Where Have You Been?

I’ve been away from home for two weeks, that’s where. Visited the state of Tennessee for two days, the rest of the time in Illinois.

Visited friends and family. Always enjoy visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.

There are many retail outlets across the country offering classic cars for sale. Not all at reasonable prices. Nevertheless, one such outlet, is Country Classic Cars, near old Hwy 66 and Staunton, Illinois.

I’ve passed by this place many times without stopping to look. This time, my brother, my nephew, great-nephew and I, took time to visit for a couple of hours.

There were several vehicles of interest. Some offered nothing. Especially, the vintage Cadillac Eldorado car body, mounted atop a four-wheel drive truck chassis. All I could ask, was why?

A ’54 Ford Crestline sedan, and a ’67 Ford Custom sedan, reminded my brother and I of our parent’s cars during childhood. There were “wars” over who rode “shotgun”–which was rare, because mom and pop usually occupied the front seat.   Losers sat between two brothers in the back seat.  Mom and dad intervened, if the struggle went too far astray.

The rest of the trip was taken up with carrying a friend, and daughter back-and-forth to the hospital on two different days. One for a routine cat scan, the other for elective surgery.

As I age, 765 mile trips each way, to our former home territory, become more difficult. Health may not allow this in the future? Changes may have to be made?

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have the vintage ’57 Ford pickup, just to tinker with, and drive around the neighborhood?  Like myself, it seemed to be in good shape for its age.

While Waiting

A beautiful sunny day at a busy intersection. Businesses at three of the four corners. I was waiting at the auto repair shop on the northeast corner.

The posted sign gave an 8:00 AM opening time.  Opening hours were relative. I walked through the open doors at 7:45. Greeted by office staff, agreed on a fair price for services, went to the waiting area.

Auto repair technicians showed up at approximately 8:00 AM. Customers began to congregate at the front service counters. One was an independent taxi driver. Another, a construction worker, with a flat tire on his work truck.

Traffic at the intersection frequently backed up in all directions. Which was the reason for the city policeman’s visit. He had a good sense of humor, necessary during our gabfest.

“Officer, I want you to arrest these guys. These guys are trying to rob us.”

The policeman got down to business. He was there to see recent security footage, concerning an auto accident investigation.

“We’re taking orders for lunch,” The cab driver offered the policeman.

“I hope to be out of here before then,” Said the construction worker.

The group came to the conclusion, video surveillance made it difficult for spring breakers to get away with mischief. Another member of the informal discussion panel related s story about spring breakers cutting holes in the walls of their room–to access adjacent rooms and wreak more havoc.

“After that, there was no way in heck, they got their security deposits back,”

Nobody liked the idea of $6.00 tolls each way, on the new bay bridge. Once tolls were set, they never went away.

Discussions ended for me. My car was ready. It had been 1 1/2 hours. That wasn’t a bad wait.

And In Other News…

Cuteness Overlords
The Quail You Say
Quite Another Organic Matter
Why Everyone Doesn’t Like the Same Old Things
Ceramic and Other French Poverty
Lemon Venom–What a Phenomenon
On That Farm He Had a Dog–D-A-W-G
Keeping It Down–Testing Gag Reflexes
Awaiting Dreadful Fall
Stashed Away In Drawers
Think Backward From One To Ten
Science Behind Everyday Appliances
Invisible Solar Eclipses
Seize the Moment Midstream
Another New Wrinkle
Headlights and Other Illuminations
Behind the Scenes, Seldom Seen

Bovine Appreciation Day

Today, July 9, was designated “Cow Appreciation Day” by none other than Chick-Fil-A, the popular fast-food restaurant and Mc Donald’s rival.

Nearly everyone has seen their advertising campaign, featuring black and white cows, holding up “Eat Mor Chikin” signs.  Cows weren’t expected to know proper grammar and spelling.

Customers were encouraged to wear cow costumes to the restaurant. Depending on their ages, participants were rewarded with free entrees or kid’s meals

Rather than humans in cow costumes, how about some pictures of real cows? From my farmer friend, Craig Roberts, real cows outstanding in their fields.

Old Blue (Whatever Happened To?)

Old Blue was my favorite car. We went on lots of adventures together. Two door, sport coupe, stuffed with a five liter V8. I was the second owner. Radio, heater, automatic transmission were the only options.  It took strong arms to turn the non-power assisted steering wheel.

Special because it was the first car purchased on my own.  Old Blue II came later and wasn’t the same.  A four-door sedan with sensible six cylinder, four years newer, choked with smog equipment, purchased for fuel economy.

The original Blue took me to the overlook in Enger Park, Duluth, Minnesota. On snow-covered roads, with a friend, to see frozen waterfalls, Old Blue never missed a lick.

Old Blue wasn’t without faults.  Cold natured, balked during starts  on Northern Minnesota, sub-zero winter mornings.  A warm up for 20-30 minutes, and all was well.  Once I forgot and needed a jump start on a narrow country road.  I paid for my mistake with a long walk for assistance.  My legs felt like they were on fire, when I thawed out.

Mag wheels, dual exhaust, transformed Old Blue’s personality. My mechanical skills failed, when I tinkered with Old Blue’s engine timing.  Another mistake.  Would never attempt this with today’s computerized cars.  A real mechanic came to the rescue.

One summer afternoon, on two-lane RT 108, Old Blue’s passing acceleration was tested to the limits.  I pulled out, the engine roared, then went back to idle. What went wrong?  From the grassy shoulder, with traffic whizzing by, this amateur mechanic found a broken throttle linkage cable.

Rope, wire, from the trunk–with a bit of jury-rigging, established a crude carburetor linkage.  With the hood cracked open, rope passed through the driver’s window, the engine accelerated enough to make it home.

Old Blue fell victim to road salt. Sadly, rusted around the rear wheel wells–discovered during a spring car wash. A proper repair wasn’t in the budget. A decent, from thirty feet away repair,  accomplished with body filler putty, and touch up paint.

Whatever happened to that car?  No longer pristine, I’m sure it was sent to a car auction somewhere.  I traded it for a new ’77 silver 2 door sport coupe with all the popular options.  Did Old Blue live a good life from that point on?  Was it salvaged for scrap metal?  Reincarnated as a toaster, or a Toyota?

There would never be another car quite like Old Blue. Everything was right for the times. I had more patience back then. Nobody cared that much about fuel mileage. If Old Blue were still around, and in good shape, we’d have more fun together.