It always amazes me how we translate and archive recollections of major events in our lives. I mean like you forget that the awesome night of your prom cost every dime you had and you were grounded for a month and your girlfriends dad gave you a serious stare after coming in just after sunrise or remembering your first car but somehow not noting that there were so many holes in the floor that you has slats of wood down there to keep the dirt from the road and stuff that fell out of your pocket from comingling. Such was this blastoff trip to and from DuQuion Ill. to the GMCMI convention I’m in the middle of getting over. Maybe if I write it all down here it will serve as documentation of it all and just maybe I’ll be able to remember it all in proper sequence it all. There were many great thing which I am sure will take in my minds eye but in that I learn sometimes best from things jumping out of the closet from the darl side, just maybe making this concerted effort to remember it all I can come out a better person– or maybe it can be some descent entertainment for a bit and all of us can learn a few things from some incredible great and not so from it all. I have already gotten so many calls (here it is not even dawn the next day and inquiring minds have already contacted me asking how it went) and heck, I haven’t even started to look at the Emails– bet that will take a while— so let me just blurt this all out. I’ll do my best to keep it legible and understandable because I do not go back after I write some of this stuff– not time to do that and besides I’ve been told that the inflections created from the mis spelling of words, run on sentances and expressions I throw in that my high school english teacher would whack my knuckles for somehow seem to add to the overall impression created by the story– it all just stays there like a spaghetti stain on that T shirt you just don’t care about—- so here it goes:
So there we were, Ralph who asked to ride shotgun & I in the driveway of the shop, pointed toward the gate– motor running with nothing more to do that drop Larry in gear and head out. It felt good the notion that all that was in front of me– what was expected of me was to pilot this machine 912 miles north where there would be people I had not seen in some time waiting to give us a friendly hello. We had a tow dolly connected to the back of the coach with an original GMC 16.5″ spare tire clinging to the neck of the dolly— just in case. Yea, I was sporting a 4 air bagger but it was the first design which had the afflictions that came with being the first blush of a device. In other words it would not perform the way the Quad bagger system of today would and allow me to run on 5 wheels– a spare would be needed— just in case. Some might say “hey, you promote the Quad bag system, why don’t YOU have one on your coach? Hey, I paid big bucks for this thing and I really wanted to see where it will ultimately fail for others so it’s still on there! Larry, the name that stuck to my coach from the person who found it waiting for me in the US Postal fleet maintenance facility in Denver Colorado– Larry Coldren was as ready as we could make it and after it’s catastrophic motor meltdown coming back from the Dothan GMCMI convention a couple of years ago, it felt good to have Larry again under my seat purring like a huge kitten ready to pounce on a ball of cat nip.
Ralph K, my partner in the Fire Fight products business asked to come along– I wonder if he knew going in how “red letter” this event would be? He had done some pretty interesting things in his past, at least his recollection of things were very colorful– stuff you might see in a scene from some Raiders movie so all I could hope for here is that I could come close to any of that with this trip. “Headm up” cause here we go– with the shifter in “D” and the foot off the brake we were instantly now “in route”.
My TomTom GPS was programmed and the first words I heard was “turn left, at the end of the road turn left”– as if I didn;t know how to get out of my driveway– OK, ok, Gertude, I got it– we were around the corner and into hostile territory! Taking a right at the infamous “OBT and Oakridge” corner where a week before my Suzuki had to push Larry who died at the turn light to the shop, this time he pulled through the intersection under it’s own power which I took as a good Omen. Driving past Ben, my muffler guys shop, I honked the horn as if to say “look at me, Hey you’all, watch this” and with passing his place we were now really out there on our own.
