What is ‘maintenance camp’? Good question.

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welcome to the machine
welcome to the machine

“Someday, this war is gonna end.”

Sore and groggy, hands hurting and calloused, I bring myself back to the front of 3011 G72 – the ‘rig’ is still apart and on several glaring red X status conditions.  My inner drill sergeant is ripping me a new one.  This shit is taking way too long.

P: “Sir, the private is present and reporting for duty.”

Sgt: “What time did you get up?”

P: “1000, sir”

Sgt: “And here you are, two and a half sweet hours later, having not shaved.  Where’s your tool #1?” (Retractable razor, the Stanley E9 or equivalent)

P: “Not accounted for presently, sir.”

Sgt: “Well, you better go get it.  What did you get accomplished yesterday?  Almost nothing, from the look of this mess.”

P: “It took me a very long time to get the timing cover on, I had the wrong rubber gasket and kept trying it the wrong way.”

Sgt:  “Well are you going to do it the right way from now on?”

P:  “Sir, the private needs to go to the Auto Parts supply first.  I need two more gaskets”


A dog ambles up, wearing a silver bar on his collar.  He is known as LtJG Lance.

Ten-hut is called, and the young lieutenant is saluted casually.

Lt: Wag wag, sniff. “As you were, now.  Is there some reason you are abusing this mechanic, Sergeant?”

P: “Sir, Is the private dismissed?”

Lt: “Negative, chief.  I’m coming with you to Napa.”

P:  “We depart immediately, sir.  Here is your leash.”

[25 minutes later]

Sgt: “Well well.  Are you ready for the brief, Mr. ‘I need coffee’?”

P: “Ready now, Sergeant.”

Sgt: “That’s good.  At ease, down on one.” I drop to one knee, with a clipboard ready.  The sunglasses come off.  A luxury it is, to have them.

“Locate the temp sending unit and put in the new gauge.  Connect the oil pressure sender and figure out where all those vacuum lines go.  Use the tech data, wear your gloves.”

A light breeze picks up as a large cloud moves to obscure the sun. “Get that fuel line finished and torque down the intake manifold bolts TO THE CORRECT TORQUE!”

P: “Check.”

Sgt: “And for the second time, install the exhaust manifold. Have that done, as in, pull your pants up done.  And, where is the radiator and all the water lines.”

P: “Not yet installed, sir.”  The sergeant does not respond in words, only stares and looks back down at his shit list.

P: “Is that all sir.”

Sgt: “Fuhuhuuuuuck no, Private.” He leans in, the nauseating smell of wintergreen chew wafting from his mouth.

“Just for fun and recreation, when that list of pro-jects is complied with; set the timing, turn the crankshaft around a few times, put them dandy new spark plugs in, and the wires, figure out the seat belt problem….”

Someone had asked:  “What is maintenance camp?”  It is (was) a flight of very few airmen dedicated to what is termed as heavy maintenance, but it also involved very long, interesting visits to back shop places on the base (DM, East Tucson) and difficult part sourcing missions.  The flight chief himself was great at ‘disappearing’ for long periods.

Maintenance camp’s call sign in 358 FS was “Maintenance One.”  and the best part of it was, it was run by an overweight guy that was simply called Goob, a 20 year lifer that did not make it past E5 because of his girth, but this man could run out, take over a launch emergency, and get a jet ready to taxi like nothing you’ve ever seen.  He was god.  He was Goob.

I wrote a story about it, and can send it to someone if asked – a true story of when we drove an EZ cart for miles, and went to the expansive boneyard for aircraft parts.

Maintenance camp can fell like a never ending <i>world of shit</i>or it can be a virtual heaven of accomplishment and joyous tinkering.  Love it.  Hate it.  Live it, then end it.

“Fall In!”

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About littlejar

5 - Learned to ride in paved alley behind liquor store in Lowell. 16 - Road bike riding alone while peers do soccer practice. 18 - First new road bike bought with winnings from Project Graduation. 20 - Burlington VT. Nuff said. 22 - Joined the Air Force. 23 - Joined team Fair Wheel in Tucson - rode the Shootout. 24 - Rode El Tour in under five. 26 - Toured to Quebec City 28 - Toured Oklahoma to Vermont 30 - Found my dream bike - a 1989 58cm LaBan (#22) 32 - Experienced Minneapolis and saw BIKE CULTURE. 34 - Building my first bicycle frame, with a self made jig. USA

30 Replies to “What is ‘maintenance camp’? Good question.”

  1. The first and last words out of your filthy pukehole  WILL be “sir”, you disgusgting piece of shit! Drop and give me twenty.

