Looking back after a soft landing from being shot out of a cannon is one of those sweet memories, maybe the most you can hope for in life is one cannon shot after another with a soft landing on each, well maybe most– all might be asking too much. Whatever the meaning of life is, which by definition we are not privy to find out at least before we escape these bonds, so if our life is made up of experiences this is one that added color to my existence so maybe that’s why I feel compelled to write about it.
After much anticipation and a pile of work on Bill’s 76 GMC previously fussed over by Explorer vans, we were ready to deliver the coach to it’s eager owner, mop out the bay and start in on another deserving machine. This meant though that the coach had to not only make it though it’s obligatory shakedown to prove everything seemed to work but also prove this proof by getting home. Home for this critter was Huntington W. Virginia. For some that would seem like a long distance but for a machine like a GMC, that should simply be a hop/skip. After all, these are highway machines built like a Greyhound bus, to go miles without complaint, at least that is what we hope will be it’s posture. A GMC that constantly requires fiddling with to me is not living up to expectations. We push the machine we work with to service their owners well and this was the goal for the now named “Huntington Flash”. I say “now named” because it took the ordeal of driving the rig home then having a dream on the plane flight home to realize the coach actually did talk to me. See, it’s such an intimate experience working over one of these vintage RV’s that usually somewhere along the line they “talk to me”. Don’t check me in to the Betty Ford clinic just yet, I know this sounds on the cracked side and I certainly cannot explain it but in spending so much time working deep into these machines, somewhere along the process you get a feeling– whether it be good or bad, when it happens it sticks. Maybe like naming a pet or something, yea– maybe that’s it— maybe subconsciously I am bonding as I work on these beasts. Oh dear, maybe I should not get so attached and to that I think I would have to say “too late” because doing the work we do has to be about more than the dollars and sense of the deal so maybe naming these machines is part of that process. Bill asked me as I was doing a debriefing near the end of this saga if I had gotten a feeling for a name of his coach, at that time my answer was no but seconds after I said that there was a eerie feeling in the back of my head which said “not so fast”. I didn’t say any more to Bill because I wanted to see maybe where things would go. And as it turned out is was in the plane, a twin engine prop job lumbering it’s way from Huntington to Charlotte when it came to me. If this sounds boring to you, it may be time to hit the “Esc” button because I think the story here will be about how it’s name “Flash” came to be. If you wonder why the name floated to the top then maybe reading this might be fruitful. If so, let’s talk:
Bill had come by our shop some time back, my guess to check us out before trusting his new acquisition to us to bring it up to date. Bill was a seasoned RVer, first starting out with a pup tent then progressing over some 13 or so trailers, class C and then the big time up to a 45′ Prevost. Along the way he had I think 3 different GMC’s and now at the point in his life where he was paring down his holdings to a manageable state, this GMC, my bet, was to be the culmination of his entire RV experience. When Bill contacted me some months ago, at first I had not remembered his previous reconnoiter visit. I see so many folks come through but after talking for a few minutes I remembered his slow, deliberate way of talking, his thoughtly comments that meant something each time his mouth opened. Some folks have a way of saying many things in between there would be meaning. I don;t feel this is a negative– maybe more of a entertainment between meanings. Bill is one of those that means what he says and chooses his words well to communicate as well as possible. You don’t forget that because you have to focus on words as you say them with people like Bill. It is easy for me to speak straight up like that in that I dig deep when I speak about these vintage machine. This is what I remembered from Bills first meeting and what I feel maybe made this coach what it became. Bill knew what he wanted so his goal was to articulate to me those needs. He wanted a dead nuts sold coach, fancy is nice but the needs of his wife and he had progressed from the flambiant to the reliable. He showed me a pic of the recently sold Prevost– what a rig! it was a monster with everything and anything you could imagine, Bill had been around the block more than once with RV’s so it was a tall order to bring this coach to the pedestal he had built for it.
