The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #57 in MD,VA,NC,SC,GA,FL & AL 1/11/01

1780 miles this trip, odometer now 2540 total, miles this year 1780. (new speedometer)

From Alabaster, AL Hi Everyone!

I headed south after having coffee with Jeff & Alexis on the morning of Monday 1/21/01. Stopped in to have another cup with Jenny and helped her get her sewing machine set up and ready to sew after being in storage for awhile. She wanted me to stay for lunch but I wanted to find some warmer temps so headed south. Every thing was going good and it sure felt good to be on the road again. As the sun was sinking in the west I was on I-95 in NC & flying low, about 10 mph over the limit when I happened to see the volt meter was only showing a little over 10 volts. I knew I had a problem and it would be a disaster once I turned the lights on. I pulled into a truck stop and shut down for the night, I ate dinner and lit the Catalytic Propane heater to take some of the chill off a long cold night. Next morning after breakfast I checked out the local NAPA & CarQwest parts stores. Each of them said they could have an alternator for me the next day and the CarQwest place told me there was a place that could rebuild mine if I wanted to go 17 miles back northeast on Rt 301 to Wilson, NC. I took that option and it turned out to be a very interesting and educational adventure. The boss at the rebuild place told me If I would take the alternator off he would get right on it and it would be ready to go in a about an hour. I didn’t take long getting it off as I have had some practice in the past. I had a little problem getting the plastic plug with two wires in it off as it had melted. He took it apart and the inside was a mess, I asked him if he could make it a 100 amp. instead of an 80 amp. he said he could but didn’t recommend it. I asked him if he could sell me a new plastic plug and he said I wouldn’t need it. Now he really had my attention. He rebuilt it as an 80 amp with a self energizing voltage regulator. He put it on the tester with just the output wire connected and sure enough, it worked! He told me if I wanted the idiot light, just connect it to the correct terminal with a regular female spade connector. This was the first time I ever saw an alternator work without some voltage going into it to make it work. I reinstalled the alternator on the engine and connected the one wire to it, I still had a half day left as I headed south again.

When I was in SC on I-95 I pulled into a Flying J Truck stop to fill up with fuel and low & behold there was another GMC that had just topped off. They were from BC Canada and knew me as they belonged to the GMC International Club. I had a short visit with them, I knew I had seen them before and they told me their name names and I didn’t write it down and forgot it again. I wish I could remember names.

I made it to Sarasota and had a nice visit with my friends Dick & Janet Headley. Dick had saved me some of those delicious oranges from his tree and some grapefruit from his neighbors tree. The oranges are harder to peal than last year and they are a lot better than any I have seen in super markets. I guess it is because it is later in the season this year, they have so much juice in them I believe each one could fill a glass with juice.

I then headed north and east to Orlando to have the transmission serviced, a new seal installed to stop a leak and some adjustments made at Coop Motors run by my friend Jim Bounds. I got there late in the day and was supprised and happy when I was informed it would be done the next day. When it was finished I again headed north to Jacksonville Beach for a short visit with my niece Karen her husband Jack and little Tori. I thought I could make it in good time but the traffic through Orlando and Daytona was heavy and slow, I could have walked and kept up with it so it was about 9:00 pm when I finally shut down. I had a nice visit the next morning the headed west to Niceville, FL to visit my sister Marilyn, Bill and Charlie.

Arrived at 8:00 01/27/01 I’ll be here a few days to let some mail catch up with me and then I’ll head west to Pensacola. The temperature is almost up to my comfort zone but looks like another cold wave headed this way.

Got the mail and headed west, Bill told me to fill the fuel tanks in Fort Walton Beach as they have the cheapest fuel in this part of the US. I saw some for $1.37 on the wrong side, filled up with $1.38 and was glad I did. Here in Pensacola NAS it is $1.45. After I filled up with fuel I was running the speed limit and heard this loud noise (like a BIG dog barking) behind me. I looked in the mirror and saw the homeliest GMC driver I have ever seen. I got a picture of him before he went past me at a high rate of speed. He is headed west so be on the lookout for him.

I checked in with the National Museum of Naval Aviation and signed up to be a volunteer to help put aircraft together. They don’t have anything for me to do right now but said they will be able to keep me busy for a couple months next winter. I also got a picture of the F3H Demon that I wanted to work on. It is now in the hangar but they have no money appropriated for working on it. They need a cockpit canopy for it so I’ll be on the lookout for one as I travel around. I was supprised when I was told that the museum is a private foundation and they get no government funds. If any of you know of an aircraft junk yard where mpI might find F3H parts let me know.

I had a very interesting visit with a Clayton Simmons here in the RV park. He is a couple years younger than me, he found out that I was a farm boy from Coleridge, NE and he said was a farm boy from Holdrege, NE. He had gone to Collage before he enlisted, he became an officer and a Pilot, he retired as a Commander. We both had two children born in the Portsmouth Naval Hospital. He flew many of the same type planes that I had worked on, He was at NAS Corpus Christi, TX after I had been there, He was at NAF Chincoteage, VA after I had been there.

He and I had both been to the Reno Air Races, we had both been to the Balloon Fiesta at Albuquerque, NM he and his son-in-law flew their own balloon named the "Twilight Zone" when I was there. Met a lot of interesting people here and I’m looking forward to spending a couple months here next year

2/8/01 I just learned something this morning from the news. As I understand it, people who have had bypass surgery may find their memory slipping away. So now I know that it isn’t just old age that makes me forget names. My memory was never real good and I have noticed it getting worse. I have also noticed that I am more emotional than I used to be. They said that the heart lung machine that pumps blood when they stop your heart can send little air bubbles through your system that can damage the brain. So I guess I now have bubbles on my brain. I can’t call it good news but it is good to know why and the alternative to bypass surgery would have been to go underground. I’m having too much fun to think about that.

2/10/01 Left Pensacola, FL and arrived at my Neice Sue Jensen’s place here in Alabaster, AL after a nice trip North (I hate that word in the winter). I want to thank Sue and her kids for helping me celebrate my birthday, cake and ice-cream, the whole works. They even managed to get 76 candles on the cake (seven in one place and six in another) so now that’s over for another short year. They keep getting shorter. Jenny had sent some mail to me here and it was here when I arrived so I’ll soon be on my way west. I see the price of fuel is about the same as it was in Fort Walton Beach and my tanks are low so I’ll fill up on the way out of town headed for Texas looking for some 80 degree temps. Probably I’ll find snow

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.


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