All this hot weather in England has disrupted my usual trucking. I like to wear my headset while driving so I can enjoy the music of the engine. But sweaty ears is not something I’m comfortable with so I have been having a bit of a break and doing other games.

Today, it was a bit cooler and I took the opportunity in the morning to do two drives. The first was in American Truck Simulator, where I fired up Motown Dog to move a digger from Santa Fe (NM) to Kingman (AZ). For those who aren’t familiar with my trucks, Motown Dog is a Mack R600 fitted with a Detroit Diesel 6V-92TA engine producing 335HP. She has a 10-Speed manual gearbox.

This is a good time to talk about a physical issue that I have with the mechanicals associated with my gaming. The steering wheel I use is now 6 years old. In that time I have probably averaged the equivalent of around 20,000 real world miles every year in the game. That’s a lot of driving and my IRL car has no idea how easy a life it has😅 The issue with a computer steering wheel, pedals and gear stick lies in how they operate and the ingression of dust that accumulates. The wheel itself is largely immune to any dust related issues. But the gear stick, despite having a pseudo leather cover below the knob, does suffer from some dust getting in. Additionally, the rubber blocks that push the switches, break down over time and become sticky. This is something I can deal with quite easily – take off the cover from time to time and liberally spray the switches with WD40 Contact Cleaner. The same approach can’t be applied to the pedals. They use potentiometers to measure things like throttle and clutch position. Unfortunately they build up a sticky film over time and that produces an effect known as spiky throttle in the sim racing community. In truck sims the effect is a little different – you find the throttle doesn’t always close or the clutch doesn’t always disengage – both result in an awful grinding sound when driving a manual truck (much as incorrectly operating the clutch would do in the real world). For this reason, I will be buying a new wheel and pedal set-up in the future. Times have moved on and the latest ones don’t rely on potentiometers👍

With that discussed, lets join Motown Dog on her outing and I’ll explain how I’m getting around the issue in the meantime. I had 5 hours in hand after completing the previous job, so I parked the Dog on the maintenance guy’s forecourt while looking for more work…

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…That’s our drop-deck trailer and we’re picking up a lot of good machinery loads with it. Having confirmed the job to take a Digger (called a Backhoe Loader in game!) over to Kingman, I fired up and got under way. The collection point at a quarry was a bit of a pain but we got it loaded and were on our way.

One of the things I’ve found that helps with the pedal problem I have described above is to double de-clutch. That works really well with this truck and, ironically, is probably more realistic on a truck of this age than nice neat single clutch shifts😅 Here we are passing through Albuquerque as the sun gets up…

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Because I was using up spare hours from the previous job, we stopped in Sky City and I headed over to the hotel for breakfast and to sleep away the day.

Back on the road at 17:30 and I just knew the DoT would be calling us in at Gallup for an inspection…

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…There were no issues and I should hope not with an almost brand new trailer and a doted over truck😅

We cruised at 50mph – any faster hurts the fuel consumption and I knew we had time in hand. As long as we hit Kingman around 03:15 we’d be parked up to rest with an hour to spare on our shift. It’s generally quiet at night on the I40 from Gallup, past Holbrook, through Flagstaff and on to the junction with Route 93. We ground our way up the climbs and I let her have her head on the downhills, once topping 65mph. Then we were at Kingman and drifting into a quiet town…

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The delivery at Kingman was one of those awkward ones where you don’t know how tight things will be until you’re in the yard. Today it wasn’t too bad – just reverse into a spare bay to turn the trailer around and then shunt back into the required delivery spot…

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…Thank god there weren’t any doubles parked in the adjacent slot or we might have taken a lot longer to park it. Then it was off to a parking area and time for the Dog and me to catch our Zee’s 😅 By the way, fuel consumption for the trip = 7.85mpg 👍

Perhaps I’ll run through a European delivery in another post 😎