Not every voyage goes smoothly. Well, actually, very few voyages go smoothly! Our ‘difficulties’ have been very small and very easy to take. You don’t get to the Age of Wisdom without having weathered some problems along the way.
In perspective, this is nothing! “This” being some car trouble and then, being delayed in New York for two weeks.
The car trouble was detailed excellently by David in a previous post so I won’t make an attempt to describe it here. In brief, we blew a head gasket on the 4Runner and spent 2 weeks in Rosendale, NY waiting for the job to be finished. The shop we chose really did an excellent job. The truck runs much better and gets about 40% better gas mileage, too. So now we’ve gotten the inevitable (for such a long trip) mechanical failure out of the way, we should be good to go for, hopefully, the rest of the trip. Optimistic? Sure. But that’s how we roll!
Grey, grey weather, a hurricane and a bit of non-communication on the part of the shop were really only minor irritants. David dealt with my sinking into despair from time to time heroically, as usual. The people of Rosendale were truly lovely and we made a couple of new friends: Jay and his dog, Blue. As for the shop that repaired the 4Runner? Well, all was forgiven, in terms of leaving us on tender-hooks, the instant we got the car back!
We are “home” but not actually living in our house! We are living in the Tramper, parked in the driveway. That’s perfectly OK because the Tramper is so nice, so comfortable. And, I don’t have to move my massive box of toiletries from one place to another!
Our wonderful daughter, Olivia, is living in our house. (I’m so happy for her – she just got a really cool full-time job using her newly-minted Master’s degree! Proud!) Olivia has two roommates, so the house is full and it would be silly to sleep on the couch when we have a perfectly good bed in the driveway.
We are visiting with our beloved families and seeing a few of our neighbors and friends. I have had fun seeing my small friends who live nearby. In the neighborhood, I am “Miss Jane” and I have some boxes full of toys and books that I share with my little visitors. It makes me pretty popular with the kids but also I love to play with them. I have seen Austin and Katie and Julia and Charlie. They give me joy and joy is something that you can never get too much of!
In 30 more short hours, we’ll be back on the road again and headed to the balmy breezes and warm temperatures of the South. It will be good to soak up some pleasant weather before the ski season begins.
As you can imagine, my mind raced to logistics. All of my tools and resources were right there, 50′ up the driveway. First I unloaded unused and redundant items. 2 pair of shorts is plenty. 2 pair of long pants is plenty. It is with shirts that I still have 3 T-shirts, 4 long-sleeved and several hi-tech long undershirts. Shhh, don’t tell Jane. Then I made a pile of duplicate tools. I even set out the Cabana, an open tent meant for beaches that I thought might have been nice in the desert. The same desert where I’ve seen lizards and small animals leaning into an inch of shade to escape the mid-day sun. Yes, on second thought, a Cabana wouldn’t really do much. We’ll be re-purposing pieces of our treasured foil-bubble-foil at that point.
Other than dropping some weight, I changed the oil in the truck again. Again because OIL is the lifeblood of a motor. Clean oil under pressure actually prevents metal from touching metal. The floating takes place in the “bearing clearance” usually only .002 of an inch. To relate to that space, imagine the thickness of a piece of paper wrapped around a shaft. However, dirty oil is liquid sandpaper. Oil and grit can in other uses be called lapping paste and actually intentionally cut metal. Motors don’t want that. I changed it after only 300 miles, right after the mechanic changed it during the head gasket repair. He did nothing wrong, but the whole disassembly process likely allowed antifreeze to leak through while waiting for the heads back from the machine shop. Now I can put the truck back on a normal schedule.
Tomorrow I will try out a hitch purchased for our Subaru. It is designed to transfer some of the trailer tongue weight to the front of the truck. Perhaps we’ll like it, perhaps not. All this truck talk may have some of you wondering, “did I buy the wrong truck?” Maybe. But really, we now have about 5 thousand in a 4WD SUV. No car payments, cheap insurance, and maybe we’ll sell it when we get back? Overall, it seems like part of the journey for me. If we went to a car dealer, signed on the line, went to an RV dealer, signed on that line too, we might reach that point where we felt we “couldn’t afford” to do this thing.
We can’t afford not to do this thing! Tonight I find myself excited to be on the way to the next destination…the trip itself.