Category Archives: Trucks

A merry little dumpster diving year-end adventure

Hi readers:

When I left Andrews on Christmas Eve morning a cold fog wrapped the RV and a tasteful bow atop kept it all together for the felines and me until I reached Big Spring.  That’s where the brakes on the RV failed.  Roughly 100 yards before the entryway into the parking lot for a chain store for auto parts.

Great, helpful folks there while I was diagnosing the cause of the problem, feeding brake fluid to the pre-Christmas Universe.  Determining the next best guess to be a failed master cylinder.  And me with almost no tools along.

Ordered the master cylinder inside the store, arranged with them to park in their lot until it arrived the day following Xmas.  They showed me an electrical outlet where I could plug in to keep the heater and lights modern.

Hydrox, Tabby and I watched a store employee carrying boxes past us to the dumpster straining to get them over the side.  One plastic box appeared to be a great possibility for a litter box, so I went over to retrieve it.  I was astonished to observe the dumpster was home to several boxes with taped label, “Manager Disposal”, the contents scattered among the lowbrow cartons and candy wrappers.

The contents:  open end wrenches all sizes, box end wrenches, socket sets, miscellaneous other tools, a couple of which I’d surely need for the master cylinder replacement.  So early Christmas morning I climbed down the chimney of the dumpster and began digging out every tool I could bring myself to save from the landfill.

Finished in time to have myself a nice Christmas dinner of something-or-other, cuddle a cat, watch a vintage movie.

Next morning the master cylinder arrived, I installed it with the dumpster-tools, ran the RV around the parking lot a bit to test the brakes, and headed off to points south.

Easily the weirdest Christmas I’ve ever been blessed with.

Old Jules

Buffalo Bill’s Defunct – The Communist Toyota 4-Runner

That old 4-Runner had a quarter-million miles on it when my lady-friend sold it to me about a decade ago.  Until then it lived on the Zuni Rez.  Somewhere around there are pics of the 1998 Lost Adams Diggings Search, Amy met Gale, Dana and me on Fox Mountain driving it.  One more bug on the windshield of life.

That old 4-Runner had a quarter-million miles on it when my lady-friend sold it to me about a decade ago. Until then it lived on the Zuni Rez. Somewhere around there are pics of the 1998 Lost Adams Diggings Search, Amy met Gale, Dana and me on Fox Mountain driving it. One more bug on the windshield of life.

Toyota RV out by the same car dolly later in the day.  At 71 a person can’t be sentimental.

Buffalo Bill ‘s
defunct
who used to ride a watersmooth-silver stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
Jesus he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

by E. E. Cummings

Furshlugginer trailer lights

power supply

Sheeze.  These old original equipment lights on this trailer Gale abandoned forever ago appear to have had the problem of a short in the license tag light.  But the harnass was cut off up front I’d guess because it was blowing his fuses in the vehicle, and he’s been using add-on magnetic held lights.

harness

So what I’ve got is four wires up at the tongue, a brown, white, green and yellow.  The white’s ground as nearly as I can tell.  The green and brown are both somehow significant because combinations of them with one another and each of them with the yellow will do things.

left bottom trailer light

One combination lights all four tail-lights, one lights both bottom ones, one lights right-bottom, one lights left bottom.

Your average 21st Century man ought to be able to conclude something from all that besides the fact the lights get juice from the tongue to the rear and that all of the bulbs are good.  Ought to be able to say, ahh.  Now I know where to go from here.

But I’m damned if I’m that 21st Century man.

Old Jules

Denouements

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Certain types of problems seem to follow us through life, probably so’s the Universe can teach us whatever lessons it is we’re supposed to be learning during this one.  Frequently we’re slow coming to an understanding as to what ours are.  Mine, I suspect, probably are a consequence of karma acquired during a previous lifetime involving motor vehicles.

Which I hadn’t realized until I began looking at all the posts here involving transportation during my stay here.  One piece of that saga was the Toyota 4 Runner that carried me to this piece of real estate in 2008.  And became a subplot microsaga:

 Got me a new truck!

 Confession Time

The New Truck Resurrection

The Communist Toyota 4-Runner

A long one.  And one I’m finally going to apply a razor to.  I’ve found a guy who’ll follow me back out here next time I go to Kerrville, and put that 4 Runner onto a car dolly, pull it out of my life.

I went out and put the wheel back on it, took it off blocks and pushed it up the hill with the Toyota RV far enough so’s we’ll be able to get it onto the dolly.  Gale and the guy up the hill came out and improved the road enough yesterday with some machinery so’s a regular person will be able to get in and out of the valley without blowing a tire.

