It ain't pretty being easy... (soopageek) wrote,
It ain't pretty being easy...


emember when I said last week that the problem with Sally was probably something reasonably small and simple to fix? On that count I was correct, but what I hadn't counted upon was the shop making it anything but simple. I run into this trouble a lot because Sally's innards is comprised of a Cummins engine. This in of itself is not a bad thing, Cummins makes a very good motor, in fact the U.S. military uses them in a lot of their heavy machinery. However, it's not as common a motor as Caterpillar or Detroit Diesel. I've learned to find shops that specialize in Cummins work. With the breakdown last week, though, I wasn't in a position to locate a good Cummins shop. Beggars can't be choosey, and the Freightliner shop was the closest and most accessible place for me to take her. Sally is a Freightliner after all.

The offending part was a sending unit in the oil system. The sending unit is responsible for monitoring the pressure and temperature of the oil and forwards the information to the guages on the dash as well as the main computer system on-board. The sending unit failed, and was telling the computer that there was low oil pressure, then high oil pressure, then low oil pressure, then normal oil pressure, then no oil pressure, etc... causing an infernal alert tone inside the cab telling me OMG NO OIL! Of course there was oil, just the sending unit couldn't tell the rest of the truck that there was.

The sending unit was relatively cheap, about $200 and would require about 1-1.5 hours of labor, in all a job not more than $500. They got Sally into the work bay late on Wednesday night and confirmed that this was indeed the problem and would order the part first thing in the morning. Since there was good oil pressure, Gary and I were able to spend the night in the truck that night. The next morning we took the truck back to the garage area and their Cummins man, Norman, took out the sending unit and proceded to put the new one in... and he broke the part. The shop immediately ordered another one from the Cummins warehouse and had it delivered ASAP and Norman gave it another go... and he broke that one, too.

Now realizing that something was amiss, the shop manager called Cummins and found out that some sort of adapter also had to be installed with it. They were not made aware of this by anyone at Cummins. It was now getting too late in the day to get the parts from the warehouse, so the shop manager assured me that he had expressed to Cummins the need for expedited service to get those parts there first thing in the morning. There was also more work that would need to be done, now. To make sure that none of the broken pieces found their way into the block, they were going to have to drain the oil and drop the oil pan to recover any pieces which may have fallen in. He also assured me that they were billing Cummins for all of this additional work since their service manuals hadn't been properly updated to account for the adapter.

They were going to tear down the oil pan that night, so staying in the truck another night wasn't an option. As my luck would have it, there was also a classic car show in town and any rooms that weren't booked had their rates jacked-up over $100. Since I was only an hour from home, I decided to rent a car and head for the house. Predictably, and I don't blame him, Gary was getting irritated. By now, it'd been nearly a week since we had been on the road. He was also dealing with some homesickness so he decided to take a leave of absence and catch a bus back to New York. The next bus he could catch, however, wouldn't be until 6pm the next night. No problem, I can just take him home with me and bring him back to Lousiville to catch a bus the next day when I come to get my truck.

When we got to Frankfort, I attempted to check him in at the motel where I usually put my students, but there was a sign on the door which said "No Vacancies" so I proceeded down the street to another motel I used in such situations and it was also booked. I asked the desk clerk why all the motels were full and she simply said 127 Yard Sale and, well that's all I needed to know. I took Gary to the house with me and setup an air mattress for him in the spare room. As part of my ongoing gratitude to him for doing the labor on my clutch rod the previous weekend, welfy and I took him to Ginza's for Japanese hibachi and sushi, since he had never been. After dinner, we took him for a small driving tour of the city to see the abandoned distilleries and an up-close-and-personal view of the dam downtown before returning home.

The next day, Welf went to work and Gary and I hung around the house waiting to hear something from the shop. We never did so I called them a little after noon and they told me they hadn't gotten the part yet. Regradless of what happened, I was now going to have to return to take Gary to the bus station, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Around 3pm I called again and they told me that they had the part and that Norman was working on it. YAY!

