Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Rig

Per Brendan's request, here are some pics of the rig. Kind of Beverly Hillbillies style. But we've been known to sport a lot more hillbilly than this. This is pretty high-class for us. ;-)

The Once-A-Travel-Trailer-Turned-Flatbed-Turned-Cargo Trailer-Trailer. The Hot Contractor just finished building this a couple days ago. It has all our remaining possessions inside. I kinda think we should spray paint "U-Haul" on the side. What do you think? Too W.T.?

Here's what it looked like as a flatbed trailer.

Here's The Beast

The veggie kit just arrived today, so The Hot Contractor will begin installing it tomorrow. I'm not gonna show you a picture of the tailgate. That's because the other day, when I went to the RV store, I was backing up, and backed right into their big ol' sign out front. The guy working there came out laughing and said, "Haha...Everyone does that!". I wasn't laughing when I looked at the tailgate. Oh, well. The sign was fine, by the way.

Here's the Travel Trailer.

Home Sweet Home.

We're hoping to finish the veggie conversion, and some other essential repairs by next Tuesday or Wednesday. We'll then head down to Santa Barbara to visit some friends for a few days.


I've had this liver from our steer we butchered last year sitting in my fridge, not knowing what to do with it. We don't love the taste and texture of it, but we know what an amazing, healing, nourishing, sacred food it is, and didn't want to waste it.

So, last week, we were introduced to another family who is doing what we're doing...traveling the country. (All this random info really does apply to my liver story, I promise). They happen to be in the area while we're here, and our local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader introduced us. She knew we had lots in common, and thought we might enjoy meeting each other. It didn't take us long to hit it off with these people (three days before they were leaving town). We tried to squeeze in as much time together as possible with our new friends. We became Facebook friends, and they read my blog.

The day after they read my blog, we were all hanging out at a park so our kids could roam while we talked. We told them of our liver quandary. Nate, the dad, said, "Why don't you encapsulate it!" (He had read my post about placenta encapsulation). I think he was joking, but maybe half serious too. Anyway, I realized what a brilliant idea he had!! Why hadn't I thought of that???

Needless to say, the liver chunks are in my dehydrator now. :-P

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Jesus Motor

That's what The Hot Contractor likes to call the engine that's in this big ol' truck we bought. It's a 1998, 1-ton, GMC, duly, crew-cab, long-bed, diesel truck. It's a beast! We are going to convert it to veggie oil ASAP.

As I'm typing, we are on the road, traveling from Santa Cruz to Oroville. All our stuff is packed in The Hot Contractor's aunt's barn in Oroville. She needs the barn back, so we're going to pack our stuff on our flat bed trailer, to be picked up by The Hot Contractor once we settle somewhere.

(The story of the flatbed: The Hot Contractor was chopping down a tree for someone on Freecycle after we'd offered his chopping services in exchange for their firewood. They joked with him about taking their moldy old, nasty disgusting, 20-foot travel trailer off their property. He did. Then he spent two days tearing it apart with a hammer and a nail puller. He then built it into a beautiful, 20-foot, flat-bed trailer. Not only is he crafty, but he's oh-so-frugal too. My dream man. And now he's going to convert it into an 8' x 8' x 20' cargo trailer to haul our stuff across the country.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog...

This whole process of converting from the motor home to a truck and trailer was a bit more work than we planned on. Let's just say it's been a crazy month! But we made it! Whew! And we're finally on the road. Having this to look forward to has been motivation as we were feeling so overwhelmed.

The last three or four weeks, The Hot Contractor has spent many hours (usually from 10 pm to 2 am) researching veggie oil conversions and bio diesel processors. We went from wanting to convert the engine to veggie oil, to wanting to create a mobile bio diesel processing kit for the back of the truck, to now wanting to do veggie oil again. We've had to weigh the costs of time, space, money, availability, efficiency, and more. Since we plan on this fuel conversion being a permanent thing, we want to do it right and well. I'm so proud of The Hot Contractor for all the work (and time!) he has put into educating himself on this. He's now ready to install the veggie kit once it arrives.

One of the things that was so stressful about this process for us was when we took it to a bio diesel mechanic (who does the conversions). He evaluated our motor, and told The Hot Contractor that we need a new one. He said this one "might last 300 more miles." The compression test showed it was basically running on six out of the eight cylinders. We looked into buying a new engine, having one shipped across the country, buying another truck that had a usable engine, yada yada. None of these options were cheap, and all of them required us to stay in Santa Cruz longer than we wanted to. So, we decided to just go for it on this engine. We're gonna milk every last mile out of this thing! If it breaks down in the middle of the country, we'll deal with it then. We figure it will just add to the adventure. The Hot Contractor likes to call it "The Jesus Motor" because it was given the doomsday prognosis of "maybe going another 300 miles".

And that was 700 miles ago.