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Part Nine: “Voyageur” is home. HOORAY!

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This is a photo of a very happy RV traveler.

We picked up our Roadtrek from the Cobra Shop and the frame looks better than new. Mike and his crew did a marvelous job. Everything feels solid and true. I will schedule a “four-wheel alignment in the next few days just to straighten everything back to – perfect. Our new front bumper is on order from “Discount Auto Parts” and I expect it to arrive within the next week…

Yesterday, I prepped the new aluminum, custom-made, air-conditioning louver, for installation. It will provide a waterproof vent for the air-conditioner exhaust air. I didn’t like the flimsy factory original so I had one fabricated locally.

The new louver will fill the opening and be secured over a fresh bed of clear silicone caulk with 3/16″ aluminum pop-rivets…

My new LG air-conditioner needs room to breathe and this should work fine…

Since everything is already apart I decided to sand – Ospho – and paint the old bumper brackets. They were kind of rusty and I DO NOT WANT ANYMORE RUST. Before I install the new bumper I am going to clean and prep the backside of the chrome bumper and paint it with a coat of spray-on bedliner. The way Chrysler designed the huge bumper makes it subject to retaining water from road-spray. I figure “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

Self Portrait of the hard working “Queen” – Spokes-model Lucy…

As soon as “Voyageur” was parked safely in our driveway, Lucy got busy preparing the inside. She is packing all of the necessary cooking and life-support gear. Due to the incredible amount of “tucked away” storage, in this little twenty foot long RV, she is using labels made of blue painters tape to list the contents of each compartment. It will take a lot of searching to find a few of the items.

What is your favorite flat-screen TV?

We are currently shopping for a 12 volt, flat-screen, LED television and wall mount. If any of you have suggestions for suitable units please post them under “comments”. We would like one with an integrated DVD player…

We still have a weeks worth of RV chores and projects to complete but having a totally sound frame is an incredible relief…

Best wishes from Spokesman Dave

The Only Woman… (Day one)

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The invitation said; “Family event” suitable for man, woman and child…

When I told Lucy about the “Florida Land Rover Club” get together planed for a weekend to off-road around the Citrus Recreation Area… she was all in. Turned out she had a wonderful time even though she was the ONLY woman in the woods. Needless to say, she was treated like a very attractive queen…

Lucy and I don’t like to hurry- unless we have to. In this case a sedate, leisure pace was in order. Stops to prowl around were allowed. We weren’t expected to arrive at the campground until late afternoon…

… We like to “travel light” (tongue in cheek) so we only loaded the “bare” essentials… As usual our oldie but goodie 1996 Land Rover, Discovery, was the ideal vehicle for our varied needs. The vehicle is wonderful, both traveling at seventy miles an hour on the interstate and crawling along at five miles an hour on the nastiest trails we can find…

We drove several hours before our first stop just North of Lakeland, Florida in Polk County.  Gator Creek Preserve is a clean, well maintained park with some awesome hiking/biking trails and a large covered pavilion. Perfect to enjoy a couple of Lucy’s delicious homemade sandwiches. Sierra the wonder dog was ready for a break too…

Since this was to be a four-wheel drive off road adventure we did not carry our mountain bikes or Nordic trekking poles. It was really to hot to hike anyway. I set a waypoint in our Garmin 276C GPS for a return trip to explore the entire trail system… Due to the recent rains from tropical storm Debby, everything in the park looked lush and green…We finished our midday meal, saddled up and resumed our trip. Sierra went right to sleep…

It took a few minutes to explain to “Sierra” the wonder dog that she had to ride in the back. Once she was settled back on her fluffy bed – she fell right back to her normal travel routine – SLEEP. While often taken for a Spitz or a Pekinese, Sierra is actually an American Eskimo Dog. She is the perfect size and personality for us. She has a wonderful spirit for adventure. As long as she does not lose sight of Lucy, she is a happy dog. (Sounds like me)…

As luck (and our GPS) would have it, we were routed right past Lucy’s favorite hot-dog restaurant “Coney Island Drive Inn“. This wonderful eatery is located in Brooksville Florida on Highway 41. Lucy lived in Brooksville with her parent and spent her senior year of high school at Hernando High. Lucy and I married in 1968 and our first trip to Coney Island for a delicious foot-long Coney Dog was in 1968 – go figure. Nice people, and a dog friendly patio. Sierra even got her own bowl of ICE water…

Since we didn’t encounter any more – must stop – food joints… we finally arrived at Holder Mine. Trip organizer Aldous Cosmo Gitles was already set-up in a prime campsite and we settled in right next door. Beer was on ice and the huge Oak trees made setting up in their stately shade quire pleasant… “Cosmo” as his numerous Land Rover friends call him, is always the perfect host…

Turned out old friend “Jeep Jockey” Don and his sweet little dog “Maggie” were set up nearby. Don recently bought his new Heartland Edge and a gorgeous fire engine red Jeep to tow it with. Don is a commercial crabber from Largo, Florida and he surprised with some hot, fresh, just out of the fryer soft shell crabs. Deeeeeeelicious. Thanks again “Donmeister”…

Since Lucy was the “Only Woman” I had plenty of assistance setting up camp. Lets just say she never had to ask for anything more than once… The “Guys” made her feel right at home and much “loved”.

Everyone was anxious to hit the trail. Soon as our “City” was built and gear was stowed… Cosmo yelled out “LINE EM UP!” and we were off in a cloud of dust…

It only took a few minutes and a few miles, before Alex stuck his Rover. Then the real fun began. It’s why we all came. ;O)  Tree straps ready, winch grinding and he was quickly and efficiently underway again. A fantastic bunch of guys driving some incredible British Iron and some of the best trails in the state. It’s on………..

The rains had the trails in excellent condition. Dust was minimal. Another great, FLRC trail-run complete, we returned to camp to prepare our evening meals. Great food and big a big fireside planning session for our next full day of off-road adventure…

Our campsite was fantastic. A constant breeze and tons of shade. The night time temperatures were so cool we actually slept under our covers. The moon was bright, the fire flies were abundant and the stories around the campfire went on and on… Another great day and—– I got to sleep with “The Only Woman”

Spokesman, Dave

To be continued:

Part Eight: Roadtrek frame rust restoration

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Amazing progress has been made at the hands of restoration artist, “Mike”…

Mike did not want his picture taken. He finally said “Oh. Alright…” He is a very modest man, as are most truly talented men. In one of my conversations with Mike he revealed he had been around a “body” shop since he was three years old. Seems he absorbed much of what he observed. I find him very easy to talk to, but I would definitely slow his progress with many continued adoring, admiring, comments and my incessant questions. Best if I just shoot a few photos and be on my way. Mike said he may have it complete by Saturday. The work he has done so far is spot-on…

I attached this photo to show how really dangerous the condition of the frame was, when I unknowingly drove it home from Kentucky… “By the grace of God”…

Mike scarfed the new frame section in just forward of the spring-perch. I can tell you from having seen it first hand – he is an artist… This shot of the passenger side shows the amazing job he did of marrying new part to old…

Driver side is just as “pretty”. I have no doubt the new frame section is stronger than the original it replaced. I was completely at the end of my rope on this Roadtrek. I had prayed almost continually for a solution and spent hours looking for a suitable technician to save our dream vehicle. When God puts the right worker on the job, nothing can stand in the way… I am so full of gratitude and thanksgiving I have tears in my eyes while I type this. Thank you Lord and thank you Mike. The “Cobra Shop” has made it all happen…

Cobra Shop ordered the two new “headlight baffles” (white sheet-metal pieces) from Dodge and replaced them as well. There was enough rust in that area to make it unsafe. The red cross-member was part of the frame that came from Sebring, Florida. Mike actually had to drill out about two hundred factory spot welds to properly install the very important frame component. I am taking all of these photos, so that in the unlikely event we decide to sell “Voyageur”, the buyer can be assured he is buying a completely sound vehicle. I wish I would have been so lucky…

