Friends. . .you don't know you have.
I took a trip recently to just get away. Nothing special, mind you, just took the opportunity to deliver a dragster out East. Clark Slater, of Pennsylvania, had Brian Fox, of King Chassis fame, whip up a tidy little front engine dragster for him that needed a ride and I decided I would be the one to give said ride. It took a couple months of trying but I was finally able to get it nailed down. Holidays, floods, new truck and work seemed to delay it at every turn. I spent the day we left traipsing all over two counties getting taxes, license and trailer parts.
My erstwhile co-pilot was once again my son Spencer. I guess that trip to Texas about a year ago didn't sour him on trips with dad. I got everything loaded, had a couple pieces of furniture to drop off in addition to the digger. I also had a bike for my ugly twin sister, Rosetty, for those of you in the know.
Looking somewhat close to an Okie making his way west from the dustbowl we set off. A mid-evening stop in Brownsburg, Indiana, had us visiting with the incomparable Roo Man, Keith Burgan. We got the nickel tour of his shop, traded some stories and other things as well. Spencer was fascinated by the way he talked and felt the need to touch everything in his shop, at least once. You see, when you tell that kid not to touch things he tends to do the opposite. After a pleasant visit, we set off into the night, finally stopping in Ohio for a nap, actually two. Daylight found us in Wheeling, West Virginia, for breakfast, too much bacon not enough coffee and a really loud waitress. There is a reason they call it Cracker Barrel.
We soldiered on to the Fort Littleton exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike; we had a date with the owner of the furniture. She showed up and had a competition sedan body for me (in lieu of a belly tank that was destroyed in a storm). We swapped stuff and I engineered a way to fit it on the trailer and once more we were east bound and down.
Our next meeting was with the dragster owner about two and a half hours down the road. We were ready for some grub and pulled off the pike in Carlisle. Spencer wanted Bob Evans so we tried our damndest to find one. No such luck but there was a diner off to the side, easy enough to swing into with the trailer. Funny thing, this place seemed strangely familiar. I soon realized I had been here before, in ‘09 with my son Kevin, same place, same food, same waitresses. A little eerie, but cool nonetheless. After keeping the wait staff entertained, Spence finished his pie and we were back on the road again.
We relied on the GPS to guide us to the next stop and those roads sucked worse than the roads we had been on. The owner of the dragster called and once we ascertained our location, he decides we’re closer to his home than the original meeting point. We get his address, plot it on the GPS. It’s only 11 miles but almost 45 minutes over not much more than cattle trails. At this point I decided how much I hate Pennsylvania roads. Sorry to my friends of the great state, your roads suck worse than mine!
The dragster was dropped off and out of the way and we’re back on the road to the next and last destination of the day, an evening spent in West Chester with Pam and Bill. Yes, to those who may be star struck, THAT Pam. To us, she's Pam, he's Bill and there's the dog and Squeak the cat. Normal people like everyone else. She just happens to be part of a magical space and time.
Dinner, relaxing in the spacious "Hodg Mahal", the place is immense, with more than 10,000 linear feet of wood. . . floors, walls and ceiling! The ultimate place to hide, relax, or just sit back and watch a race on the big screen while Bill turns a lamp base from a hunk of cherry tree. They were on the receiving end of all the personality, known as "Spencer", had to offer. Pam showed us a few of the treasures she has collected over the years. We pondered the outcome of posting a photo of us on Facebook. I figured Pam could post a photo of an empty can and it would get a ton of likes. She quit counting about 10 minutes later after over 60 likes. We lounged around until almost midnight and called it a night. A hot shower, warm bed and 6:00 am was there before I knew it. Many thanks to the Hodgsons for the great dinner, hospitality and accommodations, you have a lovely home and your friendship is treasured.
Next stop is the Funny Farm and the setting of a previous article, “Two Hour Voyage”. It's been two years since I was here last and long overdue. We pulled in and there she was, sitting on the rollback, "Mickey's Maverick". We unloaded the bike, Bob admired it for a few minutes (it had sat in my warehouse for two years, waiting for a ride home), then he told me of his plan for loading it on the trailer. Things like this should be a no-brainer. . .a few chunks of two by four, a strategically placed strap and we should be good, should be.
I had the comp body I picked up the day before; it needed a place to travel. Naturally, we came up with a brilliant idea of loading it under the Maverick body. Bob lifts it up and I slide the sedan body inside, well tried to. It was a little difficult, akin to pushing a baby hippo back into its mother's birth canal. I gave it a good shove and the Maverick slide back into the trailer jack. No major tragedy, I have to split it down the middle anyway to restore it to 1970 dimensions.
We get the body back in its stand and set about to firming up the mount. Off to the shop to cut the various pieces designed to keep the sides from looking like the Flying Nun's habit at speed. Getting back to the task at hand, I climb under the body on the trailer, Bob says," Right there should be good." First screw in, second one gets positioned and as I pull the trigger on the drill, ouch! It slipped and my contorted position had most of my weight on the drill with my left hand supporting the rest of me.
Now a spinning drill with a Phillips bit is just as potent as one with a drill bit, maybe more so, as the spinning Phillips head made it into one side of my thumb and out the other. What made it worse was a cheap bit holder. You know the kind, when you walk from point A to point B the damn bit always seems to fall out. That kind of happened, sort of. When I yanked back with the drill, the bit stayed put. I yelp my favorite words. Bob asks if I am bleeding. I confirmed it was a little and finished screwing the board in place.