It’s Day 395 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are healthy and happy — and we’re more than a little anxious.
More about that soon. Tomorrow, maybe.
With Ernie up on the air bags and the slides in today, I had room to work behind the right-rear duals and install the new mud flap. The dimensions of the flap are fairly common, 24 inches wide by 20 inches tall, but I couldn’t find that size and had to buy 36-inch-tall flaps (available only in pairs) and cut down one to fit.
That was a lot easier said than done — the material is 3/16-inch cord-reinforced rubber, like a tire. My sharpest utility blade barely put a mark on it. A three-inch circular saw didn’t work.
I ended up putting a fine-toothed blade in my reciprocating saw and, with one end of the flap secured and Deb holding up the other, I slowly pulled the blade along the line I’d drawn. Finally, I drilled two elongated 3/8-inch holes where they needed to be near the top edge and took the cropped flap out to the driveway.
Fortunately, when the previous mud flap departed it left behind the mounting hardware, two large self-tapping screws and a couple of fender washers. I was prepared to replace them but didn’t need to — I was able to use the originals and cinch down the new flap plenty tight enough.
There was nothing complex about that task. It involved mirroring the installation on the opposite side of the coach, measuring (twice), cutting (once), drilling two holes and properly tightening two fasteners. Pretty damned simple, when looked at that way.
Thing is, I derive great satisfaction from doing work like this. The simpler, the better. Like troubleshooting a turn signal the other night, it’s an opportunity to slow down, observe and solve.
Practically speaking, replacing a mud flap restores much more than aesthetics. We plan to do a fair bit of “boondocking” with Ernie, and we expect we’ll see our share of gravel and hard-pack roads. That big ol’ sheet of tough rubber helps protect the air bag and lines that live behind and above it.
So there’s one more item off the to-do list — check.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.