When Bill had decided to have us work on his coach, it had first not hit me as to the thought process that brought him to that point, it all started out pretty normal– he first discussed a rebuilt drive train which is not uncommon in the process of bringing a GMC to a reliable state of condition. I mean being in the “30 something” range, I don;t care how well a coach has been taken care of, kind of like a vintage aircraft– they need a complete inspection, dismantling and in most cases updating. In Bill’s case, he had purchased an “Explorer” coach. These machines underwent a “total” restoration by Explorer Vans in the middle 90’s and in may minds that would be considered a fuller restored coach. Well, that may be true but that was 15 years ago and unfortunately those years do damage to a man made mechanism also the extent and expertice put into that restoration would also find it’s way into the needs of the now coach. While it could be called and actually was a “frame off” restoration done by Explorer, the problem was they did not have the time tested expertise to have their machine last. Their learning curve was being forged so this coach had the errors in judgement that all Explorer coaches unfortunately have.
I don;t want to belabor this point by enumerating the flaws Explorer built into their restoration maybe because I would not want folks to do that to my work, see there is always room for improvement and anyone who says they are an expert is immediately a fool so let me just say there were issues that came out over the years they could have done better at if they would have known. One issue was their treatment of the frame. True, they did lift the body from the frame in their progress, you could easily see that but in sandblasting the frame without separating the rails from the sub frame, they blew sand into the space between the frame sections then sealed the fate of the frame by undercoating over their misunderstanding of frame restoration. This error caused many Explorer coaches to have frame rot from the inside out. I have dealt with grievous examples of this mistake, Bill’s coach had this affliction but it was not that bad. Digging out the internal frame rust, killing it then bending the frame back into place welding it into place then undercoating the repair, Bill’s frame was back to good. There were some other issues which we addressed, most on the boring side so lets skip on. As our drive train work progressed Bill drove down from Huntington which after me driving the coach to him I see as a great feat to be involved in the building up of his coach. Being the man of few words, I can easily now see how interested Bill was to have this coach just right and how honored I am that he chose us to do the work.
As I said at first it was renewing the drive train with one of our roller cam 455 motors and a “Manny tranny”. He grilled me carefully on the attributes of our Koba/ Co-op motor and I could tell right from the start he was much more than a pretty face when it came to motor design. Later I was to find out just how deep Bill was into performance big blocks. He was a “Hemi Man” and those of you into motors know what I mean. On the wall in his personal office at his shop was a pile of picks, one was the “Hemi under Glass” which I lusted for in my early teens. I used to sit in the attic of our house in Charleston SC reading Car Craft magazine, building car models following this car has it wheel stood it’s way across the pages. Bill was buddies with the owner of that car, had similar machines himself. I learned all of this after driving his coach to him which we are talking about here and maybe that’s why the synapses in my brain connected only after the ordeal of delivery and some down time to reflect.
Ok, so enough of setting a background which I feel was important to explain all that happened entering then being shot out of this particular tunnel. So delivery day was at hand, we had worked with the coach doing so many things that I could not remember the date it had come. First and probably foremost it had be delivered to us for a drive train update and upgrade but after a certain comfort level was reached, Bill started in in including other modifications to include a complete brake, suspension and fuel system upgrade. We installed our Quad bag rear suspension retrofit modification, in my mind a must if you look to keep and drive one of these machines long term. After explaining what we do with a maserator sewer dump system, Bill needed that, he saw the bumper fills that keep the bumpers from looking detached from the rest of the coach, that had to be. I guess after owning so many coaches, he understood the attributes of having an awning so a Zip Dee was in his future. This Explorer coach had a custom dash but without a tach and trans temp. gauge, my bet is Bill didn;t see it as anything more than a “dash” so we had mac whip up one of his super dashes for the beast. The list went on and on and as it increased in size and complexity at some point it hit me we had a monster on our hands and there would be much to check out and assure to bring the coach and all of it’s changes to a reliable state. would be more involved. Maybe that’s the reason I suggested I drive the coach home, I mean if something went wrong I would rather it happen to me!
