Thursday, October 25, 2012


Well this past Sunday we did another VW swap meet; we were worried that it maybe wouldn't be all that big, as it was a 'first annual' affair; but when we got there we were pleasantly surprised (as were the people who set it up, who were walking around with dazed smiles muttering that they couldn't believe how many people actually showed up); however, getting there, well, that was another matter entirely.

Given that it was more than a hundred miles away, and was slated to begin at nine a.m., which seriously what the hell people, we got a very early start, leaving at seven. Trust me, that's early for us, yikes. I would like to sing the praises now, if I may, of the dark-chocolate spiked Coffee Coolatta.

We took the Bus, of course, fully laden with the usual assortment of old parts and such; and it was okay for a while there, even though it was obviously pretty heavily packed. But within the last thirty or so miles it was clear that the thing was not happy at all.

It was skipping somewhat and backfiring a little pretty much constantly, and had very little power going up the hills; we were on the highway, too, probably not the best of decisions, and entering hilly territory to the north as it was. Finally Tara pulled in to one of the giant state-run liquor stores (open on Sunday!) to have a look, but didn't see anything obviously screwy. So we kept going, since if you're going to break down in your weird old car it's not a bad idea to do it at a weird old car show.

We did make it, though Tara was sweating a bit; me, I've got AAA and know I'm not going to die, though it's never much fun to deal with a panicky Tara. We pulled into the grassy field into a likely spot for vending, and Tara immediately got out and said HELP.

Well, it didn't take long to find someone who knew what was most likely going on; Tara is a decent mechanic, yes, but old VWs aren't actually her specialty. Within a few minutes a lovely man named Paul had his head under the back lid and was in the process of gapping the points with some jerry-rigged tool.

A jerry-rigged tool which worked like a charm; Tara took it for a spin after he'd finished, and declared it pretty much a new engine when she returned. Paul got his pick of old parts in thanks.

Another guy there (I don't remember his name I'm afraid) then actually gave us a new set of points, saying we should always have a set handy.

Now, maybe it was just a damsel-in-distress sort of thing, but I'll tell you my faith in humanity got a bit of a polish on Sunday. They were complete strangers, and immediately took care of us and made sure we were okay. Which is really very nice, and I am grateful.

We then set up, and though there weren't really all that many people there compared to the big show we do, still, people started buying stuff, their eyes getting all big when they saw all the milk crates of stuff.

Here's the spread:

(Pictures by Tara.)

And no, that's not our dog. Her name (according to her collar anyway) was Samantha, and she was an old thing that decided to adopt us, flopping down at my feet while I was sitting there minding my own business. I'm not sure of her motivations; we had no food, and I'm frankly not a dog person myself (you may have guessed by now I am in fact very much a cat person); maybe it was the combined total of the scents of fourteen cats between Tara and me that attracted her, I don't know. But she was mellow, and good-natured, though she kept trying to get in the Bus and go home with us. Here's a better picture of her:

It was a lovely autumn day, sunny and not too cool; and all told we did all right. Having started early it also ended early, which was fine by us as we liked the idea of getting home in daylight. So after a time we packed it all up again, and no, though we sold some stuff, again, the amount of stuff we had didn't look to have gone down even a little bit.

We were driving along a stretch of I think route sixteen, going south in such a way that the late afternoon sun was exactly in our eyes, when the acceleration suddenly stuck ON.

Within seconds Tara 1) pulled the gas pedal up (didn't help) 2) stood on the brake and clutch both while the engine revved ridiculously high 3) turned the engine off altogether and coasted into a parking lot and 4) jumped out of the car freaking out and swearing, directing her ire at one 'Mr. Sun' which now I know she'd just had a bit of a scare (me too) but was funny as hell. Like it was the sun's fault, and like he's a Mister.

When she got done swearing she went to have a look at the engine to see if she could see what was going on.

She could. It was in fact pretty obvious: the spring on the carburetor had broken.

Now. Lucky lucky us. If you are going to break down in a weird old car, it is really exceptionally helpful to have said weird old car packed full of the proper weird old car parts.

Within a minute she'd found a matching carburetor and robbed the spring off of that one; we set off again and everything was fine, and we got home without further mishap, which was fine by me, and I'm quite sure fine by Tara too.

I think that's it for the car show season, unless I am much mistaken; Tara now has this plan to clear out a section of the yard over by the shop before the first snowfall. New England weather being what it is, we'll see how that goes. But that is next.


Anonymous said...

Keep these tales a'coming! Love your writing and your blog.

Anonymous said...

yes--love the writing style.
yes--keep the tales a'coming

a reader from the Chicago area

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds to me like the makings of a couple new Nancy Drew books -- "The Mystery of the Jerry-rigged Points" and "The Adventure of the Springless Carburetor." Think about it -- this could launch your literary careers!