I spent a weekend in the Mark Twain National Forest, in the Doniphan and Eleven Point ranger districts. My primary goal was to scout for good deer hunting spots. However, I didn’t get to explore all the places on my list, and most of those did not turn out to be good spots. My secondary goal was to get a little experience sleeping outside in cooler weather. The low was 46°, which isn’t that cold, but that gives me a data point on the weather spectrum. The more experience I have, the better I’ll know my limits.
I ended up doing some of the most extreme off-roading I’ve ever done. I followed an unmaintained track down a slope that was much steeper than I realized, culminating in a drop off a big boulder. When I returned, I decided I must have been out of my mind. Yet my truck (a Ford Ranger) clambered back up that rock and the slope without any trouble. It was very satisfying. Little did I know, that would be my last off-road experience with my truck.
On the way home, I blew the motor in my truck. Out in the middle of Missouri on a Sunday night. I got it towed to a repair shop, and the diagnosis was made quickly. The value of the vehicle was completely cancelled out by the cost of the repair, so I left it there. I agreed to sign over the title in compensation for the tow. I’ve been wanting to replace the truck for years, but the money hasn’t been handy, so I’ve kept putting it off.
I purchased a Toyota Corolla, the same age as my Ranger, but with fewer miles. It had a very bad wheel bearing and some other suspension problems, but I have fixed all those. Now it’s mostly down to cosmetic problems (of which there are many). It’s not a nice car by any stretch, but it should be reasonably reliable, at least for a couple of years. Long enough, I hope, to save up for a better car.