The Gray Homestead sits about a mile off the highway. Well, the road into our place is about a mile long. I’m not really sure how far we are from the highway because of the way the ridge meanders around.
What I am sure of is the fact that the road in is very rough. It’s almost scary. Not only is it rough, in some places it’s almost a 45 degree incline or decline – depends on which way you are going. And not only are there steep hills, the roads also cant very steeply.
The road has a street sign and we have a street address, but it is a privately maintained two rut road. That means that the road only gets worked on when our neighbor works on it. It is rough in the best of conditions. It is treacherous with ice or snow on it. It really feels like we are going to slide right off the edge of the mountain.
Before moving to the homestead, we had an F350. It is a 4 wheel drive. It’s powered by a 7.3 liter Powerstroke Diesel. We had bought it to pull our camper, which we have only pulled one time. It has four doors and a full size back seat. It’s great for hauling things. It has taken us anywhere we have wanted to go. Because it is so long, it isn’t good for tight places. It doesn’t turn very sharp. It has a lot of ground clearance which is great for climbing over rocks and going through deep mud and water.
On the downside, it doesn’t get the best fuel mileage. It has two fuel tanks, but they each hold only 15 gallons. It has a manual transmission, and one of us has to get out to manually lock in the hubs when we need 4 wheel drive. But we paid cash for it, so it is ours and there is no payment.
I drive the truck. Jennifer drives a 1990 Jeep Cherokee. It’s a 4 wheel drive. It has an inline 6 cylinder gas motor. That little Jeep will crawl up and over anything we have pulled up to. We bought it off of Craigslist. We had to get a bonded title since the person we bought it from didn’t have a title for it. He told us he had it, but it turned out he couldn’t find it. We had already bought it from him when he realized it was lost, so he paid the fee for applying for a bonded title.
The Jeep cost a whopping $750. So far we have had to do some minor engine work and we have replaced the radiator. It leaks oil, but it doesn’t smoke and it always starts. Jennifer drives it 60 miles round trip 3 days a week to go to work and back. We are planning to use the vehicles to recharge our marine batteries during her weekly commutes.
Pre homestead, we also had 3 Mustangs, two of which were 1991s. The plan was to sell two of them. While trying to sell them, one of the ‘91s was totaled while sitting in my mother’s driveway. An F350 travelling down the highway in front of her house lost control (the State Police measured the skid marks at – wait for it – 500 feet), went through the ditch and hit the Mustang. It knocked the Mustang into our truck. Then the truck went through her fence. Nobody was hurt. We had a buyer lined up for it. He was going to pick it up two days after the crash. He ended up buying the other ’91.
That leaves us with the F350, the Jeep, an ’84 Mustang GT, and a ‘97 Yamaha FZR 600. The GT and the motorcycle are useless on the homestead. The GT is at my mom’s house with a busted transmission (which seems strange since it has a manual transmission). The FZR is at the homestead, but it has to be carried in and out in the bed of the truck. The FZR is a work in progress, as you can see by the pic. I need to finish painting the fairings, but it seems pointless since I don’t get to ride it very often. Maybe I will get to ride it more often in the spring.
Everybody has their own opinions about vehicles. Our opinion is that it’s silly to pay for new vehicles when the old ones get us around just fine. Sometimes they break down. When they do, it’s up to us to repair them. I have spent quite a bit of time working on them, but it’s satisfying to know that I’m saving money by doing so.
Would we like to drive new vehicles? Yes and no. We would like to drive them on the highway, but around the homestead we wouldn’t trade our old ones for new ones.