Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Rock-tumber of Life

Between Bertha and Brett I just don't know what to think about this world any more, except that thing really are never what they seem, and this world is way too complex for us to understand. Even when we work together.

Bertha still needs a lot of work. She's staring into our bedroom window right now, parked as she is up against the side of the house. First and foremost is getting the temp thing taken care of - fixing the gauge or determining if the temporary gauge is correct. Then, finding out, if she really is overheating, what to do about it. The radiator was rebuilt; do we need a newer one? bigger one? All the electrical needs to be checked and possibly updated. The transmission works, but is a little slippery. Needs new tires on the front. Needs a bath and needs to be waxed. I need to finish painting inside, the fridge has to be made to work on both gas and battery. The gas gauge and speedometer are unreliable. The carpet in the front cab needs to be replaced. We need an air conditioner.

Donnie has for sure fallen out of love with her. It has been an expensive learning experience, but now we have a much better understanding of how RVs work and what we need to have a fun and enjoyable vacation. And we have learned that you can throw all the money in the world at something, and it still might not make it. Add to that the gas prices of today, and Bertha really doesn't make a lot of sense, even for short trips.

Things to look for in our next RV--

  • Better gas mileage
  • Smaller
  • Good for overnights or 250 mile radius trips (5 hrs.)
  • Climbs hills
  • Comfortable bed
  • Everything works - and I mean everything!
  • Has manual
  • Previous owner has records / receipts

I wonder if Donnie would consider a trailer we could pull with his van?

I am not as heart-sick as DMV on this. I still like her. We put so much in -

  • Volt regulator
  • PVC valve
  • Air filter
  • Rotor
  • Distributor cap
  • Plugs
  • Breather
  • Coil
  • Wires
  • Water pump
  • Alternator
  • Air conditioner water pump
  • Exhaust pipe and muffler
  • Sewer hose and chemicals
  • Ceiling vent
  • Vent covers
  • New cover for couch
  • Fresh water hose and filler
  • New light
  • Wiper blades
  • Master cylinder
  • Break fluid
  • Adjustment and flush of rear breaks
  • Drain and fill differential
  • Replace wheel inner rear seal
  • Flush power steering
  • Shocks - front and rear
  • Transmission tightened and adjusted
  • Freon for a/c
  • Carb rebuilt
  • New starter
  • Engine rebuild
  • Gasket for manifold
  • Radiator rebuilt
  • Thermostat
  • Motor mounts
  • Drive belt
  • Radiator hose
  • Transmission hose
  • Fuel pump
  • Resurface manifolds
  • Transmission pump seal
  • Exhaust manifold
  • Electrical relay
  • Coach and deep-cell batteries
At one point we decided that it would be better to fix everything than spend a couple extra thousand to get a vehicle that was newer by 10 years. I still kinda believe that. And, one more comment. I thought it was a lot to spend $600 each person on gas. But that's the same price as an airline ticket now a days.

Besides, I have bigger things to worry about than an RV.

I thought it was a weird time to retire - in March. Now I think Brett, just go be retired. But if he does play again, I'll realize what he probably wanted people to see all the time -- he's a guy not a god. And I don't think he wants to end up like Dale Earnhart (i.e. martyred) and so he'll just go on to wreck his rather insane and disturbing public persona by, well, being an asshole. More power to you I guess.

There is a plaque at the riverside here which speaks to the kinds of dichotomies I've been discussing, only with the much more natural example of the Mississippi. I will have to go get a picture of it, or at least transcribe the text. Perhaps the spirit of the river is more permeating that I thought.

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