Sunday, July 1, 2007

I'm Not in Kansas Anymore

But I was. Left Friday after installing a bracket on the exhaust of Lara's red 1975 MGB, replaced the speakers, hitting the road. She hadn't learned to drive stick yet, so I was at the helm:

As stops for gas (every 175 miles or so because we have to order a fuel sending unit to the gas gauge works properly) I found little things to repair. The top was so tight because of non-use, but we were strong enough to get it snapped down:

Then, of course something had to happen, and we lost power systematically. First not enough fuel at high speeds, then the radio got staticy, the blinkers cut out, you get the idea. I puttered out in a gas station, noticed the fan belt was slacked (and so no power was being generated by the alternator and the battery was wearing down). I pulled the tension as tight as it could go, but we only got another 40 miles between dying again. Someone at some point put a new bracket assembly on the alternator of this car, and that was the culprit.

From 9:15pm to 11:00pm or so, I hunted for a fan belt in rural Columbia, Missouri. Hunted. I had to go "find" a fan belt for a U-Haul truck in northern Florida once about 8 years ago, but that was in the middle of the day, and pre-cell phones. When it's Friday night 120 miles from St. Louis in one direction and 130 miles from Kansas City on Rt. 70, it's some serious shit.

By the grace of the NAMGBR Help Directory & Mickey (of Mickey's Towing and Storage, 110 Route B, Hallsville, MO, 65255. 573-696-3986), we had what we needed. Mickey, in addition to all night towing which we didn't need, also has a small shop out on Route B. If you need towing services out there, I highly recommend him.

But I fixed it. That's what I do:

By 1:30am, I was shot and so decided to teach Lara to drive her car. She got the hang of stick shift pretty quickly. I documented it for you, and then slept for 40 miles:

What should have been 7 hours took 14 with hunting and repairs. Lara will remember it as an Epic Road Trip Adventure; I will regard it as just another long drive in an MGB. I rented this to drive home:

Driving for days and days, occasionally repairing things, takes a toll on the body. Not only am I severely sun-burnt, but my muscles around my left shoulder are so sore that it hurts if I breathe deeply. I'm hoping it gets better in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, it seems I've been tagged to tell you 8 things about myself:

1. I have 4 fairly large tattoos, but I've never colored my hair or had anything pierced.
2. I've lost 3 cork screws, a set of Allen keys and a bike tool to Airport Security.
3. Don't like foreign films; actively and aggressively avoid them--unless they're kung-fu flicks.
4. I couldn't read until I was 8, and didn't actually read for fun until I was 15 or so.
5. Between the ages of 17 and 22 I tried to start smoking cigarettes at least 3 times. I'd buy a pack, run out, and forget for about 3 weeks. Upon remembering, I found it a huge pain in the ass to stop at the store for a pack of cigarettes, and so that's that. I buy a cigar every few months, and really enjoy it.
6. My food shopping list consists of very little more than eggs, apples, cheese, cans of black beans, & either tortillas or bread, and scotch (but a bottle will last me at least a month). I forget to eat dinner at least twice a week. I'd live on pizza and sandwiches if there was a decent deli in this town.
7. I used to know Latin, but have forgotten most of it. I forget a lot of things. I don't hold my memory in high regard, and believe I'm a better person for it.
8. When I am on a long drive, I constantly scan the stations and stop almost only for "Don't Stop Believing," "Time after Time," "Copacabana," or Jackson Browne's "Stay."

Happy 4th Weekend. I might cook a steak.


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