Me Against the Truck


Ross arrived around midnight last night for a quick turnaround trip. While he was here on leave for a month, he talked to a guy who works on diesel engines. His “new” (not brand new, just new to him) truck needs some work. It’s an absolutely gorgeous truck, but it needs the engine rebuilt.

Ross working on his big beautiful truck here last month while he was on leave:

He spent quite a bit of time during his leave prettying the truck up and adding doo-dads. Ross loves vehicle doo-dads, and he loves working on a truck. He’d rebuild the engine himself, but he doesn’t have time right now. He learned everything about working on an engine from his first truck (my new old truck) and then he moved on to a diesel truck for a new challenge. He would like to be a mechanic in his alternate life.

It will take two to three weeks for his truck to be finished–but when Ross will be able to come get it is another question. That depends on his submarine schedule, which he doesn’t know yet. It might be MONTHS before he can come back. Meanwhile, after I drove over with him this morning to drop off the truck and get him back to the farm, he needed another vehicle to get him back to Norfolk. I was in a hurry to get his old truck, which he had signed over to me, repaired and stickered up so he could take it back to Norfolk for the duration. Only–I don’t have the official registration card back in the mail yet, only the DMV registration receipt, and he has to get it stickered on the Navy base when he gets back. Whether or not in this post-9/11 world of tightened security the Navy police would accept a truck registered in another name without a proper registration card is an iffy proposition. I didn’t realize the Navy base sticker issue until he explained this morning. Ross has to get the vehicle onto the base or he has no safe place to leave it if he is called out to sea. Might be fine, might not.

I had an idea.

A brainstorm.

A challenge for myself, and a sure bet for Ross to get a vehicle on the Navy base because this one has all its documentation in order.

I said, “You can take my Explorer back to Norfolk.”

OHMYGOD. What did I just do? (After all my trouble driving the truck.) And yet it sounded oddly enticing to be left alone with the old truck.

And so Ross gave me a lesson in the old truck, showing me how to shift into reverse, making me practice up and down the road, reversing a few times, chiding me on riding the clutch, and then he took my Explorer and headed for Norfolk. Leaving me with no vehicle in my driveway other than that old truck–for who knows how long.

I immediately went to the store to pick up some hot dogs so I could cook out for Morgan tonight, and mostly so I could drive the truck. When I got back in the truck in the parking lot at the store, I had to throw myself on the mercy of a man in the car parked next to me because I couldn’t get it started again.

He said, “Push in the clutch.”

THERE IS SO MUCH TO REMEMBER! But. I will learn! And remember! Because I can’t go anywhere unless I drive that truck.

So be it.

I’m excited!


  1. stebcol says:

    I’m WAY impressed that you have taken on the challenge of the truck. I have a feeling in a couple of weeks you and that truck are going to be new best friends. 🙂

  2. StrandedinPA says:

    :sun: Good for you. That’s really the best (only?) way to do it.

  3. mammaleigh says:

    Sometimes we are at our best when we are left with no other option!
    I know that is when I am at my most creative with food…nothing in the house except rice, chicken, and something else…I’ll figure something out!!
    Your a smart, brave woman…you can do it!

  4. bonita says:

    ahhh another jump into the deep end moment
    good for you

  5. whaledancer says:

    Way to throw your hat over the fence!

  6. Canner Joann says:

    Total immersion! Way to go! You’ll be a pro by the end of the week!

  7. mds9 says:

    It should start in neutral also. 🙂

  8. dmcfarland says:

    Great incentive! And after you drive it for months(?) your left foot will be searching for the clutch in the Explorer or any automatic. And Morgan should be learning to drive a stick now while she isn’t afraid and eager to drive. My grand-daughter just got her license and driving a stick on San Diego freeways. Tough love in this family; if one can’t drive a stick then you don’t drive at all. You can do it.

  9. lattelady says:

    The only place I was uncomfortable driving a stick was in San Francisco. But, I did it.
    Do like my automatic though. :snoopy:

  10. princessvanessa says:

    mds9–The truck will only start if the clutch is pressed in and it can be in any gear (or neutral) to start. Before releasing the clutch the driver will want it to be in 1st or reverse. A person can, with a very slow clutch release and a little extra gas take off in 2nd gear.
    My truck has a clutch bypass button that I can press before turning the engine on that eliminates my having to depress clutch.

  11. Pam full of joy says:

    When you go back to driving the Explorer you’ll be thinking how much more fun it is to drive the truck-what with all the shifting and clutching. Besides, a farmer drives a truck. Good for you!

  12. yvonnem says:

    Way to go, girl….just do it! :dancingmonster:

    And you will be searching for the clutch when you get the Explorer back…I still do it from time to time, and I’ve had an automatic for years, but my first two cars were standard. They are really fun to drive. Both of hubby’s trucks are stick and I drive them occasionally.

    You’ll be driving the tractor soon! (Or not…LOL!) :heart:

  13. judydee says:

    I’m so proud of you!!

  14. rhubarbrose says:

    Way to go on getting “back on that horse”!!!! You can do it!

