Thursday, January 23, 2014

A run of bad luck...or the exclamation mark post!!!!!!!

Jan. 13 - ?, 2014
Fort Stockton RV Park, Fort Stockton, TX

We have our blog address in big white vinyl letters on the back of our RV and on the back of our truck. For being such a private, shy, and semi-nonsocial person, that is an odd thing to do. But having our blog "advertised" is an easy social opener for someone to approach us and start a conversation. It is also a great way for our neighbors to be "nosey" and learn about us without approaching us. To me, these are not bad things. But, I've realized there are a couple of downsides to my rig and truck advertising.
Susan has mentioned problems she is having with her current neighbor and she is free to write about it and let her frustration out without consequences. Now if I were to write about my neighbors, there is a good chance they may end up reading it, because our blog addy is very visible. Also, if I'm going to give a bad RV park review, I wait until we are gone from that park before posting. Again, I don't want the "offended party" to retaliate. 
So, I guess anyone following our adventure is wondering about our truck? If you've been to Scott's facebook page you already know, the news is not good.
From Scott: "I got a ride into town today with the camp host to pick up supplies. Also stopped by the mechanic to see the damage done by a piece of metal the size of my pinky fingernail, that broke off of the fuel injector and rattled around in the cylinder. Not pretty."
See the hole? How can you miss it?

More damage.

Poor truck! POOR us!
I know, I know, you all fee bad for us. But inside you're thinking, "Phew! I'm glad that's not us!". Yes, this really sucks, stinks, blows, etc. Now for the REALLY bad news...a reconditioned engine from Ford is going to cost us $13,000.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, those zeroes are correct, $13K. I must say, some things happen for a reason. Haven't figured out what our reason for truck problems are, but I'm thankful for the neighbors we had last night. Ft. Stockton RV park is mainly just an overnight stopping spot. Around 2pm the traffic begins and by 4pm, there is usually a small line of RV's waiting to register at the office. In the morning, the park is quiet again. So almost every day we have a new neighbor. I've mentioned many times that I am a loner, not a socializer, etc. So with each new neighbor, I just keep to myself and knit. I turn off my audio book in case new neighbor speaks to me, but I don't initiate conversation, EXCEPT FOR YESTERDAY. What got into me???  Our neighbor pulls in and is setting up. I know when we are setting up, I really don't want to talk to anyone, until the slides are out and the dogs are secured. I am in my usual sunny afternoon spot, knitting and making sure the dogs don't bother our neighbors (like Susan's "bad dog" did. Wink, Wink). Next thing I know, I ask if they are only staying overnight! I NEVER initiate conversation! I must have been taken over by the spirit of our dead engine! They say yes and I then continue to talk! My mouth is not my own! I state we were supposed to only be overnight, but now it's been 8 days. His answer is Oh, you must like it here. Of course I say no way! That's how the conversation about our truck and his truck came about. They have a 2008 Ford 350 truck. Ours is a 2006 Ford 350. They had to have their engine replaced. Total cost for engine and labor....$17,000.00!!!!! Noooooooo! This was prior to us hearing our estimate. About 1/2 hour later, our mechanic calls with the $13,0000.00 engine replacement cost. If I had not spoken to our neighbor, I would have thought we were being ripped off. I was thinking $5K to $10K. So it's a very good thing that I spoke to our neighbors. Not only because we now knew the $13K was a "reasonable" price, but also to know someone else had to go through this and dealt with it and continued on. 

Oh what a waste. Both Scott and I keep thinking that if we had or could have stopped earlier, the damage would have been minimal. But we were 1.5 hours away from El Paso on Hwy. 10! Anyone who's driven this stretch of the USA, knows there is NOTHING here. No RV parks, no Ford dealers, no civilization, until you reach Ft. Stockton. And even here, there is little to choose from. So whether we turned back to El Paso or continued on, the damage would have been done. This too shall pass. Our needs are few. We have pretty much what we need here. Enough dog food for another 7-10 days, decent internet, direct TV, 50 amp electric, space to tie out the dogs, space to walk the dogs, enough yarn to keep me busy, & enough wine to keep me happy. Only a couple of things I'm missing...good whole grain bread and natural peanut butter for my breakfast. I only have enough PB to last maybe 3 days. Oh no!!! While Scott was out gathering groceries, he looked for my PB but with no success. Yes, this is a rinky-dink town, with no SUPERmarkets, just a grocery store.

