Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Exhaust Not Your Hope

Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 8:00 AM

What follows being Part II of a Racer's Final(s) Diary

My route leads me north first and west, before finally picking up Route 81S near Charlottesville.  The miles click by uneventfully on the odometer, with nearly 250 done before I stop to refuel, (the poor old Chevy small block is not terribly fuel efficient fully loaded at 80 mph).  Slowing to a stop on the on-ramp, I hear a metallic grinding sound.  Rounding the corner into the petrol station I hear it again, louder.  I pull up to the pump and immediately begin inspecting the vehicle for the cause.

It doesn't take me long to discover the source of the hideous sound, broken weld on the tailpipe bracket, allowing it to drag on the ground, while part of the muffler hangs precariously on the rear axle.  This is not entirely surprising, as I knew sections of the exhaust were starting to get a little "soft".  I hoped it would hold on until the off-season.  So much for hope.

I gas up and pull to the side of the station.  Glancing up and down the road I realize just how rural an area off of I-81 this really is.  Other than a gas station and a greasy spoon there is nothing but farmland as far as the eye can see.  Oh for just a little bit of urban sprawl right now.

The gas station has a woefully dusty and inadequate selection of repair items consisting of a congealed bottle of radiator stop-leak,  two quarts of a no-name straight 30W oil and a black rubber bungee cord missing one of the metal hooks.  Oh, and some canned meat.  Yes, canned meat.

I know there are two wire coat hangers in the van left over from the pack I had to buy a year ago when I locked the keys in it.  They will have to work until I can find some sort of auto parts store.  Twisting the coat hangers around the tailpipe and through the frame, managing to only burn myself slightly on the pipe, I declare it a 10 mile repair, meaning this will probably get me ten miles farther down the road before the whole rusty mess comes off on the highway, jumps up and spears a nun driving a busload of orphans to the zoo, resulting in a chain reaction accident involving 100 vehicles that has police searching for the owner of a non-descript white van.......

Canned meat, questionable eating, unquestionably useless for repairing exhausts.

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