Friday, May 17, 2013

The Journey: A Journal Part 7 (The Final Battle)

 I woke up in Des Moines, Iowa at sunrise.  It was nearly 8am and I had slept a perfect 8 hours.  The rain had stopped outside.  I browsed the internet a tad further and it turns out sometimes if you press the start-engine button repeatedly on a C6 Corvette it will start and there'll be no need to jump it (which, I imagine, would be hard on the electrical system if you jump it every day).

  I pass Posh Spice's replacement, Iowa Jill at the reception desk and verify I was good to check-out.  I didn't get any breakfast, just some bottled water and a Diet Mt.Dew for the road, switching back to Atkin's as planned.

  I walked to Rosie and she was in-tact and unbruised.  Still getting used to her I remember my personal "First 30 Days Rule" which is that you should be very careful with a new vehicle of any kind because Entropy wants to destroy it, be it car, bike, submarine, or spaceship (or any combination of those).  I had programmed Rosie to open only when I was within 10 feet of her but otherwise lock-up completely and she unlocked when I approached.  I opened the passenger door first to put Cheesus Christ in the copilot's chair and the trunk "greenhouse" to put the mini-jumper box (which is now fully charged as I had plugged it in overnight just in-case.) and I noticed it also had a handy tire-inflator air-compressor as well.  I get into the driver's seat and prepare myself, ready for anything.

  After the second press, clutch depressed, she started right up; a much better sign.  I figure my way out the parking garage, the Ralph Bakshians no where to be found, after collecting their tolls, I suspect they went back under some bridge to count their earned threat-winnings.  There were a few speed-bumps within the garage and I was tenacious on hitting those, but interestingly, despite the incredibly low front-end of the 'Vette, it doesn't scrape on them ever.  I had test-driven one a month previously of the same breed (albeit $30k more expensive and 1 year newer) and noticed that indeed, it oddly doesn't scrape.  I must confess I had actually scraped the underside a tiny bit when I had that stint at the McDonald's / Gas Station when Exidor of the Rescue Rangers came to my aid (to add insult to injury) so it's "broken in" and not "brand new" now, which is a bit of a relief.   Anyway, I was careful (or so I thought) exiting the parking garage. 

A band gayer than the movie Twilight

   I get to the end of it, a Ford Taurus annoyed at my slow-going behind me and I consider directions.  I realize I'm pretty deep in town and not sure where I-80 was, be it left or right, but North was right so I went right.  The Ford honked a "Shave and a Haircut" jingle at me and it confused me while I was exiting.  I noticed cars parked facing me on both sides of the street.  Ah.  One way, and it's not my way.  No one was stirring so early so it was no dire consequence and I turned down a non-one-way road immediately, pull a U-Turn, and park on the side of the road and shake-off my sleepy stupidity (though I swear there was no sign coming out that garage!)  I activate the Nav and set my "Home" location to be, well, my home.  Only 755 miles to go.

  I get onto I-80 in PDQ fashion.  It's nice outside and I continue my Rush tunes.  The car still feels a bit alien to me and I take it easy.  I count no less than 30 state troopers pulling over victims through Nebraska.

  As I pass Grand Island city (a rather odd place) I'm beginning to run low on petrol and it's about 2pm so I stop and get gas.  Another McDonald's there but I ignore that in-favor of a "King Kong Burgers" joint behind it, because it looks retarded.  I walk into the gas station (a BP I think) and get a few more drinks and get Rosie to actually start after a few pushes of the button).  Exiting to go around the gas station I notice a worker pouring sawdust over a rather giant gas spill that spans about 30 feet around.  I make my way around that and her and she ignores my car and walks into my way which I stop abruptly.  She seems annoyed at me that I was in her way and I gladly wave her on where she gave me hate looks.  Shrug.  I'm sure her destiny is gonna be full of jelly-beans.. and balloons; balloons that float.

  King Kong Burgers is a Greek restaurant, themed with giant apes and a jungle setting.  On the ceiling are stuffed animals like some psycho-circus.  They serve burgers and Grecian fast-food which I grew up with.  I get their double and a Greek salad side.  Later I'm told these are a bit of a chain and I saw some non-reservist active-duty USAF kids there eating (where's the base in the middle of nowhere, some 40 miles outside of Grand Island?)  Weird.  The food was remarkably good and well-seasoned and the salad was well above-average, especially for Nowhere, Nebraska.  If you see one on a road-trip it'd be in your best interest to go.  Oddly, they served NY Strip steak as well, which is out-of-place but whatever.  Most Greek restaurants feature Hunt's Ketchup and they have it in loads, though there's packets of Heinz for the non-Greek fast-food uninitiated.  It't the only time you should use Hunt's as I'm a ketchup superfan expert.   As I'm leaving the short Greek fat owner (pretty much me in 20 years) stopped me while he was sitting, enjoying lunch at his own place (a good sign btw) and asked me by holding my arm if I didn't like the food, if something was wrong with it.  I mentioned it was probably the best burger I had in months but I didn't eat the bun and that I was full.  I couldn't eat any more!  Good value.  I patted him on the shoulder and told him it was good to his satisfaction.  Only a Greek man would put all of this together and think it'd work and be a good idea.  Oddly, it does work, and it's very good.

