Monday, January 14, 2013

Water Is the Enemy

Water is the enemy.

Water permeates. Water corrodes. Water consumes.

To be fair, the fine folks at Isuzu and Concord, makers of my car and camper, respectively, did their best. Nineteen is old for a car. Forty-three is really old for a camper. And where things are starting to give out, water is starting to get in.

I don't know the full providence of Milo, the Isuzu, but I bought it in Vermont and it looks like it were used there its whole life. Vermonters use road salt, and it's hard to explain the ramifications of that to people who've never woken up to a thermometer reading -10 and whined "Not again!" to themselves. By lowering the freezing point of water, the ultimate need and ultimate enemy, road salt makes roads passable under circumstances they wouldn't otherwise be. But it comes at a terrible price.

Milo is rust-eaten to a degree that astounded the man who sold it to be and then ended up doing frame repair work. I backed into some steps with the trailer hitch and about ten pounds of rust fell off. Just handfuls of gravel-sized pieces of iron oxide.

Water is the enemy

The camper, a 1969 Woodsman Traveler, leaks. I'm not entirely sure from where - a path of delaminating wood indicates the back window - and it's making the board the mattress sits on wet. Laying down a tarp seems to help some, but only to a point.

Yesterday, I spent an hour and a half - I checked the clock - trying to get a taillight to come on because water had seeped into the casing. This was on the truck, and the taillight, after being cracked by a previous owner, was patched with some sort of rubbery epoxy. But water got in anyway and the taillight stopped working. After pulling out some (naturally) rust-eaten screws, I managed to liberate the old bulb and then had a certified hell of a time trying to get the new one to come on because one of the contact points in the socket was rusted over and in a hard-to-get place.

As this latitude, at this time of year, an hour and a half is most of your afternoon, and I spent mine trying to make a bulb come on so the cops wouldn't pull me over again. Because water is the enemy.

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