|Part 1||Part 2|
The adventure to Ft Walton was basically finally over, as I was allowed to sleep for a few hours. I awoke the next morning, walked back to the convenience store, called Aaron, and he picked me up. Now, the lucky thing for me was Aaron worked at a body shop. The bad part was I only had probably $250 left and the parts to fix my car came to about $100. That left me enough to enjoy a few days. I called my mom, told her everything was OK and I’d be home in a few days.
That night, Aaron and I went to what I do believe was my first strip club for a few beers ( in those days, kids getting in wasn’t much of a challenge, Aaron was a regular there ). We had fun for a while, and I ordered a totally nude couch dance. Now, you have to understand, a 17 year old doesn’t budget too well, and there is nothing on this planet that would bust that budget more than a good looking naked babe. She danced a couple of songs, and charged me $20. I didn’t have $20 in loose change, so I gave her my last $100 and asked her to bring me the change. About an hour later, Aaron informed me she probably had skipped out on us. She had. That’s when we decided I needed to make some money, real quick.
I have always been talented with electronics, and Aaron’s body shop did custom installations. So, the owner agreed to let me install some stereos to earn a few bucks. Sounded easy enough. My first client was a Mustang Mach II. Now, the thing about Mach II’s is that they had solid interiors and they were a hatchback. To install speakers in a Mach II you litereally have to take the inside interior out. It took me two days in the Florida coast sun to get that thing put in. I made $40. By the time it was all said and done, I finally cleared about $200, which struck me as enough to get home. Earning that $200 took me two weeks. My parents were becoming somewhat impatient.
I finally gave the Corvair a good going over to make sure it was road worthy ( what I failed to do the first time ), and hit the road. The rebuilt alternator we installed immediately started acting up, and Aaron speculated I had busted a piston or piston seal, so my mileage wasn’t going to be very good. After the first tank, I figured out what that mileage was, about 4 miles to the gallon. Plus, every 50 miles or so, it was throwing the fan belt off. By the time I had gotten to Macon, I was pretty much broke again. So, when I pulled off the interstate to get my last tank of gas, I swallowed my pride and called my parents. Mom was cooling off now that I was on my way home, but my dad wasn’t. He told me to fill it up and come on home. In other words, I was on my own for a few more days. So, I filled it up and hit the interstate, figruing I’d just run completely out of money and gas and that’s when they’d do something. Well, no sooner had I hit the interstate when I saw a young looking hitchhiker who was actually dressed pretty good. I pulled over, he hopped in without even asking for a ride. I told him my plight, he said not to worry about it, I drive, he pays. Problem solved. We hit the road. Sure ’nuff, every couple of hours or so we’d pull over for gas, I’d pump, he’d go inside and pay. He never would let me go in with him, I would go in, get my stuff, he’d go in after I was pumping. I thought this was curious at the time, but couldn’t figure why. We drove and drove, he drove some, we changed fan belts ever so often, he was better at getting the tension right, so when he put them on they tended to last longer. We actually had fun. I finally got to my exit, he told me to take him to a dealership ( he wanted to sleep in Cadillac ). I dropped him off there and headed home. For the first time since Macon, Georgia, I had time to think to myself. And you know the thought that stuck in my mind? He hadn’t paid for a single tank of gas the whole trip.
I got home, my parents weren’t as crazy mad as I figured they would be. They were quite curious as how I managed to drive 800 miles on a tank of gas. I never told them the details.
The Corvair never did run quite right after that. About a year after that trip I went to college. Almost immediately after I got there, the Corvair got it’s top slashed and the radio stolen. It was having a hard time making it back and forth from college to home, so we sold the old car to a collector. I still miss that car.