Yesterday I was sitting outside wearing short sleeves. Today I'm inside "nesting" in the bedroom snuggled under the covers. Temps have dropped to only reaching 45° today with a frigid wind. Dina is my constant companion. I'm sure going to miss her after she is adopted.
Now the we have restocked our pantry and fridge, Scott can enjoy making comfort food on this chilly day. Chicken and Dumplings will fit that need. Depending on where you were raised, dumplings can mean different things to different people.

I'm from Central/North Jersey. I was brought up with the basic Bisquick dumpling. As an adult, I now add some onion powder and dill weed to the batter.

Scott is from South Jersey aka "Mayberry". His version of dumplings are the flat pie crust or noodle type. I prefer my childhood memories Bisquick dumplings, but there are times when the noodle type will do also. After all, Scott is the cook, so he gets the 75% of the voting ratio.

Biscuit dumplings
Chinese dumplings

So, Scott not only is cooking the chicken stew, but he is also making the flour noodle type dumplings from scratch!
Courtesy of my bro, Rob.
As I've said before...what a guy! I'm very lucky to have him in my life.
Black Hills Simple Life  is an on line magazine I subscribe to. The interest began when we were in Custer, SD and looking at property. I found the "Farmer's wife" article interesting and enlightening. The article spoke of the freak snowstorm, called Atlas Blizzard in late Oct. This was the reason we had to leave SD. Otherwise, we may have stayed and bought property.  I am feeling much more comfortable about buying property in more familiar Tennessee. 
Anyway, Rancher's wife is a great article giving 1st hand knowledge of life on a Ranch. I only thought of the snow coming early was unusual and never gave it a 2nd thought. But for the ranchers this was devastating. The cattle free graze during the summer months and then as Winter nears, they are gathered up from acres and acres of land. This is no small task and can take days to get all the cattle corralled for the Winter. In Winter, the cattle are fed hay by the ranchers since there is not enough grazing areas once snow falls. Thus, the panic of the unexpected blizzard. I think (as a non rancher). "Well, gee, they have 4 or 5 days to plan for this blizzard".  That's time enough for us to pack up and leave, but for a rancher to prepare the corralls, gather enough hay, get the help on quick notice to help bring in the cattle spread out over the vast land is just not enough notice. 
Many cattle were not able to be brought in to safety and died of hypothermia. Some ranchers lost over 50% of their herd! Devastating! It's going to be a hard winter after this loss. 
Just brings to mind the "easy" life I've had with a steady job with good pay and benefits. Even with our engine woes and the huge hit to our checkbook/savings/emergency fund/house fund, it does not affect our livelyhood. We will continue to get our pension checks each month. I am very thankful.
OK, enough downers.

I subscribe to Paw Bonito Best Animal Videos. Every day or two, I get a link in my mailbox to open doggie videos that are sure to bring a smile to any dog lover. Of course videos of cats, etc. also.


  1. We call that conversation you had with your neighbor synchronicity. It wasn't planned, normally wouldn't even happen, but for some reason it did. Glad you initiated the chat.

    Sorry to hear about your engine...nasty engine years on Ford: 2002-2008. Lots of problems for many people. Howard and Linda of had to replace their engine too.

    At least you're getting lots of knitting done.


  2. Know idea the pricetag of a new engine...we swap out trks this weekend...scared! Nice dumplings...I go for the rolled dough! Wish I had more encouraging words...hopeful TN holds the key...its time for things to take a turn upwards.


Our Travels