Yesterday marks our first breakdown with Mac…


This was one of our first adventures in our ’77 bus named Mac. I’d love to know how many similar stories are out there. Always an adventure, peace & love to ya’ ll.

June 11, 2017. Yesterday marks our first breakdown with Mac. When this photo was taken I was certain the engine had seized. It was terrifying and magical all in the span of an hour. Here’s the story.:

Scarlet’s Dad invited us to a gathering of like-minded folks who wore no shoes, bright tie dye and made incredible music…some of you may refer to them as hippies. It was held at a conservation area almost 2 hours away. It was a perfect day trip and distance to drive to see how Mac handles long trips in 40 degree heat. So we packed a cooler, both girls and off we went.

About half way it started almost jumping or chugging (sorry I’m horrible at describing mechanical sounds). It kind of did it before but we just turned the music up…cause that’s what you do while driving a 40 year old vehicle. After a few minutes, it started getting worse. Holding the clutch in, changing gears, none of that was working. Rich (who thinks completely logical) started getting frustrated and worried it was something serious like the transmission or major engine problem. Me (who believes solely on mind over matter) was lecturing him on how we need to be more positive, embrace the suck and even joked about funny affirmations we can attach to the dash like my suggestion “Don’t worry, be happy” or Richards “please don’t break down”…lol.

Not 2 seconds after belly laughing over our different ways of thinking, Mac took a turn for the worse. It started accelerating without the gas pedal being touched, it was like Richard had it floored but his foot was on the brake!! Although Rich was calm, I could sense it was bad. As he was trying to pull over he kept saying over and over “it’s gonna blow…the engines gonna blow!”.

If anyone knows me, you know I don’t do well in emergency situations. Like a feral cat, I look for every possible way to flee the scene. Like, I mean run. I’m a runner. Panic takes over and I’m gone. So you can imagine when Rich is saying “it’s gonna blow!” I immediately started planning my escape. I should tell you now (in case you’re reading this Mom), after all was said and done…even if the engine did “blow”, it would just stop working and we’d have to replace it. BUT…in my mind, an atomic bomb was about to explode. We finally pulled over, I looked back to see both girls still fast asleep. I threw my phone and started screaming “GIRLS WAKE UP, MACS ABOUT TO BLOW!!” Scarlet right away woke up, I opened the sliding door and she leaped out in the tall grass. Poor thing was half asleep, no shoes on standing in the tall grass and says “but Mom what about the ticks”…right the ticks, I tell her run stand in front of the bus. Meanwhile, Scotia is still conked out. This kid can sleep through anything!! All I could think was she was closest to the engine, how could she still be asleep!! FInally got her seat belt off, lifted her out and we all proceded to run down the road to a safe distance.

At this point, Richard is both pissed but freaked out. He got out, with a confused look on his face and yelled “what are you doing baby?” I yelled back “you said it was gonna blow, get away from the bus!!” He started laughing, shook his head and went back to look at the engine.

The first car that drives by, pulls over and rolls down the window. Thank God, I thought. Rich walks over, turns out it’s an older lady who is just curious as to what age it is, how long we owned it and proceeds to tell him that she also owns the bus and she just got it detailed. As much as we love chatting with folks, this was NOT the time, lol. The next truck that drives by, pulls over. The shirtless man rolls down his window and asks if we need a hand. I said “yes please, we just broke down, the engine almost blew up”. Rich promptly took over the conversation. Turns out the guy was a mechanic…THANK YOU UNIVERSE!! When he lifted the hatch to the engine, he was like a little boy. He’s said “I haven’t worked on one of these in years!”.

The girls and I retreated towards the cedar trees beside the corn field to stand in the shade. A lady came over from the neighbouring house, startled us with a sharp “can I help you”. I explained my version of the story, she looked up to see both Rich and the mechanic under the bus and said “let me go get my husband” She returned with cold bottles of water for all of us and a whole different attitude. We stood under the cedars chatting while the guys worked on Mac. It only took about 20 minutes till Rich was starting him up again!

Turns out, the throttle was seized and stuck. That basically means it was as if the gas pedal was pressed to the floor. Yes, it was scary and the noise made it sound even worse (the people who lived in the house said they were sitting on their back deck and heard us pull up) but it was not nearly what my over active imagination was picturing. We didn’t need a tow, or a new engine…all we needed was a little WD40! Moving forward, getting CAA & a fire extinguisher tops our list of things to get.

After the problem was solved, our new friends invited us over to see their ’81 corvette. It was soooo cool! We chatted in their driveway, they took pictures of Mac and we bid them farewell.

All this happened in less than an hour, from start to finish. One minute were bombing down the country roads blasting the tragically hip, the next we’re sharing stories with new friends who were so kind and helping. Amazing!

So many lessons were learned, the universe totally had our back and now Mac purrs like a kitten. We made it to our gathering, had a great time and we’re ready for our next adventure!

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