Oily Experience

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Ruby at the Speedco-San Antonio, TX

Our motor home was overdue for a routine servicing…lube, oil and filters. Since we’re full-timers we needed to find a place that was convenient and one that didn’t require us to find accommodations away from our home on wheels.

I’ve been reading reports on the various RVing Forums about the experiences others have had at dedicated RV dealerships and what they paid for the services provided. Some mentioned they had great service from Speedco, a quick lube place for big rigs and commercial vehicles. The idea is you get in and out quickly, so I decided to give them a try.

Homemade Gluten-Free Chicken Soup

We spent the past week with our brother-in-law’s family in south Texas – enjoyed it immensely, and just two days before departure, we all came down with a nasty cold. The entire family, all on the same day! Yesterday we made the short drive from there to Harlingen, Texas, and once we were set up my craving for homemade chicken soup took over. It’s a good thing I had all the essentials on board.

Once or even twice a month I cook an organic, free-range chicken in my crock pot for the sole purpose of creating a delicious and healthy chicken stock.

So Many Choices – Life on the Open Road

One thing I hadn’t expected was the overwhelming number of options we can choose from on a daily basis with this RV lifestyle. Back in our sticks and bricks home, we chose when we wanted to go to the grocery store, which trail we wanted to walk for the day, whether we would shower first or work first … all the mundane stuff, right? We still have those choices on the road, of course, but now there are so many more.

Going from Point A to Point B: The first leg of our journey took us to Loveland, CO, by way of our customer’s address in Liberty, MO. That was fairly straight forward … a finite number of days to get where we needed to be determined our route. Finding our stopover point for the night was the daily adventure, and we found some nice ones. Still, I found it a little stressful to navigate using only my Allstays app and Google Maps. I didn’t expect that.

Stuff Happens – Flat Tire

This story is both sad and a bit funny too. The other morning I happened to look out the window at the neighbors campsite to see his pickup had a flat tire. This morning as I was outside doing my waste management duties a roadside assistance service truck from one of the local tire shops pulled in.

It didn’t take long to learn the my neighbor who I was just meeting for the first time was new to RVing and wasn’t too familiar with his new (used) pickup apparently having purchased it recently along with his new (used) 5er. He didn’t even know where or if he had the key that unlocks the spare tire or where the tool to lower the spare from under the rear was located. Good thing this wasn’t happening along the side of a busy highway!

After thorough inspection of the vehicle there was no jack, handle, owners manual or key! So the he tells the technician, go ahead and cut the lock and the cable used to hold the spare in position so it can be removed. So the tech does then rolls the spare up to the front of the truck where the flat tire is and proceeds to jack up the flat off the ground so it can be removed.

The technician removes the flat tire and asks the owner…”Do you want this fixed? If so I can do it right here.” I’m watching this and thinking…Redneck Roadside Repair. The owner responds yes go ahead and fix it, if you can do it here all the better. So we watch the technician break the tire down, remove the sizable nail that punctured the tire and patch the hole. It didn’t take much longer and the tire was remounted on the rim and the newly repaired tire back on the pickup’s axle where it had come from right next to where the spare tire still laid.

Lug nuts tightened, air pressure on both tires sharing the axle were double checked and all was good. Except, now there was no way to return the spare tire to its storage space under the truck so I asked…”Wouldn’t it have been better to ask about fixing the tire BEFORE cutting the spare out from under the truck?”

The owner’s response was…”I never even thought to ask if he could fix the tire.” The technician just went about packing up his tools and filling out the paperwork knowing he screwed this guy over because his head wasn’t on the task. Now besides the cost of the service call the owner now has to pay to purchase and have the spare tire mechanism replaced so its available when needed again.

Lessons to be learned here: First, if you’re buying a new or used vehicle make sure that the necessary safety equipment comes with the truck and you know where it is. READ the owners manual…make sure the dealer provides one (they’re not expensive). Familiarize yourself with all aspects of operating your vehicle especially the emergency items and procedures.

Ask the service technician exactly what his capabilities are…can he repair on site or will he in fact need to utilize the spare. What’s his course of action to resolve the emergency. Those unnecessary steps come at a cost and could come at a higher price than you were expecting.

Things done right: The owner had Roadside Assistance Insurance for such emergencies. He called the number and they made the arrangements to send out someone to service his tow rig. The technician did get the truck back on the road quickly and provided the owner with proper documentation he needed for his records.

RVing Is Genetic

Home Built RV Kitchen DrawerHere’s proof! My grand father made his own Pop-Up Camper…a scratchbuilt camper from a scrap axle out of a Ford Model A and some common sense engineering.
Home Built RV Bunk BedsThough I never had the pleasure of traveling and camping in it, my dad and my older cousins did. That trailer lasted long past its camping days. Home Built RV Dressing AreaMany years later it was the family’s utility trailer used to haul just about everything. In fact when we got married, my bride and I hauled all of our possessions to my first Air Force duty station in Missouri. We towed it behind our 1968 Plymouth Barracuda. Later the trailer was returned back where it started and saw continued service with someone else in the family.

I’ll share more photos of this homemade classic in the future.

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