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Monday, 2000 September 18 : Volume 3, Number 34

What We Got Here

In this edition we've got Leftovers that were too small for a main course; Convoy 2000, Day Two (Part One), in which our intrepid adventurers encounter an obstacle to their progress; and a yummy Song A’ Th’ Week.


Leftovers

As I wrote that header above, I realized that it somehow applied to the Song A’ Th’ Week, and that I really didn't want to think about it.

Anyway, here are a few items that have been lying in my In basket awaiting action, and it's about time that I did something with them.


Convoy 2000: Day Two (Part One)

Now I'll tell you a tale that'll bust yer heart, that only a few people knew, ta start; it all began when our Convoy tour awoke at the Gallup HoJo... (apologies to Bill Fries)

Wednesday, 7 June 2000. New Mexico, near I-Four-Oh...
7 A.M. MDT and I'm up, showered and shaved by a quarter to eight and filling up my fuel tank. Skywalker's still parked in the back of the HoJo; he's having a problem getting his Geo started. After I've tanked up I drive back there and check out the problem.

Skywalker and Snoopy have the Geo's hood up, and they're looking at in intently. Too intently. Skywalker directs a squirt or two of engine starter fluid into the carburetor and tries the iginition, but the only effect is the reduction of the battery voltage. This baby ain't kickin' over no-how.

And while we're checking out the problem Bob Norton arrives. He'd figured to take the morning and drive with us to Albuquerque, from where he started. His white Cherokee's in the front lot, but the rest of us are still in the back scratching our heads over Skywalker's problem.

Skywalker enlists the services of a couple of mechanics from the truck bays over at the Travel Center. Their conclusion is that there's something seriously wrong with the engine. The fuel's fine, the battery's got a charge and the spark plugs are sparking, but this combination of events isn't enough to induce the engine to start. Skywalker inquires of the whereabouts of a mechanic who could look a bit deeper into the situation. He's directed down the street to a Texaco south of the Interstate. That turns out to be a misdirection, though, and eventually the three of us (Skywalker, Snoopy, and I) are parked at a Phillips 66 about a half-mile away. Bob Norton? Well, Bob had planned on actually spending the morning driving to Albuquerque, where he expected to arrive about noon and get back to his day job. This meant that his scheduled was fixed and that he had to get to his destination, whether or not the Convoy was delayed. So Bob departed with a "nice to have met you" and some disappointment that he couldn't drive a stretch with us.

Meanwhile, back at the 66, Aurelio (he's the owner) dispatched a wrecker to the HoJo to pick up the Geo. Once it's in the bay, the Sun equipment gets fired up and he checks over the situation. Aurelio already has his suspicions, and soon the cause is determined: the number 2 cylinder has absolutely no compression. In a four-cylinder car this problem would be really annoying, but the car would probably start, although it might be a little underpowered and its acceleration would suck. But the Geo is a three-cylinder car, with a whopping 1 liter of displacement, and running on two cylinders is pretty much impossible.

Skywalker's magical levitating Geo Metro
Say 'Ah!'

Now you're probably wondering "how did the Geo manage to move at all the day before, or the day before that?" Well, technically speaking, it's a miracle. The piston rings were, is some fashion, actually contacting the cylinder walls and providing the necessary seal to the cylinder. Remember that the Geo's been running hot since Nebraska, and metal expands when heated. The result is that the overworked engine did work, even at a reduced capability; unfortunately, its condition was deteriorating the further that Skywalker travelled.

The Bad News (yeah, like there would be any Good News): this type of damage isn't something that can be easily fixed. You can't just pop the engine out, remove a few bolts, then tweak a few components and screw it all back together. The only solution to this problem — assuming that Skywalker didn't want to wait for a week or two for someone to rebuild the engine — was to replace the engine with a working unit. The cost? about $1500 for the engine alone, not counting any supporting components that would also need to be replaced, or the labor involved.

Aurelio found an available replacement engine. It was in (surprise!) Albuquerque. He could get it and drop it in the Geo, but he needed two items, time (he said that he could have it done by 4 P.M. Thursday) and money (no, he couldn't take a credit card). There was an alternative, though: he had a used Dodge sitting out front that he'd sell for $1500, as is, and it seemed to be in good shape. Skywalker decided that he'd rather keep the known evil of his Geo, and so he and Snoopy headed out in search of a bank at which to acquire a cash advance on his credit cards. (That search for a bank would make an interesting tale in its own right, but for now it's not really relevant to the story.)

Klingon Express. Don't leave Homeworld without it.
Aurelio makes an offer that Skywalker can't refuse.

