“Reprint” from the old WordPress site…
November 15, 2016
You may remember that I have been tolerating an air leak that leaves my driver’s seat on the floor after a while (please see the before and after photos below). It started out as an annoyance after a night’s break. Recently, I have been finding the seats on the floor after a ten minute fuel stop. Other drivers have noticed the escaping air noise and I wanted to get this fixed before the Highway Patrol notices. Remember that the brakes and suspension rely on air pressure – so it is not a trivial problem.
Eye-level view from the Captain’s Chair before (left) and after (right) air pressure.
The Powers That Be in Purgatory (not the ski resort) sent me a satellite mail to the effect that my tractor needed scheduled maintenance. I took that opportunity of a shop visit to request that the leak be repaired. So, after completing my last delivery in Harmony, Pennsylvania and before I accept another load I will drive to the TA truck stop near Barkeyville (I didn’t make that up) Pennsylvania.
The shop that performed the service check also changed out those near-bald drive tires that I have been putting up with for four months now. They were so bare that they would slip when driving on unpaved yards. The tractor starts out in four wheel drive but I had to shift into eight wheel drive to get any traction. I had asked the mechanics at Purgatory (NTSR) to change out those tires, but they refused.
The TA techs sent enough pictures to Purgatory to convince them to cough up for new tires, but they did not have the part to repair the air leak. Now, here I am in the driver’s lounge. It is a proper lounge with great big comfy recliners. You can see below that my fellow driver has found one and it has fulfilled the ultimate destiny of driver’s lounge recliners.
Above: Kenworth client demonstrates proper use for driver’s lounge recliners.
I appropriated the only desk in the room to indulge in my therapeutic literary activities.
Over the road trucking is not just an occupation, but rather a complete existential lifestyle. The truck feels so much like a ship that I cannot help but use such terms as “Captain’s Cabin” and “Ship’s Galley”. The truck is my mobile and very private domicile and the world as it passes, along with rest areas and truck stops are all parts of an ever changing but self-consistent existence.
Times like these, when I am “shipwrecked” are moments of alternate reality. I exist now in a circumscribed zone of quiet idleness while I depend on others to enable the continuance of the road venture. I know it could get depressing in a hurry. During those ten days in Maryland, I found diversion in expeditions on foot and mass transit. Likewise in another sentence to Purgatory I found a way to occupy my time with a visit to my son. More recently was the Excellent Day in Denver.
This particular interlude will hopefully be brief and I will occupy my time with telling the tale rather than gathering the experiences. My life on the road may strike you as a lonesome or forlorn existence. But when I encounter truck stop workers, technicians or service representatives who work in one place, doing basically the same thing every day, I count myself fortunate. Those people know exactly what tomorrow will bring – or next week or next month. I cannot say, for certain, where I will go tomorrow. Perhaps to the mountains of Northern California, perhaps to the Desert Southwest, perhaps to the limitless grassy plains of South Dakota.
As old as I am, I am still learning how to live my life in a meaningful and satisfying way. My reality as it has become is somewhat solitary, but it is my nature to enjoy solitude. My only regret is to be so long away from my family. But, this Walkabout has made me a better, stronger and more thoughtful person and I hope the brief time that I will be with them will be all the better for that development.
Over The Road,