There were several issues I needed to pay attention to– we had been battling vapor lock on our fuel system and had done several “countermeasures” which I hoped would solve our problems, we were drivinh on 5 year old tires which I tell folks to not do. This could turn into an episode for a Burnstein Bears book but hey, it was too late to back up now. We were powering ourselves by one of our roller cam motors fresh out of the builder with @ 300 miles under it’s belt. We had issues with the ignition system, fuel system repaired that came up in those first 300 break in miles — but were they truly fixed or just bandaided and would they come back or would there be new things that Murphy would use to make the run interesting— only the “shadow” knows and it would take getting out there on the open road like stepping out on that thin limb and jumping up and down to find out. I had 2 of every part of the ignition system, 3 carb fuel filters, a cheap set of tools– you knoe, the ones you find all wrapped up in a plastic breifcase that you wonder how they could offer to sell such a pile of tools so cheap and a collection of tests light, crempers, volt meter, jumper wire, Grandaddy’s 15″ Crescent Wrench which I never leave home without and some other bits I felt might come in handy in a pinch. It was all bagged up and stowed away in places I hoped I would remember where they where if time came to use them.
70 PSI of pressure in the older tires, oil topped of in the motor and generator, proper levels of tranny fluid in Manny’s tranny, brake fluid, PS fluid, coolant and my q12 volt phone charger– we were ready. I felt like Gilligan on their intro to that series “The mate was a mighty sailing, his skipper brave and sure” checking all the crap he had roped to his belt and like they all set sail that day for a 3 hour tour, we were sailing ourselves into unknown water ourselves for a similar “3 hour tour– a 3 your tour”!
4 axles, that will be ” bla bla bla”, I handed the teller coming onto the Florida Turnpike a bunch of money like a kid in line to ride a merry-go-round, just let me go was my thought as I asked for a receipt for my expense report. It would have cost all the folding money I gave here– I just wanted to get out there on that big piece of pavement and put the hammer down! And we did, there was no ping from the 455 roller cam motor as I brought us up to cruising altitude. No hesitation and the only sound I heard different from sitting at idle was the obligatory fan clutch cycle on from the motor compartment heat build up from stopping at the toll booth. Those danged severe duty fan clutches sound like a B-52 taking off when they kick in, would prove to be a seriously annoying component of the trip.
With no other report from the drive train than that, we were off and up to speed right away– and it felt soooo good to be out there! Ralph was there with me as backup of some sort and man, this is where I wanted to be– out in the “big rig”, flames on the front fenders– lookin good! Oh, BTW if you wondered– yes– flames on your vehicle DO make it go faster! I mean how can you allow someone to pass you when you have flames imbedded on your machine? Simply said, you can’t and in that we now have that extra push, I had high hopes that we would prevail. Gertrude says we have 916 miles to go– thanks for that information– thats just what I need to know, a 15 hour run– now I wonder if Gertrude has anticipated potty stops, fueling and Waffle House visits in that 15 hours? Oh, you must stop at a Waffle House or 2 on a road trip, not only does your coach need a certain replentishment of oil during the trip, a well lubricated digestive system is also something you need. Of course I could opt out for Krystal but there are some that think “grease bombs” are detrimental to you prolonged wellbeing — hey, I don;t but I must think about Ralph and keep things at least a few notches away from insane!
My electronic cruise control would be my best friend if not maybe a really good one on the journey. Guys, this is not gratuitous advertising but to have the option of crossing your legs and driving speed up and down with the touch of a button– I gotta tell ya is fantastic! It’s bucks but hey, what isn;t that’s worth doing! The first 30 minutes went Ok but one issue did raise it’s ugly head and despite all countermeasure we had incorporated nt our fuel delivery system, heading up a hill (which is a highway overpass here in Florida) we had a hesitation lurch at which knowing what it was I reached over and pushed the “aux. fuel” switch which kicked in my electric pusher fuel pump and as expected the hesitation went away. Looks like it will be a 2 pump run this time– I tell ya someone has to pay for this ethanol crap they have perpetrated on our fuel supply. I know some might say I’m nuts but look, you tell me why this summer it has felt like there’s an epidemic the likes that the CDC should be called to monitor the threat to the public! With this pump engaged there were no fuel related issues so there we are– one disaster obverted and I tell ya guys– you need to put a backup electric fuel pump on your aux. fuel tank and thats all I’ve got to say about that.
