Camping at Elk Creek Campground & RV Park near Grand Lake, CO

We made it through the mountains pulling the Mini!

We were able to climb the big hill into the mountains and then up and down the pass both ways to winter park.

I don’t think there is anywhere we can’t go now.


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Great Dale Door Holder

We’ve always had a problem with the door on the Great Dale. There was no way to latch it open and it would blow around in the wind. I tried a standard RV door latch in the beginning, but the bedroom windows sick out too far. Larry tried a couple of options when he re-skinned it, but gave up in the end.

I finally had an idea and scraped up a prototype using an piece of angled metal with two holes in an existing screw hole at the top and a block of wood. The block of wood had a screw in one side to connect with the angle on the body of the RV and then I cut a diagonal slot in the wood to hold the door. Then I added a handle to make it easy to install and remove and, low and behold, it worked pretty well. It also fell apart pretty quickly.

I was going to make the final wood block in the shape of of the Great Dale, but decided it would be too big and bulky. Then I hit on the idea of making it the shape of the original 1965 Dodge Coronet, and that was perfect.

Here’s the new prototype that I whipped up in an afternoon. It’s working great! I plan on learning some carving in the off season to ad some detail before I finish it to match the screen door.


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Great Dale Swamp Cooler

The Great Dale Swamp Cooler prototype is complete and tested.

This is a modification of a modification of the home depot swamp coolers that people usually build for Burning Man.

I made a couple previously for burning man and learned a lot from my mistakes.

My version is hidden under the sunflowers on the right hand side. I can’t believe I didn’t take better pictures.

The idea here is that you can get better cooling with more surface area as per this post

DIY portable camping PVC pipe evap air conditioner

The big modification is the storage container and how I feed the water up the pipes.  I also added an auto-fill mechanism that will fill the base to a preset level when we’re connected to a water supply.

The next steps will be to add a switch to turn it on and off, build a good looking frame, and then get some way to direct the air.

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Great Dale Visits New Mexico

We took a trip to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, NM.  We pulled the Mini all the way there and the Torquemonster performed perfectly.

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1926 Jordan Model A House Car

We happened across this exhibit at the Western Reserve Historical Society’s Cleveland History Center

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Mini Cooper Dinghy Tow Setup

One of the downsides of not having a trailer is transportation when we get to the destination. We have a Mini Cooper with a standard transmission that makes for a great pull-behind dinghy-tow vehicle, so we decided to see if the new torque-monster couls pull it.

We took a test drive to Cherry Creek State Park Campground and the toruqe-monster can pull both vehicles with ease. There’s a small stability issue that may be a problem.  We’ll see what happens on further trips this year.


If it does work out, we’ll probably paint the Mini to match the Dale

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Introducing the TorqueMonster

The final piece of the 1965 Coronet Great Dale re-imagining is complete.

The old 361 engine has been replaced with a 383 cubic inch block bored to 494 cubic inches with a custom camshaft to produce maximum torque with the available 600 hp.

The oddball ’65 transmission has been replaced with a ’66 standard transmission. A Gear Vendor overdrive was added to provide overdrive for highway driving and 1/2 gears for mountain pulling.

It apparently has been raced against many cars during the mechanic’s “burn-in” period, and many people were surprised as they watched the tail-end of the House Car take off ahead of them.

I made it all the way home on cruise and overdrive and the engine was barely engaged.  I accidentally hit 80 mph trying to pass someone on the freeway and the engine barely noticed.



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Refurbished Dashboard

We sent the dashboard to the fine folks at last winter and we should have posted the pictures then. But I couldn’t find the heater knob until recently, so here they are.

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The Great Dale at Elsewhence

The Great Dale made an appearance at Elsewhence 2015.

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63 Olds Dale in Sweden

I bought this car in Denver approx 10 years ago. That was just a little before the retro RV craze started and got it for $2500.
The purchase was for my friend in Southern Sweden. We shipped it and a 56 Cad House car of unknown origin at the same time. All the paper work came with the 63 including where they upgraded to a 1970 Olds 455 engine at a dealership.
I have toured Sweden in the car twice once 7 years ago and again last summer. It runs perfect and with mostly flat land there and no mountains to speak of it really gets down the road.
This is a photo from that last trip.

63 Olds Great Dale


Benny Berggren is the current owner.
Wish I still has pictures of the day we shoved this car and another 56 Cad House car in a SeaTrain container.
The Cad was a non Dale car. It was rough and Benny has never done anything with it yet.
The Dale we were able to let his boy drive in. Then the 56 Cad we had to take tires on the wheels to drop the overall height and the. Rolll / shove it in with a forklift. It was 103 degree that day so inside the container felt like 150.
Here is my camper hookup now


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