May Day

I have now taken the first step into the unknown.  I just handed in my notice to vacate my apartment, and that has a certain finality to it.  The game is afoot, so to speak.  I’ve been busy at work, making preparations for what may come.  On the fair weather days, I’ve been doing maintenance on the truck, and also adding features that I feel might come in handy.

I now have the wiring for the second battery done.  It was a bit of a pain running the wires from the engine compartment to inside the truck, in the passenger foot well, where the second battery will be located.  Also, locating the constant duty solenoid was not as easy as I thought, since space was pretty tight, but it all worked out, and it’s working as expected.  I haven’t installed the battery yet, but that will be a very easy job when the time comes.

I also installed the extendable poles for the daycamp tarp, off the back of the truck.  It seems like this will work fine, but I will be setting it all up, with the tarp, to try it out, before I hit the road.  The aluminum poles are actually mounted on top of the truck, and they can slide, and extend to about 10 ft. beyond the back of the truck, so as to cover the RoadArk, and enough area to allow me to sit comfortably, in the shade, on sunny days, or keep dry, on rainy days.  I will be posting pics of this setup when I can, which will show what I’ve done much more clearly.

As far as maintenance goes, I just did an oil change, with Mobil 1 synthetic oil, and I did a grease job on the front end joints.  I will also be changing the fuel filter, but these filters are held on by what they call “quick connect” fuel lines, which requires a special tool to remove them.  I was reluctant to pay another twenty bucks for a tool that I won’t be using very often, or maybe even never again, so I’m experimenting with making something myself, that will do the job.

Over the past few months, I’ve been lightening the load, as far as possessions go.  I gave away a lot of stuff on freecycle, and at this point, things are looking a bit sparse in my apartment.  This gives me more room inside to work on things that I need to have ready by the end of June.

I still have a number of modifications to make on the truck.  I will be installing a CB radio, and antenna.  I felt that this would be a good option to have, since I will likely be in some remote areas, where cell phone reception might not be available.  CB radios are easy to find, and I picked mine up for free on freecycle.  The antenna was a different story.  It’s not so easy to find a good CB antenna, and I spent much time in that regard.  In the end, I pieced together an antenna called a ‘signal kicker’, from an older signal kicker base, and a newer signal kicker whip.  I will be tuning the antenna to the radio with what’s called an ‘SWR’ meter, in order to achieve the best reception performance.  This was a fairly low-cost addition, which gives me another option, as far as communication goes.

I replaced some of the interior lights in the truck with LED lights.  I have more on order, to replace all interior lights with LED’s.  The exterior lights do not need to be LED, because the truck will most likely be running while those are in use, and therefore, the alternator will power them, with no load on the batteries.

I still have to drill a couple of holes in the rear bumper, to attach chains that will stabilise the RoadArk.  That shouldn’t be too difficult, but I want to mount the carrier, that the RoadArk sits in, to the hitch, so that I can determine exactly where the holes should go.  I also need to make some sort of  ‘stop’, for the draw bar, that slides into the hitch receiver, so that it can’t go in too far, passing the hole where the screw needs to go in.  It’s easy to get that hole lined up when the weight of the RoadArk is not in the carrier, but it will be a much different story, when it is.  I don’t foresee that I will need to unmount the RoadArk all that much, once it is hooked up to the back of the truck, but I do want the ability to unhook it, and hook it back up again, should the need arise.  Again, I’m just considering possibilities, and providing options as much as I can.

All and all, things are going fairly smoothly, with no major obstacles in sight.  Of course, challenges will arise at some point, but, at this moment, all is well.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril on May 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    And the “Count Down” is on! Good for you ………..Adventure awaits.

    Reply

    • Hey Av;

      Yes, it does seem that ‘time’ is involved here, and even though I can now officially claim that I will leave my apartment by June 30th, at the latest, one just never knows what may happen between then and now. The real adventure is in not knowing, and being ok with that. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Posted by Paul on May 2, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Come fix my CB for me!! Don’t forget that CB’s are also a great, and legal, alternative to radar detectors, and a link to many other worthwhile resources. Not many others are as good at living on wheels and a shoestring budget as truck drivers. Beware of giving your exact location unless you know for sure who’s talking back, and more importantly who’s quietly listening!

    Also, just wondering if you had considered whether or not the MOT might require an inspection, or a permit of some sort, of the truck with its modifications and the Ark installed?

    Pauleboy 🙂

    Reply

    • Hey Wally;

      Having problems with your CB? You can pick those up for a dime a dozen now, if you need a new one. Ya, I guess truckers would warn each other about the radar traps, but I don’t expect to be on the trucker routes all that often. I prefer the secondary roads, but I also have to consider gas mileage, so I may take more direct routes, at times, just because of that factor.

      Certainly, there are eyes and ears everywhere in this society. Everyone wants to make sure that someone else is not getting more than them, or getting away with something that they can’t have. I hear you about giving my location. I would never do that unless I was in an emergency situation. That is my purpose for installing the CB, just another option to communicate in emergencies.

      As far as the MOT goes, I’m not exceeding any of the limitations of the truck, or the cargo basket that the RoadArk sits in, so I can’t see why the MOT would object to anything here. I do have the proper trailer lights on the back of the RoadArk, and the license plate too. I realise that this is an unusual setup, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it did attract some attention from authorities, especially when I’m crossing the border, but I’ll deal with those situations when they happen. I’ve done everything I can to ensure that there won’t be any problems, but we both know that authorities can, and do, interpret laws in a way that suits their needs, or even whims. So, nothing can protect against that.

      I do appreciate your input though, since you’ve had more experience in the trucking industry than I have. Different perspectives are always helpful. It’s good to know that you will be following my progress.

      Reply

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