Serenity is my new (old) big truck. I found her in Ashland, Oregon in the middle of the year and finally, on December 1, 2012, after a serious pre-trip inspection, I drove her, over the 600+ mile route, home to Spokane without any incidents or problems. Let me tell you, I was wearing an ear-to-ear grin all the way. For the first time, I believe, I was driving a big truck without the peripheral distractions that all working truck drivers have to contend with. No DOT. No dispatchers. No JIT schedules. No consignors or consignees griping about their consignment being late because I couldn't control the weather or the traffic. No worries about being overweight. None of that. Just me, the road, the truck, and, well, there's still the 4-wheelers. Rolling road hazards! Seems that even in Serenity, I can't escape them! Anyhow, I digress. Let me tell you a little about Serenity.
She's a 1978 Kenworth K100 COE (Cab Over Engine or simply "Cabover") diesel tractor, which is the best truck ever made, even if I do say so myself. She's powered by a strong NTC 350 Cummings (the engine that kept Cummins in the game and made them a big deal in the industry today), Her drivetrain is composed of a 13-speed Eaton Roadranger transmission, with twin 4:11 Eaton rears putting that power to the road. She sports Kenworth's 8-bag "Air Glide 100" suspension, which provides a suprisingly smooth ride. She carries 240-gallons of fuel which gives her a range of somewhere around 1200-miles depending upon load (The updated plan, as of MAR 2013, is to change those gears out to 3.55:1, after removing the forward tandem, since we're not going to be pulling 80,000-pounds anymore, let's reduce the weight, lower the RPMs (to say nothing of lowering the license fees and insurance rates) and boost the MPG, eh? She is 24-feet long and has in excess of 1-million miles on her odometer (that indicator gave out at: 1,016,800.) I need to find someone who can fix that! Any volunteers? (I think I've located someone in Howell, MI, who would be able to square away the guages. I'll let you all know how it goes).

Here's a view of the left seat. As you can see, Serenity shows her age but she's been cared for quite well.

Clearly, there have been several accessories gracing her center console and her blue (the "Tractor Parking") brake control valve has been removed. We'll have to locate another one.

There are some guage lights that need replacing and I'll have to redo some of the guage connections as nearly all of the connections along the bottom row had come loose and fallen off! The connectors are push-on, friction-fit style connectors which, while making guage replacement easy, aren't the most dependable, especially after a million miles and some 34-years. I'll use ring terminals, nuts and lock washers in their place.

Here's a view of the right seat area. Everyplace I look in the cab I find clean, which is unexpected, considering the year, the miles, and the number of people who occupied the truck.

Presently, Serenity's outfitted with a 6-foot dromedary flatbed (I added the step ladder because everyone knows that a flatbed is supposed to carry a step ladder). Originally, I intend to remove the commercial 5th wheel and install an air ride RV-type 5th wheel above the rear axle (giving me 12-feet or so to work with), and I was looking for a 10-12-foot, mostly self-contained travel trailer or a 12-foot cargo box to mount in place of the flatbed (Once my wallet recovers, that is).
Well, that was then. Now, the drom-box will be home made of mostly wood, using design ideas from the Tiny House ( web site. A fixed, commercial 5th wheel will take the place of the slider, and will be installed ever so slightly forward of the rear axle. (The little dog in the lower-left of the first of the two above photos is Peanut, a year-old Deer Chihuahua I adopted, saving him from an uncertian future).

In my early planning, I was looking to acquire an older 5th wheel RV trailer, between 30 and 40-feet in length, to tow behind Serenity. Since then, and after much reconsideration, I decided that the trailer really needs to be one that's better built. So, What I'm looking for is an old double-drop deck moving van trailer between 35 and 48-feet in length, preferrably single axle and air ride.
The artwork for Serenity? Of course, it's going to be from the movie "Serenity". Those who know me well will agree that nothing could be more appropriate for my traveling home away from home.

For right now however, we're going to concentrate on fixing the little things: rust eradication, cleaning, polishing and touching-up the paint (as soon as the weather permits, that is). We'll keep our readers posted as to our progress and, when we embark upon a journey, we'll be sure to let you all know where and how, in case anyone wants to meet up somewhere.

Watch for us out there on the road, give us a call and say "Hi": 2-meters: 147.52 mHz, 6-meters: 52.5 mHz FM simplex or the infamous Ch. 19 on the old CB.
While trying to figure out the ideal gear ratio for Serenity, I fiddled around with a lot of web-based utilities designed to do just that. So, here's one that did the job for me. I plugged it in here so that others might find it useful should they find themselves doing what I'm doing.

Differential Gear Ratio Calculator

In the form below, enter target RPM, tire diameter in inches, and the target speed in MPH. Click "Calculate Differential Gear Ratio". The returned value is based upon your input. The utility assumes direct drive.
Target Engine RPM:
Tire Diameter (in):
Target Road Speed MPH:
Rear End Gear Ratio Needed: :1