Twenty or so hours of driving in less than 48 hours. No wonder I was so tired today.
Saturday morning my uncle and I left on a five-state adventure to sell the Lexus and buy the Great White Knight. The drive out to Lake Geneva was uneventful, as trips generally are when driving Lexus/Toyota vehicles. The highlight of the trip out was a stop by Culvers, which I haven’t been to in a good number of years. We both had very nice burgers, and I would definitely consider going there again.
I successfully sold the car to a Ford dealership of all places for almost as much as I wanted, and certainly much sooner than I could have possibly sold it on my own. The buyer, the owner of a the small Ford lot, was willing to pay me $23,500, which was a couple grand more than the local dealers. I have no idea why he wanted to go that high, he apparently didn’t even have a buyer lined up for it, I think he just liked the car. So after waiting for them to have some computer problems trying to figure out how to pay off my loan on the car, we eventually walked out with a check for the balance and continued on our way. It was really nice to not have that car holding me back anymore. I’ve had a lot of good times with the car, but it’s time to move on. No regrets at all in selling it.
After the dealership, we started heading towards Missouri. After a good couple hours of driving, we arrived at one of the worst hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Of course I didn’t know that at the time, but I do now!
Don’t stay at the Days Inn in Williamsburg, Iowa. They have polyester bedding and european-style sheet-blankets where the sheet is wrapped around the blanket. This is an awful combination. The polyester doesn’t “breathe” so when you’re under them, you’ll get too hot and sweaty. But not using them results in being too cold. Miserable. I managed to get about 3 hours of sleep.
Sunday morning as we’re heading to St. Joesph, Missouri, I got a call from the seller of the truck. He said that they were going to use the truck to go to church in the morning to make sure everything was working correctly because it had been sitting in storage for a couple months. It didn’t want to start! He was checking to see if I was still on my way, I was, and so he said he would get on top of trying to get it fixed ASAP.
About an hour or so later he called back and said that he had obtained the necessary parts, and they (he and a mechanic buddy) were going to install it. He apologized for the issue and said he was embarrassed by it. The more paranoid of you would probably assume that the truck was misrepresented and I was buying a lemon of some sort at this point, but I had faith. Hey, it was a Sunday, that’s an appropriate thing to have, right?
Another call from Frank a while later and the starter issue was resolved. It was the starter solenoid, and it had been replaced and everything was once again working as it should.
We stopped by Church’s Chicken for lunch, then met the truck buyer at a local gas station. Apparently the seller lives so far out in the country that the GPS systems don’t quite match up the address with his actual location. I took my time examining the outside of the vehicle, crawling underneath in multiple places and actually go in one of the sides and out the front, all on my back. Yes, the truck is high enough up that I can simply crawl under it from one side through to the front without even jacking it up. It’s a beast.
We take it out for a test drive, and we must have been on some less-than-perfect roads, because it was riding pretty rough. I was concerned about the ride. I also noticed the steering was rather loose. At the same time though, the suspension never felt unsettled and the cornering was solid and reliable. As I’ve learned, 1-ton trucks simply ride a bit rougher than the Toyota RAV4 we were previously traveling in for the past day. And the steering is setup with a larger ratio between it and the wheels, just as a sports car is very tight, a sedan is loser, a normal truck is looser, and then a leviathan like I have is looser. It takes a bunch of turns of the wheel to go from lock-to-lock. That’s just how they’re made.
My biggest concern with the truck was its tires. On the outside rear wheels, in the center of the tire tread, they’re almost bare. The front tires are lower than I’d like, and they’re just generally near the end of their useful lifespan. I wasn’t really concerned about any immediate danger, but I am going to have them replaced within six months, at most.
So after a thorough examination and a lengthy test drive, I agreed to purchase the vehicle. The seller would not, under any condition go below $17k, and that’s what I had in cash to pay him with, so we made that happen. At 3pm local time, we started on the six hour trip home.
Shortly after 10pm, we got home. (Stops for food and gas and what-not.) After driving the truck for six hours, I’m really beginning to enjoy it. It was a bit unnerving driving something so wide, but with the recent experience of towing a legal-limit width trailer, I got used to it. And very pleasantly it handled crosswinds very nicely. We had a 20 mph wind hitting us for quite a while and other than holding the steering wheel into the direction of the wind a bit, it was pretty unremarkable, just as it should be.
I can’t wait to try towing with it. The stability of this truck, when going straight, up, down, turning, whatever, is much greater than my old truck. It feels solid and confident. It’s actually surprising how planted it feels when cornering. Not like the old truck where it felt like I could go skittering off at any point.
It feels really good to have this step in my personal transition taken care of. This truck has the capability of towing my trailer, lugging around a truck camper, or whatever else I might want it to do. And it will do so easily, well within its limits. With the addition of all the preventative maintenance and upgrades that have been performed, I shouldn’t have any major mechanical issues for a good number of miles to come. Oil changes, tires, and so forth will all need to handled, but those are things that can be scheduled and taken care of when needed.
There’s also something about this truck that makes it feel like a mythical beast. It’s not just basic transportation from point A to point B, it’s something special. It feels like I’ve just found my magical machine that will enable me to perform great feats, and it’s just waiting to achieve greatness.