Not Getting Started
Let’s just pick up the story where it gets interesting, getting the truck painted. In way of introduction the truck is a 1987 FJ60 Land Cruiser (drug runner and insurgent vehicle of choice) which we bought new.
This picture by the way is one of the first pictures Pam took with the Nikon D610 Liveperson so generously bought for us as a retirement present. The exposure and focus is off a little because we didn’t bother reading the manual and the lens is a 30 year old Nikkor F1.2 55mm manual lens. It is a very fast lens and at 1.2 has very little depth of field so focusing is a challenge with the D610 which does not have a focus screen. Reading the manual would have exposed us to that information and to the fact that there is a little square box and an indicator in the view finder that lets you know the box is dead on in focus.
Next is our first wildlife shot, still without benefit of knowing how to focus. I think the leaves in the foreground are in focus 😉 That is a nice plump 3 foot long water snake (not poisonous) . Expect steadily improving photography as we spend more time with the manual.
Back to the paint job. As you can see there are a few dents, and it doesn’t show but the paint is pretty oxidized and there are even small rusty spots on the roof. I have been investigating painting for months and am pretty torn about the whole concept. For one thing I don’t want fresh paint to have to worry about, and with full body paint jobs coming in at over $10K the results would not be just about keeping it from rusting. I would have a show car paint job and have to sweat every door ding and redneck pin stripe.
The tipping point came on my 3rd to last day commuting to work when a minivan attempted to occupy the same space as I was occupying on the road. Students of physics will recognize this as problematic and will not be surprised a great deal of bent metal, cracked and scattered plastic, scratched paint and a seriously extended commute time resulted. The damage can be seen in the picture above, sort of, there is very small dent on the front fender and the brush guard has a dent as well. The minivan was towed away, Land Cruisers are basically tanks on wheels. Geico quickly produced a check for the damages ( the other driver was at fault ) and with a $1500 head start I am spurred on to finally get a utilitarian paint job.
I first got a recommendation from John one of the employees at the lot where we store the RV. John has a Land Cruiser FJ40 he wants to restore and had a body shop picked out. I decide to go up the chain of command and run this recommendation by Kevin the guy who owned the lot. Kevin is not impressed. Kevin has two options an affordable paint job and a great paint job and at wholesale prices. The job will be finished in 7 to 10 days and cost only $2500 for the great paint job. I am $1500 into that with the Geico check. Perfection. It will mean rushing things a little getting the truck setup for towing but it should work.
Why wholesale, well this is where you will see I was forcing this decision and exercising wishful thinking. The other half of the RV storage business is a used car lot. Yup, Kevin sells used cars, he wasn’t a used car salesman exactly but even so. Well the old saying turns out to be true if a used cars salesman’s lips are moving, he’s lying. 7 days in, polite inquiry, running late, but should be done by Friday. Friday, nope, looks like another week, another Friday and three weeks in, nope but they started. Enough. I drive over to the body shop. They haven’t even touched it. Abort the paint job. We will just wax it, a lot. Wonder if you can get touch up paint for a 29 year old truck?
With the truck back, I completed the towing wiring and plumbing for the lights and brakes. I also finished trailer light wiring used for lights on the monster 4 bike Saris bike rack. All done. The truck is ready for the road.