truck · Uncategorized

What to do with the truck?

Twelve years ago, I bought a truck and a trailer. I was applying to graduate school. I wanted the freedom to pack up my whole life and leave for wherever I needed to go.

That didn’t end up happening, but it was still useful to have the rig. Until it was not. I sold the trailer two years ago, and I haven’t really regretted doing so.

CIMG1093old dog, old truck, and my dad and I replacing the alternator 10 years ago

I have still had the truck, though. I love that truck, the way I definitely do not love my daily driver (a Honda CRV).

Last year, though – last spring it blew its transmission. As in, the mechanics took pictures of the pieces of the transmission sitting in a pool of oil in the bottom of…wherever it is transmissions live. Small pieces. They were horrified and amazed I made it home (from an hour away, after hauling a car trailer).

I swallowed hard and did the transmission. Then last fall, it didn’t pass inspection. $1,500 of exhaust work, they said.

DSCN0297I don’t know why I took a picture of this, but: truck all loaded up and ready to head out

I cried a lot. Over a truck. It broke my heart, but I resolved to sell it. I talked to the mechanic about a reasonable price, took some photos…

…and then never posted it. The truck is still in my driveway.

Two weeks ago, I submitted a classified ad to a local vintage automobile club – it’s a 1991, and a three-quarter ton, and it still has loads of good things going for it. For a few thousand dollars I thought it could make a good someone a good truck to haul their vintage car to shows. It is itself an antique, technically.

I haven’t heard anything yet; it’s too early still. But last weekend, a car guy I’ve gotten to know for work told me that the estimate I was given was way, way, way high. He gave me a phone number and told me to call it and use his name.

DSCN0480so, so many nights spent just like this at horse shows

I don’t know what to do. The smart thing to do would be to list the truck on Craigslist and let someone take it away.

But I love this truck. It’s stupid, but maybe to me it represents a time in my life when things might have gone differently. When it was just Tristan and I against the world. Before things started going so constantly wrong with him, before house work took up all my time and energy, when I measured free time in increments longer than 30 minutes.

2016-06-06 15.34.33 HDR-2the best copilot. she loves the truck, too.

I’ll call the new guy and ask him to look at the truck, but I just don’t know what I’ll do with what he tells me. I don’t have a number that will make fixing it okay. I don’t have any car money right now, really – my stupid boring CRV just needed $1,000 of exhaust work.

What would you do?



Remember how I stupidly left my truck to sit all winter? and the brand new battery died? and it seemed like it was out of warranty?

Well, today I found a wrench, and took the battery out of the truck, and schlepped it to four (count ’em) four different auto parts stores, and then to my mechanic, and they examined it, and then 5 minutes later came back with a new battery – under warranty, for FREE.

I brought it home, and put it back in its little cradle, put the bolts back in, and my truck started up!


Alas, this victory will first be applied to moving, instead of hauling a trailer, but baby steps!

stupid human tricks · truck

In which I display excessively poor judgment

My truck is a 2WD. It is in every other way perfect, so I work around that foible by letting it have winters off. It sits in the driveway, slumbering away.

Last year, the battery died. Not a huge deal; I’d never replaced the battery, it was a cold winter, it was time. So we towed it out of the driveway (and the several inches of ice it had frozen into, yikes) and got the battery replaced, problem solved. I had a vague thought of pulling the battery and leaving it inside for the winter this year, but one thing on top of another and I never did.

I was not planning to tackle digging the truck out for a few more weeks yet, but it turns out that we will need to move equipment for work back and forth between three different towns and my truck is the only staff vehicle that can cope with that much Stuff.

Ok; so Tuesday night, I tried to start it. Nada. I called AAA, and they tested it: dead. I faithfully ran it for 30 minutes, then tried again: nada. It’s fine, said the AAA guy, who also works for my regular mechanic. This is a good battery, and it’s less than a year old, so it’s still under warranty. Call us in the morning.

The next morning, I called my mechanic and explained everything to him. He said sure, the battery is probably under warranty, but the warranty does not cover batteries that died due to being left to sit all winter and subsequently freezing. Bring it in the next morning, we’ll test it, and we’ll know for sure.

So that’s where we sit right now. Battery is at the mechanic for the day, but it’s almost certainly dead as a doornail and will need to be replaced. I am banging my head against any and all hard surfaces in frustration, because earlier this week I spent $250 I don’t have on Tristan’s pergolide + pentosan + banamine, and now I may have to spend another $250 I don’t have because of a really dumbass mistake. (Oh and that’s on top of the $550 I don’t have that I have to use to pay our home inspector tomorrow.)

I really flipping hate money. And my own idiocy.

trailering · truck

Getting Ready for Hauling in Eight Million Complicated Steps

So: free admission up front that this is my fault. I got myself into this situation through a combination of neglect, laziness, and being broke. But getting my truck and trailer back on the road is proving an uphill battle. It’s one that I will win eventually! But man, is it frustrating in the interim.

Step 1: Re-registering the trailer.

When I moved to Vermont, I parked the trailer. I planned on registering and inspecting it in the spring – no worries! Then Tristan had surgery, and my attention was wholly taken up with his recovery and rehab. Before I knew it, it was late summer again, and there was no way he was ready to go do anything off property.

So, in short, the trailer has been sitting in the same field since November 2012. The registration had expired, and transferring it to Vermont required a) a VIN assignment (horse trailer rules, they are different everywhere, and the trailer is too old to have had a VIN previously), b) paying the sales tax on a trailer I bought eight years ago, THANKS VERMONT, and c) finally getting the registration current.

(when registering all vehicles in Vermont, if you have no proof that you have paid the sales tax, even if the vehicle is 30+ years old and you bought it many years ago, they require you to pay sales tax; in this case, they assigned a basic minimum value to the trailer of $200 and made me pay $12 sales tax, which was not quite enough to refuse in righteous fury but was still enough to be annoying)

All of this was accomplished in a joyful 90 minutes at the DMV last week. Good grief.

Step 2: Get the truck inspected.

No problem right? Except. With this horrible, awful winter, I did not get out as often as I should have to start the truck and run it for a bit to keep the battery primed. So it died. It really died. After a jump and 30 minutes of running it had no intention of starting again.

Not only that, but it was good and buried in a snowbank, which is not a problem of shoveling. The truck is a 2WD and does. not. do. snow. That’s why it sits in winter. But I had a suspicion that even if I could get a jump and start it in order to drive to the mechanic myself, it would never get out of its parking space.

So last night I called AAA, and they showed up with a very big flatbed tow truck and winched the truck out of its parking space and brought it to the mechanic. And I do mean winched it out: it turns out that the tires had been frozen in at least 4″ of ice, and in fact the winch dragged the tow truck back a few inches before the driver re-leveraged it. Holy crap. But eventually, the truck got on to the flat bed trailer, got to the mechanic.

Then it got inspected. Thankfully, it passed inspection with zero problems, just needed a new battery and oil change. GOOD TRUCK.

Step 3: Get the trailer inspected.

This will not happen until the snow melts in early April. There is quite simply no way the trailer is getting out of the snow bank until then. Not. Happening.

Of all the steps, I am dreading this one the most. The trailer has been sitting for nearly 18 months. It is an old trailer. At minimum, it needs the brakes and wheel bearings gone over, and most likely a new breakaway battery. I am worried about the tires, the floor, and the general health of the frame. I don’t know what Vermont requires for an inspection, and I can’t find that information online. I can’t figure out how much money to set aside to fix it – more than $1k? I hope not. I just don’t now. If it’s too much over $1k, I will have to make some serious decisions about the trailer’s future with me.