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Flatlanders: Bite the bullet and get a truck that runs good

Vivian Herron, Columnist
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A long time ago, we were discussing a true Nevada County treasure: a truck that runs good. Remember that? We were deep into a discussion on that subject, but I got majorly sidetracked and forgot about it.

Oh, those trucks used to be all over the roads and streets of Nevada County, but as more and more city people move into this area, there are fewer and fewer precious clunkers around. That is just too sad.

Any money-laden yuppie can (and does) buy a brand-spankin’-new SUV or monster truck right off the showroom floor, but whatever happened to the vehicle with character, with history, with charm? Where is the challenge and satisfaction for a truck owner to personalize his vehicle, to bond with it? Aren’t there any hardy souls left who want to carry on the local tradition of driving a truck that runs good?



There you are, drivin’ around in your 2003 Gargantua, all clean and empty, but old-timers are laughing at you, dear one, calling you a flatlander right to your face. Hey, you wanted to live up here, and you have to make an effort to fit in so just accept your responsibilities like a man, even if you’re a woman.

I helped you find a truck that runs good, and after installing about $500 worth of parts in it, you’re pretty well satisfied, right? But you need stuff to schlep around so it looks like you have a busy, rich, fulfilling life, maybe even a full-time job. You can haul around the junk that was in the truck when you first bought it, but eventually you’ll want to add your very own crapola.




McBee recommended a ratty sleeping bag, a lumpy, stained polyester pillow without a case, a ripped tent with two stakes missing, a bad jack (this is a very popular item), several wood rounds, rusty tire chains that may or may not fit, and two big dogs.

Nasty Mike suggested kinked-up chokers, a bent chipping bar and a nice set of wet ‘n’ moldy mucking boots. Barry muttered something about lots of beer cans, but he’s wrong. It’s illegal to drive around sneaking sips from a beer can tucked between your legs, and no local truck driver would even DREAM of doing such a thing, so I don’t know where these beer cans come from.

KevinPotter has it down to a gnat’s eyewinker: a leaky chain saw that doesn’t work, but you’re gonna fix it real soon and you want it right out where you can see it; 4 inches of bark from the last load of wood you hauled; two flat spare tires (refer back to broken chain saw); a shovel with a broken handle, tow chain minus one hook; many empty oil containers; 26 matchless matchbooks and bungee cords to hold everything together.

Snapdragon Bob: “Wail, yew’ll wontcher broken Craftsman tools, ass-sorted burnt-out fuses and a couple bucks’ worth of change on the dashboard, most of which has fallen through the defroster vents.”

Other items mentioned were old ink pens that don’t write, a flashlight that doesn’t work, rain gear that leaks, lighters that don’t, a cracked Thermos, mounds of fast-food trash and candy wrappers (yes, there is a use for this stuff, which I’ll tell you about next week), a medium-size open box of disposable diapers – whether or not you have a kid – one curled-up dirty sneaker and an old cookie sheet you picked up on the freeway.

I got all this valuable information for you, dear readers, in less than an hour at the Washington Hotel bar. And there’s more, so you must come back next week.

Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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