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At the End of a Long Drive

Shreesh and Neena Taskar

We didn't make the decision, the decision made us. On October 20th, 2007, we left our comfortable city of San Francisco to follow a simple algorithm - go North till the road ends then turn around and then go as far South. In between those two points was the stage, the timeline, the space, where we made things happen and things happened to us.

The past is fleeting and the stories, the sights and the feelings are perishable. One sees what one wants to see, and perhaps we are not capable of more. We saw that people are kind and helpful even if they were not materially rich. Some we could understand even though we didn't speak the same language, the motivations of others were incomprehensible even though we did. In the end fragments remain - the smell of roasting chocolate, a flock of snow Ptarmigians on snow, the creaking of the rainforest, the rough feathers of penguins, and the intoxication of Curanto.

So these are our stories. Every time you visit the site you will see a random post below. Each starts with Lo que pasa es que...

Mechanic Shreesh

Blue overalls
with embroidery

The saga of the off-road lights reads like a bad soap opera.
(Map this!)

Why is it that all car projects take much, much longer than expected? And why do I start all essays on car projects with the same line or a facsimile thereof? This has been a common theme of all our car work and this PIAA light install has been no different. They looked so sweet and harmless sitting in their packages with the cellophane windows, practically screaming “Buy me, I am so cute”. Ha! They have now turned into mini gremlins, like mogwai fed after midnight.

The first major headache was getting cover off the A-pillar which was attached by five dastardly clips, cunningly designed to snap and break at the slightest perturbation. Of the ten clips that attached both covers I shredded eight of the little buggers, each making a sickening pop as it broke. Oh, and in the process I scratched the inside of the A-pillar because no automotive tools store had the damned plastic pry-bar I was supposed to use to get the covers loose. So after ripping off the covers I thought “Hard part is over”. How terribly naive…

After the joyous cover experience we were introduced to a most horrible torture device: the wire snake. This little gem is supposed to allow the threading of wiring through the door hinge and into the engine compartment and it was really, really hard to use. I am now less scared of a Gaboon Viper than a wire snake. After much cajoling the wiring was run from the engine compartment, up the A-pillar and onto the roof-rack light bar. After twenty minutes of cursing, weeping, and gnashing of teeth, we ran a switch harness from the engine compartment through the impossibly thick felt and into the interior.

Irritating PIAA 520 install

At this writing the install still isn’t done. We need to put the A-pillar covers back on, and run some more wire conduit in the engine bay. And, the quality of the PIAA switch is so shitty that the LED is already busted. The plan is to replace that with an OEM Toyota part. (Sigh)