Sunday, August 13, 2006

ATTACK of the Cursed Undead VW from HELL!

Yesterday, I came to recognize a force in the universe every bit as evil as the one I wrote about on 7/29/2006 in the post "The Battle for Columbus Has Begun!" Sadly, it is a force that is in my own garage. I was going to post a photograph of it here, but it is so evil that won't allow me to upload the photo.

Of course, I am writing about my 1974 VW Superbeetle Cabriolet. Yesterday was the annual VW collector's festival here in Columbus, Ohio. I woke bright and early, hopped into Greenie, and headed off for the festival. I got about five miles from home when the clutch pedal fell had become disconnected from the clutch cable. This had happened before and supposedly my mechanic had fixed it...well...obviously not.

So, there I am alongside the road in a broken down VW. I managed to get the cellphone number for the president of the local club....I called him hoping that he could send a "search and rescue" team out to help me (otherwise I would be stuck calling AAA and having the car towed home). The president told me that they could send out help, but then he said, "You know, you can drive your bug without a clutch." He told me that if I started the car in first gear ("It will lurch forward, but give it some gas and it will go") then just shift gears as I normally would ("Force may grind a bit...but it will go into the new gear.") I could drive the car.

Ok, I tried it. Greenie started with a lurch, and started chugging along. I got up to about 15 mph and I forced the gear shift lever from 1st into 2nd gear. It took a little force, but it popped into gear with no grinding at all. The same thing happened from 2nd to 3rd gears and 3rd to 4th gears. There was a little grinding when I first tried to downshift...I learned that I had to rev the engine a bit before forcing the lever.

I made it to the meet. The folks at the membership desk were wonderful. I parked along side the road, walked over and filled out my paperwork, then they let me drive straight through the line of cars and park my bug with the others in its class (Class I: 1970-79 Beetle and Superbeetle Cabriolets).

It was a lovely day out there. There were HUNDREDS of Beetles. I was more than a little heartsick when I saw that I could have bought a restored Beetle convertible for less than half what I paid to have Greenie restored (to its PARTIAL state of readiness). I took over a hundred photos. Why then you ask, gentle reader, are none of those photos here...patience. In time all will be revealed.

About an hour after I arrived, another Ravenna Green VW Superbeetle Cabriolet parked two cars down from mine...a 1973 in beautiful condition. I talked with the owner; she and her husband drove in from Indiana that morning. There were some other friends of theirs who suffered last minute mechanical failures and were unable to attend. I guess Greenie is not the only evil VW genius out there.

I wandered around, took photos, ate a steakburger, bought some parts for Greenie, and had a pretty fun time. At 3pm, I realised that it would be smart to leave a little early and beat the rush...especially since I have a car that is now incapable of handling stop-and-go traffic. I made my final farewells and headed out on the road.

I decided to take the freeway back home since there would be fewer traffic signals to deal with. Bad mistake. Greenie just had the front of its frame replaced and I have not had time to get a proper front end alignment. I got out on the road and, after driving a few minutes at 65 mph, I heard a horrible noise and the wheel started to shake a bit. I pulled over to make sure that nothing had broken loose. Then I got back behind the wheel and drove on at 45 mph.

What a nightmare. I could not put the emergency blinkers on (they need repair too) but that probably would not have made any difference. People would fly up from behind me, jam on their brakes, ride on my bumper for a few moments, that speed around me. I tried to stay in the right lane; but it was not easy to get over since people would start passing me on the right everytime a new lane would get added to my right. I got home with a major headache and case of the shakes.

I took the memory chip out of my camera and plugged it into my computer to pull the pictures out...and there were none! My camera had been taking pictures all day....but none of them had been stored on my camera's xD memory chip. Oh, I was unhappy. I was despondent. I was to the point of asking existential questions. I got in my newer car and drove over to BestBuy to buy a new digital camera (I had hoped to put this expenditure off for a few more months but Greenie's evil will not be denied).

I am keeping a low profile today. Hopefully Greenie's lust for causing me pain has been satisfied.


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