It is my personal belief that God can use any situation as an opportunity to increase our faith. I have learned to forgive. I have no animosity for the person I bought the van from. I believe I should have done a better job of researching before I purchased the vehicle. I also believe that God used this situation to teach me patience and perseverance. Through the long process, I learned not to doubt, but to remain strong in my faith. I asked God to help me glorify His name through the resolution of the problem. He chose to do so and we are forever grateful…

Just a few more days and Voyageur will be back at O.O.C. where we will make final preparation for our first trip. Destination Hartselle, Alabama, for a reunion with our daughters Charlotte and Aimee… I am very excited.

Please feel free to contact me about the repair, the Cobra Shop, or Mike – the expert that is putting everything right…

Spokesman Dave

$12.50 a can!

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One little tip I would offer about camping anywhere – don’t shop at the concession

Even though we packed very, very, carefully we did overlook two critical items; marshmallows and MOZZIE SPRAY. “No worries” I thought “I’ll just cycle over to the little campground store and buy some.” Well… they had no marshmallows, but the did have repellent. Twelve fifty a can seemed quite pricey, but I think the park had made a deal with the mozzies. “You keep biting the campers and we will split the profit on the spray.”… I bet I won’t forget that item on future trips…

We had a great nights sleep – no mosquito bites – and we arose early, for coffee, breakfast and a bike ride to the springs. The temperature was unusually cool, but her “Majesty” still enjoyed our thrift store fan….

During our four decades of camping, we have tried many, many, different ways of producing our morning brew. We tried all of the “tips” for making simple “Cowboy Coffee” and it sucked. We went from fancy – Coleman stove top drip coffee maker to a paper cone sitting on top of our mug. Nothing we have previously tried makes better coffee or is easier to store and clean-up than our  Aerobie, “Aero Press” coffee maker. This light weight little brewer just never fails to please… I might nickname it “Lucy”.

Since I unfortunately suffer from the “Big 3”; Type II Diabetes, chronic kidney disease and ultra high Triglycerides we eat very healthy meals. I enjoy the “new vs old” combination of cooking gear. On the one hand our Primus “EtaPower” stove is the latest and best in fuel saving efficiency, but we choose to cook our vittles in our, 50 year old, “Wagner”, cast-iron skillet… Everything seems to taste better when prepared and consumed outdoors…

We enjoyed our coffee and breakfast of turkey bacon and O.O.C. eggs and then we loaded up the bikes for a leisurely ride to the cooling Wekiwa Spring. Of course, we cleaned up and organized our campsite, before we departed. The ride is basically a two mile nature trail. Tons of birds, squirrels and even a couple of browsing deer. We arrived early and had no problem scoring a ringside seat on one of the many comfortable benches, located around the perimeter of the crystal clear spring. The entire park was spotless and free of any type of litter. As many of the novel writers say.. “The water was gin clear”…

Lucy was anxious to get in the water, but she found it a little colder than she anticipated. “I can’t feel my body.” she yelled “I am numb all over.” Bad news for me. The springs is large enough to accommodate a large number of people and never felt crowded. People of all ages and many nationalities were enjoying Mother Nature’s swimming pool…

My Pentax “Optio WG2” underwater camera, had no problem capturing Lucy’s floating image. We can’t wait to return to this pristine place with our grandchildren…

The “Swimmin Hole” is huge. Definitely room for everyone. Shady parts for people like us and lots of sun exposure for the “thong clad” sun worshipers.

Do not leave your bikes at home. Two-wheel travel is the best way to get around on the smooth pavement of the park roads. Traffic is light and motorists were careful. There are nine miles of off-road trails for those wishing to explore the natural world – off the beaten path…

To be continued on day three.