"Ginger" my original 1999 TransAm Firehawk
  I get in Rosie and she starts up after about 3 tries.  I find gear selection is rather acceptable.  It reminds me of my old TransAm Firehawk (1999 LS1) except without all the problems it had that I took care of with SLP modifications.  The car is as if it's "Ginger's" spirit (name of my old TransAm) evolved, Pokemon style.  I missed her quite a bit.  I had sold her to a USAF F-16 maintenance troop in South Korea being stationed in Florida where he just sold her recently.  I had put 89k miles on her and had done serious modifications, impressively so, but he hadn't done any decent necessary work on her, such as the timing-chain, etc. and had put an additional 10k or so miles on her, and had ruined the dash with a carpeted dash-mat ala 1991 which is just vile.  He offered me $14k that I had sold her to him for, and I countered with a significantly lesser amount, and he then sold her to someone else he wouldn't tell me who.. sometimes it's best to let old girlfriends move on.

  The rest of the trip was uneventful.  I work my way into Colorado through I-76 then down to I-70 to I-270 and then to I-25 to Fountain, Colorado.  I get home around 5pm MST which is pretty good.  I didn't get any tickets.  It was very boring and slow-going.  I opened her up briefly once or twice but otherwise kept it at the speed limit, the evil roads entering Colorado on I-76 taken-up pretty well by the magnetic-ride-control mechanism.  Right before I arrive, I wash the road off briefly so she doesn't look so bug-smeared.  I get home and have Becky help me judge distance to park in the garage and I lock her up, then I sleep for a long time.

  The next day I give it her first of two wax jobs and wash her and detail the inside which turns from gray to black (the leather and trim was so sun-bleached and unloved it soaked up nearly a quart of Maguire's NXT shine).  The scary dealer said he'd send me the manual as it was missing, but I found it in a second trunk cubby soaking wet with several other supplements, including a DVD in a leather bag holding it all together.  All soaking wet and moldy.  CarFax did not indicate any vehicular water-damage reported.  The cubby was bone-dry, as was the interior.  Since the car originated from Bowling Green, KY to Oregon, perhaps the original owner left the bag outside in the consistent rain?  Very odd.  Still, Rosie's home, Cheesus is refrigerated, and I survived The Journey.


  You've read the epilogue earlier, but here's a bit of information to finish things off.  The troubling problem of her not starting continues throughout the week, though I never need to jumpstart her, she still fusses with a requirement of several start-button pressings.  I cut into Cheesus and eat a slab as is a man's right.  I freeze a good portion and send the rest to the Vatican for inspection. 
  Today, I took her this morning to a scheduled appointment at Daniels Long Chevrolet and for some reason she started the first pressing.  When I get to the dealership (15 minutes early) I turn her off while listening to life-sustaining XM (FM died when "Clear Channel" took over and killed it).  I put every Rush album on MP3 format on a stick (16Gb) and that's installed permanently in the USB cubby of the audio system onboard.  Rush on-demand now, 24x7.
  They have me drive her into a bay and she starts, first time again.  I shut her off and explain my situation and show them she doesn't always start and that it takes sometimes up to 10 tries before she'll start.  I then press start.. and.. starts right up.  I get fussy and do it again.. and again.. and again.  We try it 10 more times and .. she starts right up.  I can't think of anything I did differently.  Maybe Rosie and I are starting to get along?  Maybe she's warming up to me?  Maybe she got scared I was gonna leave her there for weeks until she gets fixed?  She has abandonment issues?  Maybe she self-healed?  I've known GM cars to do that, they self-heal themselves.  Maybe Becky's electromagnetic phenomenology fixed it?  Dunno.  I just dunno.  Really weird, but convenient.  Today, we went to see Star Trek: Into Darkness (of course, both of us being Trekkers) and each time she stared right up.  No problems.  Several times stop and start.  Played stop/start in the garage today a few dozen times too.  No problems.  I sometimes wonder if since Colorado is so dry, something wet dried-out?  Hard to tell.  I rode the car through a LOT of water in Iowa, though never enough that the hood was under water.  I just dunno.  Still, it's a good thing, and now I can get to vanquishing evil in its tracks, though the not starting reliably adds to the suspense in a horror movie, don't it?  Yep. 
The End

1 comment:

  1. What a hell of an adventure. I couldn't imagine having a new car with intermittent starting problems. I like that my Mustang only ever needs gas and oil no matter how much I modify it and no matter how hard I beat on it. My Audi, meanwhile, is a dependent as a toddler (thank God I can fix things myself) and I granny-drive that thing.

    Also, your old LS1 looks like the LS1 Brandon used to have, though his was black. We called it the Batmobile. It was a lot of fun.