Its going to be hot today. Very hot. No more tongue in cheek comments about dry heat. These are record-breaking temperatures. I have plenty of water in the P71 and I keep two chilled bottles in the console.
Today I am heading for Lake Havasu City in the northwest of the state. It will take me on to roads other than the Interstate, but for a while I am on one.
I am heading to this company’s location because I have done enough business with them that I owe it to myself to actually go there and see what they are like, since I am in Arizona anyway.
If you search on Toyota Pickup in this blog you will see that I’ve had some adventures with my little red truck. Some better than others. I originally acquired the 1992 pickup from one of my sisters. It was eight years old and it wouldn’t fetch much in a trade-in, so I traded her a laptop for it. That was back in 2000.
Over the years I’ve rebuilt all the worn suspension parts, had the seat reupholstered, and had the whole thing repainted in the original color. I even found some nice wheels and tires from Tire Rack that really gave it a nice look.
It was Toyota’s cheapest truck at the time. The only reason it had air-conditioning was because it was originally sold in New Orleans. It didn’t even come with a day/night rear view mirror. It only had an outside mirror on the driver’s side. The gauge cluster only had a large speedometer and some “idiot lights”. I added better mirrors, changed out the gauge cluster for one with a tachometer (it is an manual 5-speed, after all), put in an optional dashboard clock, upgraded the radio, etc.
Then I have had my trials and tribulations with the motor. The original was using oil so I did an eBay special and put in a rebuilt. That blew a head gasket so I found a “specialist” in Charlotte, NC, that rebuilt what I hoped was a nice motor. No such luck.
After many frustrating attempts to get it right it finally dropped a valve. So I did better research and found LC Engineering. I talked with a guy on their sales staff, Mike, and we came up with the perfect engine for me. It was a stroker version that would suit my needs for a strong engine that could be used in a daily driver.
Again, you can read the story and see the photos in earlier blog entries.
I was very interested in getting to actually visiting LC Engineering, but the blasted heat just kept inserting itself into the foreground of the day like a bad in-law that had come to visit “for just a night”. It was the elephant in the room. What seemed like a very small room.
Every time I stopped to top off the P71’s fuel tank or take a rest stop the heat would be there. A shaded parking spot became an important and rare commodity.
Finally I reached Lake Havasu City. As you can imagine from the name, it is by a lake. People have populated the shore and they even purchased London Bridge and moved it, and reassembled it there.
Being Americans I’m sure a lot of money changed hands. It was falling down anyway, I hear.
On to LC Engineering. I walked in and introduced myself and there is Mike. I explained what brought me there and he was good enough to provide me with a tour of the facility.
He walked me through their inventory and then we stepped into the engine assembly area.
There was the engine dyno room, and the head assembly area.
Then he took me into the large machine shop. Amongst the computer controlled milling machines were the lathes and other machines.
I met the guy who put my motor together and we talked about it a bit. You can always tell a good engine guy as he really remembers how the assembly went. To him every one is different and has a different personality that reveals itself to him as the assembly process takes place.
I thanked him for the great engine that now sits in the pickup’s engine bay.
I picked up a few small items for the Toyota while I was there. I have already tapped out the level of modifications that I will do and still have a street-able daily driver. Then I headed west. On to Barstow, California. The Route 66 song in my head.