Follow by Email

StatCounter

Friday, December 14, 2018

Next Vehicle?



We owned our converted ambulance to camper for about seven years. We had a great time with it, but it was time to move on. Last winter we had a wake up call. When the brakes went we discovered we were at the mercy of mechanics. Some we ran into were pretty shady. One tried to tell us that leaking brake lines could turn into a $3000+ job.

In the end we were able to get the work done for $440. However, my local mechanic assures me we did pay the “Yankee Tax.” At least the work was well done and we got home. The brake line episode really stressed out my lovely wife. She wondered what we would do if the cost was more than we could afford. Remember, she's just heard from a different mechanic how it could cost thousands. I told her that if that happened we'd rent a car, throw our stuff into it, and abandon the van.

Right now we are doing just fine with our little economy car. It's only three years old and has never given us any trouble. We are even set up for off-grid camping with a good tent, solar power, and many comforts.

The one thing our little car cannot do is to tow anything. That's a problem as we've got an Oday 19 sailboat on a trailer. My daughter is willing to use her truck to launch and pick up our boat from the lake each year. That's nice, but limits us to one body of water. However, she did offer to tow the boat down to Virginia for me so I could sail the ICW. The trip fell apart, but not because of the towing issue.

It would be nice to be able to tow the boat to different places, but I hesitate to get a big fuel burning vehicle. Another option would be to ignore the whole towabilty thing completely. Instead we get a larger boat more suited to cruising the coast and the Bahamas. That would require paying for storage on the hard now and then, but at least we wouldn't be paying for a big tow vehicle.

If you've been following my blog you know I've been stuck with a lot of medical bills lately. How can I be thinking about getting a truck or a boat? Well the funny thing is, if you look hard and think out of the box a bit, stuff happens. We got the ambulance for a tiny fraction of what it was worth. Not only that, some unexpected funds fell into our lap at about the same time.

We've been offered free boats a number of times -some of them were pretty good boats too. Either they weren't quite right for us or required more work than we wanted to put into them. However, I am handy with tools and know how do fiberglass repairs. If we really decide a bigger boat is the way to go, it can happen. Sometimes we've been offered boats just because people lost their storage space. You have to be ready to move quickly and most people dither around too long.

Of course, nothing is going to happen until at least after the holidays. Besides, I'm still healing up. Hopefully there won't be any doctor's visits to run the bills up further. My lovey wife and I are always looking at our options for the next adventure.

-Sixbears

10 comments:

  1. If it's only a rare occasion, pickups can be rented for a fraction of the cost to own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a solid consideration too. Thanks for putting that out there.

      Delete
  2. May you heal quickly, stay healthy and have many more great adventures. - Momlady

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its been my experience that if one can't afford new vehicles and one is relegated to driving second hand vehicles, it is best if one figures out how to mend them one self too. Having several of them helps as when one is down you have an alternative. I just saved well over a thousand dollars in repairs on my wife's 02 Jetta with 170K miles. Book value is around 600$ at best. Not worth paying someone to do that work. A lot of cheap second hand vehicles are available if one can do a little bit of wrenching. Brake lines, suspension and other peripherals are not difficult repairs to do if one has a little patience and is not pressured to have it done by the morning. Being able to take a couple weeks to fiddle on them and do the research on how to do the repair can save a ton of money. No one ever taught me how to do this, I simply had no choice but to learn to repair them if I wanted better transportation than walking on my two feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can a lot of the work, especially on older vehicles. What I lack is a garage. That makes everything a bit harder. Okay, quite a bit sometimes.

      Delete
    2. Having a garage or the space to build one was primary criteria when we bought this place. The house is not much to write home about, but the 24x24 two story barn /garage/workshop is what sold me on the place. I could not live without it.

      Delete
  4. It will be interesting to find out what you get. My choice would be a helicopter with pontoons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now even I would not touch one of them with a ten foot pole, talk about maintenance hogs. And the fuel consumption, oh my god!. Helicopters don't fly, they beat the air into submission.

      Delete
    2. A friend of mine is a stunt pilot and aircraft mechanic. He's licensed to work on choppers. He won't ride in them. That tells me all I need to know.

      Delete