Things seemed to be going along pretty well, we had set the cruise control at 60 MPH not wanting to tax the new motor plus as ralph said, “going 60 MPH, you don’t have to worry about anything, everyone will pass you so there’s no need to worry”. After a while I pulled it up to 65 but when the mondo severe duty Delco (B-52 sounding) fan clutch kicked in there was a distinct squeel of the fan belts. Rats– guess it will be a 60 MPH trip all the way after all! The fan belts had loosened up, not unusual on new belts but in that I was on the move there was no way I was going to stop, loose altitude and pull over just to tighten those stinkin belts! No, we’ll just go 60 and deal with it. So now we had 2 issues on a rig patch– the vapor lock was being held at bay with the electric fuel pump and now we know anything over 60 MPH might throw the fan belts which WOULD ruin our day. So just keep-r-movin was the order of the day.
The first tank of fuel got us to Magnolia Ga. some 255 miles up I-75. Oh sure we could have gone further but if there is one thing I’ve learned messing with only 30+ year old vehicles like the GMC is they are just too dang heavy to push! Whats the reason to push 50 more miles, it won;t hurt to stop before that besides, I had to use the rest room. No beer & chips, we’re on a mission! It was more like ice water, Red Bull, iced tea and coffee! Yes, we were on a mission with no time to play around, we still had 650 miles to go.
For those of you who do not know where DuQuion is or why I was going there for a 24 hour appearance the GMC Motorhomes Intl. club was having their fall rally and of which I’ve been a proud member for over a decade in the club I have many friends and customers all get together at these semi annual “convention”. Now I don’t know about the “convention” word used to describe one of these event, I mean I see no harm at calling them anything you like — that doesn’t matter, I would call it more of a Rendezvous. Folks go out for 6 months maybe getting with people in their regional club, some not but every 6 months we all try and gather together to talk about their coaches, see whats new, get in touch with some far away friends and just revel in the like things we have together first of course being Our GMC Motorhome. So that is where Ralph and I are going. The last one I hit, coming home I blew up the original motor in Larry so neglected, he sat not much more than a storage spot. It, I think, was fitting that his first outing would be back facing his demon.
So it’s off we go, to DuQuin and back in the loop, back at the rally, excuse me, convention—- rendezvous thing — yea, thats it. But we were going for more than to face our fears– no Ralph & I were going to introduce our new Fire Fight automatic fire suppression products. For the first time, Ralph & I both would be laying those proverbial seeds showing many dear friends something that really could save their lives and their coach. I feel so strongly about protecting our classic coaches from one of the few things that could totally destroy one of these great machines. I have had people tell me, and I will add have the right to fell anyway and do anything they like, that they had an agreed value insurance policy and if it went then too bad. Like I said I do not down anyones opinion but I just don’t want to see another coach burn but I also would want them to think of themselves and their loved ones. Hey, at least have a few hand held AFFF units on board. We’ve got some kick butt nice things even for that…
Stop it Jim, which is OK for me to say to myself as long as I didn’t answer it back. I am not here selling stuff– again just laying some seeds so lets move on. We were there for that but also I had a vested interest in another direction. The new motor program which we have been investigating delivered it’s second motor and it would be figuring prominently in another attraction at the get together. For those of you who already know this drama sorry but I need to catch others up to speed on what would unfold. Over the years it is one of the great perks of my business to meet many very interesting people. I call them “doctors. lawyers and Indian chiefs”, pilots, inventors, engineers and poets they all have one thing in common– the GMC motorhome and the desire to go as deep into a relationship with a 30+ year old motorhome as they dare and maybe a bit more if they are daring! Here is a story within this one of just such a person. Richard W. has been a strong supporter and enthusiast of the GMC. He has been vocal on threads in mailing lists subject focused on the coach and has just been a great contributor in general to the collective that is the GMC community. Some months back, Richard had contacted me interested in trying something he has secretly always wanted to do and since the motor in his coach was getting on the tired side, he figured it was about time to experience what it would be to replace the motor and transmission in his coach— by himself– in his front yard — and then do a seminar about it at the GMCMI convention. Man, and I thought I was the one most apt to run out there in that thin limb to jump around! What an absurdly brilliant idea, heck yes that was a great idea for all to see how it would be to do just that. I have little doubt there would be many people in the club that would love to have an experience like that but in place of that would eat up a chance to work “vicariously” through the blood, sweat and tears Richard would dish out to them at such a meeting. And what a great way to kick off a program aimed at supplying purpose built roller cam motors for the enthusiast to install in their back yard and how great it would be for them to see the motor in the coach, running and done all by one man.
