Jeffrey and I rolled into the back lot of the vacant house well after dark. I was relieved to have made it and decided I was going to ignore whatever was going on until after Jeffrey left. I didn’t want it to ruin the last night we had together and sometimes it just feels better to live in denial for a bit.
After I said a tearful goodbye to Jeffrey, I still wasn’t ready to deal with anything. So I slept. I streamed garbage TV. I cuddled my kitties. I pretended my house was just a home and that thing between the two front seats was not a motor. Alas, as we all know, denial will only get you so far. Eventually, I had to face the music.
I talked to my two go-to mechanic buddies to try to figure out what could possibly be going on. Unfortunately, they both were leaning towards it being the transmission. It was obviously a challenge to diagnose over the phone, so they encouraged me to drop the transmission pan and take a little peek-ski. I was so over doing repairs I vehemently told my friends I couldn’t do it. “There’s prickers all over the ground here!” “I don’t know anything about transmissions!” “I don’t want to learn anymore, I’m too tired!” “I can’t!” “I can’t!” “I can’t.”
I dug my heels in, crossed my arms, stuck out my chin and slept on it. The next day I put on my big girl pants, grabbed a piece of cardboard and told myself, “Fine. I’ll just look.” Well, that looking turned into me scooting off to Napa to pick up supplies to drop the pan, replace the gasket, filter and fluid. Here we go again!
Here’s what I was hoping even though nobody said it was even possible: the filter was just super plugged up making it hard for the fluid to circulate properly, affecting the performance of my transmission. Here’s what I was really doing: checking the pan for evidence of a destroyed transmission.
I’m not sure if the pan had ever been dropped before but it did not want to let go! Finally with a thud, it released, splashing fluid in my face and if that wasn’t sucky enough, what I found inside was even more upsetting.
At the bottom of the pan were worn pieces of the transmission bearings. I consulted with my mechanic buddies and they both said this was very bad news. They thought that was evidence enough that my transmission had gone out.
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it so much I clung to my far fetched theory and replaced the filter, gasket and fluid. I put everything back together, hanging onto the small, illogical chance that the transmission service I just did would magically fix it. I took her for a test drive and sure enough, the same issue was still there. I returned back to the lot and surprisingly didn’t have a complete emotional meltdown. I thought, ok…I have a place to park. I need a new transmission. I guess I have to get a job! I applied to the local Denny’s, one of the few places in town I could maybe make some decent money.
While I was trying to figure out my next steps, a girl I had been chatting with on Instagram, Annie, offered to come hang out with me for the day. She had her own home on wheels that she was working towards traveling full time in. The company and laughs were a nice distraction from what was happening.
My mood was quite stable and despite everything, I was feeling pretty happy. Then my older cat, Atreyu, started throwing up. He’s always been a sensitive boy so I didn’t think much of it at first. But when it didn’t subside, I started to worry. Atreyu has a history of diabetes and I was starting to think that maybe his glucose was off. It had been so long since he had any diabetic issues, my glucose test strips were expired. So I hopped on my scooter to go get some more. On my way back it started to downpour. Like-flood the streets, cold, hard rain style. I was on my scooter getting soaked to the bone and the only thing that kept me going were thoughts of firing up my heater as soon as I walked in the door. I made it back, got my buddy heater out and clicked the ignition. *Click* *Click* *Click*….nothing. It wouldn’t light! I blew everything out with my can of air and it still wouldn’t work. After messing with it a bunch, an oily residue started leaking from it, which I later learned comes from the propane hose and clogs everything up. That buddy heater was a goner.
That was the tipping point. I was soaked and cold with no heat. My beloved cat was sick. I had just spent a month working on my rig and it was already broken again. I couldn’t even drive Atreyu to the vet and everything was going to cost so. much. money. I changed my clothes and tested Atreyu’s glucose. Luckily his levels were within normal range. He seemed to be ok at the moment and after remembering I had just bought a new bag of cat food, I thought that maybe it was a bad batch. I decided to stop feeding it and keep a close eye on him. I crawled into my bed, warming my body under the blankets with Atreyu as my little spoon- hunkering down for another storm in Manderland.
*****Hey reader! I just want to let you know that this blog is a recount of past happenings. I take you along for the ride as it unfolded for me. I hope you can enjoy the foibles, lessons and adventures as they play out and understand that things have long since been resolved. You’ll just have to keep reading to find out if I figure everything out! ;)*****
Are you interested in living on the road but have a ton of questions about how to actually make it work? I wrote a guide that will help answer those questions and get you closer to making your dream a reality!
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Until next time, much love and Mander on!