Apple and I spent the morning hauling another huge load of recyclables and trash to the local recycling center, or as I affectionately call it, “the dump.” We used my boss’ truck to transport all the goods. This was the second time I’ve done this, and I have to say it was a lot easier with Apple’s help. This trip, however, was much more…interesting than the previous.
My boss, who lives in town, has been in China for the last seven months and asked me to take care of his Ford F-250 pickup truck while he was away. He bought it used for a song several years ago, as it had been in a flood and was salvage titled, so it’s not exactly a shiny new monster toy but more like a dilapidated “hick truck” that still manages to get around pretty good, despite the rust, hanging wiring harnesses and broken parts. (Hey, at least the A/C still works.) The reason for my looking after it was twofold: 1) Exercise it so it wouldn’t completely rot away mechanically, and 2) move it around so his condo association doesn’t think it’s a derelict and tow it away — like they already did once, while he was still in town, no less.
Anyway, I brought the big red beast home and we loaded it to the brim with old refrigerator and car parts, used motor oil, glass, electronics and other stuff. As we were on our way to the dump, I noticed that the brakes on the old truck were getting really bad. There was practically no resistance in the pedal, and you’d get no braking response at all until the last centimeter of the pedal’s travel. Not good — indicative of impending brake failure, actually — but now that the thing was all loaded up and we were on our way, I had to get rid of all the crap. Thankfully the truck is a stickshift, so I drove more carefully and used engine braking to help slow it down. Fortunately there was very little traffic.
We got to the dump and unloaded all of the crap for five bucks, which was a real deal. It was cloudy, but still hot and muggy and soon we were both a sweaty mess. Re-boarding the truck for the final trip home, I noticed that now the “ABS” and “Brake” idiot lights were glowing on the instrument panel. Fun; so now the computer’s gotten wise to the fact that the brakes have utterly failed. The feel of the pedal hadn’t gotten any worse, though, and the brakes still worked well enough to stop the truck — just only if you jammed the pedal down as far as it would go. I sure as hell wasn’t going to strand myself out at the dump, so we once again (ultra-carefully) got underway.
In a few minutes we made it back to my boss’ place unscathed and parked the wretched thing permanently — no way I’m taking it out again like that, which is just as well because my boss will be back in town in the next couple of weeks. Picking up Apple’s car from the parking lot, we returned home — where I noticed a large puddle of half-dried fluid in the driveway, and a trail of drip marks on the road out front. At first we thought it might have been A/C condenser water from the truck. But the drops out on the blacktop had a brownish tint to them, and since the stuff wasn’t viscous enough to be oil, I deduced that it was probably brake fluid. Yeah, great.
So I hosed off the driveway with Lime-Away, whereupon a whole bunch of foam came up off the pavers and sizzled as though it were acidic. Yep, sounds like brake fluid, all right — that stuff turns to acid when contaminated by moisture. It began pouring rain after fifteen minutes of hosing the driveway, so I gratefully packed the hose away and let the thunderstorm take over the task. Hopefully that’ll clear everything up.
It was quite an adventure, and you can be sure I won’t be taking that truck out anymore, but boy does our garage (and attic!) ever look clean now. There’s almost no junk left anywere, just flattened boxes up in the attic that we’re going to reassemble and use when we move. We did not want to have to lug a bunch of crap over to our new house when the time comes, so we’re trying to get rid of it all first while we have plenty of time and don’t have to rush.
Also, I now know what my boss’ friend meant last week when I told him I took the truck to the dump, and he said, “You should have left it there.”