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|2007 Memoirs from Lurch
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Hi y'all! It's been a while since I checked in with my Chevy truck buds, so I thought I'd ketch ya up with what's been goin' on.
Lurch warms up your glow plugs
If you recall, Dean went to the school of hard knocks when it came to learning how to take me long distances on a trailer for shows. You can read about the first time he tried to trailer me right here on Stovebolt!
To tow me safely, he got a pretty cool '58 Chevy Panel truck. That whole rig (me on the trailer and the '58 out front) sure turned a lot of heads as we toodled down the road. You can see a pic of this era of Dean's towing expertise.
Unfortunately, Dean had another lesson to learn. Did you ever hear the one about doing a thorough check on everything before attempting an adventure? Well, Dean didn't thoroughly check out the '58 before attempting to drive to Phoenix. You can read about this misadventure, too.
Welllllll, Dean is a slow learner, but eventually he gits his act together. In 2002, he bought a 2001 Dodge 3/4-ton truck with a 6-cylinder Cummins diesel engine to be my tow slave. Man, what a ride! That Dodge has more than enuf power to go ANY distance in comfort and style. Now we can go to places far and wide so that I can connect with my admirers. Here's a pic of the current state of my towing rig. When the Dodge isn't hauling my big butt around, Dean uses it to go to swap meets and other places that have big piles of rust! That truck actually gets 21 mpg when it's not pulling me around. And besides, after the warranty expires, he can convert it to run on biodiesel, which is better for the planet.
Soooooo, we've been going to LOTS of great shows, makin' friends, and of course, rackin' up accolades! If Dean wasn't married, he could use me as a chick magnet! The girls think I'm cute. The guys really dig the old technology, which Dean explains to anyone who will listen. He really yaks a lot, but it's mostly about me (isn't everything about me?), so I cut him some slack.
Okay, that's the story (and I'm stickin' to it) for the last five years or so. As you can see, nobody or nothin' is keeping this 80 year old Bolt down!
Fast forward to 2007
Brrrrrr. It's the middle of April and Dean has the audacity of waking me up and taking off my blankee (okay, tarp) to get me ready for this years' shows.
The first one is the Pacific Coast Dream Machines show in Half Moon Bay. Isn't that on the coast? It's going to be COLD over there! Man, the stuff I put up with. But, it's the beginning of my social season and I always need a little help to get into shape; blow up the left rear tire that has a slow leak (hey, at 80, some of your parts are going to sag!), charge my 6 volt battery, do a safety check of my ride (trailer), put my accessories into the back of the Dodge pickup (my tow slave), and this year, get all my lights to work. More about this last detail later.
So on Sunday, April 29th, Dean and Josh leave warm San Leandro at the un-G*dly hour of 5 am for the 1+ hour drive over to Half Moon Bay. We got over there and I see they are taking me to the airport. Now, I know sometimes Dean has delusions that I'm capable of lots of things, but surely he's not going to try and get me to fly!! ???$%^*&!
Oh! The show is at the airport (sheepish grin). In fact the whole airport is taken over with cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, airplanes, and a whole lot more. There are 2000+ entrants and wall-to-wall people!
Dean parked me near the center of things, along with the folks who were displaying and running antique engines (single lungers and steam engines). So dang near everyone at the show had the opportunity to walk by and become another fan of mine!
Some of the technology that was used in the vehicles was pretty amazing! One guy didn't want his car to have a radiator. So he boxed in the chassis and ran the coolant through the chassis! Another guy (I think he was a student at Stanford) added a full-blown jet engine to a Volkswagon Beetle. It looked a little phalic to me, but that's an old geezer's opinion! One guy put together a 1949 Mercury pickup on a GMC motorhome chassis.
Other folks went crazy having one-wheel motorcycle races! They took the front forks off of big Japanese bikes, mounted a sled behind the rear wheel, stood on the sled, pointed the durn thing in the direction they wanted to go (no steering), goosed the engine, popped the clutch, and off they went, bouncin' across an open grass field. Crazy!!!
I also admired some really cool old cars and trucks.
There was a drop-dead gorgeous 1958 Studebaker station wagon named Betty. Her detailing and accessories were a knock out! My water temperature is going up just thinking about her! Her owner and restorer, Anita (another knockout!), was one of Betty's accessories. Anita also goes by the name of Pinky. Here's a photo of Betty and Pinky.
