No Fuse Blow Day: Day 3

The news today is there is no news. No blown fuses as the 92 Dodge lumbered from Nebraska to Missouri with mules in tow. No meeting Tom Petty (deceased) at the gas station. No bird balls. Nope. Just the rhythmic hum of the old 12 valve Cummins and the “thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk” as the old steel wheels rolled across Nebraska.

Crossing the Missouri River south of Omaha. That’s not a kite in the sky at 2 o’clock. That’s a chip in my windshield.
Today’s run: Grand Island, Nebraska to St Peters, Missouri.

I like these days when nothing happens. Nothing except the land rolls by and you see America at 60 miles per hour instead of 3 mph. Going from mule speed to motorist speed isn’t all bad. I have gone from being a creature of the outdoors to a creature behind the wheel of a truck.

A Few Photos of the Day

Much of the Missouri low land along the Missouri River still looked flooded. Look closely and you can see corn stalks in the water. This field looked like it had been too wet to farm for years (along the Missouri River south of Omaha).
Cruise control. That piece of duct tape has been on the brake pedal 15 years. I suppose this is a reflection on my braking philosophy. I prefer long coasting stops as opposed to the slam-on-the-brakes. It’s also how I try to live my life.
I may not have blow any fuses today but that doesn’t mean they’re not littering the floor of my truck – along with some carrot nubs destined for Brick and Cracker.
Under the hood. This 27-year old 6 cylinder First Gen Cummins has carried my truck and me 3,200 miles in the past 8 days. That included 2 rest days. Only 1,200 miles left to go! Here, I’ve popped the hood to check the oil. Hasn’t burned a drop since the oil was changed at the start of this road trip.

It feels funny traveling this way with Brick and Cracker. Until 2 weeks ago, we were a herd of 3. I rode them all day, Cracker underneath me, Brick beside me. Now I hardly see them at all.

They spend their days in the trailer. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of Cracker’s ear in my rear view mirror. Mornings, when I load them up, it’s been dark. Evenings, when I take them off the trailer, the sun has usually set.

By the time I got them watered, hayed and grained in the pasture they’re staying in tonight, most of the sunset had already bled out of the sky. I snapped a photo of them.

They look well. Looking at this photo, I want to walk in to the night and pet them (I’m writing you from behind the wheel of my truck tonight).

Day’s end (St Peters, Missouri (west of St Louis).

And with that, I turn in for the night. Tonight, I’m sleeping in my bivy bag next to the trailer. I could rent a room nearby but I’ve spent so many nights next to my mules, sleeping on the ground by my animals has become the new norm.

At first they kept me up. Lying there on the ground, I’d hear Brick chewing. Or Cracker scratching his flank with his teeth. But as the weeks turned to months, these became the new night sounds I became accustomed too.

Now, when I’m out of ear shot of them, I wonder how they’re doing. So it’s a real comfort sleeping next to them tonight. I won’t be able to do that many more nights. I am soaking up these night sounds while I can.

If the truck don’t die and the Fates allow, this will be my second to last night on the road.

Where I’m sleeping tonight.

Tomorrow we head 350 miles toward Hermitage, Tennessee, outside Nashville.

And with that, I wish you a good night.


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Todd Bryant
Todd Bryant
4 years ago

Hope the rest of your trip is full of miles with no “happenings”. I enjoyed you post about your old truck. We have a ‘97 Dodge with the 12 valve Cummins. My mechanic told me that is just a tractor motor, and he is one of many people who have admonished me to never sell this truck. And then there are those who boast how their dodges can pull a three horse up a mountain pass at 70, My mechanic loves those people. His business is hoppin’! Anyway, have a great rest of your trip..

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