I had a family in Philadelphia, so when I worked on the barn there was a six-hour commute each way. I always had junk trucks, so I was drivin’ out of Philadelphia in this old Ford pickup, through Harrisburg and up 322, where just outside of Thompsontown I see big, giant clouds of blue smoke comin’ out of the hood. I stopped and realized the power steering line had blown apart, so for the rest of the four and a half hour ride up to the farm I had to use “armstrong steering.”
One winter I was drivin’ up in another pickup truck I had. The heater didn’t work and it was freezin’ cold. I had the dogs (Polly & Vonchetta) in the back (and this had a camper shell on, at least), and I blew a tire on I-80 by Snowshoe about 1:30 in the morning. Scared the hell outta the dogs, and I didn’t have a spare. The cops happened to be cruising by, so they turned on their blinkers and I drove on the flat tire to Snowshoe. The gas station there was closed, so I got the dogs up front where fortunately I had a sleeping bag, and we all survived.
Then there was the time I had a completely different pickup truck in Bradford, filled with building materials. I stopped at a gas station and filled it up, then went in to pay and probably buy a pack of cigarettes. I hear a big, bumping explosive gun noise and turn to my left. Oh, the entire front of my truck has exploded into flames. At which point I’m frantically asking the cashier “Where’s the fire extinguisher?”, to which she replies “It’s right there next to the gas pumps.” I put the fire out, then pushed the truck off to the side of the parking lot and started hitchhiking home. Fortunately Joe Silfies, whose family has the next farm over, happened to be coming down the street and picked me up for the hour drive home.
So the truck’s sitting in the Kwik Fill lot with the entire engine, wiring harness, everything–all burnt-out–and like a moron I decide “Oh, let’s fix it.” I get in touch with Butch Walker, the cemetery caretaker, who knows someone who has an engine that matches my engine, so I buy it. I get Danny Olson, another Clermont guy, to put it in and replace the wiring. It never works out. I should have left the truck, the gas station, and Bradford all burn to the ground.
There were so many truck and tractor fiascos–run outta gas, blow up the carburetor, nuthin’ works, it’s all broken down, you’re stuck someplace, callin’ the neighbors to find out what the hell you did wrong. Anyone with a lick of sense at some point would have gotten in the best vehicle there was in the general area, driven away for keeps, and never come back. Period.
But not me.