Monday, June 21, 2010

Father’s Day Weekend – Two Days of Good Times

Plans came together Thursday for me to travel to western Maryland to buy a solid front valance to use for patching Heidi’s holey valance. Since there are a number of very nice State Parks out that way, we decided to turn the event into a camping weekend. With the Suburban out of commission until I replace the leaking radiator, our normal practice of pulling the 1972 Starcraft pop-up tent trailer (the subject of a wonderful story that begs to be written) had to be set aside for plan B. The other complication was that Ariel needed to work Saturday afternoon, so I decided that Saturday morning I would drive Lucy packed to the brim with Victoria, Mikhaila, tools, and camping stuff, while the lovely Loriann and Ariel would drive up later in the day. It took some creative space utilization to squeeze everything in and not make anyone have to hold the ice chest on their lap. In the cool of the morning, Lucy ran wonderfully pulling over the passes without pause. We checked in at New Germany State Park, set up our campsite, and then as the girls headed to the lake for swimming and sunning, I drove to meet the guy about a valance.

The experience of meeting Jim and seeing his awesome collection of some of GM’s finest from the fifties and sixties was only topped by his accommodating nature. When he saw that using a Sawzall was going to take some time, he rolled out his torch and we had the front of the car cut off in no time. When my 12-point socket wasn’t grippng the head of a stubborn bumper bolt, he came up with a 6-point that was up to the task. When I was about to put the sheetmetal onto the folded back seat, he produced a large piece of cardboard to protect the car. He told me to look around and make an offer on whatever Corvair stuff appealed to me. In the end, I got a wonderful deal on the sheetmetal, two ‘vair carbs, and four Nissan wheels just like Lucy’s but with white spokes instead of gold. The great thing about the wheels is that they came with new center caps. I’ve installed the caps already and selling the wheels will more than pay for the gas burned on the trip.

Sunday morning we packed up for the drive home. The sheetmetal had to be tied to Lucy’s roof since it was taking up precious packing space in the back. We made the drive home, but not without a little excitement. There’s a long climb out of Hagerstown on I-70, and as we neared the top in 90+ degree heat, the TEMP/PRESS light started flickering. I immediately slowed down from the 65 I was doing and shifted into third gear. The light kept flickering until we crested the pass, but never reappeared for the rest of the trip. At one point, a car passed us and then slowed down after getting back into the slow lane. As I swung around to re-pass the guy, he rolled his window down and told us he’d had a car like mine when he was in college. Then one of his kids stuck their camera out the window and took a picture of us. Must’ve been quite the sight with sheetmetal flying in the breeze. Speaking of which, when we got off the interstate near home, I was amazed at how much the rope had stretched. When we’d left the park, the rope was taut; now it had at least three inches of slack. Once the cars were emptied my wonderful wife made sure I spent the rest of the day doing fun stuff. I ended up giving Lucy a long overdue washing and installing the center caps while rotating the tires.
Only doing car tasks of my choosing didn’t stay that way however. Ringo barely made it to our driveway on Ariel’s drive home from work, dying with the same symptoms of a week ago. After a sumptuous supper, I went out and he started right up, so I took him for a spin around neighborhood, but less than a block from the house, the engine died and would not restart. I got out, looked down one carb, blipped the throttle, no shot of gas. Empty? Since I’d recently replaced them with known good ones, I decided it had to be something else. I walked home, grabbed a fuel pump off the shelf and a handful of wrenches. Five minutes later, I’d swapped out the fuel pump and he started right up and idled wonderfully. I had Ariel take him for a test drive and he performed flawlessly. Could I have this issue behind me? I hope and pray so.

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