Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beaterblog Low Budget Road Trip 2012 Summary

Our bar-planned trip to bring a pair of severely rusted Simcas, a valueless sixty year old aluminium boat, and a bent trailer from Detroit to Charleston South Carolina finally became a reality. Fuelled by gas station Bud Light Michelada tall boys and unrelenting stupidity, we fearlessly built a tow bar to link a rotten Yellow 1204 to the scrap metal floatilla, a 1955 Alumacraft fishing boat, and set off. Funded by the sale of scrap metal, Stauffer and I headed down South with Simca and Simca in tow. Unlike last year, there weren't enough breakdown induced adventures to be able to write the sequel to 2011's Illiad. My enabler (wife) provided me with a birthday present Go-Pro Motorsport camera to get it all on film. I'm still figuring it all out but I've taken a crack at video editing. Some of the sound was screwed up due to my own ignorance so I just dubbed it with Drive By Truckers. It just seemed appropriate.


In addition to the video, the full trip report comes after the jump.


On Thursday evening, Stauffer showed up at the barn with the dirtiest handlebar mustache I have ever seen and we set off into the rainy sunset with no trailer lights and rooster tails shooting through the floors and hence the cockpit of the corroded little French death trap.

After a two hour dead stop traffic delay with no evidence of cause, Thursday night found us only slightly north west of Columbus, Ohio cruising a campground with a battery so dead, it provoked misfire while we searched for a place to down a large number of brewed beverages in a short amount of time to prepare for the following morning. After a short swim for one of us and a fresh change of jean shorts for the other, we hit the road again after a brief jumpstart.

Somewhere in Kentucky, the unmounted and entirely oversized marine battery in the yellow lead car shed it's piece of floormat guarding the positive post of the battery from the evils of the mostly steel hood. This caused irreparable damage to the battery which was determined to be replaced after biscuits and gravy at Waffle House. The onlookers at Waffle House commented on how we must be going fishing but made no other mention of the oddness of the situation.

A battery was procured at the local Auto Zone. Naturally, the staff were standing at the computer, eager to match up the correct battery for the year, make, and model. After an anticipated failure of the lookup system, careful hand measurements were taken and a battery that kinda sorta fit was selected.

Southward into Tennessee and the Carolinas we headed, aiming for Asheville, North Carolina that night. We stopped briefly at the NC State Parks office to get a look at a map and traced a few local rivers to find a spot. Lake Powhatan was selected. We arrived just in time to get the last pull through space. The boat was unhitched and we made tracks into the drum circles and cumulonimbus marijuana clouds of Asheville. We grabbed a few local brews and started back towards the campsite around midnight.

 Just as we'd picked up a 12-pack sampler of Red Hooks and were speeding back to the camp, I noticed the lights getting dimmer. Stauffer refused to acknowledge this initially. Ten seconds later he agreed and told me a delightful anecdote about how his Bronco ran until the headlights looked like little Amish buggy lights and then shut off. After this story, he shared with me that he thought that my lights looked like buggy lights also. About 15 seconds after that, the first misfire occurred about six miles from the entrance of Mt. Pisgah National Forest and got steadily worse. After about tow miles the decision had to be made - lights or engine power. On the downhills, and much road was memorized as possible. On the uphills, the lights were snuffed and the pedal feathered to keep the engine from blowing the candle out under load. Finally, a car came up form behind with the brights on. I wasn't sure whether to be happy that we could see or concerned that it could be the law. We cut the lights off for good and rode in the shadow of the Impala behind us. The car finally gave it's last hiccup and we coasted to a stop about 4 feet from the gate. Everyone piled out of the Impala and told us how sure they were that we were moonshiners.

That night Stauffer slept in a rainbow colored blanket on top of a picnic bench surrounded by French cars. Of course, the handlebar mustache was still there. I hate that I didn't get video of that. After a cup of cowboy campfire coffee (liquid crack), we replaced the voltage regulator and cleaned the oil and chunks of road debris from the alternator. Seemed to fix the charging problem.

From there, the rest of the trip was fairly straight forward and we rolled into Charleston about four hours later. We parked the car and backed the trailer into the back yard. Stauffer did manage to tear my gate out of the ground while backing up, but I digress. The trip was a success and the Simca is now the substitute for my lame-ass Subaru most days. As always, a huge thank you to our very willing and capable, jorts wearing and gross moustache owning friend of beaterblog, Stauffer.








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