    Semper fi!

    Do or die!

    Ooh rah!

  2. This site blows, was about bikes, boobs and beer, now it’s about some dip sh*t working on a POS! Big Johnny needs to get over the law school thing and get back to the true meaning of life!

  3. Hey, I’m just trying to make light out of a challenging, and drawn out situation.  I’d love to be riding my bike all day, but that’s not my life right now.   This blog is about lots of things.  The bread truck will allow me to work on bikes more, and work for other people’s profit LESS.  If that is your definition of dipshit, well….
    Just so you know, fixing and riding bikes is MY LIFE.  Having an 8 cylinder gas guzzler will not make me into a ‘driver’ the thing is gonna sit and sit and sit and sometimes move.
    The Chevy small block is no POS, being recently re-cammed by me, nor is the Grumman aluminum body, with insulation, a fold down work table, 12 volt dual battery banks and a 6′ Mitsubishi solar panel going on the roof.  All I lack is the inverter.  I have about 8 cabinets and a dog house in there, for the LT.   There will also be a sink and a drain tank, and propane cooking/refrigeration.
    Don’t be envious of me, yet.   I am still very deep in this ‘world of shit’ for now.  I am clumsy and dumb at times, but I graduated out of dip shit school.   Magna cum loudly.
    Redneck is as redneck does, Billy Bob.
    And what the fuck does my deployment to maint camp have anything to do with law school or big J?  William Robert, you must be a fool and a retarded fuck.   I don’t think you’d make it in my corps.

  4. I always thought DC was awesome. I’ve been coming here for years.  Great stories about riding adventures, old punk, epic rides followed by getting shit faced. You know, the good life.  What happened?

  5. And the 20 hours I spend every spring tearing down, cleaning, lubing, and rebuilding my road bike from the ground up seems so insignificant now.

  6. DC is awesome.  I tune in for a simple daily dose of the unpredictable.  A taste of life beyond my slice of dirt and a view beyond my handlebars or windshield.
    I used to work in a bike shop.  I used to dream of owning an ice cream or bread truck full of bikes to camp at the trailhead.  Fast forward several years – I have  a corporate job, a wife and two good kids, and a nice old urban home in a bike/ped friendly community.  Life is good.  I appreciate what I have, but I also appreciate the crazy challenges I’ve had and experienced along the way – it’s the journey that’s made me who I am.   My daily battles are different now but no less dramatic – responsibilities I never dreamed of when I was spinning wrenches.  The only way I’m every going to battle that bread truck now is to watch over littlejar’s shoulder via the DC.  I’m enjoying the hell out of his observations.
    Littlejar, keep the bread truck stories coming and tell us when you’re tempering a chain or making homemade hooch.  Life is good and you’re living it.  Keep us posted.

  7. hey billy bob – BJ is going to law school and he’s doing right by his family. Drunk Cyclist has changed, yes. but it’s all for the positive. we’re all just here to chip in while he busts his ass in school. and you know what? people are still reading. and i don’t think they are going anywhere. so fuck off with your negative shit, ok?

  8. I concur.  I enjoy this little peek into the lives of other biking nuts.  Who the fuck are you to tell anyone what to write about?  You don’t like it…leave.  Carry on lj…even if some of your shit is on the whack side, I love reading it.

  9. Littlejar: Riveting tale chap!  I like the inner dialogue very much.  Keep up the hard work.  Bikes are easy to wrench on (and fuck up).  Cracking an engine is like surgery, keep it all in order.  Post a video when you fire that V-8 over.  My new lady said one of her dreams is to build a V-8 from the ground up.  She’s a keeper, especially if she shoe-horns it into a Cobra replica or Pantera. :)

