Louie's Borrowed Truck

Jun 07, 1996

RAY: Some years ago when my son Louie got his driver's license, he asked to use my truck. He wanted to take a trip to the next town over to visit a friend of his, and I gave him my keys with the admonition, "Don't drive very far because you are not an experienced driver and I certainly don't want you driving on the highway or out of state or anything like that." And he said, "Don't worry Dad."

Now being the trusting soul that I am, I didn't bother to write down the mileage or anything like that. I am a fool, and this is the only time I made that mistake. Now that night he returns and hands me the keys and I go out to the truck and I get inside of course. And I didn't see anything on the seat or anything like that, it was dark and I didn't turn on the headlights, therefore I didn't see the 5000 bugs that were smashed against the windshield. But I got in and I started the engine. And again, I had no idea what the gas gauge had read. Like I said I had no idea what the odometer had read. I start the engine and sat in the truck for maybe a half a minute with the engine running, and I knew in an instant that he had gone much further than he had said. Much farther from home.

Need a hint?

TOM: Need some hope.

RAY: The hint is the Grateful Dead.


TOM: The Grateful Dead. So it had to do with the tape player.

RAY: When I got in, I turned the engine on, and the tape was playing, the volume was turned up all the way, the song was "Friend of the Devil," I believe. I eject the tape, and upon ejecting it, it goes to default mode, which is the radio. And the radio is tuned to a station that we don't get in Boston. 'Cause what I hear is static. And I realize that he couldn't have had the radio tuned to that station, if he was just going two towns over. He had gone to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Got a tattoo.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter