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On our descent towards Abbotsford Airport near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Crescent Beach (Vancouver), British Columbia, Canada.

Where are they going next? Bellingham, Washington.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Well, we spent a chunk of money yesterday.

And the spending is not over yet!

It used to be, during our full time working days that when we spent a bunch of money, the attitude was "oh well, we'll make some more tomorrow!" But it's not so easy any more with our sporadic income.

Let me tell you how we spent $776 CAD ($600 USD)...

We were just hanging around here in Smithers yesterday waiting to have Sherman's new tires installed today (Wednesday). So we decided to go for a walk downtown.

It's a nice enough downtown area, with lots of small shops. There are no Walmart or big box stores here, so the little guy has managed to do fine. There are small hardware stores, and outdoors stores... and a popular bicycle shop.

The bike shop had a row of bicycles outside, but we weren't really interested in anything new. We both need better bikes though, so we've been kind of actively keeping our eyes open. But we don't want new bikes... good quality used ones would be fine!

We went inside and asked if they had anything used. The girl said that yes, they had one used bike for sale, and led us back outside to the row of bikes.

This is the one...

It just happened to be the exact size for Ruth. She took it for a spin, and came back saying "I really like it!"

It's a 2012 model, but it has hardly been used. It sold new for about $800 CAD at the time, and the used price tag said $400 CAD.

We told the girl we would think about it, and might be back.

In the meantime, I did some research. The $400 CAD price tag seemed fair. I sent a note to my nephew who works in a bicycle shop, and he said it's a good brand, and this particular model has good quality components. He thought that for $400 CAD it was worth it.

We were walking around town, when I spotted a NAPA auto parts repair shop. They didn't look like they had a bay that would fit Sherman, but I thought if you don't ask, you don't know.

Sherman has three different things I'd like to get done, but rather than scare them off, I figured I'd just bring up the most concerning... the high idle problem. The guy behind the desk said "we don't normally work on motorhomes...", but he looked at another guy who just happened to be in the office, obviously a mechanic, who asked me a couple of questions about the problem. Then he hummed and hawed, and said "sure, bring it over and we'll have a look at it."

So we did. 

Martin was a good guy. I took things apart for him, and told him to come on over whenever he was ready. He did some testing and poking around, and asked me a few questions about what I had already done. Then he said that because we had a service engine soon light, we might all be better off for him to get out the code reader and find out what made the light come on. Diagnostic stuff does not come cheap, but it had to be done.

While he was doing that, we wandered back over to the bike shop. 

This time, they went and got the boss because I wanted to negotiate. I wasn't really complaining about the price... but I had noticed that the sidewalls of the tires looked a little bit cracked. And I didn't want to spend $400 CAD on the bike, and another $100 CAD on tires.

The owner seemed like a good guy too. He agreed with me about the condition of the tires, and said that if I would change the tires myself, he would give me two new tires for the price of one.

Done deal.

Including taxes, we spent $484 CAD ($375 USD) on Ruth's new bike! And all we walked away with was the new tires. Their bike mechanic is going to give it a thorough once over with adjustments and it will be ready to pick up this afternoon.

Then, we walked back to the garage to see how Martin was getting along with Sherman.

He got the problem diagnosed... Sherman needs a new Idle Speed Control Actuator... the little electrically driven valve that allows vacuum to the high idle mechanism. In the U.S., it's a $30 USD part. In Canada, it's a $74 CAD part. Don't get me started about why we are so badly ripped off up here compared to the states. I know, we have free health care...

Anyhow, nobody in town has one in stock. So Martin said he could actually physically remove the high idle mechanism and that would temporarily solve the problem until I could get my hands on the other part. He showed me how to do it so that I can put it all back together later.

They treated us fair, but with tax the bill was still $292 CAD. An hour and a half labor at $165 an hour, plus the $91 scan charge using their fancy Snap On scanning computer. Anyhow, they were good guys, and now we know what the problem is.

So, it was a $776 CAD ($600 USD) day!

And today, Sherman is getting new boots! His six new tires will probably come in at more than $1,200 CAD ($920 USD... which might actually be slightly better than we would have paid in the U.S.) by the time we get them installed balanced, and taxed.

And then we still have to get a wheel alignment, the new bell crank installed, and the brakes bled. 

And then, I still need a better bike, and we need a new camera. But, we've had some pretty inexpensive years since we took off 11 years ago. I guess this year is meant to be pay pack!

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Just a heads up... nice price drop on this 6'x9' RV patio mat...


And in Canada...






