Car Stories

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Car Stories

Postby the Zipper » 10 Jul 2006, 22:32

What kind of car stories do you have that might be amusing or enlightening to the rest of us?
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Postby Tremors » 12 Jul 2006, 17:06

October 1991


Crisp October air, the earthy scent of the fallen leaves heralding the arrival of the harvest; the gridiron glory of football, and the real gateway to the holiday season, Halloween. Damn I love fall! :)

Many Minnesotans think back nostalgically about October 1991. The great Halloween Blizzard of 1991 prematurely ended the dreams of all but the hardiest trick-or-treaters when a massive blanket of white was laid over the Upper Midwest over the course of a few days. And only a couple days before the great storm introduced itself, the Minnesota Twins won their 2nd World Series Championship at home in a do-or-die Game 7, which was the last professional men’s sports title the Land of 10,000 Lakes have seen. :?

That was an important month in my own timeline and I think back on it a lot as well. I was only a couple weeks into attending classes at Lakewood Community College; my first foray into higher education, having graduated high school only a few months prior. I worked weekends as a club and mobile DJ when there was work to be had, and that time of year was slim pickings in the DJ business. The fruits of my labor and a loan from the 1st National Bank of Mom allowed me to buy my first car, a 1982 Honda Prelude I named Silverado. And two of my closest friends Eric and Jason, moved into my childhood home establishing their own space with me in my basement bedroom.

The freedom of movement afforded to us by our own vehicles--mine and Jay’s at least as Eric was sans-wheels of his own--allowed us to get an amazing, unique and sadly temporary job that October at a Halloween hayride in Forest Lake Minnesota, 25 miles from our collective home. Most nights Eric and I crawled into the topper covered bed in the back of Jason’s old Dodge D-100 pickup truck, “Orange Crush”. As miles of blacktop passed beneath us, we talked about the usual things: Our lives, friends & family, women, work and the social aspects of our job at the hayride.

Conditions in the back of his beat-up, rust-on-orange old truck were Spartan at best. It was by no means warm in the back, but with sufficient layers of clothing and being hunkered down beneath the bed topper we were sheltered from the rushing winds so we were reasonably comfortable. The bright flashes from the freeway lights we passed under would split the darkness with less frequency as we drove north and away from the Twin Cities metro area. While Jay was alone in the cab with his small boom box to listen to, the thrum of the tires on pavement, the rumble of exhaust and the shelter of our small box set us apart from both him and the world rushing by. Oddly serene, despite not being quiet. Thus was our commute.

I had been fired--for all of a day--for having sex :shock: behind a stand of trees with Mandy, one of the sexy ghouls who worked there. Gina, one of the wagon hosts whose job is to craft the “Sleepy Hallow narrative" for the hayriders, ratted me out to the owner of the hayride, Scott, who in turn, terminated me. I’d like to believe Gina’s problem was jealousy; and maybe it was, but I can’t say for certain what her motivations were for claiming I was getting it on with Mandy amongst the pines other than perhaps typical drama.

While it is fair to say Mandy and I were taking the opportunity to fool around a little behind the cover of five and six foot future Christmas trees; Splendor in The Grass it was not. Clothes never actually came off, and our performance was always spot on when the wagons went by. From her vantage point inside the trailer, in the dark of night, I don’t know how Gina could have believed she really saw us dong anything! Such was the case I made to the owner. But because Scott, fearing imaginary financial repercussions if Mandy got, and I quote, “knocked up at [his] hayride”, decided my partner in grab-assery would receive no punishment for her participation in the grossly exaggerated PG-13 rated shenanigans, and I was to be let go. To Mandy’s credit, she, along with a couple of her friends as well as my two pals all threatened to walk off the job together, which forced the owner to rethink his plan and gave me the one day slap on the wrist.
On the night of my punishment, I decided I would go to the hayride anyway, but as a spectator. With me was Eric, himself enjoy a night off, and our mutual friend Aaron, AKA “Guido”. It was about nine o’clock, and there weren’t any others sharing the blacktop that night. At 65 miles per hour only the cool country air was disturbed as I drove my silver Honda along the black ribbon of county road in the outlying reaches of Forest Lake.