So the day was here, after a week of chasing gremlins, a fuel solenoid we thought was OK, wasn’t– a loose radiator overflow tap on the neck made us replace the neck altogether— a small leak in the air ride system bloomed into replacing 3 air solenoids, some lines and fittings, a new regulator I knew I could rely upon– you know, stuff like that. It’s Friday morning and I set my window of departure to noon at the latest. My flight out of Huntington was 4PM the next day so with a 14 hour drive I could spend a little time on the road if needbe. 10AM, Rusty comes in with a flushed face, “You ain’t gonna like what I have to say” was his comment. “OK, hit me– where are we”, I said quickly knowing there was no time for drama here. There is water dripping from the passenger wheel well. Passenger– passenger wheel well– what the *&^%$ is that– over! There’s nothing we did that would cause water to come from that location– hey but we were all over the beast, we gotta know— I hopped up from the desk, a lump in my throat to see what was going on. John was my go to guy for water leaks so I said for him to dig into the bathroom plumbing, follow the trail back to it’s source. A few minutes and the problem was clear and though it had nothing to do with our work, it was here and we needed to deal with it. The pop off temp valve on the fresh water heater had started dribbling, the coach had been plugged up for the last few days bringing the batteries up to power and with the electric element on being plugged in, the water heater had been doing it’s thing which I guess taxed the pop off valve beyond it’s life envelope– in other words, it broke sitting right there! The right thing to do was to call Bill and bring him into the decision process on what to do. John then Mike had been in there trying to unthread the pop off valve to no luck. It was in there man and short of pulling the water heater out there was no way to fix the issue. Giving Bill the news, his decision was to leave it. See, there was another side to this issue, it was getting cold up there in Huntington– winter was coming and pretty soon it would not be good to have the coach out on the road delivering it. Bill was well aware of this, much moreso them me– a confirmed sub tropic flatlander. We were near the last window to bring the coach north to his heated shop where the coach would live through the winter. We shut off the breaker to the water heater to keep it from heating up and leaking, made sure the fresh water pump was off and buttoned up the bathroom. Problem solved for the trip.
Another once over, belts tight, hoses checked, fluids dipped, exh. and carb bolts to torque there wasn’t much left to do but to climb up on that big horse and punch in the spurs. I went back into the office for a reassuring hug from Janie and to get any doubt out of my mind on what I was about to attempt. “Headm up”, backing out the gate, I knew I could do it. Maybe not the trip, I at least knew I could back it out to the road– I mean lets take small victories one at a time. From reverse I pulled it into the big D and as the coach lurched forward, I know we were off and there was nothing else to do but drive. As I made the circle to head north from the lot I tooted the horn saying goodbye, maybe I was saying with the toot pray for me which I found out when I got home Mike had everyone hold hands and say a prayer– man thanks, I think it made a difference.
Stopping for the first tank of fuel which I knew there would be several stops, I watched under the coach as the fuel went in to see if any leaked out. Hey, I gotta know and we were good on that one. I started a fuel chart, we need to know performance and the word in our situation needs to include fuel consumption. There are many ways to define “performace”, with regard to a motorhome, economy has to be there. Yea, I do run the 1/4 mile with my coach but beyond that, MPG is more important than RPM. We also need a motor that will run day in, day out in hot, cold wet and dry weather. No trailer queens or premadonna’s here! Creating torque at the RPM range these machines see is very different and difficult but thats what we need and that’s what our Koba/Co-op roller cam motors are designed to do. Now I have to see when the rubber meets the road– would this machine do it! All the platitudes come and go, “will the chick hold the smoke” is what I now am getting ready to find out.
Pulling away from the fuel stop, the coach felt good. What a subjective statement! Hey, but it did, I was sweating my brains out so the reworked dash AC was a welcome feel. There was @ $1000 just in that AC system and it was doing it’s thing. The original electromechanical cruise control worked great and I knew we would become close friends. The motor felt strong, another subjective comment I know but those of you who do motors know when a motor “has it” and brother this thing took off when you said “gittyup”. It’s that point when you wanna go, when you mash the gas, when the carb opens this motor goes! It has the torque and that’s what I knew I would need. For this confirmed flatlander I knew where I was going and what I would be presented, I need this machine to make it happen and that’s what I expected.