  10. I detest with every cell of my organism this Victorian era internal combustion bullshit set that I must deal with.  I feel deepest disgust that humanity can’t seem to get beyond this 25% efficient type of power plant for personal transport.  This complicated, touchy, very ridiculous ENGINE that moves what is now going to be my HOME.  I carry on, objective in my reasoning that this is an asset and an investment.  I don’t have anything for sale on craigs list, so no one calls me, the phone is worthless now.  Nothing in the email box but spam.   Seriously – I don’t attract or keep friends.  Something about me pisses people off.  I’m repulsive, in a way.  Drunkcyclist is my thread of contact with the world.   I sure do wish there were super efficient electric trucks and the streets were full of bicycles, but this is USA – and I’m in a town with 5 auto parts stores, 4 tire places, 10 or more taco stands, 4 pawn shops, and ZERO BICYCLE SHOPS.  I want to start a bicycle shop.  I’m not endowned with money or ‘credit’, though.  There is NO FUCKING WAY I’d be able to pay rent on a commercial space AND a dumpy apartment.  So, I will live in a truck.   If I got to tear up my knees, hands, and back to get there,  I will.  If I run out of money, so be it.  I’ll have a roof.
    Engine start at 1930 tomorrow – if I can get the alternator bracket figured out.  I’m totally stuck, again.  I do not love this ugly thing that I have to conquer.  As I proceed with these tasks, everything else in life becomes back burner – writing, the law library, going to see things, walking in the woods, building another old bike… all of that must wait while I bust my fucking knuckles on this – – and in the first 20 minutes of the break-in run, it may evaporate my efforts in an engine failure.
    And some people inherit property, have a comfortable home to live in, are attractive due to their position and wealth.   I ride through the nice neighborhoods and feel totally excluded from this world – the world of nice yards and quiet homes, of home offices where the clock gently ticks and there are bedrooms sitting empty for the occasional ‘guest’ – which isn’t me.  I’m just a fucking wing nut with an IQ of 133 and no social skills.  I’m smarter than 49/50 people but have been called stupid too many times to count.  Who the fuck wants to be with me?  I don’t care.  I will continue to do my thing, and do it to the best of my ability, in nobody’s hurry, least of all my own.  Thanks for the support and good words.  I won’t post again for a week or more and I’ll put up a picture of the whole vehicle – then you people will be quite amazed.  It’s just a beginning – if I want to continue to live urban, I’m going to have a struggle just finding a place to park.  God damn the owning class – you people have fucked it up for everyone, even yourselves!  Because you see the misery you’ve caused exacting rent from the poor and sitting in your private property entitlement, you can’t be happy either.  Well – fuck you, I won’t be paying rent ever again.  God damned right I’m bitter, have been for years, and I just want to learn to have even less ‘tact’ than I do now.  It’s time for people to rise up and express their pissed off words at the system that keeps good people ENSLAVED.
    “Senna doesn’t work” someone said.  I work all the time – I just don’t accept an hourly enslavement.  Something wrong with me for that?  NO – something’s wrong with you for being a schmuck and accepting the usury and exploitation that you bear the brunt of.  Only through QUITTING that bullshit and doing things for yourself and for the community will we find SUSTAINABLE living, because the most unsustainable thing we do is work at hourly paid jobs and pay rent.  The system is currently rigged so that people like me are marginalized nobodies destined for jail…. for putting into action what we believe is correct.  It HAS TO change.  People can’t save the Earth while they are forced to work at low wage jobs – and you liberal fucks living in the comfortable houses high on the hill away from pollution don’t get it – as long as you are afraid of people who think, act, and live the way I do, and shelter yourselves from everything bad and scary out there – fucking delusion.  People are so afraid of what I am about, it’s just lame and weak and retarded.
    And yes, I’m drinking again.  I can’t get good weed in this shit hole and I have a world of ugly as my paradigm.  When I’m living in the rig, I’ll have to stop drinking.  Otherwise I’ll get a DWI for just hanging out at home.  I know this is one hell of a fucking rant, but it needs being said.  This is one fucked up world we live in, and we need to stop BLAMING someone else and look at what WE need to do to change it.  We need to change, or we need to GO [extinct]
    I may not have any kids because I didn’t become a career man, didn’t fit in, couldn’t hold a job, got mentally ass-fucked by the military, and went to 5 community colleges instead of one good school – but I want to see a better world as I get old.  I have so little faith in people to change, though – and in 2045 if the interstate highways are still full of personal internal combustion engines, I might just lose it and take a belt fed weapon out there  with a bicycle trailer full of .50 cal rounds to unload a lifetime of frustration and anger.  If shit doesn’t change over my lifetime, then what good is it?
    Trust me, you never want to rebuild an engine.  You never want to part out a Mercedes diesel, or change a starter on the side of the highway with rock salt poking your back and slush soaking your pants.  If you’ve got the ability – divorce yourselves from the internal combustion engine for life and never go back.  I don’t have that option (yet) but when my dog dies, and I get into my 40’s, I will trade this bread van for a sailboat and learn how to sail.  That is my dream.  A home, a job, and a wife ain’t my thing.  Clearly, I’m not fit for that.  I am, however, King of my own delusion – like all of us ego driven shit birds.  I found a tree frog last week – drowned in the oil that I had drained from my terrible machine.  And the Deepwater Horizon continues to spew.  What is this shit we’ve caused?  A mess, a hell, a terrible chaotic cancer.  I am part of that.  No better than anyone.
    Back to the machine.

