Weekender & Weather

Did a quick trip up to Jackson Lake State Park in northeast Colorado this weekend with a bit of fishing for some absolute monster carp.

Misplaced Odin’s PFD — but won’t replace it until I get a chance to look in the garage.

I also lost the ever-important 4-Way T adapter for the sewer line, so draining the tanks is a two-person job until it gets replaced.

We knew that Sunday would have a bit of wind and rain. We just didn’t expect it to be that windy and rainy! It started late Saturday night and kept going. Daisy commented this morning that it felt like we were sleeping in an airplane going through turbulence. And we were quite stationary.

Still, our proximity to the lake was fortunate — a few steps from the front door and we were on a wee beach:

Due to the worsening weather, we decided to just pack up early and head for home. Good thing, too, because it kept getting worse and worse. On the drive back, due to the severe headwinds, UPGRAYEDD had trouble staying above 55 in a few spots. I wonder how it’ll do with a trailer a bit more than twice as heavy.

Because we skipped breakfast, we thought we’d stop at Cracker Barrel on the way back toward home.

Never, ever stop at Cracker Barrel near lunch time on a Sunday. Ever.

RV parking? Ha! Those are some funny-looking, super-compact RVs, right there. What’s intriguing is that with one exception, every one of them positioned themselves precisely  in the middle of each RV space.

The wait was an hour, so we skipped it kept heading home.

Truck Maintenance & Some Geekery

When we bought UPGRAYEDD, we knew that there would be a few things here and there to repair. One thing that we learned the day we took possession is that the engine has a behavior that we didn’t see during the test drives: when stationary, in gear, at idle, when above regular operating temperature: it lopes.

Noticeably and very annoyingly.

We hadn’t noticed it during the test drives because we bought it during the winter and it never had a chance to actually reach regular operating temperature.

Put it in neutral and the lope stops. Give it just a touch of throttle and the lope stops. Let it start rolling and after a couple of lopes to get moving, the lope stops.


Doing idle-speed maneuvering to position a trailer in a campsite or the driveway? It’s feels like a medium-sized gorilla is hopping on the hitch.

I’ve been suspecting all kinds of potential problems:

  • An air leak after the MAF.
  • Gummed up vacuum lines or even a failing vacuum pump.
  • Bad injectors — and let’s not have -that- discussion again.
  • Potential problem with the torque convertor, which is about as expensive as it sounds.
  • Fuel system sucking air — diesels do -not- tolerate air leaks in fuel systems.
  • Bad fuel pump or pressure regulator.

So, yesterday, I set to systematically working through the fuel and vacuum systems to see if I can identify a root cause. Here’s what I found:

  • Yes, there was an air leak after the MAF, and the MAF was loose. Repaired both, but no change. Pass.
  • Vacuum lines are clear, no leaks, all actuators are functioning smoothly. Pass.
  • It has 8 new injectors, now with about 1200 miles on them. Pass. Also, no evidence of high-pressure internal fuel leaks. Pass.
  • Torque convertor shows no signs of mechanical failure. It’s well-balanced and perfectly smooth in park, neutral, and while in motion. Pass.
  • Fuel system: water/fuel separator was damaged and installed incorrectly. It would have been allowing air ingress. It needs a replacement, but I don’t have one right now. I did reinstall it correctly on a new fuel filter. No change in behavior. Pass.
  • Fuel pump & pressure regulator (FPR/MPROP). You know, that the vacuum-side of the fuel system didn’t seem to resolve it and that at high power, there are no stumbles, I think the fuel pump is probably fine, too. Going to hold off on the high-pressure side for awhile.

…to be continued…

Words from the Wife…

Other than the daily drop off of our daughter at school and the busyness of our son it is my job to go through ALL our possessions. Attempt to identify the items we can not live without. List and sell what I can on Craigslist and Ebay. Gather smaller ticket items for a huge garage sale for later in April and donating other items either to the school or second hands stores. Hopefully without making it impossible to live in our small yet very adequately sized home. Right now I feel like everywhere I turn at home we are tripping over piles of things I’m putting in the way. I’m sure it certainly makes John bonkers!

With this talk of downsizing I keep thinking of the dream life I hoped to have when I was younger. Something I’d somewhat felt prevented from with my choice of occupation as a hairdresser yet it was an occupation I was strongly drawn to and was talented at. To make a decent living you have to build a following, be reliable and totally consistent, stationary. I’d even considered being a hairdresser on a cruise ship.

I’ve always longed for adventure, travel, a bit of hippiedom and experiences through working. A season or a year in each place working and learning, stretching my “Jill of many Trades”. I did manange a cross country move from Washington state to South Dakota where I held onto my cosmetology. Had some fun living in a small town where there happend to be a college and was near the annual Sturgis Harley Ralley.

Then a few years later down to Colorado… Relationships and responsibilities kinda got in the way. I was young and felt I still had time ahead of me to accomplish the things I desired.

I felt so compelled by my responsible side. Do what was expected. I ended up in a temping position at a telecom company. The job became a permanet position making a stable paycheck. It is also where I met the great guy I married… and the awesome stepson I’d help raise.

I pursued what has always been fed to me as what I should want. Things. House. Cars. Toys. Family. Don’t get me wrong, some of those things I wanted desprately, others turned out to be empty and false happiness. I still needed the creativity outlet that cosmetology gave me but state licensing here at the time was difficult to work through so instead I plugged away at a desk job that often sucked the life out of me. It took more than 6 years but I did get out of the cubicle and behind a styling chair again.

The last 8 years have been a growing and learning experience. Home ownership turned being owned by our house. Establishing myself as a mother to two more Littles, home maker, urban vegetable gardener, quilter, knitter, home improver.

Now that the teenager is out of the house and on to his own adventure, it is up to John and I to stop living up to others ideals and expectation of what our lives should be like. We are both chomping at the bit to be free of all the excess weight of the things, house, cars, and toys that don’t make us happy. We are ready to focus on family and the life experiences we can have together.

I can’t wait to show our 5 year olds the learning adventure that life really is supposed to be! For now I’ll settle for packing for our weekend camping trip to a local State Park that was flooded out last fall and listing a few more items on Craigslist.