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Babe Rally Champions! Days -2 thru Night 0)

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Babe Rally Champions! Days -2 thru Night 0)

-Miles Fox

Team TrashWagon #56 places 4th in the 2nd running if the Big Apple to Big Easy banger rally. The idea is to acquire a crap car for less than $250 and drive it to New York to New Orleans. As part of a convoy of 5 cars and 9 folks, Miles Fox and Meghan along with Jared make Bebe Rally History in the 78 Toyota Chinook camper "Ten Dollar Blunts" with a trailer and motorcycle in tow for Deal's Gap.

Team Economy Superstar with Tim Hansen, Jacob Berendes, Margaret Manning, and Timothy Daniel drove the 86 Ford Taurus Sho, which derived from iowa under its own power whilst its sister parts car is in tow. Team Economy Supersport In the Renault Encore was piloted by Desmond Jones and Baron French. Also in convoy were the Limousine hauled back from an island in Ohio for the Irishmen and a random Toyota Camry for Team Pheasant Pluckers, derived from T.W. Hansen's ability to just always have some toyota camry. Toyota Camry propagation and proliferation, if you will, pathologically inflicted upon those unsuspecting; for other people to end up with toyota camrys.

On May 21, 2007, Day -2 kicks off with a meet-up at TW's place in Delavan, WI with a full compliment of bratwurst and hamburger grill-out courtesy of his mom. Baron had just shown up about an hour after my arrival just before the food. Margaret was anticipated right away in the morning. Meghan and i set out that night to stay at my mom's house in Coldwater, MI to get a head start and visit along the way.

The Toyata was doing just fine with gas left over from 100 miles since leaving Madison. This would be enough to get to Chicago, and i got near enough to hit the first gas station in illinois with the lowest price at $3.37. Going through Chicago gas was 3.57 and even as much as in the 3.60's. After driving through Chicago and most of the way across indiana I stopped at the last toll road oasis this side of ohio. I slept in the camper until about 6 am and continiued my drive to coldwater where i arrived about 10 am.

Day -1

Meghan continued to sleep in the back as I went inside underslept for some coffee with my mom. After some bit i fell asleep for about an hour and awoke to my mom and Meghan having conversation. As the day progressed we were anticipating Tim Hansen and crew with the cartel of Crap Cars to tail up behind me in the afternoon. Time had passed and after a few phone calls the Renault had crapped out in South Bend, IN which is about 1 1/2 hours away. After slight bit of lolligagging, Desmond discovers the contact inside the distribotor cap had fallen out, and parts wont be available till the next day. But another parts run discovers that you can swap in the contact point from another manufacture and this proved to be compatible. So now the entourage is back on the road post-haste!

During the delay I took some time to detail the camper and add some lettering kits. Meghan went for a jog as I got the last of the camper situated and organized. Tim called and informed me that he was drawing up on Angola and this is when i would leave to catch him at the truck stop off the toll road.

I wait outside as 4 craptastic heaps roll up at the truck stop. Finally our Convoy is 5 strong through the Crossroads of America as we make our way to Cleaveland, Oh to meet up with Clint Montgomery in the Caprice Brougham and Greg Tivo in the Gremlin "Georgie Tech Wrecks". Clint lives in Cleveland and Greg drove the Gremlin from Wyoming with a cracked motor. Just better than a half hour in convoy the tire blows out on the renault. this tire was questionable to begin with but a spare was handy for the expected. After driving for some 2 hours we finally arrive to Cleaveland at some 4 am. We look for a Wal-Mart to park overnite but it must have been the other direction so we settled in a lot by a tree in some random supermarket. I slept in the camper while others slept in the limo and Desmond slept ON the limo.

Day 0

The next morning we make contact with the other parties in Cleveland by phone to discover that our random parking lot was adjacent to their apartment complex. So we met over to their place and caught some bath and some donuts for breakfast. We thus assembled and were on our way with a convoy of 7 cars and 12 folks. Our convoy managed to stick together all the way to the next toll raod oasis where we stopped to use the facilities and air up tires, etc. Gas was becoming cheaper at 3.15 so we all topped off from this point. We drove throughout Pennsylvania for the major portion of the day until arriving in New Jersey.

In New Jersey the anticipation was mounting as we were nearing Staten Island. About an hour into NJ the charge light came on in the camper as if the alternator went out. It was still running as if nothing was wrong for at least an hour. But then on hills or heavy into the gas pedal the motor would cut out and studder as if the ignition was going ou ror fuel starvation. I pulled over a series of times connecting the batteries together so that they would charge off the secondary alternator that runs the camper shell jumping to the main charge circuit. This seemed to hold things off for a while.

Meanwile meghan had switched up driving with Tim's car and have fallen off the back of the convoy. we got a brief call 20 miles later that they had lost the alternator belt and were off the side of the road. further communication had failed so we pulled off to a restaurant to wait for them, or at least to hear from them. Desmond, Baron, Jacob and i were parked with the camper, the limo, and the renault. Dannon was presumed to be with tim in the camry so they would at least have a ride to the hotel.

During the time that we were parked we pored over our road atlas and contemplated the route to Staten Island. Everyone got something to eat and i took a brief nap in the limo. No more communcation had been establishe with tim so we decided to press onward. As we were leaving my charging issue had aggravated from sitting and playing the radio. The camper would buck and stall pulling out of the parking lot, and now the battery is too dead to turn over. I had to let the rig roll backwards down the hill in traffic and back into another parking lot with a trailer on a funny slope, with gravity power.

Now that i am across the street from where i was i'm sitting ith a dead car. Desmond comes back to lent a jump with the renault, but it just wont kick out enough. So we hook up the limo with the jumper cables and wait for the camper to pull some amps. After a few minutes there was enough juice to turn the camper, but as soon as it fired it would stall out. The camper was parked rather precariously on an upward and sidweays incline half jack-knifed with its trailer and a spare tire for a wheel chock. I was wondering if the angle of parking was starving for gas or some notion to put gas down the carburetor. I didcovered the belt was slack on the secondary alternator and that was the 2nd issue with my charging. I made a quick adjustment to take the slack out of the belt. so now that i have the batteries jumped and the belt fixed I should be good to go. We had to disconnect the trailer to get the vehicle at a better angle for jump starting. I had Jared dump put his sports drink so i could use the bottle to go fetch some gas.

And then I realize that we are in New Jersey. It is illegal to pump your own gas. As if gas is supposed to be too dangerous. no smoking, use approved container, etc. As if dispensing gasoline is a trade skill one has to learn. I walk up the hill to the shell station and present my bottle to the attendant. He says I have to use a gas can and makes a comment about my cigarette. He could care less that i was broke down. I am not used to having to deal with some gas station attendant. I go across the street to the Exxon and walk up tho the first pump. Its a pre-pay type so I put in my Visa and selected regular unleaded. I proceed to lift the nozzle and all of a sudden there is an attendant standing there rather awkwardly. I say "I'm going to fill up this water bottle with gas" and then i go ahead and do so. The guy just stood there and watched me, this whole gas station attendand business is starting to annoy me. Finally after my quest for gasoline i go back to my car and put a drizzle of fuel down the carburetor. After a jump start she fires right up.

We get back on the road and make way towards Staten Island. By now we are on the NJ Turnpike. Desmond was in the limo navigating and the rest of us were following behind. some of the direction had us going on loops or to the far side of the island. The toll prices were ridiculous as I was paying between 6 and 1o dollars across each booth towing the trailer. I was due for fuel again so we pulled off to the turnpike rest area to refuel.

Our convoy rolls ito the Sunoco station, it was a little strange since I had not been used to seeing attendants running around and there being little booths between the pumps for them to sit in and wait for customers. I pull up to the pump and get out of the car. The attendant is there and before he could present himself I go for the nozzle. He looks at me and says "Excuse me" as i shove the nozzle in the filler. "Cash or credit" he says. So I hand him my card and he activates the pump. I proclaim to him to let me show him how it's done, for one, I know how to pump gas, and two, the filler neck is straight parallel to the ground out the side and you have to hold the nozzle upside down and at a certain angle to keep the nozzle from clicking. He puts the nozzle in the tank and lets me pull the trigger. So i fill my gas as he goes to the other side and when i am done he asks if i need a receipt. Once i was done filling i go inside to buy some tobacco. When i come out he is just standing by my car and gives me this appalled look as i come back to my car. I guess i was supposed to go park first after fueling beofore i went inside. From what i have always known you pump yur gas, then go inside to pay, then come back to your car and leave. There is no such thing as a full service gas station anywhere else, and if someone approached your car and removed the gas cap it would probably start a fight as one might assume the gas cap is being stolen everywhere else but New Jersey. I really don't like this whole full service jazz.

We get back on the road and are within close proximity to hotel on Staten Island. We finally get there after alost another hour of driving trying to navigate the turnpike following along behind the limo which was leading the way by road atlas. It was almost 10:30 pm when we finally rolled up into the hotel parking lot.

As we rolled up there was a slight applause from other rallyers that were parked and mingling aobut. We finally got there. This was the first time I had seen the hotel since last year my car didn't even make it to Staten Island. I park my truck and trailer in the back in an odd parking spot deftly maneuvering my trailer between other parked cars. I change into a Sportscoat, tie and a fedora hat (New York, New York!) and go inside to register my team, whom the other half was lost with Tim Hansen since they had fallen behind and out of contact. Jacob ended up buying a room since it was assumed Tim had a room reserved, but actually not. I guess the plan for Tim was to show up with a keg of dark beer and barter for floor space. But you cant bet on the un-known, and you have thebe present to do so! It was late so we all crashed out in our hotel room.



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