It’s not easy for me to part with that 4 Runner.  Lots of life history events trapped in it, but it’s clear enough the time’s come for a denouement.  Turns out I’ll be doing something similar with the Toyota RV, because Jeanne’s son, Michael’s decided it’s not the best option for him.

I’m willing to believe, for the moment, that when the 4 Runner goes out of this valley I’ll have poured enough of the life-ingredients into it to have filled whatever hole it was the vehicle challenges demanded of me this lifetime and I can have some other kind for a while.

Gracias, Jack

A place to live if the RV breaks down

Hi readers. I swapped Gale for this trailer, finalized it yesterday.

In addition to giving me the means to get my stuff out of this valley and into storage in Harper, I can live in this thing if the RV breaks down somewhere up the road. It’s light enough so a half-ton junker pickup truck can pull it.

It takes a considerable load off my mind. Both Gale and Raymond, the guy up the hill have pointed out if that RV quits I’ll be dead in the water. I tried not to let it bother me, but couldn’t help it nagging me some.

But with a Coleman stove and oven, my diesel burning heater, a bunk, I can live in this thing. Better than almost all my ancestors almost certainly lived before they left Europe. And certainly better than any Native American ancestors did.

The DuoTherm heater began life in the late 1940s or early ’50s as a kerosene trailer heater. The man up the hill had it, but we couldn’t get the carb to work. Eventually replaced the carb with a needle valve and converted it to diesel fuel, which is cheaper and more easily available.

Besides, if a person doesn’t have much he doesn’t have much to lose.

Old Jules

Running from the law: The Great Cockfight Bust, or The Great C*ckfight Bust

El Palenque2

Hi readers.   Thanks for coming by for a read.  Those of you who have any morals and are offended by the alternative name for the male chicken will be soothed to see I’ve name this twice to avoid criticism.

Must have been 1996, 1997, I was living in Socorro, NM, and I got wind there was a major cock [c*ck] fight going to happen Saturday night.  They happened a few times a month in that area, and though official NM law allowed it as a local option at the time, murmurings in the State House rumored it was going to be prohibited soon.  They’d raided a couple of them in counties where the local option had people thinking it was legal.

Anyway, Saturday night I was at loose ends so I headed out to put hero roosters into my body of life experience.  The place was a mile beyond a gate and down a dirt road into the Rio Grande bosque.  The salt cedars opened up to a large cleared area of several acres with a large metal building toward the back.  Room to park 200 vehicles or more.

I got there early to look things over, still some daylight.  Maybe 20-30 cars and pickups in the lot, guys hanging around talking and smoking outside.  Moseyed into the barn, looked over the seating arrangements, looked a lot like an auction barn for livestock.  But with a cage blocked off in the center for the fighters and their handlers.

Nobody was in a hurry to go inside because it was hot in that barn.  I decided it would be hotter when the place filled up, so I staked a standing-up claim against the support for a tall sliding metal door at the back. 

When the place filled it was noisy, it was hot, and things were happening fast.  Bets, chickens, arms waving and yelling, every reason to be enamored of my place at the door.

But toward the shank of the evening a horn honked out in the parking lot and someone yelled, “Raid!  Cops!”  Sirens blaring, suddenly everyone inside stampeding for the doors.  I ran to the corner of the building and saw the parking lot was filled with flashing lightbars, half-dozen, maybe a dozen police cars.  Sheeze.  This is bullshit!  Guys running out toward their cars getting snagged by the cops.

So I ran like hell out into the bosque dodging salt cedars, rattlers, just put as much distance between myself and that barn as I could manage.  When I went knee deep in mud I knew I wasn’t going any further.  The Rio Grande was right in here somewhere close.

I tucked myself in next to a dead tree in a thicket of salt cedar and watched the lights through the trees, listened to the angry yells of men being arrested, watched the lights threading through the cedars chasing people trying to get away too late.  Waited, waited, felt ticks crawling all over me, found myself wondering about the rattlers, waited, more ticks, waited.

Gradually things calmed down, engines started, gradually the sirens stopped.  Things got really quiet.  But no way I was about to be fooled by that crap.  Full dark, I waited, listened.  Ticks by the hundreds crawling around on me.  Waited, caught myself dozing, jerked myself awake and waited some more.

Finally Old Sol began crawling in, me praying him up.  Still quiet except for the sounds of the morning birds and water rustling down the channel.  I carefully, carefully began working my way through the salt cedars toward the parking area.

