Going to Bed
This week was largely comprised of dealing with the Ford’s 8-foot bed. It had to be cleared, including the 140 gallons-worth of Tankmin water/waste system. The one guy who had expressed an interest in the Tankmin, on impulse, regained his senses the next day and thought better of it. No takers. Well, there were three scam artists from Craigslist, but those don’t count. So, having previously checked out whether the local landfill would take it, I cleared all the stuff out of the truck bed and got to work unbolting the Tankmin’s floor mounts. The potential problem is not the tank – it’s that I’m not a resident and therefore do not pay taxes, but that’s another debate. Part of my annual fee is for garbage removal, which winds up at the very same place.
I had envisioned a heap of frustration for this, since each bolt perforating the truck bed must be held at both top and bottom, and perhaps you may have some experience with what time and moisture do to tight fasteners. The upper freshwater section is bolted to the lower, and the lower to a couple of fabricated frames bolted to the bed. It was required to start at the top and work downward, the only significance of this being that any failure early on would make the later stages very difficult. Fortunately, I found that the manufacturer had used stainless steel fasteners, along with threaded brass inserts in the tank sidewalls. It was a dusty job flopping around in the dust underneath the truck bed to get at the last nuts, but it got done.
It was a rather simple task that went well. It was the kind of job that I’d have found to take not more than a half-hour, start to finish, and thought little of it in former times. Today, I found it to be a reminder of mortality, like when my father, always muscular and fit, expressed to me the shock of finding at the age of eighty that he’d found he could not trot across a busy road to get to shops on the other side. Little things like that press home the reality that, as far as we’re concerned, if time is a rope, then there is an end to the rope somewhere, and no going back. We always know that intellectually, but it remains just an interesting fact until it is accepted in the heart. In my case, I was carefully and laboriously levering myself up from the ground instead of smoothly springing up to get on with it. The big steps needed to get up into the truck bed weren’t coming that easy, either. Instead of striking me as a maudlin thought, this comes to me as a simple reminder to make the most of what I have, in the time that I have. This does not have to mean quest and adventure, but simply to pursue what is of real value to us as individuals, shaking off the distractions that parade before us to steal our attention and energy.
How odd Yuma is! The trip to drop the tanks off turned into a mini-adventure, since I had the GPS set for shortest distance. Once out in the boonies, the whole Yuma area is cross-crossed with agricultural paths that produce fields are set within. Plus, there are some old trails and even a stage coach route. Most of the roads are on a grid, and are labeled (or not) with names like E 22nd Street. That continues even when the dirt roads lack signage. The problem turned out to be that the GPS can’t differentiate between a trail/street it thinks is there and one that peters out into nothingness, or has since been crossed over by a 20-foot ridge of canal boundary. And when it turns strictly 4WD because of deep sand, well, it’s time to make some decisions. Much of the problem went away once I reset the GPS for “fastest route”, and I made it there by late afternoon.
With the tanks dropped off, figuring out what to do with what was in the bed was and will continue to a be a puzzler for quite some time. The Tankmin-related hoses and fittings headed for the dumpster. My never-needed spare 5-gallon jug of diesel fuel went to a couple down the unnamed “street” I’m on. A bunch of half-used lubes, oddball chemicals and a couple of leaky grease guns went bye-bye. What remains is a bit of a poser as to where they can be best stored, or stored at all. In the meantime, the RV park does not like people’s spaces resembling Hogan’s Goatyard, so there’s that. The Defiant is not exactly bristling with open space, and neither is the Ford’s cab.
This RV park lies alongside I-8 at its southern edge. One day before breakfast this week, there was a heavy truck-like skid, a brief pause, and then a weird BANG. I shuffled into my slip-on sandals, popped the telephoto onto the Pentax and went outside into the 45-degree air. A truck towing some kind of skeletal steel trailer had come down an entrance ramp and was now facing back the way it had come. The trailer was further down the ramp, and on its side. My guess was that some bolts holding the trailer’s axle subassembly were for one reason or another only partway in, or missing. The time had come for the subassembly to pivot around on one remaining bolt, steering itself off to the side and coming right around the truck. Essentially, the trailer became the tail that wagged the dog. I’d be surprised if the driver didn’t need a change of underwear. He was on his cellphone in an instant.
