Corpus Truck Work

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We left Houston on a beeline for Laredo for our crossing into Mexico. Along the way we stopped in a couple state parks. We haven’t had much luck on the weather front lately—it rained for days, reminding us very clearly of two things. One: The one thing that we regret about our VW trip is that we didn’t have a canopy over the door. Two: One of the best things on the Travco, was the Zip-Dee awning, and the huge dry space it always provided underneath our front step.

After a couple of days of everyone being grumpy about not being able to go in and out without getting soaked or dragging mud inside, we decided we needed to get it taken care of. We ordered up an awning, and made plans to spend a couple weeks in and around Corpus Christi.

With time to kill, I decided to knock off another project. Our clutch had begun to slip in third gear (it’s a 3-speed). It was especially pronounced while pulling the Airstream. I had originally hoped to babysit it to Mexico, where we’d settle down for a couple months, and it wouldn’t be a big deal to be without the truck for a couple weeks while clutch parts were ordered and replaced. But since we were going to be in Corpus for a while I got a recommendation on a clutch shop, called them up and told them my story about being on the road, and they told me to come right on in.

Expecting the worst, I made a car rental reservation, brought the truck in, and sat down in the waiting room while they took a look. Two hours later they came in and said I was good to go. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I had thought this was a self-adjusting clutch. It’s not. However, to break the rust on the adjusting rod loose, they had to use a torch and a bunch of other tools I don’t have. A five-minute job took two hours, but in the end, the clutch is working beautifully again, and I am now in the position to adjust it myself the next time something goes wrong.

Kids needed new bikes. No beach cruisers, no mountain bikes, these kids wanted “trick” bikes.


But really, they just thought it would be awesome to give each other bucks (does everyone call this a buck?)


Texas. Deer and muddy water.


The red highlights remain, but the new curtains from our friend Charlotte are in.


Lake Corpus Christi State Park. Go outside after dark and you risk being run over by dozens of scattering deer.


Once we thought the truck was going to be out of commission for a few days we moved into an RV park in town. The kids got into the spirit of working on the truck.


Our kids are obsessed with freeze tag. Any time another kid is around she is quickly recruited. When it’s just us, I get the call.

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24 Comments on “Corpus Truck Work”

  1. We always called it “giving a buck” (and then always heard the warning story of “someone” who lost X layers of skin in the spokes during this activity).

    But then I’m from Minnesota too, so like you, I wonder how regional the term is.

  2. It’s a “backy” in the northwest of England. I guess because you are on the back? Also are the new curtains from Rebel Heart, Charlotte?

  3. Do you have a link to the awning you bought? Also, can you post up some pics of the install, as we’re going to have to do the same later this spring…..would love to some pics from someone else first!

  4. We always called giving someone a ride “a pump”. If you had pegs front and rear you could give a “double pump

  5. Don’t you love how the trees there grow up permanently bent from the wind. We used to keep a boat in the Corpus Christi Municipal Marina. When checking the weather, the forecast was always: SE winds 10-20 knots and a 20% chance of afternoon showers. Only rarely did we have winds from any other direction. Apparently this area is a top known spot for windsurfing. They hold several big contests during the year and people from all over the world compete. It is quite a sight to see.

    Mark and Cindy
    sv Cream Puff

  6. Love your pictures. We’re currently in the San Antonio area. Have been warned off by numerous people about crossing the border into Mexico but would love to do it. Are you joining a convoy? How are you reducing any risks in the northern part of Mexico?

    1. Hi Patrice,

      You must be new here. 🙂 Mexico is as much home to us as the U.S. at this point. To me, this would be like asking if we’re joining a convoy to drive through L.A. I’ve long ago lost track of the number of times we’ve driven across the border, and how many tens of thousands of miles we’ve driven in Mexico, and never once have we gotten so much as a sideways glance from anyone. We’ve driven 50 year old VWs, Porsches, and motorhomes down there without a hitch, and I suspect we’ll continue to do so the rest of our lives, just like I’d suspect we will driving around the States. Whoever is warning you off of Mexico probably doesn’t know the first thing about Mexico. Go on, take the chance, and have an adventure. You’ll be just fine.

  7. Glad to see the truck is ready and tranny good. My stalwart old ’71 Dodge D100 is ready; just needs a battery.

  8. I’m curious what awning you bought. I’m full time in my 13′ Casita and am thinking an awning is a must!! Just not sure where to even start. Want a good one!

  9. Hi in Australia its called dinkying. Have just spent days reading and thoroughly enjoying your blog. Its been awesome

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