Hank's Truck Forum

Trucks and Driving => ROAD TALES => Topic started by: I.B.2strokin on May 04, 2007, 08:14:10 PM

Title: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: I.B.2strokin on May 04, 2007, 08:14:10 PM
I want to apologise to those of you who have enjoyed the first installment of this story and have patiently waited for the conclusion. My mom was recently diagnosed with a very serious illness and I haven't felt much like working on this. Also I have been busy trying to finalize the deal on the truck I just bought and looking for a new job at the same time. So here goes...


The day was beautiful as I said before and I was in the mood for driving. The spring morning was unfolding before me and I was cruising down the road in a not-so-fine yet lovable machine under a blue sky and listening to my tunes. The previous winter had seemed particularly long and hard and I was enjoying the experiance of the window down - breathing the warm fresh air - and just being on the open road on a fine day. The miles past without notice and before I knew it, It was 11 am and I was in Wytheville, Virginia. I had made great time.

I decided to pull off for a leisurely lunch. I got out and took a deep breath of the fine air and patted the old girl lovingly. When I got back under way, the day continued to be good and I enjoyed the sight and scent of the redbuds and honeysuckle in full bloom and the newly green grass and trees all around. I was in Kingsport, Tennessee before 2 pm and I proceeded to my first drop.
Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: I.B.2strokin on May 04, 2007, 09:21:37 PM
I was in and out in less than an hour and got a free cup of coffee at the customer's to boot. I headed on down 81 to 75 to a little truckstop 30 or 40 miles outside of Chattenooga that was mostly unknown to the road drivers but frequented by the local drivers. They had easy parking and great food. After fueling, showering, and enjoying another leisurely meal, I was in bed by 8:30. It had been a perfect day of trucking.

The next day I was backed into the door at my second drop in Chattenooga. Waiting, having a casual smoke and finishing my coffee when they opened up at 7 am. It was another fine morning and I was in an equally fine mood. But I should have known at this point that it couldn't last!

They could not get to me right away because they had recieved another shipment the day before that was a few days early and more than they expected. They were still trying to clear the mechandise out of the way so that they could get my pallets put away. I was there for two and a half hours but no worries, the customer at the final stop in Montgomery closed up at 3 pm and there was no way that I could get empty that day anyway.

I left Chattenooga and had a long lunch on the way and arrived at the third drop in Huntsville at about 2 pm. They had some kind of hold up there too and took them an hour and forty-five minutes to unload me. I was wishing I had not stopped so long for lunch but I was undeterred. The weather was still great and I was still enjoying myself.

In spite of the long lunch, the days hassles had taken a lot out of me and I was hungry. I figured that I could stop for an early supper and still make it into Montgomery by 8:30 or 9 and get a good night's sleep. I stopped at a great little place along U.S. 231 at the junction of U.S. 278.

My belly full of catfish, cole slaw, hush puppies and good old fashioned southern sweet tea and pecan pie, I was on my way again and in good spirits. I was heading south on state route 79 when I put on some Gordon Lightfoot and was soothed by the cool evening mists as they began to fill up the mountain valleys. I turned onto S.R. 75 about 15 miles north of Birmingham and was going through the gears picking up speed. Then just as Gordon sang "...like crippled ships that made it through a storm and finally reached a quiet shore..." BANNNNGGGG!!!!, rattle, rattle, CLUNK!. The truck lost power and an oily smoke and steam began to pour into the cab from every crack and crevasse in the doghouse and floor of that ol' 'Shaker.

Luckilly, there was a wide shoulder there and I made it safely off of the road. I climbed out of the cab to inspect the damage knowing she was done. I looked underneath the cab and low and behold that old Cummapart had come apart.

Here I was 15 miles out of town with nothing and no one around. In those days I didn't carry a cell phone yet so I was on foot. After finally reaching a motel, I called the boss and we made arrangements for a wrecker to go out and pick up the truck and trailer. He sold the Bumble Bee to a local salvage yard there in Birmingham and I was stuck in the motel for two days until another of our drivers could come pick me and the loaded trailer up. My boss was a good guy though and I was paid for two full days while I waited.


Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: Leonard on May 05, 2007, 02:18:39 AM
did they know what caused the truck to lose all that power or when they scrapped em they didnt care

good story
sad ending
worth the wait
Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: I.B.2strokin on May 05, 2007, 03:05:45 AM
Sorry I missed that detail, I was so anxious to finish the story. It through a rod and pieces of the piston out of the bottom of the block and through the oil pan. The piston was seized up. The cylinder wall was scored to the point that the block could not be rebored so the block was junk. In those days you could not give away an old cabover. Many went to the junkyard for scrap even when they were in really decent shape. Also, the truck was generally pretty worn out and there were few parts on the truck worth paying to have the thing haulled 750 miles back home.
Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: Jake T. on May 07, 2007, 03:01:20 PM
wow that sucks they scrapped it good storie
Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: Nate on May 07, 2007, 03:45:29 PM
Great ending to a great story, it certainly was worth the wait, those cummaparts sure do come apart good when they break, I had a 444 in a Pete that did the same thing, sent a rod threw the block, sure didnt bother me any, I was put in a new Pete with a 600 cummins after that, didn't bother me one bit.
Im sorry to hear about your mom, and I hope things go good with your new truck.
Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: I.B.2strokin on May 11, 2007, 06:52:23 PM
Thanks Nate.
Title: Re: Last Flight of the Bumble Bee, Part II
Post by: Govnor on May 11, 2007, 08:27:44 PM
This was an interesting story, and it put me in mind of one of my experiences,

I wasn't fortunate to have a Cummins this particular time, I was driving an Astro 95 with an 8v92 318, 13 speed underdrive trans, I forget what ratio the rear ends were, but I had  twin screw rearends, riding on Uni-Royal 10.00 x 20 tires, tube type.  This was back about 1977, and I was on a single drop run from Austin to the 3 mile post on I-10 west of El Paso.  I forget right off hand what was wrong with that damn Detroit, other than it was too under powered for the loads that I was pulling with it, and it was constantly overheating, and getting water into the oil.  The trucking company that owned it didn't want to shut it down and put it into the shop though.  They just bought and had me carry Bar's Leak by the case, made sure that I carried several gallon jugs full of water, kept my wagon loaded and sent me west to El Paso, my run was about 625 miles one way if I recall right.  I was hauling quick lime in a 60 yard aluminum end dump, with a full coverage rubberized tarp.  The owner told me just before my first run:  "I want that trailer fully loaded, with lime running off on both sides.  I don't ever want to climb up and check your load and see where you could have carried another 10 pounds of lime, but didn't.  Don't worry about the weight cops, I have that taken care of"  I reckon that he did too, I was never stopped and weighed by them.  My average loaded weight was between 150,000-160,000 pounds somewhere, depending on just how dry the lime was when I got loaded. 

Anyway, I was on US-190 headed westbound at about 2:00 am and about 20 miles west of El Dorado Texas when that 318 got hot for the last time.  Even three more cans of Bar's Leak, the last that I had with me wouldn't keep any coolant in this time.  That Detroit called it quits right then and there.  Of course, this was long before cell phones, and there wasn't anything else in that country but me and some rattlesnakes at that time of night.  This wasn't at the end of the world way out there, but you could see the end of the world from there.  After I finally caught a ride back to El Dorado after daylight a few hours later, I called in and told the dispatcher the news.  He said alright, he was sending a wrecker to pick up that truck, get yourself a motel room, and wait, you can ride back with the wrecker.  I was very fortunate later on late in that afternoon, I just happened to be standing in the open door of my motel room when I saw the wrecker pull up to a stop at the town's only traffic light and stop.  I ran out and jumped up on his driver's step and asked if he was told that he had to pick me up for the ride back to Austin.  This cat had his girlfriend with him, and he muttered something that I couldn't understand, but he plainly wasn't happy that I'd caught up with him before he could leave the area without me.  If he had  left me behind, I would have had a long wait for someone to drive out and pick me up, there wasn't any kind of public transportation in El Dorado Texas.  This was about 200-225 miles west of Austin as I recall.