Only hours after picking up the “reliable old truck” to head for South Carolina to get the “reliable old Airstream”, I ran into my first problem. I’d been on the road only a few hours when the sun went down, and I flipped on the headlights.
But the 38 year old alternator and voltage regulator had reached the end of their lives, and after just a couple hours the battery was drained and wouldn’t start after my next pit stop. Fortunately this happened to be at a Red Roof Inn since I was done for the night… so I simply rolled the truck into a parking spot and hunkered down in West Monroe, Louisiana.
Bright and early the next morning I was on the phone, getting a jump start and heading to a local garage where a new alternator was installed. It took several hours, but I was finally back on the road, and assuming that mechanically speaking, I was out of the woods.
Making my way through towering forests lining the Mississippi highways, the journey finally felt like I’d hoped. The AM radio crackled to life, and I listened to 1950’s gospel music through the single, tinny speaker. The music fit my mood perfectly, as a low, orange moon danced in and out of view through the branches.
As I approached Jackson I called my brother Matt, who’s doing some Marine training there for the next few weeks. Turns out he was home with his wife in Chicago that weekend, so I had dinner alone.
I finished up the night in a great old plantation-style hotel outside Birmingham, but all the while an insidious black ooze was drip, drip, dripping under the car.
As daylight broke I threw my duffel bag into the truck and set out towards Atlanta, accompanied by the southern preachers who attempted to alternately save or damn me through the radio. I paid little attention, keeping my eyes on the road; but the little aftermarket oil pressure gauge hanging from the bottom of the dash was beginning to steadily drop…
Tune in tomorrow for the next leg of the journey!