MusingsTrip Journal

Acknowledgement…of Rad and Bad

By August 15, 2018 No Comments

Bert’s taken us many, many miles and he asks so little in return.

The truck wouldn’t start the other day. I needed to go into town to run errands before picking Vikki up from Riverton. It finally started after a half-hour of coaxing and cursing.

The thing about living on the road that you have to watch out for, is that your vehicle is your life. Since we opted for the truck-trailer combo, we do have a little bit of separation, but the truck is still pretty frickin’ important. Thankfully, Bert’s been a rather reliable bloke, and, 6.5 years after the fact, I still marvel at our luck in finding a 7.3l International Powerstroke engine in such good condition. So do most of the mechanics we’ve taken it to.

Thing about diesels is, they’ll give you no trouble if you keep them happy, but they do need a little more preventative maintenance than, for example, my old Honda Accord. Diesel engines need to be warmed up before they work properly, so when starting up, there’s a whole system of electronics that heats the engine cylinders before the starter gets them pumping. The glow plugs, as they’re called, aren’t necessary when it’s hot out, but the truck won’t start without them in winter, as Vikki once discovered on a frigid morning in Rocktown, GA.

When the truck ain’t workin’, we cain’t be bolt clippin’. Jessa working on When I Was a Young Girl I Had Me A Cowboy (Poorly/Mainly Soft 8B)

Anyway, the truck had a bad glow plug relay, which is the part that controls the flow of electricity to the plugs themselves. It’s been bad for a while (by the way, I recommend everyone get one of those little dongles that tells you what the ‘Check Engine’ light is warning about, they’re like $25), but we’d opted to ignore it, because it’s summer.

Thing about camping up at Wild Iris is that it’s awesome, but it’s at nearly 9,000 feet of elevation, and pretty cold in the mornings. We cranked and cranked while our neighbors in camp ate breakfast and offered to jump start us (which, of course, won’t help because without the glow plugs the engine just won’t turn), and we waited and cranked some more while said neighbors packed away lunches and ropes and quickdraws. On his way out, our neighbor Dave from Fayetteville, Arkansas handed me the keys to his very new Tacoma and said to take his truck into town if we needed.

Now, the thing about Dave is that he’s also living on the road, and his life (well, minus rope and quickdraws) is pretty much packed into his truck. And yet his only admonition was to be careful since it’s a brand new truck, and if we could please bring him some ice from town.

The kids these days, I believe they call what I’m feeling “feels,” which I think is short for “feelings.” (May nuance rest in peace.) In any case, I’m writing this because of all the things swirling around in my head these days – from the plight of migrant families to the ass-warts separating them, from the recent asbestos-related news to the SNAFU we call race relations – this feeling of shared humanity and the desire to help seemed like the most positive sentiment to share.

“Everything’s a fucking travesty with you, Bert.” The Dude pontificates on another Wild Iris sunset.

One more thing on a positive note: I’ve visited Napa Auto Parts in Lander a handful of times for various purposes. When I mentioned that my truck wouldn’t start, they told me “oh, just give us a call, we’ll come out and jump you.” I said I was camping up at Limestone Mountain, 45 minutes outside of town. “Oh, well, I’ll just come up on my lunch break.” We likely won’t take advantage of this offer, but how awesome is that? Although, I did get chastised for not bringing Little Dude into the store on my most recent visit…

And Today’s Go F**k Yourself Award Goes To…

Congratulations, Corporate Greed! Some Very Smart People saw some Big Data, and that is why your inbox is full of bullshit. While the people at Napa spent time and energy trying to help me with my problems, American Express was trying to get me to spend money on dining and entertainment, which, if they knew a goddamn thing about what we’re doing with the RV Project, is like trying to sell a boat to a dolphin.

So I finally hit the “Update Email Preferences” button, checked the box saying “no more emails oh please I can’t take it anymore,” and got this confirmation message:

“Please stop calling and texting me, I’m busy.” “Oh, okay. I’ll call you for the next week or so, then I’ll get out of your life.”

10 days, eh? You can instantly charge us all manner of fees and maintain connections with millions of merchants worldwide, but purging one email address from your list will take 10 days? Well, I suppose this is an improvement over the 18th century, when you’d have to send a request to unsubscribe from Lloyd’s of London mailings with the captain of a merchant ship bound for England, and he’d just as likely lose your letter in the Thames as deliver it in good faith.

AMEX, go fuck your monolithic self. You, and every author of every book and article that suggests that companies can sell more by being “authentic” on social media. No, I don’t want to “stay connected,” “check out content,” or “engage.” Fuck all y’all.

But thanks, Dave, and thank you to the people working at the Lander Napa. And to everyone who asked about the truck and offered to help in any way they could. Ain’t that America. Yes, yes it is.

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