Daily Archives: July 19, 2020

More Confused . . .

I spent the late morning and most of the afternoon with my head burrowed in the fuse block area located in the top of the dashboard in front of the steering wheel. I’m trying to figure out why our rig’s taillights, turn signals, and probably the brake lights have stopped working. But the headlights still do work.

But now I’m more confused than when I started. I’ve got sets of schematics from the chassis maker, Spartan, and the coach maker, American Coach/Fleetwood. But they don’t always seem to match up with what I’m actually seeing. And in some cases they directly contradict each other.

I may get to the point where I have to start at the headlight switch and just start tracing it out. We’ll see.

I tried to sign up for the new NBC Peacock streaming service today and found out I can’t. Or I can, but only if I watching on my computer, not on our TV.

As it turns out the Peacock app is not available on our Samsung TV or our Amazon Fire Stick.

So I guess we just do without for now. It’s not like we don’t have a half dozen or more other streaming services.

Several of our readers have asked, with the fairly expensive repairs I’m doing on the truck, why I’m not looking at a new vehicle.

Well, for one reason, I’m cheap. But you already knew that, didn’t you.

Here’s one blog reader’s question,

given the age and mileage on your truck it might be time to consider either new or new to you (i.e. used) rather than fix… it you probably already thought Bout that since it sounds like you’re getting it fixed..

And here’s my longish answer.


I’ve certainly thought it, but I just can’t seem to make the numbers work.

Our truck is a 2004 Dodge Dakota 4wd 4 door and had 104,000 miles on it when we bought it, and came with a camper shell over the bed. It had been a T-Mobile supervisor’s truck and had had dealer servicing. It now has about 305,000 miles on it + 90,000 being towed behind the RV.

We bought it at the end of 2007 for $13,000 cash. Then I spent about $1000 on the tow bar package for it.

Now looking at the best rated used 2017 mid-size trucks, according to the 2017 Dinghy Guide, only the GMC Canyon can be towed 4 Down. And according to CarMax 2017 Canyon’s range from $27,000 to $36,000. And of course, I’d need a new base plate to tow it.

So we would either have to take it out of savings or end up with a large monthly payment. And I don’t like monthly payments. When we started RVing, we paid everything off, and then paid cash for the truck and our Class A. So right now, we only have our monthly bills, and I’d really like to keep it that way if I could.

Plus I can and do a lot of the work myself. If this had been an A/C leak under the hood, I could have probably fixed it myself.

Now with the transmission rebuilt about 18 months ago, the only big ticket item left is the engine. Now as I mentioned in the blog before, for the last nine months, our V-8 engine has actually been a V-7. One of the cylinders is only showing about 25# of compression while the other seven are between 125 and 135. But it runs just fine, just down a little on acceleration and gas mileage. In fact we did a 1500 mile roundtrip back to Alabama in January and it ran just fine, with no problem holding 70-75 on the Interstate.

So my thought at this point is to just keep driving it until the engine dies and then put a rebuilt engine into it for $5000-6000.

Still a lot cheaper than $28,000 to $35,000 plus a new base plate.

So as I said, it all boils down to the fact that I’m cheap. Plus the fact that despite being 16 years old, the truck still looks good.


Still working on my HCQ/WuFlu roundup. Hope to have it tomorrow.

These are a couple blogs from 2011 and 2012. The 2011 one is while we were traveling from the Glacier National Park area to Cody, WY.

The 2012 one was from our first year of oil rig gate guarding.

July 19, 2011

On to Garrison . . .

First off, I wanted to post some of the neat vehicles I’ve seen lately.

This really nice looking Prevost was parked a few sites down from us in Columbia Falls. I assume it’s mid to late 90’s since it doesn’t have any slides. But it sure is pretty.

Prevost Next Door

Yesterday when we stopped at the Glacier National Park’s St. Mary Visitors Center, I saw this great looking Chevy Panel Van in the parking lot.

GNP Chevy Van 1

GNP Chevy Van 2

Now back to your regularly-scheduled blog.

We headed out this morning from Columbia Falls a few minutes before 10 for a 207 mile drive to Garrison, MT for the night.

Before we left I did the manual transfer switch thing under the bed, and got us set up to use the generator on today’s trip since it was supposed to be pretty warm and I knew we’d want to use the house AC’s on the trip. This would be the first time I’d used the generator since I added the receptacles to be able to use it. Crossing my fingers . . .

About 25 miles after leaving the park, we started our run along the west side of beautiful Flathead Lake. The lake is about 50 miles long, about half of it in the Flathead Indian Reservation.

FlatHead Lake 1

About this time I fired up the generator, and with no sparks or smoke, a few minutes later the AC’s came on. I guess I wired it up right after all.