All the best from,

Spokesman Dave

Kayak Delivery and tenting at Wekiwa Springs

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When we recently sold “Stillwater” our twenty foot long, three cockpit kayak the owner said “Will you deliver it to my grandfather’s house, if I pay for your gas?”… Thought for a minute and replied “Heck yes.” I just figured Lucy and I would make it a fun road-trip with a couple of stops along the way…

Packing complete the night before… we were up with the morning sun…

Set the Garmin GPS on “Back Roads” and with full cups of coffee we were on our way.

Road conditions were perfect and traffic was nonexistent. We drove for a while on the “Florida Cracker Trail”. The recent rains had everything looking like the “Emerald City”. We love the low and slow byways that take us through quaint towns and offer constantly changing points of interest. I find the Interstate Highway a path of last resort. Lower speeds equate to less fuel consumed and less stress on our brains…

I thought Sierra – our cute little American Eskimo Dog – was growling in the backseat. I listened carefully and heard it again several times and then realized it was not Sierra. Turned out it was Lucy’s stomach. “Are you hungry?” I inquired… Receiving a positive response we started looking for an appropriate lunch spot. Just over the next hill the perfect spot appeared. A shady parking spot for the Land Rover and a cool, shady, outside deck that was dog friendly…

Food was delicious and our waitress made me feel right at home…

The Butcher Shop – right across the street made us think about our daughter Aimee. She and her Fiance’ have opened “Heaps Meat Processing” in Hartsell, Alabama. They are already very busy providing meat cutting services to the local populace…

Bellies full we resumed our trip to drop off the boat as Sierra snored in her crate. The scenery just kept getting better and better. We both love central Florida…

In only a little longer we safely delivered our cargo. The Land Rover seemed happy to be free of the one hundred pound load on it’s roof rack. I know the new Owners will have many wonderful waterborne adventures in their new craft… Mission One accomplished we resumed our travels toward our reserved campsite at Wekiwa Springs State Park. We were really looking forward to setting up our brand new tent and heading for a swim in the seventy two degree, crystal clear spring…

Oops. One more stop on the way…

Lucy was hungry AGAIN sooooooo… another pit stop. This time for a large, chocolate malt milkshake. She made me get one too…

Finally…

New Kelty Green River Four all set up and gear stowed. Time for a bike ride to the spring. I was very happy to be finished driving. Seven hours behind the windshield…

“Mee Mee” Lucy spotted the wheelchair assist, for getting into the cool water and immediately thought of our incredible granddaughter, Alexis Jade Spencer. Alexis is wheelchair mobile due to cerebral palsy. She loves to swim and this convenient lift will be fun for her to try… Once in the water she swims like a Mermaid…

Even though the waters of the spring were beckoning, we were both so tired we decided to return to camp to prepare a healthy supper and enjoy our polar plunge first thing in the morning… We were lulled to sleep by a gentle rain falling on the roof of our tent and enjoyed the best nights sleep we had had in months… To be continued.

Part Seven: Voyageur’s foreplay…

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This morning I loaded up the reconditioned frame for the Roadtrek and delivered it to “Cobra Shop”

It is only a short drive from O.O.C. (Olga Outdoor Center) to the Cobra Shop. Full glass of ice-cold Sweetea (Truvia of course), climate control on 72 degrees, NPR on the stereo and my “Gypsy” (Garmin 276c – GPS) giving me directions in her soft, sexy, voice… As soon as I drove up, Mike and Tim greeted me with instructions to back my trailer right in the door “Be careful of that custom truck next to the door. We just painted her and that is a six thousand dollar job.” <gulp> I inched my way carefully through the tight passageway. Success. No scratches and I was safely inside the shop…

It took my eyes a few seconds to adjust to the relatively dark shop after coming in from the full Florida sun. At first I didn’t see Rusty Voyageur. Aha. There he is, way back in the corner. He was a little embarrassed at having me see him as his butt was sticking up in the air at a rather unnatural angle. Voyageur is kind of shy.