One of the gents who talked to Dean suggested that I would like Jimmy's Old Car Picnic, held up in San Francisco. Dean said that he'd check it out. He was being polite because LOTS of folks want me to come to their shows and my social calendar is really packed. So Dean runs interference for me occasionally.
All in all, I'm glad Dean and Josh took me to this show. We were a big hit and the new members of my fan club kept telling us to come back next year. Well, if it's not raining, we'll be there!
Warming up to the biggies
The very next Saturday (May 5) we went to the All American Truck Show (AATS) at Kennedy Park in Union City. This show is put on by the Nor Cal Chevy / GMC Truck Club and is a benefit for the local Police Activities League. Although I'm partial to GM trucks, this show is nice because all American makes of trucks are welcome. From pickups to big rigs of all brands, we all sit side-by-side for the day to the delight of the crowds and local folks.
I try to go to this show every year so I can catch up on all the gossip with my fellow truck buds. Dean came without any of his buddies this year, so he had to get me off the trailer, set me up, translate for me to the crowd (humans don't speak vehiclesse), pack me up at the end of the show, and put me back on the trailer hisself. I gotta tell ya, I thoroughly enjoy watching him sweat!
The next show we went to was Friendship Day (usually the third Sunday in May). It's put on by the Mid Peninsula Old Time Auto Club. Dean and I met up with some folks from the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America and we convoyed over to the show in Redwood City from the East Bay. Dean's Dad, Fred, came along too.
Fred and I have a special bond since we're the same age (80). We also both go long distances. I travel long distances to meet my public, he walks long distances for his mental and physical therapy. He actually walks 15-20 MILES in a single day, two or three times a week. Dean is hoping (praying) that he has some of those longevity genes in his pool!
Anyway, back to Friendship Day. Anywhere from 300 - 800 vehicles show up in Canada College's parking lot. As usual, we had a great time! Here's a couple of pics from that show ~ a cool rod / me and my girls.
During the summer, we went to a couple of small shows.
On July 3rd, Dean took me to Roseville (just a little east of Sacramento) for Downtown Roseville Tuesday Night show. He hooked up with a friend from his childhood (Paul Williams) that he connects with every 20 years or so. Paul is a F*rd fan, but Dean likes him anyway. It's a good thing the show started at 5 pm because it was HOT! Well, the cars were cool and so was the band, but the outside temperature was 103 during the day! Of course, I didn't have any problems, but Dean and Paul sure stayed in the shade as much as they could (wusses!).
On July 4th, as part of the drive home from Roseville, Dean stopped in Sacramento to visit with some friends in the afternoon. One of the kids thinks he wants to be an engineer, so Dean let him, a friend, and his Mom ride on me (mind you, I'm still on the trailer behind the Dodge) and take a ride for a couple of blocks to the 4th of July party that they were going to. They had a ball!
In August, Dean took me to where he works (IBM) and I got to wow the high-tech crowd. Last year at this show, I even won a plaque for first place in the Special Vehicle class (well, it was just me and the Mercedes, but it didn't stand a chance!).
The rich and famous meets the rusty and infamous
The next show we went to was the Ironstone Winery Concours D'Elegance in Murphys (gold country!). This is the third year we've gone to this show. It's funny how a bunch of high-end collectors and wine snobs get all giggly when they bask in my presence! Four years ago, somehow Dean got on their mailing list. When he called the guy who processes the applications, the following conversation took place:
Dean: "Do you know what my truck looks like and do really want it in a show with Rolls, Bentleys, Auburns, and the like?" (Dean then points the guy to my pics in the Stovebolt Gallery.)
Chris from Ironstone: "Sure! And bring the cows too!"
It turns out that they define the word 'Elegance' as a vehicle that fulfills its purpose in life eloquently. That fits me to a tee! Besides, it's a benefit for the local 4H Club, so what's better than a old Cattle Truck in a 4H show?
Now at last year's show, some guy comes up to Dean and says, "You know, there's a 4-cylinder Chevy truck with the cab intact that is in a field not far from here. As you drive out of San Andreas, take a left on Whiskey Slide Road and you'll find the truck in a field across the street from a house with a stone foundation."
Hmmm ... IRWIPI material!
Dean starts dreaming of that truck and his rustoholic radar goes absolutely haywire!! When it comes to rust, Dean is attracted like a fly to you-know-what!
Since San Andreas is only 20 miles or so from Murphys, we went looking for that truck on the way to this year's show. We headed out of San Andreas towards Whiskey Slide Road, took a left and I just about busted my britches!! About two miles up the road was this rusty cousin of mine sitting all peaceful like in a pasture with cows. AND, across the street was an old country inn that dates back to the 1800's! Guess what? The inn has a stone foundation!!