Yes, this is just the sort of absurdly brilliant thing I would like to do– so we did. Manny supplied the transmission while we had charge of the motor. This would be our second motor straight off the dyno building our program, the first went to another good friend and GMC enthusiast Tom C. Tom had what would have to be called a catastrophic event with his motor while traveling– took out the motor, diff and transmission when a rod went out through the block into the transmission– ouch. I wanted to support Tom in his real time of need so motor 1 went to him.
Motor 2 would be the first one though to hit the rock. Richard got that mill and he was scheduled to arrive at about the same time as us in DuQuion. That was the plan and you know what they say about planning anything but we’ll get to that later. Right now we were faced with a gauntlet of our own, we were on the road in a fresh roller cam motor, not just off the jacks but still well within an opportunity for Murphy to raise his ugly head. So far, the first run out from the rack, Kevin (my painter) and I did 75 hail Marys to get to Sarasota to Danny at Andros Boats and home with a clogged fuel system from the &^%#$^^^ ethanol fuel! The second out put me down, in the rain in the turn lane at OBT & Oakridge again with Kevin– hey wait, maybe Larry doesn’t like Kevin! Naaa, that can’t be, we’re too much alike. Good thing he was with me that time to go get my Suzuki to push me with the tow bar about 2 miles to the shop. No, don’t ask anymore about that one! But now, with those issues fixed, we were really out there now heading to Illinois! I bet if Ralph knew and thought about this a bit he may have not volunteered to go. In a way it was like a seaman to volunteer to pilot a target vessel, hey but he also “gets it” and afterall it’s nothin but a thing!
Back to the journey, as long as we stayed below 65 and kept the aux. fuel pump running we were good to go. Well, there was one other thing, the pump up air lumbar support in the driver seat didn’t work so I guess you could say I was really roughing it, I had many good things– I had an awesome motor and a Manny Tranny, I had a fantastic cruise control, I had a generator powering a 13.5K BTU Dometic Pinguin and an interesting friend to shat it all with– man what a great time! Yes, it was far and yes there would be some sacrifice but the end goal was worthy and like Jake & Elwood Blues, we were on an important mission.
So with my turn burning out the fist of 4 episodes of this soap opera, the next for me would be something also of great pleasure, sleeping in a moving vehicle. I gues it might have started when my Mom would put me in the back seat of her 53 Ford and drive around the block to put me to sleep– it could have been the fact that being a Greayhound bus driver, my Dad was serious when it came to traveling. We had a 60 Falcon wagon which I was the king of the back seat. I would set up my court back there, had a place on the floor behind my Mom where I could use the drive shaft hump as a pillow and would go to a deep sleep visualizing that drive shaft spinning like crazy just under my head. At some point, a rust hole had formed somehow in the corner of the rear floorboard which gave me a chance to get not only the sound but also the smells of that 6 banger pushing us down the highway. It could have been from the road fumes but I just slept best right there. Now I had the ultimate luxury to lay out a bed of my own design and build, lay out flat, on my back and listen to the whine of a motor we had build special with someone I respect as I did my Dad taking care of me as we flew through the night air. Man, now that my friend is living! I really do love to travel, that may account for me getting involved in the GMC. I’m not a mechanic though, just really have been investigating this machine exclusively now for over 15 years and through all of that I have to say one thing– I like it! No more stuffy offices and reams of paper for me, no this or that– no I have other stresses but am happy to trade for this what I see as exciting emerging business. I’m talking about the retro, restorod concept applied to vintage RV’s, man what an interesting idea! If you are reading this somewhere than from our web site, go to www.gmccoop.com and check out the fun we have. Hey, and while you’re lurking around, check out www.firefightproducts.com , also www.firefightmarine.com for the fire suppression stuff I was talking about.
