May 6, 2009

Break Downs, They Always Catch You Off Guard

Monday night we stopped in Glendive, MT to fuel. Then Malcolm went to bed. About ten minutes after pulling out, I realized I'd forgotten to take the dogs out to potty. It had been raining and muddy at the truck stop, but I knew I could get out of the mud on an exit ramp. So I pulled off the interstate somewhere west of Glendive. Getting out of the truck, I smelled diesel fuel. Not that uncommon, and I assumed Malcolm had splashed some on the truck when he fueled earlier.

Lesson: Mama always told me "never assume anything!" I should have listened better.

I finished my trip to Shepherd and got there around midnight. I didn't want to go in to the house so late at night, disturbing the neighbors, and Malcolm would have had to get up to back into our drive. So, I swung into Pryor Creek Bar's truck parking lot and we slept there.

Malcolm got up around 5:30 on Tuesday, reached through the curtain that divides the sleeper from the cab, and turned the truck on. Well, he went through the motions anyway. It just chugged, but didn't start. He tryed it a couple times with no success. In my half-concious state I groggily asked, "what's wrong?" To which he replyed, "Sounds like the engine's not getting any fuel."

Slowly the nerve endings in my brain started sparking. Spark...............spark............spark........spark..........spark, spark, spark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Hey, when I took the girls out last night, it smelled like diesel. Did you splash fuel with you filled up last night?"

Malcolm just stood there, then heaved a sigh. "No, I didn't." Then got out of the truck.

I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and got out to take the girls out. Malcolm, by that time, had opened the hood. I asked what was wrong. He told me to take a look and pointed under the truck.

Bending down and looking under, it wasn't hard to spot the steady trickle of diesel fuel making a puddle on the ground. My first thought was, "how much fuel have we lost?" followed by "how much money is on the ground?" followed by "where is that coming from?" I asked the last question out loud. The answer was not what I wanted to hear.
"Looks like its coming from the engine." he said.

Engine.....a very dirty word when it comes to mechanical problems. "Engine" is something you don't want to hear. "Engine" conjures up images of $$$$$$$$$, not making them but spending them. I hear "engine" and assume the worst. There's that "assume" word again. I assume "new engine" which means $20,000 or more, and days in the shop, and not working. Frantically searching the recesses of my mind for some kind of silver lining, I found one, a small one. At least we were 10 miles from home instead of in Kansas or somewhere.

We zipped over to the feedlot to dump our corn, then Malcolm dropped me and the trailer at the house, and took the truck to town. Our original plan of delivering, showering, and leaving on the next trip was not following the agenda we'd set.

An hour later he called me. "Come get me," he said. Not what I wanted to hear. "Come get me" means he's coming home without the truck. I'd spent the hour showering, puttering around, trying not to think about the truck, and praying that it was nothing serious. "Come get me" didn't lead me to think "not serious."

But I was wrong! The guys at the mechanics shop said they thought it was probably a hose, a common problem, and "Thank you Lord!" they were right. They had it fixed by 3:00 that afternoon.

Malcolm used the time to fix a few things on the trailer, switch a couple tires, and we ran by Tractor Supply to get a hose clamp. Let me add, totally off the storyline, that when we went in to TS, I made a bee line to the tack/pet supply section of the store to brouse while he went for hsi part. That's what I always do. But on my way my ears detected a sound that stopped me in my tracks. Oh! Music to my ears! I did an about face, and there they were. Three rubber watering tanks just full of baby chicks. There was one tub of ducklings, one of chickens, and one tub filled with assorted bantam chicks. Those were my favorite. They were busy going about their little chicken business, never minding being in a plastic tub in a store. I wanted to take them home so badly. Is it pathetic that the sight of those baby bantams made me have to fight hard not to cry? I was chocked up a little. I asked if I could bring one in the truck with me, but the answer was a firm "no." I guess I can't blame him for putting his foot down on that one. It was an irrational request, and really not a serious one.

Anyway, by the time we got the truck back, it was too late to get to Decker to load. But no complaints. At least we could still go in the morning.

So this morning Malcolm drove the two hours or so to Decker, loaded the coal, and we're just passing Miles City on our way to Mentor, MN. We'll have to run hard the next couple days to get both our trips done and reload Friday, but we're just ever so greatful that we're still rolling down the road, and havn't lost any loads.

1 comment:

Meagan said...

YAY! I am relieved that it was nothing major!!!!

Um, yeah. I was at Tractor supply the week before Easter looking at Lawn Mowers with Chris and TOTALLY spent like 15 mintues holding baby chicks and baby ducks. Made me think of Friends, lol. :-) So cute! Thankfull our tractor supply won't let anyone buy less than 6 or something... keeps people from buying an easter chick and ending up with a chick-en that they won't take care of! :-)