Only Pawn in Game of Life

Early this summer Mike’s old beater pickup, Jack, lost his ring gear. Well, not so much lost, as blew it all to hell. It looked like a T-Rex had used it for a teething ring. Anyway, after shopping around a bit, it seemed too cost prohibitive to replace such an expensive part on a truck so old, so we decided to put him out to pasture permanently. He’s old, he’s worked hard for us, and he deserves it.

RIP Jack.  You were a great old truck, and you’ll be missed.

With no truck, we were down to one vehicle, my Tucson. Now, the Tuscon is a great little vehicle, for what it is. When we bought it, I was doing wedding photography and needed something comfortable, good on gas and enough storage capacity to handle all the equipment and props that I required. It fit my needs very well.

But as in all stages of life, needs change. Now that I’m no longer doing much photography and we have made fresh plans for our Grand Adventure, its not such a great fit anymore. When it comes to pulling a trailer, it’s something less than useless. Having only two wheel drive isn’t high up there on the list of plusses either. Once we sell the house and get this show on the road (literally), the Tuscon will be the proud recipient of a brand new for sale sign.
nedBut Mike is a patient hunter.  After weeks of scouring Kijiji, Facebook, and a hundred other sources, he finally found a decent lead. A ’99 Chevy Suburban in pretty decent shape at a pretty decent price. Four wheel drive, heavy enough to pull Lonestar, lots of storage space inside, and more security than a regular pickup with the enclosed cargo space and tinted windows. (It also doesn’t hurt that Mike has a definite thing for Suburbans. But that’s a love story for another time.). It’s the best of all possible solutions, so it followed us home.

It’s not perfect, there’s a little rust and it needs a few little beauty touchups, but Mike’s a body man, so no biggies there. It runs smoothly and pulls great. Since we’ve brought it home, he’s fixed a number of small problems and installed new tires, and it gets a little closer to perfect everyday.

img_4669My only beef with it is that it’s white. I hate a white vehicle. I really don’t know why, I have no valid reason. I just don’t like the look of them. I think it must be a little like appreciating art, you either like it or you don’t, and you can’t always explain why. But on the bright side, Mike’s promised a new coat of paint for the big boy as well, so for now I can live with the color.

Meanwhile we’re still planning our holiday trip to Texas, so he’s been busy building a project in the back. 2 large drawers to hold lots of cargo, and a platform on top, big enough to support our mattress, so we’ll have a place to sleep for the long drive down and back. With winter weather being so unpredictable, we’ve opted to leave Lonestar at home for the maiden voyage and camp in the truck instead.

Not an actual photo of ours, but very similar to what Mike’s done.

The only issue remaining was, since we name all of our vehicles, the new truck now needed to be christened. This turned out to be harder than it usually was. We discussed options for a week or two, tried out the few handles that we managed to agree on, but nothing seemed to fit just right. Try as we might, we just couldn’t come up with a solid name that felt like it belonged.

Then came the day Mike decided to remove his plow truck Cletus from the back yard. It hasn’t been on the road for several years, and was used exclusively in the yard for snow removal. As of this spring, it no longer runs, and has a front wheel that’s solidly locked in place.

He hooked the Suburban up, and slowly but steadily drug the plow truck to where wanted it. As he was unhooking it, he caught me watching in the patio door and did his best Tarzan chest thump while bragging up the new truck’s power. I laughed and told him it looked like a big white Brahma bull plodding across the yard.

We just looked at each other.

And with another nod to Mr. Brooks, Mongo had his name.


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