Keep on Truckin'
We knew we eventually wanted to buy a truck, but had assumed we'd wait until Orion sold. In anticipation, Dave started researching the market for the type of truck we would want. It needed to be able to tow Orion Jr with ease, but should also be able to tow a fifth wheel or trailer that we plan to purchase in the future, which would be heavier. For this reason, Dave wanted at least a ¾ ton truck and he wanted a diesel engine. Diesels are great for towing with minimal strain. The trade-off is the potentially higher cost of driving it when it's not towing. We stopped by dealerships to look at their used trucks whenever we took a road trip somewhere, just browsing and not seriously planning to purchase anything this soon. And initially, we weren't seeing many trucks that fit the profile. However, Dave stumbled across a truck right here in Hampton that piqued his interest. It was a ¾ ton diesel, relatively low mileage for a diesel engine, and the price was very attractive. After a test drive, it took a week of dialog between Dave and the dealership before we went back to take a 2nd look. (The salesman actually came to pick us up.) Needless to say, we left with the truck.
The truck now gives us some more freedom, but like every major purchase, more to do. Dave's been having all of its systems checked out and working to , understand the maintenance required for an automotive diesel engine. There are big differences from Orion's small 27hp version. For instance, it takes almost 4 gallons of oil for the truck vs. Orion's tiny 3 quarts. But now, we don't have to wonder how we'll get to Florida. We will have to plan where to keep the truck while we're cruising. And in the spring, it looks like Jr will be coming back to Virginia with us.
Cathy has continued to expand her sewing projects, the most ambitious of which was a stackpack for Steve's boat, Bay Dreamer. Other than size, there were some other differences from the stackpack she made for Orion Jr. Steve has a loose-footed mainsail, so we put webbing strips under the sail, instead of the zipper. Also, we were concerned with the difficulty of repairing or re-stitching the webbing attachment points for the lazy jack lines that we use on Jr, so we opted for a different design, which had gaps in the batten pocket to allow the lazy jacks to attach to webbing loops slid directly around the PVC poles. Then there were the unintentional design differences – like when Cathy transformed the 12ft 6” boom length measurement into 126”. Ooops. Good thing Steve and Dave took off to race Bay Dreamer in the Cape Charles race. It gave Cathy time to e-x-t-e-n-d the length a little. Oh, and since the race caused a rip in the main sail, she had a little more time to get the finished product done, while it was being repaired.. Ooops again.
Once the truck came home with us, we didn't waste any time putting it to good use. The very next day, we headed up to Busch Gardens to meet Bonnie, Troy and Taylor for the day. But we wanted to really put it through it's paces, so the next trip was a 1500 mile journey to Richmond, Bethlehem, Rochester (NY) and back, visiting Dave's family with Droz and Jayden giving us company along the way. Cathy is really good at playing battleship now.