With most of the painting done, I thought it time to see if the Pony still ran. So, about a week ago we put a fresh charge on the battery, I pulled out the choke and hit the starter button. What a gooood Pony; he started right up. After letting him warm-up a bit, I took him out for a short spin and for a photo session. The photo below is courtesy of Lynne. You know, check that, maybe this would be a good time for “before and after shots,” so the first two images you’ll see are from four years ago, and the second one is Lynne’s.
I’m now working on a small “bed” for the area under and behind the seat. I’ve got that built, out of one-inch glued up oak planks, and I’m now putting red paint on the hefty piece of steel that supports its back edge. How hefty? Well, I’ll tell a little story on myself. Actually, just to back up for a sec, first I had to get the piece sand-blasted. So, I chucked the thing in the trunk and told The Princess that I was going to see a man about a mule. If you didn’t read the much earlier post about going to get the Pony’s hood and grill sand-blasted, then this is new to you, but the guy who does the sand blasting also raises mules. He lives 25 mi from here near the little crossroads town of Silk Hope. Oral history has it that the town was once the center of a 19th century attempt at starting a local silk industry, but no physical evidence of that effort remains.
The drop off in Silk Hope went fine, and I even drove an extra 5 mi over to Siler City to have some welding done. Boy, only in Siler City can you stop for directions at the corner of Second St. and Second Ave. Then too, only in that little burg will the business at that corner be Clapp Brothers Tractor and the place you’re looking for just down the street, Cockman Welding, earthy! Of course, the directions I had initially did not even mention the street, because I was simply told (over the phone) “go ‘under’ the traffic signal past Clapp’s and turn left, go down a ways, cross the railroad tracks and you’ll see the old Dinette World. Go behind Dinette World, and that’s where it is.” Oy!
After carefully driving around a couple “making out” in a pick-up truck, there it was, hand painted on the old brick wall, Cockman Welding. I’m thinking you’ve got to be a real man to live up to that name, and naturally, be able to weld too. Sure enough after about 15 minutes and $10 he’d welded up my Pony starter crank that I’d put together with plumbing pipe bought at the Home Despot. Here’s a photo of the Cockman at work on my starter crank.
I’ll get you a photo of the crank, but first, it was intimated to me strongly by The Princess, that in her opinion, the Pony would be disappointed if the crank wasn’t all painted up nice and pretty. Sheesh, now even the Pony has an advocate.
I guess that’s the end of the digression, so back to how I learned how heavy that metal support piece was. I took the piece down to my al fresco paint booth (the woods) and with my hangers made of, well, hangers I hooked the piece to a tree limb. I’d been spraying for maybe a minute when the whole damn limb, including my partially painted piece broke loose from the tree and landed in the crap on the ground. Argh, and don’t worry, I did not even swear…much!
I’d been wanting to get in and out of the woods fast, because this is the spot where in the past, those pesky chiggers have gotten at me, so this setback was doubly annoying. I picked the piece up, rehung it from a new limb, brushed off all the yuck with a stiff brush from the garage, and in not too long managed to finish the job. I was thinking though, as I marched back to the garage, that this little incident was absolutely “par for the course,” as respects just about every thing I’ve had to do for the Pony’s restoration. On the plus side, it’s been a week or so now since this incident, and I think I’m safe in saying that some how the chiggers missed their shot at me this time.
One of the little towns I stop in one my “morning 40’s” is Hillsborough. It’s about 15 miles straight north of here, but when I ride the bike there I do a loop and role in there a bit after the mid-point of my 40 mi. ride. The reason I mention this is that last weekend the Wall Street Journal did an article about the town, specifically how it is “the most literary town in America.” I was skeptical, but they ticked-off a pretty lengthy list of well known authors that live in and around the town. I love the town for the co-op where I can buy the best cinnamon role and sticky buns on the planet, and refuel for the second half of the ride. Also, for a small town it has marvelous restaurants, even a shop with homemade chocolate, gelato and espresso. Also, even though Amtrak doesn’t stop here, it blows by at 60 mph, and its fun to climb up the hill, watch and feel the blast as it roars by. But as respects the towns literary status it occurred to me that of course, on those days when I am there, the author of now (with this post) exactly 200 posts of That Idiotic Tractor, it probably does cinch it that Hillsborough is the most literary town anywhere!
Finally, if you visit the website’s homepage, you’ll note that the Cost-O-Meter has its first bump in quite a few months. The increase is $65 ($40 for the oak, $15 sandblasting and $10 welding).
Well, there’s more painting to do, and more chiggers and ticks to tempt, so I’d better get back to work. Thanks for reading.