Saturday, July 07, 2012

Safe To Roll

Heat wave!  Again!

1994 Tioga Montara 28 feet by dear miss mermaid copyright by

I am just terribly sick and I think much of it is, the heat and humidity has just gotten to me exasperating my other problems. The RV has been super sick too.  The puppy dog is healthy and feisty.

I've been out in the elements way too much lately at the wrong time of day. My face is beet red, my arms are a golden brown.

Harley dog and I have been living in purgatory. We had to give up our wheel estate to the grease monkeys for the fifth time this month with three visits in  the last two days alone. Now that they've picked my pockets clean, run up my credit card to the max, they have seemingly run out of urgent things to repair.

Apparently I need a better emergency funding system. Oh well, such is life. At least now I've got my confidence back that the RV engine, brakes and transmission are operating safely again. I am saying my prayers over and over that the daggum tires hold up for another year or more. Though a stem valve on one of the four rear tires had to be replaced too, and that wasn't cheap either. Sheesh, but at least now my tire will stop leaking.

RV's and boats are about  the same. If you skip a $200 repair, it can get worse and turn into a $2,000 repair and go on up exponentially the longer urgent repairs are delayed. Besides refurbishing my transmission which needed all new seals, I asked them to adjust the emergency brake. It wasn't holding and this alarmed me. I like to be super safe. I always use the emergency brake.

This rolling dog house weighs over 5 tons empty and the dog owns a ton of stuff, so that makes it 6 tons, then the water and fuel and poop tanks can easily add another half ton. So I like to always use the emergency brake and not rely solely on the park setting of the transmission.

I'd hate to be shopping for groceries and have my wheel estate pass me by on aisle three.

My father taught me to drive at a tender young age. I was barely 6 or 7 years old when he let me bunny-hop in first gear in his VW bug across the school's empty parking lot on a weekend. This became a fun pastime that I endlessly begged him for.  He drilled it into my head that one should always use an emergency brake when parking, no matter what. Whether parking for 10 seconds or on a steep hill, always use that brake.He taught me how to check it, to make sure it was really set correctly and working effectively.  Of course he was teaching me on cars with stick shifts, so not only did I have to learn the clutch but all the mysteries of finding four gears and reverse. I guess he taught me pretty well, because I have only had one car wreck where I was at the wheel. I've been in three other frightening accidents as a passenger, so quite frankly, I can make a lousy passenger and become a nervous wreck if I am riding with someone that is foolhardy.  More than once I have announced "Just pull over, I'd like to get out alive please."  If that doesn't work then I mention I might be throwing up on their lap any second now...

Years back as a teenager,  I jumped out of a van being driven recklessly by a drunk. I had a long lonely walk down the train tracks. I didn't want to walk down the road which had no sidewalks, in a dicey neighborhood, so I took the train tracks. It took hours for me to make it home but I arrived alive. I can remember that walk so clearly because I was scared but I was trying to study the beauty of the remote tracks.  About a week later, my drunken friend turned up sober, full of apologies.

The Ford place where I was getting my current repairs, does have a waiting room that is air conditioned. Matter of fact, it's too cold. Harley had to wear a doggy Tshirt and still he shivered and shook. But puppy dog has to go out to water the bushes now and then. Going from that frigid room to the 110F degree heat was maddening. Because there were potted plants in the waiting room, I took him for frequent walks, as I want him to understand that potted plants are not for him to water. He did this once on a friend's deck much to my embarrassment. I also wanted to speed walk him past all the cars, as I am trying to teach him that peeing on car tires is not appropriate either. Poor doggy, so many rules.

Back in the mid 70's I had been renting a small place to live in and had only been there maybe four to six weeks, when a neighbor pulled a gun on me one day because my puppy peed on his car tire in our shared driveway. At the sight of the gun, I am sure my heart stopped. I vaguely recall needing an underwear change shortly thereafter. Then I went looking for a new place to live.

I hastily moved a day or so later and lost my damage deposit too, because the landlord couldn't understand my terror. My cat had already vanished weeks before, and it had not occurred to me that perhaps the neighbor had something to do with that too. Anyhow, I don't cotton to living next door to psychotics and owe my long life in part, to that hasty move.  I didn't even bother with the police.  What would they do?  Probably release the guy in a few hours, angering him further.

The only landscaping at the Ford dealer was about 400 yards across black tarmac to these tiny over-trimmed bushes at the entrance. Not a shade tree within a mile of the place. The tarmac heat was so bad you could see the sizzling air rising up. I had to be careful to avoid certain spots that had turned to scorching black glue that was threatening to adhere my shoes in place.

Not a speck of shade anywhere. I felt so sorry for little Harley and his itsy bitsy paws walking on that steaming asphalt. I noticed when we headed back to the waiting room, he would race as fast as he could drag me. I wanted to pick him up, let his paws cool down, but I am still having an awful time with my left arm.  I figured it was just faster to race back rather than try to pick him up with my good arm while not letting my purse fall off and tying to juggle the leash and so on.

