I started out looking for a door latch for the Exploder. The front passenger door lock has been unusable for some time now and occasionally it locks up so that we can’t open it even from the inside. For a while it wouldn’t latch unless we messed with it for a while. We left it sit in Buchanan, took the Lincoln back to BC and then when we got back to Buchanan in the short two days we had there I tried to lube the latch in situ. I would have preferred to get it out of the door but that appeared to be beyond my capabilities. Just before we left an old bodyshop guy who is now retired in town and likes to drive around in his diesel Smart showed up and told me how to get the latch out. So knowing full well that this will turn into an ordeal I nevertheless went in search of a replacement latch today.
The search started badly at one of those auto parts discount places. The blond bimbo behind the counter should have confined herself to stocking shelves. I dunno what possesses places like that to put idiots who don’t know parts and don’t know their system and don’t have a personality in direct contact with customers. If she had half a clue about how to use the computer and a pleasant personality we might have been able to work something out but as it was she was stupid, clueless and unpleasant so I moved on to Merlin Motors, the local Ford stealership.
The guy there was pleasant enough and he quickly located the part I was looking for – in Toronto. The price was plenty high but I would have paid it if he had been able to do better than 3 day delivery. Then I had him check on the hood trim for the Lincoln. Bear in mind now, we’re talking about a piece of chrome plated plastic, maybe 2 feet long and 3 or 4 inches wide at it’s widest spot. OVER TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY BUCKS! Unbelievable. Of course he didn’t have it either but that didn’t matter. I told him I’d buy it online.
Which is exactly what I did when I got back to the bus. $35 for the hood trim plus $7 shipping gets it to Regina tax paid for under $45. For the the door latch the total was $75 delivered to Regina which was a little less than half what the stealership wanted. I don’t mind paying something for local service and it would have been nice to walk out with the part but these guys have to get real. That hood trim will take all of 5 minutes to install and 4 of those minutes will be getting it out of the packaging – I’d hate to guess what a stealership bodyshop might think that installation was worth.
The rest of my afternoon was taken up with getting ready to touch up the paint on the Prevost. I found a bodyshop supply place that claimed to be able to match the paint colour. We’ll see tomorrow when I go to pick it up. And I spent some time window shopping for a good air compressor and some air tools. When we get back to Buchanan it will be time to retouch the very tired paint on the bus. I’ve got some cracks in the fibreglass that I’m more than capable of patching with epoxy but I need to know that I can match the paint over top my patches. We’ve also picked up a few scratches over the years and I’ve got some spots where the clearcoat has disappeared entirely. I’m no bodyshop expert but I think I can do a 60/60 paint job – that’s one that looks good from 60 feet when the bus is going away at 60 MPH. I hate to put much money into that because it is purely cosmetic and even if I paid a bodyshop the roughly $20,000 that it would take for a complete paint job, the bus would still be worth exactly what it is worth tonight, which isn’t very much.
Tonight we’re parked on the side of the street next to the Walmart on the west side of Saskatoon. As Walmart parking lots go this is a very small one so we didn’t want to take up a bunch of valuable spots and I’m not sure we could have found room anyway. Tomorrow we’ll move out to the 16 West campground where we’ll spend a couple of nights before we head east toward Buchanan. I’ve got a client to see south of Lanigan but I don’t think we’ll be able to connect this trip because they are still seeding. Its been extremely wet on the east side of the province and there is still a lot of seeding left to do. I wouldn’t dream of asking a farmer to spend time with me while his drill is sitting (and most of them would tell me to go to hell if I did).