Farms need trucks. There are things to haul around. When we purchased our country property, we added a truck to our transportation options. That was more than 20 years ago. A few years ago, a friend asked if we still had that truck. Of course, we do. It still has under 150,000 miles. By city standards owning something more than a few years or having 100,000 on it after nearly two decades seems out of place. We explained that we mostly just driving it around the dirt roads now, so we only put a few miles on it at a time. “That’s not a truck… It’s a tool.”
Tools tend to get wear during heavy work. Paint gets chipped. Worn areas exposed to water begin to rust. Ten years ago, when we moved to the mountains, we took our vehicles to the DMV to register them. We would need to get a state inspection done. I took the truck to a local shop on a Saturday morning.
The technician came back shaking his head. “Hate to tell you… I’ll have to fail your truck… It had rust, here, on the wheel well.” He suggested that I could run over to the local auto store and pick up a can of Bondo. If I covered the rust, he would pass the truck. If I did it today, he would only charge me $1 more. But, the shop closed in one hour.
I headed off to the auto store, returning 20 minutes later, with my can of Bondo and paint scrapper. While I mixed the patch and began to smear it around the chipped paint, the technician came back out to talk with another man who was getting his car inspected. The car’s trunk could hardly close for the bent metal work and rust. When informed that he would not be passed because of the exposed rust, the man took out a roll of duct tape. With a few rips, he stretched the duct tape over the rust. One dollar later, he passed his inspection. My Bondo was drying.
One dollar lighter myself, I drove home with my passed sticker, and pink Bondo wheel well. Contemplating my options, I found a can of black Rustolium. I sprayed all four wheel wells black to make them look like they had wheel guards on them. Of course, over the year the paint dried more and cracks formed. This started a tradition of washing the truck once per year to add more Bondo and Rustolium on the rust areas before going for my annual inspection.
Soon, I began finding more paint chips and cracks in places other than the wheel wells. How to cover these? I came up with the idea of cutting stencils of leaf shapes, which I used to add black shadows of leaves with Rustolium. As the chips were in random places, the leaves ended up here and there. I sprayed a few additional leaves to create the image of leaves being stirred up by the wheels. Remember those flames on HotWheels cars?
It did not take too many more years before the leaves came in colors. And, each year, more Bondo and more colors of leaves show up after the annual truck wash. Each year, the truck passes it’s state inspection.