Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Non-Knitting Adventures

Miss me?

It's been a busy time, that's for sure. I have lots of pictures to share with you - but unfortunately my camera is hiding, with the battery charging for the adventures of tonight.

On July 1st, my DB and I entered the old family car into a demolition derby. This car once belonged to my grandparents, then when they were ready to buy a new car, my parents bought it. They drove it for several years before they were ready to buy new vehicles (A van, so we would all fit. This was in about 2003). However, this happened to be at the transitional time that I got my license, so I resumed driving the car until I finished high school and left the family nest. This was timed well, because it happened to be at about the time my brother got his license, and he resumed to drive it after that. Well, 700,000 km later, the old car (a 1984 Delta 88 Oldsmobile), finally came across it's first "big" problem. (I say big because I bought a replacement part for it at a salvage yard for $60.) -- The antifreeze had finally chewed through the radiator, and it had a leak. So the car was parked for about a year, before my DB noticed it.

As a bit of history, my DB had been in said demolition derby once before, representing his grad class. He enjoyed every minute of it, although did not have much luck as he accidentally hit a drivers door on his first hit, and was thus disqualified. (This was 3 years ago. At that time if you were disqualified you could still come back for the consolitory round - now if you are disqualified you are out for the year). Ever since then, my DB has been anxious to find a way to get back in that ring.

So when my DB noticed this car, his excitement was obvious. He asked me if I thought that my parents would sell him the car, so he could demo it. All I told him was that it certaintly wouldn't hurt to ask - it was just taking up space in the yard at this point. (We have a relatively large yard, but there is a horse pasture taking up half of it, so that shrinks it considerably). So my DB asked my dad if he could buy the car off him at the first chance that he got, and my dad not only told him that he could have the car, but that he could have it for free, on the condition that he got it out of the yard ASAP.

So at the beginning of December, in the middle of a snowstorm, we happened to be back home visiting and Dad and my DB decided that it was time to move the car. They obtained a one-day license for the car, and proceeded to bring it to the next town, where a friend was going to help us get it ready. Did I mention it was blizzarding?

My DB followed my Dad all the way to the next town (about 45 minutes away, 15 minutes of gravel and 30 minutes of highway). He could handle the snow landing on the windshield, and didn't bother with the wipers. But about halfway there, Dad hit a puddle, splashing a bunch of water on my DB's windshield. He couldn't see anything. So, he turns on the wipers.

My DB looked with astonishment and disdain, as all he saw were two little sticks, back and forth. Back and forth. There were no wipers left on the car. (Dad had forgotten that he had removed the wipers to use on a different vehicle.)

After finally managing to get the windshield clean, they got to our friend's farm. The yard was full of snow from the blizzard. Dad let my DB go in first, as they thought it would be easier because there wouldn't be ruts to get stuck in. He got stuck. Finally, after a long while of shoving the car around, they got it into the yard, and went back home.

Fast forward to six months later. It's two weeks before the demolition derby, nothing has been done on the car yet. My DB and I go down to his hometown, and he works on the car for the day. There is quite a bit that has to be done to prepare a car for the demolition derby. The car didn't need a roll cage, but there were several other things it needed.

Between my DB and our friend, they removed the back seat, removed the mirrors, welded the doors and the trunk shut, cut holes in the doors for chains, removed the gas tank, rerouted the gas line to a jerry can in the back of the car (where the back seat used to be), cut a hole in the hood so the engine was visible, chained on the bumpers, moved the battery into the front seat of the car, (on the floor, strapped down under a bucket in case of explosion), removed all the windows, and added a bar to the front of the car so that the roof couldn't collapse on the driver. Our friend also painted the car gold, and the drivers door white. (The drivers door has to be a contrasting colour so its obvious where you can't hit)

Our friend then went and picked up some spare tires for us to use, and an extra battery. I bought the extra radiator the day before.

The day of the demolition derby came. We had to get there by 10am, so we made sure that we were there by about 9:45. We signed all the waivers and put down all the information about the car, and proceeded to move our car to the 'pit'. We wanted to spruce up the car a bit, so we painted on it with some silver as well. (Actually, my DB just wrote his last name on the car and our sponsor, our friend wrote 'Dave and the boys', and I put the rest on there). The wind got a lot of the paint on me, friends were commenting about the 'war paint' on my face all day.

