Good to hear from you. Was the valve problem something you've had for a long time?
I'm still in Saudi.
I never did buy the truck, but my best friend back in Michigan did after I mentioned that I wanted to get one when I quit working in Saudi. He built the box on the back himself and jumped through all the hoops they wanted for it to be licensed as a private vehicle. He's already had it on a couple of long drives and is quite happy with it. He reminds me of you quite a bit in that he can fix or make almost anything, so what for him was an enjoyable project would have been a chore for me. I did end up with a vehicle here in Saudi that I've been wanting for a long time. My 93 Suburban became totally unreliable, so I bought a Toyota Land Cruiser Model 78. Straight 6, manual transmission, two 90 liter gas tanks, roll up windows and two bench seats that fold up in the back against the sides. Totally utilitarian. The Bedu drive the pickup version so you can get parts anywhere you go in the Arabian peninsula, plus find someone who knows how to fix them.
I haven't been to the Gorge the last four summers because I've been sailing on Masirah off the coast of Oman. July and August have consistent 20+ knot winds nearly everyday and depending where you decide to sail, it can be port or tack side shore. Waves get up to 4-5 meters.