We’re heading home today, and I’m already feeling the tension.
We have a few spots to hit on the way back.
I wrote that early this morning and plans changed.
We headed on down the parkway after hitting Soco Tower. We always stop there. It’s billed as “The Most Photographed View in The Smoky’s.” That may be an exaggeration, but the folks who own it are friendly, and they have a neat little gift shop at the bottom.
Soco Tower cost .50 per person. It’s a neat little throwback to simpler things. My parents used to take me up there, and so I take our kids. ‘Nuff said.
We finally made it onto the BRP around 11:00 AM.
We made a quick stop at Water Rock Knob for the view and tradition, then headed towards Devil’s Courthouse.
We arrived at Devil’s Courthouse and the weather was looking like rain, and we decided against it.
Other factors contributed to the decision: my back, the wife’s knees, and both kid’s ankles. We went a little too hard this weekend.
We headed on down the BRP towards Asheville and gave Sam the decision of getting off at Asheville and running home or going out to Linn Cove Viaduct to hike underneath. He chose the latter.
We were detoured due to a road closure we knew nothing about. Simple five-mile detour, but the Linn Cove Viaduct visitors center was closed.
The road home was long today, but I see the lights of Kershaw right now, and it’s good to be home.
Today hasn’t been that exciting. We took the kids over to Gatlinburg to let them do their thing and we hit some of the old spots we usually go to.
We went to check out Elkmont where they’ve been doing a lot of renovations on some of the abandoned houses. It’s nice to see history preserved.
Then on to Cades Cove to do a little bear spotting. We actually saw one far off in the fields.
I like watching the ravens beg for food alongside the cars on the loop. They are very entertaining.
We were out pretty much all day. We had a sit-down breakfast at The Mountaineer and fast food the rest of the day. The Mountaineer is fairly priced for good food. We got overcharged for what we got at Johnny Rockets in Gatlinburg.
We topped off the day with mini golf at Maggie Valley Carpet Golf.
Here is where I’m going to say something about Maggie Valley that won’t be popular.
Y’all gotta step y’all’s game up.
I know that the last two years have taken a bite out of everybody. And I know a business is hard to run but you’re not gonna keep a business if it isn’t open.
Several of our favorite restaurants are still there but aren’t open for business on Fourth of July weekend. That’s very concerning for a town that thinks it’s going to jump up from the reopening of Ghost Town amusement park. I know I see the guy down at Route 19 Inn putting money into a place and hoping for the best. And he’s giving it his best. Like I wrote before me and the wife are very impressed with that motel. More importantly, we were satisfied with the money we spent with that place of business.
Chris Smith at Chris and Friends Antiques has invested a ton in his business.
We love Maggie Valley. We would love to keep coming here. But if there’s nothing to do there’s no reason to come.
We spend the majority of our time on the trails around the town up in the mountains but we spend our money here on food and other entertainment.
We have real friends here that run businesses. And a lot of them are still open and running.
At one time this blog was going to be Tales of the Old Monkey, which was a play on ABC’s Tales of the Gold Monkey from back in the 80s (a short lived tv show).
The monkey in question was a toy flashlight my daughter had when she was younger that stood watch over my tool bench. Occasionally the old battery would give just enough juice to make it chatter. I loved it.
One day it fell and busted and I haven’t found another.
Nope. It was back pain. Sciatica. Intense horrible pain.
Anyway, I got up and made the coffee, stretched a little and got ready for work. Not much to do for except suffer through it and wait for whatever I’ve tweaked to get better.
Getting old ain’t comfortable. But it beats the alternative.
On the way to work I’m keeping an eye out for the right junked Ranger. I’m driving past a car lot that’s going out of business and he has seats, consoles, dashboards and all kinds of other stuff piled outside for different cars. I stopped to take a look because you never know.
No one is there so I decided I’ll stop back by on the way home.
Work was uneventful, one of those days I like so much. Low drama, everyone working. Knocking it out.
I got to hang with Kevin and Riv a bit which is always a treat. We work and cut up and it makes for good days.
I stopped by the place I mentioned and the owner was there. I asked about the possibility of any Ranger parts but that was a negative. He waited around to see if I could possibly use any of the other parts he had. Sadly, no. I didn’t see anything I could mod for the applications I want.
And then he told me about Kenny. “If you go down 102 and cross the three bridges and take the road at the top of…”.
Well, you can’t beat country directions. And I found Mr. Kenny easily.
