New Toy: Although the Suburban has never stranded us, Andrea and I decided to bail on it and replace it with something else. Kinda sad as we put alot of blood/sweat/tears into this vehile with things like: window motor/regulator replacement, blower replacement, two starter motors, and lots of little stuff as well as brand new tires ($1000) and head gasket replacement ($2000) and A/C service. Also a few episodes of climbing underneath and fixing things during breakdowns.
  But enough looking backwards, this trip was about seeing a candidate pick up truck at a used dealership in Santa Barbara. We wanted a 3/4 ton (for heavy towing), 4x4 for hang gliding, crew cab (to seat at least 6) and long bed to allow for truck sleeping and dirt bike carrying with the tailgate closed. We wanted to pay less than $15,000. Hard to do, even in this market.
  But the one we bought was a bit older (2002) with a few more miles than we wanted (143k) but seemed to be in real good shape.
 We have since learned that the rear differential needs rebuilding (I was suspicious of this) and a trasmission service was needed. I have already repaired the transmission shifter linkage and replaced the clean air intake gasket. So we are out over $1000 already, but still very much in the game with this one. A couple pictures below.


Andrea dwarfed by the big green giant;)

from the front. Also at the used dealership.

Longer, taller, heavier than the Suburban. Tow package.