What I did on my weekend Vacation
I always looked forward to writing the first essay returning to grade school class “What I did on my summer vacation. Most people in the class looked at it as just another thing the old teach made us do but secretly I was eager to put in writing all the stuff I found out on my time away doing something different. I think remembering all of those special times and the interesting things you do is very important so I may still have those reports, my Mom keeps everything!
I’mm all grown up now but I still get excited about times where I get away from the day to day and experience something different. This short story is one of those special times, a delivery– not maybe as earthshaking as landing on the moon but you know you can make any time just as special as you want it to be– you have that power. Getting out on the road with a well appointed GMC is, to me, a rare treat. maybe for you if you have a coach like this, taking a trip is more common place– that’s too bad and maybe you need to give that experience more credit because it is a rare thing to most.
This day, I am driving a vintage looking 1975 26′ pea green palm beach GMC to it’s owner in New Port Richie Fla., about a 100 mile trip one way. Just far enough to be a help to the owners getting their coach back to them and just far enough to call it a good “shakedown”. Now this is not just another “Palm Beach”, the original design style concept of GM– oh no, this coach has been refitted. Refitted in that yes, it stall wears the green base and stripe combination, repainted some 15 years ago and looking pretty snappy but refitted in that the motor is one of our recent crate roller cam motors, it has and electronic servo cruise control, a new Honda generator, 2 good roof AC units, a completly redesigned twin bed floorplan modified to a master bed, our new seats, Alcoas of course with trued and balanced Michelin sneakers, like I said– a really nice machine. So I saddled up my Suzuki “towd” and headed west We’re in the rainy season down here in the sunny south which means we go in and out of rain, clouds roll in, drop their load and before you know it the sun is our. It’s great for the humidity numbers, takes the curl right out of your hair but the showed cool things down a bit and this day one one of those. Leaving the shop it was clear but overcast. No blazing sun is a great thing to have this time of year. getting up on Interstate heading west I ran into some light showers. The coach was running like it is supposed to, plenty of useable power. The Honda generator was spinning up in the back giving me the juice to power up both roof AC units. I believe this story to be true that if you leave the dash AC off, run the generator and the roof units while traveling that you will use less fuel. Even though it really is a kick butt compressor, our engine driven dash AC system really pulls expensive horsepower from out main engine which is already working hard pulling our 12,000 coach. Relieving it of cool duty leaves that power to do it’s deal on the wheels, the new water cooled Honda onlt chews .75 gal. an hour at full throttle which you never do so while driving you cannot detect that consumption on your fuel use calculations– try it.
Anyway, the coach had no troubles pulling my little “skate board” so the ride was aresome. Yes, it was a flat land run and I gotta tell ya I love that. Hills are beautiful and lets not get into the debate on whats prettier– I live in Florida and I like flat. I love to see the curvature of the earth in the distance, could also be why I enjoy driving out in the western plains so much too. Hey, we have hills, they are called overpasses. Hitting one allows the vacuum gauge to move a bit and the electronic cruise control pulls on it’s cable giving the motor a bit more fuel. see you can leave the cruise on with our hills down here, it breaks up the monotony a bit.
We have interesting sights here in vacation land. We don’t have the worlds largest ball of twine or a Jakalope horn collection to gawk at but we to have the “Airstream Rach” what I call. You’re aware of the guy that got bored and started burrying Cadillac’s end up along the road on his ranch, well– not to be outdone and wanting to come up with something to attract attention, Bates RV along Interstate 4 has come up with maybe we should call it “Airstream Hinge” or something Barely whipped out the camera in time, they have I think 7 Airstream travel trailers buried tongue down in the grassy mud just west of their facility. Why, I think probably because they could. One trailer is looking like it might bend in half so you may want to look out for this Central Florida attraction before it is condemned but for now it does demand attention.
I was enjoying the ride so much I really did not think of the camera much, sorry but you know when you get in the “pocket”, the coach is purring along, people passing you by looking up at the coach in admiration I feel it’s all about the experience of the moment. Yes, it’s old, it’s green– pea green to be exact and it’s still on the road. Wish there was a way to capture the thoughts from the folks looking at the coach and know what they were thinking. Could be “what a dump” but I don’t think so. I must admit though I’m not a fan of the green Palm beach colors it does grab the eye of many. I mean how many green machines of this size do you see, especially out on the open road doing it’s thing?
It may look like an original Palm Beach with it’s very 70’s look but make no mistake, this puppy will go. It has been updated to the tee’s and is more than a formidable foe on the highway. I choose to go 60 and thats the big distinction. The GMC was tested in a wind tunnel and has a “slick” aerodynamic shape up to 58 MPH. This means that if you stay somewhere around 60 MOH, your fuel consumption will not be anything like those other “SOB” motorhomes that as far as wind friction goes is ken to a brick being drug through a mud hole. Today, performance includes economy. Dial in the motor RPM power curve, the diff gear and the aerodynamics of somewhere around 60 MPH you you have a mileage mizer. That’s what we work hard to do here at the Co-op. It may be cool to burn the tires off with a monster motor but that hunk of meat can’t hold the smoke if it can’t deliver good power and economy at 60 MPH, that just simple math.
Reaching Marylin’s house, I unhooked the towd, presented her with the keys to her ride and pointed my tin box back to the house. Not the best part of the trip but the one that makes all that fun possible. Now this ride is a bit different, 50 MPH is all she’s go, no AC, well I had the usual 40-2 unit. I did however have pleanty of time to see the sites coming home. It’s funny how you see more countryside at 50 MPH. You just can’t get in a hurry, there’s not much you can do about it. This does prove to be an interesting part of the day, just is a bit slower. Coming into Orlando I see the clouds forming to dump rain on me soon No big deal, it’s part of it all. At least the sun is not baking my lap! The Suzuki has shaken the smooth ride from my memory a bit but not all. Delivering that fantastic running Palm Beach was still part of a great day. I don’t get that fun much, riding the towd home is just another part of the picture and maybe it makes driving that much more special.
I certainly hope your view of driving your GMC is pleasant. Yes, these machines are getting up in years, yes they need your help but they can really be a great joy if you treat them right. I fell in love with the GMC over a decade ago and I am still there, still enjoy the ride, enjoy working on them too but really whay do we have these machines—– for the ride.