SO a lot has happened.
For a few months I became unemployed! I lost my job as a School Race Car mechanic at Miller Motor sports. They had found that I was job searching. I guess I can not blame them for letting me go because they as a school had a need of having a serious mechanic who would stay with them for the long haul. I was not about to stay there for the long haul. I HAD hoped that it would be a stepping stone and a launch pad into the race car industry or even to the Ford Motor Company since there was a great affiliation with Ford and Miller Motor Sports. but alas as I was job searching I had printed out my application for appointment to an Officership with the US Navy. My manager talked with me the next morning and said that he had conferred with his management and asked if I could be excused. I was a bit stunned and was disappointed to have not been able to take part in the company christmas function thats was taking place that day. Instead, I had to drive back to my parent’s home (a 170 mile round trip), pick up my mom’s SUV and then head back to pick up my tools. Upon arriving at the shop for the second time in one day, I was turned away due to the fact that my manager would not be able to witness the removal of MY tools from the shop n(He was at the Christmas function). I would have to wait another day and another 170 mile round trip to get my tools. Needless to say that getting fired was an expensive proposition.
What was even more difficult was the fact of having no more income to support my beautiful 2012 Ford Mustang. After about the third month I witnessed the dreaded day of having the Repo man show up to my parent’s home. I greeted him kindly and turned over my keys to “Michelle” (The Mustang) while gathering up my things inside the car. I forgot to grab my CD collection in the back seat and Brian Tracey’s “The Power of making Goals” CD was in the stereo. I had Lost my mode of transportation!
I have to say that I might have learned a lot through this ordeal. Now that I was let go from work, my Dad said to me that this might be a good thing. Now you can devote more time to searching for your career. I got to devote a LOT more time to job searching. But for those out there job searching, everyone knows that THAT is a full time job. For about 3 months straight, from about 8am to 5 pm I would apply to jobs. I also spent about 3 hours every other day training for a triathlon that I wanted to complete for 2014. Spending my mornings every other day working out at the gym with a run, bike, swim then head home for some lunch then sit behind my computer. I was also able to learn and made a few home made movies which you can see on my YouTube channel.
I don’t want to spend too much time talking about my job search. I want to spend more of my time here on what has happened in my automotve life as that is what I love. But to connect some of the dots here. I accepted a job in Temple, TX working for a sub-contractor to Norhtrop Grumman (a company whom I used to work for) building the same products I had witnessed there. It is a small company, around 50 total employees. Now that I had a job, I had to move, and also have transportation! While I had the time, I had heard on the radio Dave Ramsey and his finachial advise. I bought his book and was going to put in order his recommendations. The number one thing he said was “Get your self a piece of junk!” I thought well, I can do that. Get a piece of junk and fix it up. I had some mechanical talents and some tools and thought “Why not!?”
I searched out on Craigslist some cheap cars or trucks. I found a 1986 Honda CRX Si. I thought this would be a cool, little “racey” car that would get good gas milage. It was ugly but doable. I bought the car for $850. It ran, had spongey brakes, clutch was a bit loose, and a little bit of a “wobble” while driving. After about another $850 and about 4 FULL days (from 8am to 12am) I was able to get the car road worthy. Now that I had a car, now I needed to pack. Mind you that I had spent 4 days to fix up my car. I had accepted the job a week previous and I had until the end of the week to pack up and move to Texas before I started work on Monday.
It was getting pretty hectic now. A constant running back and forth between getting the car insured, Walmart, energy drinks, Walmart, Lowes, back to the house, pack up, back out for something else. After all the running around I looked at my stuff and thought that I really didn’t need to rent a U-Haul. Everyhting I owned I felt like could fit in the back of a pick up truck. “MAN!!! why didn’t I just find a pick-up truck!?!?!” I could have just packed everything in that! Then I thought of my friend who had a pick-up. We could make another road trip out of this! He had helped me move from Texas to Utah back in 2013. And here I was, asking him to go on another road trip back to Texas for my new job. He reluctantly agreed to allow me to use his truck in the help of the move. This in turn turns out to a little piece of fate or a reason or as I am believer in God and Jesus Christ, I felt that this choice might have been one of his guiding hands in my life for me. I will explain this further down in my post.
My friend lived up in Ogden. My parents lived down in Provo (about hour an half apart). I would borrow his Truck, pack my things, pick him up in Ogden from his apartment, and hit the road towards Kansas, down to Shrieveport, LA then head west to Dallas, Waco and to my apartment that I had searched out on the internet in Temple, TX. As I packed my things into his truck, I quickly realized that my friend’s truck was NOT a full size truck bed. He had a crew cab, short bed Dodge dakota. I was Frantic again!!! I realized that it might have been too late to call up U-Hual to accept my rental offer and pack up the van and move. So instead, I had to take as much stuff as I could, Put a bunch of stuff in that cab, put some smaller things into the car and put my car on a dolly that can be towed behind the truck. I actually had to leave behind a few boxes. In the end I was able to take almost all of my stuff into this setup, I however underestimated the Power of the Dodge as I had thought that it was a V-8 but instead it was a V-6. There were points in the trip as we were crossing the Rockies that the poor little under powered Dodge was being passed by fully loaded Semi’s. That was kind of embarrassing.
For the most part the road trip might have been uneventful. Lots of open space and road. We did however enjoy a few podcasts and a book on iPod. The Book was “Shit My Dad Says.” Funny book. I would reccomened it to people who can get a chuckle out of an Old Navy guy calling it like it is. While we came upon a Small town in Kansas just before Kansas City we decided to stop for gas. As I payed the debit machine and put the pump into the truck, I headed towards the Gas Store to use the facility and to get something for the road I noticed something wrong with my little CRX being in tow. The rear end of my CRX was rubbing against the inner fender well of the driver side. I stooped down to investigate. I asked my friend to pull forward as I thought that the car might be under a bit of a side load as it was not straight behind the truck but still turning a bit. To my dismay and stressed disbelief I looked under the car and found a broken attachment member. The pan hard bar that attaches to the under side of the car had broken free from the car body. The car was badly salt damaged and the whole locating member to the pan hard bar was broken! I was frantic! I DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS!!! We were out int he middle of no where! In the middle of our milage (850 of 1700 miles) to Texas and my daily driver was done! The member needed to be welded back onto the under side (if it was possible around all the rust and salt damage). I thought if we could use some tie downs that we might be able to center the rear end, get it to Texas and make the further repairs. After trying this and wratcheting it down with straps, it did not work! Gosh, I was stressed!!!
As I stood there in Small Town, USA., Looking off to the major highway and to the wheat fields flowing as if it could have been the Pacific Coast Highway. Wiping the sweat from my bald head and gritting my teeth to think, a gentleman truck driver was pumping his tanks approached us. He asked if we needed any help? My first reaction was “Wow!”. I then told him of our trip, the ordeal, and what I was thinking of about doing. He offered to help as much as he could. My friend and I thought of a plan. The plan was to get a trailer from U-haul, pack it with the items in the CRX and ditch the car. It just really wasn’t worth the time to come back to rescue the car when I would arrive in TX. The truck driver took me to a local rental shop in Small Town, Kansas in his Red 1989 Peterbuilt. He told me that the owner of this shop was crusty. And mind you, it is 5:20 pm. The shop closes at 5:30 pm. I asked the crusty guy for a trailer. He grumbled to have to wait there while my friend came back with the Dodge to take the trailer. The truck driver was right. The owner really wasn’t interested in my situation. He said he would wait till 6pm, no more! My friend rushed to the Rental Shop, hitched the trailer, just in time! Went back to my stranded little CRX thats was parked next to a mexican restaurant near the frontage road to the “Pacific Coast” highway. A few workers from the restaurant were looking on as we took of the stuff in the car into the trailer.
I was abandoning the little car that I had purchased, put in a few more dollars and a lot more of time! I told the truck driver to take the car. He said that he might scrap it. It is my hope that he did not do this. Because that would mean that I decided to take about $1700 and just throw it into the winds of Kansas! He did mention while driving me to the rental shop that his daughter just recently driven her car out of oil and seized the motor. It is my prayerful hope that he has decided to keep the car, weld up the location of the pan hard bar and has given it to his daughter (and to tell her to check the oil periodically this time). This is my hope. It would mean to me in a spiritual way, that my purchase of this car was to give this family in Kansas a cheap alternative for their daughter. I was abandoning my car to them. I left my pink slip, title and other docs on the front seat. If he did not take it, maybe some of the restaurant workers would decide to after a few nights after it might have been there for a few days.
I also realized another thing. If I had decided to rent a U-Haul truck and have my car in tow on the dolly that this situation would have happened as well. I would have had to abandon the car in Kansas as well. But As I chose to borrow my friends truck I had a vehicle for at least a week till I had to return it back to Utah. I realized that I would have been without a car so that I might head to work, or even had a vehicle to go and search out other cars. I really was blessed in this situation and the choice that I had made.
So… we were down a car but back on the road. I complained a bit. Speaking of taking $1700 and just tossing it into the air. This $1700 came from me closing down my 401K account, paying the penalties, and losing out on about 20-30% of my retirement savings that I had accummulated thus far. This was sacred money to me. I had built up a nice little pot but now had to use it for my move, my car that I just abandoned, and now another car when I would arrive in Texas. I wanted this money to work for me. It was sacred. It was all I had. I didn’t want to spend it frivolously. I wanted it for a fund to start over. A fund to help me in my pursuits, a fund that would help me get to my goals.
Well… we got to Kansas City late that night. We didn’t get to have any KC BBQ that night which we were really looking forward to. But the next day we did get some BBQ at lunch. But we had to chug to LA in order to get back on schedule. Driving through Arkansas was beautiful. We had fun in Shreieveport, stayed the night outside of the city. The last day of the road trip was to Tyler, TX, then to Waco and Temple. WE MADE IT!!! Got the key to my apartment and moved my stuff in. We headed out and onto Austin, partied that night with all the live music and lively folks. The next day my freind had to fly out of Dallas.
My first week of work, I spent as much time I could to look at Craigslist to find an adequate vehicle. I finally found it on Thursday of my first week here. I was to start my drive back to Utah on Friday. When I found the car of Thursday. I called them early. In broken english we arranged a time for me to come and see it. It was an hour out from Cameron, TX. When I got the keys, I went down the road, raced it around, slammed on the brakes, dumped the clutch, raced it some more and determined it was something I could use. I was excited to have the car. It was a 1989 BMW E30 325i! I had some past experience with this car as it was the car used on my Lemons team. I fell in love with it then, and now I had one! I asked them to drive it home for me to my apartment. I learned that this might be a good tactic to use while buying used cars. If the owner is afraid to drive the car to your location then it might not be a car worth buying. Remember that when you guys out there buy a used car. Make them drive it!
Now my new car is not with out its faults. After my first week of driving the car, I smelled a lot of fuel!!! The car was leaking when I would fill it. It also didn’t want to idle after a day or so. I yelled at the last owners over text messages about how upset I was on the buy. They offered to exchange but I still liked the car. I decided to keep the car. It has its faults, but I am mechanical and I will plan on making the repairs. As of recent, I was able to fix the idle problem with a new fuel filter. The gas gauge jumps all over the place and doesn’t read. I NEED that to work as my commute to work is along the country side about 45 mins. Online, I bought a new fuel sending unit. I have checked the spark plugs and have adjusted the valves. The Spark plugs and valve adjustment made the car happy. The last owner had the wrong size tires up front. I have changed that and given the wheels a balance. There still is a bit of a wobble about about 30 MPH. I think it might be the drive shaft. I used to rebuild a lot of BMW drive shafts. It could be that. I still have the smell of fuel. Its a problem. I took the fuel pump out and tried refitting the O-ring that seals it to the tank. I have the back seat out so I can actually witness the spilling of fuel as I take an energetic left hand turn. Yea….it spills right out still. Maybe I have to use some RTV sealant or stuff that works against gasoline.
I have a nice little project! It keeps me busy so I won’t go insane with nothing to wrench on. I think I might purchase a used lift. This is something I want to do for a small side business. I am thinking of helping to support a couple of business’ on the side. I would have to find a facility and have to pay rent I guess on something like that. But keep up as I move along in my motor sports adventure. Also look for my posts soon on this as I might be receiving some driver developing and motor sports coaching. I am excited, but I need to take a few steps here. Pay off my debts, get my car sound, make some important finachial decisions, and yet be an important employee to my new company and work hard for them to show my worth.
Thanks for reading. Please like my page and share with your friends. Comment as well. And please do not try to correct my grammar. I am not an English major. In fact I was placed in ESL in my early years due to my lack of English and reading while being raised by deaf parents. I have come a long way though.
Thank you for your support