Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Notes from photographer Jarrod McCabe on the last leg of the epic Montana-to-Massachusetts road trip with his 1971 F-250.  All photographs are  ©2011 Jarrod McCabe
"We spent a full day in carbondale, illinois fueling up on biscuits and gravy and surprisingly good burritos and working on clementines custom flair.  meers, the blacksmith, was to do a copper repouss√© on the gas cap for the main tank.

"I talked trucks with a machinist that meers knows and he'd noticed the differential was leaking a tiny bit.  nothing serious, but worth adding some thread seal tape to keep it from leaking when i got home.  he left for a while and came back with beers and some stainless steel screws and washers for my license plates as a parting gift.  folks sure do like clementine.  for a nightcap we took clementine down to the lake and lit off fireworks.  it was grand.

"We left carbondale in the early morning on the 22nd.  we had 21 hours of driving time ahead of us according to google maps.  plans to camp were soon reconsidered as the high of the road trip began to wear off.  east of topeka the roads felt a bit more like home, so we figured we might as well get there.  why not end the road trip with a bang and knock off the last chunk in one fell swoop?  i pulled the first 15 hours then handed her off to dom - he'd napped in the cab most of the day.  coca-cola's and hot dogs brought us all the way home after 25 hours of driving.  there was a bit of snow in the berkshires that turned to rain.  we sure did see it all weather wise.  

"It felt great to park clementine at home.  i took her out after a solid nap to try and find some VR1-30, a racing oil with high zinc and phosphorous content, that tobe, my mechanic in bozeman, said would suit her engine best.  the trip totaled up about 3,200 miles and she was due for an oil change.  it was an unsuccessful adventure given the proximity to christmas and most auto parts stores being closed.  

"Driving clementine around town was kind of nerve wracking at first.  i don't know why, but i was awfully paranoid of some wild massachusetts driver slamming into her sideways and putting some sad stake into the heart of my road trip.  it's a bit more congested here than kansas, colorado, wyoming, montana.  i think she likes it better on those back country roads.  so do i."---JM  

Re. zinc:  there are differing opinions on whether the zinc additive is needed for older engines. The current blend of SAE motor oil (SM, SN) that is available doesn't have it. You can buy the ZDDP additive online and add it to whatever oil you are using.

And Autoliterate shares JM's wariness of Massachusetts drivers. Every time we cross that Bay State line, the level of automotive aggressiveness and general road rage seems to amp up considerably. It was therefore odd to read a recent piece in the Portland Press Herald claiming that driving in Mass. is statistically safer than in Maine. This is apparently because the road net in Mass. is better than in Maine, which has a lot of crumbling back-country semi-highways. Hmmmm. Anyone driving in or around Boston, or on the Cape highway, may not agree.

1 comment:

  1. love clementine and following J & Co on their west to eat adventure.
    thank you! and great photos......n'est pas