:: burningman.com :: roadtrip.burningman.com

today ::
posted :: 07-June -2001

N 32.22.374
W 88.44.501
1781 miles from the Man.

'"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" — soundtrack.
Southern Comfort.
The illiteracy rate here would surprise you.

:: the journal :: < last :: next >
* Mercury Retrograde.
[06.06.01 MISSISSIPPI]
Sweet Magnolia. [BIGGER]

[MERIDIAN MISSISSIPPI] :: I drove across the Mississippi River… at night… in the rain… with no lights. The alternator must have failed miles before the crossing and a malfunction with the analog meter on the dash gave me no warning. I was on the incline of the 12-mile long bridge/causeway when the headlights dimmed to a faint glow and the engine began to cough. I quickly shut off the lights so what was left in the battery would keep the engine running for a few minutes longer. Luckily there were no vehicles behind me when I brought the rig to a stop. In the middle storage bay, there was a small trickle charger and I knew it would provide just enough juice to power the ignition coil on the big V8, but there would be nothing left for the high wattage sealedbeams. With the rain on my back, I clipped the charger leads onto the battery terminals, cradled the box in a nest of wires and then strung the power cord back through a hole in the firewall next to the heater vent. I stepped back into the cab, pulled some slack on the AC cord and plugged it in as I pushed the 'Start' button for the generator… click… nothing. The starter battery for the 4KW was also dead. I yelled to myself "We need more power Scotty!" as I jumped out, ran back to the Electrolux-in-tow and connected a pair of jumper cables from it to the battery in the rear compartment.

I could see approaching headlights as I did a manual override on the solenoid, which brought the generator to life. It was all risky, but I didn't want to sit there blocking the right lane while I waited for a tow truck half the night. My goal was to get clear of the bridge, pull off and wait till daylight when I could run on the generator to a point where I could get an alternator. I jumped back in, threw off my wet shirt and shoes, climbed into the drivers' seat and pulled the lever into drive. Pushing the throttle down, I concentrated on the white line, which was barley visible from the light of the full moon filtering through broken rain clouds. The Silver Seed picked up speed. Feeling the dots rippling under the tires, I weaved back and forth to stay in the groove. Finally— past the crest— and then I almost overshot the turnoff that popped up after the end of the bridge. Hard on the brakes, I made the turn as it dropped below the bridge in a complete U. I held the 5-battery maglight out the window and followed the narrow road through a thick bayou swamp and then pulled to the side and onto a grassy area barley wide enough to get clear of the road.

After shutting down the ignition, I could hear the sound of running water and a chorus of frogs in the darkness as the rain continued. Preparing to spent the night alone here, I lowered all the window shades and considered the possibility of rising water and wondering if I could wade or swim to the closest tree. After a half hour, the rain let up, I poured myself a shot and a feeling of security began to settle in.

It was broken by the sound of an approaching vehicle. I peeked out the window and saw the outline of a battered pickup truck as it slowed down and stopped with its lights shining on the Electrolux. I could almost hear the music from Deliverance as I dropped the shade. Finally the truck pulled away and disappeared down the road. I'm sure that the headlight vision resonated at some primitive level.

That was my intention...
this is my mission...
there will be a test.

[06.06.01 MISSISSIPPI] Flat tire. [BIGGER]

<-- Cory Brown lends a hand. It pays to understand the technology of your local universe. When he arrives at the door, give him the key...

-Danger Ranger




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