Thursday finished up with trying to clean up the Ford’s step-up tailgate so that the junkyard in Yuma would give me top dollar for it. The guy had emailed back in July that he’d pay $400-$600 for it, depending on condition. I figured that must be a come-on just to lure me in, right? After all, the tailgate with the optional step feature had cost $400(!) new from the factory in 2008, and the newer version tucks out of the way better. My goal was to scrub three years-worth of dust out of the bed interior, and serious consideration of the textured urethane Line-X coating made it obvious that a pail of water and a scrub brush weren’t going to cut it. I’d need to head for a self-service car wash tomorrow. But I could tackle the molded black plastic panel covering the back of the tailgate. I broke out a tub of car care products and found a spray bottle of Meguiar’s Ultimate Protectant for interior plastic surfaces, then started in with a pail of dishwater and an all-plastic scrub brush that was in the tub. That was helpful because of the texturing, as well as to reach down inside the many deep strengthening grooves in the cover. The years of heat had apparently gotten to the brush, since it shed its white plastic bristles aplenty as I scrubbed. But the dust was coming off pretty nicely.
In twenty minutes, the panel had dried and was looking much better, but still not quite dust free in some corners. A brief second round done, there was no improvement, and the plastic itself could stand to get rid of the slight grey tinge. On the Meguiar’s went, and the panel looked like new, pretty much. Just spray on, spread around, and then wipe off. This last part was a challenge because of all the deep, narrow valleys, so I sacrificed a toothbrush handle to push a rag along each one. I wiped down all polymer surfaces on the tailgate, and that looked so good that I realized the the bed’s black polymer top rails would make it obvious that I had restored the tailgate and ignored everything else. Not a good presentation. So out came the bucket again, and I sponged and wiped the rails down, finishing with the protectant there as well. Very nice. Once the bed was power-washed out, it would appear as though I had actually maintained the Ford every now and then.
Then came Friday morning. Off came the front bike carrier, a liability in any automatic car wash. While getting ready to leave, I deployed the tailgate step to retrieve something, and exposed its still-filthy cavity. Oops. More water, more sponging and more brushing. Then I noticed that I’d forgotten to sweep the bed out, a noticeable lapse because I have no broom, just a mini-dustpan and brush. But it worked. A large plastic plug to seal off the Tankmin’s drain hole through the bed fit nicely, and the smaller ones were due to arrive that day. Off to Yuma I went, to a self-wash. That worked well at cleaning off the bed dust, and the next step was to use the automatic exterior wash to positively clean the rest of the truck. Presentation. But this place’s auto-wash looked pretty sad, so I drove 3 miles to a so-called soft cloth wash. Didn’t sound like it once I had the truck in there, but I considered that I already had significantly scratched the paint on bushes, so what the heck. The result was fab, so off I headed for the junkyard.
They were pretty busy, but I found the guy I had corresponded with, he walked out with me to the Super Duty, and lamented that it wasn’t white, which apparently the most common color. He asked me what he had offered in July, so I told him the range and offered to show him a print of the email. He said, “Nope, that’s okay. I’ll give you the $600.” So much for schemes. I was handed a check by their clerical young woman, but walking out, I saw that it was made out for $800. Hmm. Back I went, and she had a replacement ready in no time. When I told her I’d had the urge to cut and run with the bigger check, she said, “Well, that would have been okay, but then I’d be knocking at your door tomorrow looking for a job!” Considering that I couldn’t possibly afford the solid two weeks of 14-hour days it would take her to clean up the interior of the Defiant, I decided that I’d made the proper choice.
Having returned before the end of the day, I called the Prescott dealer holding my Granby, and made an appointment for this Tuesday to have it installed in the Ford’s bed. Don’t look for a post about it Tuesday night! I’ll be pooped! Actually, it’ll be awhile before anything meaningful shows up. This isn’t Facebook, after all.