FlatHead Lake 2

FlatHead Lake 3

FlatHead Lake 4

About 130 miles along, we got on I-90 eastbound, ten miles west of Missoula. And we still had great scenery for the remaining 80 miles of our trip to Garrison.

I-90 to Garrison

We pulled into the Riverfront RV Park in Garrison about 2:30 and were led directly to our site by the owner. This is the 4th time we’ve stayed here and we always enjoy it. It’s quiet, out of the way, and cheap. Only $26 total for 50 amp full hookups.

Mister smelled grass and demanded to be let out immediately, so I put him out on his leash while I hooked up.

A couple of minutes later this cute little poodle showed up and wanted to make friends with Mister and play.


Unfortunately Mister considers dogs this size as ‘snacks’ and started stalking the poodle. So I quickly scooped Mister up and tossed him in the rig before he ruined his dinner.

Mister's Snack

And just for the record, Mister considers dogs of ‘any’ size as snacks. I’ve seen him go after full size German Shepherds and Chows. And at about 25 pounds he’s no lightweight himself.

The views from this park are some of the nicest we’ve seen, and the storm front moving in just it more dramatic.

Riverfront 1

Riverfront 2

Riverfront 3

Right after we got parked Jan started a crockpot of pork stew with potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and garlic that was ready to eat about 6 pm.

Tomorrow we’ve got a 270 mile run to Billings, MT for one night before getting to Cody, WY on Thursday.

Thought for the Day:

I live in my own little world. I like it ‘cuz they know me here.

July 19, 2012

The King is Dead. Long Live the King . . .

A week or so ago I mentioned that during our break we had visited the Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels, TX, the largest convenience store in the world. At 68,000 square feet, with 83 toilets and 60 gas pumps, it’s certainly Texas-sized.

Well, this afternoon our daughter-in-law Linda sent us a link to a story about the new biggest Buc-ee’s in the world, and it’s going to be right down the road from the RV park we stay at when we’re in the Houston area. Unfortunately it won’t open until Memorial Day 2013, so we won’t get to visit it until the following Thanksgiving when we’ll be back in the area. Can’t wait.

This past Tuesday morning something unusual happened here at our rig site. It got very quiet and very dark. The rig normally looks like this at night.

Peggy Gate Rig 1


However, about 4:45am it looked like this.

Rig in the Dark

You know how that silence can be deafening? Well, that really held true here. Even the dark was deafening. The only thing lighting up the area was a couple of those portable light towers that have their own generators.

The big diesel generator (and by ‘big’ I mean the size of a semi trailer) that powers everything here at the site just up and quit. Just a big “WHUMP! and it was gone.

People came running out of buildings like ants at a picnic. For some reason there was also a lot of yelling and cussing going on. Over the next 20 minutes they’d tried to restart it a number of times with no luck. Finally someone found that a circuit breaker had popped on the power running the pump that feeds the engine from the big fuel tank. That’s the big blue tank just to the left of center in the above photo.

Resetting the breaker fixed the problem and a few minutes later they were back up and running. Well it was nice while it lasted.

On a somewhat related note I mentioned in an earlier blog that they would be drilling two separate holes here,


about 25 feet apart so they can do directional drilling in opposite directions. The amazing thing about this is that they actually drag the entire multi-hundred ton rig to the new hole on greased skid plates.

So this evening I ask the Company Man how long it would take. He said that from the time they shut down at the first hole and are back up and ready to drill at the second location is normally about 12-15 hours. That’s just amazing.

I’ve mentioned before that we normally have our big meal of the day in the evening, and just have a snack for lunch. One of the few exceptions to this is Tuesdays, which it’s Chile Rellenos day at Galindo’s in Charlotte.

At our old site, Galindo’s was only about 8 miles away, perfect for a quick lunch. But now from our new location, they’re about 40 miles away. Even for Chile Rellenos, a 80 mile round trip was a little much. But I decided to go ahead and get groceries in Pleasanton then instead of waiting until Friday, making it only an additional 15 miles. Very doable,

The meat-filled Chile Rellenos was as delicious as usual, and as often happens, dinner showed up too. I’ve mentioned before that it seems like every time we have a big lunch, a catering truck shows up with a big dinner.

And about 4:15 one showed up. And a few minutes later the smell of steaks on a grill wafted across the site. And by 5:30 we were chowing down on a delicious meal of steak, seasoned mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and a root beer float for dessert.

Steak and Float

The salad is actually on the steak. It covered the entire area. And as usual, it was really good. And we were really full. But it was worth it.

Thought for the Day:

“The first rule to intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts”. – Paul R. Ehrlich.


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