  11. senna, you hit heavy.  you, words = heavy.  i get tired trying to just make a joke.  you have more energy in your heart than most.
    i’m fueled by must.  you’re fueled by lust.  get it, mang.

  12. DC is awesome. lj this kind of post is really what makes it worth coming back. For me living at the southern tip of Africa, it’s like a look behind the scenes. Thank you or that.  There are many “families” in the cycling world, and most of us belong to more than one, in some way or another. Some people can’t appreciate the “Grumman body”, I can.
    Keep us posted. Please.
    To the likes of billybob, if you don’t like it don’t read it.

  13. “I found a tree frog last week – drowned in the oil that I had drained from my terrible machine.  And the Deepwater Horizon continues to spew.  What is this shit we’ve caused?  A mess, a hell, a terrible chaotic cancer.  I am part of that.  No better than anyone.
    Back to the machine.”
    Senna you have a truly intelligent and insightful mind. Keep on going, man. These kinds of things bring me back to this blog time and time again.
    PS: Come down to California and I’ll teach you how to sail.
    PPS: Fark off, billybob.

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    I believe that I am a tolerant man, who gives others the benefit of the doubt & treats others like I would like to be treated.
    But your latest post, (#11),  has crossed a line & pretty much makes me want to puke.
    I have defended you several times here & I respect your skills, your bike rebuilds are works of arts.
    However I’m sick of your ‘Poor, poor pitiful me’ stance & your holier than thou stance on how we are so totally screwing up the world.
    Yes we are, but if you were that concerned about it, I’d be reading about you on Sea Shepherd boats fighting Whalers, or hearing about how your mechanical talents are making a difference to an African village.
    Got mentally ass-fucked by the military? Don’t even think of waving that flag, I have the mental scars & the physical bullet holes, (AK47), to prove that I’ve been there & have all the doctors’ notes to prove it.
    As you’ve said to several other people here that I respect, ‘Fuck you’
    You should get over yourself & deal with your issues.
    You’re just our resident ‘Little ray of Sunshine’ aren’t you?
    I feel no satisfaction on posting this.
    Take care,

  15. LJ I dig the rebuild.
    Sadly, it sounds like you are on a path of self destruction, and man those daydreams to  “take a belt fed weapon out there  with a bicycle trailer full of .50 cal rounds to unload a lifetime of frustration and anger” are terrifying windows into a dark soul.
    My uncle had a heart attack yesterday at the wheel of his 18 wheeler and was dead by the time the truck went off the road.  He was a self styled armchair anarchist and lived with little regard for his own well-being.  In some ways, his “fuck it, let it rip” attitude was mildly poetic and admirable, but how it ends up is a whole bunch of grandkids that lost grampy too soon with heaps of regrets.    Maybe I am overly aware of the fragility of life right now, but I find it very hard to see how you could possibly look back at your life and be grateful you stoked the hatred so much.
    While I know you don’t give a shit at all what an anonymous internet poster thinks, I sure hope you stop alienating yourself from the rest of the world and building up the anger.  As a mechanic you know when pressures build up too much, sooner or later something has to give and it usually ain’t good.  It is pretty obvious for you that “self medication” does not do the trick for you.  Try something new mate, you will only be better for trying.

  16. The words from a man who has worked all day with the noise of vehicles and blaring stereos, in a haze of diesel stink, and started pounding wine in the afternoon, are not too sunshine like.  In sobriety (reality) I am a very balanced person.  Surely even when I’m seventy I would not shoot people (unless they were shooting me) I called it a rant, and should have made it half or less.  I drank a whole bottle of wine yesteday, slow enough but still – that’s what comes out of me.
    I apologize to anyone I scared or offended.  If you knew the person behind the writer, you’d understand it’s just venting but I do have a message behind that.  I should tone it down.