34 comments:

  1. "Into each life a little rain must fall," as you're discovering. Good deal on the bike! We just sold our Cannondale bikes for $700 (for both), and somewhere down the line, we'll pick up two lighter-weight used bikes. Hey -- buy, sell, keep the economy going!

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    1. We always knew there would be months or years like this and we really have been let off lightly when it has come to motorhome repairs so this is the year that we pay.

      I think we did get a good deal on the bike, it is definitely a little more than we wanted to spend but it also isn't easy to find decent used bikes when you are on the road and this one should suit me just fine. Now I can't wait for Kevin to get one so that we can do some decent bike rides together.

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  2. Nice looking bike , and nice to get the idle diagnosed. New Tires are part of the lifestyle, and of course a new camera is a must. Considering our frugal lifestyles sure beat owning a house with expenses and being tied down.

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    1. I am looking forward to having lots of great bike rides on that bike! :-)

      Yes, new tires are part of the life with a motorhome but they are much cheaper than a new roof on a house. We would rather deal with these lifestyle expenses than what we dealt with when we had a more normal type of lifestyle.

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  3. The knowing that you have good new tires is worth it IMHO,
    Nice bike! Be sure to cover that one up when it's on the back of Sherman.. :)

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    1. We don't disagree in the least and we certainly aren't complaining, we knew that after this trip up north we were going to need new tires.

      Yes, we are going to buy a better locking system and a cover to keep the dust/dirt and weather off of it. I am looking forward to getting some good use out of this bike.

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  4. Wow what a day and lots of money out but Ruth has a nice bike and Sherman,s issue was resolved so all in all not bad. Smithers sounds like a nice place to visit. Enjoy! Sherman will love his new wheels we are sure!

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    1. Even though we spent some money today it was a good day. These were things that we needed to do. The money that we spent on the bike was a little more than we had expected to spend but we also got a good bike out of it and one that should last me a good long time. :-)

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  5. $920 is definitely better than you'd pay for 6 RV tires in the US unless you bought the cheapest thing possible IMMO. Those days and years happen when everything seems to need replacing at once. But what a great site you are in. Sweet!

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    1. You have to remember Sherry that Sherman has small wheels so his tires are small as well especially compared to the size of your tires. Yours are probably about 19.5 and Sherman's are only 16 so there is quite a difference and that would then reflect the a big difference in the price of the tires. The ones we are getting are a Firestone, so they are a good brand, not just cheap ones.

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  6. Ruth, congratulations, you have a beautiful bike. We live near salt water, and I have a "rule of thumb" that says don't buy a used bike (no matter how pretty it is) which has been used regularly in a salt water environment. So, if I am looking for a good used bike, when we head into the mountains camping, I keep an eye out for one when we need one. Can hardly wait for Kevin to take a photo of you on your new-to-you bike--Christmas in August!

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    1. Thanks Dee! Nope you don't want to buy bikes that have spent too much time by the salt water that is for sure and there are no worries here, this bike has not seen the ocean. You should get to see that photo shortly! :-)

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  7. I've been reading 'Simply Cycling' on the web and they talk about bicycles, tires, and places for add-ons. Unfortunately, so sad they will no longer be blogging. Anyway, yes you'll end up making more money somewhere along down the way to replace what you spent. I imagine you'll be thinking to replace Sherman? At least I sense that. For my old age, I have a three wheel bike that I cruise the neighborhood with... Safe travels.

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    1. It was a little more money than we had anticipated on spending for a bike but we do think that it was money well spent and that this bike should last me for a good long time. I am looking forward to getting out there on it and enjoying some good trails with Kevin, except that he needs to get a bike now.

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  8. Hey! what happened to being thrifty? Haha. Just kidding. If it rides and works good and Ruth likes it, then that price is O.K. I've bought a few bikes at Walmart in the USA. My Schwinn aluminum hybrid cruiser was 99 USD new! I wasn't even shopping for a bike, but thought can't go wrong for that price. Comfortable bike! I bought another nice aluminum bike around 100$ there too for my wife but she rides my bike all the time! She even stole the seat off mine and put it on her bike. Haha can't win. Canadian tire has bikes on sale all the time. Way too much money! Check out Walmart.com and you can see lots of bikes to choose from. Omak WA. Walmart Supercenter near me has a ton of bikes. Cheers and happy cycling!

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    1. Carwash, a picture is worth a thousand words! When you have some extra time, visit a good bicycle shop and let them show you the differences in certain bicycles, the frame, the ride, the seat, the tires, etc. Then take that newly found information with you over to your friendly neighborhood Wal-mart and look at one of their floor models for adults. You will instantly see the difference. It all comes down to "you get what you pay for."

