Saturday, January 19, 2013

RV Boondockers Need to Keep Their Wits Sharpened Up!

Had a sitchy-ashun happen yesterday. It pertained to doing a repair on my motorcycle, but it occurred to me that it fits into just about any sort of traveler's tool bag just the same.

I had a bolt disappear out of a critical part of the bike. I only noticed it a week ago... I had to order the replacement... but it's still not made it to me. I'm in Quartzsite... the part is in Phoenix.

So... here's the storyline;

Imagine you're on a run to Alaska... or ... you're on the back side of Sodom in southern Nowhere... and you've got a busted whizbang. There's no cell service to call for help...aaaaaaand... there's no traffic rolling by to even hope somebody'd be willing to relay a call for help...

Whud-a-ya gonna do? Sit and wait for somebody to come save you?

Sure... You bet... that'll work. Worked well for those poor folks down in Louisiana after the hurricane too... and there were news choppers watching their ordeal!

In the case of the bike... I needed a specific... apparently proprietary bolt and there wasn't one to be found. If I just waited on help to be delivered by Yamaha, UPS, or our pride and joy sittin' behind his desk back... nah... let's not go there...

Plain and simple... if I waited on having the exact right, proper and coh-rect part... I'd still have a busted and unsafe to ride motorcycle. Not a big deal here... but... if I was bear bait somewhere in the Yukon... getting on down the road might be preferable.

Being the ingenious and usually impatient cowboy I am... I figured out how to use a bolt of the wrong kind, that I figured the head was too big on to fit into the recess it had too. I made it would work.

I just fit a spacer of washers behind the head... so that the head stood proud of the recess. That makes the bike rideable and I can ride it to Phoenix... to pick up the parts to repair it! So I get an excuse for a 300 mile ride or so out of the deal. two birds with a few washers. Suh-Wheet! ;)

I almost didn't 'cause for a while I was fixated on only finding the exact right part. Bad philosophy in the hinterlands... the exact right part is seldom handy.

The point is... if you're broke and you need to move, look around. There's all sorts of ways to rig up Rube Goldberg temporary and secure "Fixes" to get you to a place where you can do the permanent and proper repair with the parts that the manufacturer approves of!

...and do the temporary without a lot of trauma, stress and humongous towing bills!

Just open up that cobwebbed lump 'tween your ears and put its imagination to work! :)

You might could also prepare a lil' bit in advance so you have a few bits and pieces around for your imagination to play with as you conjure up your own variety of a red neck fix. ;)

Like... some radiator hose repair tape,  a small selection of likely nuts, bolts and washers, some JB weld. Some screws. A little tie wire. Some automotive wire and electrical connectors. Fuses... Duct tape. Tire plug kit. Radiator sealant... a shovel, some blocking. Bungee cords. general rope... adhesives and bits and pieces of pvc, pex, wood, flat plastic and even plumbing parts... maybe even a piece or two of steel angle brace... I'm just spit ballin' here... pretty much some things that most people might call "junk'. ;)

As you do other repairs... keep those left over bits and pieces. Find a place to stash 'em in some out of the way but handy nook.

Hell, just walk around a hardware store and assemble a lil' bucket of bits and pieces your imagination tells you that you might be able to use for a Redneck Repair.

With a mite of luck... the repair will be needed on the motorhome or fifth wheel an you'll be able to make a run to the hardware store in your toad or tow vehicle.

When you do, open up your imagination and scout around hunting for that one special widget that was designed to support the closet rod in your grandmothers Armoire... but with a little ingenuity it can do double duty as the demagnetizer on a double banded triple spinning polarized dehumidifier! :)

You get the picture don't you? Think of "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island! Dang! He could make a radio out of coconuts two transistor batteries and Ginger's hair pins! :)

The point is... When you need to do a repair to keep the ship afloat... and you don't have the proper Hull Plug... Employ your imagination. Use an Improper Hull Plug!!!

Don't have the dedicated plastic belly pan material for a fifth wheel? Use the 1/8" water resistant luan tile underlayment at Home Depot. Mine's been under there for a couple years and looks better than the factory stuff at the sane age!

Screw on Table Legs at Home Depot aren't only table legs! Sometimes they turn out to be tools in a leather shop ... Cowboys cut a slot in the end and they become Saddle String Tightener tools for saddle repair!

The point is, find something else that will do the job and return the function to your rig! The old cliche' is right! There's more than one way to skin a cat, until you can perform a good and longer lasting repair with the proper and correct bits and pieces.

Keep Your Brain Pans Working


Cindy Kingma said...

Hey Brian! My hubby would totally relate to your blog today. He has always done his own 'manufacturing' when he didn't have the part or disagreed with its price. Been in spots where we'd have been stranded for who knows how long, and he only had his imagination and little bits available...He's a most sought after 'guru' of the impossible in our little town...
Applause for you in spreading this kind of ingenuity. I bet there alot of you types out there!

John Farnsworth said...

Thanks Brian, you just rminded me of my dad making bushings for our '51 Buick out the side of a coffee can. You probably remember toy tanks made from a thread spool, match, piece of soap and a rubber band, que no? I use those little plastic hair clips with interlocking teeth to control all the cords for my electronics. They really work great.
John Juanderlust

Paul said...

Great post. One thing about that Professor, though -- he could never fix a 2-foot hole in a boat. Just sayin'.

Tom Williams said...

One of the joys of life is walking through an honest to God home town hardware store and just pokin' around in the bins. Often as not, the proprieter will offer to help. I then have to explain that what I'm buildin' aint never been built before. I'm looking for parts to match the image in my head. They'll usually nod and let me continue with my opening and closing drawers and bins.