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11:54 pm EST        18°F (-8°C) in Mechanicsburg, PA

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Not a whole lot of interest has happened in the last seven days, but I wanted to sneak one more update in here in the waning minutes of January. From Michigan last week, I ran to North Carolina, then up to Connecticut, and now I'm on my way back to Ohio.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to have happened in the last several days would be the incident I had with my truck's starter late Thursday night/Friday morning. I had intended to park at the West Virginia Turnpike service plaza in Beckley, and I did stop there for a bit. However, the first time my engine cycled back on (to heat the cab), I heard a horrible grinding noise. Further investigation showed that while this grinding sound was occurring, the alternator would struggle to maintain 11 volts in the batteries (when they should be run around 14 volts). Opening the hood, I saw — to my horror — a huge cloud of smoke pouring from the engine area. I immediately went to shut the engine off, but when I turned the key, I learned (to my even greater horror) that the starter was remaining engaged even with the key turned to the "off" position. Finally, after maybe 10 minutes of cranking, something in the starter would fry or melt and bring it to a stop, and I could proceed normally from there. I managed to get the truck into a shop in Wytheville, VA, where the mechanics determined that the starter solenoid (a type of switch) had become stuck, and the starter's own internal wiring had been heavily damaged from the heat. Over four hours, they hooked me up with a remanufactured unit, and I was good to go. (Interesting side note: Even two hours after the mechanics last attempted to crank the starter, its housing was still quite hot. Using some electrical knowledge and simple math, the shop foreman figured the starter's current draw at around 75 amperes; no shit, Sherlock, anybody knows that applying 75 amps for 10 minutes is going to fry something real quick.)

I would say more, but for some reason, I'm very tired and have a lot of physical aches and pains tonight, so I ought to be off to bed.