I knew the roads to the Fla. / Ga. border. Being raised in Jacksonville I would be passing right past my old high school, right under the catwalk over I-95 I ran in track so the first couple of hours on this journey would at least be friendly. Good thing because i was preoccupied in checking out systems on the coach. The cruise control was already my close personal friend, that high school science experiment (if you ever looked inside an original cruise transducer you would swear thats where it came from). No resume or up/down speed like the new style computer driven ones we put in still the feature did it’s thing well and boy was I happy with that. Water and trans temps were steady, the read was off but after checking temps with a heat gun I knew that 220 deg. on the gauge was 178 real temp so I could deal with that. We’ll get the system calibrated, i was not worried about that. Yea, it’s a thing but one we can deal with. These coaches all look the same but there are differences, my guess is the regulator in the alternator was off a bit. Higher voltage output will put the readouts on the gauges into a spin– as long as I could rely that “this” was “that” I was good to go & I had that asset.
The steering was awesome! Hunter says the steer ahead with the older alignment I use will be within 5 deg., heck I could not see any deviation– the wheel was dead nuts straight! Trucks would pass me and I would stay straight– no wind buffeting. Well, when one would literally try and blow off my mirror I would know they went past but I would not go into panic mode to hold the coach straight– I was pleased to see that. We had replaced a few suspension parts, Bill had done many before we got the coach. The last R&R was with the steering box. There was just a small amount of play in the system coming from the box. I found out later Bill had just replaced the box but still had steering issues. All I can say is the box was not right. The last step in sorting a steering issue is when all is done, if there is still less than good results, replace the steering box– and it worked. The alignment was good in that you could let go of the wheel and it would track straight, that wasn’t the issue. It was in controlling the coach, a small play in the wheel creates a great deal of work keeping the coach driving– it’s easy to tell if it’s an alignment issue and it wasn’t. Now, with the new box, we were not only straight but also in control.
The new quad bag rear suspension was doing it’s thing. The rear of the coach felt like it was on rails, it followed the front with no troubles– no “tail wagging the dog” as I find in some coaches. This rear suspension mode went from a performance enhancement to a down right needed retrofit when Firestone discontinued our beloved original air bags. I feel this upgrade is a must to keep our GMC on the road and for it to have a future. There has been so much put into the design and production of this kit, it is just what you need. Bill understood this and I had the pleasure of having this asset in my bag of goodies.
So things were going pretty good, I stopped just over the Ga. border for fuel, it was still hot outside so I used the “aux. fuel pump” to assure I would not have any vapor lock. As most of you know, this ethanol in our fuel supply is really screwing up things with our fuel delivery system. We “spike the gun” on this issue with a second electric fuel pump to hopefully fight vapor lock. I can;t tell you if it made things work, I was not in the mood out on the road to “test” the theory but I will say I never had any problem with fuel suppl. I put on the aux. pump every time I came to a stop and never had any problem and isn’t that what it’s all about? I had time to think and in that I would have to pull over to use a calculator, I made a game of doing the math in my head on mileage. it seemed I was getting somewhere around 10 MPG (give or take). I was getting @ 100 miles on a 1/4 tank. The math says that’s @ 10 MPG. Mileage is an important indicator on performance, this is why you should always keep a mileage chart. The oil was down a bit— expected– but it wasn’t down a quart yet so I let it go to the next fillup. We run our roller cam motors 1 quart low all the time (5 quarts), we find the motor will burn less oil that way– don;t ask me why!
So the sun was starting to set, the heat was dropping a bit so I fired up the vent fans and turned off the dash AC, I wanted to check out performance without that lug of a compressor spinning. Mileage should increase a bit as the performance should increase as well. I had already gotten a healthy respect for the motor by this time, it was just running stellar. When I dug in the spurs, we went. I don’t drive fast, certainly with a new motor. I vary me speed in the effort of breaking the motor in well but I do not baby the beast. If a car is going slower than me in the right lane, I take that as an opportunity to see what the motor will do– and it did! Smooth effortless power, strong and just a good friend is what I would say about the motor. Steering into the left lane i always want to dominate when I’m there. I build up a little speed then pull out and do my business. I’m not one of those who camp out in the right lane, I have too much respect for those trucker trying to make a living. They need a clear path, we’re out there loving life, they are working. They need our consideration besides, if I drove faster I would be cutting short my fun and why would I want to do that! As it turned out, I did not need to lengthen this drive, it did that all on it’s own but still I enjoy every minute on the drive in a GMC– good or bad conditions, a bad day behind the wheel beats a good day working any day!
