Drive Across Mongolia in 4 Minutes

A nicely edited 4 minute video of an 11-day crossing of Mongolia during the Mongol Rally, by Jeff Diehl of www.SpotsUnknown.com. Copyright © 2012 James Langan

17 Inch 4Runner Wheels For 285s

Wheel Shopping I’m not a big custom wheel fan, partly because I’ve never run very wide tires so narrower OE wheels work well, and partly because wheel bling is not my thing. I’ve purchased exactly two sets of custom wheels in all my years of tinkering with four-wheel-drives, one set for my old F350, and one set for my 4Runner—both … Read More

Real Road Trip TDI MPG

My recent post about attaining 56 MPG in our little VW TDI was a rare achievement, our normal fuel economy is less, but still quite good. A recent road trip to Oregon is more representative of our typical highway fuel economy. The trip consisted of a couple hundred miles of slower, two-lane highways through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain … Read More

Best Map of the USA

The quotes and links below tell the story well, but let me say that I still love printed, paper maps. We are all using computers right now, and they can be fun, terrific tools. And who would have imagined a GPS in a cell phone just ten years ago? However, when I’m traveling in the backcountry I still primarily rely … Read More

Garage Compressor Hose

I’ve been bent on Made-in-USA for the past several weeks. It’s not that I don’t or won’t buy things made elsewhere, it’s almost impossible not to. But when there is a choice, sometimes it’s simply a matter of paying attention to the labeling and choosing one product over another. Sometimes you will pay more for American made, but not always. … Read More

Solar Highways

Though I know little about the technology, I’ve long been intrigued by the possibilities with solar power. I’m not a fan of huge solar sites across our western deserts on public lands, but I do like the idea of solar panels on the roof of my house. We looked into adding solar during the construction of our home several years … Read More

TDI Mileage Test

In the broad sense of the expression I’m a car guy. Though it’s much more accurate to say I’m a truck guy, or a motorcycle guy, as these machines have been the focus of my enthusiasm since my youth. But cars have their place, particularly when it comes to running errands, driving on-pavement, and hauling only people or small parcels. … Read More

The Forgotten Pedal

Operating and working on vehicles can be both fun and hazardous. Like others, I’ve made stupid and dangerous mistakes, but I’ve been lucky, and never been seriously injured. Sometimes we needlessly tempt fate because of bad habits or a lack of training. Using tire chocks when working under a car is a great idea, but before chocks are used we … Read More

Goodbye Bling Rings

For 2007 and newer Tundras the only OE 17-inch wheel is the forged aluminum TRDs with fake beadlock rings, part of the Rock Warrior package. In my previous post I said I prefer my OE aluminum rims, and I do, but I do have a few gripes with these Toyota wheels. With my original set I immediately noticed that adjusting the tire pressure is a … Read More

17-Inch Tundra Wheels & BFG A/T Tires

Part of being The Tire Meister means that I need to have wheels on which to mount the treads I’m evaluating. Unless I want to constantly remove my proven, primary tires, extra wheels are desirable. Extra wheels make for better, more consistent tire testing, and back-to-back swaps of mounted tires is an easy process. Mounting & balancing tires and wheels is … Read More