I am finally home in the foothills of Mount Hood in Oregon, after a long week in Daytona Beach.
I actually learned a TON during my time away. Primarily, I learned to never stand behind a man swinging a hammer at an exhaust tip (Phil, you are a great new friend – but I did warn you I would forever taunt you about that!). I learned that if you party with Rebel Off Road, be prepared to throw down (those guys DO NOT mess around).
But last, I learned about how awesome the Jeep family truly is.
I decided to run the ARB V-Twin Air compressor as my air source. This was due to a couple of factors. Primarily, I want the ability to run air tools if needed on the trail. Second, I wanted some fast air for my 35s. Third, if I ever end up running aftermarket ARB lockers, I wanted to have the air situation figured out.
However I mounted mine to the M.O.R.E. underhood mount. This puts the open air receptacle right at the top of the compressor, and under the hood where the innards could be susceptible to water and dust.
So, I decided to add the manifold to the mix to fix these concerns.
Installation was simple and only needed a handful of tools.
The morning started off with the beautiful Florida sun peeking through the blinds. The smell of sunscreen and stale beer rang throughout our condo, signalling yet another day of Jeep Beach.
We headed to the Daytona International Speedway to hang out and meet vendors, and to take my friend Phil’s 1989 restored YJ out on the infamous obstacle course that was set up in the massive Daytona infield.
First things first, we hit the obstacle course with Phil’s YJ. Unfortunately his transfer case did not engage into 4WD properly and when he bumped some logs, he ended up snapping the front driveshaft yoke. So, we hobbled his rig off the course and ordered the parts from the show. Tomorrow morning, I will attempt a fix right on the Daytona infield.
The rest of the afternoon was spent meeting and greeting the various companies that my Jeep is made of (or that I plan to order from).
I had a great chat with Chris from SpiderWebShade and learned a bit about his fascinating company. They started in 2006 as an upholstery shop and made a few mesh screens for friends’ Jeeps. They started making 50 units per month, and now are at 5,000+. It is a VERY cool product and I look forward to giving it a full review on this site soon.
I also spent some time with Mike from Factor 55. His company makes some amazing winch/recovery points and I will also get on a review of their new FlatLink shackle thimble. I am really looking forward to testing it out in Moab next month and will also provide a full review.
At the end of the day, I met people from ACE Engineering, Rebel Off Road, Rock Krawler (have you ever held their control arms!?), Poison Spider, Rugged Ridge, Carolina Metal Masters, Bruiser Conversions, and many many more.
We retired to the condo to rehydrate, relax, and check out all the goodies we bought today, as well as formulate a plan to get Phil’s rig back on the trail tomorrow.
Tonight is also the VIP Tiky Party! Hope to post more on that later, beers providing 🙂
Today culminated one of the biggest achievements yet of Jeep Beach 2014: Completing the scavenger hunt.
We drove around between A1A and US 1, checking off an interesting list of hidden secrets such as the “mysterious” ruins of New Smyrna, a lighthouse in Ponce Inlet, and a manatee named “Cookie.”
But perhaps the most interesting thing we encountered was the “Tomb in the road.” According to the site “Weird Florida,”
“[Douglas] Dummett sent his son to school in the North and in 1860 when Charles was home from school, he was killed while on a hunting trip when his gun accidentally discharged. Douglas Dummett buried his son on the spot where he was killed. For the past century this area has been developed into a residential neighborhood, but Charles Dummett’s tomb still sits on a little island in the middle of Canova Drive.”
Pretty cool history off the beaten path.
After we completed all the items on the list, we headed back to the condo for some sun and some R&R before cruising out to the first “meet n greet” of the week.
The highlight of the meet n greet was roaming around the parking lot, checking out all the amazing rigs from around the country.
Here are some of my favorites:
After the drool-fest was over outside, we headed inside for some mingling, dinner, and drinks (the hotel made me a special vegan dinner of penne, fresh garlic marinara and garlic bread – super good!) but the drinks we pretty meh.
Today was the official first day of Jeep Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida.
This annual pilgrimage of Jeep owners is the Yin to Easter Jeep Safari’s yang, with Daytona offering a decent match to Moab.
Where Daytona can’t possibly compare with Moab’s terrain and trails, it delivers in spades better weather, beautiful beaches, and a coastal atmosphere.
Today was pretty chill; we started the scavenger hunt – a contest to take photos of your or your Jeep around Daytona Beach with various landmarks, waiters, and other curiosities.
The day culminated at the Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium, where hundreds of of Jeeps and Jeepers converged to meet with vendors, chat, and enjoy some local music and cold beers.
