Driving the Titanic - an oldie

With all the talk and pictures of my new truck, I didn't want anyone to get the idea that I was being frivolous. We have been without a truck to pull the trailer all summer. Here is an old story, but a good one, about our miss mash of ranch trucks around the place.

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Driving the Titanic(From February 8, 2012)

We have several trucks here on the ranch, all in various states of disrepair.

The two-tone blue GMC is my truck. The passenger door won’t shut unless the window is rolled down. The driver door won’t shut at all. (I usually just hold it closed and hope I don’t have to shift while turning a corner to the right.) The front bench seat won’t stay upright, so there is a cooler holding the passenger side up and a stick holding the driver upright. The windshield wipers don’t work unless it is a dry sunny day. Which is particularly bothersome in the spring when the 1/4 mile driveway is nothing but a mud bog. (I have been seen driving into town with my head hanging out the window like a heeler dog so I can make it to the gas station to wash the windshield and my face.) The truck gets about 4 mpg and has about 300,000 miles on the odometer, but just keeps ticking along.

The blue flat bed was Grampa Andy’s. It is possibly my favorite to drive. When you are in town everyone in my small community remembers how Grampa Andy drove as if he was the only one on the road, and other motorists just get out of the way! Which is a good thing since there isn’t a mirror you can see behind you, and the windshield itself lacks considerable visibility, but you can see the road below you through the hole in the floor board!


The white dually is a newer truck (which means it was made after the turn of the century.) It is a bit of a lemon, the radio doesn’t work, there is something screwy with the dash (you can never tell what gear you are in till you give it some gas.) It has leather interior, which the dogs and children took to mean “large chew toy.” And it has been in enough ranch accidents that tourists in Cody stop to take pictures of the carnage.

Seriously - this has happened.

Finally there is the brown dually with the tricky clutch. I can’t remember everything wrong with this truck... there is quite a list. But the most aggravating at the moment is that the battery cables are loose. So every time you start the truck you must open the hood and jiggle the wires.

Every time.

The other evening we started doing the chores. Which involves driving to the different animal corrals and forking off hay from a large bale to the critters.

This bale was on the brown dually. The cold, wet weather made popping the hood and jiggling the wires more of a chore than usual. It also meant keeping the truck running was more of a challenge ... and the jiggling needed to take place again and again!

Dick backed into the bullpen, with difficulty, (did I mention the power steering hasn’t been working?) It was wet and mucky in the corral and we steered to the driest-highest spot and fed some hay to the bulls.

I let Dick drive back out, armstrong steering and all, while I got the gate (two panels tied together with baling twine.) It didn’t take long to figure out, we were stuck in the muck. Naturally, the thing to do is get behind the truck and push, so I did. I was mid shove when one of the duals broke loose and spun out like a cat with a tin can tied to its tail.

I had gobs of green, wet, slick, slimy bull sh-- manure everywhere.... everywhere. Spit. Everywhere. Cough. Spit. Gag. Every Where.

Why do you s’pose my mouth was open?


The view from the driver window.

The only option was to get the white dually to pull the brown dually out. Dick backed up and attached the chains. I sat in ol’ brown and resolved to give ‘er some gas and keep from killing the engine.

The view from the windshield. (The defroster isn’t the greatest either.)


Dick revved the white truck and started the tug. Unfortunately the duels were spinning on ice and the weight of the stuck brown truck pulled the white dually sideways and sent a panel crashing into the fenders like the iceberg into the titanic.

Dick hadn’t noticed.

I started yelling and jumping and screaming. The damage had been done, but I didn’t want to scrape the taillights off too. Finally Dick noticed my hysterics, got out, surveyed the damage and cussed, a lot.

We pulled the panel loose and went to go back to the brown truck and to finally free it, when I noticed, in all my excitement I killed the engine.


Thanks for joining us here at the barnyard for a trip down memory lane! Come back and see us soon!

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Erin Stiver-Henson 2013