i A Time and a Place...: Long Ago and Far Away...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Long Ago and Far Away...

I was mulling over some things I did many years ago, looking at pictures and reading in my journal about my past escapades and I came across this photo.
(Not this one; the one at the bottom of the page that shows me overhauling a transmission on my front porch)

This was October of 1958 in Pueblo, Colorado. I was working for the E L Farmer Trucking Company, driving an R200 International tractor with a JT Cummins engine, pulling a pole trailer, hauling oil field pipe loaded out of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Steel Mill to many points south to various and sundry oil well drilling rigs.(and some pipe yards)

Most of my trips were to the Jicarilla Indian Reservation near Aztec and Farmington, New Mexico. Some went on to Texas, mostly around Odessa and Midland and McCamey, to drilling rigs in much of the Permian Basin.

On this one trip over the Wolf Creek Pass, I had talked to a man from Walsenburg who had a 1939 Chrysler Royal, four door sedan, for sale, cheap.

He said it was a cherry car but had a gear out of the transmission; namely, second gear. He had a couple more cars and didn't need this one. I paid him fifty bucks and he signed the title and gave it to me, along with his address.

The next trip I made was to Aztec, New Mexico, to a Texaco drilling rig on the reservation.

After unloading my load of pipe at the drilling rig, I loaded my trailer onto the bolster and headache rack of the tractor to bob-tail back and headed home.

It was night when I got to Walsenburg. I found a phone and called the number of the guy who sold me the car. He came out and showed me the way to his house. Luckily, it was near the highway. I didn't have a towing bar so I chained the front bumper to the back of the truck and headed for home.

Luck was with me. I never passed a cop all night and there was very little traffic. It was pretty awkward, going around curves, since the car was snubbed up tight and couldn't follow around. It just slid sideways.

I made it home all right and dropped the car off at my house then took the truck to the truck yard and fueled it and parked it. I checked the Chrysler over the next day and it was, indeed, in cherry condition. The inside, the headliner, seats and all of the panels were perfect. Even the floormats were like brand new!

It was black and, when the dash lights came on, they were red. It sure was purty! The only thing I didn't like were the headlamp bulbs. They were the old type that are small and, when pushed into the socket, lock in when they are turned. At night they cast a very dim light compared with sealed beams.

Anyhow, that's me on the porch, with the transmission from the car. Them was the good old days, when you could take a transmission apart and replace all the gears (this needed only one) in a couple of hours,-on the front porch of your house.

The other man here was another driver. I don't remember his name but he and I went rabbit hunting together a couple of times. He was a pretty good guy but had sticky fingers. Every time we went into a grocery store, he came out with at least one extra item.

Anyhow, there you have it. Another exciting episode in the intriguing life and times of me!

BTW,-I drove that Chrysler pulling a four wheeled trailer loaded with all our belongings from Pueblo, Colorado to Modesto, California the next year. It was the best fifty buck car I ever owned.



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