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Flat Frogs

Vela Vin @ 8 months

Vela Von @ 8 months

That Vela Von is workin’ on my last nerve.  When it rains down here in the Puckerbrush, nature kicks in a turbo charger or somethin’.  Overnight it seems the air is full of gnats and skeeters and other insect UFOs and go outside about dark thirty and the gnats are so thick you can’t hardly catch a breath.  And mucho frogs.  You never see frogs around a parking pad unless there is water near by; just ain’t happening.

At some point in days past,  one of my gaugers ran over a frog right here in front of the NO Princess Palace  and it is just as flat as a flapjack.  That dog is knowin’ live frogs taste like ass.  Not that I have ever tasted on a live frog but from her reaction I can pretty much tell it is no bueno.  But this air-dried flat frog must taste like frog jerky or somethin’ because every time we hit the porch to go out – and I mean every time- she has to hunt up that flat frog.  I thought about scoopin’ it up and give it a toss over in a blackbrush thicket but then again, dogs need a tad of fun to get through their day.

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Cameron Stovetop Smoker

Cameron Stovetop Smoker

When I was packing up last August to head back to South Texas, I  intentionally packed light.  Alot of the stuff like 5 propane tanks,  enough tools to fill a roll around box and a service station grade air compressor stayed behind. So far the only thing I have really missed is my stepladder but that can be borrowed easily enough.  I do miss my smoker;  I miss the satisfaction of hours spent smoking a good brisket or shoulder. Logistics just prevented its’ inclusion due to size.  I make do with my Cameron’s Stainless Steel Smoker when I get a taste for smoked meat and I wrote about it a few year’s back.   Sometimes I just get a craving for somethin’ smoked; last week it was barbecue chicken leg quarters with oak smoke, today it is a balsamic and honey pork loin over hickory.   Tough life, huh?

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BFF Cait  has her head on as good as just about any Millenial I know so I was a bit shocked the other week when she told me I probly needed to start saving up for a new truck.  My first thought was “Is something wrong with the Big Ass Suburban?” I guess millenial-think is when somethin’ gets old you need to park it in the junkyard, throw the keys on the ground and walk away.  I am just hopin’ the same criteria is not applied to old fellas as well.

Trailer trash window fix

Trailer trash window fix- see the stob of wood in the lower  left?

So it goes like this here.   I have no intention of getting rid of the Big Ass Suburban.  It is an ’04 2500 4X4 with the 8.1 liter engine and 2005 was the last year they made it. It will pull anything you can get hooked to the bumper. Flat out fact.   I do hear tell they brought it back in 2016 for fleet/commercial buyers only. Best they could do under the hood was the 6.0l Vortec  – even with a sticker of $85,000.  Pshaw!!! You believin’ that???

Mine has 178k on the clock and records show I only drove it 2k miles in the last 12 months. I don’t get out much ya know but BFF Cait did get me to thinking An aged vehicle needs more care than a new ‘un and I best get off my procrastinatin’ butt and  get with the program.

Tuco the Dog loved to ride behind me in that truck. Hell, if that passenger door on her side opened for any reason she figured it was time to “load up” and go for a ride. She would get absolutely dog-butt hurt if you drove off without her.  Silly ass dog.  And it wasn’t just enough to ride; she had to stick her snooter out the window or it wasn’t a quality ride. She was good until about 65mph and then she had to get back inside. Routine procedure was when she felt me slowin’ down on a road trip it most likely meant we were fixin’ to go through a small town and that meant new smells that was all important to a dog.  So the window would go down, that wooly head would go out and it was pure dog heaven I reckon.

Naked door guts

Naked door guts

Last summer we were on some probly important road trip out of the Secret Hideout and we slowed down to start through town and I reached over to crank the window down.  Well sir, it went clack-rattle-clang instead and the window glass fell down inside the door ‘cept for about an inch. Looks like I had wore that window out dog ridin’.   I pulled over to the side where the big trucks had made a wide-out and got out to see just what was going on.  Best I could do was manage to slide the window up most of the way and duct tape it on the inside.  Taping it up on the outside is the trailer trash solution and I just wasn’t going there.  10 miles down the road I was pulling over again because the window had worked its’ way back about half way down.  Hmmmmmmmm….  I kicked around in the road sludge until I found me a piece of mesquite wood that I whittled down to fit in the door crack.  I stuffed that stob in there and added another layer of duct tape on it and that is the way it stayed until just this past week.  Not a proud statement but it is what it is.

I hate working on doors. They are put together at the factory with special tools by them that don’t do nuthin’ but put doors together all the livelong day.   Takin’ a door apart out here in the Puckerbrush is about as silly as brain surgery on a table at McDonald’s.  All them pieces got to go back together JUST SO or the door ain’t gonna open or it is gonna rattle like a rock inside a Shiner Bock can or the window is gonna act like it is possessed by that Linda Blair fella.  So maybe that is why I put it off for a year, OK?