Unfortunately, Mr. Kenny had only square bodies. Older than what I need. But he started talking junkyards and car guys with me and gave me a lead on another spot. A friend of his.
So off I go on another country direction adventure after filling up my tank (you never know).
As luck would have it this is sorta on my way home with a minor detour.
And then I meet Tim.
And Tim has a goldmine in his back yard.
I walked in an introduced myself and we talked and shortly he gave me the run of the yard.
This is my kind of place. You go out, find what you need, and pay the man after the haggle. If there’s a haggle. Kenny says Tim is a fair price kinda guy.
I’ll find out next week. I didn’t have the cash with me today and he was getting ready to leave in the morning with his family for a vacation weekend. And that’s cool. I wish I’d known or I wouldn’t have held him up at all.
I probably spent an hour out in the yard and I was lucky. I found several pieces that I can use. I’ll be back next Wednesday.
The time out in the heat with the sun on my back seems to have had a therapeutic effect, that and the stretching in and out of junked cars probably helped as well.
I’m a little stoked about my new gold mine. I love a good junkyard. There’s nothing like it if you love cars or trucks and working on them.
Today was long. Today was good. I profited.
I made three new contacts that may become friends but at the least are friendly.
I wrote about fixing my truck Sunday. As a part of this ongoing project (and yes, there’s a lot to do) I’m going to be posting here and there about it. This blog is my daily outlet. This is why I’m here.
🎼Some days are better than others…
Today was great!
I’ve been using OBDLink (Apple) with my OBD scanner. It’s a nifty little tool that can drop all kinds of info on ya while you’re on the move. My primary concerns this week are engine coolant temp and the voltage on the battery. I replaced the thermostat several months ago. The battery was dead Sunday. So worth watching over. The MPG was a plus today.
I drove home with the A/C on this afternoon. I also fueled up at a station that may have had okay fuel. But as far as gas mileage I’m pretty happy with either number.
Before I figured out the problem with the plugs it was getting 22/23 mpg. This is a huge improvement.
For a twenty two year old truck this is pretty phenomenal I think.
I have a little bit more mechanical to work on. I have some plans for the exterior and a few more improvements to the interior look and functionality.
8:00 AM: I’m starting off the day trying to figure the problem out with the truck and these spark plugs. And I may have found the problem. I think it’s the wrong set of plugs. You’d think the guy at the counter would have some knowledge as to what he’s selling you but I’ve trusted too much in that. It would seem he’s wrong.
(Further on I’ll be talking about O’Reilly’s. I didn’t get the bad plugs from there. – Credit where credit is due.)
I’ll be taking off to the parts place with a little more knowledge this time and the manual and truck info to back me up.
But first, church.
I’m at O’Reilly Auto Parts and my man Chuck here confirmed part of a problem. I was sold single platinum plugs instead of double platinum plugs at the other parts place. The plug in five split and is causing misfire. These plugs couldn’t handle the workload.
We may be onto something…
1:00 PM: I got back home, stepped out of the car and directly to the truck. I went to work on replacing the plugs.
I started at one and went to six. I didn’t pull a wire until I had the previous one gap checked, greased and seated. That fifth cylinder misfire was because of these old plugs. That would be number five in the lineup pictured above. Absolutely the wrong equipment for the application.
2:14 PM: After about an hour I was back on the road but it wasn’t all rainbows and roses, no. The battery had died and a cell had went bad so I was off to another O’Reilly’s to see about a new battery.
The truck isn’t cutting back like it was and no check engine light. No misfire. This, for me, is huge! I love my truck but it has to be usable to stick around.
At this point I was only into this little adventure for blood, sweat, and $32.00 USD. I was dreading having to shell out for a new battery. They aren’t outrageous but they aren’t cheap either. And this battery was only a year old.
But then I guess there was a bit of “whiskers on kittens“. Turns out the battery I bought a year ago was under a two year warranty at O’Reilly’s. Those fellas helped me out big time to day.
A BIG SHOUT OUT to O’Reilly’s and to their employees. Gene and Jim in Camden, SC and Chuck in Lancaster, SC. They were super helpful and knowledgeable today.
And also, I’m thanking God. It’s getting hot and there’s no air in the Escape. The Ranger has super cold air. I prayed over the truck last night hoping that this was the problem. I needed it and it was granted. So thank you Lord for the hands and mind to work the problem and the grace to let this happen.
5:50 PM: I haven’t eaten all day. I was all about getting this done. And now it’s almost supper time.
Time to shower, eat, and relax. Tomorrow’s Monday.