Road Trip

My daughter and I were traveling to Louisville, Ky., a pleasant but uneventful trip for the first couple of hours. We were traveling along the expressway, cruise control on 70, radio tuned to something agreeable when Rebecca says, “What was that noise?”

“What noise?”

“Didn’t you hear that! It sounded like a big rock hit the bottom on the truck.”

(The vehicle in question was my ’07 F150.)

“I didn’t hear anything.”

“Don’t you here THAT!”

The rapid fire tapping noise was coming from the manual transmission case. Bad news, to be sure. I have the feeling this is suddenly become a very expensive road trip.

“Yea, I hear that.”

The day melts into tow trucks and rental cars, missed appointments and cancelled meetings. We arrive home just before dark. I realize this was my daughter’s first roadside breakdown.

“How’d you know what to do?” she asks. “I’d have just called you.”

I consider several responses and settle on the unvarnished truth. “I’ve had lots of experience. It used to happen to me all the time.”

A couple days later Tim, the mechanic, is explaining that a sliver broke off the 4th speed gear then caused considerable havoc in the gear box. “It might have been a defective part,” he says, while I’m fuming about being a handful of miles out of the extended warranty. “But they’re not made like they used to be. None of them are. I see a lot more automatics that manuals.”

This may have been designed to make me feel better. It didn’t work.

I thank him for agreeing to work on it.

“Glad to do it,” he said. “You know, the clutch looks like it still a few miles on it but if you’re going to keep the truck a while this would be a good time to change it while I have it apart.”

I’m inclined to tell him to forget it but know that he is giving good, reasonable advise so I agree.

By the way . . . learned tonight that iPhones are great until you drop one.