So it’s dark now and heading north I expected it to get cooler and I was not let down. The dash AC had been off for some time now so I got used to the extra power. The coach was really running great and I felt I had a great asset for the journey. it still had not ‘spoken” to me preferring I felt to just do it’s thing. I was OK with that. As long as it held up it’s end of the deal I was good to go. On through Ga., into SC we continued out swaree. “The coach” dug in and I felt like that lizard holding onto the hood. I was on the big rig and all it seemed I needed to do was to hold on. It had gotten old hat that we were doing well, I dropped my guard on the coach operation and now started trying to map out my progress and seeing how my timetable was progressing. I was in the pocket with a reliable machine under me, now if I could not brake the thing, no flats, not run off the road and all that I felt I would be fine. That was becoming an issue, driving “non stop” like I had planned, I needed to break through that first feeling of tired. I needed to ‘drop in to the tunnel”. Folks that do over the road driving know what I mean, you get tired– hey, it’s human nature but at some point something takes over and you simply don’t feel things anymore. I call it “entering the tunnel” and I was ready. Whem your mind starts to wonder then all of a sudden you remember you are driving– a scary thought. I needed to get to that tunnel place, it happens and when it does it’s that second wind, that whatever that puts you over the top. I needed that, I stopped in St. Mary’s Ga. for a Big Mac– hey, they have Red Bull in a 16 oz. can! Oh boy, this will work and before long I was in the groove, the tunnel or whatever you wanna call it. I now had the energy to hang on and things were looking up. The cell phone would ring and I would find myself in some conversation about problems or a question someone had about their coach. Hey, thanks for those who called, it added to my pleasure. I mean what more fun could I have, driving an awesome beast while talking to someone about their baby– what fun! Scanning the gauge cluster about the only thing that move in cruise was the vacuum gauge moving to the torque requirement. Man, this is fun! I was just about to say this run was a big piece of strawberry cake when I pulled into Wytheville for fuel.
It was stone dark and cold. Past the chilly I expected, it was good Janie more or less pushed my warm work jacket on me leaving orlando. I had sweat balls hanging from my nose as I took the coat more as an appeasement than something I though I would need. Boy, was she right! I jumped out of the coach to get the fuel, jumped back in to find the coat. It was also on the windy side and I thought that in Florida a wind like this would come before rain. As I was pumping fuel I saw the first drops hit the pavement ans a chill hit me. OK, I’m on the downhill side of this run– or was I! I had a runner, that was for sure but still hanging on like that lizard, I still had to contend with the weather and I was certainly out of my element. I like hot, not cold, I like flat roads, not hills and though I did like night driving, it was a serious place out there on the super slab. Those trucks mean business and your business was to stay out of their way. The road was now only 4 lane, hey I’m used to having 3 lanes in the same direction– the right lane is a pretty safe place on a 6 lane highway, a bit less on a 4 laner. I liked that right lane, I could get jiggy when I met Grama over there then settle down for some smooth sailing when the road was open. On a 4 lane slab, the right lane had a certain amount of stress with it. There were the pickers but also there were those not wanting to break the speed but still expected to go the speed limit in the right lane. I can;t help it I don;t do that and for those people I was a liability. I just like to be deliberate but not breakneck speed seeking. OK, it was dark made darker by the rain clouds, it was wet and I mean wet. The roads were on the rough side, there were potholes– potholes at 60 MPH is a problem, especially when I was trying to preserve the good ride for Bill. One big bump and there is a risk that the alignment could throw out. I slowed a bit trying to be vigilant. Then the hills cam into play. I was dealing with the rain, blackout, cold and those *&^%$ trucks blowing past me in a hurry to somewhere, then the hills started kicking my butt. Curves, my God– I’m heading up this hill to what I think is “the top”, I get there only to find more up hill around the bend! The motor was kicking collective butt, I never dropped into 2nd and vacuum stayed above 6 “. For those that understand this condition you understand the motor was feeling it’s oats! I was so proud of that power under my pedal that on several occasions I rubbed the top of the dash saying flattering things as if it could hear me. Maybe it could, I don;t know– all I can say is I felt like there needed to be some comment to express my gratification.
WE were doing it, the best I could do is watch the white line on the right of the coach, I could not see clearly ahead of me and there were times there was a tossup as to what I was getting ready to drive on. I don;t have to tell you the drive went from a sheer pleasure to a sheer thrill. Thrill, the kind you get on a rollercoaster! It was not fun but I will say I was still enjoying the ride. I had a true friend under me by that time and I felt he knew I was doing my best. My assets were solid and with a flight going out the next day from Huntington, there was absolutely no turning back. Heck, it would take more to go back so all I could do was “stay on target’. I-77 was a relentless series of cracks, bumps and potholes to dodge, slippery wet roads with terrible lines to follow. The standing water, covered over the white lines many times making it a guess as to where I was on the road, my speed slowed– there was nothing else I could do. here I was, trying to keep the coach in one piece, all I could think about was “no mistakes– no mistakes”. There was little room for error at this point, it was serious out there and everey vehicle on the road knew it. Some just hammered down and kept speeding, I did not. I think though that the other cars were more tolerant knowing and expecting to have to deal with slower traffic. A truck would pass me, I would flash my headlights telling them they were clear of me, I would get back a report of flashing tail lights like they were saying hang in there brother. I felt like at least I was not alone out there in this special hell and that if they could do it I could too!
These new smart phones are unreal, I had programmed the address of the hotel Bill had set up for me, the phone was giving me turn by turn directions. It told me my estimated arrival time which I saw getting further and further out as I went. Sorry man, it’s the best I can do! 125 miles to the next turn, maybe I didn;t need to know that! ETA arrival now not 3:48 AM, it was not 5AM– crap, how can I do better. Wait, better is not faster– better is getting there and now safety was my creedo now so it is what it is. There is little I can do to make things better, I just need to endure the run. I was down to less than 3 hours– less than 2 hours, less than triple digit miles to go– 45 miles to the next turn, the last highway turn I think. It was drawing to an end but it was not going lightly into the night– this was a tough run but made better by the machine I was driving. There were times when the coach was all I had to rely upon and when we got through some big issue, I again would rub the dash like scratching the neck of my cat. Good boy– good job and we were the pair heading out against all odds. I know we would make it and I now knew this motor, this suspension, this coach was right on. it had pulled me through the breech– we had collectively look disaster in the face and we were victorious. What else can you expect, if life is a collection of experiences, mine has just been made that much better for making this trip.
40 more miles, 20 more, now we’re into single digit land and I am sure like the horse seeing the barn we were now just falling forward. I could see the turnoff on my phone which BTW, had an overlay from Google Earth that made me feel like we had night vision. I could see in the screen what the black rainy night was hiding from me. I could see the turn off, the building on my right turned into a service station– heck I felt I could start watching the phone and drive on– the view seemed better there than out the windshield! Then it happened—- I was to get off on the next exit– I thought “you’re kidding– it’s over”?. Sure nuff, I did a doubletake to the phone and the exit number and road name matched and I was there. I had not used the cruise control since it started raining (never use a cruise in the rain) so my right foot welcomed the order to stand down. I pulled onto the exit ramp, up to the turn light and the motor just purred like it was my cat laying next to us on the sofa just happy to be there.
