Sorry for the delay in updates! The photo above is my truck being towed on March 24, 2021. It's been in two shops and has been at the Ford Dealer since April 29th. The issue began when I topped off my fuel tank trying to stay a step ahead of the rising fuel prices. After filling the tank with less than 3 gallons, I started it up and tried to drive off. Wasn't happening! It acted as if it was out of gas which clearly it wasn't. I limped across the intersection to the fairgrounds parking lot and attempted to keep it running but it continuously kept stalling out. No other options, I called my insurance company and had it towed to my place. Several friends and neighbors came by offering to help me figure out the problem. I took it to a shop a neighbor recommended. They were certain it was a "spark issue". They replaced the plugs and coils but it didn't fix the issue. Another neighbor, a mechanic at a local shop ran several diagnostics and suggested I have it towed to his shop where they had better equipment and tools to diagnose the problem. Long story short, they couldn't figure out the issue and I had to have it towed from his shop to the Ford Dealer where it still is today.
I know next to nothing about engines and even Ford themselves have had a difficult time figuring this out. Exhaust? Manifold? Heads? They just haven't been able to get it fixed! They've ordered additional parts (don't ask me what they are) which are supposed to be in the middle of next week. The service tech seems to think they will correct the issue. If not, I don't know what the next step will be!
After several weeks at the dealer and without "transportation" I asked the dealer to PLEASE provide me a loaner vehicle which they did about 2 weeks ago. I'm still driving the truck they loaned me and it's been a relief when I need to buy large bags of dog food, bottled water or other heavy items. But, until I received the loaner vehicle, I've been getting around by my trusty bicycle! Going to the store, running errands and just going for rides around town. In fact, I've ridden more in the last 2 months than I have since I completed my ride across the country in 2017 and have been loving it! I've been using the panniers I had from my bike ride across America, to carry groceries and other items. It's amazing what you can accomplish on a bike!
This episode has been frustrating, not so much because I haven't been able to use my truck but because it has been so difficult to get properly diagnosed and fixed. For crying out loud, it's a pickup truck not a jet fighter!
Life will throw us curves, they can be short disturbances to our daily lives or go on for a long time as this incident has. But, we must adapt and make the best of it.
The one thing that I've always enjoyed is having the freedom to explore and go pretty much anywhere by any means. My bike ride was a great example of this. I've been working on building out my truck so I can be self sufficient at any time in any environment. Below are some early photos and videos of the progress I've made so far.
Using an old twin bed frame, my coworker cut down the frame for my bed that is 30" wide, 75 " long and 15" tall, leaving plenty of room to clear the fender well. It is also has metal plates at the bottom for stability.
As you can see in the above photo, the shell has the BedRug for added comfort and insulation. The top headliner is also covered and has rope lights (more about that in an upcoming video).
In my next post, I'll be showing the completed bed and storage as well as some of my survival gear.
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The gentleman in the photo is Billy. Over the Labor Day holiday in 2017 while riding through Kentucky, I had the pleasure of meeting this incredible soul. I was at a state park and had just got my tent set up and was getting my bike secured. I heard something on the path and then realized it was another cyclist. But this cyclist was different from others I had met on my journey. He rolled up on an old 10 speed bike with a bike trailer in tow. He wasn't a bicycle tourist but his bike was his home. We were the only 2 people in the area and when I approached him and introduced myself, I had no idea how impactful Billy would be on my life.
We sat on a step and started talking about our respective lives. I told him what I was doing...riding my bike across the country in memory of my brother. He told me how awesome that was and asked where I started from and how long I had been on the road. After sharing my story with him, I asked Billy what his story was and I wasn't prepared for what he shared with me. Billy told me that he was a Kentucky native, an Army Veteran and homeless. He had everything he owned in the small trailer attached to his bike. As the conversation continued (which was for hours into the early morning) he reached into a backpack and pulled out two plastic bags containing spaghetti. He generously offered me one which I thanked him for but told him I was fine. He had got the meals from a restaurant several miles away that he had stopped at and swept the kitchen in exchange for the meals. Here he is offering one to me! What a kind and amazing spirit Billy had. We stayed up talking for hours, he told me about his military service and how he had been homeless for many years, cycling around Kentucky, Sleeping where he could doing odd jobs, playing his banjo and singing for food and money.
What happened next touched me so profoundly, He said to me, "Dan I want to give you something". I again told him that wasn't necessary. He stood up, walked to his bike trailer and took out a banjo he had wrapped in blankets. He then leaned against the wall and said "I don't have much but I want to give you this". He then started playing his banjo and sang this beautiful Willie Nelson song.
That was absolutely beautiful and I remember Billy again saying "It's not much but it's all I have". I thanked him, we gave each other a hug and talked a bit more.
Billy is but one of many people I met that touched me and changed my life. When I started my ride, I had no idea what I was doing, didn't have the special bike, clothes or equipment. Still, I decided to do it and I'm so grateful I did. Without having made the decision, I would never have had the joy of meeting Billy and so many other amazing people across the United States. Life isn't always easy...but it is always good.
"Simple is a good thing"