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All Rights Reserved ©1996 Duncan R Fry


Driving along the Hume highway at night was a scary business.

Col and I had to go up to Sydney for some gigs and some product demonstrations, and we didn't think that either of our own trucks would get us there or back again, so we had rented one. We soon found that there is nothing like driving a rented truck with out-of-state number plates to command respect amongst Sydney drivers.

We missed the turnoff to the Harbour Bridge, so Col drives up over the median strip in a highly illegal U-turn. We laughed at the looks of horror on the drivers' faces as they calculated the odds on a successful insurance claim against us (not good) and screeched to a halt to let us in.

All in all everything had gone well, and we were on our way home after a successful and profitable trip. I was driving on one stretch, and as I came up to the top of a winding piece of road I could see a convoy of semis about 2 miles behind me. I was travelling as fast as I thought was safe around the corners of this twisting piece of road, but by the time I got down to the bottom the semis were all bunched up right on my back bumper.

As soon as the road straightened out, 'VROOM VROOM VROOM' they all rocketed past us as if we were standing still, leaving our small truck swaying in their slipstream.

Anyway, a few hours later we were tootling along about 100k/60 miles an hour, and all the trucks behind us kept flashing their lights at us as they passed us.

Col was driving by this time, and I was a passenger.

"Why do you think they keep flashing their lights at us?" he asked.

"Oh, probably just picking on us because we're only a little truck," I suggested.

"Yeah, right, I suppose so," he agreed, and settled back to driving. I leaned back in my seat and idly gazed out of the window, looking in the rear view mirror.

Every now and then I thought I could see a shower of sparks fly up from under the truck.

"Hey, stop the truck a minute," I said, "I think there's something scraping on the ground"

"Probably a piece of muffler or something," said Col. "OK, I'll pull over here."

We stopped the truck, jumped out, and nearly shit ourselves - the muffler was fine, but the fuel tank had been dragging on the ground for God knows how long, only held on by the flexible fuel line! The two metal strap bolts that held it on to its cradle had come completely undone, and the whole tank was just banging and scraping on the ground, sending up a shower of sparks as it went.

It was lucky we had a diesel truck - I'm sure if it had been petrol, the first thing we would have known about it would have been an almighty BANG as we cartwheeled through the air.

It went some way towards easing my pangs of conscience at having disconnected the speedo about 2,000 kilometres back!

So, we lifted the tank back on to its cradle, pulled out the ever useful roll of gaffer tape, and taped it back on! And it lasted the 300 miles back to Melbourne.

Well, it was Nashua gaffer tape!


This story first appeared in Connections magazine

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