Back on the Stick

I-10 Arizona Westbound

This is our last trip in our Freightliner Century Classic. We deliver tonight in Apple Valley, California.

Tomorrow, we get a new truck, a real new truck with the new truck smell, a 2010
Freightliner Cascadia. But this truck comes with a challenge. It’s a stick shift. Clutch-neutral-clutch-shift-fuel and repeat.

We haven’t driven a stick since May 14, 2008, the
day we both passed our CDL – Commercial Driver’s License – road test in Binghampton, New York.

We will be recertified for a manual transmission. We are returning to the world of skipshifting, grabbing two gears on each shift, 2 to 4 and 4 to 6 or 3 to 5 and 5 to 7. The world of Bump-and-Run, lugging the engine down to 1100 RPMs stabbing the fuel pedal for a bump of fuel and downshifting. Then there’s the Power Down Shift, heavy load and steep hill, shifting down to avoid lugging and losing momentum.

We become real truck drivers.

We figure the universe decided that we needed a full driving experience before striking out as Owner Operators because we only have 370,000 miles on our Century Classic and the list for a new truck starts at 400,000 miles.

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