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Monday, August 17, 2009

HOM: Vegas Heat

I knew I had a problem with the Datsun before I left Kalispell. I'd left the Datsun out behind the store, and when I went out to check the oil before I left I found the radiator cap off and dirt & gravel packed into the opening. It looked like someone had scooped it up from the ground and poured it in. I cleaned it out as best I could, crossed my fingers and headed for SLC. It was a slow trip -- obviously I hadn't gotten all the crud out and the engine was running hot so I had to baby it. I stopped in Pocatello and looked for a new radiator, but there were none in stock there. I limped it on down to SLC. I was in too big a hurry to lay over an extra day in SLC and get a new radiator, I just headed on down south. Stupidity won over Smarts, as usual. I made it in to Page, but there were no radiators there either. I had the radiator cleaned and it helped, but didn't solve the problem. Lyn met me in Page, and from there we made it into Vegas, but our next stop was L.A. and we didn't make it. The desert was too much for it and the engine had a heatstroke in Barstow. I stopped at a service station to let the motor cool down, but when I put the hose in the radiator water literally ran out of the tail pipe. $1500 for repairs. Jerry loaned me the money for that bill. Russ drove up from San Diego and rescued us, and we spent the days with him and Sharron till the Datsun was road-worthy again. Russ drove me up to pick it up, and it ran, but never did run right. We went North up Hwy 101 and up in the Big Sur country a spark plug blew out of the engine -- it hadn't been torqued properly. I cross-threaded it back in and we limped home, and then had the little 1600cc setup replaced it with the 2000cc/5-speed. ----- I never did find out who had sabotaged the rig, but I had some suspicions. One was a little kid that played out back a lot and the other was a resident of the halfway house two doors down. I suspected him because he had once stolen a pistol out of my truck. Becky saw him do it & identified him, and he was arrested. He held a grudge after he got out of jail. He'd followed my family and made a few threats, so I went to the police. I was advised that if I wanted to shoot him, to do so, then put him by the trash barrels, and they'd come pick him up. Yeah, he had a reputation in town. Anyway, I made sure that he got the message and he stayed away after that, but he was around when the radiator got tampered with. I guess I'll never know for sure. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)