"Wanna go for a ride?" I asked into the cell phone. I was already on the road, cruising around in a 10,000lb 27 foot Class C motorhome my parents just gave me, out of the blue.
“No. It’s late.” replied my-wont-be-spouse-for-many-years-girlfriend. In fact, she would not ride in it with me for many many, MANY years… LeMons Thunderhill Freezassapolooza 2008 would be her first in fact.
Brownie and I'm-not-budging-on-this-spouse/significant other eyed each other with suspicion for a very long time. She put up with a lot of my antics, but this was one thing she was firm on. She wanted nothing to do with brownie. I was undeterred.
I decided to go for a cruise, and ended up cruising up Mt Hamilton in the middle of the night. I did not intend to go ALL the way up, but I quickly realized that 27 feet of RV, dark steep narrow roads with a dropoff and U-turns are a BAD mix. Make sure you REALLY want to go down that road before you turn on to it. By the time I found a place I could see well enough to turn around, I was all the way at the top. I hoped the brakes were up to snuff as I poked back down the hill. It turns out, with something crazy like 5.70 or so gearing in the rear end, 1st gear held it so slow I could almost get out and walk next to it. After that incident I had no qualms about driving it anywhere.
The worst part of sitting in Monterey for all those years was that the exhaust system was beginning to rot out. It had a few cracks and a couple of pin holes, but was still mostly intact. There was also a small crack in the passenger side exhaust manifold that gave an annoying tick-tick-tick, but the cast iron had been pin-welded by a muffler shop years earlier, and I was in no hurry to mess with it. The rest needed to be replaced, but I may as well do ALL of it, if I was gonna do ANY of it. And so the whole thing sat waiting for the day I had nothing better to do.
Now many years later that day was rapidly approaching.
I slowed down a bit a listened intently. Are-we-gonna-die-spouse was now fully awake as well. It was hard to tell what noises were coming from the RV, and what was from the traffic that passed us at breakneck speed. A car sped by blaring its horn. Oh screw you too. The speed limit with a trailer is 55. Deal with it.
All seemed to be ok, so I decided to hold out for a few miles and stop at our usual Siusun Bay exit pit stop where I could check it out in the light without being run over. We pulled up next to the fuel pumps, and began filling his massive 44 gallon tank. Then I waked around looking for anything out of the ordinary. It wasn’t long before I found it.
OOf! Uh, honey, I found the problem.
“What is it? She asked.
“Come see for your self”
She walked back to where I was and stopped. “Oh! That’s bad isn’t it?”
The entire passenger side of the dual exhaust was laying on the ground except for the very front, which was being dragged by a tiny finger of pipe that had not cracked yet. All the mounts were broken off, and the tailpipe was ground flat from miles of passing asphalt. About 13 feet of pipe in all, dangling inches in front of the brand new Dually tires.
Ah, the “wha-ding, wha-ding, wha-ding” noise. I reached up and touched the pipe, it was warm to the touch but not too hot. One small tug and the whole thing came crashing down. Great, ha-ha-ha! This could be fun! I reached down to pick it up and noticed something wet, then heard a splashing sound. I looked underneath the RV to the driver’s side, and FUEL was gushing down onto the pavement!
I jumped up and ran around as fast as I could. The stupid Fuel pump did not click off when the tank was full, and now gas was spewing out the filler neck! I quickly clicked it off, pulled the nozzle and capped the tank. A quick check in my mind confirmed all the clothes-pins were in the reminder-bag above the sun visor, which meant all the pilots were off and secure. But I had a bigger problem; My she-drives-a-smart-car-spouse’s brand new smart-car was securely chained down to a trailer, that was securely attached to a 30 year old RV, that was sitting above a small puddle of gas, which had an open exhaust pointed at it!
There was only one thing to do.
I picked up what was left of the exhaust and stuck it in the rear of the coach. We got in the RV, and no sooner than it started, I slammed it in gear and we roared out of there.
Eyes-quite-wide-spouse was looking at me as I scanned the rearview mirrors for any signs of inferno, “Is THAT the engine?”
“Yes my love, behold the glory of unbridled 440 power! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!”
“It’s pretty loud” she said.
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From The Begining - The Hook... (Part 1)
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