...precedes the emphatic clunk. Or it did this afternoon, anyway. On our way back from State College, where we had a rapturous birthday lunch at Say Sushi, the truck started making squealy noises. A loose belt? I wondered, itching to loosen my own after so much exquisite food. And so affordable. So worth the wait (we make the pilgrimage to Say Sushi maybe twice a year). Anyway, in the middle of our journey, in a dark wood (literally, the road passes through Bald Eagle State Forest, and we were following two wide-hipped RV campers) the squealing escalated to a grating crescendo, and Randy couldn't get the truck back into gear. "Let's coast," I suggested brightly, as we slalomed down the mountain road. Meaning: please don't let the fun end here. Meaning: think of the towing charges. And we coasted a bit, and the truck slipped back into 4th. Fourth was fine with me. Fifth gear? Ehh, overrated, who really needs it, we're two queers in a pickup truck, we don't need to go over 45 mph on a rural mountain road.
And so we tooled along, holding our breath. "If we make it to town, should we just drop the truck directly at Buck's?" asked Randy. (They know our truck at Buck's. They just fixed the starter two weeks ago. In fact, they had to re-fix the clutch two summers ago, after it went out on my trip to New York--another story, but the damn clutch went out on the George Washington Bridge! As Cher said in her farewell concert after riding a sequined elephant onto the stage, "Top that, you bitches." But I digress.) Sounded like a good idea to me.
Out of the woods. Passing Cowan, which meant maybe eight miles to go. At this point I'm thinking, we need groceries. "If it still sounds okay when we get home, maybe we can use it to run errands this weekend and take it over to Buck's on Monday," I suggested hopefully.
Three miles to go. KERRRRRR-R-R-GRRR-R-THWOK-UNK-UNK! Or something like that. A loud, grinding, heavy sound of something mechanical popping out of place and emphatically not going back in. "Can we coast?" I asked (meekly). Not into town of course--I'm not a complete frothing idiot--but maybe a few hundred yards, say to that gravelly patch up yonder? And we did. And at that point, I realized (again) why we carried cell phones.
Thanksto Deirdre and Bill, for driving out to pick us up.
[photo: cast-off lawn mower flywheel (or something mechanical from a lawn mower; what do I know, I'm no rocket scientist), 3/1/06]