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Reader's Write - Putting the Old Girl Out to Pasture

Reader Bill responds to a previous blog entry:

Hey Andy:

‘Been reading your blog for a bit of time now. I appreciate your candor
and, like you, after being in a suit for 30 years appreciate getting out of
the office. I just didn’t get to do it as soon as you. But I did get to
“retire” before the government “approved date” so I guess there is some
payback for those years. Don’t regret many of them, but glad to do be doing
other things now.

The point: Like you, I’ve been driving a Suburban, like my Dad before me,
for 30+ years. All the way back before we knew they were SUV’s. However, I
just thought I would offer some perspective concerning your new living rig
thoughts from the blog.

I’ve had tag trailers, a bunch of them, and now a 5th wheel. There is sooo
much more space in a 5’er – including space for that big battery bank you
need and a big generator. I think you know that from your brothers rig. Oh
yea, like him, I’m a pilot and so I have that gene and it gives me that
perspective on stuff as well.

So that means you have to give up a Suburban if you go with a 5’er? Well,
not completely. I’m not telling you anything you don’t really know, but, a
2500, or better yet a 3500 dually crew cab “is” a suburban without the rear.
You just put a shell topper on that horse all the time you’re not towing,
then pull it off when you move and put it on the flat bed with all the other
“work site” stuff as you move to a new site; reinstall at the new site and
your back to more or less a Suburban.

I’m telling you, I always wondered what I would get for my “personal” ride
when I retired. Never thought it would be a 4-wheel drive, dual rear wheel
3500 to pull a 5’er. Well, I, and my bride of 41+ years, love it. We put a
MOR-ryde RL suspension under it and she thinks it rides better than the
Suburban for long trips. She is a very cool girl I am telling you.

I have no idea why I am bothering you with this. But the GM 3500 Duramax /
Allison is one fine ride and it just pulls like no tomorrow. (I drove
semi’s back in the days of 18 speed “Fullers,” so I have some perspective.)

The last thing I try to do is interfere with a man’s truck choice. But
based on experience with 6 tag trailers, a 5’er and a “Suburban Pickup,” I
just thought I would offer it for your consideration. I just thought this
idea had some merit based on all I have read from your blog.

Safe travels


It is great to hear from knowledgeable readers like Bill. Sometimes I think my blog entries are like those obscure dusty books on the top shelf of the library. It is refreshing to know this interwebs thing really works. 🙂  Thanks Al Gore!  Maybe if I knew this many people were going to read the blog, I would have written it better.

So I have to say Bill brought up some valid points.. and he knows how to make a point.  Our 3500 Duramax service truck is a real horse and does a great job pulling my bro’s Heartland Fiver. I drive it quite often and it does a great job pulling a big trailer or just running around town.

The Old Girl on station, doing the job.

I still pause when I think about giving up the Suburban. Ah well, that decision might be out of my hands anyway. ‘Long about 2005, GM decided the 8.1 liter big block was no longer an available option in the Suburban — and I wouldn’t have one without it. The 5.7 liter is OK -just. In the vacuum created by the disappearance of that stump pulling big block V8, I would have to go with a diesel. And you can’t get a diesel Suburban. The Allison transmission is too tall to fit correctly. You know, if I was a car engineer/designer, I think I could come up with some thing to fix that little problem. I mean how hard could it be?? Oh wait, these car designer types are the same ones that brought us the Ford Fiesta. What the hell kinda car is that? ( Thank ya Charlie Robison)

I am really leaning toward that Suburban/bumper pull combo – subject to change. Same basic square footage as a fiver at thousands less plus no investment in a new tow truck. I put 315k miles on the 1996 big block Suburban before it went to the boy child. At my rate of driving, that gives me 3 more years of life on the old ‘Burb. Hell, in 3 years, I might just be ready to buy a fancy Fiver and a dually with shiny wheels. I could probably toodle off to the RGV in the Winter and bitch about how they scaled down the buffet at the Sizzler with the rest of those shuffle board playin’ studdlies.   Ummm….no offense intended to all you Winter Texans.   I have never played golf–much less shuffleboard.  I like things that combust and make noise like guns and fossil fueled engines.

So maybe not……. I sorta like pounding the ground in a dozer. Last time I checked

Working the 'little' dozer in a tight spot

we did not have any type of mandatory retirement plan. So maybe I will just keep doing this as long as I can haul my old bones up into the cab.

Word is the next job is going to be in the McKinney, TX area. The property has two old falling down houses on it and I figure we can roll in there and just scoot those two houses off the slabs and park the RVs right there. A temp power pole, hook into the old septic clean out and divert the water line to a hose bib at the old well. Should be a piece of cake. Might be nice to be back close to the Metromess for a change.

End Note: I’ll Take You Away By Doyle Bramhall from the Is It News? Album. A Derek and the Dominos feel from local Dallas boy Bramhall… the whole album is worth a listen. It feels good.

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3 comments to Reader’s Write – Putting the Old Girl Out to Pasture

  • Golf is a lot like shooting, but not as expensive. The scenery is a little bit better, and if you hit em where I do, you get to see a lot of it.

    I’d go truck over Sub, as well, but with the quad-cabs, they’re just like a Sub these days, and since I stick a big-ass toolbox on them, I’m not so sure I’m doing anything any different. It’s a moot point for me, anyway, since I can’t afford any of this. I’ll be plugging along in this F150 for some time to come.

    But the point was, go get yourself a set of pawn-shop golf clubs and play some pasture pool. As much as you travel, I bet you’d end up digging it. Lots of cheap muni courses out there.

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    • admin

      I just don’t see that golf thing Scott. I guess it is just me. Plus I do not need another excuse to drink beer and tell lies.

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  • Don

    My wife and I just traded up to a North Trail 31RLSS (2010 model) – it’s a nice bumperpull rig but I don’t know about it being a full-timer. It was pretty cheap. We liked it because of a huge slide and linoleum flooring; we travel a month or so at a time with animals. No generator option but you could certainly fit one. Had a couple warranty issues and the company was great – not Wilson great but great anyway. It’s by Heartland so if your brother has one you’ve probably already heard the commercial.

    Arctic Fox is another great trailer provider – they are built by Northwood (http://www.northwoodmfg.com/) – more expensive but probably worth it. Kind of heavy but….

    My $.02 worth. Good luck with your search!

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