We barely made it out of my aunt’s driveway before the next bus mishap. The engine died and it looked like we lost all electrical power. I killed the ignition really quick an jumped out and ran around back and opened the lid. I was greeted by a puff of magic smoke. It was the wire that runs from the coil to the choke on my left carb… all charred up and toasty.
How did it short out? I unscrewed the three screws that hold on the choke and had a good look inside. It turns out the heater element for the choke is mounted to a ceramic disc that is fairly free to move around (my left one more than my right one.) If it moves around a little too much, the pins on the heater coil element can contact another pin mounted to the body. I’m afraid this one has to be blamed on the designers of the carb. I could easily short it out by wiggling the ceramic disc around slightly. It just shouldn’t move.
I broke out some epoxy and put a little on the disc and put it all back together, making sure the disc was positioned so it would dry with the pins as far apart as i could get them (the whole unit still rotates for choke adjustment.) Then it was back to Parker’s soldering iron for some more roadside electrical repair – I never imagined I would get this much use out of that thing – a new essential tool for the travel kit.
We decided to drive back to the Houston area to see the folks one more time for the holidays before taking off for good, so we rode the whole way with the fire extinguisher between us at the ready.
Also, the skull had to come off for one particularly good reason. It was starting to rain and the windshield wipers would smack right into the nose of the beast. A minor oversight. I could have tried to re-mount the thing in the rain, but it was easier to just pull it off and keep going. It was never really intended to be permanent – mostly just a prop for a really obnoxious Christmas card – so no biggie.
The reaction it provided was interesting, though.
When then horns went up, folks thought it was really cool. Add a skull and all of a sudden it becomes sinister. They’re both head parts from a dead animal, so both should be equally repulsive, but people seem to view them very differently. Nobody was all that frightened of us, though…. just laughs and smiles.
The horns will have to come off at some point too – we have no intention of drawing this much attention to ourselves south of the border. And, I’m starting to empathize with my bovine brethren – horns are a pain when you’re trying to go under low-hanging branches. Moooooooo.