Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Q" Is For Quigley

Meet the newest member of the family. It's our new Quigley. It's a full size Chevy Express Cargo Van with a Duramax Diesel engine that has been lifted 4 inches and made into a rugged 4X4 at the Quigley Motors plant in Manchester, PA. It's pretty much the same color as the Honda Odyssey that is still pictured on the banner of the blog (at least until I find a great locale for the next "family portrait," but that's pretty much where the comparison ends. This big ole bad boy can traverse up to 24 inches of water, lug nearly twice the weight, and boldly go where no Honda has gone. It should be great for our mining and kayaking activities, allowing us to continue on in many of the places where in the past we had to turn around and settle for less than the intended adventure. No more- or so one would think!

We picked it up as a demo with 512 miles on it from Quigley Motors. Mrs. Quigley herself signed the papers and provided us with beautifully stitched t-shirts with the company logo. Nice shirts, but don't begin to get the looks and comments that the "Quigster" gets. One guy offered to trade me his truck for it the first day or so I had it. Good luck with that trade, pal! A couple people have admired it but made a face about the perceived mileage I must be getting. Actually, so far I have been getting 17.8 mpg and that's before the breakin occurs at which time the mileage on a diesel engine usually increases noticeably. This is better than I had anticipated, so for now- it's all good. We had some shelves built into the cargo area and the process, as you can see from the pictures, of reorganizing our "stuff" has begun in earnest. It's a daunting task, but so far so good.

You'll notice, no doubt, that everything is packed to the sides. That is so the ATV, which was "out" being fitted with a winch and hitch here in Ohio for these pictures could be loaded in the back when we are ready to head out in the next day or so. I'll give you a "look see"at that next time around.

I'm still tagging the posts "change of plans." The van work and the fitting of the atv was scheduled to be done in PA but that schedule had to be juggled for more important matters. Living full time in a coach, towing all your belongings along for the ride, is rather like trying to set up 10,000 dominoes to be knocked down in rapid fire succession on cue when the first of the little blocks is tipped. Only this is like doing that on a sheet of plywood that has a vibrating sander being applied to its underbelly. When one piece of the schedule needs to be changed, so does nearly everything that follows. That can create the same tussle and hassle to your schedule that driving down a rough road does to your front end alignment. Some folks can do that lifestyle aimlessly roaming from place to place as the spirit moves. That takes a special kind of person and we are not that type of person. Need a bit more planning and structure. It sounds wonderful, but the more you think about it, the more you have to figure it would cause a whole lot more stress than it would relieve. Our friends the Gulds sign all their correspondence with this motto, which I do my level-headed best to keep in mind when something, anything, goes differently that I had expected: "Blessed be the Flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape." I'm better than I used to be! Anyway, the point is we are still playing catch up with chores and waiting for things to be done, but which need doing, that are out of our control.

We intended to spend three or four days prospecting in Belleville on a GPAA claim while we were in Ohio. That will have to wait for the next time. Without the winch mounted on the front of the ATV, I'd never get it back up the ramp by myself to load it back into the van. With one inch clearance on each side and one inch of clear headroom when it comes back in (it's a van - not a truck, not a trailer), driving it up the ramp would be a mistake of colossal proportion. Talk about losing your head! And since there likely would not be anyone else there to help with loading, we sit and wait for the job to get completed at the local Honda dealer- who had to order the mounting bracket and hitch. Not there isn't plenty to get done while we wait.

But not to worry, next stop is Vein Mountain, North Carolina, where we attended an LDMA outing previously, and where we felt very much at home. Great place. Great people. Wonderful little town. We'll be there fora nice long stay- at least by our roaming gypsy standards. Now if only they had a good cell phone signal there. Last time I had to climb the mountain every time I wanted to make a call. Good exercise, you say? OK.

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