Nov 192010

Well, it took a while, some trial and error, and my blood pressure was in the stratosphere for a couple of days, but it was worth it. Well, it was worth it to me. Miss Terry had to live with the grouchy bear I become when I get too stressed out from dealing with thieves and idiots, and I’m not sure she’d agree that anything is worth that! But, it all came together, and yesterday we resolved the issue with towing the Ford Explorer, and took delivery of it.

Actually, we already had it, because the folks at Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Winter Haven allowed me to keep it overnight Wednesday while we tried to figure out a way to get it set up to tow behind our motorhome.

Explorer side

As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, the Explorer requires a Neutral Tow Kit, which is basically an LED light that plugs in under the dashboard, and a simple computer procedure from a Ford dealer to set up the transfer case for towing. However, the company that made the kit for Ford has gone out of business, and a dealer in Oregon bought up every kit available and was charging $375 plus $30 shipping, for an item that originally retailed for about $30. What a rip off!

A lot of internet research, and repeated phone calls to my two most reliable technical guys, Greg White and Ron Speidel, confirmed my belief that any LED light would complete the circuit and work. Thanks for all of your help and patience with my repeated phone calls, guys.

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The next step was finding a Ford dealer that would “flash” the computer for me. Jarrett Gordon Ford, in Davenport, Florida was willing to try it, and it worked like a charm! A $2 LED light beats the heck out of over $400 to accomplish the same thing!

Once we knew that we could tow the Explorer, the next job was to unload our Ford van so we could drop it off at the dealer as our trade in, and do the paperwork. Do you have any idea how much stuff you can cram into an extended length Ford cargo van? A lot! We are going to have to get ruthless about what to keep and what to dispose of, because while the Explorer will carry the newspapers we take to RV parks and rallies, and our kayaks on a roof rack, it’s no cargo van.

cargo area

What it is is a very nice ride, maybe the nicest we’ve ever owned. The previous owner was a Ford executive who special ordered the Explorer as his retirement present, and it has every option that was available that year. Leather interior, power seats, power windows and door locks, power sunroof, zoned climate control, molded in running boards, and more than I can remember. These pictures are from the dealer’s web site, and are not great, but hopefully they will give you an idea of what it looks like. It’s tan with a tan interior.


In fact, I was driving it home and playing around with all of the buttons and knobs, and suddenly I started feeling uncomfortably hot, even though the air conditioner was on. I told Miss Terry later that if I had been a woman, I would have sworn I was having a massive hot flash. As it turns out, I had turned on the seat heater, an option I never hope to be in cold enough weather to need!

The base plate for towing the Explorer is on order, and it will be a couple of weeks before we get it installed. In the meantime, I’ll drive the motorhome and Terry will drive the Explorer for the little bit of running around we’ll be doing between now and then.

By the way, if you are a fulltime RVer who is having trouble obtaining financing on an RV or tow vehicle because the bean counters at your bank don’t understand our lifestyle, call my friend Eileen Gilmore at Alliant Credit Union at (773) 462-2200, extension 3621, and tell her I sent you. Eileen will go the extra mile for you. She handled the purchase of our motorhome last year, and the Explorer now, and she has always been great to work with.

While I was busy with all of the details of the Explorer purchase, Bad Nick stayed out of the line of fire, and wrote a new Bad Nick Blog titled Coloring Outside The Lines. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Adversity introduces a man to himself.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  12 Responses to “Mission Accomplished!”

  1. Nick, we hope you like the new car. Let all of us know how it works out for you.

    And if you get serious about geocaching, an SUV is the only way to go!

  2. Too funny about the seat heater….been there, done that. But ours sure did come in handy recently for a strained back muscle. Wotta mess on the NTK – glad it finally worked out. Enjoy!

  3. So Nick how about posting the circuit or a link for others.. Thanks Garry.

  4. Nick, the Explorer is gorgeous! Drive safely and in good health!

  5. Nick & Terry…Congrats on the Explorer, I used to own a 2000 model similar to it and LOVED it! Enjoy!

  6. Where there’s a will – there’s a way!

    Good job and a nice looking ride! Bet that will be a lot nicer than running around in the van. Nothing like a new car to improve your outlook.


  7. Congrats Nick & Miss Terry. I’m sure you’re gonna love having a “conventional” ride instead of the van. Will you have to change your auxiliary brake system? If you do, I highly recommend the Air Force One air brake system. Hugs

  8. Nice car! We had several Explorers and like them…my brother is on his 4th, I think. He and his wife both drive them, always buying used.

    We plan to be in Bushnell the month of Dec (arriving by the 7th), then over to Lazy Dazy Retreat in Lakeland for Jan/Feb. Hope we can meet up with you guys!!

  9. What a Beauty! You may also need to put something cute (the mouse maybe) on the antenna so you can find your new wheels in a busy parking lot! Looks like a day trip is in order…

  10. So very happy for you both. Be safe and miss you both very much

  11. Congratulations on the new addition to the family. Beware of those heated seat buttons, ours seem to be possessed and turn on all by themselves. I love them though when the weather is like it was this morning at a hearty 34 when we left for San Antonio. See you next year.

  12. Nick,

    Several items:

    First, congratulation on the new SUV. And you scored a great find. That car was well taken care of before the sale.

    Second. How about a how to do it post on the Escapees Forum for others who might want.need to buy the $300 kit that can be substituted with a $2.00 ED.

    Third. The guy who bought up the kits is greedy. I can see charging a modest premium, but price gouging is venal.

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