the saga of my idler arms

A few months ago I was in Washington changing a wheel bearing and this guy told me that my idler arms were falling off and I was going to die driving down the freeway. It’s cool that if I jack my van up at a truckstop people will come and wiggle things and give me advice, but it would be even cooler if everyone who did that knew what they were talking about. I wiggled my idler arms. They moved an eensy bit, but it seemed small and normal to me. I consulted my trusty Haynes Manual (every hobostripper needs one) but it didn’t offer any enlightenment about normal idler arm wiggles. So I consulted an email list that I was on. A bunch of people told me that an eensy wiggle probably didn’t mean it was going to fall off, but keep an eye on it. One guy told me that I must have something else mistaken for my idler arms (people with vagina’s obviously can’t tell their idler arms from their tie rods, right?) and my tire was in immediate danger of falling off. He recommended that I find myself a nice guy to fix it and make sure the guy understood alignment. Right.

I proceeded to New Mexico, and nothing fell off. My brake rotors picked up some warp, but it seemed to have worked itself out and now it doesn’t shake at all when I brake. Before I left the desert, a friends husband looked at the idler arms for me. He said one of them might be a little iffy but that it probably wasn’t a problem for several thousand miles. Cool. Driving to Alaska is a couple thousand miles, so I figured I’d visit my friend, Mr. Mechanic, along the way.

So here I am, oh… about ten thousand miles after I was supposed to die on the freeway, at Mr. Mechanic’s place. He says my idler arms are absolutely fine and that the eensy wiggle is normal for when it’s jacked up.


  1. I hate it when I have car troubles, or even car DOUBTS. If nothing else, I want a dependable car. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be dependable.

    It sounds like your life is quite the adventure. Why have you chosen to go to Alaska? Is it a dream to be fulfilled or good money to be made? Both? Maybe when you get tired of being up north, you can drive your van down south – way down south – and visit here (Peru). Not so much money to be made, since the economy is about a third of what it is in the US, but lots of fun to be had and the life here is at a slower pace than in the north.

    Enjoy your next road trip!

  2. From your first blog, “Why would I do that, they wanted to know, why wouldn’t I go to the biggest cities and work in the nicest clubs and stay at ritzy hotels?


    Why the alternative lifestyle? Gotta be the strangest mix of work and play that I’ve heard. Not complaining, not critisizing, just interested in your reasons…if you care to share.

    I’m slowly, after 50 years, becoming more interested in the reasons that people do things. More so than the actual doing…if that’s a word.

    And…it sounds like a very cool life.


  3. I’m in ABQ and can help w auto repairs, esp if your van is a Dodge, but being a van converter for 20 yrs I know them all quite well. Love your blog and interesting insights.

  4. Hey, great blog so far. I’m a vandwelling poker player currently in Vegas but on my way to Austin, TX for a while. Need a break from this town and the Vegas poker subculture. Will be great to be around trees again.

    Keep up the good work. You’ve got one reader!

  5. 😳 Well, I have to admit my preconceived ideas about strippers. was wrong, at least when applied to you. Your life sounds interesting, full and normal to me.

    I’ve worked with dogs for almost thirty years now. Grooming, showing, and training. I’ve cut back of late though…carpel tunnel, tendonitis, arthritis, I can’t hold on to them like I use to.

    I would love to live in my van and travel. But I’m sure my grown children would hunt me down and slap me in a home (for my own good, that is. 🙄 ) So, I just keep dreaming about it and reading other peoples stories.

    Good luck and I hope you have great adventures


  6. tara- thanks for the link to your site! this is a great blog, and i look forward to following along!more later…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *