Charlie C

Nature's Stop Leak

My buddy and I were wrapping up a camping trip at Little Hyatt Lake which is smack dab on top of the Cascade-Siskiyou Pass on ones way to Klamath Falls Oregon. We got all the gear packed into the Sprite and rather than go back out the way we came (we were all of 17 at the time) to the Dead Indian Highway, we decided to take the logging road straight on through the slash and hook up with the alternate Green Springs Highway 66 back to Ashland, Oregon where began this epic adventure. Now for those of you who are not familiar with logging roads, the chaps tend to do little more than blade off the sod with the CAT and there's your road. After they're done with it you have two high spots and to very low, low spots. Thanks to my expert piloting skills I was able to keep both sides of the intrepid Sprite between the two ruts and there was a bit of exhale when we beheld the blacktop come into view. I hadn't felt the car bottom-out on our little foray across country but we hadn't been down the road for ten minutes before I noticed the temperature gauge begin to climb, and as we were going down an 8 degree grade, this was bad news. Before too long it was clear we needed to pull over on a highway that was crammed with logging trucks, and one-and-a-half-lanes wide. I popped the bonnet and our problems were immediately clear as the seam was open 3" between the bottom of the radiator and the core. My friend Bill, who was also the scion of the local vicar, optimistic as always looked at me and said, "Charlie, I know you've got a plan." "First things first," I said, "Let's smoke." We lit up our two remaining KOOL Filtre Kings to consider our situation. "We've got to plug the hole," I said. "We've got six eggs, four bottles of beer, a half bottle of champagne, and whatever fluid two young men have to them. We make an omelette and pour it into the radiator. The poached eggs will stop the leak. If that doesn't stop the water pump, we should be OK." We proceed thus and settled in. I turned the ignition and and the engine started fine. Bill made the sign of the cross. "What do you think?" he said. "Well," I answered, "It's all downhill, and Hell's bells, it's only 60 miles." We made it back to Ashland all right, and the temperature gauge never went over 160, and we didn't crack the block or blow the head gasket. I bought the Sprite in 1971 and I sold it in 1976. It was the first car I bought with me own money and it was a love affair all the way. I own a smidgen less than showroom condition 1979 MG Midget now that I've customised. The Midget's exciting to drive, more comfortable, and by way of comparison it makes the Sprite look like a jumped-up go-cart, but thinking back to the Sprite kinda brings a tear to me eye. You can't fall in love again the same way twice.

Charlie Chappelle

Vancouver Washington USA

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    mark seattle June 25, 2014 at 21:01
    It's good to know that you can always drink yourself out of situation.

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