So with the smallest portion of gratuitous advertising out of the way, again we must get back to the drive. I have a bad habit of going out on tangents, I’ll work on that. It was my time to drive again, it was like going from one fun thing to the next. I was back at the helm of my battlestar, full tank of fuel and nothing to do but urn it out, what a life! Everything accross the dash was 5 by 5 which if you didn’t know means all systems were go and running nominal– the motor was running good! As Gertrude, the TomTom that my son John had set on a stylish english female voice, told us to exit right then turn right, we were on the last bit of open road before our target is aquired. It was a 2 lane road, not in the best shape from the farm machines running from field to field would be my guess. We were in some big farm country, big farms use big machines of which most had that distinctive green paint. You know the “run like a Deer” monsters. Now and then I saw someone over at one of those machines look over as we passed, guess it was the flames. I mean how many motorhomes do you see with 6′ flame coming out from the front wheels anyway. They really aren’t crazy flames, just enough overkill for me I think they fit the coach pretty well. Processing this pic I realized I didn;t tell you about the tow dolly trailer we were taking with us up to DuQuion for another good friend Mel W. so we also, along with all the other reasons to make this white knuckle run we were bringing a Tow Dolly to Mel which also was a worthy Endeavour . So I think now you might have vision of what we represented as we held down our small part of the planet. Also while processing the pics I took from the trip I have found I have very few pics of all of this mess. Guess I was just to preoccupied the the reality of “Be Here Now” I didn’t think to take pics as things happened. They just happened and we all just dealt with the matter at hand of which there was something happening. I don’t want to bore you with the details but we were involved with producing a punch list of issues to resolve with things on board Larry. Of course it was a great time for Ralph and I to talk about fire fight. It was more like 2 cheer leaders getting all excited about a football touchdown, we were able to bring together some concrete ideas on our work so I guess there are several reasons why I didn’t take that many pics. The ride was great from the driver or passenger seat. As the driver, you got an unobstructed view of this Man, you are in the tunnel with those numbers. If I may, let me tell you what I see:
OK, I see I’m doing @ 65mph, I verified my number with Gertrude, my GPS gal. We have a special hair under 3000rpm, we have 190 beautiful degrees of fluid in the grinder, high oil pressure and low water temps, I have 12″ of vacuum which means I’m in “econoland” of fuel consumption readings and the best part I have a tummy full of fuel to just sit there and whip that new 455 roller cam motor and feel it respond. Yes sir, I feel we are flying high, got somewhere important to go and have a way to get there that matches the need. It’s sort of weird to have 2 of your best things are in a vehicle — one riding and one driving, heck– how can I go wrong out on the road! I have 2 great things going on and can pick whichever one I want to do!
The exhaust leak has become a factor in driving, you do not want to hear that pop, pop, pop on deceleration, that is the valves sucking in cool air. Thats bad, they could warp or other such bad things can happen when this happens. I have not stopped to see what the malfunction is, I mean it would not matter– I’m not stopping to fix anything that will not put me on the side of the road. We are on the move and nothing will stop our progress. We have a meeting to make and we must make it. There are too many people and too large an impact waiting ofr us to get there so we must prevail! Blaga, blaga, blaga the loping idle goes as will fill up. Heck no I’m not shutting him down to fill up– doing this gives Murphy a chance that it would not start back up and friends– that ain’t happenin! So we sit there under the pump island awning, rattling the panels– making the flames have a sound folks could ID where the noise was coming from. Hey, it also validates that maybe it was making that noise on purpose– yea, thats it– I mean you don’t stand behind a jet engine sitting on the runway do ya? When we pull into a rest area for a walk around feeling the hub temps and to unload unwanted fluids, we park way off from anyone to keep from waking the neighbors. Yes, and for those astute who ask where is the tow dolly, this is a pic going home but it did give the view where we parked when we hit a rest area– way out there!
The sun came up, we stopped at a Waffle house advertised on a billboard, actually we stopped to get an hours shuteye in their lot and felt since they were so gracious to not bang on the door to tell us to move, the least we could do was to go in and buy some food. It was the usual heaping portions of grease with frozen food under it all. No fries to go with my patty melt– you thought I was going to order eggs or something. Hey, if your going to eat in Rome, get the full effect of the flavor! Grease galore, that what I get when I hit a greasy spoon joint. Could be why my triglycerides are 1000 over normal!— naaaaa, it’s just a fluke!
