Thursday, August 31, 2023


A rear view camera doesn’t do much good if I ignore it.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Changes to the changes

You know what? I’m going to stop making any kind of plans beyond what I’ll have for dinner.

The latest monkey wrench is a state of emergency in British Columbia because of forest fires. Lou’s friend George, who lives on Vancouver Island, says it’s best to stay away. Besides, his sailboat, from which we had planned to return Lou’s ashes to the sea, is in dry dock awaiting structural repairs. So that’s postponed until… sometime.

Friday, August 18, 2023

First the good news

The new engine is running fine. And between the new engine, the new water pump, and the new radiator, the running temperature stays in the normal range even while driving in 110+° desert heat with the air conditioning on. And the gas mileage is about six percent higher. I imagine it will be slightly better when I can drive with the AC off. Yay!

The not-good news is that some of the issues I had attributed to the old engine are actually the transmission. This became apparent while crossing Arizona. I had considered changing the transmission when I was replacing the engine, but the cost for both seemed so huge. I had the money but imagined the transmission was in better shape and would last longer. Besides, breaking the cost into two chunks feels less painful.

So there I was in Yuma, considering my options. Do I try to find an honest and competent mechanic there, then spend money on lodging while waiting for the new transmission to arrive and for the mechanic to work it into his schedule? Or do I turn around and go back to Lou’s place where I’ll have free lodging and neighborly assistance while the work is being done?

So I’m back at the ranch.

Met with a new mechanic this morning and got an estimate. Even for a factory-fresh transmission the price was a couple of thousand less than what I had been quoted by the previous outfit. And, unlike the previous outfit, he’s willing to go with a remanufactured or a salvaged transmission if I want to go that way. He’ll call me with those prices later today. Since remanufactured transmissions are warrantied, I’ll probably choose that if the price is significantly better. So now I wait. And relax.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Parting shot

Today I loaded my stuff in the van, took two loads of trash to the transfer station, cleaned the bathroom and kitchen, vacuumed, dusted, took the last of the housewares to the 96-year-old perpetual yard sale lady, flipped all the circuit breakers for the house, shop, well and RV hookups, and delivered the keys to my wonderful neighbors, Pat and Margene, so they can give them to the real estate agent who is away for a few weeks. 

Then I drove away.

It felt a little bit weird. It was over. I wasn't running an errand. I wasn't taking a vacation. I was leaving. I might never come back. I didn't have this feeling when I waved farewell to my own house ten years ago.

It felt a little bit wrong. It felt like I was cutting myself off from Lou and his memory, abandoning him. I'm not the caretaker of his hard work anymore.

But now I'm the caretaker of his ashes. I'm delivering them to Lou's sailing buddy, George, who lives on Vancouver Island. We'll deposit Lou in the ocean, as per his request.

After that? I guess I go searching for a new best friend.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Well, that's taken care of

I gave Lou’s truck and mini camper to a woman in El Paso. Her son and fiancee picked it up for her since she was feeling ill today.

You never know about deals made on the Internet, but the woman said she had been following Cheap RV Living and that she had been hoping to get something like this and get out of her apartment. All communications with her, her son and fiancee seemed genuine and above board. So were they just excellent actors? They were very nice and extremely grateful in person. Anyway, it's one more thing crossed off my list and putting me closer to being back on the road.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Ghost in the machine

Well, the Rolling Steel Tent’s engine got replaced and all that, but on the way home to the rancho the check engine light came on. I made a U-turn back to the shop where the scanner determined the problem was a faulty knock sensor. They ordered the part and I returned a few days later to have it installed — all covered by the warranty on the engine replacement.

A day later the check engine light came on again. Return to shop… it’s the knock sensor again… order another replacement… have it replaced a few days later.

Repeat the above once again, only this time they got a genuine GM part.

And the check engine light came on again.

Back to the shop. This time they figured it had to be a bad connector, because three knock sensors in a row is beyond all likelihood. 

Complicating the process a little is the fact the refrigerator, which is mounted where the passenger seat once was, needs to be disconnected and removed in order to have room to remove the engine cover and space for the mechanic to work. And I had reinstalled it the previous day, thinking our problem was finally fixed. It’s not a hard job, just a little tedious, requiring three wrench sizes and two screwdrivers. So I undid my work.

I retrieved the Rolling Steel Tent and its new connector yesterday afternoon and reinstalled the fridge.

This morning the check engine light came on again. “There must be a bad wire somewhere. We’ll have to chase it down. Can you come in Thursday?”

So the fridge will need to come out again. And go back in again.

Yesterday I had figured I could wrap up things with Lou’s property and return to my life on the road by the end of the week. I’ll have to see how this ordeal with the van wiring works out.

To be fair, I don’t blame the repair shop for this. They’ve been sympathetic and professional about the whole thing. However, if it turns out the mechanic dinged a wire during the engine swap, then I’ll grumble a little.

I just want to go.