Now, Dean is driving his Dodge 3/4-ton truck with me on the trailer. Whiskey Slide Road is just wide enuf for the rig, with no place in sight wide enough to turn around. Dean sees a wide driveway across the street from the field. So he pulls into that driveway thinking he can do a 3-point turn-around later. Actually, he's pretty good at backing up with the trailer so we'll probably get turned around okay.
There's a nice young woman (named Tillie) on the porch of the house whose driveway we just pulled into. Dean gets out, introduces himself. He explains that we're on our way to Ironstone and asks if he can take pictures of the truck in the field.
The woman asks, "What are you taking to Ironstone?"
Dean says, "A 1927 Chevy 1-ton cattle truck."
Tillie calmly asks, "Lurch?"
I thought Dean was gonna lose some teeth when his lower jaw hit the ground! It turns out that Tillie volunteered to do some paperwork for the Ironstone show and she processed my application! Man, talk about a small world!!
Dean identifies my distant cousin in the field as a 1926 Chevy 1/2-ton truck. The cab is in pretty good shape and Dean thinks the whole truck is salvage, but his idea of 'viable' leaves something to be desired! You can see a couple of pics of Cousin Lou. and here.
The next day at the Ironstone show, the weather was kinda iffy, so Dean didn't set up my cattle cage. Instead, he covered my backside with a dining canopy. Good thing! It rained on and off the whole day. Here are a couple of pics from the Ironstone show. If you look carefully at the Packard picture, you'll see a little of me under the light blue dining canopy in the right rear of the photo. Here's a cool bike from the show.
You can see more about the show at the Ironstone Foundation's show site.
My kinda picnic
My 2007 guest appearances were winding down, but not without one more adventure.
Remember Jimmy's Old Car Picnic? Dean found some info about it on the Internet and we decided to go. Did I hear someone out there ask, "Where are you going to park the whole towing rig in San Francisco on a Sunday?" Glad you asked. The Sunday before the show, Dean drove over to the City to find some potential parking spots. He went over at 4 am to simulate the time that we would actually go on the following Sunday. Mind you, we need two spaces for the Dodge and the trailer, and an empty third space to drive me off and on the trailer.
By gum, Dean actually found three potential parking spots! But, all three were around 12-15 blocks from the show. One spot was in front of the Golden Gate Park Senior Center (sounds like a good place for me to park!) and the other two were in the next neighborhood. It turned out the Senior Center was open on Sundays, so we couldn't park there. But Dean noticed that they close at 4 pm. That fact came in handy later. One thing that was very clear: Dean was going to be driving me on San Francisco streets on the following Sunday when it was still dark outside. Hmm, I haven't had to turn on my lights for many years, so I guess it was a good thing that Dean fixed 'um!!
Okay, it's the morning of the show. Dean swings by to pick up his good friend Mark Johnson. By the way, we always stay at Mark's Mom's place in Sonora the night before the Ironstone show. Besides Dean, Mark is one of my most dedicated admirers! He's the one that created the stuffed cow that used to hang with us (bless her heart, she eventually went to the great cow pasture in the sky when her teets fell off due to sun exposure!).
I'm easily distracted! Back to Jimmy's Picnic. Dean picks up Mark at 3:30 am and they head out to San Francisco. The Dodge easily pulls me across the Bay Bridge and up some hills in the City. We get to the first potential parking space and it's filled! Darn! On to number two. Gone!!!@# Number three is taken, too!
So Dean improvises. He finds two spaces that are adjacent to an intersection so I can get off the trailer into the intersection. That's no problem at 4:30 am. Getting me back onto the trailer at 5 pm is definitely going to be a problem!
Then, like a bolt out of the dark blue, he comes up with the answer. He'll get me off the trailer at this spot. When it comes to putting me back on the trailer in the afternoon, he'll drive me over to the Senior Center (which will be closed by then) and then bring the tow rig to me. We can jockey around in their driveway. You know, sometimes he doesn't act as dumb as he looks!
At 4:45am on October 14th, here's the picture: I'm sitting in the middle of 39th Avenue (near Balboa) with my cattle cage still folded up and all my 'accessories' heaped on. Dean fires me up. With Mark riding shotgun, we toodle towards Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. The show is supposed to open at 5 am, but Dean needs some liquid ambition, so we drive past the Meadow and head over to the nearest Starbucks for some hot joe. Believe you me, it's not every day a celeb like me pulls up to a Starbucks in the City! Even at 5:00 am, I'm turning heads!