We got it done, and then were called for a drivers meeting. At the meeting, they explained the general rules (no hitting the drivers door, no drinking, no razors, etc.) and announced that there likely wouldn't be a Powderpuff. I was choked - the Powderpuff is the girls turn to finish off the cars. It looked as though I wouldn't be competing.

But, in the end it was my DB's day. His name was called, and I kissed him for luck. He put on quite a show. The car stalled out a few times (it always does that when its hot), and he made some really good hits. I thought he was going to take it, even though about halfway through the radiator broke open, spewing steam everywhere. He got caught up on the edge of the ring a couple times, and was the target of everyone. That was funny to watch. He also got knocked off though, and continued to make hits. Finally, the radiator caused the car to crap out for the round. He came in third, and the tractor had to tow him off the field.

The car was in a state of disrepair, but after replacing one of the tires, the radiator, and having the tractor bend it back into shape a little bit, we thought we were ready to go. They tried to put down the hood, and it was locked open. So, they stood on it, trying to mash it down. It wouldn't go. Finally we got a ref to come over and determine whether we needed the hood on or not. He fought a little bit, saying we should just chain it down but in the end it was determined that the hood was more of a risk than anything that would spray from under the hood (it was all just water in there by this point). He also told us that since we had removed the back bumper, (it was draggingon the ground by the chain at that point), we had to weld off the bars that held it on.

They hurried and got that done, and the race was called. My DB jumped into the car, and revved the gas to take off. It didn't move. He checked the parking brake, and tried again. It didn't move. Finally we realized that the tire that we had replaced was on backwards, and it had locked. Our friends quickly jacked the car up and turned the wheel around. As they were tightening the lug-nuts, the demo was called. He had missed it. My DB was choked. He had missed one of the rounds again. Our friend was mad at himself too. We watched a couple rounds, and then talked to one of the refs. He would not be able to compete again, but they were having the powder puff after all. I was stoked!

I ran up to my family to watch the rest of the day (mud races, tough trucks and the demo derby finale), before the powder puff was called. I went and signed up, and they told me they could only have it if at least 3 people signed up. They also told me it would cost $20. I had no cash left. So one of our friends went to try to find other girls to sign up, and I raced back into the stands to try to get $20 from my dad. He gave it to me without problem, and wished me luck. My parents couldn't believe I actually wanted to do it. I raced back down, signed more waivers and paid, and ran back to the car. They called the demo quickly, there were four of us competing. My car stalled right away as I was lining up to enter the ring. That wasn't a good sign.

Two of the girls were quickly knocked out (the cars, not the girls themselves), and soon there were only two of us left. Now, at this point all I was thinking was "start, damn you!" because the car kept stalling every time I hit the door, "don't hit the driver door!" because she kept swinging it to me, and "go, go, go!" so I'm not sure how many times it restarted. But I'm told that I put on quite a show. I couldn't hear the announcer from inside the car, but apparently he announced both of our names the entire time and kept saying things like that I was out now, the car was leaking all over the place and it had stalled out again. But I just kept restarting it - I guess it has something to do with having driven the car for all of those years. Finally though, I was given a hell of a hit while I was trying to restart the car. My head swung forward and hit the steering wheel, (No worries we were all wearing helmets), and the car died. (Before it was trying to turn over, now it was nothing.) I kept trying for a bit, then shook my head at the ref to say it wasn't going to start. I came in second.

It turned out that the battery had tipped over, and seized. Our friend replaced the battery, and the car started up again after we let it cool a little bit. It was turned under so much though, that we couldn't get the car to drive up onto the trailer to take it away, no matter how we tried. Finally, one of the tractors came over and lifted it up onto the trailer for us.

It was a lot of fun, and I hope to do it again next year!

I have been doing some crafting too -- I will share soon! Look out for a ton of pictures from the demo derby next, and then I'll tell you all about my crafts.

No comments: