I’ve been pathetically lame in updating the blog lately and for that I apologize. But you see, I’ve been really, really busy. Since the last entry below, things got ugly. We were starting toward a new car, and planning for the future, as you read, and then… Well:
In preparing to travel from here to Texas to pick up the new car (1,800 miles each way) I thought I should have the trailer checked out. I had noticed in the last few trips that the curb side seemed to look a little lower in the rear view mirror than the street side. I measured, and yes it was. I crawled underneath and was concerned about some things I saw.
I called our trailer guy, he said to check with a body shop. I called our body shop and they said call a truck company. I called the Kenworth factory (here in Seattle) and they referred me to the best truck frame shop around. I took the trailer to them and they said: please don’t drive this trailer on the road.
While the main frame rails and the inner connections were fine, the outriggers that go from the main frame to hold up the entire box of the trailer were a mess. Literally every other one had a cracked or broken weld, one was even hanging there only by the screws into the floor. And the welds that weren’t cracked looked like they were done by a shop class dropout.
So the question was, how to fix it? The right way is to 1) remove the contents, 2) remove the cabinets, 3) remove the box, 4) remove the floor, 5) weld up the main frame, and then reverse the process. I said, really? They explained that the welds that are crucial are the ones that run along the top of the outriggers (the welds most frequently broken) and they take all the stress. Sure you could try to fix it from underneath, trying not to set the wood floor on fire, but you’d never get the crucial part of the welds. It would just break again.
The long and the short of it: we needed a new trailer. After much research, I decided that we should get a well made trailer that would last. And that meant a T&E. So just before the new year, I placed an order for a new T&E trailer. Just after my birthday in March, I drove out to Herscher, Illinois to pick up the trailer and drive it home. With the help of my good buddy Ed Hauter, we drove 2000 miles, and 38 hours straight to get it home.
And that was only the beginning of the trailer story. Because, of course, I had to remove the brand new CTech cabinets from the old trailer, move them to the new T&E, and completely outfit it. And clean up the old one and sell it. That’s an off-season’s worth of work alone. But I had a car to build on top of that, and then…
It was just a short trip to Sears to pick up a sander. In, out, maybe a half hour. I had just pulled out of Sears, and was waiting at a light when WHAM! I was rear-ended by an 88-year-old guy. At speed. It wasn’t clear he had even slowed down.
The good news is that no one in either vehicle was hurt. I was fine and so was our dog in the back seat. The old man was fine, so was his wife with the walker, and their 44-year-old nurse sitting in the back seat (why wasn’t she driving?). That was where the good news stopped.
His car was totaled. It was a Buick Century, of course, and it was leaking all kinds of ugly things, and running at high speed. I quickly got out and told him to shut it off. As I went back for my license and insurance info, I heard him restart it. He just wanted to move it away. Ugh.
And the truck was damaged pretty badly. It didn’t look too bad, but the body shop confirmed that the frame was bent. Double ugh.
After much thinking and debating, I realized I didn’t want to try to tow a new, even larger trailer with a truck that had been “fixed”. I trust our body shop, they are the best. But I just didn’t want to worry about it.
The instant it was repaired, I took the truck directly from the body shop to the dealer and traded it in on a new 2011 Denali Dually. All my friends convinced me that I would be much happier with a dually, and they are right. It tows wonderfully, and has all the creature comforts.
So, aside from the building a new car from scratch, we have a new truck, a new trailer, and more projects than you can shake a stick at. That’s why it’s been nine months since my last update.
But the good news is that it’s almost all done now. I promise a prompt update that will bring you up to speed on the new car. And it’s exciting new technology. Stay tuned!