Grinding my gears


Kids these days…

I had to come out and explicitly explain my comment that a particular phrase “grinds my gears”. According to my daughter, that made no sense to her.

In my mind, it made perfect sense.

But then, she never had to drive a truck like my first one.

Thanks, harry_nl – used under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This was my first vehicle. I had just landed a job in a nearby town and had to drive to work. Dad needed the family car for his job and so I ended up with this vehicle – 1959 Chevrolet Apache Pickup truck. Before you make a judgement about age, when I got mine, it was old. I just had it for a couple of years as it became even older.

Mine was black (and rusty) and there was a wooden bed on the floor of the truck and certainly no rear seat. I got pulled over by the police once; at the time, you had to have your name on the side of a vehicle like this. I ended up going to the local hardware store to buy some peel off letters. It satisfied their requirements. My first girlfriend got to ride in this and I can recall going through the car wash before I ever picked her up so that it was clean. I did keep it spotless on the inside. It wasn’t the most comfortable ride, I’ll confess.

But, and here’s the catch, it had a manual transmission. It was a “3 on the tree”. Here’s how to shift.

For the record, this vehicle is far newer than mine was!

For today’s drivers, you just don’t put it in Drive and go. You had to work your way through the gears and needed a foot/hand coordination to work the clutch on the floor and the gears on the steering column. It takes a bit of learning but actually quite a bit of fun once you get it.

The grinding part?

That’s what happens when you don’t have the foot/hand coordination correct. You end up grinding the gear box as the truck doesn’t shift smoothly into the next gear. The sound in my old truck was one of real grinding, I recall. I learned very quickly that I needed to work on that coordination. I like to think I did it fairly well. But, not perfectly; I do have some remembrances of grinding.

Things these days, of course, are completely different. We have a whole generation that has never driven a standard transmission car. I could be snooty and say that they never really learned to drive but that wouldn’t be right. Things have got better so that you don’t have to learn to drive with a standard transmission. Most people these days may never even have to consider the alternative.

In Essex County, we don’t have too many hills so it would be easier to drive and not have to worry about shifting gears to climb.

How many blog readers know how to drive a vehicle with a standard transmission? Or, as we used to say back in the day “drive with a stick”?

Let me know in the comments.

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OTR Links 11/10/2022


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