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Maybe It's the Havin' It

In the early winter of 1976, I was 20 years old and I was at truck driving school in Sun Prairie, WI.  The only time I have ever been colder was outside of Mason City, IA somewhere around 1983.  I managed to frostbite all ten fingers that go ’round changing the froze up fuel filters on a skillet faced Kenworth.

Rust streaks the belly bay on the Old Girl

Besides remembering how the condensation froze on the inside of the bathroom window when you took a shower in Sun Prairie, one other thing stands out.  There was a young couple at the  school from that hard scrabble Harlan,Ky.   During a class break, they asked the instructor if they could just buy an over the road diesel tractor to ‘ride around in.’  They were more in love with the equipment than the task at hand.

I see that same bent of thinking in some RV owners and gun enthusiast friends.  The equipment is the fixation — not the job it can do.  Luckily, I don’t hang out much in RV parks where the major prob of the day is getting the love bug guts off the clearcoat.  I also don’t have any guns that I spent beaucoup bucks customizing in the latest tacticool fashion that have never been fired.  Not that there is anything wrong with that  way of thinking….  I am just not wired that way.

The Old Girl has been a way to facilitate my job over the years.   Even before I went fulltiming, she was originally purchased to transport the race car  to race places.  Man, if I had that money back, Miss K and I could take the rest of the year off and build a casita in Terlingua.  Pay me no nevermind though because I would not trade those few racing years for anything.  How many parents get to spend magic time with their grown kids that will never be forgotten?

If I did have one of those gel coated, shiny wheeled  fancy coaches the last place I would want to be was a construction site or an oilfield gate.   An oilfield gate guard assignment exposes your RV to just about the worst environment a poor recreational vehicle could ever imagine.   Intense UV radiation is the order of the day and that is going to deteriorate any plastic or rubber at an alarming rate.  Rubber roofs, tire sidewalls, silicone sealer, window gaskets are all going to go south at an alarming rate. You live in dirt.  Not because you have slovenly housekeeping habits but because it is inescapable.  When it rains, Tuco the Dog and I get blasted for tracking mud in.   We both have the ‘where did that mud come from’ face that we use on Miss Kathy.  Tuco the Dog learned that trick from me.  She will stand patiently on each step and lift a foot in succession as Miss K cleans the mud off her paws with a towel.   To Miss K’s chagrin, I am not that well mannered.

A tank truck raises a cloud of caliche dust

If it is not mud , it is dust. There is no intermediate state of dirt. Thick, roiling clouds of fine white caliche powder. It permeates everything. Miss K fights it daily and it is a thankless battle. My concern is the effect the dust is going to have on electrical items and electronic circuit boards. It cakes the fan inlet on my laptop in just days and I keep the can of compressed air handy. Miss K uses the air to blow out the back of the flat screen TV. I can only imagine what havoc the dust is wreaking on other electronic components.

With all that said, it is what it is. We are boondocking off the grid for an extended period and that is rough on equipment. I am not going to worry about the toll it is taking on an 18 year old recreational vehicle. Why should I? The Old Girl has proved herself time and time again as a tough old bird.

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