Friday, December 16, 2011

The Merry Bee: First Trials

By Rob Watson

Friend and I moved into a 40'X8' (on the outside) mobile home for our third year of college. An adventure all in itself. Somehow I managed to get Bee there to work on her. A neighbor was an experienced mechanic who was interested in my project.

By this time I had mounted the 1931 Model A Coupe body, part of the original purchase, onto the frame. It had a plywood floor, period. No seats, no doors, no windows, no fenders, no nothing. We began by adding the operational hardware: clutch, breaks, electrical wiring, (a spare length of wire served as accelerator/throttle.) lights, etc. No seats yet.

After these additions, Bee as fired up and offered promise of working properly. Thoughtful consideration indicated this all needed to be tested to be sure there were no bugs. A group council (Me, Friend, and Mechanic) decided a couple of nearby cement blocks would suffice as seats. They were so installed. We mounted our trusty steed (as it proved itself to be) and were off to the boonies. As there was no license and no way to pass a safety inspection, it would be necessary to stay off the main roads and out of sight of the local law enforcement persons.

As you may recall, High Power lines run through cleared tracts. We came upon one of these and decided it would make a fine testing ground. You should know it tested way more than we originally intended.

At the bottom of the first hill was a small stream of water. It was just runoff from recent rains. I paused a few yards from the water, decided to hit it running, so as not to get stuck in any mud. I announced my decision with something like"Hang on boys, I'm gonna hit this a runnin'". It is not clear where all the water came from. The impression it left was of a tidal wave ten feet high. It curled up and over us, leaving everything covered with clumps of mud and cold water.

Each of us was in our school clothes, which were now wet and muddy. No need to turn back now, so we forged onward. A creek or two down the way, Friend and Mechanic learned the wisdom of not standing behind a fenderless wheel that is stuck in the mud. Bee got stuck because I tried to move slowly through the small stream. Bee got stuck. My companions each got behind Bee on either side of the body. When I depressed the gas (Actually pulled on the string attached to the throttle) The back wheels spun and thoroughly covered each with a vast layer of mud. I thought it was fairly humorous, but the humor seemed to have eluded them at the time.

Each of the several streams of water we crossed presented it's own set of problems. After these struggles we were relieved to see a real road a hundred yards or so ahead. It might as well have been a hundred miles. Between us and it was a genuine stream. There was a four feet vertical bank on each side. The water was 10 feet or so wide and appeared to be about three feet deep. We turned Bee around and revisited all our former problems a second time.

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