Well, it’s finally done. Today I hauled the last bit of the Explorer to the junk yard. By this point, all that was left was really the front suspension, the frame, and the shell of the body. It was not a straight forward experience though, lemme tell you the story.
As you can likely tell from the picture the vehicle was pretty much completely stripped. The rear axle was also removed, since I have a couple potential buyers for that. So, I have only the front wheels to roll it on. Fortunately, a member of the Explorer Forum came out last weekend and grabbed a few items I had left which were going to be difficult to ship, and brought me a second spare tire, so the front end is rolling on two spares rather than my nice Cobra Replica wheels, which I also have a couple buyers lined up for.
So the question is, how do you move a vehicle that only has wheels on one end? The easiest answer was to get a two wheel car dolly to stand-in as the rear axle. Easy, right? Well it would have been, if there had been any for rent in town! I started the search yesterday, and called every rental place in town. None of them had the tow dolly I need. So, after hours of searching and coping with my own disappointment that I wasn’t going to be able to finish this project on schedule, I sucked it up and made an online reservation with U-Haul. Now, the fine print says that they’ll make good on the online reservation no matter what. So I figured they’d haul one in from nearby or perhaps magically produce one from their bat-cave warehouse. But, it was not to be only moments later I received a call from the reservation office. They informed me the equipment I needed was in Santa Maria, some 70ish miles away. I hymned and hawed for a while, but finally agreed to go pick it up from Santa Maria, and drop it off here.
So today it began, I headed out at 11:30AM since my reservation was at 1PM to pick up the tow dolly. It was my day to watch Quincy, so of course he came with me. The drive out was uneventful, made it in just under an hour, and didn’t even get stopped for speeding! Things went smoothly picking up the tow dolly, and I was off in only a few minutes.
So, first things first. It’s time for Quincy and I to eat, or it ain’t gonna be a pretty drive home. We don’t have Del Taco at home, so whenever I can I seek them out and patronize them. Quincy was absolutely STOKED to sit in a booster seat, and he ate like a champ (sweet!). After a quick lunch, we were on out way home.
The drive home was equally uneventful, but much slower. I just set the cruise at 60MPH and pointed us south. The drive home took more like 1.5 hours, but I didn’t want to find out what happened when/if I exceeded the comfortable speed of the empty trailer.
Got home about 3:40PM and the fun was not yet over. I had to get the trailer under the X, and get it all strapped down. That was a bit of an adventure. Quincy was done with his car seat, so I had to manage him while I jacked up the X and worked to get the trailer under it. Kinda wished I had another arm right about then. After some struggling, I got the trailer under the X, and strapped it down with a couple chains, and a pair of nylon straps.
Off to the junkyard at last! I pulled into Steel-Head at about a quarter to five. Cutting it close! I’d called them yesterday to warn them that this thing is really stripped, and they assured me they’d be happy to take it. After they saw it though, they were more than a little surprised at just how stripped the vehicle was! The guy helping me said “Seriously, you did better than my guys do”. This makes me happy. I love hearing that a project I’ve taken on has been accomplished at least as well as “the pros”. :-)
The downside of course, is that they realized there wasn’t anything they could sell, which they assumed there would be. As such, I had to pay them to take it which I fortunately anticipated.
After agreeing on the price, the forklift came out, and I started unstrapping the truck. It had shifted slightly in transit, and one of the chains, which I’d looped over a crossmember and hooked to itself, was completely bound up. I tried tugging, pushing the truck, everything I could think of. I was probably at this for about five minutes, battling in vain while the forklift driver waited. Then it struck me, I’ll have the forklift driver push down on the truck, compressing the suspension, and giving me the slack I needed! I emerged from under the vehicle and took two steps toward the forklift driver when he said “You want me to push it down?”. It’s like he read my mind! In reality, he was probably watching me, laughing, knowing what needed to happen and just waiting for me to realize it. Whatever the case, our scheme worked, and the X was free moments later! The picture to the left is the last one of the X. I learned later, as I was leaving, that the forklift driver was sitting there waiting for me to pull out of the driveway, I was in his way! You can almost sense the X’s despair, as though it’s standing before the executioner hoping for a last minute phonecall of repreive. No such luck this time!
I have to say, there are some mixed emotions. This is the first real “nice” vehicle I ever owned. The first vehicle I ever financed and paid off. The vehicle that my wife and I brought out first baby home in. The first vehicle I customized to this extent. Lots of firsts. But, it’s time to move on. It’s been almost exactly five months since my wifes accident, and neighbors were starting to ask questions, and I was growing weary of seeing it in the car port. Now that it’s gone, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Namely the Caddy. I’ll always have a place in my heart for the X, but I don’t think I’m going to miss it terribly.
Here’s to you X, you’ve given me and my family lots of good times. You’ve treated us well, and in the worst case scenario you kept one of my most precious possesions safe by sacrificing yourself. X, rest in peace.