The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #68 in MD,VA,NC,SC,GA,AL & FL
12/20/01
1162 miles this trip, odometer now 13817 total, miles this year 13484

>From Pensacola NAS, Hi Everyone!

Dec. 3rd turned out to be a perfect day. The weather was perfect, My driver (Jenny) showed up right on time to take me to the hospital for the colonoscopy procedure after it was over the Doctor said everything was looking good and he wanted to see me again in three years.

The trip to Pensacola, FL turned out to be an adventure. I cranked up the old GMC and drove it down to Jenny's and then she took me back to Jeff's place to get her old car that I use for transportation while I am up there. Jenny has been after me to get the Genealogy information printed and we decided that we needed a scanner to scan some of the pictures of the ancestors into the computer. We went to Sam's Club and we each got a scanner and we were messing with getting Jenny's scanner hooked up and running and it was later than I planed for it to be when I headed south in the GMC. I got to the Norfolk/Portsmouth area during the rush hour traffic and I'm headed west with the sun low in the west. It was hell but my problem started when the old GMC was coming up out of the Portsmouth tunnel and she was losing power. I thought about the carb filter being dirty. I kept going till I found a place to pull off and change it just as the sun was going down (I keep a spare in the coach) I cut the old one open and it didn't look to be too dirty but the old 455 run good again. I was hoping to get to SC before getting gas as they have a better price than NC. I made it and filled up with 93 9/10th cents per gal gas. It was after midnight and I was getting tired so I pulled into a rest area to get some sleep. I woke up at 4:00 am and felt rested so I was soon headed south and west. I filled the tanks with 89 9/10th cents per gal gas in GA. It sure makes me feel good to watch the gallons meter spinning faster than the dollars meter.

The weather on the way south and west was perfect and this turned out to be the problem. In mid day as I was in AL and all the way in FL the engine was again losing power so the filter was not the problem. Now I have put over 100,000 miles on the coach and not once did I have a vapor lock problem (the fuel boils and can't be pumped) now I am sure that this is the problem. Several years ago on the mountain west of Denver CO the engine got hot, even going down hill it got hot. I pulled over on the shoulder and took the thermostat out and drove it home. I installed a 195 degree thermostat and redid the dash so I have a gage that tells me the temperature of the coolant. The temp was always just below the 200 degree mark till last year when it would very seldom get up to 150 degrees. I replaced the thermostat with another 195 degree thermostat last fall. This time the gage reads 210 degrees all the time so I figured the gage was bad and would have to be replaced. The engine runs fine except when the ambient temp is high. I'm going to install a 160 degree thermostat and I hope that this will fix the problem. I would sure hate to spend my winters in Canada just to keep the engine running.

I arrived in Pensacola on Friday 12/7 and was glad to see that they have the F3H Demon aircraft that I planned to work on in the hangar. The guy I have to check in with is off till Monday I am told that they already have several volunteers working on it. Would you believe two Admirals and two Captains who flew it in their younger days? So it looks like I'll be in good company. I'll meet them next week and see if I know any of them. I signed up for one month in the RV Park to got a better rate than by the day or by the week.

I am now working on the F3H Demon from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm every day and enjoying it like a kid with a new toy. I have met some of the other volunteers; some of them only work one day a week but I understand that work is progressing faster than was expected. I met one retired pilot, who when he found out that I used to work on the Demon gave me a "Retired Demon Doctor" Pin. He told me they are having a Retired Demon Doctor & Driver reunion in San Diego in February. I haven't yet accepted his invitation to attend it. I may extend my stay here for another month if it looks like we could finish the Demon. I do have a couple problems; the first one is getting on the Internet. They positively, absolutely do not have a phone jack on this base for an old man in a motorhome to plug in a laptop computer. In fact, when I ask about it they give me a blank stare like they never heard of such a thing. It's like I'm back in the 1950s when I first worked on the Demon aircraft. After trying several phone jacks in the hangar office I finally found one that would give me a dial tone. The second problem I have is the break. Everyone takes a morning break and an afternoon break. I was never one to take breaks if there is work to do. The worst part about it is the goodies. They have the regular cookies & cake and one time they had smoked fish and some shrimp. One day someone brought in some real good Bean concoction for the whole crew for lunch. I have to watch it or they will fatten me up.

Speaking of new toys, there is a shop behind the Demon that has all kinds of equipment for cutting, bending, welding and shaping all kinds of stuff. I haven't had access to this kind of equipment since I was in the Navy many years ago. The auto hobby shop here on the base is also something to behold. It is in an old aircraft hangar. The floor is painted and is clean enough to eat off of. There are three hoists in it that will lift my old GMC. I sure wish we had one in the shed at Jeff and Alexis'. There are three smaller hoists for lifting cars and two hoists that only go high enough for rotating tires. The second weekend here I went to the Goodyear dealer and bought four new tires. Then I went to the navy auto hobby shop and mounted them for 3$ each instead of $10 each to have them mounted at Goodyear. I balanced them myself and saved $6 each to have Goodyear do it. I also installed the 160 degree thermostat and serviced the engine and greased every thing.

I have been enjoying some very interesting conversations with new friends at the hangar, the Auto hobby shop and here at the RV park. I am also again amazed at the height of the young sailors and marines. I believe the average height is 6'2" or 6'3". I even have to look up to see the eyes of the females. It makes me feel like I have shrunk and I wonder if they are adjusting the space between decks on the ships. I remember the problems tall guys had when I was aboard ship.

The picture is two pictures stitched together, the top picture was taken two years ago. The bottom picture was taken yesterday.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year,
Dallas or Dad if it fits.

Me & My Shadow & Gus on the road

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