  17. On the contrary, I do give a shit, I care a good deal what people think about my words.  Sometimes I just get too emotional about it.  It is a great privilege to have a few reader, and words are powerful – don’t forget that, you insolent punks that insist on the mundane.  Back to beer and boobs, people!  Never mind that oil problem!  Two months into that disaster, and I’m supposed to NOT be angry??  And to those that think I’m ‘holier than thou’ – where does this come from?  When I found that dead frog in my oil, I felt truly like a piece of shit on this Earth.  I have felt this way, time and time again.  It is the NOT feeling this when you see first hand how humans wrong the Earth that is dangerous – more dangerous than mere fantasizing, and then sharing (however inappropriately) about taking vehicles out with a gun.  I meant what I said that I’m not better than anyone else, just my actions may be, or maybe they aren’t.  How is that compatible with your accusation that I preach ‘holier than though’?  ‘Get over’ the over-used cliches and come up with something more *jabbing*, would ya?
    I think I’ve said enough.  Back to beer and boobs.

  18. And look what we got out of a simple question “what is maintenance camp?”
    You’re never going to please everybody all the time.  The beauty of DC is that you can share something (no matter what it is) and people respond.  Positively and negatively.
    The people that come back and continue to read are true DrunkCyclists.  Whether you agree or not, your opinion counts too.  Just remember there is a difference between a poster and a commenter.  The poster puts himself (or herself) at risk by putting something out there for the whole wide interweb to view.  The commenter just spews like the well in the gulf.  Like I’m doing right now.
    Hey.  If you don’t like it, tough shit.  To lj and the rest of the posters, thank you.  You are what keeps all of us commentators coming back for more.

  19. thanks Turkey
    good lookin out. I will save one of those davidson bros has your name on it
    hit me up at my screen name at drunkcyclist dot com or anybody else for that matter if ya wanna talk shit

  20. Life goes on and on and on
    If you think its all gone wrong
    Go on and on and on…
    Why the fuck would you apologize? For what? Okay, you’re alienated. Your in good company. Work it out, brother. Who cares what fools say?

  21. Engine red X conditions signed off:  Ignition static timing set.  Wires routed and plugged.  All carburetor connections secured.  Battery standing by.  Radiator installed, water lines replaced.  Throttle cable still disconnected.  Unknown condition present with ignition wiring.  Engine break-in run rescheduled for 1300 tomorrow.
    If it runs perfect, I’ll have a beer.  If it runs OK and needs to be tuned, I’ll have a beer.  If it seizes in catastrophic failure, I’ll have a beer.   How the fuck do I make a you tube video?  I think it’s time.

  22. I flooded the engine in the first start attempt.  Heard wicked bad banging noises.  There was a fire briefly that I had to blow out like a birthday candle.  I took all the spark plugs out and cranked it, and blasted rancid gasoline all over the fuck.  (I hate this shit.  I hate this shit)
    Then found out my ignition is 180 degrees off.  Again, the obvious shit that is not published in these extensive books on this engine and this carburetor.   Everything published is about hot rod bullshit.
    I’m pouring gasoline into it and it WILL NOT GO.
    I’m going to take the Rochester 2 jet off of this thing and smash it with a fucking 8 lb.  hammer.   I need to get an Edelbrock, I’m told.  Simply put:  Engine no start.  Fuel flow discrepancy.
    Yes, I have one confirmed kill.  I have destroyed an internal combustion engine.  It was a Mercedes diesel.  The crank shaft is now the mailbox post.  An 8 cylinder Chevy crank might look good sticking in a hole full of concrete, too, come to think of it.

  23. Chill man.  Edelbrocks are easy…they adjust easily and tend to stay in tune.  As for the timing, my buddy did the same thing to my boat once…and he was one o dem dere mechanics for a living.  It happens.  It’s not pretty when it does, for sure!  Ditch the Rochester and make her breathe.

  24. You killed a MB diesel?  How did you do that?  Those things are bulletproof.  My aunt had one that might have gotten an oil change once every couple of years and it ran for decades.  I had the misfortune of doing an oil change on it once and it peed tar.  Told her if it didn’t get an oil change at least as often as she got a checkup at the dentist, I was never touching it again.  She smiled and told me she hadn’t been to the dentist in 3 years.  Never worked on her or that car again….