My truck’s just brought home its intimidating bumpers from the feed store where I had them delivered because the feed store has a forklift. There are a million four legged reasons for all of those hunters to flock to our part of the world every year, and I really don’t need any of those reasons getting too cozy with my grille. I’ve hit two deer in my life, both of whom lived, but it’s time to stop pressing my luck. After the intimidating bumper is on the front we won’t have to worry so much about a wrecked front end leading to either a long walk or a very expensive ride.
Here’s a photo the manufacturer uses to market the front bumper:
My truck and that one are much the same, except mine’s not lifted above oversized tires.
But there’s more… Lots more. Now that Amethyst and I are responsible only for ourselves we’ve got time and money for ourselves that used to all go to others whose needs exceeded their abilities. It seems painfully obvious, now, that when you receive only as much of the fruit of your labor as is necessary to sustain your capacity to labor you are a draft animal, but that’s how we’ve spent the bulk of our time on Earth. Because of it I can’t help but feel guilty about actually buying the things I want even when they’re perfectly justifiable and well within our means.
Yeah, it seems mighty incongruous to me, too, that one such as I would have wasted so much life being a draft animal and still feels guilty for meeting my own needs and satisfying some wants from time to time. ‘Nuther story, ‘nuther time. If at all.
What’s happening with my truck now is resumption of the original plans for it that were preempted by other, truly more important things. We’re making it that thing that no manufacturer has ever produced, a mountain truck. Not some crazy off-road monster, but a truck that does very well the things that we actually ask of it — we don’t ford raging torrents or climb vertical rock faces, but we do drive on mountain roads, paved and unpaved, through a region with livestock and big game galore, in all seasons and conditions. And to make it just that much more interesting, we are all alone in the world so there’s no one to call should things get out of hand. Accordingly, our truck has to be both very capable and very reliable so we can always get back home again to feed Awesome Cat and Snooginator The Microdog.
Ya know, a very capable, very reliable vehicle really is a machine of dreams. When you start the engine the horizons are yours for the taking and adventure is just a decision away. Or maybe the boss doesn’t waste ten minutes giving you shit about being two minutes late to work, if you’re into that whole gig. Which I ain’t.
And to make sure that it always gets home again we’re adding those intimidating bumpers, and some heavy duty front coil springs to keep that heavy sumbitch from making the front end wallow during emergency maneuvers, too. Right behind that bumper are several things that make the engine operate more efficiently so it uses less fuel to support its own operation, which means we get better fuel economy and more horsepower on tap should we want to send it to the ground. Extra horsepower is nice to have when you live in the mountains.
Soon enough we’ll be spending a weekend installing a new camshaft and miscellaneous other bits that go with or at least near it, and then the horsepower and fuel economy will go up even more. The cam I’ve selected is designed for that; it moves the more efficient range of operation to lower RPM, down where we actually need it for rolling through the mountains. Making the engine run more efficiently in the RPM range where it spends most of its time only makes sense — especially when you’re not the sort of consumer for whom the engine was originally designed.
When the bumpers go on we’ll be about three-quarters of the way to the end of the planned spending, with most of what remains being cosmetic rather than functional. I’m going for an understated look rather than something that might attract attention, mainly because I’ve always preferred that look but also because I’ve better things to do these days than to go around intimidating Tasmanian pigs when they get out of line. It’s fun and all, but I’ve done enough of it already so would just as soon they cast their lines into someone else’s pond.
So, some time this year I get to call the thing done, which is something I’ve never actually accomplished before with a vehicle. Then it goes into maintenance mode for the next couple of decades or so, just being the mountain truck that makes those glorious horizons just a decision away.