After our respite at Starbucks, we fill up the old tank with gas and head over to Speedway Meadow. It's dark and Dean can only see a portion of the Meadow. The guy who lets us in says to park anywhere. Dean picks a spot that's under a tree in case the sun breaks out. It turns out this is a great place to park! We're almost at the highest point in the Meadow with the field sloping away from us! The only problem with this particular parking spot is that Dean parked my rear wheel on top of a poor gopher's front door. All is well, however, because the little varmint dug a new one.
Dean and Mark pull out their lawn chairs and watch as, for the next few hours, an unending stream of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and people come into this meadow.
Guess who come pulling in? Betty and Pinky from the Pacific Coast Dream Machines show! We have a great time talking about our respective fan clubs and discussing the social wonderment of collector vehicles. You see, it doesn't matter if you're a wine-snob from the gold country or a drunken, stoned biker from San Francisco, everyone loves an old car or truck and everyone is absolutely fun to talk to! In general, I think that these shows bring out the best in people. All are equally happy to be there and all appreciate us old fogies. I might be an old coot, but I get along with everybody and everybody gits along with me! Diversity, tolerance, 'n acceptance in practice! 'Nuf said!
As the day wears on and I'm gettin' more and more fans, the place really fills up! There's gotta be several hundred vehicles of all makes, types, and conditions. Of course, I'm one of the most interesting, but you know how modest I am (NOT!).
There's all kinds of cool vehicles here. Like a 1962 Thunderbird Station wagon (YUP, you heared right!), a couple of Muntz's (remember Muntz radios? Same guy -- here's one, and an interior shot, too), and a bright orange REO truck that's set up for a right fine picnic. There's also an old-school hot rod with a unique ornament in front of the radiator.
Bennie, a great gal who owns the REO, really took a liking to me. She sauntered over with a beer in hand and it was love at first sight! As she sat behind my steering wheel, she and Dean had the following conversation:
Bennie: "I'm really pi$$ed!"
Bennie: "I like your truck better than mine and mine is the coolest one here!"
Here's a picture of Bennie and a little guy that walked up and wanted climb on board.
Another vehicle that's near and dear to my heart was an early 1950's Chevy COE that had a tailgate party built right on the flatbed! They had a good 'ole time all day long!
After a long day of hobnobbin' with the masses (around 5:00 pm), Dean and Mark decided it was time to pull down the cattle cage, pick up my accessories, and head off into the sunset.
Now, lemme set the stage. Thar's only one road out of the Meadow. All the entrants had to go out that road, which lets you on to JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. It turns out that all the leather-clad bikers had parked themselves on both sides of JFK Drive, so you had to drive through their gauntlet to leave the park. Here's mild-mannered Dean and Mark lookin' at each other thinking "Oh man, whatta-we-do-now???" No prob, I said. Dean turned on my lights, gunned the gas, blew the Aahooga horn and we ran the gauntlet!
You never saw such hootin' and hollarin' in all your born days! They thought I was the slickest thing since the Harley was invented! With thumbs up and waivin' beer bottles around, they gave their unanimous approval as I raced by at 20 mph! Dean and Mark shoulda knowed that I always wow the crowd, no matter who they are! This was definitely the high point of the year!
After the excitement of leaving the Meadow, we had a leisurely drive the 12 blocks or so back to the Golden Gate Park Senior Center. Dean did have a little trouble keeping me in between the white lines on the street. You see, I don't think anyone's bother to adjust the play in my steering box since I was new. Hence, Dean found that he could turn the steering wheel a quarter turn WITHOUT AFFECTING THE FRONT WHEELS!! Hee-hee. I was going down the street pinball style, weaving back and forth between the lanes with a pale-faced driver (Dean) tryin' to correct my front wheels which seemed to have a mind of their own! He vowed that the very next thing he's gonna work on is eliminating all that front-end slop! Shore was funny watching him try to control me!
We eventually made it to the Senior Center. Dean left me and Mark there while he walked the four blocks or so and got the Dodge and trailer. In no time at all, I was back on the trailer and ready for the drive home to San Leandro.
Man, I gotta tell ya. I'm bushed after all the excitement this year. I'm lookin' forward to a winter-long nap under my blankee in Dean's driveway. I need my beauty sleep so I can be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for next year's social circuit!
Hope to see some of you at next year's shows!
See ya on the road!!
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