For a car to be considered desirable in the US, it seems that it needs to be big, mass-produced, and brand spanking new. Ernie Adams turns that sentiment on its head with his wildly popular "Dwarf Cars" - small racers and cruisers made from scrap. Growing up near a landfill in Harvard, Nebraska, Adams showed an early fascination with all things mechanical. Taking advantage of the vehicular Valhalla, he began to salvage scrap parts and turn them into motorized masterpieces. Most of the models are only about 46" high and are miniature replicas of American classics. Housed in a museum in Maricopa, Arizona, the wheeled wonders have spawned a whole sub-culture of builders.
When Ernie Adams was eleven years old he took on his first project – upgrading a bicycle with a motor and a dual exhaust system. After dropping motors into tricycles and wagons, he graduated to slightly larger machines. Showing a remarkable ability for fabrication at an early age, Adams took flat sheets of steel and transformed them into fenders, handles, and car frames. Crazy for customization, he built his own tools and loves to fabricate his cars pieces by piece.
Adams made his first two Dwarf Race Cars in 1979 and 1980. He was inspired to build the vehicles after he and his friend Daren Schmaltz attended motorcycle sidecar races in Phoenix. During the drive home, they discussed how the three-wheeled racers were slow to round the corners. By adding a fourth wheel, they figured that they could improve stability while also creating a new type of spectator appeal. The first models were fashioned after a ’33 Dodge coupe with a 73” wheelbase and a height of 46”. The cars were built completely from steel and they were light enough to be powered by motorcycle engines. The two finally hit the races in 1981 when they ran a couple of exhibition laps around a dirt go-cart track.
From race cars, Adams moved on to making replicas of old cruisers, such as his diminutive ’39 Chevy, and more whimsical creations like the ’29 Ford Hillbilly. There are currently seven Dwarf Cars housed in an Arizona museum, most of which can still be driven. While he no longer makes them, Adams hopes that between the efforts of his son and resourceful builders around the world, the dwarf car legacy will live on. As of 2009, 45 cars were registered for the Dwarf Car Races, showing that a lot of ingenuity and skill have the potential to create a movement that extends far from the seed of a simple idea.
Instead of letting all the produce that doesn’t look ideal get tossed, this grocery chain found a way to market it…
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Oregon is the state that has a little bit of everything, from snowy mountaintops to verdant forests. And despite the seemingly endless rain and fog that keep the sky gray for much of the year, Oregon has managed to topple Washington, D.C. as the favorite location for people moving to new places in the U.S.
View More Photos Here: http://www.weather.com/travel/where-forest-meets-sea-breathtaking-landscapes-oregon-photos-20140213
Fort Bragg, Calif.
Filled with colorful, frosted jelly-bean-like pieces of glass worn smooth by the tides, California's Glass Beach shows that one person's trash really can be another's treasure.
The beach was a dumping ground for decades beginning in the late 1940s, when residents of nearby Fort Bragg – located about 3 hours north of San Francisco – would throw their trash over the cliffs, everything from household garbage to kitchen appliances and old cars, as well as lots of glass.
Dumping was finally halted in the late 1960s and several cleanups followed. By the time the 38-acre beach was turned over to California's state parks system in the early 2000s, years of pounding surf had turned what were once jagged shards of glass into millions of rounded, polished jewels.
It can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years to make sea glass, the name for any piece of glass that finds its way to the ocean and tumbles around in the water long enough to frost and smooth its surface. The glass can come from anywhere – bottles, flasks, or even car windows, thrown into a dump or overboard from a boat.
Once it makes its way into the ocean, the glass is broken up into shards and tumbled around in the water, where sand and other rocks act like sandpaper to smooth out its rough edges. Salty seawater, especially water with a higher-than-average pH, also gives the glass a frosty, pitted sheen.
Back on the beach, sea glass can be found in common colors like green, brown and white, and inmuch rarer colors like amber, jade, pink, aqua, citron and purple – really any color in which glass is made. Those rare colors have made sea glass a collectors' item and inspired books and hobbyist websites (like Sea Glass Journal) that offer tips on where and how to find sea glass around the world.
At California's Glass Beach, locals say that before it became famous, the beach was covered in as much as a foot of sea glass so smooth that a person could walk along it with bare feet.
Today, you can still find sea glass in what's known officially as MacKerricher State Park – as well as the occasional rusted spark plug – but what is left is being rapidly depleted by tourists who collect pieces in plastic bags, buckets and even sometimes canisters as large as trash cans.
Budget cuts have limited the park system's ability to enforce laws against collecting sea glass, however, prompting park officials to try any and all avenues to spread the message that it should be enjoyed for its view and left alone.
"It has never been legal to remove the glass from Glass Beach since it became California State Park property," said Marilyn Murphy of the Mendocino Area State Parks, in an interview with MendocinoFun.com. "So much glass has already been taken that if it continues, there will be no more glass on Glass Beach."
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