In the distance across the harvested corn field parallel to the road we were about to turn off of, we could see the lights of the cars in the rutty dirt clearing masquerading as a parking lot along with the lighted decorations used for the Halloween hayride at the converted Christmas tree farm. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw an amorphous flash like a disembodied spirit of the season. A deer probably, but something darted out from the cut stalks of the field next to us. With a firm grip on the wheel I jerked right and promptly slid into the ditch alongside the road. My pounding heart felt like it might fight it’s way out of my chest, but just as quickly the burst of excitement eased as I realized nothing truly bad had happened to us yet. I assumed I could use the car’s momentum to guide us back onto the road so I gingerly turned the wheel left; however as I tried this, I was unable to convince the car to head up the embankment as it began to slide laterally in the grass. Our speed was now down to about 55 miles per hour and holding steady when suddenly a culvert that led up to a residential driveway appeared ahead of us.

Huh? Who knew anyone lived there? :shock:

I must have passed the house more than a dozen times and paid no attention to its existence; yet there it was. As we braced for imminent impact, only a small ribbon of black sky appeared over the horizon of dead grass and dirt above the culvert’s embankment. The little Japanese car smoothly launched up the embankment and we were greeted by the twinkling wash of distant stars piercing through the blackness of that clear autumn night until we were again earthbound seeing only a flash of brown and tan vegetation in the headlights.

The Prelude had cleared the driveway and then some. On landing the car shook, but not too violently. With a crunching, swooshing sound gravity’s loving embrace returned us to Earth. Shortly thereafter the car came to a stop and all was quiet, save for the gentle hum of the Prelude’s four cylinders.

We collected ourselves, which was easier for Eric and me since we had the foresight to buckle ourselves in. Guido, on the other hand bounced around like a rubber ball behind us, circumnavigated the rear of the passenger compartment as he was not safely restrained. By the time the car came to a stop, his hefty 225 pound frame settled onto the tiny floor space between the front and rear seats. Eric and I managed to rescue our awkwardly positioned friend from the tiny space in which he found himself wedged. All things considered, he was rather lucky that the incident didn’t toss him from the relative safety of the car.

After a few minutes of inspection, we deemed the car to be grass packed underneath, yet road worthy and were able to get out of the ditch with an ease that eluded us before we caught our domestic flight. We drove to the nearby parking area at Sleepy Hallow where we were met by a couple of guys working the lot who asked if we had seen “the explosion”. :?

Explosion? Apparently.

It would seem that our misadventure in the ditch caught their attention from across the field; excitingly distracting them what was the otherwise monotonous boredom of guiding cars to their respective parking spaces. In an animated fashion, they told us that along with the wild swiping of headlights across the night sky, they saw what looked to them like a bright flash or explosion. We saw nothing so dramatic from our first-hand, though limited, vantage point. And it didn’t seem that anything was amiss with the car which might have lead us to believe anything blew up. Still, who were we to argue the eyewitness accounts of an explosion? 8)

The next day, it was still light out when Eric, Jay and I drove to work. We could clearly see the telltale marks of grass laid smooth like freshly combed hair and the parallel gouges of freshly plowed furrows of earth that scarred the ground where we went into the ditch leading to where we went airborne, and finally the spot on the far side of the ditch where we landed. In the area where we landed, on disturbed ground, there was a new bright green colored “junction box”, like the kind used for phone, cable or other utilities. Exactly what it was for I still don’t know, but it would seem that we landed on whatever had just been replaced by that pristine new box. It had to have been the contents of box or sparks from us landing on the box itself that the attendants across the field saw “explode”. We never saw the box on our landing approach nor did we hear any explosion beneath us; nonetheless, that’s clearly what we hit.

Oops. My bad. :oops:



So night after night we drove up to Forest Lake to dress up and play make-believe for money. For me as the scary-hairy werewolf, my work took on the persona; my job was to stalk the hay wagon riders like prey. I’d wait motionless, sometimes hiding in plain view among the den of mockup werewolves spotlighted in the far corner of the farm. Other times I’d hide among the shadows of the pines, and as I listened for their approach I could count the firings of each cylinder of the tractors pulling the hay wagons as they brought my hapless victims to me.

Whop, whop, whop, whop, creeeeak. Bang! Whop, whop.

Then I would pounce with a fierce snarl through gnashed fake teeth. Swiping a furry “paw” above the heads of the passengers as I climbed up the metal framework that comprised the sides of hay wagon like it was a ladder on wheels, only to jump off and scurry back into the shadows. Maybe I’d sneak in a second attack--for fun if they were an excitable group--before I went back to hang out with my coworkers and await the distinctive whop, whop, whop sound of the next tractor.

