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Fast and Furious in Kansas City.

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Author Topic: Fast and Furious in Kansas City.  (Read 164 times)
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« on: October 28, 2008, 10:46:19 am »

The year 2000. I was delivering a turbo Saab from Seattle to St. Louis. Didnt leave till late afternoon and I think I ended up in Missoula Idaho at a truck stop. Had to pull off to the left and back a short way to the truck stop.
Booked a room that was upstairs with a lounge room below, Im trying to remember as i go along. Anyway I had a talk to a couple of drivers out on the driveway, just said I was a traveler nothing else. They were all friendly, the meal was great and so was breakfast. The room was like a motel room couldn't ask for better. I thought nothing down in OZ like this for truckies. Anyway off I went charging off to Butte Montana to the bank as I was getting low on funds. Too much detail here so  will fast forward down to Omaha and on the way to St. Joseph, had fueled up back a littlle way when I noticed a red light lit up on the dash.
"What the hell is that." I thought as I immediately dropped the foot off "the loud pedal".
First thing anyone thinks is water, oil, petrol, which ever the cranium computer decides must be the obvious.
I eased along to where I could pull off far enough from the frantic lane not to be a problem. Switched off then switched on again, ignition only no motor. Petrol ok everything reading ok but the bloody red light was still glaring at me. Switched it off again. Read the instruction manuel twice from cover to cover it was no help.
With a shake of the head and a sigh pulled the hood release, grabbed a tissue i carried for just such a job and checked the oil. Plenty there. Waited a bit while checking underneath, gazing around at all the pipes and metal where you couldn't see anything anyway. Checked the water, spot on. "Hhhmmmmm" I thought. Then wondered did they have a safety light on the gear box perhaps.  Had a plastic sheet that rolled up into nothing
in my bag,pulled the bag out onto the grass rummaged in, grabbed it threw it on the ground and squeezed under to have a good look around. Everything looked normal a bit hot under there but normal.
"Well what are you going to do?"
" Damned if I know"
"Thats a big help"
" Well if I damage the car I have to pay the repair costs."
'I know that stupid"
I always call myself stupid when I talk to myself.
I fired it up again, no noises everything normal except that bloody red light looking at me. Well Kansas City would be the nearest Saab agent so I will, all being well, wander down there and get it checked out.
Now in all speeches and books there is always an introduction body and conclusion.
Well friends we have just finished the introduction bit.You know what I mean  set the scene.
By the way it is a friday, the day was passing and here was a retired Aussie truck driver in the state of  Miissouri driving a european car, that was telling him something was not right and him wondering how much credit he still has on his card. I imagined anything to do with a Saab would be expensive.
Started her up and gently let her find her way without pushing it, if you know what I mean. Half an eye on the road and one and half eyes on the bloody red light, wishing, hoping and even telling it quietly "go way go way"
It didn't. My ears were tuned better than an asdic operator looking for a submarine.
Kansas City rolled up.
First thing a phone box, see if there is a Saab agent. Wandered around a little seemed to be in the factory part of town no one around and no phone boxes. It is now into the afternoon and I'm starting to get anxious.
Maybe every one knocks off early here.
I was crawling down a deserted street when I looked across to a block of land with a wire fence around with a tin shed in the midddle of the block and a couple of people washing and drying a black Caddilac. There were  a number of cars parked there looked like they were cleaning them.
Parked the Saab and walked in and a very friendly African- American guy about middle age asked could he help me. Forgive me if I have used the wrong descriptive word. Anyway told him my problem and did he have a yellow pages.
He did, I found the agents in the book and then asked my new found friend  how do I get there.
'Easy"he said " Go down three blocks take a left then up the ramp keep to the right and then the fifth ramp off take and  go two blocks turn right then the next ............ I just stared at him with glazed eyes, he had completely lost me, I was still going up the ramp in my mind as he described the Saab Dealers street It sounded like somewhere over in Colorado or New Mexico to me.
I looked around the yard and asked " Do you detail and clean cars here."
"Yes I do and as a matter of fact I have to detail and deliver this Caddy near the Saab Dealers as soon as I have finished."he replied.
'Well how about I follow you to the dealers, that way I wont get lost. How's $20  sound?
"Yeah man give me 5 minutes  and we're off."
I think he was moonlighting as a detailer.
I'm sure he was a race car driver. We took off me chasing him not game to let him get too far from me in case I lost him.
We did the turns and up the ramp and boom he was off in and out of lanes no indicator warning  me. I think the freeway was 23 lanes wide well only about 4 or 5 but the way we was travelen man  it felt like 23. We used every lane, must have given some drivers on that crowded freeway that Friday afternoon some thing to think about.I squeezed into places behind that Caddy a Harly would have had problems.
A little black Saab chasing a big black Caddy in and out of lanes nearly tailgating, headlights flashing, horn blowing
A white fella looking agatated and waving his arms at this big caddy with a dark dude calmly chopping and changing lanes completely ignoring what was going on behind him.
Traffic was very heavy and I just knew if I lost the Caddy, I would probably end up in the Arizona desert with a red light still glaring at me.
So it was not for the faint hearted but stick like glue or else. That I did.
Apart from all the above I was constantly looking in the rear mirror for a "blue light" to pop out of the woodwork, wondering can I pay the ticket or do they throw me in the slammer.
Suddenly the caddy's right indicator flashed 'Wow this next move must be super special' I thought.
Yep the Caddy side slipped onto a down ramp with me nudging its trunk, well almost.
Suddenly we were in a quiet suburb and a couple of turns later there was the large Saab sign. 
The Caddy pulled up outside, I parked behind, walked up and hit him with a $20 note. He smiled, I smiled, I thanked him and the Caddilac slowly and sedately purred off down the road and out of my life.
Now I thought lets hope no damage is done and fix the problem.
After what I had been through for the last few hours I was not going to be brushed off.
The best way I decided was to drive directly into the cente of their spic and span workshop and get in eveyone's way. I felt it was nearing shut down time and I wanted answers.
 This very important looking person, not in dust coat or work clothes but blue suit and tie made a bee line for me.
'Can I help you sir' he asked.' I am the general manager.'
'Not me but that you can' I replied pointing with my thumb back over my shoulder at the Saab.
I explained the problem with the red dash light.
'Let's have a look at the service book?'
All this time it kept recurring to me I have to ring the owner sooner or later when I know what is wrong and who is going to pay, is it my fault somehow or not.
"Bloody Hell Ray how do you get into these problems. Oh shut your gob " I said to myself.
"Arhh yes " said the manager after checking with the shop foreman,'nothing serious, its overdue for service, that's what the red light is telling you'.
My mouth dropped open and at the same time a wave of relief swept over me."Will it drive to St Louis without more colored lights popping on and  a swedish voice from under the seat screaming out Murderer,"
'No no it's fine.Just get it serviced as soon as possible.
'Thank you, now how do I find my way from here to the hiway I need for St Louis?'
They were very helpfull I found my way, delivered on time, the lady owner knew it was due for service,and I enjoyed a few days by the Mississippi.
I still smile to myself when I think of that 'Fast and Furious' friday afternoon June 2000 playing follow the leader in Kansas City. I was 70 years old that year.
I dont think the "fright time" took as long as it did to write this. Hope you have a laugh.
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