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Detonation: No Cheap Hobby


John Lehenbauer
Jul 6, 2017
Photographers: John Lehenbauer
I believe it is important to have hobbies. Participating in an activity strictly for leisure is good for a person’s well-being, whether it’s fishing, backpacking, needlepoint, gardening, or speeding across a dry lake bed inches off the ground at more than 200 mph. Being involved with an activity helps the mind, body, and spirit stay vibrant and provides a person with purpose and motivation to make it through the mundane work week to the weekend.
Many hobbies are relatively inexpensive to partake in. Owning a couple of fishing poles or some hiking gear is relatively affordable. But when a pastime becomes more of an obsession, that’s when the costs can start to significantly increase.
We all know or have heard about people whose hobby has gotten out of control, like the guy with the model-train collection that started with only a few trains in a simple display case, but as enthusiasm grew so did the size and complexity of the collection. The small display grew and grew, eventually turning into an amassment of locomotives and rail cars that is now displayed in a lifelike setting of track and landscape that got so big it eventually lead to a room addition.
Photo 2/2   |   Here is a small glimpse of my treasure trove of “junk” (oops, I mean “collectibles”). On the right side of the picture is a ’71 Bultaco motorcycle project; next to it is an older Honda that could use some love.
There is a good chance a few of you who read Diesel Power have a similar problem. All your spare time is occupied by a pastime that has something to do with diesel. And, just like the train guy, you started small, with maybe one truck, and as your interest grew it became more of a collection of vehicles. Building your assortment wasn’t too expensive when you started, but as your involvement increased, so did the cost.
Of course, when a passion grows, so does the amount of stuff (accessories, equipment, tools) that goes along with it. Owning a diesel truck or two or three is an investment in money and time, especially if one of them gets used in competition. Space can also be an issue, because the amount of room you need for all the vehicles, tools, equipment, and parts tends to expand over time. It always seems like the longer you are involved in something, the more junk gets collected.
As hobbies go, my problem is I don’t have just one. There are several different motorized hobbies that occupy my spare time. I have trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, 4x4s, and cars. It is hard to keep up with all of them; money and time get thin when dealing with so many different things. It would be much easier if I had fewer interests and could curtail my habits down to only one thing. There would be more cash in my pocket and more space around the house. If I were able to wean myself off liking to ride dirt bikes or going four-wheeling, it would allow me to sell a bunch of stuff and have funds to buy or build a really nice truck. But it is hard to stop doing the things that are fun, even if the opportunity to use them doesn’t come around as often as I’d like.
Of course, there are tons of parts that go with all the different things in my collection. A spare this and extra that, along with the parts that are yet to be installed on a project, all take up a bunch of space.
I have tried to get rid of stuff on more than one occasion. Whenever I actually do get close to convincing myself to part with something, it usually doesn’t work out. I tend to think about how much fun the vehicle is and the money that’s invested in it. When this happens, my interest gets revitalized and the desire to part with it fades. Even though I know deep down my interest in that particular item may be short-lived and it probably will remain in the same spot collecting dust, I am not able to part with it. The feeling is similar to a kid who has no interest in a particular toy until the day his or her mom wants to get rid of it, and almost immediately, it becomes the favorite.
Along with all the motorized hobbies, I have another problem: buying tools. New or old, it doesn’t matter, as long as I can justify (to myself) why I need it, which isn’t usually hard to do. Like the milling machine I got to help me make parts, which has been sitting in the corner of my garage for almost 10 years and still isn’t hooked up to power. The mill takes up a good chunk of space, but I tell myself it is a good tool and it will definitely be used…some day. Dang hobbies.
- John
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