With my werewolf routine I garnered five seconds of airtime on a local TV show Good Company, but Eric, arising from his coffin with his vamped out menacing glare and pearl white porcelain fangs, he stole the show; getting far more air time than I did on that broadcast. His picture was also prominently featured in the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper and became the de facto face of the attraction.

Spitting, hitting, insults, plus all the times one trips over stumps of long-ago harvested pine tree are all hazards of the job everyone faced, but for whatever reason, Eric got the worst of it. :evil: Oh the indignities he suffered. It wasn’t unusual, especially among teenage boys to play the “tough guy” roll; we all saw it. Nonetheless, many a young buck would scream every bit as well as the girls they had been trying to impress. One such fella sitting with his buddies and their girlfriends, must have gotten a bit too embarrassed by his girly reaction to “Count Eric”.
As the hayride’s creepy vampire, Eric was doing his usual climb up the side of the trailer to spook the guests, which the actors were allowed to do, when one young man became so unnerved at the sight of the “vampire” above him, that he scurried across to the opposite side of the trailer while audibly expressing his trepidation. In other words, he screamed…like a girl. So perhaps in an attempt redeem his “man card” after such an unmanly display, this guy pulled out a small pocket knife, got up close and stabbed Eric in his side as he was climbing down off the trailer! The wound was small, but Eric’s sense of dignity sustained the greater injury. Still the show had to go on, and the kid was hauled off to the local jail.

Jason, our Mad Axman, would appear after the wagon host distracted the customers’ attention and loudly strike hard and fast at some log or object set on the ground, only to turn toward the nervous riders and drag his heavy metal ax blade along the sides of the wagon. There was no mistaking it was real, it was sharp, and a man in a mask was only inches away from them. After lobbying Scott for a couple of weeks to play the “Headless Horseman”, Jay got his chance to take a break from the ax and saddled up on the back of the black steed. He was ecstatic about riding up and down the trails to scare the customers, and he was doing a fine job; for a little while. Both Jason and Eric who happened to be in the nearby cemetery have told me that, whether he did it intentionally or not, the horse reared back as Jason came up on one of the trailer, and as it did so, he fell from his mount in full view of about 30 laughing hayriders :lol: . The horse ran off into the night while Jay’s foot was still caught up in the stirrup. The amused spectators watched as the Headless Horseman yelped and bounced comically behind his fleeing horse as the two disappeared into the darkness. With kicking hooves, trees, tree stumps, and other unknown dangers lurking in the darkness, something very bad could have happened to Jay, but luck was with him and eventually he did get himself free and was none the worse for wear. It was the first, last and only time he rode as the Headless Horseman. Jason’s bruises healed quickly, but the knowledge that Eric actually saw the incident will forever bruise his ego, and neither Eric nor I will let him forget.



That one month would prove to be a nostalgia incubator; there were so many memories. Still, there are only so many days in a month; 31 in October to be precise. And everyone knows all good things must come to an end. For us hayride actors, we eventually reached our finish line: Halloween.

The Halloween 1991 Blizzard which buried the upper Midwest was set up, in part, by the weather patterns out east that became known as the famous “Perfect Storm” that pounded the northeastern U.S. That night Eric and I had made the journey to Forest Lake in Silverado. Normally we would have taken Jason’s Dodge D100 pickup truck, which would have been the better choice of transportation given the conditions than my little Honda, but Jason was forced to work for Roger, our other mutual employer at the DJ & karaoke company. Consequently Eric and I jumped into my little front wheel drive Prelude to slog our way to the hayride.

That evening not even half of the performers and no customers made the snowy trek to Sleepy Hallow, and Scott made the decision to shut down the hayride. As the snow piled up outside, those of us who did make it that night congregated in the big steel red barn that served as the hayride headquarters. It was there that we feasted on concession candy, drank the hot chocolate and tangy spiced apple cider, turned up the stereo, flirted with the opposite sex, took tractor rides and were towed on sleds behind the tractors, and goofed around with cheap Radio Shack walkie-talkies that had been used to communicate from one end of the farm to the other. It was our last chance to socialize. We told and retold our epic stories of drama, humor and hanky-panky, and for the next few hours, as the snow fell, we partied on.

