Not a Car Guy...
It was time for a couple road trips. I have been swamped , as usual, at the shop. Too much work makes Jack a dull boy. Well, it makes Eddie an impossible prick. Spencer has been dropping hints," When're we going to Indy again, Dad?" He's like me... a hint is a brick upside the head. I had a piece I needed to return and a wrap I needed to get up there to a customer. I figured I could do it for less than it would cost to ship... and I needed the day away. We took off after having breakfast and had an uneventful trip. I think the last 9 years, there has been some ongoing construction at various points on 70. Sort of like the ongoing projects in my shop... some will get the connection.
We delivered the pieces to their respective destinations. The last was with Rooman at his lair in Brownsburg. While there, he took us on a tour of his neighbors place, JoKerr Fabrication
( www.jokerrfab.com ), I was blown away at the projects he had going on. If you like traditional hot rods, appreciate a craftsman, or dig old open wheel cars, you have to check his site out. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet or talk to the owner, I was impressed nosing around the place. Brownsburg is one of those places I could get lost and not really care if I was found. The backlots and backyards (and sometimes front yards) hold treasures you aren't going to find in other suburbs. It sets the mind in motion, scheming what could be done with the relics resting, or rusting, in plain sight. Like a truck driving friend loves to say, " Cooler than a mountain stream, Buck. Makes ya wanna jump right in." My co-pilot, who claims ,"I'm not a car guy", is getting a keen sense of what is cool. He's always ready to jump in the truck and go. But... he's not a car guy. He can tell the unwashed all about how a drag race works. The intricacies of early funny cars and front engine dragsters are easy for him to explain to people who come in the shop and ask about the examples that seem to have taken root here. He soaks it up, but will solidly maintain... "I'm not a car guy."
Our second road trip was a week later, this weekend in fact... well.... sorta.
I'm not a good spectator. I may have mentioned this before. In fact, I have to talk myself into following through on my trips to the shows or races. I had been asked a number of times if I was going to Bowling Green for the Reunion. At the beginning of the year, I had plans to take the Hippo. Work, floods and life seems to slow all those plans. I had talked myself out of going and had plans to work on some of those rooted projects. I figured my Indy jaunt was enough to suffice for a while. Against my better judgement, a customer had called and postponed a job scheduled for Friday, until later next week. This was Thursday afternoon, it was hotter than the hubs of hell and I was ready to disappear for a while. I walk in the office and Spence asks, " Hey dad, how ya doin'?" I replied with a question," Hey Spence, wanna go on a road trip to Bowling Green?" I expected a rejection.... "Sure dad!"
As is the drill when we do this, we head out early and he sleeps and eats... I drive. Our itinerary was pretty loose, with the only plans being meeting up with Corey Conyers to discuss delivery of the Hippo and hanging out. I suppose it is Highway Construction Month in the midwest, with a total of about 70 miles of this trip dodging orange cones. Another sight along the way, unfortunately, were a number of rides with the same destination in mind... incapacitated on the roadside. Here's where I just don't get it. Maybe it's because I went through it in my early (broke) years... and hated it. Or, it could be I want to make it incident free and don't feel like subjecting my kid to the annoyance of it all. I get the part where some people think it's cool to take some weathered old iron and slap a set of 18 to 20 inch wheels on it, get it to run halfway decent and head out on an adventure. Not my cup of tea, my early years were full of the same old unfinished hulks, that would break down, or at least require a couple stops along the way to make it. The end goal was to finish them and cruise in style. Throwing some clear over a rusty faded skin makes no sense to me. Selling these pieces of crap, to some unsuspecting newbie who wants to join the party... for 3 times more than what it's worth, you should be ashamed of yourself and should be forced to drive however far to pick them up if it breaks down. I digress...to each his own, it's a form of expression. Fools and their money, etc. Setting out on a trip, a couple hundred miles, in a decades old car is a crap shoot. Old wiring under a dash, old u-joints and time worn and disintegrated innards of transmissions and engines can make for a trip from hell. Especially, if you travel alone. Safety comes in numbers as the old saying goes. At least do the buddy system and travel with a couple others. The hills of Kentucky are not friendly to cellphone signals and though they are friendly folk... not many are stopping to help strangers much anymore. I saw a few that died just short of the destination. One, the guy's girlfriend was walking away as he was trying to get her to come back. Air like soup, temps in the upper 80's and a broken down car on an off-ramp... not a good start to the weekend and not the most endearing memory to a significant other. When we left. the car was still there and the guy was sitting in the grass... girl-less. I guess my point is, be prepared. Looks are subjective and tastes... well... they are varied and have no explanation. Just make sure these things are going to make it, safely and without something falling off along the way. This is supposed to be fun, not a miserable experience for those who may not be as jazzed about it as you are. I've been doing the car show thing since 1979 and making the long distance runs since 1982, and had more than my share of breakdowns. When you are young and dumb... it's part of the learning curve. When you aren't so young... wisdom is something you were supposed to have gained. Okay, there's my gripe... I guess the most important thing, is people are still doing this.
We hung around for about 7 hours, spent some money and found some deals at the swap meet. Spence learned the fine art of haggling a guy down 10 bucks on a toy he was selling. The heat and humidity were typical of Beech Bend and some things will never change. We wrapped up our day in Kentucky by going to a local steakhouse and having dinner before venturing out for the Great Orange Cone Dodge. Spence was enthralled with the fact the restaurant let you throw your peanut shells on the floor. He contributed quite well to the effort. While I ducked away to the restroom, Corey shows up to meet us and apparently recognized Spence from the facebook posts. I came back to the table and saw him holding court, keeping all entertained. We bs'd a few minutes, set a tentaive plan for the Hippo to be delivered and wrapped up our day in Bowling Green.
When we merged onto the parkway, Spence leans the seat back and says," Even though I'm not a car guy... I like these trips, dad. Wake me up when we get home."
Nah, he's not a car guy.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - By Eddie Buck