5,000 miles in nine days. This was a truck that sat in grass for a couple years, brought back to roadworthy condition, then absolutely SENT across the western half of the country.
It drove from Illinois through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, northern Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, southern Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, then back home to Illinois.
On the way home we saw the great Salt Lake, visited the Bonneville Salt Flats, and I stopped at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop for the first time despite having passed by it at least ten times in the past.
Of the $500 vehicles we rolled with over the past week, the only one that did actually have a breakdown was the bus, and boy did it break down A LOT.
Here’s a list of its breakdowns..
- Steer tires blown (both) in Washington.
- Total brake loss in Oregon.
- Brake loss again in Oregon. Fix was junkyard parts.
- Stuck parking brake in Oregon. Fix was to delete the pulley to the hydraulic system that powers the brake.
- Air-conditioner killed a generator, which killed the air-conditioner in Oregon.
- Stopped running in Nevada.
- Stopped running again in Nevada.
- Alternator overcharging, killing the bus electrical system in Nevada. The fix for this one was to remove the leads from the alternator and keep the bus batteries charged using a generator.
- Taillights lost in Nevada. Fixed in Iowa when they decided to attempt to drive the final hours in one go.
- Brakes on fire in Nebraska. Turns out, even though they released the parking brake and deleted the pulley, it somehow locked anyway.
The inhabitants of the bus basically worked on the idea that they wouldn’t fix anything. Anything that broke they’d just delete and keep driving.
Eventually Sheryl and I left the bus behind to finish the final 3 hours of the drive home. It took the bus 6 hours to do those 3 hours, so I think they broke down again somewhere for something. I know there are definitely breakdowns I'm forgetting, too!
This past week was the best week of our lives and neither of us could believe it even happened. <3
Sheryl is a full on Gambler now. In addition to our new Xterra toy, she’s picking up a cheap Chevy HHR and following in my footsteps with having a daily driven Gambler car.
Plan for the Ranger is to drive it into the ground. The American Racing wheels are a touch too big for the truck’s gears, so I’m saving them for a future project. The truck itself will be both a daily and Gambler until something really major breaks, which I reckon will take quite a while with how decent it is. My guess is that the frame will rust out before anything major mechanical breaks.
Our adventures are not done yet! We plan on another epic road trip this summer, just not Gambler related.