I squatted and watched peeking out there as light filled the parking area.  There it was.  My old Mitzubishi Montero and a scattering of other vehicles.  Sitting there trying to lure me to jail.  I scratched and watched.

Finally a guy came creeping out of the bosque maybe 50 yards away, creeping toward a pickup the other side of the Montero.   Heeheehee.  Bait.  Now we’ll see where the law’s hiding.  Glad it ain’t me!

He seemed surprised.  Got into his truck, started it, no sign of the fuzz.  Spun around and vanished in a trail of dust back toward the pavement.

Hmmmm.  Hokay.  I stood up straight, Tried to act like I was just a normal guy coming out of those salt cedars.  Wandered over to the Montero and watched a dozen other guys coming out of the trees.  Cranked up the Mitzubishi and tooled home free as a bird.

The paper was full of it, the Socorro Chieftain, the Albuquerque Journal.  Printed the names of all those guys who got busted.

Served them right, too, going out there watching c*ckfights.

If people don’t have ethics and morals enough to stay away from places like that they need to be in jail.

Old Jules

Turnbuckles – The Final Solution

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

carrier and box 1

A guy over in Rock Springs built this platform to fit into the hitch receiver out of scrap iron for me.  Another guy threw in the junk toolbox and bolted it into the platform.  Cost for the whole shooting match was too insignificant to believe.

And once I had it I could carry an el cheapo 2.5 ton floor jack to ease my concerns about future blowouts.  But carrying that floor jack home in there showed me the hitch receiver doesn’t have the moxie to keep the thing straight and level.  By the time I got home it was listing a few inches on the side the floor jack was riding.

carrier and box 2

I studied on it for a day trying to think of every possible solution.  I had a set of tiedown turnbuckles and clamps from a roof rack carrier I knew someday I’d find a use for.

carrier and box 3

Voila!

carrier and box 4a

Ran cables across the top of the bumper and attached them to the RV frame.  Pulled that mama back up level with the bumper slicker than greased owl-scat.

One of the nice things about this thing is that I can trailer it, along with other containers when I want to pull a trailer, leave the trailer behind and put this into the hitch receiver when I want to slum and go spartan.

And always have a floor jack along to do the heavy lifting.

Old Jules

Teetering on the brink of a Christian Era here

Hi readers.

Whoopteeedoo!  Something finally worked as planned.

Escape route 2.51 storage

It’s been troubling my mind for some while, that huge storage box I couldn’t access because the ladder was wokkyjaw damaged, one leg at the top swinging loose, kinks and bends, supports pulled through the RV skin.  Not one thing about it caused a man to wish to climb it.

RV ladder repair 5

I worked most of the day crossing my fingers and knocking on wood as I went.  Cut about three inches out of the section toward the top, slid an undersized piece of tubing inside and spliced it together. 

RV ladder repair 3

That allowed the end that’s supposed to  connect on the roof to come down enough to touch, anyway.  There was a piece of rusted 1/8 inch steel rod, threaded, sticking out of the roof.  Supposed to go inside the ladder connected somehow, I reckons.

RV ladder repair 4

Couldn’t think of any meaningful way to replace it, so I whittled down a piece of broom handle to fit inside the tubing, drilled a 1/16th inch hole lengthwise through it and gorilla-glued the hell out of it.

RV ladder repair 6

Couldn’t think of much anything to do with the tools at hand about that kink, so I just hose-clamped a step on top of it.

RV ladder repair storage2

Now that I can get to it, that box is going to carry a sleeping bag, coleman stove, small tent, pick and shovel, gold pans and classifier, backpack and a number of other essentials I’d been gnashing my teeth wondering how to carry along.

Life wasn’t bad yesterday, but it’s better today.

Old Jules

Learning debts incurred Universe-wise

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, learning a lot, some of which might be false, but I learned it anyway. Now that I’ve blown out enough tires on two different RVs to satisfy my curiosity I’m willing to try to apply some of it. Even though it robs my macho because of not knowing it before when I knew all manner of things.

First off, there’s the thing about tires. They ain’t as good as they used to be. Old guy behind the counter at the tire store and I conversed about it a while when we shared mutual memories of having bought junkyard tires and run them until they were down to the threads. Lots of them, and neither of us remembered much in the way of blowouts.

But now the DOT mandates they date those tires. And as a consequence, he opines they blow just about when the DOT predicted they would. The DOT gave the tire industry a leg up against criticism by providing them an “I told you so!” escape and they made great engineering use of it. Supposition, but possumly true.