We had done it, a trip that was supposed to take 14 hours straight through took us 18 hours but it was done. I don;t care, we did it and I do say WE. The coach had become a personal friend, we had been together through the thick and thin– I had yelled at myself several times trying to stay awake, I had cursed the rain, the road, the dark, that truck that had thrown water covering the windshield. There were times I felt like Jobe– “Oh Jobe, what evil do you do to put you in this position”. We had popped out the other side of the tunnel– in tack, safe and as I pulled into the parking lot of the hotel I found myself barely aware of all I had just gone through. Like it never happened, I stepped out of the coach– it was cold, really cold and yes it was still raining! I really didn’t care, I had looked into the face of it all and laughed. I gathered up my gym bag with a change of clothes, locked the door and started out toward the hotel lobby. Opening the door I felt the awesome warmth of their heat and all of a sudden I knew my job here was done. I had daydreamed of hitting a bell on the desk to see the night attendant come to my aid but there was a guy already standing there with a smile as he said ,”You must me Mr. Bounds. They said you would be coming in late– this is early!” I noted the small joke, smiled and said it had been a long day — took the key, asked if I could buy a tube of tooth paste. He said he had a small tube he would give me and I thanked him then walked away. I forgot to hold out my hand for the tube, he probably figured I was nutty– heck I was already thinking about that shower and a soft pillow!
Hit the room first thing turned on the hot water to the tub and stuck my feet in the life giving liquid. The heater was not working in the coach, my feet had reached the brick stage– as they tingled I could feel the life going back into them– we don;t have to worry about stuff like this in Florida! After the shower, I laid on the bed sideways, turned on the news and for 1 glorious hour I slept very hard. Yep, 1 full hour, there was no way to sleep any more, there was just too much going on in my head. Too many thoughts, too much Red Bull, too much adrenalin residue– I needed to download the trip report to Bill. I was at that point so into the coach, I felt such a part of it that there was no way to split away from the coach for a time. Called Bill, we met for breakfast and the debriefing began.
It was a short follow to Bill’s compound where the coach lived, he was driving his strong running Ford PU which I stuck right on his bumper on the follow. I wanted to show him his coach “had the power”. He saw it and noted how well it did. I pulled the GMC where his 45′ Prevost until recently resided. it was like putting a byplane in a blimp hanger. Bill showed me around his shop, there was a fat fender Plymouth coupe in there along with some pics like I said floored me. A Hemi man after my own heart. I too built Hemi motors in my past life and like I had explained before, the “Hemi Under Glass” was a personal favorite. It was then it stuck me the importance and the place this coach would fill in Bill’s life. He had intrusted in me the build up of the culmination of his life’s RV experience. He had 3 in the past and had determined again, a GMC would be his coach of choice and I had just built and delivered his baby to his door. What a thrill and honor! There is much more to do, he has his fun through playing with his coach but at this point he will be able to rely on his “Huntington Flash”.
There wasn’t much left to do that to get to the airport, he treated me to lunch and off to the Huntington airport we went. I was pleased to see the place was a small one, no big crowds in fact there was a sign at the ticket counter they would be back at 3! The flight left at 4 so I knew I had few more worries and I could stand down. That’s when the energy loss set in and the need for sleep started to come into my head. My eyelids were dropping and I knew what was about to happen. I needed to sleep, good thing I was flying home. I can fall asleep before the plane leaves the ground and even though we were flying a prop job from Huntington to Charlotte I really didn;t care. I’m over and out before we even got the door closed. I asked the guy sitting next to me to give me a punch if I started snoring and with that I was out! As I dreamed I though of all I had just gone through. I bet you guys who are used to all that are rolling back in your chair laughing. That’s OK, to me it was a journey! Hey, come on down un August and brave a Florida summer! Hey, it’s all relative! During this unconscious state is when the “coach whisperer” kicked in and the Huntington Flash gave me his name. Like the little red Western Flyer wagon of days past, Bill had looked to bring back those early GMC’s. I mean wouldn;t you love to have another one of those red wagons again, to be able to sit in it holding the arm back and push the limits of that hill around the corner from your house. The dream of having no worries other than how you will make the corner at the bottom of the hill– to have that feeling again– I hope Bill has that feeling in his Huntington Flash!
Thanks Bill for putting your trust in us to build this dream machine for you, please let me know if I can help. Enjoy the machine, I think you will enjoy it. Keep following the dream, you have picked the right horse (at my house in Orlando)