I spent some time meeting with the team from Spiderwebshade and Factor 55 where we discussed their newest products. I am looking forward to learning more. They snuck me some VIP tickets to the Tiky Party on Friday!
We saw some amazing rigs and saw some of the newer Jeeps from vendors – the Skyjacker jeep had some fresh damage from a crash at EJS!
Tomorrow we will continue the scavenger hunt and spend more time on the beach and in the Jeep!
NOTE: This post contains a lot of linked articles and reference materials. Click on any images to read more of the referenced article.
Whenever I am in a discussion about veganism with someone, the conversation almost immediately turns to the animals. And, the inevitable comparison also follows:
“So you think that animals are above people?”
Of course my answer to this question is a resounding no – but not because of some self-implemented superiority complex (ala speciesism) but more because I don’t think there is an “importance pyramid.” Everyone on this planet should just be treated with the same respect.
But let’s just take the more popular approach for a second, the approach where humans are in fact superior to everything else. And, if you agree with this approach, you should be vegan. AND, if you are a rabid immigration reformist you should also be vegan.
The large meat production corporations (think Tyson, Smithfield Farms, Cargill and National Beef) have always setup facilities in areas of rural economic hardship. This is because to work in their facilities, you must offer either large sums of money, or in the case of rural America, just a “good paying job.” So the labor is cheap and plentiful. And most people in these areas are familiar with agriculture and harvesting of animals. Check and mate.
But even these good paying jobs and corporate benefits are not enough to keep turnover low. Working in these facilities is a physical and psychological nightmare. It really does take a desperate (or psychopathic) person to spend a 10 hour shift slicing open the throats of animals and watching them bleed out.
So, instead of addressing these issues and improving worker conditions, the slaughterhouses are luring illegal immigrants from Central America and using their illegal status as a retention tool. Want to quit? They’ll call ICE and have you at the curb waiting for deportation. And, as in the case of Tyson, they’ll keep a large portion (10-30%) of your pay too.
“Those arrested were bused to the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo for hearings in a makeshift courtroom. Most pleaded guilty to identity theft charges, spent five months in prison and were then deported. Many families were split up for years by the deportations.”
Perhaps you are OK with using illegal immigrants to do the dirty work this country is not willing to do. But what about mentally challenged Americans?
In Iowa, a slaughterhouse (meat packing facility) that processed turkey just about enslaved a team of 21 mentally challenged men, forcing them to live in squalid “bunkhouse” conditions. I am not making this stuff up.
The story is rife with horrible working conditions, physical abuse, and mental manipulation.
Even for the legal worker that can withstand the task at hand, slaughterhouses are some of the most dangerous places to work. That same article cites, “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meatpacking is the nation’s most dangerous occupation. In 1999, more than one-quarter of America’s nearly 150,000 meatpacking workers suffered a job-related injury or illness. The meatpacking industry not only has the highest injury rate, but also has by far the highest rate of serious injury—more than five times the national average, as measured in lost workdays. “
That is an older statistic, but the technology in these factories has not changed much in the last 15 years.
Additionally, when these workers are unable to maintain their jobs due to these conditions, who pays the bill? We all do via welfare, worker’s compensation insurance, and other social support systems. The costs of these corporate failures falls back on the wallets of us all.
The bottom line: When we feel that humans are superior to all other living beings, that same approach trickles down within our own societies. We can manipulate minority groups and abuse the law, just as we in turn manipulate animals and abuse them to fit our own needs and agenda.
By moving to a more plant-based diet, we not only prevent the needless suffering of literally billions of animals, but also the injury of 140,000+ meat industry workers, reduce illegal immigration, and prevent fellow Americans from working in some pretty horrible conditions.
UPDATE 3/25/2015: Jeep has been in contact with me (per the comments) regarding changes and fixes they have been making on this program. I downloaded the new version from Google Play this week, and so far the app looks like a total redesign and it seems nice. Time will tell when I attempt trail logins and other activities on the site, if I decide to give this another shot (I did notice my previous achievements are still missing in the big browser version). Check back here and I will update my review!
In principle, it’s brilliant. The program has Jeep owners create a profile (linked to their Jeep’s VIN) and perform certain tasks to rank up among fellow Jeep owners.
If you upload a photo from the trail you get 15 points, you can give a virtual Jeep wave for 5, or comment on a thread for 5 points. You also get 10 points for each day you log into the system. But the real points come rolling in when you check in at a trail for some Jeeping with a whopping 200 points per check in. Continue reading Product Review: Jeep’s Badge of Honor Program→