Posts Tagged ‘Toyota trucks’

Car camping

June 24, 2020

My lodging for Interbike 1999. While I was en route, anyway.

Two distinctly different takes on the ancient and honorable practice of kipping in the car, the first from Adventure Journal and the second from NPR.

I’ve spent many a night racked out in my rides, starting with a 1974 Datsun pickup that had an aluminum topper. The two ’83 Toyota longbeds were an upgrade (more space for me and the dog(s). The ’98 Tacoma? A little less so; that truck was too pretty for stealth camping.

One of the best ever was Herself’s Subaru Legacy Brighton wagon, acquired sometime in the mid-Nineties. Fast, decent fuel economy, AWD, long enough for a 6-footer to sleep in, and no icy water dripping on the sleeping bag on rainy/snowy nights (all truck toppers leak eventually, especially if you bounce them along the indifferently maintained dirt roads of Crusty County for a few years).

Of course, the best thing about kipping in all these vehicles was the certainty that it was both temporary and voluntary. Even a Motel 666 in Dipstick, Idaho, looks pretty good after a couple-three nights spent roadside in your ride.

Fat city Friday

November 12, 2010
Nearly three decades old, covered with maple boogers, leaves and acid rain ... and it still runs.

Nearly three decades old, covered with maple boogers, leaves and acid rain ... and it still runs.

Wow. Color me amazed. I hear that the temps are dipping down to 19 tonight and I think, “Hm, probably be smart to run the ’83 Toyota in for a quick check of its vital bodily fluids,” since it mostly lives out its miserable life snoozing beside the curb in front of Chez Dog.

The problem with my little scheme will be starting the old girl, which lately is about as easy as doing the people’s business in Congress. So I break out the portable jump-start system and give ’er a whirl.

Nothing. Zip. Nada. Niente. I could’ve brought a six-pack of monsters to life with the juice I poured into this thing and sent them all to Washington, D.C., to kick ass. Lord, this battery is truly fucked. And it’s not brand new, but neither is it particularly old. Out it comes.

I drag the misbegotten sonofabitch over to Advance Auto Parts on Nevada, from whence it came, fully expecting to have to buy a new one. The place is a madhouse. A businesslike young dude tells me the battery seems OK, if a bit undercharged, and says he’ll pop it into his charger and give it another look-see in about a half hour.

So I go home and give the battery clamps a good scouring because as an auto mechanic, it’s all I’m really qualified to do. I’m thinking, “Uh, huh, the battery’s gonna test out fine, so I probably need new cables, or a new starter motor,” mentally tallying the cost of maintaining a 27-year-old carbureted 4WD rice-grinder that I use about as often as Rush Limbaugh does what serves him for a brain.

But when I return the young dude has run a battery of complicated tests on the thing and declares it a miracle of modern science, leaking magnetism, black magic and voodoo and probably creating a singularity under my hood every time I turn the key, which explains the voices emanating from the radio, if not my head.

And he gives me a brand-new battery. Free of charge.

Thus the White Tornado is powered, oiled, greased and lubed, its elderly cooling system’s loins warmly girded against midnight engine-block explosions due to plummeting temperatures. Another fiscal tragedy averted.

And a man needs a truck, truly, if only to haul his fat ass around.