Auto-Biography: The F100’s Junkyard Transmission Is In, But It’s…Junky – Meanwhile I’ve Taken On A Much Bigger (Coastal) Challenge – Port Orford Journal, Part 1

Some of you undoubtedly have wondered what happened with my junkyard transmission for my old F100. I had to get a few things before I installed it, like new bushings and clips for the Hurst shifter and a seal for the solenoid. The installation went reasonably well, meaning it took a bit longer and involved more physical effort than getting it out, but the transmission jack I got was a real boon.

I filled it up with 90 weight, got in, started it up and drove off. Yowza! It’s just as noisy in first and second as my old one was before it imploded. Bummer!

Well, it runs, and I can use it to haul a load of gravel if I need, but I parked in the back lot under the tree, and I suspect it’s not going to get much use. Why? I bought a utility trailer. Not so much to replace the truck, but because it’s going to be essential in our impusive new undertaking.

Here’s the new addition to the Niedermeyer fleet, a 5 x 8 utility trailer. And where is it going in a few hours, loaded with chain saw, pole saw, weed whacker, and some other tools?

To Port Orford, on the southern Oregon Coast. We’ve stopped there a number of time in our travels and camping trips over the years, and developed a real soft spot for it. This southern Oregon coast is the least developed stretch of the coast, as it’s not near any larger cities and there’s no easy access to the towns inland. This is the Port Orford head, which made for a natural harbor, and is why the town of Port Orford is the oldest one on the Oregon coast (1851), but it’s also one of the smallest (pop. 1,190).

The top of the head was the site of the first Coast Guard (Life Boat) Station, established in 1934. It’s now a museum, incorporated into a state park that also includes extremely scenic trails that offer stellar views.

Like this, looking back east to Humbug Mountain, a great hiking spot. I shot this last week.

Looking north. Cape Blanco, the westernmost land tip in the lower 48 states is partly obscured by the fog.

Looking directly west.

And down between two fingers of the heads.

We’re not just going to be the concessional visitors anymore, as we’ve bought a piece of property on the head.

Seven acres, to be precise. It’s defined by that blue line on this Google satellite image. The town and the harbor, with an active commercial fishing pier, is just behind the head.

Here’s a closer view. Most of it is a wild and steep canyon, leading down to the lower reaches and the beach.



Here’s how it looked when we first looked at it a few weeks back, from the driveway. That’s the ocean out there between the trees.

There’s a two car pole-barn steel garage. The plan is to convert that into a “camping cabin” until we decide what and where to build a house. All of that area in the front I cleared out over Labor Day weekend with my power tools. I labored hard.

Looking back up the driveway. The branches were so low I couldn’t drive my van in. They’re now all pruned back.

Stephanie pondering what we’ve gotten ourselves into now. It’s going to take a lot of work and imagination.

There’s some old trails; one can hike all the way down the canyon and then to the beach.

A pond just a short way down.


I had to haul two trailer loads of garbage to the dump.

I had quite a job on my hands to get this totally rusted hulk of an utility trailer to the dump. I had a couple guys working on a roof across the street help me tip it over, and then used a 4-way lug wench and a bit of PB Blaster lent to me by a neighbor up the road to take it apart. The nuts and bolts were all deeply rusted; I’m surprised that some of them even came loose. I had to remove the axle and springs; it was the back half of an old Japanese pickup. Goof thing it wasn’t an old Ford!

The neighbor, who’s building a house a ways up the road, came back to help me lift the frame, axle and springs into the trailer. He saw the aluminum roof of the canopy and took a chunk to use for something related to ducting his downdraft stove exhaust. he showed up in his Ww2 Jeep. He’s driven it up the Alaska Highway, which took a month. The hard seat was a bit hard on his backside. He also has a ’39 Ford pickup.

That’s just one of three piles I created over Labor Day weekend. And that’s my trusty 34-year old Stihl AV28S chain saw that still runs perfectly. Never needed anything but an air filter or two and a new spark plug once.

But every morning before breakfast and in the evening, no matter how tired I was, the dog and I walked the couple hundred yards up to the Coast Guard station and took the loop trail around the head. It’s always a bit different; the swells, the fog, the light, the birds, and all the other things that make the coast so irresistible.

And of course that big group of seals sunning themselves on that rock down there.

I need to run, as we’re heading out today (Saturday) still. And there’s a bit of packing up to do. We’ll be gone through Wednesday, so you’re on your own. See you then!