Thursday, January 6, 2011


What you are looking at is the finest automobile that has ever been made. I know Justin Bieber thinks his 200,000 dollar Ferrari F430 is "all that" but I don't think it could carry a field dressed deer to the checking station. There.
I bought this truck in 1994 and at that time it was the finest truck on the road. And every day I would get up and it would start so I just kept starting it and driving it. Little did I know I would be driving it 16 years and 365,000 miles later. It has been on more logging roads than paved roads, has been in/through about every river/creek/tributary in middle Tennessee and has pulled every boat I have owned and every trailer I have hooked to it without fail.
A couple of years ago I was having a little trouble passing emissions testing and I found a mechanic that could get me through. He helped me the last few years with leaks and noises I couldn't decipher and kept me going. I told him that I took my daughter to her first day of kindergarten in that truck and I wanted to take her to her high school graduation in May in that truck so we had to keep it running. Unfortunately neither the truck or my mechanic made it.
I had a "miss" in the truck last summer so I decided to change my spark plugs hoping that would do it and I noticed that a couple of my plugs were wet and gummy and oily on the ends which is the automotive equivalent of finding "a lump". And it was terminal. I worked with my mechanic and we determined that I was leaking oil in the number 4 and the number 6 cylinders. A rebuild or a brand new motor was all that would fix it. Dang it.
I called the mechanic's shop the end of September:
"Joe there?"
"Joe is no longer with us."
"What'a ya' mean? He can't quit, he owns the place. Has there been a coup?"
"No, I mean Joe died."
Apparently it was a heart attack. Joe was, maybe, retirement age but to see him work he was a fireball of energy and grease. Could work me under the table. And it was fun to watch him work and get after a problem in a vehicle. Didn't seem like the kind of guy that would ever die.
I sold my truck off last week. For scrap I guess. I picture Joe getting to heaven and saying, "Lord, I'm gonna' need something to work on."
Lord said" I know just the truck. It has oil leaking into the 4 and 6 cylinder."
God's going to LOVE driving my old truck. And as for those damn brand new Michelin tires I put on it right before it broke down, you're welcome.
So here's to Joe Gallagher and Chevrolet Silverado VIN number 2GCEK19K5R1141478. I will sorely miss you both.


René PleinAir. said...

Soo sorry to hear this, ...

A leaking head gasket isn't so bad though, ... is it!?

Denise Rose said...

Oh goodness Kevin! I am pretty sure I have never almost cried over a truck before! So sorry about Joe, but it sounds like he was a great guy who took care of a great vehicle!

Anonymous said...

Your redneck is showing.

Jeremy Elder said...

So sorry to hear. The only thing worse than losing a good truck is a great mechanic. I had something similar happen with a autobody guy. Unexpected death really makes me appreciate the time I do have.

Kevin Menck said...

Rene - I wish it was the head gasket. It is getting in around the rings and pistons. Compression is dipping and power was slowly going away. A slow painful death.

Denise - I think I saw your picture on Carol Marine's blog?
Yeah, maybe I had "connected" just a little too much with my truck.

Anonymous - Ooh, sorry. I wasn't aware that my constituents were so affluent and well heeled. I'll tone it down a bit.

Jeremy - Thanks. Joe was a great mechanic and great guy.

Doug said...

Congratulations! You successfully ran that truck into the ground. That's usually my strategy. Now you can buy that Mini-Cooper you have been wanting... : )

C. Ousley said...

My condolences to you and the family on your loss. You have a new one yet?

Kevin Menck said...

Doug/Ouser - With gas at three dollars a gallon I kinda' wish I had the Mini Cooper right now.
Oh no, I went out and got the full size 4 wheel drive quad cab Dodge 1500 with the 5.9 liter engine. If I have a strong tail wind I can get around 14 miles per gallon.
Damn it. Should have thought than one out a little better.

Anonymous said...

so sorry to hear about your mechanic and trusty truck.. I understand attachments with cars.. you make memories with them. :) cant' wait to see your snowy paintings.

Lisa said...

What a blog post. I can't believe your truck finally kicked the bucket, and what a shock about your mechanic friend. Sorry to hear about his sudden passing. In spite of the sad stories, I always get a laugh out of your blog... "Was there a coup?"