Eventually we would take our fill of candies and cider. Night had fallen hours ago and it was time to say our goodbyes. Outside several more inches of snow had accumulated. Some of our fellow actors were younger teenagers and either could not drive or didn’t have their own cars and relied on someone else for transportation. Now it looked like their rides might not make it to pick them up.

I never felt that my little Honda Prelude was a particularly good snow car, but I figured my prowess behind the wheel--real or imagined--could help some of these people out. I loaded up the car with the first group of people to leave and we headed off into the snowy darkness. It was slow going, even once we reached the highway. We trudged along, often sliding sideways to several of the surrounding communities to bring these people home.

Happy Halloween! Goodbye and have a great life.

After dropping off the last person in the city of Wyoming we drove back to the hayride for round two. It was so dark, and the back roads were entirely buried by the wind driven falling snow. Not even my own tire marks recently laid in the snow on the way out could be seen as we drove back. On the county roads and side streets, in order to navigate this obscure terrain devoid of any visible markers, I aimed Silverado down the middle of the snowy void between the darkened stands of trees that lined each side of the road. Since no one else was on the road with me, it really didn’t matter which side of the road I was actually on. This kept me from inadvertently driving into the ditch; given the conditions at the time that could have been a literal death sentence. As it was, Death claimed 20 souls during the storm; luckily Eric and I didn’t join those ranks.

We eventually made it back to Sleepy Hallow for the next passenger load. Weather and road conditions were ever worsening. It was highly doubtful we could make it back to Sleepy Hallow again; getting home on the marginally better travel conditions on Interstate 35 going towards the Twin Cities would be difficult enough, but these little traveled country roads we becoming all but impassable. So this was it. This was good bye. With this final run we had done all we could do and would not be back for anyone else, so we squeezed this second group of people into my car and got ready to leave. It was a tight fit, but since the passengers we were shepherding home were good looking and female, it made the close quarters more tolerable. :wink:

It was an ominous sign that we had to push ourselves free after initially getting stuck in the driveway just 15 feet from the barn as we made our final departure from Sleepy Hallow Hayrides. Once we were free, we were finally on our way.

Waves of drifting snow swayed on the open roads as the car pushed through. It swept over the bumper, packing itself into the grill; potentially—if somewhat ironically--helping to keep us warm by reducing the arctic air blasting the radiator that stripped heat from the coolant which flowed as warm lifeblood to the heater core. The depth of the fallen snow was now roughly level with Silverado’s hood. Like waves breaking over the bow of a ship at sea, the powder frequently washed over the front of the car and sprayed onto the windshield as I slammed through larger drifts. This made seeing out the windshield even more difficult; still, I knew enough to maintain momentum even as I was effectively plowing the road with the front of my car.
Our little group of young people were along in a cold universe. The vast storm swallowed us whole. There was no world beyond the limited reach of the car’s overwhelmed headlights, and what they did show us was a world of snow. From out of the darkness the combined efforts of wind, driving speed, and the dim light from partially snow blocked headlights melded the constant shower of aimless dancing flakes into a torrent of flashing white streaks on the windshield. Eventually there were only shadows and streaks of white for mile after mile as the rest of the world hid behind the curtain of whirling snow.

We would get stuck once again in one young lady’s parent’s long country driveway, but with the proper application of Eric’s muscle and my horsepower, we again freed ourselves, dropped off the last of our human cargo and eventually turned for home. While blindsided by heavy snow the car was often rocked by the body blows of gusting winds as Jack Frost fought us every inch of every mile as we slowly progressed towards south towards North St. Paul.

It was still dark on the morning of November 1st when our odyssey neared its end. We felt good about our “Boy Scout” routine, having escorted several people home safely in the dark, in the middle of one of the worst, and certainly most famous storms in Minnesota’s snowy history; and we lived to tell the tale.

