In doing my post trip inspection at Huck’s in Kuttawa I saw a problem under the trailer. The air bag was not sitting prettily on top of the seat. It was canted at about a 40 degree angle. Dudley agreed, it didn’t look right. He called it in and the safety guy Stevens found somebody who knew about such things and how to fix it. We would have to drive to St. Louis to get it fixed.
After our nice burger dinner we slept. I heard retching as I woke up. Or maybe the retching woke me up, hard to tell. It was Dudley and he said the wonderful hamburger just wasn’t sitting right. He thought he had eaten too much, too late. The problem, sad to say, would stay with him for most of the day. We compared notes on barfing. He was a fan and said that a good vomit would usually clear his stomach problems right up. I was anti-barfing and would keep things down and let the body deal with it in a less repulsive way.
Whatever. I was first up to drive and I got us to St. Louis, where our suspension expert’s shop was located. But a funny thing happened about 20 or 25 miles short of our destination. The airbag sprung a leak. I personally think this was due to our letting the air out of the trailer air brake system. I think, personally, that when the airbag was relieved of its air, the rubber was pinched between two pieces of metal and the rubber was sufficiently weakened so it was only a matter of time before it failed.
I could tell something was seriously wronger when every bump I hit caused us to bounce like we were riding a kid’s bouncy ball toy. The closer we got to St. Louis, the worse it got. Now I’m not sure that St. Louis roads are that old and bad, they certainly looked old and bad, but my ride past the city center and our trip out to St. Charles, was something I do not care to repeat. It felt like in some cases, wheels were leaving pavement. My butt cheeks clenched tighter than usual. I kept trying to slow down but Dudley was adamant about keeping our speed up so we would attract less attention. I think we were lucky I didn’t bounce the truck off the road, or worse, into a troopermobile.
When we finally got to the trailer dealer just west of the Missouri river in St. Charles and got out of the truck, it was singing a whining tune out of a hole in the air bag. You know how you can make music by stretching the opening on a balloon as the air escapes? That’s what this was, only on a very heavy duty, adult level. The air compressor must have been working overtime because we never lost brake pressure.
An interesting aside: the journey to the trailer dealership took me right past a few of the places where I spent time in early June with a dead end job selling roof repairs for a company that had a deal with Home Depot. It was a little like a bad LSD flashback. Not that I’ve ever done LSD or suffered a flashback. But I’ve read about it and seen them on TV.
After we turned the truck off, the whine eventually and literally ran out of gas. It would be a two hour-plus repair. It took awhile for the service writer to write the ticket and make sure it would be paid for. The service techs were at lunch, and it just takes time to drag the trailer into a stall and make the repair. We were stuck in an industrial park with no way to go and get food. And I was hungry! Dudley did a little shopping in their parts department and I stole a banana from a fruit basket in the employee break room grabbed the bag of cashews out of our truck. We retired to the trucker’s lounge. They had free cokes and water and satellite television. Dudley tuned into an old crime movie on one of the premium stations and I zonked out for the better part of an hour. When the trailer was fixed, I got another opportunity to couple it up. Success!
Until we were driving off the property at which time a loud scrape halted our progress. I had forgotten to raise the landing gear!!! With my front bumper in the middle of the street, I slunk down as low as I could in the driver’s seat while Dudley jumped out and remedied the problem.
At least the truck was fixed. I don’t think it was anything I had done to break it in the first place. It is entirely possible that the trailer was broke when we picked it up at Florida Natural in Lake Wales. We shall never know for sure. It was fixed now and, boy, did the rig drive better. I drove a good long way, to just short of Kansas City where Dudley took over. He got us to York, Nebraska, where we spent the night. It was my worst eating day of the entire week, but once again, I slept like the dead.
By the by, this was my second day without a shower. And I did perspire a bit with the whole uncoupling and coupling of the trailer in St. Louis. It was hot.