Golf, Thermostats, and the Old Truck,

I had to go golfing again yesterday because I said I would. Diane thinks it’s OK that I golf a lot. I suspect she think by going more often I’ll get better at it. Boy do I have a surprise for her. Unlike most other sports, where that’s true, golf has its own rules when it comes to getting better. One day it’s good, the next day it’s bad. So it goes. The up side of golfing is that I generally get to drive the cart. That’s fun.

Daniel’s PT Cruiser started overheating on him so he brought it over to see if I could figure out why. After looking under the hood for a little while I decided that the thermostat had given up and crossed the bar. For those of you unfamiliar with crossing the bar, it’s a Navy term for “died”. When a friend passes, they’ve crossed the bar. I suppose that could be taken in a couple of ways because of the nature of sailors, like, it could be a statement that a sailor had crossed the bar when he was thrown over one during a fight in a foreign port. You know how those sailors drink, right? Well, you at least know how people THINK those sailors drink. Most commonly, however, crossing the bar simply refers to the point a ship is on its own after leaving port and the harbor pilot departs. Still, it’s a nice, symbolic, mental image for us old guys to consider as we progress toward the end of our lives. “Crossing the Bar” is also a poem.

Back to the PT …

Since neither Daniel nor I had ever changed the thermostat in a PT Cruiser, it was a journey of discovery for both of us. I have a perfectly good service manual in a readily accessible folder on my computer, but referring to it would have removed the mystery of our journey. Instead, we just studied the situation and started taking bolts off things to gain access to what we both determined to be the problem area. Turns out, it’s a complicated process because the turbo engine we were working on was most certainly built by very small people with very small hands. Consequently, gaining access to some bolts whose removal were critical to our endeavor, was problematic and resulted in the loss, forever, of two of them. Each of us lost one, and listened intently as they clattered their way into the tangle of wires and tubes, never to reach the ground. This, of course, required a trip to ACE for replacements. Thankfully, we were had retained possession of a nut of the right size that enabled Daniel to procure the necessary replacements. In the end, Daniel was able to get all the bolts back into place using a more careful approach, knowing that one little slip meant another trip to ACE as soon as all the replacement bolts and nuts were lost. Fortunately, none were lost. One of these days those lost bolts will secure their freedom on the highway and bounce along until they come to rest amidst the rocks and debris near the guard rail somewhere along Highway 30. A hitchhiker may find them and know exactly what they are for but more likely they will sit there for years, rusting, until finally they are once again one with the universe. Happens all the time.

During interludes while Daniel was shopping for parts, I worked on the Old Truck, replacing spark plug wires. I decided to do that when the engine started sounding a lot like a John Deere tractor. It was running on 6 or 7 cylinders because one wire was parted at the spark plug, and another was partially burned through as it rested peacefully on the incredibly hot exhaust manifold. It was time. Part of the process of preparing the wires was to attach the spark plug ends after making sure they were the right length. I didn’t both with cutting them because I didn’t want to. I just took one off, selected a new one that was close to the proper length, then put it all together. As a result, some wires are a bit long for the plug to which they are attached, but I remedied that by winding them around tubes and hoses in the engine compartment. None of them will be allowed to touch the exhaust manifold. They should last a long time. Cousin Don provided me with a handy tool to properly crimp the little metal clips on the wires and I’m thankful for that. Don is my favorite mechanic. He knows everything and has all the tools.

Diane told me there’s a cruise in at the Elks Club today. I might drive the old truck out there just for fun and look at all the nice cars.

Oh ya! Diane’s been bugging me for years about painting it so I began that process a few days ago when I came across an assortment of rattle cans in the basement. I decided to use what I have and see how it works out. The first can only lasted to cover the left front fender. It’s OSHA yellow, meant for hard hats, I believe. I have some green and red that I will try on other parts as time permits unless Diane hides them from me, or throws them away.

What do you think?IMG_0454

Yeah, I know. It needs another coat and I got some paint on the chrome, but it will come right off with the right chemicals. While I’m at it I may as well put the windshield wipers back on it so I can drive it in the rain, and maybe put the right side mirror back together – it fell apart and the mirror part is laying on the dash. When I want to use it, I just hold it and look behind me.

It’s only a little after 9 am and I hear Diane tiptoeing around so guess it’s time to get productive. First thing up is to print the church bulletin and the church’s August newsletter. That’s my job.

Later

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