Day 233 – Racing Shocks

We’ve spent the last 24 hours parked in front of ADS Off Road Racing Shocks headquarters in east Tucson.  That is not a bad thing.  We have been here because they are installing the Billy Badass, Big Rich approved Dirt Riot Dominator shocks on our XJ.  If you are not a Jeep person, that’s an old style Cherokee, four door, that we use for everything.  We call it our motorized wheelbarrow because it drives all the race course, gets the groceries, does the laundry and hangs out in the back of the semi when we are moving from place to place.

ADS put some customized 2.5” remote reservoir, 7/8” shaft, nitrogen filled emulsion shocks on the front and the rear.  These babies are prototypes that we will be able to demo to Cherokee drivers all over the country, we are really excited to try them out.

We’ve always had a really good relationship with Brian Turner at ADS, he is the off-road man; now we’ve gotten to know Steve Kuker, the owner as well.  We are lucky to have such good people in the offroad industry.  In fact, one of my favorite parts is to get to know the business owners that are making things happen.  Offroad is 80% mom and pop and 20% corporate.  Even the mom’s and pop’s can be multi-million $ businesses, but they are still just real people.  People that you can go out and have a meal with, a Diet Coke, maybe a beer.  People with a passion.  Thanks ADS for hooking us up, we are excited to begin a partnership with you.

For more information about ADS, visit their website at or my other blog


Day 234 – New Things

jewelryJohnson Valley-Phoenix-Tucson.  We haven’t made it very far mileage wise, but we are on the road.  Anytime we are near Phoenix, we almost always stop.  We have great friends there, Charlene, Andrew, Campbell’s and Rich’s sister. Lots of reasons to stop.  This trip we dropped in to Charlene’s.  We’ve got a great little setup going on, she provides showers and internet, I get to fix dinner.  Because I don’t have an oven, it is exciting when I get to use one.  We had mustard crusted pork roast, rosemary potatoes, parmesan baked cauliflower.  It looked like a gourmet meal, if only I could learn how to plate it pretty.

Next stop was Tucson.  From February 1 til now is the Tucson Jewelry Show, it sounds like something simple, right?  Not so, it is thirty different shows held all over town for every jewelry buyer in the country.  There are high-priced shows with high-priced gems for the buyers from the BIG department stores; there are mineral shows and fossils shows, bead shows and just about anything else.  Charlene and I went to the JOGS show in the Tucson Expo Center.  It is a conglomeration of just about everything.

We found large geodes and lots of fossils, mostly from Indonesia and Madagascar.  We found tools and findings.  Findings are all the little pieces it takes to build jewelry, from chains to clasps, jump rings to split rings, charms and bails.  There were beads galore in every color and material.  Tables upon tables set out with strings of beads, some were natural stones, others were crafted.  There were diamonds and crystals and salt lamps, furniture and fashion accessories.  Bling, bling and more bling.  It was a bit overwhelming.

So many pretty things as far as you could see.  I am a more simplistic jewelry person.  I want to build simple stuff, minimalistic jewelry that just adds an accent, not a focus.  Most of this years’ designs are big and blingy.  It was fun to go, but I’m pretty sure if I go again, I’m going with a specific budget, and a specific idea of what I want to get.  I’m still in the design phase, so it was just too much for me.  I want to thank Jewelry Making Daily for turning me on to the Tucson shows and Charlene for being my partner in crime today, it was definitely worth the trip.