MAX Update No. 55: No Go in Rally Green

Reader Contribution by Staff

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

— John Lennon

I didn’t make it to Rally Green. These last two weeks did not go according to plan.

I’d given myself a full week to get MAX from Oregon the Iowa, so it could be a leisurely drive and I could show off the new body to some friends. I even had my doctor give me a physical the day before my departure.

“How long have you had that unsightly growth on your face?” she asked. When I told her all my life, she said “Not your nose, the other one.” Shen then went on to set up an emergency appointment with a (gulp) specialist in such things … an appointment which I missed because it turned out there was an aircraft accident scheduled for the same time slot and I was busy being first responder instead. So I spent the next week haunting the dermatologist’s office and waiting for somebody else to miss their appointment, and calling Bill Bushholz of Rally Green every evening and saying “I’ll catch up with you guys soon; no I haven’t left yet.” Of course, once the rally started, catching up with it got easier because they were coming west.

Anyway, eventually there was a no-show at the surgery shop, and by the time my new best friend said “It looks like we got it all, good thing you took care of this right away,” Rally Green was down to its last leg: Carson City, Nev., to San Francisco. Carson City is only six hours from the doctor’s office, so off I went, woohoo!

At the first big hill, MAX overheated and blew the head off the overflow bear and belched great clouds of steam. For some reason this was beyond my roadside repair skills. I gave up at about four in the morning, after a series of drive-belch-tinker-drive-belch-tinkers, punctuated by my statements of “That ought to take care of it,” and, “There, good as new,” and the occasional raindance.

I don’t know what the problem is, and won’t for a couple of days. I took a two hour nap and headed for the finish line in an ordinary car, so I could at least congratulate the winner. I’ll figure it out when I get back.

The strange thing is, MAX had been as reliable as a ball peen hammer for the previous 10,000 miles. All I had changed was the body. Everything I did to the air intake should have increased airflow through the radiator (I’d even brought a roll of duct tape so I could close off the intake opening a little at a time as I drove along). I am totally flummoxed. But I’ll tell you what the problem was, as soon as I know.

There’s one thing that has gone as predicted. I mentioned in Update No. 53 that I had a plan to compensate for the MAX’s extra body weight, and I can declare success. I’ve shed 35 pounds of extra body weight off of my own body, through determination, diet and exercise. It’s strange what motivates different people to take care of themselves. For me, it was the pursuit of fuel efficiency.