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On the Road- It’s Not All Fun & Games

Ughh- I just finished installing a new oil cooler hose on the suburban. What a mess! It took me half a day yesterday and about half a day today to snake this four foot hose from the front of the engine compartment to the back of the oil pan.

Whoever though it was a good idea to make those hoses out of stiff aluminum pipe should be shot. Or better yet, made to replace them all himself!

We’re waiting on another part for the suburban to replace the vacuum system for the turbo on the diesel. It should be here in a day or so.

A acquaintance commented how nice it must be to be able to work a show and then just ‘hang out’ in between. It certainly is one of the better perks of seasonal work but I think that may be a bit misleading.

Certainly we have our fair share of down time. After a show is done, I’m pretty much a zombie for the next 24 hours, catching up on sleep, healthy food, and trying to be human again.

After that, there’s always a certain amount of work to do before the next show. Out in here in Wyoming, a little extra care has to be taken to plan where you’re going to restock considering there’s about four Walmart’s and 2 Sam’s Club’s in all of the state. But it’s not too bad and we take care of that as part of our normal grocery shopping routine.

Maintaining the vehicles and the trailer usually is no harder than checking fluids and an occasional oil change. Recently, we’ve had a few issues on the suburban that are taking more time. If we had more cash and a little extra time, I wouldn’t think twice about taking it to a garage, but we don’t.

The oil cooler line for example. It’s a real PITA to change out. It’s tight, greasy, dirty, and a knuckle buster. The part alone is about $50 and I wouldn’t be surprised to pay upwards of $400 to have a shop switch it out based on the hourly rate. That $400 is about 10% of our cash net worth right now. A littler hard to let go when I can do the work myself.

Both the vehicles are old. The motorhome has over 100,000 miles and the suburban has over 250,000 miles and both are running strong. I try to baby them and make sure we have spares available for the common catastrophes. So far we’ve haven’t been stranded, that’s good news.

Part of our whole drive to live a simpler life was because we didn’t have the time to maintain our possessions. They either mothballed and gathered dust, or cost us even more money to have them maintained.

Now I have the time to maintain our possessions. In fact, it’s critical that I maintain our possession or we’re out of work!

The motorhome has it’s fair share of quirks as well. By and large the biggest pain is dumping the tanks. Every five days (like today) I have to take the motorhome and dump the tanks and refill the water. Between the dishes and showers for a family of four it’s fills the tanks pretty quickly. We’re actually quite frugal with the water but one of the joys of buying a repo motorhome includes a crack in the grey water tank about 2/3rds up so we don’t get the full use of the tank before it starts leaking and smelling. This is one repair that I can’t fix while on the road. It’ll have to wait until we get back to Tucson.

Don’t worry, the grey water tank is separate from the black water tank which stores the waste from the toilet.

All in all, out of a week break from working, 3-4 days are spent on cleaning, maintenance, repair, and other things like laundry and shopping. That still leaves us 3-4 days for playing in parks, reading, visiting friends, and exploring.

Hil has taken Emma (and Charley) to Art Camp today, now I think I’m going to take a nap! It’s hard work but somebody has to do it!

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

2 comments to On the Road- It’s Not All Fun & Games

  • Ceal Potts

    Hey McDowell Family-
    We love reading your posts and have been reading them since we found your blog a while back while looking for CSY’s for sale. After reading about the Suburban part and having just replaced some parts on my aging diesel VW, we wanted to help you guys out. Check the tip jar. We look forward to someday meeting you out on the water in Mexico.
    Ceal & Kevin

  • big cheese

    Ceal & Kevin-

    Thank You SO much! That is very kind of you. Keeping up with two vehicles that have over 100,000 miles and range between 10-15 years old is a challenge. What gets us is the ;out of left field’ repairs. Everything seems to be working great and then WHAM! something goes seriously awry!

    Thanks for reading.