Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., July 27
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I was running late… and trying to catch the ’59 Impala that was ahead of me on the freeway. Top speed in my Chevrolet is only 55 mph, so I had no chance. I glanced down at the gauges – the engine was over heating and I was almost out of gas. Better ease up, man.
I stopped the chase and slowed down. Ever try to hope your car to the gas station? Yeah, me too.
I made to the Arco gas station at College Grove (filthy place, the awning is packed with pigeon waste). After waiting in line to get some gas I was finally able to get a couple of gallons of regular. The filler neck on the ’52 isn’t really compatible with today’s foreskin style gas pumps, so I have to pull the snorkel back, hold the trigger at half squirt and watch to make sure the gas doesn’t backup and pour all over the concrete. It’s such a pain in the ass that I usually only put 5 gallons or so in.
4.32 gallons of gas later I was back in the driver’s seat. I pulled out of the station to the stoplight at College and Broadway. The Chevy stalled.
The light was red, so I cranked it over a bit. The light turned green and I was able to get it to rumble to life… I made it half way thought the intersection before another stall. The Chevy was heading downhill so I opened the door and started to push, picked up a little speed and let it roll.
I pulled over and tried the starter again. No way was this car going to start. I had some gas in a can in the trunk. Pouring a little gas down the single barrel carburetor made it so I could start the car, but it would die after a bit of bravado.
Lets see, you need 3 things for internal combustion. Fuel, Spark, Air. I had air, I had spark… no fuel.
I walked up the street to the Kragen and bought a new, clear fuel filter. Once I had it swapped out I got the car started for a few seconds with the gas down the carb trick.
No gas in the filter.
Now it was time to stress.
My brother that I hadn’t seen in 2 years was in town. We were meeting him and 10 other family and friends in Old Town for dinner in an hour. I was stuck on the side of the road, covered in sweat and stinking of gasoline. I called my wife. The boys were going crazy in the background. She calmly suggested that I sign up for AAA.
I called Clancy’s towing, I had used them in the past and were always very professional. Today they couldn’t get me a flatbed in time. 800-400-4AAA. As soon as I got a live body on the phone I explained that I was in a huge rush, I wanted to sign up NOW and didn’t have time to hear anything other than “thank you, we will have a tow truck there as quick as we can”.
I got a call from the tow truck company (Broadway Towing, I think) 10 minutes later. I requested that they send a flatbed, I had a classic car. No problem. 30 minutes later they called me back to say that there was no flatbed available. I took the phone away from my head to swear and cuss for a bit. I explained that I was in a huge hurry, my brother was in town, yadda, yadda…
The regular tow truck driver assured me that he would be able to safely haul the Chevy to my house. I was over it, if he had to drag the damn thing on its side all the way home I’d have been happy.
My wife had the boys all ready to go, I jumped into the shower, 5 minutes later I was cleaned up and ready to rock.
Dinner with my brother, his wife and my nephew was very nice. Meeting little Jacob for the first time was a treat. That kid has the fattest cheeks I have ever seen. The 950 Club at the Handlery Hotel is where we landed afterwards. Talk about drinking with the dead. Bright lights, no music. Good wait staff, though. After a few shots of Jack on ice we were all joking and laughing about old times.
The problem with the Chevrolet ended up being the fuel pump. $40 and an hour of fumbling around and the Chevy was back to life.
It’s never boring, is it?