  15. rhubarbrose says:

    Way to go on getting “back on that horse”!!!! You can do it! EEk.

  16. JerseyMom says:

    That’s just the right thing to do, in so many ways. Provides transportation for your sailor, brings you and the new old truck into close contact, gives you a vehicle to teach Morgan to drive in. All good!!

  17. wkf says:

    Way to :whip: that :dancingmonster: !!!!! tomorrow the tractor and next week THE WORLD!!!!!!!

    Bravo!!!Good for You!!!

  18. FujiQ says:

    The things we can be motivated to do for our children!

  19. Sheryl says:

    YAY! Suzanne! We knew you could do it!!!

  20. Sheryl says:

    @wkf, If she ever gets on the tractor, Morgan wont be able to get her off! Driving a tractor is so empowering!

  21. lifeisgood/ Melinda says:

    Good for you!!! You will do great!

  22. CATRAY44 says:

    Very proud of you! My little brother taught me how to drive a stick shift. After he told me to think the gears of the car like the gears inside of an old clock, pushing the clutch lets those little wheels spin freely so you can put it in gear. I don’t know if that will help you, but the picture helped me remember how to do it. I loved driving it after a few days!

  23. Pat says:

    !!! GOOOOOO SUZANNE!!! :snoopy:
    Pat in Eastern NC

  24. Murphala says:

    Wow! I think this may be the bravest thing you’ve attempted here! Yeah, I know, you bought a new farm and moved there by yourself with your daughter and the animals, that’s brave. But at least you don’t have to drive a farm down narrow roads while operating all your limbs simultaneously! Good for you! (I personally love driving manual transmissions… I learned to drive a stick in a moment of desperate need in the Rocky Mountains. Talk about your steep dropoffs…) you can do it Suzanne! I agree…get your butt on that tractor! :happyflower:

  25. Canner Joann says:

    Oh yeah…I forgot. Once you get used to how that particular clutch/gas pedal combo works, you won’t even need a brake pedal on hills, which is by far the worst part of learning to drive a stick, in my opinion. You’ll be able to hold that truck completely still just by putting the correct pressure on both pedals. This eliminates the fear I always have of rolling backward into someone. And remember that no two clutch/gas pedal combos work exactly the same. Each vehicle has it’s own nuances.

  26. Old Geezer says:

    I hope Ross left the “new” truck in a place where you won’t need to move it. As a diesel, the longer it sits unused the harder it may be to start. Driving a diesel is no different than driving a gasoline engine, but starting it can be a challenge depending on whether the initial glowplug period is manual or automated, and how on cold the engine is and how long is has sat. And diesel fuel stabilizer additive is not optional for storage.

    Diesel fuel can support the growth of algae over time! Yes, tiny little plant cells can grow up and party away in a diesel fuel tank! Now, if Ross is going to overhaul it anyway, not much of a concern — so long as you won’t need to move it in the meantime.

  27. Old Geezer says:

    “how on cold the engine” should, I think, be “on how cold the engine”

    Makes more sense that way.

  28. woolylamb says:

    You go girl! :woof:

  29. Stacy says:

    If Ross doesn’t want to have to wait for HOURS to get his base stickers, he should go to Little Creek Base. Much, much faster. He can get them on-line too, but they take forever to get mailed to you. Where is he living? And there is long-term parking on the base (somewhere).

  30. Remudamom says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m lmbo at your truck antics. We’ve got a handful of old trucks here that the guys use, I stick with my mini van. The other day I had to go somewhere in our new truck and couldn’t get it started until I FINALLY remembered that it was an automatic like my vans. I’m so used to the trucks being the other way I kept pushing my foot down for a clutch that wasn’t there!

  31. shirley T says:

    A MOMS’ gotta do what a MOMS’ gotta do. You will be driving that truck like a pro by the time Ross gets back. The tractor worries me a little, but just stay on level ground until you can handle it real well. If worse comes to worse you can always call A cousin. You do have lots of cousins don’t you? Good Luck.

  32. The High Altitude Tea Duchess says:

    I wish I had a, ‘Ross’ near me. I have an old van I dearly love that is having issues. I do not trust our local mechanics to know what is wrong let alone fix it correctly. It has lost its, ‘omph’ and the transmission feel like it is slipping when I go up hill. The mechanics hubby took it too say the entire engin needs replaced but it is so old, I doubt we could find a new one and then there is the cost involved. I should have had sons that love to tinker! lol

  33. Flowerpower says:

    Only you! :happyflower:

  34. zteagirl71 says:

    Ha ha ha… this brings back such good memories of me learning to drive a 4 speed with my boyfriend (now husband). We were in a deserted parking lot. I was doing really well after lovingly telling my boyfriend to be quiet when he was coaching me too much. I was trying to get the hang of first gear (feeling for the time to shift)and I was finally getting it. And then another couple came along at the other end of the parking lot. We girls quickly bonded as we waved to each other in excitement of this shared experience. And then he said, “We have to go.” I asked why. He said, “Because you two might run into each other.” He was actually serious. As if we were in bumper cars or something. It always makes me laugh when I think about it. 😆

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