Many Marvy Miles
Octagon Newsletter … December 2002
By Jack Baker
Well there goes another summer of Fun in the Sun. The 'B' and I had some great times and some almost great, but all Marvy.
The summer started with the Driver's Training put on by Jim and Doug - great as ever and a valuable way to get the dust off drivers and cars. Then we had the slaloms: picked up two 3rd place finishes and happily did not need to blow the doors off Wayne's or Roger's little buddies. Ever modest, the 'B' and I enjoyed our 3rd place finishes.
Then the trips began. On July 5th, with EveL in her Jag (Jeeves) and I in my 'B' it was off to Penticton for the Rally in the Valley weekend with the gang. President Al, (with First Lady Kathy on board) and I had a fast run over the Hope-Princeton; we even managed to outrun a guy in a Mustang. Following Al was a bit bumpy after Keremeos; Kathy was hurling cherry pits in all directions. I did manage to get the asymmetrical purple racing stripes off my car with a bit of effort. One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing Bob Hughes in his new t-shirt - a first and he looked great - keep it up Bob!!
After Penticton, EveL and I headed for the Kootenays for the summer. We paced each other south, passed Summerland (beautiful) and turned east at Osoyoos (bloody ugly) then on through Bridesville and Midway (where we had to pass Canada Customs after getting lost on a tour of the town). Then through Greenwood, Grand Forks, Christina, Lake Castlegar, Nelson, Balfour and, at last, the cabin at Queens Bay. Both cars ran well and it was an easy trip. EveL got the squirrels started on their summer peanut regimen while helping me get the pump going for the water supply.
The next day saw the arrival of Wayne, Lou, Bill and Betty-Joe. We all enjoyed a grand banquet of Chicken Stir-Fry ala Wayne. The man is a gourmet chef and proves that, with the exception of myself, men are better in the kitchen than in the bedroom.
The next Thursday (July 11th), I said tata to EveL and drove the 'B' back to Victoria for the slalom on Saturday. The 'B' made the 422 miles to the ferry terminal in 8.5 hours, so the little car was proud of itself. Fortunately, I had an hour to wait for the ferry, so got a chance to eat ferry food on the dock - their pizza is made of stale, soggy (but thick), cardboard covered in diced peppered shoe tongues - the price alone suggests an aura of elegance.
That night daughter Stacey took me out to Romeo's for dinner, so things were looking up, especially since she paid (she now only owes me 27,569 dinners). In order to keep my strength up for the slalom, I went to Thriftys and bought a potato salad and a package of pepperoni sausage for breakfast. I also practiced sleeping in a bed without mussing it. Ah, the carefree life.
After the Great Race (third place?), it was back to Queens Bay in the 'B'. On this run I was accompanied by Sue Fraser and her low-slung dog Kaiser-come in the often-stolen Toyota.
Kaiser-come overheated in Osoyoos, so I left them there at a campsite and carried on alone. Sue and KC arrived at QB the next day where they stayed for a week of R and R.
Jim and Moe visited us just after Sue and Kaiser‑Come left and we exchanged dinner invitations and much good fun. Moe gathered some of our better beach rocks for her collection and Stacey prepared a fine dinner for us using the new patio set. (Jim we have not opened the wine yet.) The next night we had dinner at Jim and Moe's trailer, with Jim cooking - wow!!
While on a trip to Kaslo in Jeeves one day, EveL reported a funny scraping noise. I was not interested until a couple of days later when I heard the braaaat braaaaat braattt sound myself. It sounded like metal rubbing on rubber or perhaps a stick jammed in the driveline or - whatever!! I put up with this intermittent racket for a few days, then decided to fix it. After crawling majestically about under the car in a nest of ants while listening to the enraged squeal of my hearing aids and donating blood to a cloud of mosquitoes, I decided there was no obvious reason for the braaaaaaaat braaat braaaaaaaaaaaat. I went for a drive and noted that the sound was not related to speed or any motion of the car. I parked it and turned off the engine and braaaaaat brat. No motion, nothing running and braaaaat. Up goes the hood, on goes the engine, off goes the engine and braaaat. It's the rad cap vibrating.
The next day, I decided to drive 20 miles into Nelson for a new rad cap. For this run EveL and I took the trusty 'B'. No sooner had we got started than I noticed my voltmeter was indicating the alternator was charging. My goodness, I do declare, and oh fudge escapes my pursed lips. Our 20 mile trip was spent nervously watching the gauge and hoping the engine would not die. Reaching Nelson, we found an excellent auto parts store, TWN, with a terrific guy who fixes alternators and starters. This gentleman lent me the tools needed and I retired to the parking lot to remove the alternator.
While out there, slaving in the heat, a young man came along and said, " I love your car, it's my favourite, are you from Victoria"? I admitted that, yes I was, to which he said, "Then you must be Jack Baker". Knowing my reputation precedes me, I still wondered how he knew my name. He then told me that he had downloaded a picture of my 'B' from the MG Club Website and he used it for wallpaper on his PC. We had a nice chat; he has a few MGBs himself and lots of spares.
After a pleasant lunch hour at the local Wal Mart, we returned to find the alternator repaired. I installed it four or five times (just for practice), purchased a new rad cap and returned to the lake. Whoopee, all is fixed. No, it is not. I decide to take Jeeves on a trip to Castlegar to visit the closest Canadian Tire. Arriving in Nelson, a strange thriiiiiit thriiiiiit thriiiiiiit noise began, the new cap is vibrating, there is a white cloud billowing behind and overheating is happening. The head gasket has gone away some place. I blame it on BC Ferries for no reason other than I hate them. EveL rescues me in daughter Stacey's new Nissan and BCAA takes the car to the Castlegar Honda dealer. They did a great repair job and even got the A/C to blow cold air. The rad cap had vibrated because the exhaust compression was leaking into the cooling system.
Since all is now in fine shape, it is back to Victoria on August 28th (leaving EveL at the cabin to look after feeding the hoards of squirrels, Stellar Jays and Rosie and Michael (neighbour's dog and cat).
Then away to Portland on August 30th with the MG Club for the ABS. Magnificent - the year of the Jaguar XK engine. I learned the X was for experimental and K was the 11th model before they went into production. It was interesting that, in the year of the Jag, the car chosen best in show was a 1939 MG WA - a beauty.
Jim, Len and I entered the slalom and had a blast. Jim took first in the TRs, I took second in the MGs. We were pleased to bits and Jim more so because his old tractor got better numbers than my 'B'.
The 'B' and I left Portland on September 2nd (wonderful weather, up the Columbia Gorge), hung a left past Pasco, through Spokane (those wheat fields can be a bit boring after the first 20 miles), crossed the border at Nelway past Salmo, Nelson, and Balfour. So after 9 hours and 512 miles, it's home to a gleeful welcome from the squirrels and Jays and a nod from EveL. Two more glorious sunny weeks at the lake - wow!! Mid-September says time to go home, so we closed the cabin, make the usual run through Nelson, Castlegar, etc., a right at Rock Creek and headed for the Veale suite at the Vineyard Inn in Kelowna. The next day found us on the Connector, the Coquillaha, etc., and finally the hated BC Ferry terminal where we waited nearly three hours to travel 20 miles.
So we are home in time to catch the last slalom of the year, aaaaaahhhhh
All in all, Many Marvy Miles and all with the top down - YES!!
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