WE downed out sustenance and hit the road for the last leg getting to our point of interest. Gertrude was our navigator and she did a great job at putting us on the road to DuQuin. The last turn was a bit confusing for someone who had never been there, we blindly followed the lead though and the 2 lane road I mentioned before came up to meet us and before long, our anticipation was met with the beautiful sight of GMC coaches lined up on a lake shore We had arrived at the DuQuion State Fairgrounds and the fun was about to begin. You must remember that on the east coast, I think I would be the first machine to enter the rally sporting a set of flames and as we pulled in you could see the attention they demanded. I have seen flames and other such personal attentions on coaches as Western States rallies but not on east coast get togethers– just too much conservatism for that. I days past, I might have been turned away but today the east coast clubs have gone light years from those times so while the flames did attract the desired attention, it did not ruffle the feathers of the powers to be. As I pulled up to the registration sign a club member looking down was startled as I put Larry in neutral and gave the gas a punch. With a jerk of his head, he looked up probably wondering if he had walked into an aircraft hanger or something. After the rev, Larry sat there with a low rumble like he was saying , “Yea, that was me, what of it.” We had made it, the first leg of the trip was done– we were there and like the last rally we would be able to work the crowd and do what we were sent here to do. Now the question was, could I take the punch list of things to do and rig them up to a reliable state for the ride home. I got our parking assignment — a great spot on vendor row can you pick out the white body of the coach sticking out with the flames showing big time?
Everyone we saw came over and with a hardy handshake were glad to see us. Some knew about at least a small portion of the drama of why we were there so we were in friendly hands with high hopes of a great visit with the group. We cold not stay for the week long event, just too much goings on at the shop but at that I felt we did have a commitment to the club community, certainly to Richard W. and to support all the huge work he was doing to his coach with installing our roller cam motor, to Mel to bring the tow dolly and lastly but certainly not the least to introduce the folks there to the new Fire Fight products. This would be their first exposure to AFFF (Aqueous film forming foam) or just “foam” to those firefighters who have experience with the stuff. We brought some products to show and a modest display which I thnk the flames helped to stand out the offering With hoods up to hook in any straggler GMC enthusiasts (the best way to attract attention at one of these rallies is to lift the front hoods– sucksm in every time) we set up and I dug into the motor to see wazup on the punch list. You might think our story is done, if you will remember though there was the major drama happen getting home from the last convention so it could be the most fun is yet to come. First off, did we blow out an exhaust manifold gasket, the donut gasket, did we crack the exhaust manifold itself or was there some other reason for the massive blaga, blaga, blaga sound coming from the driver side bank on the motor. I was rooting around when Frank J. came by to see us. Frank was from Florida too, a long standing member of the Sunshine Statesmen club and a dear friend. Funny to see you so far from home, was his remark as he looked at what I was doing. With an explanation of what I was looking for, Frank bent over and kneeled on the step to take a looksee for himself. Hey boy, why do you have an O2 sensor hanging from the wire harness over on the driver side? Sure nuff, the old O2 sensor that was used in the direct port fuel injection system that Larry used to sport and blown out of the downpipe coming from the left bank of the motor, there was a finger sized hole where the sensor used to plug exposed to the outside. Problem solved, capcom we know from where the noise was coming– now how do we plug it?
Looking a bit more I found the 2 fan belts on the motor (I did not install an AC belt in that I had sold my awesome under dash AC system the year before) were both loose as a goose. Looking at the adjustment I found the new belts had stretched beyond their adjustment. This sometimes happens with new belts in that they will always stretch a but when first installed. These went further than that so I will need to purchase a couple of new belts some 1/2 inch shorter than those. OK, now what about the rest of the list, the fuel situation, the hard starting when hot, what about aiming the headlights up, lets check the oil while we’re at it. I spent a bit listing things to buy, I had tools with me so meeting up with Rob M. (you remember he had stationed himself at our shop some 2 months working the punch list on his machine recently– it was good to see he made the rally and offering me a ride to the parts store we were off to pick up some parts.