Gary and I made haste for Louisville and parted ways at the bus station downtown. I then drove over the river to the shop to check on Sally, fully expecting to find her ready to roll. Of course, with the way my luck had been going all week, she was not. Norman had hurt himself somehow in the process - not badly I'm told - but he did have to go and seek medical treatment. This also meant that, she wouldn't be ready until Saturday. Dejected and frustrated, I raced back across the river before the rush hour traffic got bad and headed back home, calling the rental company en route to let them know I would need to keep the car. I lay in wait for Welf and pounced on her as soon as she got home from work. After the magic of romance, we did what any couple does... we went grocery shopping and I topped the night off by cooking steak/mushrooms and getting Welf addicted to Arrested Development.

Welf had to work on Saturday as well, so off she went in the morning while I slept-in. I played Guitar Hero most of the day waiting for the shop to tell me something. I had already decided that, more than likely, Sally wouldn't be ready until the end of the day and that Welf was off the following day (Sunday) so, I'd just take the extra day and go back to work Monday. They called me around 4pm and I settled the bill over the phone with a credit card. Finally. I asked them to lock her up with the keys and a copy of the bill inside and park her outside their security fence in a place where I could retrieve her, since I planned to go get her and return the car on Sunday. That way, I could just leave from the house on Monday morning, I thought. I neglected to remember that there was an empty Werner trailer inside the fence, effectively negating that plan since I would now not be able to get it until the shop re-opened on Monday morning. The cost of diesel to bring the truck home then return to Jeffersonville for the trailer on Monday would be more than the cost of keeping the rental car yet another day, so I just stayed home.

Welf's brother nebreztnem and fiance smiles_sweetly have been living with us since February but just last week had signed a lease on a place of their own. Their move-in date is in mid-August but the landlord has already given them the keys. They had spent the day hitting the various sales up and down 127 and had found various deals on some furniture but had no way of transporting it. I called my Mom to see if their van was available for the weekend and, when Welf got home for work, the four of us headed to Washington Co. to the old homestead to retrieve it. My mom fixed a great fried chicken dinner for us, complemented with fresh vegetables from their garden. It was made of yum. Upon returning to Frankfort, Welf and I stopped for Moooooooo Latte's then drove by the house we hope to be moving into by the end of the month. With all the stress and agony this week has been causing me, I needed a reminder of why it was worth it. We went home and watched more Arrested Development before going to bed.

The next day, all four of us drove around to various sales. One in our neighborhood was trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff since it was the last day, and we got a stack of mismatched dinner plates for free! Over the course of the day, utilizing only $14 dollars, I scored a desk, an office chair, 6 steaks knives, a counter-top knife display with several large carving knives, a manual juice press, and a marble cheese cutting block with the wire/handle/hinge thingie on the end of it. We got to see Neb and Sweet's new digs, too. It's probably not more than 5 minutes from our future home. After they took the van back to my 'rents, we all went out to dinner for Mexican food then back home where we wearily crashed.

Monday morning, I was out of bed at 5am and on the road to get Sally. I took the rental car back and had load information within minutes. It was a short haul up the interstate from Louisville to Indianapolis. I called student assignments and, for once, was in luck, they had a trainee for me named Tom. Let me preface this by saying that Tom is nothing like me. That said, there are a lot of superfluous parallels. He's five years young than me, and engaged to a girl five years younger than Welf. He's divorced, with three kids, and hails from Michigan. He used to haul asphalt in pour-boy trailers 6 years ago, but has never driven over the road. For that reason, he was to do the full training period, but really I'll mostly be just knocking rust off his skills and teaching him how to do administrative sorts of things.

We left Indy and picked up a load in Clarksville, IN that was bound for Harrisonburg, VA... which meant that I could sneak back home for one more night. Heh. The air mattress was already setup, so I got in about 10pm, got a shower and made some grilled cheese sandwiches then hung out with Welf for a couple of hours. We got up at 5am and continued east. I wrote this behemoth while Tom dorve us through the mountains of West Virginia; I had nothing else better to do.
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