Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Big Blue draws first blood and some memories

Winter in California has its bad and good. Good: Campsites are generally empty. Bad: It gets dark by 5:30 or so. This makes me dread working outside after work. Last night I decided to go ahead and take the bumpers off Big Blue and have them powdercoated the same white as the wheels.

My main motivation is that I took the spare wheel in yesterday to have it coated. I have been driving without a spare and would feel better with the spare in the car (especially since I spend more than a little time pulling off to the side of the road to let cars by). I figured that I might as well do the bumpers at the same time that the spare is getting done, not that the whites matching is too important because they will be close anyway, but I might as well stop making trips to Richmond to get it done.

The task was then to remove the bumpers from Big Blue. We don't have a garage, so therefore no lights to work by in the daylights savings time darkness of the west coast. I ended up crawling underneath Blue with my camping lantern. Should of worn my headlamp but I couldn't find it in the darkness.

So it is pitch black at 6:00 when I am doing this. Aware that my legs are hanging out in the darkness of the parking lot, I was careful to get further under Blue when I heard a car coming. It didn't take long for me to cut my knuckles while trying to loosen a bolt (it actually may have been the first one). I almost didn't disclose this, but what the hell, it was because I was cranking on the bolt the wrong way - tightening it. Roughly 22 years of understanding righty-tighty, lefty-loosy go to crap while laying on a gravel parking lot underneath a vehicle.

It felt good. Not the knuckle-busting, although that wasn't terrible, but crawling under Big Blue, being outside working on a car. There was something about being under a car in the darkness with a lamp and some tools. I grew up around the many old cars my dad had. Not working on them so much, but certainly the smell of auto - the scent of grease, tire, musty car interior - and the clicking of a ratchet, and the feel of peeling paint on the cold metal remind me of hours spent in antique cars. There was something in the cooling air that reminded me of fall nights in Michigan.

It was a good memory. And I am glad to be back doing it again. As I have said before, when it comes to my father, the apple didn't fall far from the tree with regards to tinkering with old cars.

I didn't get the bumpers all the way off - couldn't find the right socket for some of the bigger bolts, so right now the front bumper is dangling on Blue until I can make a run to the storage unit for the rest of my tools. Which is something that would have happened to my dad as well.

Not for the squimish, but here is a photo of the first blood Big Blue drew. I read on a blog that VWs run better if you give them your blood now and then. So enjoy it Blue, I'm sure there will be much more headed your way.



FFR: Righty-Tighty; Lefty-Loosey!

Ludwig's Drivers

...until you need to take of the driver's side wheel hubs, then it's righty-loosey, lefty-tighty!

We like camping in Winter because the campgrounds are empty, free, bug-free, there are never fire restrictions, and the toilets don't stink.

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