I felt as if I was visiting a beloved family member in pre-op. It sure is a wonderful thing, knowing Voyageur will soon be carrying Lucy and me safely down the winding back roads of the U.S.A. (Makes me think of Dinah Shore). I had a short visit with the crew and discussed some last minute details. I asked Tim how long it would be before I could pick Voyageur up. He replied “Less than two weeks.” Fantastic. Now I can head home and finish preparations for our Land Rover based – tent camping trip to Wekiwa Springs State Park. First project was to install Lucy’s anniversary gift.. a leather BROOKS – “B17 S” – saddle…

The “B17 S” is specially designed for a lady rider. I know it will provide a comfortable ride for Lucy for many, many miles…

Three day prep for a four day trip…

Tent camping anytime takes a lot of planning, purchasing and packing. Summertime tent camping takes even more preparation because of the fan and five-gallon water cooler that we carry. We freeze two large Tupperware bowls, full of filtered water, a couple of days before  our departure. Just before we leave we put the ice from the two bowls into our five gallon Igloo water – barrel and then fill it with more R.O. filtered water. We usually have ice as long as three days after we leave. It is important to set the cask in the shade…

In the background you can see Lucy’s Land Rover. Hers is pouting because – again – she has to stay home. These vehicles are not large and their gear space is quite limited. Careful packing and utilization of space is crucial…

Lucy has chosen to ride “Grocery Getter” her Giant 870, a gift from JRA Cycles in Punta Gorda, Florida

First thing in the morning I will install our “Hollywood” bike rack and our two bikes. The loaded bikes make it difficult to open the rear door. We are really looking forward to our trip and getting to spend some time unwinding in the cool, clear spring water… It always takes me a full day just to “come-down” from all the get ready work. In this case, knowing our Roadtrek is well on the way to recovery will make relaxing even easier. We will post photos from our adventure…

Best wishes from,

“Spokes-model” Lucy and “Spokesman” Dave

Part Six: “Rusty” is going to be okay.

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Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

This is my “Happy Face”…

After a couple months of; worrying, investigating, planning, parts-ordering, dead ends, more praying, visits to two previous shops… We have success. The incredible team at “The Cobra Shop” have completed their inspection, provided a scope-of-work and a cost estimate and we “pulled the trigger”. Dismantling will begin today and tomorrow I will deliver the donor frame to the shop. The price was very fair and we are completely confident in their ability to put “Rusty” “Voyageur” back in safe, road-worthy, condition… We are very excited…

I will post follow ups as the project moves forward. Word is that “Voyageur’s” frame will be stronger and better than factory new. Once the undercarriage is complete the entire underside of the van, running gear and frame will undergo a complete rust-proofing (better than undercoating) treatment to prevent a recurrence of this problem. Stay tuned…

Thank you Lord and thank you staff and crew of “Cobra Shop”…

The Cobra Shop

(239) 995-8314
8921 N Fork Dr, North Fort Myers, FL 33903

Thank you for all the words of support and for those who spoke to God on our behalf.Spokesman Dave

Part Five: “Rusty” Restoration

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Sorry we have been off line for a while.

When we last spoke, Rusty (aka Voyageur) was on his way to Pam’s Motor City. We had high-hopes for Pam’s but it turned out bad. She called “Pat’s Body Shop” (owner has 44 years experience) and he said “No way.” basically he said it was not repairable and mixed in a lot of other problems. Bottom line was – they did not want to tackle the job. Said there was a lot more rust than I thought there was.  I never met the man or spoke to him. Pam assured me that he had a lot of “Up North” experience with salt damaged vehicles and it was an impossible task. Disappointed to have still another dead end, I pressed on…

The staff at Pam’s was very courteous and it was not their staff that turned it down. They don’t do any body work. I did schedule a four wheel alignment for my Land Rover.

Fearful of all the “Additional rot and rust that the body man said I had… I opted to pay $75.00 to have it towed fourteen miles to my next to the last hope “The Cobra Shop”. I had a previous visit with Mike and he was pretty sure they could do the job… Colonial Wrecker took it to Cobra… The grille and bumper are at home in my shop.

