Thought Repository

Truckin' It

Sunday (yesterday) morning Lenny and I set out on our 20 hour, 2 day adventure to drive the loaded down Enterprise rent-a-truck to the Florida State Fair in Tampa. We had no idea what adventure was in store for us with this truck.

The first thing to go wrong immediately was that the cigarette lighter didn't work and we had brought power supplies and inverters and lots of electronic equipment. Luckily at our first stop I was able to take apart the dash and find it was just a loose wire and fix it.

Yesterday's driving was pretty good and uneventful. We ended up in Savannah, Georgia at about 2:30am. We couldn't get the lock off the truck because it was stuck or something. We went to bed and decided to deal with it in the morning. This morning I borrowed a hamer and chisel and the lock came right off with the first whack. But that was only the beginning of our troubles today.

We left there with about a quarter of a tank of diesel. We meant to be looking out for a place to stop for gas but we just forgot. Shortly the truck ran out of gas. We tried to get it to go as far as it would. We saw a gas station sign and we just made it to the bottom of the exit ramp when it died. We walked to the station and bought a gas can and fuel and walked back. It didn't start and after 2 more trips (a total of 8 gallons of diesel) we still couldn't get it to start. Two good samaritans tried to help us but they said we needed to add diesel to the fuel filter and needed a special strap wrench, which is where John comes in.

John was the tow truck driver who showed up to help. We checked the fuel filter but it was still full. The problem was air in the system. We had to manually pump a primer to try and get it out but after pumping for almost a half hour it didn't work. Finally with advice from someone else, John did something that still amazes me. We started the diesel truck on WD40. Read that again. He opened up the air filter and sprayed WD40 in and had me start the truck. It started but died because he said it was actually running off the WD40 as if it were fuel. When we did it again but gave it some gas it eventually started running on it's own.

That wasn't the only problem though. When John walked from his truck to ours he noticed something. Some kind of grease on the rear wheels. He tells us, in the thickest most unintelligable southern accent, "you got rear end dope leaking out your axle. The axle seal is crushed and your axle's gonna go at any time." "Well, what might happen?" "Any number of things. Your rear axle might just lock up, a wheel could fall off, or the whole back could catch on fire." Yikes! We immediately called Enterprise who told us that this truck had just had it's rear axle rebuilt and we were seeing stuff from before.

After that things seemed to be good. We got fuel, we got lunch, we drove all the way to Orlando, and we made two stops there to see friends. Before heading out to Tampa we filled up again. Once we reached Tampa we got off the highway and were literally 2 blocks from out hotel when the truck died again. It was out of gas. How did we let it do that again? Wait, we hadn't even gone 60 miles. I got out of the truck and went around back. The entire truck, especially the back, was covered in diesel. There was something wrong with this truck. A cop made me help him push it out of the road onto a median. Now I was covered in diesel, again. We called Enterprise and after a lot of craziness we got a tow truck to tow us. Thanks to Walter, Shannon, and Ethel at Enterprise. We got Steve, the tow driver (not his real name), to tow the truck to the fairgrounds so we can unload tomorrow.

The most amazing part of this story is how well Lenny and I kept it together. This text doesn't do justice to how funny and farsical (is that a word?) it really was. At least we maintained our senses of humor, as we were nearly dying laughing all day. We had a great ride down with each other, talking, singing along with showtunes, and making up jokes and funny situations. We imagined us accidently blowing up a string of gas stations when filling diesel, us getting arrested by backwater sherriffs because of all our stuff, us talking to truckers on a CB, and more. And then there was heavy use of accents, particularly southern. In fact my fake southern accent is almost permenantly stuck on now. While waiting for our tow we were even writing messages in the fog on the truck like "This truck is a bomb," "No Smoking," and "Free diesel showers." All Lenny will ever have to do to make me laugh so hard I cry is to say "rear end dope" in a thick accent.

So now we're here at the fair. I showered only smell slightly like diesel. We have to get up at 7 to handle things with Enterprise and set up our stuff. I'm pretty worried since we saw that the space we're supposed to be in is basically just a horse corral with very muddy ground. They are going to lay event floor but I don't know if that will be enough to keep Quasi and the Jam-o-Drums from getting muddy or dusty or ruined. I don't know that we should really be here wasting our time and ruining our equipment, but we don't have much of a choice. Hopefully things will get better in the morning.


Crossposted from LiveJournal:

That is an awesome story.

[info]matthewljacobs — 2/07/2006 08:02 pm

that was amaZing...

Clytie — 4/23/2006 06:12 pm