Monday, March 2, 2009

Almost Home, Last leg, 24 hrs of Lemons

I-680, 8:00pm 28 Dec 2008

“It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”

“Fix the cigarette lighter.“


That scene from the Blues Brothers comes to mind every time I start that good old big-block Dodge in the RV. Granted it’s a far cry from a cop car, but has big brakes, HD suspension and no catalytic converters. And now it sounded pretty wicked with the open exhaust belching fire underneath us. I threw on my sunglasses for good effect, but could not see anything in the dark.

“It’s Pretty Loud” my wincing-from-the-noise-spouse said.

Indeed... The exhaust had broken off at a bad weld right at the H-pipe, directly underneath her seat, and we had both banks of the 440 screaming out into the night through the gaping holes. I let off the gas pedal for a moment and the engine burbled then let out a rapid succession on backfires in the dark, each one lighting up the countryside behind her, outlining her jet-black hair in flashes against the dark.

Heh-heh, I chuckled, and of course did it again… “Whaaa-Ba-dum, Pow! Pow Pow!”

My “that’s-enough-spouse” blinked at me with one of her famous one eyebrow scowls.

Just then I saw a tell-tale black and white outline speeding down a freeway entrance behind the trees parallel to us. Oh crap. I held my breath as the Highway Patrol cruiser merged onto the freeway and into traffic behind us. “Shit! There’s no way he heard me already!”

“There’s no way he didn’t!” came the reply.

Red lights came on and I had that distinct rush of adrenaline I get every time I get pulled over for a loud exhaust, which for some reason has happened in nearly every vehicle I’ve ever owned. I franticly began replaying the chain of events in my head so I could explain them to the officer when he asked why I had no mufflers, without sounding like a complete idiot.

The cruiser sped by us, heading off to some emergency far more important than saving my spouse’s hearing.

Huh. That was close. I resolved to keep it down to a medium roar as we neared any overpass and other cop hideout for the next 2 ½ hours. And sure enough every time I let off the gas “Just in case”, a Police, Sheriff or Highway Patrol cruiser soon magically appeared. Not a one of them gave us a second thought as the RV gradually slowed with small balls of orange flame beneath the chassis. Then the cop would be gone and I would put the hammer back down. Nearby, economy sedans with windows full of smiling faces pressed against glass to see the smart-car, would quickly be replaced with looks of horror as the beast suddenly belched out its wickedness.

“Huh” my “huh-spouse” and I said repeatedly as cops ignored us. Quite a few were out that night. This continued all the way home, including our own neighborhood where we passed 3 police cruisers in the last mile. Not one of them looked at us twice as the motor shook all the windows in a 3 block radius. Thank goodness it was nearly over.

I eased Brownie and smarty into a nearby shopping center and found a spot in the corner long enough for the trailer, and shut off the ignition so my trusty companion could rest. Well done my friend. “No one even got hurt.” I said to my dazed-spouse.

“What?” she replied.

The silence was deafening.

“I said we made it. Yeay!”


Next: The Big Idea

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From The Begining - The Hook... (Part 1)

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