One of those days

Everyone has at one time or another had “one of those days”. When a person has one he or she can deal with it in many ways. Crawl back into bed, bitch and moan, whine and cry, trip and fall, are just some of the examples. Sometimes you can turn it around, and sometimes it turns you around. Yesterday it did both.

Most of my life has some measure of control and I can take some solace over the fact that if something bad happens it is usually my fault. Cause and effect. If I drink too much alcohol I will have a hang over. If I drive too fast I risk getting a ticket. These are in my control, I don’t react to these with out knowing the risk before hand. My buss is another matter all together. It doesn’t care what I do to prevent problems, or how carefully I drive, or how often I change the oil, belts, sparkplugs, etc. My buss has a mind of its own. Like Herbie the love bug, but in a self destructive and nearly suicidal way.

Don’t get me wrong I love my Buss. My HPM is a wonderful vehicle, camper, and project that I really enjoy. However, there are times where it really tests my temper. It’s like living with some crazy uncle. He is a real hoot but sometimes he finds guns or explosives and suddenly starts trying to kill himself.

I was actually in a good mood driving to work. The HPM started right up, it was warm this morning, I was listening to Rush, the song was Passage to Bangkok. Then suddenly I started loosing power. It almost felt like I was dragging an anchor, the engine seemed to have a governor preventing me from going more than 30 mph. As I was sputtering along I came to a decision point. About fifty yards ahead was the only light for the next eight miles, do I turn left and try to get to work, or do I turn right and go to the gas station and check out what the problem is. I was running at a quarter of a tank of gas so I figured better safe than sorry, I made a right and parked next to a gas pump.

I figured before I started pumping gas I better open the back and see what all the sputtering and loss of power was about. I was hoping for something simple like a spark plug wire vibrated loose, or the fuel filter was clogged. I opened the back and, are you sitting down? Fire. The little plastic fuel filter was squirting gasoline onto the ignition coil which was on fire. My first thought was naturally to blow on the flames. This somehow had the effect of increasing the fire. This is contrary to what we have all been trained to do since our first birth day. It doesn’t work on fuel fires. (Duh) From prior experience I know that I am one of the odd kinds of people who under stress think clearly then panic later. So I grabbed a rag that I keep next to the engine for wiping the dipstick and dunked in into a handy window washing fluid dispenser that happened to be full of washer fluid (blue water) and smothered the flames.

Once I was sure that the fire was out and cold I pushed my HPM from the gas pump, down a hill, across the street, to an empty parking lot. I am sure that the people working at the gas station if they knew what happened would be quite relieved. Flaming cars next to a gas pump is not my idea of a good way to start the day. It was time to assess the damage and figure out how to get to work. I called my lovely wife. She was in the shower so I left her a voice mail. I called the home phone and no one answered, so I left a message. I called my boss and told him that I would be a few minutes late due to a small temporary issue with by bus almost burning down a gas station. Then hung up, my wife was calling me back. I explained my situation with out mentioning the fire, she worries, and asked if she could get my son out of bed and ask him to take me to work.

At this point a person can choose a path. Will this be “one of those days”? Or will I take action and change the direction of this all ready crappy day?

While I waited I walked back to the gas station and bought a spicy breakfast burrito and started on a list of parts to get to fix my HPM.

Fuel line, Fuel filter, wire, ¼” quick connectors, Spark plug wires… that’s a good start…

With the help of my son I was only 10 minutes late for work. I decided to take on the day as a challenge rather than let one small incident ruin it. At lunch, I borrowed a company vehicle and went to NAPA in Windsor.

The guy at the counter was un-flappable. First I asked if Allen was in.

“Sorry but he only works weekends due to his school schedule, how can I help you?”

I said that I had a challenge for him.

“Do you have a fuel filter and fuel line for a 1967 VW bus?”

He said “Just a second” and proceeded to check the computer, then went into the back. He came back in a few seconds, dropped two boxes on the counter and said “I thought you had a challenge for me?”

“Ok, how about ignition cables for the same vehicle? Hummmm?

“Just a second” and checked the computer again, then went into the back. He came back in a few seconds, dropped a box on the counter and said “Next”

“Well, that’s it, how much?”


It’s great to have a car you can fix an engine fire for less than $30.00!

Experiences like that can really change a day. It started with an engine fire and by the end of lunch I had my HPM running and ready to drive. I replaced all the support wiring, cleaned the distributer, replaced the fuel filter, fuel line, ignition wiring and completed all the rest of the days work with out interruption. This is not boasting. If I went to another auto parts store things could have turned out much different.

“Do you have a fuel filter and fuel line for a 1967 VW bus?”

“A what?”

This is the second time this year that I went to NAPA and expected to be told that they would have to order a part and find that they had it in stock. That wouldn’t surprise me so much in California to find parts for a hippy bus, or find parts for a Chrysler in Detroit, but to find bus parts in a small town in Colorado is just amazing.

Thanks NAPA. You saved the day.


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3 thoughts on “One of those days

  1. Burrowowl says:

    This is how you win yourself some customer loyalty. Good for NAPA!

  2. Oscarandre says:

    You know, any day you’re not burned alive is a pretty good day…

  3. Layman Pong says:

    Well I can tell you the day I was only 20% burned pretty much sucked.
    So did the debridement for the next 21.

    The morphine was good, though.

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