Taking over

When we drove Mercy home from the truck-accessories shop yesterday, we did so without paying our bill in full. We bumped up against our bank’s daily spending limit, and customer service was closed, so the shop’s owner trusted us to come back and pay today.

Which we did, of course.

After we settled the bill this morning, I asked if they had 1/2-20 anti-theft lug nuts for our Jeep. One of the staff fetched a set, along with the special installation/removal socket, from the service department. I handed him my debit card.

He handed it right back to me, grinned and said, “You’re all set.”


“Look,” he said, “we like cool people. And y’all are cool people. Have a great day.”

I looked over at the shop owner. He was grinning, too, nodding his approval.

‘Round here, we’ve learned, this is the way folks do business. This is Handshake Country. I’m not sure what else to call it.

Back at the campground, I began to pick up where the shop left off. I unboxed the braking controller, safety cables and related components and set them aside to be installed later. I pulled out the Blue Ox tow-bar assembly, locked it into Ernie’s receiver and folded it into the stowed position.

Next, I shut off our site’s 50A shore-power breaker, started the diesel and waited for the bus to achieve “travel height.” Then I turned off the engine and measured the height of the hitch receiver — about 19 inches, which is five inches lower than the tow-bar mounts on the Jeep.

I ordered a Blue Ox adapter to raise the motorhome’s hitch height by four inches. That’ll bring it within the manufacturer’s three-inch (high or low) tolerance, with a little wiggle room.

Once I have all the parts in hand, hooking up Mercy should be pretty straightforward. We still need to get Ernie’s wiring sorted, and I’ll probably pick up a new seven-pin connector for that job. Better to start with all fresh connections, I think.

It’s a Wednesday, between weekends, so our campground is about half-full tonight. During our evening walk I looked around at the assortment of equipment that’s here right now.

There are a few tents, of course, and several pop-up trailers and hybrids. Most sites are occupied by conventional travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers, including a couple of enormous three-axle rigs.

(Class B: Winnebago Travato)

I saw a handful of motorhomes — one light-duty Class C and a few Class A (like Ernie). I also spotted a couple of less common (historically) configurations.

One is the Class B, which essentially is a camper van. It’s becoming more popular, especially with upscale younger folks who prefer a minimalist approach but want more than a tent.

The Class B appeals to Deb and me, but it just doesn’t have the room we need for the life we’ve chosen. Still, it’s simple, it’s agile and it’s comfortable, even if it lacks the living space and some of the creature comforts of bigger rigs. Many of the current crop of Class Bs are built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, a very capable (and very pricey) platform.

(Super C: NeXus RV Ghost)

At the other end of the spectrum is the Super C class, built on a heavy-duty diesel truck chassis like a Freightliner. They’re often quite luxurious, rivaling the best Class A motorhomes, and reportedly they’re easier to drive (or more familiar, anyway) than a cab-over bus. They also offer great towing capacity,

We actually considered a Super C last fall but went with a Class A for a couple of reasons. First, the cab area of a Super C is, well, just a cab, so it doesn’t have quite the spacious feel of a Class A.

And second, because Super Cs are very much in demand these days, they’re expensive as hell. Even a used Super C was, for what it offered, nowhere near the bang-for-buck value of a solid Class A like Ernie.

To each his own. There’s something out there for everybody.

The variety, from the people to the hardware they choose, adds to the joy of campground life. It’s a big part of why we love it.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath