Monday, August 28, 2006

Adapting to the Environment

It took a few days and a lot of shifting things around. The bass boat came out from under the carport and took up a new station in the driveway with a "for sale" sign on it. The golf cart, also a former carport resident, was sold and gone. Now there was room for two Vees in the single file stall. This way at least they were under cover, shaded from the sun and protected from the rain. Mine went in first because it would probably be there the longest before it's next outing. Hugh's was closest to the gate in the front. I stripped off the top of the body and began a careful study of what I had. The first thing to do was to see if I could fit in the car. I am larger than your average rabbit.

My broad butt is simply too wide to fit in the molded fiberglass seat. I took the seat out and tried again. I could, if I used the fuel cell cover as a backrest, fit snugly into the cockpit. My shoulders would be firmly braced against the topside rails and under the roll bar braces. There would be no lateral movement during cornering….good deal. It might take a little adjustment of the pedals but that was not too bad. A bigger problem was that the steel straps that supported the steering box cut painfully across the tops of my knees, Have to do something about that.
There was also a bar across the car about where my bottom settled. I’m not sure what its purpose was but it was wrapped in a foam pad and would render the submarine belt unnecessary. My tail couldn’t slide forward if it wanted to. On one hand if I cut out the bar my knees would change position. On the other hand, if I changed the steering I had a secure bottom brace that would hold me firmly in the car during hard cornering. Its little things like that make it interesting. Every tiny little change affects every thing else.For a car that had been in storage for as long as it had, it was not in bad shape.
The steering box was shot. It took half a turn of the steering wheel in either direction before you got any action from the pitman arm, so that would have to be replaced. The brakes were frozen up. Could be master cylinders, or slaves, or rust; have to check that out.I replaced the battery, drained and replaced the oil in the crankcase and changed the oil filter. I removed and cleaned the sediment out of the oil cooler. I added a little gas to the fuel cell and with my heart in my mouth hit the start button. Shortly I saw gas in the fuel filter and suddenly it fired. It was a little ragged, but it fired. It was running rich, but it fired. The elevation change from Buffalo to sea level could account for that but mostly it sounded like it could be healthy. I could breathe again and I didn't even know I had been holding my breath,I checked all the gauges. The tachometer and oil pressure gauge worked but I could see no reaction at all from the oil temperature unit. I may not have had it on long enough to make a readable change, Have to check that later. All the switches seemed to work. I tested the fire bottle and got no reaction on the test light but a full green on the battery check. Need to have it recharged most likely.

The front beam was as stiff as a board. Lots to do there. All in all it seemed fairly sound. It needed a lot of cleaning and caressing but it looked OK. . Now, I had some thinking to do. I spent the first of many days just sitting on a stool looking at various aspects of the car. I was trying to imagine what happened when I changed one thing or another. It’s a lot easier to do it once rather than rush in and have to do it over because you didn’t think it through.

* * *

If you live in southern Louisiana, the weather soon teaches you some valuable lessons. You begin to realize that the Mexicans are not crazy.When you go on vacation, like to Mexico, you usually take your own schedule along with you to judge the world by. When you see the locals knock off at ten in the morning, just when you are getting started, you wonder what kind of lazy people Mexicans are.

If you are there long enough you begin to see that they started their workday at six in the morning while you were still asleep. By ten the day is almost half over for them. It is also reaching the sweltering hot part of the day. At ten, they go home, have a nice lunch, play with the kids, take a little nap and maybe have a cool bath and get ready to come back to work at two or three so they can finish the rest off the day and knock off at seven or eight. They are not crazy. You just did not understand the realities of the climate and a logical adaptation to it. Not all of the world is air conditioned.In the delta swamps where we live, you work out doors early in the morning and late in the afternoon. During the heat of the day you go inside where it is air-conditioned. This because, like the Mexicans, we also have ninety plus degree temperatures. To that we add eighty percent humidity. Us old farts are not crazy either and retired old farts take naps. We’ve earned them.

There is another aspect of this two part daily schedule that I did not appreciate at first. The break in the middle of the day gives you an opportunity to think over what you did in the morning. Sometimes you find that this mornings decisions were not the best. The afternoon gives you a chance to make corrections. It keeps you from looking stupid later.


Post a Comment

<< Home