After having literally spun almost 200 miles under the tires of the Prelude that night--I’m sure the odometer read many more miles driven than a map would show as we spent most of the night with wheels spinning in the slippery snow--the two of us finally reached home. Physically and emotionally exhausted, we arrived at the house only to find that a snowplow had managed to make an initial pass and blocked the driveway with a dirty mound of packed snow nearly four feet high. Ironic that while the highways were not clear, the road in front of my home got plowed.
The end to our long day was mere feet away, yet we were stopped short of the goal line. As neither of us felt like shoveling, and since my little Silverado had been “plowing” snow all night, there really wasn’t any harm in plowing just a bit more. Luckily my house was a corner lot and the driveway was just off the intersection, so it was almost a straight shot in at the right angle. I backed the car about 50 feet from the driveway. Eric stepped out and got behind the car; he pushed while I stomped the gas pedal. The wheels furiously spun on the packed snow covering 17th Avenue, but with Eric pushing from behind, the car began gain traction and build up speed. Like a baseball hits a catcher’s mitt I hit that mound of snow.

Whoomph!

The car lurched up the mound violently, but as hard as I hit the packed snow, the mound hit back in equal measure and the car stopped dead. I had crashed over--and partially through--the mound of snow left by the plow, spraying packed clumps of snow into the yard and against the garage door. I didn’t make it too far up the driveway, but I didn’t care at this point; I was exhausted and it was time for bed. Even though the heavy, wet snow would continue to fall for another day, entirely burying Silverado, it was out of the street, and that was all that mattered.


Epilogue

Nostalgia is a funny toy to play with. We see things through the lens of time both as how they were and how they could have been. We can feel what is right in front of us, yet cannot reach it. As if the past could be touched, grabbed and held onto for safekeeping.

I now live about a dozen miles from the old tree farm that hosted the hayride back in 1991 and recently took a trip down that particular memory lane. I had to use the published address from the Pioneer Press article that I had kept all these years in order for me to find it using GPS.

While the roads have not changed, Forest Lake did. More homes, more people and more businesses. Where once Forest Lake was small community hub servicing the rural area surrounding it, today it’s a solid “exurb”; a 3rd ring suburb of the Twin Cities complete with Big Box stores and hipster coffee shops. Many of its farm fields, those nearest the expanding city center, have surrendered to the developers. You won’t likely find many tractors among the sea of hybrids and SUVs.

A quarter century on, it’s all but impossible to find evidence that the hayride even existed--even with Google’s help--though Scott tried rebranded it the following year in a park down in the Twin Cities, Sleepy Hallow Hayrides came and went and history has no recollection of it. The farm itself is still there. Mostly. The house, itself dress up for Halloween in 1991, and the big red metal barn can still be seen through the trees, but newer houses have begun to encroach. Where once the tractors ferried fun seekers through the back acres of the tree farm that October, there are now homes and backyards. A couple at any rate. How much of the tree farm land has been turned into homes is hard to say from the road. The field where customers parked, and the lot attendants stood to watch me blow up whatever my car landed on, have homes and trees now…grown trees! I can only assume the people from the hayride, Scott, Mandy, Gina and the others I’m sure have all moved on from the memories of the special month as neither Jason, Eric nor I kept in touch with any of them.
Last edited by Tremors on 26 Apr 2017, 12:09, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Tremors » 13 Jul 2006, 16:19

Youthful Indiscretion as a Euphemism for Stupidity

Ever go Urban Surfin'? Some years ago I was on my way home when I stopped at the intersection of Margaret and 17th. All the way from the top of that hill by St. Peter's I saw my friend Eric and his dad in my driveway. I felt this was a prime opportunity to make a lasting impression. I succeeded.

I hit the gas, accelerating through the intersection, built up some momentum and threw my Honda Prelude into neutral, letting the car roll down the hill. I jumped from the driver's seat, climbing through the sunroof, and proceeded to strike a surfer pose so gracefully on top of that car that I would have made a Beach Boy proud; arms pointed fore and aft, one foot on the front frame of the sun roof, the other sitting squarely in the dead center of the roof, and only God at the wheel. Good thing I was by a church!

Image

The car had enough momentum to carry my spectacle down the road almost 2 full blocks until I got back into the car, and turned around to go home. My friend, who knowing me should not have been as dumbfounded as he was, stood in awe alongside his dad as I pulled into the driveway. Never have I seen eyes so wide. :shock:

To this day, for the amusement of strangers I will never meet, Eric's dad tells the story about the day he watched his kid's friend surf on top of a driverless car. It wasn't my first Urban Surfin' experience, but it was the first and only time I did it standing completely outside the car with no one else inside the car. Yes I could have fallen from the car, another car could have pulled out in front of me although there were no other cars around, I could and should have busted the sunroof since I was partly standing over where it was recessed into roof or my "Old School" mother could have seen and dealt with me, but luckily everything went OK. I look back rather fondly on the memorable act and the reaction it got. Yet now that I’m a parent, I am profoundly concerned that my Youthful Indiscretion gene could have been passed to the next generation.