Secondly, another old guy pointed out all the tires I’ve blown were right-rear dooleys. Beginning with inside ones. He opined that what I’m doing is running with that right rear wheel too near the pavement edge, maybe off it, forcing the inside-rear tire to carry all the weight. Which makes a hell of a lot of sense.

I’d been mulling over the fact every blowout I’ve had happened on highway RR479 north bound and wondering at the coincidence. It’s a fairly good Texas Ranch Road with a lot of hills and curves. Might just be I’ve been letting it drift, one wheel off the pavement instead of hugging the centerline.

Thirdly, I’ve also satisfied my curiosity about whether I’m interested in arm-wrestling lug nuts put on with impact drivers. Even with a 5 foot cheater, even with a T-bar after they’re loose, I was having to take breaks between lugs. And after I put them back on and tightened them, I’d stop a few miles down the road to check, they’d always be loose enough to require a little more tight with the bar. Half-dozen times between here and Kerrville. If an impact tool’s able to take care of just that problem of reality and confidence, it’s worth the price of admission.

[Debating with myself here, can't recall whether 4th is spelled, Fourth, or Forth - what-the-hell]

Next: Careful examination of the half-inch drive corded hammer-drill suggests it might function as an impact tool, but it’s going to need a half-inch adapter between the drill-chuck and male socket whatchallit. If it works it’s going to be a lot cheaper than an off the shelf impact tool, and it doesn’t have a battery to go kerplunk.

Next: That trim above the right-rear wheel well [see pic] was destroyed when the tire blew. No way that piece of trim is going to jump out of the Universe at me to be replaced, so I’m going to have to find a way to innovate. Not entirely for aesthetics, but some places are pickypickypicky wanting to see pics of the rig before they’ll consider a person who wants to clean up their trash, mow their grass, listen to complaints of RV owners. In exchange for a pad with hookups, etc.

Last, I’ve been troubled because my ALT gauge doesn’t tell me squat about whether the alternator’s working or not. Couldn’t figure why. A guy on one of the vintage RV groups answered my question about it by telling me he had the same problem. Bought a cheap digital gadget plugs into the lighter socket. I got one yesterday and hot diggety damn. Yes, HOT diggety damn! You heard me right.

But I’ve digressed. The crux of it all is that, after having been provided all this new stuff to learn, I have to live long enough to use it, damn me if I don’t. Got myself a karmic debt on my Credit Card with an obligation I might carry spang into my next lifetime if I kick before using it.

So now, instead of just having to live long enough to pay back Keith and Rich for the lifesaving loans to get the RVs, instead of just having to outlive the damned cats, I’ve got to spend the remainder of my life changing blown tires and unscrewing pesky lug nuts.

Sheeze.

Old Jules

The right tool for the right job

Hi readers.

If the Kennedy brothers had owned a floor jack and a half-inch drive impact tool when they attempted to get Vice President Lyndon Johnson assassinated every president then-until-now would have been named Kennedy and the Vietnam War would still be raging.

Okay, those inflated rear tires are on the ground, though somewhat wokkyjawed.  I’m having to skid the wheels sideways into place tightening the lugbolts with a cheater bar.  Couldn’t get the truck quite high enough to leave any room for doubt between them and the ground, so I’m punting.  Lots of good friction but nothing a cheater bar can’t handle.

But at least the whole shebang can’t come down on the brake drum if the jacks collapse. [Parenthetically, two each two-ton hydraulic jacks can be used to lift a 5 ton RV if everything else goes right and  you are dumber than cluckshit enough to try it.]

Still breathing too hard to go back out to finish it off yet.  Got to get the lugs tightened the rest of the way, then get those two jacks lowered and out from underneath.  Then put the blowout on the spare tire rack and watch these black spots in front of my eyes to see if they’re just floaters, or whether I died a little while ago but haven’t achieved Nirvana.

Lessons learned:  A man needs a 3 ton floor jack and a half-inch drive impact tool before he tries anything fancy.  If there are any Kennedys left alive I’m betting they already own some in case there’s another round of dynastic opportunity.  In fact, I’ll bet there’s a walk-in safe in the basement of the White House filled with floor jacks and impact tools.  In fact, I’ll bet somewhere there’s a National Defense Stockpile of floor jacks and impact tools controlled by Homeland Security.

Which is to say, sometime in the next year-or-three Hydrox, Niaid, Tabby and my humble ownself are gonna stick up a Harbor Freight wearing Richard Nixon masks and carrying 3/8 inch cordless drills.  Check out the SPECIALS flyers, then drag us a floor jack and impact tool out the front door at drillpoint.

Watch the evening news.

Old Jules