Lucy and I arrived while Mike was out picking up a sandwich, so we visited with Becky, until he returned. I spent some time inside “Rusty” retrieving a few more items that we would need on our Land Rover trip to Ocala, next week. Just a few minutes later Lucy tapped on the window and said “Mike is here…”

By the time I stepped out of Rusty”, Mike was already laying on his back under the front end. Mike spent some time examining the damage and then slid out to discuss what he saw. He indicated that the damage appeared to be exactly as I first thought – confined to the frame horns, forward of the spring perches. He explained how he would do the repairs. He spoke with a rare depth of knowledge and confidence. Mike went a step further and indicated that he couldn’t be one hundred percent positive until he had it inside and up on a lift. He seemed quite sure that there was no additional rust damage. He will be calling us first of next week with a thorough diagnosis, treatment plan and estimate.We are very optimistic…

“Worst come to worst”…

A few of our friends have asked us, “What will you do if “Rusty” just can’t be fixed?” Good question – answer – get over it. We will not let any problem that can be fixed, or was caused by money, steal our joy. Having a sick child, personal injury or loss of a limb could certainly dim our outlook. Anything else is just a MINOR set-back. As long as Lucy and I are together and our children and extended are healthy and happy… nothing else really matters. If I am with my Lucy, I am happy. It doesn’t matter if we are camping in a forty three foot, Cass-A, motorhome, Rusty, or sleeping in our Kelty Green River tent. We have chosen to enjoy every moment of our lives and to be grateful that we are a couple. While Paul was in prison and could have been killed at any time, his worried followers sent a representative to visit him, to discover his condition and offer their support. He told his followers “Don’t worry about me.” He went further and said I will honor the Lord in my Life or in my death. It doesn’t matter which.”

I feel the same as Paul. I am doing all I can to make “Rusty” roadworthy and safe. At the same time, I am not “Leaning on my own understanding.” I am “Acknowledging Him in all my ways and trusting Him to guide my path.” In the first chapter of James, Christ said “Consider it all JOY my Brethren, when you encounter various trials, for these shall build endurance.” Thank you Lord for the freedom of your love and the security of my salvation…

Stay tuned,

“Spokesman” Dave

Part Four: 911 Van Down! Van Down!

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I frantically dialed 911 on my Android phone

In only a few seconds the emergency operator answered and said “AAA, how may I help you?” She asked me if I was in a safe place and I said “Hell yes. I am in my front yard. It’s Rusty I am worried about!” I quickly explained with a slight tremble in my voice exactly what was wrong with “Rusty”. I answered a series of questions and made sure she had all the “vital signs”. She said she would dispatch an ambulance to our location STAT. She told me to keep Rusty in the shade and for me to remain calm and stay inside my air-conditioned home. I of course complied…

Rusty fell in love with EMT Lucas. It made him think of his favorite lubrication products.

Even though it seemed much longer, it was only sixty minutes before “Lucas” EMT (Emergency Medical Towing) rolled up. He approached Rusty slowly and cautiously muttering in a soothing voice as he drew alongside. Rusty was nervous, but in only a few minutes he seemed to relax and really like Lucas… He asked me what happened to Rusty’s bumper and grille and I explained I had removed them to make patient assessment easier…

CLEAR !!!

Lucas climbed inside Rusty and yelled “CLEARRRR!” seconds later 64,000 volts surged from Rusty’s coil, hit the spark plugs and Lucas yelled “I’ve got a pulse! Heart rate 1000 RPM, respiration normal. I think he can get onto the stretcher under his own power.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief and Rusty smiled just a little…

Rusty shuddered just a little, as Lucas guided him slowly and carefully aboard the waiting “stretcher”. He only slowed down a little when his stout, Class III hitch receiver, dragged on the asphalt driveway. I told Rusty not to be afraid and directed EMT Lucas to continue moving forward. Just another few feet and Rusty was safely on the ambulance…

Lock him down gently…

Rusty groaned a little, in mild protest, at having his wheels restrained against the uncomfortable back-board. Lucas explained that all patients must be restrained for their own safety and that his frame was just to weak to use. Rusty was pretty brave. He had a few tears, but he never really cried. It made me sad to see Rusty immobilized, but I knew in the long run it was for his own good.

