Sunday, March 8, 2009

Off-Road Swap Meet Results

I got back from the swap meet this morning and immediately crashed for six hours. It was a really tiring 24 hours, mostly because we walked around a lot and I only got about 2 hours of sleep. We didn't find the shocks we needed but did score a rear axle.

Morongo Casino. It's one of the many Indian casinos in California trying to take business away from Las Vegas. The swap meet met in the parking lot at the old casino building which is now used for bingo and bowling. The new casino/hotel is at the tall building in the background. It's the only high-rise building for miles around.

It was pretty windy the whole time. As you keep driving east on the 10 freeway towards Palm Springs, there are many windmills. From an old news article, the Cabazon Wind Project has 62 windmills generating 41 MW,

We arrived at the parking at around 1:30pm and bought a space for $45. Regular admission for Sunday is $10/person so we spent an extra $25 to get in early. Randy brought some used racing seats to sell and actually sold them within a few hours. There were a lot of tires for sale. Our spot was near the entrance and I saw many trailers overloaded with huge tires.

The swap meet was a family affair. A lot of people drove their motor homes towing trailers of stuff to sell. Here is a kid playing in a metal tube frame ($100). The family that parked next to us brought their 2 young daughters and a golden retriever. Some of the motor homes were very nice, costing over $500k. Randy and I went the rustic route, sleeping in the back of his Toyota Tundra.

Swap meet parking lot at dusk. Seeing the big yellow Penske truck brings back memories of loading/unloading sound equipment at Newsong NOC

We had lunch at the buffet in the main casino. The food was decent, comparable to a mid-range buffet at Las Vegas (better than Circus Circus but not as good as The Mirage). It was $10.95 for lunch but dinner was $19.95 since they have prime rib on Saturdays. We ended up at the food court for dinner (Panda Express, Fatburger, Nathan's hot dogs, and some Italian place). It was really expensive ($7.25 for 2-items at Panda Express); I thought they would have cheap food to keep people at the casino. Since it was Saturday night, the main casino was packed full of people. It was bingo night at the old casino building and that was full of people too... and surprisingly not just old people. I really don't see the fun factor in bingo but maybe there's not much to do in the middle of the desert.

A few sellers brought fiberglass body parts. All this came out of one 24' truck.

Night view from our "booth." Since Randy sold his seats early, we had nothing under our tent except the 5 gas cans he bought.

As we were finishing our expensive Chinese dinner (Panda Express), Randy spotted someone unpacking their truck. He jumped up and went across the parking lot to check out some stuff. Next, I see him waving at me and pointing at a rear axle on the ground. We quickly measured it and bought it for $600. There were at least two other people eyeing the axle. I don't know much about car parts but this was a rear axle built by Currie (in Anaheim) that housed a 9" differential gear; it is supposedly the gold standard for racing, used for NASCAR and all sorts of race cars. We saw a new one earlier for sale at $1800. It was really heavy though. With this purchase, we now have five axles for our race truck, including the original two axles. The plan is to swap out both sets for the heavy duty axles and keep the extra 2WD front axle for less grueling races. Maybe we can bring the two stock axles back here next year to sell.

The swap meet officially started on Sunday morning at 6am. Overnight, a lot of people arrived with their stuff and filled up the parking lot. Randy and I went to sleep around 10:30pm Saturday night in the back of his pickup truck. There was a camper shell but it was definitely not weatherproof... it was freezing cold inside. I ended up sleeping with my jacket and jeans inside the sleeping bag since it was too cold and cramped to try and change. At around 12:30am, I woke up and wasn't able to fall asleep again for the rest of the morning due to Randy's snoring. I also needed to pee but didn't go outside because it was too cold.

Since we didn't have anything to sell on Sunday, we packed up our tent and let someone else use our space. These guys brought several truggies (truck + buggy since the engine was in the back) to sell. This one was parked right next to us. It was brand new and completely hand built from the ground up even thought it looked like a Ford. The engine was a Chevy LS1 from a Corvette so it should be pretty fast. They're selling it for $100k so if you're interested, call Scott.

Even though we didn't find the shocks we needed, we ended buying the 9" rear axle, two gas cans, and a helmet air pump for the truck. I also bought a new double-layered Nomex driving suit for $200. It is really thick and heavy but will keep me safe in case our truck catches on fire. If nothing else, at least I can wear it for Hallowe'en. I tried to buy a helmet as well but could not find a XXL; the XL sized helmets still feel too tight and gives me claustrophobia. We also tried to look for shocks for our personal cars (Randy's Tundra and my 4Runner). The plan is to use our own cars as chase trucks during races since we only have money for the one race truck. After our Barstow pre-run trip on March 28th, we'll see if my 4Runner needs a suspension upgrade; everything is stock except for bigger wheels (P265-70R16).


Anonymous said...

LOL I like the comment about not being weather proof lol.


totochi said...

For the record, I'm a big snorer too. The trick is to fall asleep before the other snorers in the room/tent/truck-bed/whatever. I just happened to wake up in the middle of the night this time...