So if you've never done Urban Surfin', all I can advise is: Do as I say, not as I survived. To do otherwise may cause you to go SPLAT! 8)
Last edited by Tremors on 26 Apr 2017, 12:11, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby Tremors » 13 Jul 2006, 16:55

A Lesson in Physics

My friend Jason loves the sound of tires that bark as you round a sharp corner at speeds car manufacturers never intend. Perhaps the intensity has mellowed over time, yet I can still count on Jason to cause the tires of his car to bark when rounding a corner or maneuvering the curve of an off ramp. Perhaps he's grown fond of the pull of G forces.

Several years ago Jason worked at the Minneapolis Auto Auction. For him it was not unlike hiring the fox to guard the hen house. :wink: The Minneapolis Auto Auction is a large facility with a couple hundred acres of pavement for parking the cars, trucks and other motorized machines that dealers would purchase for their own lot. One night when he was off work, we went to the MAA to test drive a few of the vehicles there. So expansive was it that it had its own 1/8th mile drag strip for test drives, but the open pavement of nearly empty facility meant that there was much more space to run in the lot than on the track.

Like kids in a candy store we tested out car after car. At one point that night, Jason and the security guard who was on duty and knew Jay, decided it would be fun to drag race. And why not? With no one to object, room to run and plenty of vehicles to choose from, we figured there were really no downsides to it. I followed behind in a Camaro as Jason in a Ford Splash pickup raced the guard in his car; a Monte Carlo or Buick Grand National, I do not remember for certain. I do remember the Splash put up a surprisingly vigorous fight only to the bested in the end.

After the race and after trying out a couple more cars, Jason and I got into a Cherry Red 1993 Mustang Cobra for a test drive; Jason as driver, me riding shotgun. The burnouts were fun, but apparently not as fun as Jay thought they could be. I had the passenger door open to watch the acrid billowing smoke belch from the screaming tires, when suddenly the car violently spun as if twisting on a central axis. Whether it was by accident or by design, Jason jerked the wheel and the car began to whip around. The Mustang hadn't made a full 360 degree turn by the time I was thrown out of the car by the centrifugal force. Narrowly missing the brutish pony's swinging backside, I got up with no damage done. Science class ill prepared me for the practice lesson I learned that night. Sir Isaac Newton would be proud.
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Last edited by Tremors on 26 Apr 2017, 12:12, edited 5 times in total.
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CAR STORIES

Postby Chrome Dome » 13 Jul 2006, 17:31

WE HAVE HAD A LOTS OF CARS 1938 CHEVROLET, 1946 CHEVROLET CONVERIBLE, WHICH COMES TO NO. ST. PAUL FRIDAY NITES., 1957 CHEV, AND 1968 PONTIAC, AND A 1777 ELCAMINO. AND A 1982 ELCAMINO, JUST 2 KEPT NOW
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CAR STORIES

Postby Chrome Dome » 13 Jul 2006, 17:31

WE HAVE HAD A LOTS OF CARS 1938 CHEVROLET, 1946 CHEVROLET CONVERIBLE, WHICH COMES TO NO. ST. PAUL FRIDAY NITES., 1957 CHEV, AND 1968 PONTIAC, AND A 1777 ELCAMINO. AND A 1982 ELCAMINO, JUST 2 KEPT NOW
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Postby the Zipper » 13 Jul 2006, 22:32

When I was in high school, I had a job over at the Maplewood mall. One saturday morning, a friend and I came in early to clean some things up in the shop before opening, so we were the first ones at the mall. The night before, it had snowed - that real fluffy snow that was super loose packed and weighed almost nothing. The lot had been plowed, with neat little two foot high furrows marking where one lane separated the next.

As I took the corner approaching the lot in my parents' 76 rabbit, I saw opportunity ahead of me, and I hit the gas. As the little Volkswagon hit one row after the other, the snow exploded around me - blam, blam, blam, blam, blam - you get the idea. I found my parking spot, got out, and headed for the door.

