I thought I really had my truck in great shape as she purred down to Tampa over Christmas. Then the cold weather hit and white smoke started belching out the tail pipe, and she started running rough.

My boy Riley correctly diagnosed it over the phone as a blown head gasket and my mechanic Thomas just confirmed it this morning.

He pulled up a guide that estimated the job at more then $1750, but he bid it down to $850. I asked if he would make a profit at that point, between him and his helper, and he said barely. We settled at a grand and that could finish off my travel plans.

So tomorrow I'll drop it off at 0800, Thomas and the helper will strip the head down and take it to the machine shop for resurfacing, all back together by Friday afternoon.