While more than one mechanic and machinist has bemoaned the loss of the simple automotive technology of a bygone era –carburetors, point ignition, 3-speed automatic transmissions, enormous displacement engines – the reality is for a very long time auto manufacturers were guilty of almost criminal laziness, counting on what worked eons ago to produce current profit. And as the decades rolled through the twentieth century and technology exploded, when it came to motor vehicles we were still more or less languishing in the steam engine era.
After a noisy night beside the highway (the earplugs helped a lot but when a big diesel truck pulled in beside us in the wee hours, sounding like the Queen Mary berthing, nothing would have worked) we were determined to find a place to stay put for the weekend. I suspected and confirmed by calling around that radiator shops would be closed until Monday. Long stretches of Oregon beach beckoned me, but with a top speed of 60kph, there was no realistic way of heading further south. My map showed a nearby park – Penrose Point State Park – that, although carrying more than one poor review on Yelp, seemed to offer shoreline and semi-wilderness. Better than brooding in a rest stop.
Pistons rattle and groan in their holes, jumping like moles, hissing hot gas. What did we want to go waking them up, after all these years? Did anyone ask? Like Lazarus, did anyone ask him if he wished to be wakened from his slumber? Of course not. Nobody cares what a piston wants, what a tired old motorhome wants, disturbed after many years sleeping under spruce trees, dreaming of squirrels and warm loam and the sizzle of windblown hemlock needles on her windshield. Happy to peacefully dissolve into the forest, but rudely yanked from her bed by a smelly wrecker and dragged down the highway before she knew what hit her.
But she’ll get her back up; just you watch.