This is a major feature of a GMC, many replacement parts can be had at most normal parts houses, having the same drive train as the infamous Toronado, you can keep you baby in road ready condition much easier than most any other beast you could find. So with a muffler patch kit, a couple of resized belt numbers and a few other bits, we were back at the rally with parts in hand for repairs. The cheapo muffler repair kit amazed me in that they called to use the tooth paste styled glue container as patch material– I mean how cheezy can you get! We got a steel band clamp, spooged some of the glue and fiber patch material around the pipe and covered the area with the band clamp, It’s as good as we can do now we needed to let the glue set up. Belts on, Ralph helped me hold the adjustment tight as I tightened the bolts. OK, thats done and now lets get to whats at hand and start working the rally crowd.
As expected, the throngs of onlookers ascended upon us right away. Ralph was working the group as I cleaned up from the repairs then I too jumped in to answer questions. It was good to see the folks, I had missed their company. It would be great to show them all the new things we were about, the Fire Fight stuff anf just talk about some of the projects we were working on. The big question usually came up first, “How are the Duramax coaches doing” and as always the answer was “we’re not done yet”. It’s hard to imagine that but really, there are just so many things to consider, we just have not as yet hit the bottom of the list so it’s just “keep you head down and work” on those projects.
The sit down dinner came after the opening ceremony where the group got introduced to the major players of the get together, an explanation of the festivities and introductions around the room. No, Ray is not describing the attributes of the classic coach owner standing position of shorts, a long sleeved club jacket with that ever so slight lean that JR so well exemplified , it could have been one of the subjects and this is the accepted standard look, JR is one of the well respected and gracious club organizer guys– we love him and ray S. as well. After dinner, with the pressures of the day gone the “wall” hit me in the head and I was not long for a vertical position. I was a limp bisquit, ready for some quality REM sleep and before I knew it I was following the lead. Ralph had already started inspecting the back side of his eyelids taking the pull out sofa/bad. I hit my berth and was out before my head hit the pillow. And the events of the day brought us to the end of this leg of the journey. We now had work to do and lurking in the back of my brain was the fact that we still had to make the trip home in a day– no pressure but it was still lurking in front of us and with the trauma of the trip up soothed there were still stresses to go around.
Man, did I need a shower so early before dawn I got up and made to over toward the showers up on the north paddock camping area. they said it was hot water which I would be most interested in taking advantage of. Larry was not equipped with shower facilities, we had a sink to scrape you teeth and wash you face but there needed to be delousing done than that after the trip so I was stumbling in the dark for the bath house. There were 2 huge electric water heaters with copper fitted plumbing obviously done by a union man in the shower room. You could follow the pipes to see that it was connected from the water heater to the pull chain shower head so there was indeed hope for a hot water shower. No one there and it’s a good thig in that there were no real partitioned stalls. Hey, I don;t care but without hooks on the walls it was hard to keep the towel and fresh shorts from commingling with the mud like dirt on the floor. I used hooks from around the room to keep things elevated and from harms way as I hooked the chain on a sheet rock screw strategically placed to keep the shower on. After a bit the water turned from cold to “luke warm” so I figured it was my chance at some sort of comfortable shower experience so I went for it. Not what I would call the lap of luxury, to usually don’t get what you want and must settle for what you need so this was enough and I was thankful for it. No mirrors on the wall means the shower room ahd probably seen it’s share of hard knocks, I would have to use the facilities in Larry for that sort of personal preperation for the day. Hey, we are “camping”, putting up with a little hardship is a part of the collective experience and in that I have done so much more with so much less, the shower though not awesome was in fact good so walking back to Larry still in the dark I felt I already had a good start on the days fun.
After the usual breakfast of donuts and bagels, we swapped Richards engine install rally set for 9:30 AM with our evening Fire Fight seminar to give him some time to make it here. The talk went very well I feel. There were many questions which is usually a good sign that you at least stimulated interest in the stuff we were explaining. Ralph seemed pleased & I was pleased he was a part of the talk. It was great to have the interest in the products and a feeling that the people attending the talk understood our enthusiasm Thats what we were there to do and it was a slam- dunk good talk. We had brought some units for JIm K. with the rest samples to show, we sold most everything we brought as samples– another good sign that people understood
More to come on this story so stay tuned