Once we were back in the waiting room, I filled his water bowl from the water fountain they thankfully had in place. He dutifully drank it dry, looking rather smitten with himself. He was so sloppy he had water dripping from his tongue, beard and whiskers when he was done. I don't know where he put all that water since he is so tiny. I was trying to drink loads of water too, but I think I just didn't get enough.

He was the entertainer of the waiting room. He wanted to meet and greet all who dared to come by. He was lucky that everyone seemed to be dog friendly people. We are out here in the country, where lots of folks have multiple dogs and cats. The conversation was pretty much all about pets and their antics. Several people took pictures of Harley's shenanigans with their cell phone!

My gosh the dog is famous.

I was using his 4 foot leash rather than his flexi-leash because I want to break him of his small-dog habit of jumping up on people's legs.  Even though his toenails are nicely rounded smooth (all that pavement walking seems to keep them wore down)  not everyone wants a dog jumping up and down putting his paws on their legs. So I wouldn't let him get close enough to do that.

He decided this meant he should dance on 2 legs, do 360's, then flop on the floor, dragging his back legs splayed behind him while crawling on his forward elbows. Loud laughter kept erupting from the other customers so much that employees kept peeking around the corner to see what was so funny in the waiting room.

Harley would flop over on his back, wiggling from side to side up and down and all around with his four legs in the air.  Someone said they wish they had a treat for him. At that point, he immediately sat in front of them, his tail wagging. I explained he sits for his treats, so I rummaged around my purse until I found his little bag of goodies. He left the person he was staring at, to sit in front of me with his tail doing double-time. He sat there and daintily took one treat at a time.

I wish he would do all his tricks on command but other than that one, he won't. He just waits for an audience then pulls his tomfoolery and stunts out  at whim. Of all the dogs I've had the pleasure of owning, Harley is the absolute hardest I have ever tried to train. Maybe I am just trying to teach him too much too fast. But in the past I had dogs that were very sociable. I could take them anywhere and they were well behaved, doing exactly as I told them. But Harley dog, is a whole different matter. He is just super enthusiastic and stubborn. On top of that he is a serious flirt, wanting to meet and greet anyone that will dare to look at him.

I must give him an A+ for effort and a B+ for good behavior. When he wasn't trying to entertain the latest addition to the waiting room, he would hop up in the chair next to me and sit around grinning at everyone while wiggling his tail. He really did make everyone happy and their cars seemed to be fixed in short order while our wheel estate was taking forever as they kept finding more problems.

I reviewed each one with the service tech and I must admit, they all seemed like valid needed repairs. It reminded me of being at the hospital consulting with the doctor about what it might take to keep the patient from perishing.

I haven't been able to go anywhere in two months, since the transmission became incontinent plus I have been collecting up a list of things that needed to be done over the past few months.  I would have loved to have fixed all this much sooner, but I had  be super patient while trying to figure out a method to pay for it all.

To make matters even worse, the final cost of repairs was double what I had modestly estimated, as suddenly other surprises came to light. More on this tedious subject later.

I thought I was drinking enough water to stay hydrated, but more than once I was dizzy and just pooped out. Even today, I feel drained, as I pour liquids down my own muzzle and hide inside.

So now that my RV is ready to roll, I am far too exhausted, both broke and broken down (the body, not the RV). Doubtful I will be going anywhere anytime soon, but it's nice to know, I am back in running condition again.

It's a huge relief. What's the use of living in wheel estate if you can't drive it anywhere?

Also, my rolling home is my personal transport. I sold my car when I bought the RV.

Living in an RV is so much nicer than living in a car. That is for darn sure.

I didn't see how I could possibly keep up with 10 tires, double insurance, maintenance and so on. Plus the sheer hassle of towing a car means I can't stop at whim to sightsee or shop or rest. So I actually prefer this method overall.

Luckily I don't have to commute to work daily since I simply live where I  work.  I can handle most all my duties on foot when the heat isn't a scorcher. But still, if I have an appointment somewhere or need supplies, I have to break camp then drive my RV  to do my errands. I've actually come to enjoy this, as it's nice to travel with a restroom, a fridge and a dog. I don't have to worry about forgetting anything, as it's all with me anyhow.

More than once when I've gone to run errands, I've become faint or weak. I've been able to pull down the shades and nap, then continue my journey or errands when I felt better. So traveling by motorhome for errands is really quite fun and convenient.

harley dog in RV, pets in RV, copyright by and Dear Miss Mermaid

The dog gets to go everywhere. Small wonder he's so spoiled. He's kind of funny when I get out to shop and tell him to stay if he's not welcome in the store. He gives me that sad pitiful injured hurt look that is just oh so pathetic.

But he readily patrols the RV in my absence, with windows on all four sides anyhow, he has plenty to monitor. At least he has learned to do this quietly. It took a lot of training too. But I refuse to leave him in the RV barking his head off at my departure. I used to go back and correct him endlessly.


Now I can just tell him he has to stay, then walk away while listening to silence. I guess the little fellow has learned a few things after all.


  1. Bless your heart. There is nothing worse than waiting in a vehicle repair place. I hope you get to feeling better.

  2. Hello! I found your site while searching for info on the BVI's, andi haveso enjoyed it! You write with your heart! I haven't had time to read EVERYTHING, yet!


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