The Double Meaning of Fall Time

There are two kinds of fall. One where you take a header down the basement stairs, and another where you have weather that happens just before winter. Since the two are totally unrelated, I think it makes for a good discussion to assure there is no confusion between the two in the mind of my readers.

Let’s start with the header type fall. In fact, let’s keep it car-related and consider a swan dive into my service pit. When I built the garage addition on my house, I incorporated into the design a place for an old fashioned service pit. Since I was blowing the existing covenants for the subdivision out of the water, I had to go before the County Commissioners to have the plans approved. Fortunately there was no HOA with busy bodies to be assassinated. I was sure that the County Commissioners would deep six the service pit; truth be told, I don’t think they even noticed it in the plans. Therefore, the pit got built along with the rest of the 8-car garage addition to the house. The service pit plan called for 6 twenty foot pylons supporting the reinforced floor, reinforced cement walls, and two stub walls – one connecting to the outside wall, which rests on 20 pylons 20 feet into the ground, and the other is reinforced cement stub projecting halfway across the interior of the garage. I am convinced the architect had a certification in bomb shelter design. In case there is an air raid, I can survive it in the service pit. (Maybe I should have had a mini fridge and pantry built into the pit . . . the best laid plans . . .)

The problem, other than the obvious one that a fall of over five feet onto a cement floor is dangerous, is the fact that gas fumes are heavier than air, and a dropped wrench is a suitable spark to ignite a combustible mixture. As a precaution, I had an outside vent pipe installed. I also had welded steel rails added to each side to forestall the embarrassment of having a car side down in the pit. Here is the million dollar question: Which is better – a pit or a lift?

I vote for a pit because:

  • You drive over it, and you are ready to go to work.
  • No lift arms that need to be positioned.
  • You have lighting and electrical outlets immediately ready.
  • No need to crawl on the ground to position an engine or transmission.
    Just stand in the pit and do it.
  • No need to sit someone in the car high off the ground to bleed brakes.
  • Two can work simultaneously on both the top and bottom of the car.

An exception to one of the pros above – it is awkward to work on brakes as you cannot position the wheels to standing height, and you have to take tools and parts in and out of the pit. Even so, I now cannot imagine working on my cars if the service pit was not there. I am just too old to flatback it anymore.

I do focus and keep good concentration when walking around the pit. Constant awareness is essential to avoid a fatal swan dive, and visitors have to be cautioned about where to step.

Now for the Other Type of Fall

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: “Mother Nature is a bewitching bitch!” She gives us the nicest weather of the year with mild temperatures, cloud-free blue skies, and no wind. The trees know what comes next, so they let their leaves die and fall to the ground, so the branches do not break off when the heavy snow hits. In their death throes, the leaves turn beautiful shades of reds, yellows, purples, etc.

The rays of the sun and the beautiful foliage are the lure that draws us to drive our classic cars and street rods to nowhere in particular. Windows and tops down are a must, and the engines, which now run cool in the mild temperatures, burble a sweet sound. The EVs totally lose all emotional appeal and become travel appliances as they hum silently along. The flathead V8 is the trumpet of the gods. No need to hurry as there is nothing of importance to accomplish. The destination is a restaurant that will be overcrowded, but who cares as there is just good car talk conversation to kill the time, while the overworked wait staff tries to get us fed.

This past week the Early Ford V8 Club went on the traditional “Turkey Trot” Tour in what was a fabulous fall weather day. Now you know that something is amiss when it is headlined that a turkey can trot. Have you ever seen a turkey “trot?” They – at best – wobble. Horses trot. Turkeys wobble and fly. The tour chairman used his imagination to think up ways to create a competition. One of the favorites? A poker run where you get five specified stops to draw a card, and the best hand wins. It seems to be the tradition that the direction sheet for the stops, which the chairman carefully prepared in a dress rehearsal, has at least one very confusing direction, which sends cars all over the place. Husband and wife teams get to test their composure as each interprets the direction differently, and neither one is correct. But as you pass cars going in the opposite direction and see passengers waving their hands and pointing, you get reoriented; no harm done.

I drove my 1940 Ford coupe, famously known as the “Bahnburner,” to the restaurant in Monument, CO, and my daughter drove it back to Centennial. It has a 3.00 rear end gear and fuel injected 347 c.i. OHV engine in place of the flathead. You can drive it like a rental car, but if you leave it in LO range, step hard on the throttle and leave your foot down, you are going for a ride that makes a Corvette nervous. That trip was all rental car smooth.

So why the beef with Mother Nature? As I sit here typing, the bottom has dropped out of the thermometer. Our planned garage party will have to be a closed door heated affair. The nice weather has been yanked out from under us, and snow and cold is on the way. Mother Nature has shut the fall door and opened the winter door just as we want to have a party. That Bitch!

Well brats, beer and German kartofel salat, which my daughter makes, will assure a nice time despite the weather. Oh yes, since we just had Halloween, I hope you have done your Christmas shopping since Christmas trees and decorations have been on display in stores as of the beginning of October.

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