The Breakdown of Being Broke Down

Bad “kar”ma? Nah, just life.  Where to begin… Our truck is still in the shop, it’s been at least 3 weeks but we don’t want to rush what we know (ok hope) will be a masterpiece of reliability. Especially since we added on a new transmission. We asked the mechanic to check the tranny while it was all apart. He called with the news that there were some metal shavings, but nothing significant. We didn’t want to risk it, based on our experience lately we decided better to be safe than sorry. The dealership agreed to pay a third of the cost to get the engine repaired, and we are grateful for that.  The blessing in this endeavor is that we will basically have a new truck when we begin our journey. We finally have  a name for the truck, after days of trying to find a name that would fit, it came to us during a conversation about our ever growing expenses. The idea of staying here for another year has been brought up by a few people, including the hubby and it was at this moment that I said, “Love, if there’s a will there’s a way. We can make this work. Oh my, that’s what we should name the truck and trailer!” And so it is, we now call the truck Willy and the trailer Way. Since Willy has been in the shop, Rio, (named after the Duran Duran song, her name is rio) my 93 Nissan Sentra has been wanting more time in the auto salon as well.

rio
Her name is Rio and she dances in the… rain

Last week while Mitch was on his way to work she just started loosing power, all the lights on the dashboard came on, radio shut off and she began sputtering . He was almost to work, but decided to head to the nearest gas station  in hopes that she was just out of gas, the gauge doesn’t always read accurate. Not the case, she wasn’t going anywhere. He pushed her to a parking spot off to the side and had a friend pick him up to go to work. AAA picked her up and took her less than a mile to a mechanic we have used many times. We chose them for convenience although we had previously banned them because their $80.00 verbal quote for a tune up turned into $345.00. But to make things “easier” ( oh, the inconveniences we encounter trying to make things convenient) we chose them, and they said it was the battery, and all was good…. For a week. Wouldn’t you know it, after running errands the other day we get two blocks from home and the same thing happens. Thankfully we coasted on home, right into our driveway.  Down to one car, Ruby Sue the Subaru, my mail car. She is dirty, stinky, dusty, loud, and rough looking but I tell ya, she’s a super star in her own right.

ruby sue
Ruby Sue the Subaru

We took Rio to Oldies but Goodies, a detail and auto shop in Cheney, where we initially talked about taking her. They do great work, always call with a price before actually doing the work, and they call when the work is done. So nice to know there are still some places with good customer service. It was the alternator. So now Rio the rock star is back on the road.

rio2
Rio at Oldies but Goodies

She has almost 250,000 miles and I’ve had her for all of them except the first 12,000. She’s been to Canada, Mexico, through all the western states and as far as Arkansas. Not to mention her 10 seconds of fame in a commercial as a klunker with a hub cap falling off, but she did it with pride. Plus Ali and Eli both learned to drive with her.  Why am I so attached to my Rio? Because before her while in the military at age 20, I had a orange 65 mustang that would get stuck in reverse, the door would come open when turning a corner and the passenger floor was rusted out, but it had a cool 8 ball gear shifter that sealed the deal. Ironically the previous owner took it off before I took possession. Go figure. Following that purchase I let myself get pressured into buying a little Mazda truck I didn’t really want and ended up with me crying from the salesman yelling at me because I wouldn’t post date a check for money I didn’t yet have. Rio was my first wise decision in the automobile purchasing world, with one dollar as a down payment in 1995, her and I have been a pair ever since.  I had a Nissan Xterra that I named Lucile the automobile, she was great but ate up gas like crazy. Then there was  Jethro the 85 C10 Chevy that would get us about 5 blocks before the transmission would slip and we’d have to pull over and put it in park for a second before heading on down the road. The new owner is bringing him back to all of his splendor, and we are so happy to get texts and pics of the progress he’s making during the rebuild. As time comes closer for us to leave and we sell off all our belongings, including my Rio and Ruby Sue I just hope that they bring their future owners great days of the summer’s breeze blowing through their hair and take them to memorable experiences that last a lifetime. May we all experience our breakdowns in life with peace and acceptance; because it will happen, that’s just they way it is.

Taking the Long Way Home

Everything happens for a reason they say, and our path to finding our home was no exception. We spent the last few weeks trying to find the 5th wheel toyhauler that was just right for us. No matter which one we looked at, nothing felt right. Either Mitch kinda liked it and I didn’t or I kinda liked it and he didn’t. Papa being his easy going self was supportive of whatever.

Papa
easy going and full of fun

Finally, we found one that we all thought could work for us and we made an offer, but they wouldn’t go down in price and no deal was made. That night we were so perplexed about things not working out. I was frustrated with the idea of paying a large amount of money for something that didn’t have the things we were looking for, and just settling.  It was to the point that if we had to settle we would just get a darn camper and make it work. At that moment in the conversation, when Mitch mentioned a camper a lightbulb shinned a spotlight onto the answer to our prayers. Go a different way, if plan A didn’t work, plan B isn’t right, go to plan C, get a camper and a travel trailer! We thanked God for the deal not working with the 5th wheel and experienced a surge of renewed excitement and confidence. This is our path!  Papa can live in the camper and the dogs and us can live in the travel trailer!! The best of both worlds. Now dad can nap at noon, go to bed at 7:30 and wake up at 4:30. We won’t have to tip toe around each others sleeping habits, still have two bathrooms, it costs less and we can have our own space! Yippeee! It seemed as if the options would be endless when we decide this new direction. Until we started looking. There were things to take into consideration, the weight, having a short bed truck, and towing the trailer with the camper on the truck. Finding a camper was more challenging than expected but in a few days we knew exactly what we wanted. None were to be found within a 200 mile radius, the closest one was apache camping in Everett. Don made the process simple,  emailed us a purchase order and is holding the camper for us. We will be picking it up on July 30th.

camper
Papa’s fancy new home

It’s a livinlite camplite camper.  It’s made of all aluminum and weighs 1670 lbs,  plus it matches the truck and won’t hang over the bed. Onto our trailer… We looked at every dealership at least twice, and a couple we began to know the layout better than those that worked there. Still nothing that met our needs. Again, would we have to settle? Then last week on craigslist we saw one that had a few of the things we wanted from a private seller and figured why not check it out. We didn’t have our hopes too high when we went and looked, but it was everything we wanted and more! It has great closet space, kitchen counter space, plenty of cupboards, storage and the best part, wait for it…. Two bathroom sinks!! Who would have thought that we would finally get our two sinks in a travel trailer.

Home sweet home
Home sweet home

It’s a 2012 Rockwood signature ultra lite 32 ft. Excellent condition, and great colors for the interior. the search is finally over. The couple we bought it from are wonderful people, they are going to give us a complete walk through on Wednesday and since the truck is in the shop they are going to haul it out to our place afterwards. So grateful to be back on track. It’s been a long few months, with some trying times but it has all worth it.

Keep on keepin on

I was hoping to write this post with relief and joy beings that we bought a truck, and traded in the banana and the CRV.

2006 Dodge Mega Cab 3500
2006 Dodge Mega Cab 3500

Yippeee! Right? I mean we are now in the right direction, after changing directions. We went to a small dealership, they were super nice, very fair with our trades and we met a great guy by the name of Kelly, who also lives the good rv life.  After 3 days of having the truck, white smoke began to billow out from under the truck… We thought, well that can’t be good. The next day we took it to a diesel mechanic. Cue music–du du du… “Engine’s bad, you have excessive blow by” he says, “take it back.”  With this newest wrinkle in the prom dress of life all we could do, was laugh. Seriously, we both laughed, i mean what are the odds? And then we were dumbfounded, frustrated, sad and sick to our stomachs when we heard the possible price to get it fixed. It’s funny,  when I was younger, before houses, and all the grown up stuff, thousands of dollars seemed unimaginable to have or to owe. Now as an adult it’s all around, 5 thousand for this, 20 for that, a 100 plus  for a house. Oh, Simpler times, But not as many options then either, guess that’s the trade offs in life.

