We don’t have an APU. It’s something we are definitely looking at adding, because much to the surprise of environmentalists, we don’t like to idle any more than we absolutely have to. I’d like to say it’s the butterflies, but it’s not. It’s the cost of fuel. When we idle, we burn about a gallon an hour – so idling a 10 hour break costs us somewhere around $40. It’s absolutely more economical to get a motel room when he does a reset, and if we can find one with truck parking, we usually do.
We took a little fan out this time — it just fits over the spotlight handle in the front of the cab and you can crack the window at night and be plenty cool without idling. I should make sure to mention that this is in normal places, like Tennessee, Oklahoma and Nevada. The little fan is absolutely no match for the otherworldly heat in Texas and Arkansas this time of year. It’s been raining, so both states are like giant, hell-hot terrariums. (Do you remember terrariums? When I was a kid in the 70s, everyone had a big ugly plastic terrarium in their living room. In the corner, underneath the macrame basket hanging plant. I digress. [We’ve got something of mini-one today with a bunch of mosses under a weird tabletop lamp whose body is a glass bowl… –ed.])
Once again, we lost the A/C in the absolute hottest part of the trip. It pooped out coming across 40 in Arkansas, which is an exercise in hell already — the joy of sitting in construction traffic for two and a half hours with no A/C is indescribable. We were in a backup of idiots who absolutely could not get the “merge” thing. Unfortunately, there were just as many truckers involved in acting like jerks as there were four-wheelers. They either didn’t have CBs, didn’t have them on, or just really DGAF, because the decent people merged and let one car or truck in front of them miles back, when the signs started appearing.
We saw a big truck take to the breakdown lane. This guy had a reefer on him, came barreling up the breakdown lane, jumped out barefoot and checked his temp, and proceeded to run down the breakdown lane until he was abducted by aliens and used in parasitic experiments. OK, the last part was a filthy lie. I don’t know where he went, because I was too busy having a stroke from the rage of seeing him jump out of the truck barefoot. The CB lit up, and if he made it without being beat to death by angry truckers who hate it when somebody makes everyone look bad, he’s a lucky man. We don’t need that kind of crap.
Fortunately, George was able to get the A/C to work again. Here’s something he learned: if the compressor quits working, it’s not always the compressor. He was told to check the wiring harness, and that’s what it ended up being. We just had a new compressor put on about a month ago – and we’re both wondering if maybe all we needed was a new wiring harness … but hindsight is 20/20. He’ll know to check next time, and you’ll know the first time, so live and learn.
The mood in the truck was distinctly lighter, as I wasn’t expiring from heat fatigue. I tend to be a tad cranky when I’m hot. And having the windows rolled down makes my ears hurt. (There’s a reason he calls me “Princess,” people. He’s a very reasonable man: I’m the one with issues.) Anyway, I don’t know if it’s because he fixed it so good it worked better, or because I had spent the previous day trying not to die (or kill someone else) in the heat, but it was flat cold in the cab. Like so cold there was condensation on the dash. After bitching incessantly about the heat, even I’m not annoying enough to turn around and complain about being cold.
OK, I am.Me, in my tiniest voice, “I’m cold,”
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
“I’m cold. It’s cold in here.”
“I’m going to choose not to hear that.”
“OK, I’m sorry. But it’s cold in here.”
“Yes. It. Is. And we’re going to enjoy it. All. Day. Long.”
And he was smiling on the outside when he said it, but the smile didn’t really touch his eyes so I shut up and put a jacket on.
Sometimes, you know when it’s time to go home.
Trucker James Peterson of Wisconsin was on a run from New Jersey bound for La ...