New door hardware -somehow or other I gotta make that live inside my door.

New door hardware -somehow or other I gotta make that live inside my door.

It came to pass that I just couldn’t take that duct taped mess no longer,  I bit the bullet and ordered a  AC Delco Professional Rear Driver Side Power Window Regulator with Motor from Amazon. 4 mis-matched screwdrivers and a satchel of Chinaman tools from Wal Mart would just have to do.  While I was at it I ordered new door reflector and courtesy lights for all the doors. They had managed to get beat out or duct taped tight over the years and it just wasn’t right.

In due time the UPS Man showed up with my new hardware and I picked an evening when the gnats wasn’t particularly bothersome to tear that door up.  Vela Von was standin’ watch hooked to the front bumper and it was time to get after it.  I gotta say it went reasonably well.  Plenty of sweat runnin’ down in my eyes but minimal skinned knuckles.  Vela Von just had to poke her head ’round the side of the wheel well a few times to check out a cussin’ fit.  Next up is an absolute dead instrument cluster; only been dead for about 3 years.  I know, I know.  Get over it already.   🙂

 

End Note: Too Long in the Wasteland by James McMurtry from the Live in Aught-Three cd.

Over 8 minutes of live goodness

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6 comments to Flat Frogs

  • OldRV guy, you got about the best words out there on the Internets. Really enjoy reading what you done last week. You kinda’ write like I think in my head so I don’t have to translate nothin’. Hope you stay above your boots for many years to come.

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  • Leo

    My Winder story:

    Years back I was living in San Antone and me and a buddy wanted to go to Rockport (a little north of Corpus Christi) to visit a fella that was building a gi-hugeus wooden boat. One that he could sail the briny deep with in comfort.

    My buddy was driving a VW diesel car. We made the round trip on just a few gallons of fuel. Don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was over 50MPG!

    I wanted one as my (then) current car was starting to nickle and dime me all the way to the repair shop.

    I found a used VW Jetta 5 speed diesel station wagon with only 24k on the clock. Had the thing for 7-8 years and it was a great vehicle but for the window incident.

    Me and the wife had a 120 pound male Akita as our version of Tuco and Vela rolled into one. Boss was his name. And he was a damn fine dog too.

    Anyway, the kids lived in Sacramento and at Christmas time we decided to drive from Texas to Sacramento for the holidays. We were gonna stop and see some winter time sights twixt here and there.

    We’d left SA early one morn, and were making good time on I10 going west. The only fly in this ointment was Boss and his stinky dog farts. We stopped in Fort Stockton for some oranges and other snacks. It was spitting sleet and snow as momma went in the store to buy the stuff and I took the dog for a sniff and pee and (hopefully poop) stroll around the edges of the parking lot. But that’s all that Boss did. Pee and sniff.

    Back at the car with this big boy occupying the rear passenger seat he let go another gas grenade that had me gagging and choking! Electric winders – down comes the front passenger side to get some cross ventilation and like you Andy, the damn cable snapped and the glass fell to the bottom of the door.

    Here we are, 11:30 in the am and it’s cold, spitting sleet and snow, the car is packed with our luggage and I don’t have a tool one with me that will do more than break the door if I try to fix it myself.

    It’s lunch time and (seemingly) most businesses close for 60 to 90 minutes so they can go eat.

    After a near panic I did find a glass shop that could and did get the door panel off and the glass back up to the top. They did not use duct tape, but rather clear packing tape on the inside. Two fellas worked on this for over an hour to git-r-dun. The shop only charge me $25 labor!

    I drove with the winder taped shut for 6-8 months until I researched on line that VW had a blanket recall for faulty window operating hardware. Took it to a local VW dealer and got all the plastic doohickeys replaced with metal ones.

    So… I can relate… sorta. But that damn dog fart was corrosive!

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  • Monte

    I got 2 2004 chevy trucks that the instrument cluster has had troubles with, and on both of them, I had a guy I found on craigslist come out and replace the stepper motors on the swingarms of the gauges for about $150. Now, I aint so far in the sticks as you are, so I don’t know if some craigslist dude would drive that far. But there are services on the interweb where you can pull the cluster, mail it off, they fix it, and mail it back. Now, I hear tell it can be fixed by a handyman, but I am so bad with a soldering iron, I may of done jinxed ya by just writing to ya. Them stepper motors aren’t posed to be but a few bucks apiece, and the 2004 trucks are rumored to be horrible about the gauges going out. Good luck!

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    • Andy

      Thanks Monte,
      I found a DIY motor kit on Amazon for $43 or a mail-in deal in Michigan for $99

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  • Rob

    ’04 is a new car and 170+k is still low mileage!

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