From Endurance to Dressage
You all know how much I love owning a trailer. Being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want means freedom. Freedom always comes at a price though. In the case of a truck and trailer combo, the price is literal. A new truck with a living quarters trailer can easily run a hundred thousand or more. Besides the actual price tag, the maintenance on both also costs time and money.
When I came home from my three-day boot camp at STC Dressage, I decided to take my trailer home for the night so that I could clean it the next morning. It had been at least a year since I had done a deep cleaning. With the trailer in front of my house, I can clean without tracking dirt in and out, and I can pressurize the water and use real electricity.
The first thing I did was strip the bed of sheets and blankets and emptied all of the towels out of the bathroom. I did all of the laundry on Sunday night so that it would be clean and dry once I finished cleaning out the inside of the trailer the next morning. I spent a good two hours scrubbing every surface of the inside, especially the shower and toilet. I also oiled all of the cabinets, and scrubbed both screens and doors.
Last summer, a friend (THANK YOU, Aime) shared a YouTube video that showed an easy way to remake the bed in a gooseneck trailer. I can't find the video, but I didn't forget how to do it. I started off by "making" a bed in the house, and then rolled up the bedding from the bottom to the top and then folded it into a roll. I placed the roll on the trailer's mattress, scooted it to the top, and unrolled it enough so that I could tuck the fitted sheet around the top two corners of the mattress.
Once the top two corners of the fitted sheet were tucked under the mattress, I kept unrolling the package until I could tuck the bottom two corners of the fitted sheet around the mattress.
It changes a horrendous job into one that takes less than two minutes. And, it looks much smoother when made this way versus yanking things around while struggling to avoid banging your head on the ceiling. Once everything was cleaned, the carpets vacuumed, and the linoleum mopped, I let things dry before putting everything back.
I love having a trailer; I hate taking care of it.
Excuse me for a moment as I lament over my First World problems. I have much for which to be grateful; I know that. I suppose that makes large bills easier to stomach, but still, they sting.
Way, way back in 1999, my husband and I did a special order for our (my) dream truck. We bought a 2000 Ford F250 Triton V-10 Super Duty Crew Cab with 4 wheel drive. That truck was a beast, and I loved it with all my heart. Blue Truck was the most reliable thing I have ever owned. Other than a few batteries, tires (LOTS of tires) a fuel pump, and hoses and belts, nothing ever went wrong with that truck.
You have all heard this story before, but in 2019 with less than 150,000 miles on her, I decided to trade in Blue Truck (along with unlucky Juke) for a new truck, Newt. Newt is a fine lookin' hunk-a-burnin' love, but cheap she is not. Newt is a 2019 Ford F250 with a 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel that I bought in 2019 with 22,000 miles on her. She hauls my three-horse living quarters trailer like nothing is behind her. All of that power has come with a very steep price though.
In the two and a half years since Newt joined Team Speedy/Izzy, she has racked up quite a list of repairs. At this point, I don't even want to think about what else can break, wear out, or fail. Here is the current list excluding oil changes and required service maintenance like fuel filters and the like:
I am not kidding. I have had all of this done in two and a half years. And really, nearly all of this was in the last year because Newt was pretty solid for the first year I had her. The batteries, glow plugs, brakes, tires, and shocks all went kaput in the past 10 months. I get it. Owning a four-wheel drive truck is more expensive. Diesels just add on to the cost of ownership. Add the two together, and what should be a manageable bill ends up costing 50% more than your standard daily driver.
At times, I regret buying such an expensive truck, but then I haul over the pass into Ventura or LA and remember why I need such a heavy truck. For nearly fifteen of the nineteen years we owned her, Blue Truck was used only to haul the trailer or other truck necessity, and even then we often used my husband's truck. It ended up being cheaper for me to have a day-to-day car to drive around while Blue Truck sat parked. I have three and a half years left before Newt is paid for. You can bet I'll be looking for something a lot smaller and a lot cheaper to drive around when that payment is made.
