Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Paranoia and mudflaps

A story of rumors and quandary
This is a blurb about mud flaps, well fear too. Yeah, mud flaps and fear, but first let me preface my tale by telling you that we're a couple of weeks away from lift off to Alaska and points north. Because, we're going to share this little excursion of Northern
Latitudes with a couple of good friends, caravanning style, we have put a bit more planning into this trip ( Rather than the usual "Kinda itching for the road. You too? Vamanos.") This has had the effect of ramping up anticipation as check off list items are crossed off (or added on). 

So as special preparations are being done I'm reading all these horror stories such as broken windshields, flat tires, black water tank plumbing destroyed by rocks, and so forth. And I'm aware of the "fear driven" mods that people are making to their RVs.  Just how many are necessary and how many are useless, who knows?  I can't really tell by reading the blogs and forums.

As an old Social Studies teacher I'm well aware of "risk assessment" studies.  You know those little common sense facts that are blown out of the water by actual studies and stats, like you're more likely to die in your car on the way to the airport than in an airplane crash.  Or while traveling in the Middle East you're more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack.  Those pesky cars are a real threat but because they are so popular and so normal in our everyday life we discount their real risk potential. As a cross country cyclist and continually fielding questions by friends perceived car/bike safety I would recite the substantiated fact that a person is 17 times more likely to die falling down the stairs at home than in a cycle/car collision. (And I don't have any stairs in my house, so that makes even safer for me? OK, not really, but you get my point).

So mud flaps ..... well, I'm getting there.

All my life, since as a kid turning channels for my Dad (remember when kids used to be the remote?) to teaching I've been somewhat of a news junky.  And I guess news programs have always been negative, but I think that they have gotten more and more into the fear mongering game.  All the news organizations do it and I'm not just talking about the quasi news talk shows (experts, so-called experts and fools).  The real news shows work at scaring the hell out of us. I mean, it gets viewers' attention, so give 'em what they want. When I retired, I gave up watching or to listening news, national or local (I still read, but generally after the events have had a time to simmer off the flux and get the remaining facts).  And I feel better for it. It's not like any of that really impacts my life. Despite tons of negative, years and wars ago, civil rights, gun carry laws, gay marriage, marijuana legalization my life has continually gotten better.  Don't get me wrong I still vote. although my track record on candidates and issues are pretty sketchy at best.  But, you know, after of all those years of caring it still leaks into my peripheral vision. And thus, my mud flap dilemma. 

Should I or shouldn't try to put mud flaps on the Silverado for the Alaska trip? After judging the pros (all the fear stories)  and cons (more work and how the hell am I going to mount them) we come up with one of our oft said mantras "what would it hurt".  But how? Then, as we are leaving the Quartzite Fiberglass Rally this February I see a Scamp owner pick up a rod with mud flaps and lay it across the hitch. So simple!  We didn't stop to get a close up of the rig but the idea stuck. So succumbing to the fear mongers (or the wise pundits, I 'll let you know after Alaska)  Here are our mud flaps.

I might have mention in previous blurbs that we're a bit on the cheap side so having a professional do it was economically out of the question, so to the junk pile I went and I find a 3 sided metal rod that I had once procured to make an on-top rack for our recumbent tandem (and never got around to doing). It's wide enough. From my mechanic I beg a couple of old mudflaps from an 18 wheeler. After that its just a matter of drilling some holes and welding a small piece of the same angle iron on the bottom of the hitch.  It's not exactly a thing of beauty, but functional (?) I think. I'll let you know.

After doing this, we found Rock Tamers for $200. Mine cost around $12. But of course, we won't count the countless steps to and from the garage to fetch tools.


  1. We're also headed to Alaska this summer. There's some interesting information out there on how to protect the front of the Casita from flying debris; we've opted for plain old mud flaps that attach to the wheel well. I guess we'll hope for the best and just enjoy all Alaska has to offer.

    1. We'll be Casita sightings for each other! May you have tailwinds and smooth roads!

    2. Marsha, will you be keeping a blog? If so, post it here.

    3. Thanks for the well wishes. I will be keeping a blog and will post as we get ready to head out. I'm following your blog now since it looks like you'll head out before we do.

      Safe travels.

    4. Marsha, I'm unable to see your blog since you have elected not to share it publicly