Ain’t got grease enough, for this squeaky wheel

The repetitive ear piercing screech was driving me crazy… as I was, well… driving. I had crossed the Rockies and found my way to the most northwest corner of Colorado, when the squeaking really set in.

I had cruised through some canyons on the east side of the mountains, my car ran smooth. I crested the Trail Ridge Road and motored across the high plains, all was good. By the time I found myself waay out by Crag and Maybell, I began a loong drive on dusty gravel ‘highways’ toward Utah.

I followed the directions that some locals and my big paper atlas were suggesting I take. No one else seemed to be using this same route. I was bouncing along on red clay and potholes, all through open range grazing areas and desert bluffs. The scenery was awesome. The constant whining squeak from the front wheels of my truck, was not.

I clearly remember wanting to drive with all my windows down and the stereo off. I wanted to soak up the views and just enjoy as much of this outdoors as possible. I wanted so badly to love the first real steps away from my known universe on my cross-country roadtrip. I was dying to be in perfect harmony with the moment.

BUT I was not.

This darn squeak had me annoyed, and worried. I was in a rugged area, far from any town or other motorists. The screeching sound did break into the brief silence, over and over and over again. I wished it away, but that did not work. I truly wondered if there was something wrong with the my car and something was about to break off. It sounded really bad.

I remember driving for hours, wanting the journey to be perfect, and hating the noise simultaneously. Eventually, I made my way through the corner of Utah. The sounds continued. I drove fast across I-80 in Wyoming, and all seemed okay. As soon as I slowed down though, the creaking squawk was back.

A nice guy at a mechanic shop lifted up the front of my truck. We shook the wheels real hard, there was very little or no play. I wasn’t hearing the shredding of the metal from there, Thank God. I was hearing a classic brake dust squeak, that just wouldn’t quit.

I tried the carwash, over and over. I may have tried a can of stop squeak too. Anyway this annoying noise was messing me up, and diverting my attention away from enjoying the roadtrip of my lifetime, waay back in 2010.

I drove that car from Princeton, Kansas, waaay out west. I drove to the Oregon coast, down the 1 highway in California almost all the way south, then back home. The squeaking wheels did not break off the car, and leave me stranded, or send me careening off of some remote cliff in the desert or volcanic mountain.

The vehicle, my 2001 Isuzu Trooper, performed like a champ.

In the moment though, I did not know the whole story. I couldn’t see the entire trip from beginning to end. I only could experience one moment at a time. That was quite nerve-racking for me. This annoying sound, sailing into my ears, second after second, minute after minute and hour after hour, began to send me into insanity.

I worried alot about it then. I kept driving and eventually it was all okay. Those scary feelings in my gut, did not leave nearly the impression on my memory, that the beautiful vista views did though. I can smell that ocean breeze. I can clearly remember the salty fog and grey-orange sunset of northern California… The squeaky wheel now, is just an anecdote from an awesome adventure.

I wonder what I worry about today? I wonder what twists up my guts in silent panic, that is really no big deal, in the really big picture? I wonder what squeaky wheels grab my attention, and divert my eyes from the magical moments right in front of my face today?

I remember that quote, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.”

Well, I have sweated it, and yet we seem to be allowed to carry on anyway. I know my enjoyment of the evening I rumbled into Utah on a dusty red-rock backroad, was hindered by my worry over the squeaky wheel.

What a fantastic trip. Squeaky wheel and all. I would do it all over again right now, given half a chance. I wonder though, if I would be able to let all the small stuff float through my consciousness and truly enjoy the ride?

Probably sorta kinda 🙂

And It again would be totally worth it.



Aaron Nichols

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *