Friday, December 3, 2010

Next update post -Grin- this will bring it up to date :)

Mornin folks, another beautiful day up here in the high country :)

Ok, time to get this caught up to current...   Lets see.. I had bought the land and would be able to park the big truck and no longer worry about driving illgally.. 

well, in order for that to work, I had to have options for resupply of water and food now and then.. I have the bike, but best case scenario that way, I would have to run in weekly for water.  While that wouldnt be terrible, there would very likely be times when I just didnt wanna do that.  And, if I needed to replace some of my bulk food items, then water wouldnt be possible to do on the same run, so would have to do additional runs..   I decided that I needed yet another vehicle!!  so much for being a minimalist here!

Spent a few weeks browsing craigs list, Ebay, Sierra Auctions, and a few other sites..  there were some nice trucks out there but nothing that seemed like it was just right..  I eventually decided I didnt need a 4X4, I could do without a cammy paint job, I could do without a 6" lift (yeah, I found some that had all that and more)  and all I could really justify spending was 3500 or so, and that was higher than I would want to go if possible..

I ended up finding a 2006 Ford Ranger STX on Ebay, in the Phx area for 3500, and drove the bike down to the valley to pick it up and bring it home. ;)  Little did I know how interesting that day would become....

On the morning of the trip down, got up early (actually used an alarm!) jumped on the bike.. No start :(   Pulled the seat off, hooked up my small bank of solar panels and waited.. and waited.. and waited..  would get enough charge to turn it over, but the bike hadnt been used since I left CA, so fuel wasnt in the system yet, and it would drain down before enough got there to start it..  Had to break out the starting fluid that I bought for the truck when it was cold...  well, I got on the road about 8, 2 hours later than I initially intended.   The Drive down was really nice, started out in full leathers up here at 6600 Ft elevation, rolled through St Johns, Concho, Show Low, Seneca, Globe, into Apache Junction.  Bike ran great, and when I stopped for fuel, kicked right back up.  Probably will need to replace the battery though this coming spring, it's still the original '07.
Got to my friend John's house, who is kind enough to let me park the bike there, and he and I took off to pick up the truck (bought on ebay, mistake on my part).  Got into Phoenix about 1pm and got to the place to pick up the truck, looked good, talked to the gentlemen a bit who was selling it, looked at some classic vehicles he was restoring, was thinking everything was going to be good.. this guy obviously knew vehicles!
Jumped in the tuck to head home and all was working fine... Untill I got about 100 miles out of Phx, to the town of Payson Az.  Stopped to run into a restroom and when I came back out, the truck was a no start, it was a little after 5pm, and Payson is a small town.. called the dealership in town, closed, called a couple repair shops.. closed.. stress started rising.. Tori was home at the truck alone, night was coming on, and my nights get a bit chilly..  Finally, after about 8 calls, had someone give me a number to a mobile repair service... Luckily, he was still in his truck, and could come my way, so figured I had dodged a bullet and would be on the road in short order! :)

Boy... was I mistaken...  He got there after about a half hour, started diagnosing the problem(s) and we eventually got it running...  then I heard him say "crap".. looking at the tailpipe, there was a pretty hefty stream of water coming out..  Opened the radiator, and you could smell the exhaust..  Blown Head gaskets..

That wasn't something that could be casually repaired in a few minutes...  he told me that if I watched the temp, with night coming on, I could run it home to St Johns, if I was careful..  and I was tempted, but that wouldn't get it fixed.  Made a phone call to my folks, who I thought were at the cabin (30 miles away) and found out they were back in the Phx area...  In spite of that, they jumped in thier vehicles and brought me up my Dad's Jimmy, so that I could get home and get Tori taken care of, and I could use the Jimmy for a week or so till the repair was done.  I absolutely hate to rely on others for help, or to feel like I am beholden to anyone... but they saved my butt big time, and I wont forget it :)

Ok, so all working as well as can be expected at that point, figure a week and I'll run back down and pick up my truck (which I was less happy with at this point) and get back to a normal life of laying in supplies for the winter and adjusting... yeah.. I do like to fantasize dont I?  :)  Talk to the mechanic the next morning, and get a top end repair estimate of 1900, but after he looked at it he figured it could so it cheaper, and the only part he couldn't price out for me was the machinist to fix the heads them self.. Ok, told him to go ahead and roll with it, and would wait to hear from him...  One week... Two weeks...  call.. Machinist has been sick... Ok, I can understand that I guess.. Three weeks... Four weeks.. Machinist broke a tool and has to get a replacement.. Oh, and got sick again...  Five weeks... I Drive down to Phx in my folks truck to return it to them, and will hang out at thier place till I get mine back...  Another week passes and my truck is finally ready!!

Drive back up with the folks to get it, Pick up the truck, cost, 1500..  so now my 3500$ truck is up to 5k..  Will it work from this point on?? 

So far, so good drove the 170 miles home after picking it up, ran smooth and regular!  so stress is about gone now, and will start settling in :)

On the plus side, while I was gone a cold snap came through, temps in St Johns (30 miles south) were hitting lows of 3 and 4 degrees for a week, and  missed it all!  Will see what the rest of winter brings, but I feel content here and at peace :)  Probably will make a run into either Gallup, or Show Low Az, soon for some styrofoam sheet insulation, and a water refill, but for the most part, this is where I Be!!

OH, and I should put a pick of the truck here, so you know what I was getting :)
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