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    2. Right. Lift a high end bike and drop it about 6 inches. It'll go "boing." Drop a Walmart Huffy from 6 inches and it goes "thud." What would you rather ride, "boing" or "thud"?

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    3. Scott, we are being thrifty in the long run. I have gone through three Walmart bikes and they have always crapped out on me. One only lasted a year before it was junk. The gears would always screw up, they weren't easy to peddle compared to the good one that Kevin had and I would just get really frustrated. Kevin's bike on the other hand has only just started to wear out and he has had it for close to 15 years and other than the fact that isn't a mountain bike he had been really happy with it and it was a good quality one. Sometimes you just have to spend the money on something that is good quality in order to be thrifty or else you are just throwing money down the drain. That is why we also buy good quality hiking boots and good tires for Sherman! ;-)

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  9. All in, does not sound too bad:) During are recently completed six week trip, we spent over $1000 on two water leaks, roof sealing and welding repair of our electric step. But we had a lot of fun:))

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    1. No, it really isn't bad and they are things that have to be bought anyways or things that have to get done in order to continue living this lifestyle.

      Sorry that you had problems with leaks, they are no fun at all. As you said though, you had fun and that is what life is all about! :-)

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  10. Wow, yay Ruth with your new bike! We had a service engine soon light come on heading to FL and the local Autozone scanned it for free (in hopes of selling a part)! That gave us a clue what the problem was - some emissions part that we took off and cleaned and all has been good since, knock on wood! But we’ve had pricier problems like oil getting in the gas line (or vice versa) and almost causing a fire. You just have to go with the flow and hope that’s the last repair for a long while! We have the same engine you do only a ‘98.

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    1. We will have to remember that if we ever have an issue to need this service when we are traveling through the States, unfortunately Canada doesn't have any AutoZones.

      Fingers crossed that when we get this part replaced it will solve the problem and we are confident that it will. No doubt there will be other issues down the road but hopefully it will be a long way down the road! :-)

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  11. It seems like when One thing needs to be replaced they all need to be replaced but then again you'll get more worry free miles out of Sherman again.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. The tires are a big item but you know that ahead of time and budget for it, it's the other things that crop up and if they can stay to being small things than we can deal with that. Hopefully there won't be anything big for a good long time. :-)

      Living this lifestyle is worth it though!

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  12. Hubby wanted to know if you have ever had your roof repaired or replaced, as ours is delaminating right now and he wants to do his own. He has a fear where it was delaminating that water may have gotten in underneath.. and if so what is the condition of the wood structure underneath. We head out again maybe October sometime.
    www.oneincomedollar.com

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    1. You can probably find youtubes on how to do this. Some of the wood sheathing might need replacement, but that's not a huge deal. The rubber membrane roofs are not that hard to do, you can get a single sheet that covers the entire coach with no seams. I don't know much about other types of roof.

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    2. We redid Sherman's roof but because it is a rubber roof the application is different. Here is our post on that. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2015/09/rv-rubber-roof-coating.html

      Creigh is right, you are best to look at YouTube videos on how to do it.

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    3. If you have doubts about your substrate, a coating might not do. I got my materials from Roof Top Systems (rubberrooftop.com), I thought very reasonable at $560 for a 30 foot kit. They have lots of DIY info too. Doesn't look like they ship to Canada, though.

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  13. If you are heading towards Edmonton AB, and still looking for a place for an alignment you might want to consider this place. Spruce land truck and trailer in Spruce Grove the address is #20 Oswald drive Spruce Grove .PH#780-962-4097. I had my 40' 5th wheel trailer aligned there on my way home from Alaska about three weeks ago. Ain't cheep!

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    1. We are not headed to Edmonton, but thank you for the suggestion.

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  14. My "repair budget" is one day fixing and maintenance for every week on the road...

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    1. Lol, luckily that hasn't been Sherman's case! ;-)

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  15. Congrats on the bike and Sherman tires not a bad price. When driving back to Canada in June we had a tire blowout just past Nogales with our Yukon GMC. Took both us to remove it in the desert heat complaining about the last person to put them on( hubby who’s a mechanic lol�������� brand new last year before we move down)
    Knew we would need a actual tire shop so stopped in Tucson at Firestone 2 new Firestone truck tires replaced spare with other tire ( original from factory) balance and alignment $420 US ) that price would have been hubby employee price just for the tires. Loving early retirement ��

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    1. Thank you, I am looking forward to Kevin now getting a new bike so that we can get some good biking in. :-) I can see the bike getting lots of use. :-)

      Kevin does quite a bit of shopping around for tire prices and these seem pretty fair. He certainly doesn't want to wait until we get down to the States though, we need them sooner than later.

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