While the EMT completed safely restraining Rusty, I called the Triage Team at Pam’s Motor City and told them he was on his way. They assured me the doctors, nurses and technicians would be ready…

“Please Lord…”

As Lucas rolled out I yelled “Run CODE. Lights and Sirens!” I did my best to hide my fear from Rusty. I did not want him to see me crying and make him even more nervous at going to the hospital alone. I prayed as he pulled out of sight “Please Lord, bring Rusty safely to P.M.C. and return him to us whole again. I promise I will always keep his tire pressure perfect and only burn high-octane fuel.” It will be a long night for all of us, as we wait to hear the diagnosis and treatment plan for Rusty’s rehabilitation…

” Get Well ” cards may be sent to: “Rusty Roadtrek”, c/o Pam Oakes, Owner – Pam’s Motor City, 13395 Metro Parkway, Fort Myers, Florida 33966. Please do not send balloons. It makes him “gassy”

Spokesman Dave

Rusty Roadtrek: Part Three

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“Cheer up it could get worse” It did…

I am not posting this to “Bitch and moan”. I am very sorry that I didn’t investigate better before I paid for the van. Water over the dam. I want to document my discovery and my attempt at correcting the problem.

I took the van to one shop “Gene’s Frame Repair” and had a terrible result. I later found that this company was definitely not the best one for the work. If you are interested in what I found click here for the WINK TV “Call for action”.

Next I spoke with Doug Martin “Beach Fender Mender”. After a series of unanswered voice-mails and messages left with his wife Daniel, I decided it was time to move on. If the man doesn’t keep his word on “Call backs” I would have expected the same results on my project.

On to the reason for my huge repair problem…

Passenger side frame rail. Extensive rust damage. Crap! Looks like I shouldn’t have bought a “Pig in a poke”. Needless to say, I was heart broken when I saw it. This was supposed to be the vehicle that Lucy and I would travel in for the rest of our vehicle expedition lives. Well “cry or try”… I am not one who quits in fear or gives up without a good fight. There has to be a way to make it like new.

My first order of business was to find a suitable frame section from a donor vehicle. I made twelve phone calls with “Sorry no” results. My thirteenth call struck pay dirt. I spoke to Steve at Jim’s Auto Parts in Sebring, Florida and he said “Sure. I got what you need right here.” I asked how much and he said “Buck and a half” standard salvage yard jargon. I said “How much for freight?” Steve replied “I run my own trucks. That price includes delivery.” Amazing. A perfect donor frame deliver to my door for $150.00. Next morning I had my frame. It looked great. No rust or damage at all. I wire brushed it, painted on a coat of Ospho and then a primer coat of zinc chromate. The frame is ready for installation…

I have an appointment with Pam’s Motor City on Thursday. She has a complete body shop as well as engine and regular mechanic service. I am very optimistic that she owns the right company for the job…

I removed the grille and bumper to make it a little easier for her to get to the problem. In the process I discovered more rust damage underneath. Good thing is, the damaged parts are all in good shape on the donor frame.

I am bound and determined to complete the repairs and have this gorgeous Roadtrek back in fighting trim. While it is in the shop I will replace all front end bushings, tie-rod ends, sway bar links and front shocks. In addition; new rear main seal, timing chain, complete tune-up and replacement of passenger side exhaust header will be completed.

Lucy and I can’t wait to get “Voyageur” back on the road and back to doing what it does best. Carrying us on another great adventure creating wonderful new memories… I will keep you posted on my progress.

Party hardy,

Dave the “Spokesman”

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