house
A beautiful trade off for the responsibilities of adulthood

We did take it back to the dealership, the owner was very nice and understanding, said he knew nothing about the engine being bad, eased my mind by divulging how much he got it in on trade, and is willing to work with us. Now if we can get him to meet us halfway on the bill it would at least soften the blow.  By the way, when buying from a dealership if its not new, or certified used, you should have a mechanic check it over? Didn’t know that! do now.  Ugh, the lessons that we learn the hard way. I am beginning to think that this blog of ours will become the guide of what not to do when trying to go full timing.  Well, I guess if it is, then there is a purpose served.  While waiting to get get the truck into the shop and being quite hesitant to know all the work that needs to be done (a/c only works when the truck is moving and I think we have a clunk now .. Transmission anyone?)  We are still searching for the right 5th wheel toy hauler. We are both more than a bit gun shy about which one to get,  especially since our track record is looking pretty shoddy. We are really considering new just so if things go wrong it will at least be covered for a while.  I thought long and hard how to write this post in hopes that it wouldn’t come across as negative, or poor (literally, haha) us. I just have to put the truth out there and acknowledge that nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and with challenges comes growth, knowledge and wisdom.

Hopefully we’ll come out smelling like a rose. They say, mess with the rose, get the thorn. oh wait, that’s bull.

I am beginning to think that all this research and trying to make the best choices with crummy results is ruining all the fun. But hey, we got love, a dream, our health, blue skies, singing birds and blooming flowers, so life’s good.

 

 

NADA good time, feeling Blue?

As you know we are still in the process of selling the blue banana. Nobody has snatched her up yet. While waiting we are doing tons of research on trucks and let me tell you! It’s dog eat dog in the dealership world, and we are the prey (with some dealerships).  I am so grateful to have the Internet on my phone! Here is a list of things that I recommend you do before you dare step foot into a dealership.

1. Read confessions of a used car salesman.

2. Download KBB, NADA and especially Edmunds TMV apps.

3. Research the type of vehicle you want; the good, bad and ugh.. everyone’s opinion. You will see patterns that can enlighten your choices.

4. Don’t compromise on what you want, be patient. (We’ve settled and it lead to making other poor choices.)

5. If at anytime you don’t feel completely right with the process…. Leave. Don’t sign anything and just leave. Sleep on it. Do more research. Or realize it’s for sure what you want, and go back.

6. Look at the big picture, value of vehicle, not what you can afford. They will change it from talking about the price (value) to what payments you afford in a second.

7. When at a dealership think of your future self, get out of the moment. You can buy something in a day but to sell it can take weeks, or months and you may not get back what you paid. Especially if you trade it in!

It’s usually less costly to buy from a private party, but ensure they have maintenance documents, and pay to have it inspected.
Here’s a little story, in spokane diesel dually’s prices are high! Really high! I found a dealer that was advertising one $300 below KBB. I began wondering if they use KBB info for trade in’s as well, or NADA (values  vehicles at a lower price). So I called, saying I was thinking about trading in my CRV and wanted to know what they used to value my car. Can you guess which one? Yep. NADA. Can you say shady, shady, shady.I was appalled! What kind of system is this? Use any means necessary to make as much money as possible! Not to mention how they have some magic black book that we don’t have access to and trade ins are at times based on auction prices.

you know you wanna give me your money!
you know you wanna give me your money!

I want to set up a new way to value vehicles, let’s call it the Simple System. It goes like this, the first year 10% is knocked off the initial standard asking price cuz it’s no longer new. After that every year 5% the remaining value is taken off and based on a scale of 0-4, zero being excellent and 4 being shoddy $500 x whatever number it is,then taken that off for purchase. That is in effect for 10 years. From 11-30 years 2.5 % is taken off from the current value until it becomes a classic ( which then the process would go in reverse) or people just buy and sell vehicles for around $500. If you trade it in you take off 10% more so dealers can make some money. See, I just fixed the whole system and no more secret books! So, now to get it implemented. Hmmmm. I wonder if it would really work. Anyway. There has got to be some way as the people, who work hard for the money, have a way to only pay what the true value is. Not these stinking numbers games and how much money can be made off of one person. Just ain’t right!

my milkshake brings all the money to the yard!
my milkshake brings all the money to the yard!

That being said, we have been out and about test driving some trucks, with no luck. just haven’t found what we are looking for…yet.  Oh my Ford, can somebody Chevy some light on this Dodge-gone conundrum of when prices got so absurd?