We are buying a truck

As crazy as it sounds we have decided it is time to buy a truck. As much as I am thrilled at how well Morpheus (Our 2014 Mercedes ML350 Bluetec diesel) tows Star (Our 2022 Grand Design Imagine XLS 22MLE), we decided it is time to upgrade. A number of things changed in our world since Covid hit, and the reasons we decided to change from an SUV to a heavy duty truck:

  • Since I am work from home full time now, and Tracey is still only one day a week in the office, we no longer really have a need for a comfortable relatively fuel efficient vehicle.
  • We want to get rid of our beloved utility trailer. As much as it has been incredibly useful for us for almost 20 years, it is showing it’s age, and takes up a lot of valuable space in our RV storage pad.
  • Since the truck unfortunately won’t fit in the garage, I will now have an empty bay in the garage for home projects. I plan to build a lot of built in furniture over the next few years, and it will make doing so, infinitely easier.
  • Should ease my longterm worries of Morpheus’s drivetrain and hitch holding up to being over maximum ratings. Morpheus’s payload is 972lbs, and we are over by at least 200-300lbs in my estimation. Also the hitch is rated to 700lbs tongue weight, and our trailer has 820-880lbs of tongue weight loaded, ready to camp.
  • The only real weak point for the ML350 towing the trailer, is it is very susceptible to heavy side winds when we drive through the Columbia Gorge, that make for a less than desirable “relaxing” drive.

Now the real problem, is deciding what truck to buy, finding one, and not paying the ridiculous “Market Adjustment” price that Covid and vehicle shortages have created in the vehicle market. 

Then there were two.

Neo just turned a year old last Friday on July 13th. Tracey has been working on me for over 6 months to get a second Beaglier for Neo to have a playmate. Well, the white ears of Naboo finally helped her convince me. So we booked a quick trip to fly into Atlanta, GA on Saturday night, drive to Chattanooga to stay overnight, and drive to Beechgrove, TN in the afternoon to pick up Naboo and drive back to Atlanta that evening to fly back home. We decided we had time for on quick side-trip to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery that I have always wanted to visit.

As our trips usually go, what we envisioned and the real experience were quite different. The flight to Atlanta was relatively smooth, but the drive to Chattanooga was not. We rented a car from Avis, and we got a silver Kia Optima with just under 12K miles on it. When pulling onto the highway and hitting over 45mph, the car developed a significant vibration throughout the cabin. It tended to mostly subside at speeds over 65mph. Since it was very late and we had a 3 hour drive, we just plowed ahead.

We stopped at a Kroger, just before the TN border, as I thought to have Tracey check to see if they sold wine in grocery stores in TN, and found they only sold until 11pm and it was 11:30pm. We got a bottle of wine and some snacks for dinner, and waited what seemed like an eternity to checkout. This Kroger only had self-checkout, and every person seemed to need some sort of assistance from the attendant, and the line was exceptionally long for almost midnight on an Sunday. Mostly kids getting snacks as well.

We got the to LaQuinta in Chattanooga, checked in, and headed up to the room. I of course had to mention, I hope the AC is working as we walked from the parking lot, as it was typical weather of hot and humid. Sure enough, we got to our room on the 3rd floor and the AC was off and it was in the 80’s and very stuffy. Immediately went for the AC thermostat, only to find it would NOT turn on. We instantly did a U-turn and back downstairs to see the front desk clerk for some resolution. He was able to come upstairs and turn on the unit by crawling underneath it. With the AC humming away to start cooling the room, we took a shower, had some snacks and wine, and called it a day.

Sunday morning we ate some breakfast at the hotel and took off for an hour and a half drive to Lynchburg, TN to do the Angel’s Share Distillery Tour at Jack Daniel’s Distillery. The tour was excellent, and the tasting was well worth the few dollars extra to taste the higher end and rarer whiskey’s. It was quite the experience as it was partly outdoors, and we got a heavy dose of thunder, lightning, and rain. We both looked like drowned rats by the end, but it actually felt nice to get a little cooldown from the heat and humidity.

After our tour we set off to Beechgrove, TN to Happy Hill Pups to pickup Naboo. After almost missing a turn, I had to slow down quickly to make the turn and the Kia made some really loud b

angs in the front end. The car seemed relatively ok after that, so we continued on.

After finding the house for Happy Hill Pups, we finally got our Naboo and headed out for the long drive back to the Atlanta Airport. Poor Naboo immediately got car sick. The damn car I am sure was mostly to blame. By now the vibration was much worse, and my anxiety level was at an all-rime high. I wasn’t sure the car would make it and get us to the airport safely. To make matters worse, towards the last quarter of the drive, traffic came to a standstill due to read construction.

We finally made it to the airport with just enough time to spare, got checked in, and thankfully were able to get our seats changed so we could sit together. Poor Tracey covered is dog vomit and pee, got cleaned up and changed her clothes.  Our departure was delayed due to late arrival of the crew, and the guy sitting next to Tracey was also on a delayed flight, and made it just as they were closing the doors. I thought we was going to pass out, as he ran from his delayed flight and was breathing very heavy. He was coughing up a storm for the 1st half of the flight, which was due to him running, and not from being sick. Of course he was a Nibler and took off his shoes, and was rudely taking up part of Tracey’s space with his legs. But, in the end, a mostly uneventful flight home.

We got home and put Naboo in her crib and said hello to Neo and Nyx, took a shower, then introduced the dogs. Neither Nyx nor Neo really seemed to care about Naboo. After a glass of scotch, it was time for much needed sleep after a long day.

The Zehnder HRV Project

With all the remodeling we have done to our house over the last ten or so years, we have been slowly tightening up the building envelope. We also both have bad allergies. We even had a dog that had allergies so bad, he got regular allergy shots. So one of our remodeling projects that has been on the radar for some time, is the addition of an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator). I won’t go into all the specifics, as that is what Google is for, and I have probably read all of the top 10 pages of results several times. So, in preparation of ordering up the unit, we install the Awair indoor air quality meter. After several weeks of data, it was clear we need mechanical ventilation in our home.

Several months ago, I went on the Zehnder website and requested a quote. A week or so later I was provided a quote, and a specification sheet with the expected performance data for my home. After watching all the installation videos and reading all the installation documents, I was convinced I could install the unit myself. Zehnder is one of the few HRV systems made for DIY and adds profession commissioning of the system when the homeowner completes the installation, to make sure the system performs as designed.

I made a bunch of measurements, decided placement of the unit, and ordered the system up. My distributor is Small Planet Supply in Tumwater, WA, about an hour and a half north of here. 2 days later a freight truck dropped off the system at my work. I loaded the 2 pallets work of product into my trailer, for the trip back to my house.

New blog …….. AGAIN!

I have created a blog many times over the last 20 years or so. My 1st website was a MS Frontpage site built with Dreamweaver (Ahh, remember those days?!). I have a somewhat short attention span at times, so I never really seem to complete that website/blog, before I move on to a new CMS, theme, etc. The good news is that all that tinkering with different applications is why I am very busy at my day job. More about that at some point.

With all the recent life events that have transpired lately, I wanted to start documenting some things. I also want to give back, because I have received so much knowledge and support from the internet, that I think I should return the favor. It is so easy to do research, find solutions, add your own knowledge and get things done nowadays.

The theme is just a starter theme, but as I continue to evolve my skills and tweak my workflows, my own site will be a work of progress and hopefully a showcase of my skills.

The biggest challenge will be to carve out the necessary time to finally follow through this time.