Let's hope Newt feels like she doesn't need any more spa treatments.
Not every Friday is as needed as others. This is one of those Fridays that came almost too late. Had there been one more day in the week, I would have had to call in sick. There's only so much a person can take.
The instigator was Newt of course, but when you're stretched as thin as you can get, it doesn't take much to create small holes in your well being. While I waited for Newt's glow plug to be replaced - I know, I'll get there, a few parents in my classroom jumped on the crazy train. For the love of God, people, I am trying to help! Blaming the teacher or insinuating that she is being unreasonable - it does not take 15 minutes to get a tissue, does not help your kiddo succeed. So there was that.
I am also coming off a six-day work week - remember, I work for pills, Speedy's that is. One day off a week is not recommended. On Wednesday, I attended a very, very after work meeting. It didn't start until an hour after my contracted day had ended. You gotta love unpaid over-time. All the while, I have been waiting for Newt to again be road worthy, and I use that term loosely when applied to my less than reliable ride.
So where was I? Oh, yes, Newt and her many issues. I took Newt back to the Ford Service Department on Tuesday morning. I waited all day for a call back with at least a diagnosis. Without the On Board Diagnostic port functioning correctly, it's hard to diagnose a problem. By day's end, I finally got a call saying the mechanic had replaced the blown fuse, but one of Newt's glow plugs had failed. I almost screamed into the phone, I ALREADY TOLD YOU THAT WAS THE PROBLEM! So yes, all they did that first day was pull and replace a fuse. Once again I got a Lyft and the world's smallest rental car.
The next afternoon, after not hearing anything all day, I finally called and asked if Newt was ready to be picked up. "Your vehicle is ready ma'am. You can come by anytime." I don't know if it is just Ford, or are all service departments the same? Why don't they call to tell you your vehicle is ready. Why make me bother them? This was at 2:30. The service associate confirmed that the failed glow plug had been replaced, but again, there were no extras to replace the final glow plug that I was willing to pay for.
I was able to get to Ford at 5:15, and the service associate greeted me with a huge smile. After working an eleven hour day, I was not. In. The. Mood. "Guess what?" he says. "There has been a miracle. We replaced BOTH glow plugs." Pause for just a second here. At 2:30, my vehicle was ready with one glow plug replaced. Less than three hours later, BOTH glow plugs had been replaced? If it is so easy to replace them, why couldn't they have done it the day before when they had my truck the ENTIRE day? Whatever. I pulled out my credit card ready to pay for the last glow plug but was met with a no worries, Ford has agreed to pay for that last glowplug. Apparently, there had been some miscommunication between the service associate and the parts department. There had been a second glow plug all along.
Don't get me wrong, I was very grateful to be finished with this mess - no fewer than three trips to the service department for one failed glow plug after another all in less than three months, but come on, Ford, get your shit together. Here's the funny-not funny part. Ford comped me the glow plug, but charged me $3.81 for the fuse.
Life is weird y'all. I need a drink.
If it would help to cry, I would. Since it doesn't, I just have to laugh instead. Insert maniacal lighter here.
My check engine light is on again. I am not even going to give you links to all the posts I've written about my friend Newt. Newt, which stands for New Truck, is not exactly pulling her figurative weight this past two years. While I have complained loudly about all of her faults, the truth is that each and every thing has been taken care of by my local Ford Service Departments, plural because there are two. I am pretty sure they hate me. Anyhoodle, Newt is going back in next week for yet another round of diagnostic work.
When the check engine light came back on more than a week ago, I first took Newt to my oil change place. They used two different scanners to try and diagnose what the issue might be. Since neither one seemed to be working, we couldn't read the code(s). They suggested I take it to O'Riley's Auto Parts where they actually offer free scans that come with a print out of the codes.