Before I got in, I saw my buddy Kevin coming across the lot from the opposite direction that I had come from. Blam, blam, blam,blam, blam, the snow erupted with fury in twenty foot plumes at every row. He saw me at the door and pulled up. Rolling down the window of his flat black pinto hatchback (he had painted it with a brush and house paint), he stuck his head out the window and yelled, "DID YOU SEE THAT???" I just pointed to my own row of destruction that headed off the other way.

Dejected, he said "well, watch this" and took off across the lot. When he got to the other end, he turned the car around and started driving straight down one of those furrows the long way. No intermittant explosions this time, just one continuous horizontal avalanche flying across the parking lot. When the pinto got back to the mall door, it sounded terrible. He had the gas floored just to keep it running, and when he popped the hood, there was an image that still stands with me today.

Instead of an engine, there was a perfectly smooth sheet of white, with two holes of a carburetor in the middle of it all. It took a while to get all the snow out, but we both would have done it again if we could have.
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Postby Tremors » 14 Jul 2006, 16:32

That's awesome Zip! I would detour through St. Peter's parking lot just to hit the snow banks there-never thought to head over to the mall. How could I have missed that?! Any trouble starting it after you guys got the snow (melting in the engine compartment I would presume) out? Get a little water under the distributor cap or in the combustion chamber through the carb, and it becomes a real annoyance.

That got me to thinking:

Weather Related Auto-nomalies

I moved to St. Cloud to finish college and in the winter the city used to pile up high such neat rows of plowed snow in the middle of the road before a collection truck would come along to cart off the mound. Coming home from work one early morning I saw one of these walls in front of me at the top of the hill. It had snowed all day and night, and the mound was most impressive that morning. A solid ten feet in height and stretched like arms wide open going down the otherwise quiet road for a couple of blocks. While I probably could have avoided hitting the snow pile, I didn't. As I approached, I couldn't see what was on the other side of this wall of white, nor would I be able to see anything after I smashed into it.

At the crest of the hill, I hit the accelerator. The car slammed into the pile with such force that snow exploded in all directions, and I am fairly certain that I gained some air for the effort. The pile was more solid than I had expected, :shock: and I clearly felt the jarring impact, the rapid change in momentum and the hard landing on the other side.

I had to stop right away to clear the snow from the windshield and to inspect for damage to my 1984 Ford Mustang; with the car being snow white in color, I could have blended in with the scenery if the municipal workers wanted to find me. No real damage was done; snow in the grill, a broken turn signal lens, one windshield wiper blade torn off. I think the real damage was to the co-worker I was carpooling home. She was freaked out, :x but I'm ok with that; she was a pain in the ass anyway. :lol:
Last edited by Tremors on 26 Apr 2017, 12:13, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Tremors » 14 Jul 2006, 16:53

Best Winter Cars That Shouldn't Be

The story of hitting the snow pile got me to thinking; my '84 Mustang was perhaps one of the best winter cars I ever had. However, the absolute best, non 4wd winter car I ever had was The Vettemobile; my little white, 4 door, 1981 Chevrolet Chevette. Seriously.

While it's true that the car probably didn't have enough horses to start the Kentucky Derby, what power it did have was concentrated on knife blade thin tires that cut through the snow like butter. Additionally, it had a respectable amount of ground clearance which kept me from "plowing" the snow I was trying to drive through.

While I understand why many people say that front wheel drive is better, it has always been the rear wheel drive cars that I have owned that were the best for control in the snow. The Vettemobile, like the Mustang, had rear wheel drive and it always pointed in the direction I wanted to aim the car without ever pushing into corners on a turn. And it never got stuck. In fact, one winter I helped pull a full-size pickup truck which was hung up by the axles behind the Silver Lake Market--much to the owner's chagrin! :wink:
Last edited by Tremors on 26 Apr 2017, 12:14, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Tremors » 19 Jul 2006, 15:46

Youthful Indiscretion as a Euphemism for Stupidity Part 2

Gray, pea sized gravel layered one inch deep on the road before repaving was to begin on the street next to Jason's Coon Rapids apartment. He had moved out of North St. Paul a couple years earlier and created a new home with his new, and soon to be ex, wife, so of course Eric and I had to stop by and disrupt their happy home! :twisted: We were effectively banished from the apartment that night so as we sat outside talking and getting a little bored; then we noticed the layer of gravel on the roadway. That got us to thinking; could those little pebbles act like little ball bearings? Why yes they could! And we were the right people to prove it.

