Thursday, March 21, 2019
I must be a reincarnated bear because this time of year it feels like I’m waking from a winters hibernation. I told a friend of mine that and he said “Ken, squirrels hibernate too”. I’m not sure if he was trying to educate or insult me?
At any rate, this time of year it seems as though I am like my old pickup trying to start on a cold morning. The routine was to pump the gas pedal several times. Pull the choke out, push the clutch in, stomp down on the starter and the gas simultaneously. The key just gave you power for ignition. The starter was located right next to the gas pedal so you could step on both at the same time, although it also had a throttle knob on the dash board. The engine would crank and sputter and take everything it had to actually fire off and start running. Even when it did start you had to leave the choke pulled out to keep it idling till the blue smoke would subside then you could drive off without stalling it out.
We called it BOB. The name was an acronym for Beast Of Burden. It was an old black, beat up ( and I do mean “beat up” ) 1955 Chevy pickup with a 235 six cylinder engine and a standard four speed transmission. I bought it from my Uncle Ed for $400 and sold it around ten years later for $500. The only vehicle I ever owned that actually made me money.
The right rear quarter panel was a massacre. It looked like somebody took a sludge hammer to it as did other sections of the vehicle. The rear homemade bumper had been added at some point and was made from 1/4” plate steel. It looked like something you might see on an armored vehicle. The hood was dished in, as I remember, from when we would lay on it to watch the shooting stars on clear nights. The tires were all different types with highly worn tread. The grill was a very faded white but was in good shape. I think that’s why the guy I sold it to bought it.( It’s tough to find parts for old vehicles so you try to find the whole vehicle.) The windshield was crack and starred in several places. And the interior really wasn’t any better.
I got it when we were building the house so we could haul long lumber and such. My buddy Jim welded a u-shaped brace on each bumper that protruded out about 8 - 10 “ on the passenger side of the vehicle. And there was another removable ‘U’ brace I would slide into the truck bed hole nearest the passenger door. This in effect made a side rack as I could put 20 foot lumber and such in these ‘U’ channels and haul it home. Of course, this meant the passenger door could not be opened when you had lumber strapped in that side rack.
I drove the truck to and from work and would often stop at the lumber yard on the way home to get whatever I needed to work on the house. ( We built our own house. That’s a whole ‘nother story I might tell you some other time.)
My buddy Al’s old truck camping configuration at one of our “Best Campouts”
Even after the house was built BOB was good for two things, hauling firewood and camping. Old pickup trucks make great camping vehicles because the can hold a lot of gear and you can get them in remote locations without the fear scratching the paint or picking up a new dent or two. In BOB’s case a new dent might have actually helped it’s looks. ;-)
This time of year is good for getting ready for the coming camping season. So as you awaken from your winters dormancy either roaring like a bear or chirping like a squirrel ( whichever the case may be ) take this time to get all your gear serviced, repaired and organized. That’s the key to camping more often, don’t we know it!
Get Organized now - then Go Camping!