While the scan is always free, the box of DEF that I bought most certainly was not. Neither were the fuses and fuse tester/puller that I also bought. You see why the scan is free. Anyway, the guy plugged the scanner in, but nothing happened. Whoops! The two scanners that the guys at the oil change place had used hadn't malfunctioned after all. It was Newt's On Board Diagnostics II (OBD) port that wasn't working.
The OBDII port's job is to monitor emissions and other data about your vehicle. It's connected to the check engine light, which illuminates when the computer detects a problem. Here's the thing. The OBDII port needs power to work, so if your check engine light comes on but there is no power to the port, the scanner can't generate a code to tell you what's wrong with your vehicle. Excuse me while I have a short Chevy Chase moment. Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?
When the very kind employee at O'Riley's explained that the scanner wasn't working because there was no power to Newt's OBDII, I dug out my vehicle manual and flipped to the page on fuses. Believe it or not, I had tabbed it with a sticky note and even labeled the sticky note, fuses. Such a teacher thing to do; we love highlighters, tabs, and sticky notes, and when used together, we've found the Holy Grail.
According to my now reluctant helper, the OBDII most often uses the same fuse as the cigarette lighter. Weird fact: I told him that I didn't have a cigarette lighter. Do they even make cars with cigarette lighters? Yes, but now they call it an auxiliary power outlet. Oh, that thing? Why didn't you say so? Of course Newt has one of those. We found out it works just fine.
I could tell the guy was putting in some serious effort to try and ditch me and probably go back to work, but I just kept giving him jobs to do. Before he knew it, the hood was up, and I was pointing out the fuse box and letting him open it. We identified which fuse was the most likely one, Newt has three auxiliary power fuses, and tried to pull it out. Unfortunately, the fuse puller I had just bought wasn't big enough to pull the larger fuses, so my helper quickly returned inside and left me to fend for myself.
Not one to quit, I gave my mom a call - she kicks butt when it comes to engines and vehicle maintenance, and asked how to pull a hard to reach fuse. Her advice was to grab a very long set of needle nose pliers, which I found in my husband's tool box, and yank it out like a tooth. Done and done. As a side note, I do have a work bench and tool box but it isn't filled with nearly as many fun tools as is my husband's which he inherited from his grandpa many years ago. That toolbox came loaded with stuff you don't always see anymore.
With this truck, I never know if finding the problem is better than not finding a problem. I pulled the fuse and saw that it was good. Since I was already dirty, I decided to start pulling more fuses just to get my money's worth out of the fuse tester. I pulled the first five fuses, 80 - 84, and saw that they were all black. I didn't need the tester to tell me those had blown. For the fuses that looked good, I did use the tester to verify that they truly hadn't blown.
Using the fuse tester (a fancier name that my mom taught me is continuity tester) is pretty easy. You push the two points of the tester down into the corresponding holes on the fuse. If the tester lights up, you're good. In small fuses like the ones below, if that curve of metal is broken or there is black on the fuse's prongs, the fuse has blown.
Fuses blow for lots of reasons, but before replacing one, it's often times a good idea to figure out WHY it blew. In Newt's case, I found five in a row that had blown. Eventually, I put the tester away and left the blown fuses where they were. While I love to solve my own problems, I want the guys at Ford to see the blown fuses and then check for more. I don't know why my check engine light is on, and I don't know why there is no power to my OBDII port, but it sounds like I might have an electrical problem. And if I do, that is a job way, way above my pay grade.
Once I know what's wrong with Newt, I'll fill you in.
Another version ... Found On Road Dead. FORD. Mother Trucker!
My check engine light is back on. Welcome to my Ground Hog Day. I don't know whether I hope it's the last two glow plugs or something completely new. I am ordering one of those code readers this weekend. I am too embarrassed to stop by my local oil change place to get the code read. I am worried that they'll quit being so nice to me if I pester them one more time.
Mother forklift. Wait, I think I already said that.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2022 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2022 Show Schedule
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%