Stretch Goals

Kickstarters often list stretch goals, things that aren’t in the scope of the initial project, but if they just happen to raise much more money than they expect, it’ll enable them to do these extra things as well. For me, it’s not about the money, but the time at a place where I can work on the van without necessarily having to drive it or live in it right this moment. I’m working on a couple of these “extra credit” projects right now.

One of them is a more elegant solution to my continuing auxiliary tail light issue. The ones mounted to the motorcycle carrier itself got torn off when it scraped on the ground over mild inclines. The magnetic mount ones work, but they’re always in the way for loading and unloading the bike. So finally, I installed an extra pair of surface-mount tail lights to the van itself. They’re above the back doors, high enough to be seen when the bike blocks the view of the regular tail lights. They’re on the fiberglass high-top, which is much easier to work with than metal for something non-structural like this. I ran the wiring inside the trim panels, and simply plug it into my existing trailer light outlet. If I ever tow an actual trailer, it’ll have lights of its own, and I’ll simply plug those in instead, or get a splitter to run both. They’re LED, so the extra power draw is minimal. Now I’ll always have visible tail lights, bike or no bike, without having to change a thing.

The other job is figuring out why I can’t lock out overdrive with the button on my shift lever. Since I travel with a somewhat heavy load, it would be good to have a bit more control over what gear I’m in. I can drop the lever down to 2 or 1 at lower speeds, but it would be nice to be able to lock out overdrive (effectively dropping it to “3”) for higher speed inclines. This function has never worked since I got this van.

The answer is all over the Ford forums. They use very thin wires inside this lever, and they often break, disabling this function. I tore into my steering column to investigate, and found this to be the case. Unfortunately, the wire is broken right where it goes into the lever itself. There isn’t enough wire exposed for me to solder it back together, which is what I’d hoped to do. Autozone’s website said the local store had one in stock. It lied, but it’ll be there this morning for me to pick up and finish the job.

That’s what’s great about being able to park somewhere for an extended period of time to pick away at projects like this. Any other time, I would’ve been screwed unless I was already parked for the night, which is why I won’t tackle such projects at other times. But now, since I’m already parked until Thursday, it’s no big deal. I can leave the inside of the van disassembled, because it will be as much work to put it back together without fixing it as it is with a new, fully functional part. And so I wait. Poor Lister’s world is a bit of a mess right now, but I’ll take care of that today after installing the new shifter.

I have a couple more days before I hit the road again, but I’m declaring the end of new projects at this point. I need time to straighten up the van and make it ready for travel again after being parked for over a week. Amazon two-day delivery is reliable here, but two days from now I’m gone, so that’s the end of that for now.

Naturally, mail is starting to arrive for me at my Escapees mailbox, and I have no idea where to have them send it. I also renewed my registration online, which will get mailed there. It doesn’t expire until December, so I have time to travel a bit and figure that out before the van appears to be expired. Once again, I only renewed it for one year instead of two. This way, the van and the motorcycle will be in sync, and I can do both at the same time from now on. I also have no idea where I’ll be in a year. For all I know, I might’ve bought a cheap place in the southwest to settle down by the time this comes around again. Considering how much everything has changed in the past six months, anything’s possible a year from now.

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