I finally did it. I bought a new truck. Not just new to me. . . but NEW, period. The last new vehicle I purchased was in 1997, as a parting gift for the former Mrs. Buck. My last few vehicles have all been high mileage rides.
The infamous Yukon, known and seen far and wide has pulled a 20 foot trailer through the heart of New York City ( white knuckled all the way) when I moved my daughter from Queens to Milwaukee. On that particular trip, blowing out one of the tires cruising through the Poconos; limped the old gal for 40 miles on three wheels to a truck stop more suited to a horror movie. Spent the next three hours traversing the countryside to find an all-night Walmart to get a tire from the locked automotive department, hauling ass to a T/A truck stop to have it mounted, then 40 miles back to the trailer we had left sitting full of my daughter's belongings; back together by daylight and on the road to Wisconsin.
One of my favorite trips was a personal challenge. I had a funny car body I needed to pick up in McClure, Pennsylvania. I had to do it in as short an amount of time as possible. I left my driveway at 5:00 am. Eleven hours later, with a stop for lunch, I pulled up in the lot and loaded the body, handed the lady of the house the dough, made small talk for a few minutes and hit the road. I made Ohio by midnight, in need of a nap. I got about an hour of sleep and the damned wind started kicking up, shaking the truck like the boys were wrestling in the back. I figured I’d had enough rest and took off into the night. Somewhere around the Ohio/Indiana border, that ol' wind started to gust up to about 50 or 60 miles per hour. You know, the laws of physics got a work out that night. A Yukon traveling 90 with a 20 foot trailer toting a funny car body and a 60 mph crosswind through the flatlands of Indiana, well, that's what ya call livin' on the edge. I had to make a couple more stops for fuel and another 90 minute power nap. I pulled into my driveway at 9:00 am. Not bad. . . not bad at all.
The Yukon made most all those trips with a trailer behind her, 20 states in all. The last one we made was to Texas to pick up another funny car body in December, 2014. I've had that thing up to almost 100 a number of times, many times over 90 pulling that damned trailer. Kevin learned to drive in that thing, got his license, his first date, first flat and was the friend who helped all his friends move their stuff. I bought it from a customer who owed me money and it seemed like a good deal. It was just shy of 90,000 miles when I bought it, it now has 350,000 miles. I put a new transmission in at 300,000 and a new radiator after that. The engine is the same one the General sent her out the door with, uses about a quart of oil every 700 miles and a gallon of water every 1100. I guess it goes out the pipe because I’ve never seen a puddle on the ground.
Yep, it's been a trusty steed and made many memories. I'm sure going to miss the cold mornings starting it up and listening to the slap of pistons as it warms up into a smooth purr. About the only complaint, that bitch could eat a fuel pump; I put six of them in it. Almost without fail, it would start to hum a little and I knew it was time. I got to where I could have the tank dropped, pump switched and back together in two hours, in the driveway, by myself.
I found the new ride after a few weeks of looking at used crap. I do mean crap. My son's grandfather offered me a "green sheet" from Chrysler, as I verbally loathed my mission. I swore off buying new a long time ago. I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I had been pretty lucky settling into high mileage rigs and getting my money's worth. I thanked him and said I would keep it in mind.
I closed shop earlier than usual and went out to a friend's lot to see some trucks he had. As he walked me down the line, rattling off the stats and price of each as we passed, we get to the last one and he hands me the keys and says," You'll love this one, Buck. Take it home and drive it around, I'll see you tomorrow." Okay, a 2014 Ford with 24,000 miles. It was beautiful and the fella that bought this truck new must have hated his money because he sure threw enough away on it. I had to run back to the shop, finish a couple things and called my chick. I told her I'd be home soon and we’d go eat.
On our way to dinner, I see lights behind me. . .cop. "Where's the taillights?" he asked I told him I had no clue, I was test driving this and thought they were on. He reached in, turns a switch and explains I had the daytime running lights on. He had a truck like this so he was showing me some other tricks. While he did this, unbeknownst to him or me, he was leaning on the remote switch for the side mirror. I thanked him, he bid us adieu and off we went. A mile or so up the road a car was merging so I switched lanes and to my horror a truck was close enough to me that I could lick his girlfriend’s ear! That’s when I realized what the cop did. The close calls were over after that, we made it the rest of the way without incident.
The next morning I left for the shop. . .well, after trying to start the damned truck for 45 minutes I left. I took this as a three strike deal and got the truck back to my friend. I told him the story about the offer Kody's grandfather made and he says, "Dude, hold on." He gets on his phone and calls a friend who is general manager of a Dodge dealer and tells him I will be up in an hour and treat me extra special. . .
The NEW Dodge Ram
. . .and they treated me quite well. I got this beast for about two grand more than what the used nightmares I was looking at were going for. I drive ‘em till they’re worn out, so this one should last a while.
Vaya con dios to my trusty Yukon. . . you served us well.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Eddie Buck