.

Here is a 1990 Range Rover:

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In 1989 began the production of the Land Rover Discovery, which was slightly more affordable, less expensive, and more marketed toward suburban yuppies.  The Land Rover Discovery was a departure from the more solid and rugged looking Range Rover of the 1980s.

To me, I will describe it this way, just like the Mercedes automobile company transitioned from mechanically perfect heavy cars in the 1980s, to electrical and computerized lighter cars in the 1990s which were weaker, the Range Rover being supplanted with the Land Rover Discovery was kind of the same thing, in my opinion.

Now, to confuse you even more, the Land Rover Defender, which was manufactured from 1948 through 2016, is far superior to both the Range Rover and the Land Rover Discovery.  Even ten year old used Land Rover Defenders in the United States with 100,000 miles on them, still sell for $70,000 to $100,000.  The Land Rover Defenders are the Safari vehicles that you see on television in the national parks of Africa.

Here is a 1990 Land Rover Defender:

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In 2015, I saw a forest green color 1980s Range Rover sitting outside of a repair garage in Dickinson for several months in the same spot.  I stopped at this garage and went inside to ask if this Range Rover was for sale, and a mechanic told me that this was a customer car.  I asked the mechanic about Range Rovers like this one, and he cautioned me that parts were very expensive.

In 2016, I saw another forest green color 1980s Range Rover in Dickinson that was often parked downtown.  I asked several people if they knew who owned this vehicle, and someone told me who the owner was.  I was looking forward to speaking to the owner of this Range Rover, to ask him about his vehicle, when I saw him.

In 2017, I saw the owner of this forest green color 1980s Range Rover in Dickinson at the grocery store downtown.  When I asked him, if I could ask him about his Range Rover, he very rudely said no.  In my entire life, and I was 48 at the time, this was the only person who was ever rude to me about me expressing an interest or curiosity about their vehicle.  But this is Dickinson, North Dakota, where people are hostile and uncooperative.

I asked a co-worker of this person, if this person was like this all the time, and I was told yes, he is.  His co-worker said that he was told, that this person has about eight to ten of these Range Rovers, which I find hard to believe, because I keep an eye out for them.  The only 1980s body style Range Rovers that I have seen in Dickinson in the past five years, are two forest green ones, and one white one.

The owner of the white color 1991 Range Rover began working elsewhere in Dickinson in 2017, but I still see her occasionally.  This past week when I saw her, she told me that she and her husband are trying to sell this white 1991 Range Rover and a 2nd Range Rover parts vehicle for a total of about $3,500.  It is listed for sale on Facebook Classifieds.

I contacted her husband by private message on Facebook, and he replied back that he had already turned down an offer of $2,000.  I will wait and see what happens. Here is one more picture of this vehicle that is now for sale in Dickinson:

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I am not looking forward to working on any vehicle, especially an expensive foreign made vehicle, where parts are expensive and hard to find.  That is why I did not offer very much money.  However, for someone who likes to work on vehicles, and who likes the characteristics and appearance of these 1980s Range Rovers, $3,500 with a 2nd parts Range Rover included is a good deal.