Growing up in Vermont, most places I considered “vegan” were stereotypical hippie joints – local co-ops bathed in patchouli oil, incense, and Birkenstock footprints. And, while many places in the Green Mountain State still resemble those icons, the vegan scene in Vermont is changing.
On a recent trip home, we pulled our car into a non-descript parking lot in Essex. The property is shared with a nursery/greenhouse. A small sign over a beautiful deck read “Sweet Alchemy Bakery and Cafe.”
From the outside on this chilly Winter day, so far the experience was quintessential Vermont – from the rolling frozen hills in the distance, to the barn-esque design of Sweet Alchemy. Once inside, the warm, sweet smells of a talented baker completed the experience.
So last year I purchased a 1993 Land Cruiser FZJ80 in Bend. The vehicle was in really good shape, but as a dedicated family overlanding rig, I was concerned for reliability for a 25 year old vehicle with over 260,000 miles.
Last January I decided to pull the motor out and do a complete rebuild.
I pulled the engine out in my shop at home with countless tools, about 300 ziploc bags, and the help of dear friends.
After the first night, I had the front clip and hood off with some engine components.
For organization, I used the aforementioned baggies and also a ton of blue masking tape with letters written on them. The other end of the hose/item would have the corresponding letter so I knew where everything connected later.
Spending a week in Philly has been an awesome chance to get out and check the vegan scene. So far it has been an awesome experience.
Shortly after landing at PHL, I hit the road and had dinner at Hip City Veg on South 40th.
The spot was super nice, and had seats in the huge front window for epic people watching. I arrived later in the day, even after dinner, so the place was pretty empty.
The next challenge was to choose something from the menu. It isn’t a super expansive menu, but there was a decent variety of things. After hearing rave reviews of the Disco Chickin Sandwich, I ordered one up. I added a side of sweet potato fries, and the mysterious black bean dip.
I have taken a little breather from writing new content for the blog.
A large part of that is due, in part to….wait for it….selling my Jeep! That’s right, I sold my Wrangler.
A lot of people asked me why. Basically it was a combination of things. Primarily, I was just a little bored with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wranglers. And I will have another one. But for now, I wanted something different.
Second, I was bored with rocks. I have done the Rubicon 3 times, Moab 3 times, and countless trips in Oregon and Washington. I want to try overlanding and exploring with the family, not just bouncing off rocks.
And last, I want to learn something new. I have worked on my Jeeps for many years, and want to learn something new. In addition to overlanding, I want to try a new vehicle, a new platform, and even a new brand.
Well, here we are yet again. Staring down the harsh reality of yet another madman killing many people for no reason. The videos I have seen, show it was in fact a massacre.
And, yet again, the media and the majority have shifted focus away from the madman himself, and put the responsibility of the event on the weapon – and the millions of Americans that own the same exact rifle. Myself included.
Even on NPR this morning, people were barking the familiar rhetoric of gun control, and passing “tougher” laws to prevent these shootings from happening.
Want the reality? You will never be able to pass ANY law that will prohibit these events. They will continue to happen. There are two primary reasons for this.
Just a week ago, I was in new York City, staring across the table at 3 beautiful, vegan, Impossible Burgers. I had waited years to try this meal, and it was finally in front of me. For me, a milestone, but for the two carnivores, I feel it was just something new to try.
However we all left stunned. I, with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of veganism, and my friends with an interest in vegan products they never thought they would have.
So I was a bit disheartened this week to see some media outlets raising ethical concerns with the Impossible Burger.
My Jeep had been sitting in the garage for maybe a week. So I decided to start it up one day, and was greeted with a new chime, and the dreaded Check Engine Light.
I ran my diagnostics through the Bully Dog, and the result was surprising – it returned codes for P0113 – Intake Air Temperature Sensor Circuit High, and P0480 – Fan 1 Control Circuit.
I forced the fan on via the Bully Dog, and nada. As a friend of mine recently replaced his fan assembly, I figured I was also looking at a $120 bill and 10 minutes of work. Well I was wrong. He has the 3.8l. The new fan (OEM replacement) is a whopping $500 and very hard to find in stock.
With my wedding approaching (and the Jeep playing a key role in it) I was desperate to find out what was happening.
On a recent trip to New Jersey, I had already assumed the vegan scene was gonna be rough. As I plied the townhome lined streets of Jersey City, visions of pasta and “steamed veggies” began to swirl in my head. Then, something caught my eye. The word “vegan” painted on the side of a red brick building.
The building was unassuming, and like many homegrown vegan places, relied on chalkboards and an array of health foods to greet customers. This was vintage veganism and it was grand.
Ok, well maybe an explosion is a strong statement.
Anyway, I just had a crazy thing happen to me while changing my oil. And, after a quick scan of the web, this is a relatively new issue now that many of the 3.6l Pentastar engines are aging. This issue seems to only affect model years 2012-2013.
As with all my oil changes, I left the oil filter cap off while the oil drained. I was actually in the process of attaching the new o-ring to the cap, and pulling the new filter from the box when BANG! The sound of a gunshot echoed in the shop. On the floor was a long plastic piece, and a large spring rolling around. Oil was sprayed on the fenders, under hood, and the floor.