Saturday, July 4, 2009

Some random hillbilly things that I have done.

Being a city boy, people would never perceive me as being a hillbilly. My love of Rockabilly and Country, however, must have instilled hillbilly-ness in me by osmosis. A brief stint living on a farm for a couple of years probably cemented it. Went to many a barnyard party, rode horses drunk, and chased gophers with my dog.

I just can't help it, my perceptions are hillbilly. Not be confused with redneck, the urban hillbilly just finds the most direct solution to any given problem at hand. My motto for building bikes or anything else is " just keep adding metal until it works". Bondo will take care of the rest.

Most hillbilly vehicle ever.

Right around the time that I moved to that farm, I was driving International Scouts. Plural, because I had three, one would break down and I would scavenge parts and build another.
The last one I had was swimming pool green, the manufacturer's original colour, ( those engineers musta been smokin' something green).

I needed to haul some stuff to upstate New York with a trailer. I hillbillied a trailer hitch, welded right on to the frame. At the time, I was oblivious to the fact that I was welding mere inches away from the fuel tank that filled with gas.

The wiper motor fried on me, but I had to get going. I got some rope and tied it to each of the wipers, I threaded the rope through those little vent windows that cars had in those years. A side to side pull of the rope made the wipers go. Problem solved.

These trucks were tough, but they tended to rust a lot. This one was pretty rusted on the quarter panels, thereby causing both doors to fly open whenever I hit a pothole or bump.

When I arrived at US Customs, I was greeted by looks of disbelief by the agents. There I was , in the line up of cars, with a swimming pool green truck pulling a trailer. All the while struggling to shut the doors that kept opening and giving occasional pulls on a large rope to make the wipers go.

Needless to say, they thought I was nuts. When it was my turn at the gate I was asked where I was going. After I told them that I was driving 400 miles, I was submitted to a thorough inspection. Made it there and and back. I sure miss that old Scout.

Stray Chicken.

Recently, during my daily delivery rounds, I saw something moving under a parked truck, on a major thoroughfare. I thought myself, " Was that a chicken?" I went around the block and came back. It was indeed a chicken. Probably escaped from the nearby chicken processing plant. It must have jumped off the truck, because it was limping and seemed to have a broken leg. I just couldn't leave it there. I was having visions of some local crackheads chasing it down making a meal out of it, or maybe try to sell it to get more crack.

I grabbed that chicken, put in the van and drove to the nearby SPCA. That chicken is living out the rest of it's natural life on a farm somewhere in the 'burbs.

Boxcar Willie.

Other than my well known disdain of hippies ( see previous post, 7 varieties of hippies), I pretty much get along with everybody and try not to judge. Go with the flow as it were.

Two years ago on a vacant lot near my workplace, a bum camp sprung up. It was one the last vacant lots at False Creek East, so one bum camping out eventually became a whole lot of them. It was quite a set-up with many impromptu tents and such. Their main source of revenue was scavenging metals , so there were huge piles of junk everywhere.

I have always loved going to junk yards, so piles of junk trigger a Pavlovian response in me and I gotta have a look. I eyeballed a nice bike in the junk pile. One of the homeless guys asked if he could help me. I told him I wanted the stem off that bike. He wanted five bucks. and I agreed.

He volunteered to remove it for me, went into his tent to get a complete tool kit and went to work on the bike. While I was waiting, the guy who seemed to be the leader of this loosely organized group, asked me if I wanted a beer while I was waiting. He went into his tent and produced an ice cold Old Stock.

There I was, smack dab in the middle of a hobo camp amidst large piles of junk, sharing a beer with a bunch of homeless guys. I actually enjoyed talking to these guys. I was a little apprehensive about my boss possibly driving by.

A self storage warehouse now stands on that lot.

Hobo you say?

There is a junkyard right by my place. It's in an alley adjacent to the beer store that I go to for my Sunday
beer sessions. It is truly a vestige of another era, a junkyard in the inner city in a mixed residential/industrial neighborhood.

