Gobble Gobble, The Turkey Day Trip

Saturday November 23rd 2019

I don’t find myself on the passengers side of the vehicle very often, and I don’t think I’ve ever started a trip off on this side of the truck.  We’ve both been sick, first her and now me. Which is why I’m over here, she’s over there driving, and we are starting off way later than we wanted to and sitting in that Saturday at noon traffic.  Tell me again why we keep coming back here?

Once we were past Reno the traffic did then out and things got a bit easier.  I did some driving but really wasn’t ready for all of this.  We ended up calling it an early night in Elko, NV at the Red Lion Inn.

You probably won’t find this place listed in any swanky travel magazines, but the rooms are clean, good sized, and reasonable updated. There is a casino and restaurants, and the food isn’t half bad.  Most importantly it seems to be right at the perfect distance that we’ve found ourselves here for meals and accommodations a few times before.

Sunday November 24th 2019

After 11 hours at the hotel I’m feeling a bit better.  That means more driving time for me today.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t find a little time to snap some photos from the passenger side.  I do kinda miss those trips where we took the time to stop, take a look around and compose a proper photo rather than out the window snaps at highway speeds.


After 15 hours on the road we called it a day in North Platte, Nebraska.  We could have rolled into town late but we still had to find lodging in Omaha.  The past few trips we had been staying at my Grandmas house, but apparently it’s been rented out.  Since we didn’t even get enough notice to have our personal belonging picked up before the random people started using them, we certainly didn’t have a back up plan for a place to stay.

Monday November 25th 2019

Monday at 6 AM, and we’re on our way again.  Luckily its just over 250 miles from North Platte to the shop in Omaha.



November 26th-30th 2019

The rest of the week was spent splitting time between my shop, and my mom’s store.  The Hi C became an official Nebraskan, and the 4Runner sat in the shop while I tried to figure out why UPS screwed me on shipping and where else I could get some of the parts I needed to get the 4Runner back to battle ready.

Sunday December 1st 2019

We’ve gone from sick, to beat up, to late.  With UPS screwing me with their shipping delays the truck was still down but we were already a few days behind our departure schedule.  We decided we were going to bring the Hi C back to California for a bit.  Mother nature would disagree. I’m willing to try driving through a lot of things, but the Hi C in a blizzard just didn’t sound fun.  As we approached Lincoln the C was struggling to maintain speed with out a whole lot of throttle input.  We ended up turning around and heading back to Omaha.

Well we were officially delayed, my parts wouldn’t be in until Monday and nobody was making me do nothing.  I spent the rest of the day in bed relaxing for once.

Monday December 2nd 2019

The first round or parts finally showed up! The lower ball joints on these trucks are known as one of the few week points and these have been hanging in there since 180k so it was more than time to swap these out again.  New brakes were also on the list, but those will have to wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday December 3rd 2019

I picked up pads, shoes, and rotors from Lithia Toyota, but I wasn’t planning to replace the brake drums.  After being reminded up a quick axle seal repair a couple years early the build up inside the original drums had me wanting to replace those as well.  The local O’reillys was the source for these.  I’m not happy about it, but cheap new does beat worn out.

Wednesday December 4th 2019

The final piece to the puzzle.  While the brakes and ball joints were known maintenance items, the inspection of the truck showed it had other issues. The isolation dampener on the transfer case was flopping around like crazy and actually broke the casing when I tried to remove it. The transmission mount (pictured above) was probably the real noise I had started hearing.  It was about 100% compressed and tearing.  Not surprising considering the miles and age on these parts.

Transmission mount is in, vibration dampener is on the bench and forgotten about, and the truck is back to running and driving.

Thursday December 5th 2019

The 4Runner took a trip to the local Firestone to take advantage of that lifetime alignment, and the some of the other cars got cleaned up and ready to stored away again.

Friday December 6th 2019

Back on the road.  From Omaha to Rock Springs Wyoming today, and the truck is running like it should again.

Saturday December 7th 2019

Starting to get a bit chilly out this way.

Behind the scenes. I drug my X700 Minolta film camera along for the ride hoping to have time to put it to use.  I stopped at the salt flats rest stop so at least I wouldn’t come home empty handed.

Why a FedEx truck?  Well because it wasn’t a UPS truck! From no traffic to the standard OMG there’s flurries in California.  Everyone stop we need to chain up!  Yes this is a huge pet peeve of mine.  Such a waste of time for those of us who are prepared for the conditions.   And to answer your question, yes we won.  And by won I mean we ended up passing the entire group of cars we were with and a couple groups ahead of them.  No the roads weren’t bad, and no most of these people don’t have experience driving in anything more than sunshine.  A frustrating end to things, but at least its over the truck is back to right. Now lets get prepped for the X mas trip.


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