I waited at the 66 until Skywalker and Snoopy returned with the cash. Skywalker completed his negotiations with Aurelio and told us that he'd catch up to Snoopy and me as quickly as he could. By this time, noon, we were already four hours behind schedule; by the time that Skywalker got back on the road, he'd be about 17 hours behind. Could he ever catch up?

Snoopy and I said goodbye to Skywalker, realizing that there was a chance that we'd never see him again until the end of the journey. I wanted to get moving right then, but Snoopy wanted to make a stop at the convience store down the street. I told hime that I'd hit the road but keep my speed down to 65 miles per hour to allow him to catch up with me.

New Mexico, noon, on the seventh of June, and the Convoy — or at least two-thirds of it — was eastbound again. I figured that Snoopy would be in sight within the hour, but by the time that I reached Albuquerque, 145 miles away, he was nowhere to be seen...

Would it ever go home again?
Could this be the end of Skywalker? Or is it just the lift that he needed?

Next: I Got A One-Car Convoy, Rockin' Through The Night


Song A’ Th’ Week

Continuing the Fries/Davis compositions from A to Z...

McDonald's. Burger King. Wendy's. Taco Bell. Pizza Hut. Long John Silver's. Subway. Arby's. Big Boy. KFC.

Forget about them. Visit the original finger-lickin' good restaurant: Al's Café.

Comin' Back For More
(Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album The Real McCall: An American Storyteller

Alferd Packer 'Way up in the snow
Where the scrub oaks grow
And the coneys and the picas play
Where the marmots abound
All a-diggin' in the ground
And the wind blows cold all day

There's a little pile a' stones
On a little pile a' bones
That's a-what the archaeologists say
But the folks in Lake City
Well, they sing a different ditty
It would like to make your hair turn gray

Now, it's kind'a hard to find
But it'll altercate your mind
If you happen to go the right way
You take Slumgullion Pass
And don't stop for no gas
Until you get yourself to Al's Café

It was the genuine, original
Highly pathological
Finger-lickin' digital café
It was Al Packer's Legendary
Coronary Fast-food
Cannibal Bar and Buffet

Some dark night
You gonna see a weird light
Up on Cannibal Plateau, they say
It's a scrub oak fire
Like a funeral pyre
Old Packer's been a-cookin' all day

A-when the coyotes howl
And the cougar's on the prowl
They ain't lookin' for your customary prey
Nah, they're waitin' for bones
In a pile a' hot stones
At old Al Packer's Café

[Chorus]

Comin' back for more
Comin' back for more
Baby, comin' back for more
Al's Café
Comin' back for more
Comin' back for more
Baby, comin' back for more
  Old Al Packer
Was a real bone-cracker
Got lost in a blizzard one day

When the boys went to get 'im
Old Al just et 'em
And he buried all the bones in the clay

Now you know them fellas
Wasn't toasted marshmellas
And they didn't fall asleep in the hay
But it had been a hard winter
So he had 'em all for dinner
And they didn't find their boots until May

Well, the folks in Lake City
Showed very little pity
So they sentenced him to hang next day
But before they could noose 'im
Old Al got loose an'
He's a-lookin' for you, today

Boohoohaha [Courtesy of Chip Davis.]

[Chorus]

Comin' back for more
Comin' back for more
Baby, comin' back for more
Al's Café
Comin' back for more
Comin' back for more
Baby, comin' back for more
  Now 'way up in the snow
Where the scrub oaks grow
And the coneys and the picas play

Where the marmots abound
All a-diggin' in the ground
And the wind blows cold all day

There's a little pile a' stones
On a little pile a' bones
That's a-what the archaeologists say
But the folks in Lake City
Well, they sing a different ditty
It would like to make your hair turn gray

Now, it's kind'a hard to find
But it'll altercate your mind
If you happen to go the right way
You take Slumgullion Pass
And don't stop for no gas
Until you get yourself to Al's Café

It was the genuine, original
Highly pathological
Finger-lickin' digital café
It was Al Packer's Legendary
Culinary Fast-food
Cannibal Bar and Buffet

Some dark night
You're gonna see a weird light
Up on Cannibal Plateau, they say Boohoohaha [Chip again.]
It's a scrub oak fire
Like a funeral pyre
Old Packer's been a-cookin' all day

And when the coyotes howl
And the cougar's on the prowl
They ain't lookin' for your customary prey Aahoohoohoohoo [Yeah, it's Chip.]
Nah, they're waitin' for bones
In a pile a' hot stones
At old Al Packer's Café Bleah! [Could it be... Davis?]


The Legend-News is Copyright 2000 TechRen Enterprises. While preparing this edition, we listened to a tape of Dr. Demento's broadcast of 10 September 2000 (11 P.M. Sunday nights on The Loop, WLUP 97.9 FM) and occassionally attempted to learn to play an 'F' chord on the guitar (ouch). Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music.