Like I previously said, I can't resist junk piles, so I always have a look. They are closed Sundays, so people drop off junk in the alley near the gate.

One particular Sunday, I spotted two vintage exercise bikes.They had nice parts and I wanted them. I was riding that dumb electric bike that I mentioned in a previous post. I went to the beer store first, so that I could have a beer while trying figure out how to get these things to my place.

I didn't have any rope or tools. I spotted a shopping cart and a light went on. Put 'em in the shopping cart! All I need is rope and I could tow the shopping cart. I only managed to find an old clothesline. I tied it to the cart and the bike, but those damn things are stretchy. The clothesline would stretch and the cart would go careening when the thing recoiled.

What now? Push, I guess. I wasn't too far from home. I began going up the hill, pushing a granny bike in one hand and a shopping cart full of exercise bikes in the other. I was unshaven and wearing a hat and was hoping no-one would see me.

Right about that time is when I heard a distinct hissing sound and felt some dampness on my back. One of the beers in my backpack had sprung a leak. Probably punctured by some piece of junk that I had put in there. I stopped the convoy and removed my backpack. One of the beers was spurting near the bottom of the can, so I had to open it and drink it fast.

That's when some lady came walking by and asked if I was OK. "Just tryin' to save my beer", I replied. What a sight, me crouching in an alley, surrounded by a bike and a shopping cart full of junk drinking a beer that had a little geyser coming out of it. That's when it hit me: " It's official," I thought, " I am now a bum".

Goober Express.

I have traveled far and wide in North America, and speaking through personal experience, I must say that taking a Greyhound bus is probably the most uncomfortable way to travel. 8 hours should be the most that anyone should have to endure inside one of those filthy contraptions. I can't think of anything more disgusting than a bathroom on a Greyhound bus.

You will meet every type of lunatic on a bus and they all want to talk to you. I once took a bus from Montreal to Vancouver. 96 hours straight! That's when you realize that Canada is a vast, relatively empty, place. When the bus stops in Wawa, Ontario, you start to wonder what you have done. In Northern Ontario, people randomly walk out of the bush and flag the bus down. The bus actually stops to pick them up. When you get to Saskatoon, Sask, it slowly dawns on you that yo are only half way there. I had a beer cooler on the seat across from me labeled "human organs" for about 500 miles.

People never, ever seem to shut up on those rides from hell. Some crazy lady rode from Bumfuck, Ontario to Shit'n'Piss, Ontario and didn't shut up the whole away about disease and death and her husband's ailments. She didn't know anybody, just random yammering to anyone who had the misfortune of making eye contact.

Having vowed to never ride the ole grey dog ever again, I somehow ended up on a long bus trip yet again. Not being able to find a cheap flight from Vancouver to Las Vegas, I opted for a bus.
I asked myself " How bad could it be?". I rationalized that there would be nice scenery.

For some reason, bus depots are always in a bad part of town. I didn't even know Vegas had a bad part. It was scary, The buses in the U.S are way more crowded than in Canada and you can forget about sleeping.

After 4 days of partying in Vegas, it began to dawn on me on my last evening there that I had to stop drinking and start packing because my bus was leaving at 3 am. I went up to the room, made a pot of coffee and steeled myself for the fact that I had a 38 hour bus ride ahead of me.

Thankfully, I slept from Vegas to LA. When we pulled into the LA bus depot, in the most run down part of town, I was starting to feel like kicking myself in the ass. To add to the misery, I had been a real dumb ass with the gambling in Vegas and had about 20 bucks on me. I ate a lot of peanuts and power bars.

Now my mom knows I'm a dumb ass. I called her upon my arrival in town and there was a surprise awaiting me in my bank account. Good mom, bad Vegas.

Some of you are probably thinking that is more of a dumb ass thing than a hillbilly thing. You may be right.

I guess , that when all is said and done, I'm just a City-billy and like things nice and greasy. That's it for now, keep it greasy, friends, and I will see you soon.

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