Jason hopped into his little rust pitted, yellow Mazda B2200 pickup and drove out to the road where Eric and I were already waiting. With complete disregard for our unblemished bodies or the Laws of Probability, we prepared to give this road a ride. Eric and I grabbed onto the tailgate of Jason's truck, feet shoulder width apart, legs slightly bent. Jason eased pressure on the gas pedal and the truck began to roll forward. Eric had it figured out right away; get a firm grip on the tailgate, lean back a bit while pointing toes upward like the leading edge of a ski. I had a harder time in the beginning, so after a couple false starts where I had to run to stay with the truck, I got my feet set, and I was road skiing! :)

Our feet rumbled on the road as we went. The lights of Jason's apartment building cast a faint orange glow as we passed by. Besides the truck's headlights beaming out ahead of us, and the red glow of the taillights, the gradually weakening lights on the apartment building provided all the light we had to see by.

We knew the stonework went on for some distance, but we decided to turn back before we got about a quarter mile down the road. Jason stopped and we released our grip on the truck so that he could turn it around for the return trip. When the truck was pointed back in the direction from which we had come, Eric and I took our positions once again. This time I had no trouble getting going.

The one thing that you can count on with Jason is that doing the same thing twice is just not good enough. Neither Eric nor I have rabbit's feet, 4 leaf clovers or a horse shoe up our ass, but grace was traveling with us anyway. Jason hit the gas and the truck accelerated; 10 mph, 15 mph, and 20 mph. Our nerves were well tested by this point, but it wasn't over.

25 mph, 30 mph, 35mph, and the vibrations on our legs shook our entire bodies, but we were hanging on. By the time Jason stopped the truck at the intersection, past the point by his apartment where we had started this ride, Eric and I skied that road at 40 miles per hour. :o At least that is what Jason had said. Needless to say, there was little left of our shoes. Eric had the shoe tread completely worn off, while mine faired somewhat better, but not by much.

Though it was short-lived, it was fun, but it was very dangerous too. When I was in 5th grade, someone I had gone to school with had died :( as a result of sliding on the road behind a car on a plastic sled, so I had reason to know of the risks. For what it's worth, I honestly didn't think about my dead classmate at the time. No lesson learned I guess. Would I do it again? With some padding and a helmet and with someone other than Jason driving, perhaps I would. I don't know. I do know I wouldn't recommend it to someone else.
Last edited by Tremors on 26 Apr 2017, 12:17, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby the Zipper » 19 Jul 2006, 21:08

Wow, that sounds dumb, Tremors. I'd have to try that, if I were younger.
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Postby the Zipper » 19 Jul 2006, 22:23

Have you seen this web site yet? I haven't really been that excited about a car for years, but this looks kind of cool...
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Postby Polaralum » 20 Jul 2006, 12:04

I clicked on the link but it was non-functioning. What kind of car was it that got you all aflutter?
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Postby the Zipper » 20 Jul 2006, 12:33

Try this and then click the "home" tab at the top of the page.
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Okay.... Now I have a car story!

Postby lynsdollclothes » 20 Jul 2006, 16:00

My first car was a Corvair, yup a Corvair! Quit laughing! It was a white one, plainer than plain Jane too. No radio, but we had a portable battery operated turntable on the fold down back seat, skipped when we hit bumps, better than humming though! No AC and white. Oh I said that, but it is part of the story. Back in the 65-67's, remember the amounts of snow we use to get here in town? Well, as I said, the car was white and for anyone who is not familiar with the now for all practical points, extinct car, it was low to the ground and small, engine in the rear. Well, at the time I worked downtown St Paul, had to park either on the streets or in a parking ramps. On the street, it seemed to always get buried by every snow plow. Yup, white sucked! Couldn't see me pulling out from behind a snowbank even.
So after a long night of no sleep, after another near miss, I came up with a sure fire cure, I thought! A way to be seen but very unconventional. I needed a flag. I came up with the idea of a plunger! I tied it to the roof, as the roof flexed too much for it to suck on, ran the ropes down into the car and tied them up to the dome light. But it needed something else.... a big red flag! Never had another near miss. But my mom drove or should I say slide on the ice into the back of a school bus with it! Plunger didn't help it stop though. What can I say!
And then you grow up and get smarter... maybe.
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