Boston Driver’s Notebook 6/9/12

8 06 2012

The Five Month Brake Job -Part 1

I was coming back from a white Christmas at nephew Aaron and Echo’s house when I first heard the noise.  Echo came from what used to be known as a “mixed marriage,” as well as what used to be called a “broken home.”  As a result, she generally entertained her black family one year and her white family the next.  The white Christmases were much more restrained than the black Christmases, which were way more entertaining.

Clyde the Barrow

Getting back to the noise, it was a little ‘thunk’ when I applied the brakes, coming from the rear passenger-side wheel.  Read the rest of this entry »


Boston Driver’s Notebook 4/1/12

29 03 2012

Wareham Harbor

It’s a good truck that will get you home before it gives out.  It was a windy October day that I went to Wareham to put up a gutter at the small beach house of the mysterious Helen of Cambridge.  I caught a radio traffic report that predicted an extremely slow drive from the entrance to Rt. 93 N at the junction of Rtes. 3 and 128 in Braintree all the way to downtown Boston, where traffic wasn’t moving at all.  The report was accurate enough.  I finally escaped at Leverett circle where I picked up Rt. 38, the McRoadRage at Lechmere just past the Science Museum.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 8/30/11

30 08 2011

This summer almost past, I have been working hard to gain a couple of weeks in August for a vacation.  I had largely finished rebuilding a two-story porch on the front of a house in Jamaica Plain.  The owners, old friends of mine, were so construction-weary that they had stopped talking to me, and only cast irritable looks in my direction.  They owed me a lot of money.

Handmade Dentil Mouldings: Old World

As a result, I had left the final clean-up and punchlist for later, and moved on to a job working for the golden-haired Helen of Cambridge.  She had an appreciation for high-quality work performed by a trustworthy skilled professional, and was pleasant and easy to deal with; a Glenda the Good Witch dream customer.  I could drive to her house in 10 minutes, in contrast to the vicious slog to JP, either by way of the unpredictable Big Dig Expressway, or through the bowels of Central Square Cambridge, across the occluded BU bridge and then through the alimentary canal of Brookline Village.  That, or a suicidal plunge into the gnashing steel jaws of the Jamaicaway.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 5/1/11 and 5/15/11

14 05 2011

Once again, having no major problems with Clyde the Blue Truck, I decided to fix what was not yet broken.

The metal hydraulic line between the clutch master cylinder and clutch slave cylinder was dangerously corroded.  Flakes of rust were spalling off the steel line.  It would fail and leave me clutchless at the worst possible moment.

Sketchy Metal

To get from the Somerville Assembly Square Home Depot to Rt. 93 is very easy and direct.  One leaves the parking lot, turns left, bears right, keeps left, and makes a left turn at the light onto the on-ramp.  This inconveniences no one, endangers no one, is simple easy and direct.  Perhaps that is why it is illegal to make a left turn at the light. Read the rest of this entry »

Boston Driver’s Notebook 4/15/11

26 04 2011

It has been suggested that I include more road rage stories, and maybe less technical detail about truck maintenance.  With the abundance that droppeth from heaven like gentle rain,  this fortnight lavished on me some  examples of the worst that human nature and Boston driving can offer.  Other fun events have been unfolding at the same time- state and federal income taxes.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

With only days left to complete my badly squangled taxes, I decided to replace the right front brake caliper of Clyde Barrow, my truck.
But first the road rage incident. Read the rest of this entry »