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Showing posts from July, 2009

The truck gets a checkup

I've never owned a diesel. I don't know anybody who owns a diesel. A friend of mine works on diesels, but they're the kind you crawl into the engine compartment to work on. When I bought the truck it had 28,000 miles on it and it had a sticker on the window that wanted me to change the oil at 31,000 miles. The owner's manual thought I should take it in to a Dodge dealer after 30,000 miles for some maintenance. The truck now has over 31,000 miles, so it was time. But first a wash and wax to get the truck ready for it's trip to the dealer. Then I made the call.
Thought I would start with an oil change and let the mechanic and the truck get acquainted (I called ahead to make sure they even had a diesel mechanic). They bonded while the mechanic (Chuck) changed the oil and made a list of stuff that it would need for the next 30,000 miles. Turns out big trucks require a special lube and gasket for the differentials (and I have a 4x4 so I have two differentials). $143 for …

The flamingo

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So what's with the pink flamingo? Well, we thought a green one would be too weird. Besides, they only come in pink.
The flamingo has been hanging around in the backyard of our last house for years. It got planted in the backyard after the boys and I decided it would be the perfect Mother's day gift. Apparently Janie thought so too, because when it came time to downsize from the house to the apartment, it made the cut. That was after Gabe put in a bid for it. Popular bird for something I thought was destined for the landfill (even the recycling center wouldn't take it).
So the bird was moved to the apartment and even made the short list of things we would have to take with us in the RV. Light weight, quiet, no batteries, and it stays outside when we're parked. The perfect traveling companion.

Janie: I just needed to tell you the year I got the flamingo, John had convinced the kids that this flamingo was the end all and their mommy would be soooo excited. Now he knew very w…

The Visit

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So we have a big truck, but nothing much to haul. After much pondering, lots of RV shows, and visiting a few RV dealers in our area, we have this idea that we would like to own a fifth wheel built by Peterson Industries called the Excel. Turns out that Peterson Industries is located in Smith Center, Kansas, and Smith Center is just South of Grand Island, Nebraska, where my brother-in-law Gary lives. The Excel web site said we could tour the factory if we wanted to. Sounded like a good excuse for a visit.
We load up the trusty tent and all the stuff we need for camping. I fill up the truck, and since I hadn't used the extended tank yet, I fill that too. $99, a new record. Turns out Cedar Rapids has the highest price for diesel in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Who knew?
We find a nice campground in Grand Island that's right off the interstate. Maybe a little too close, since we could hear the interstate traffic at night. Be nice to have a fifth wheel to cut down on some of the noise,…

The Truck

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Just to recap: we sold the house, said goodbye to a lot of our stuff, moved into a two bedroom, one bath condo, and purchased a truck. All this began as an exercise in preparing to haul a fifth wheel around the country as “full timers” also known as “homeless people with big trucks”. It's a really sweet 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 with the 5.9L Cummins diesel and dual rear wheels. It's a beast. You can tell because it sort of growls when it idles. This was the last year Dodge made the 5.9L diesel. By January of 2007, Dodge was putting their new bigger/better/cleaner diesel in their trucks to meet the federal standards for 2010. I figured they had worked out all the problems with 5.9L by then, plus the previous owner had installed an extended tank, added a trailer brake controller, step-up bars (it's a very big step up into the cab without them), bed liner and stuff I would have added to a new truck. And it was cheaper than the new 2009 version without all the added stuff.But the a…