The Adventures of Billy Possum


To the Rescue . . .

A true-life adventure of three poor ragamuffins and how they were rescued by two beautiful maidens . . .
or something like that.

By Bill J. Castenholz

Copyright 2006, Castenholz and Sons

It seems that even the most reliable automobiles sometimes need a little help.

Earlier in January, Wilson and Jaslyn came to spend a couple of days with Grampa and Gramma.

Well, Grampa had some business in Paramount, a town about 25 miles south east of home. Wilson wanted to go when he heard that Mike was going and we would also be having lunch on the way. The trip to Paramount was to visit Cal Aero, a huge nut and bolt company where you buy whatever you want, by the pound. So after lunch, the boys spent a couple of hours digging through ¼-20’s and about 1,000,000,000 other miscellaneous nuts and bolts. Then it was back to the freeway to pickup some parts from a centerless grinder. The parts were in San Fernando.

Naturally, on a trip like this, the only choice for transportation was “Bomber.” “Bomber” was not only running great but recently has been seen blasting along the freeways at blazing speeds approaching .05 times the speed of sound (55 mph).

However, on the Harbor Freeway “Bomber” missed a beat. And then another. Something was wrong! Passing through the downtown Los Angeles area began to be more exciting than expected. Just after passing the Chinatown off ramp on the way to the San Fernando Valley, “Bomber” let us know that it was time to (very quickly) pull over. As it happened, a concrete block wall along the freeway turned away from the side of the highway just short of an on-ramp, creating a small triangle of uninhabited land. Nicely, there was no curb for a short distance and “Bomber” came safely to rest off of the freeway. The car stubbornly resisted moving any further. The time was about 3:30 in the afternoon.

What to do?

First things first - where is a bathroom? Well, as the Lord provides, we looked around the concrete wall and Voilá, a church. Well, actually a Catholic Boys School. Wilson and Grampa pressed the doorbell and soon a very nice lady came to the door, heard our request and welcomed us in. When we left, we were sent off, each with a cold bottle of water. After Mike left and returned we contemplated what to do. Soon Gramma answered Mike’s cell phone and Grampa carefully talked her through the garage and parts department.

With the “Beast” (1985 Ford) loaded with the tow bar, light bar and safety chain for towing, a spare carburetor, fuel pump, screwdrivers, wrenches, other trip tool boxes, rags, pliers and whatever Grampa could think of, Gramma and Jaslyn began the drive to where “Bomber” was resting.

By this time it was about 5 O’clock. Was the traffic heavy? Is the Pope Catholic? It took Jaz and Gramma about an hour-and-a-half to reach the stranded adventurers.

Fortunately, the wind-up flashlight in “Bomber” worked great and the decision was made to change the fuel pump. If that didn’t work, “Bomber” would be towed home and fixed there.

The fuel pump was changed in a matter of just a few minutes and with some ether “quick start” spritzed into the carburetor the engine was cranked over. Just before Grampa was ready to give up, “Bomber” roared to life! The car never sounded better.

Back onto the freeway, off on the first off-ramp, down through Chinatown and across the downtown streets to the freeway headed home. Gramma and Jaz followed the boys for a while and then drove on to prepare dinner.

Dinner was a bit late that night - after 8 O’clock. But it sure tasted good. Thus ended another adventure in the many tales of this now-famous automobile.

Ironically the fuel pump that failed was the one that had been installed on the California desert several years ago when Grampa, Gramma, Mike and Wilson were headed to Indiana.

A postscript: As the part that most commonly fails in fuel pumps is a part that Grampa markets through C&P Automotive, it was imperative to find out what went wrong. Careful examination showed that the C&P Automotive replacement part had not failed but a couple of small valves weren’t working well. The pump was refurbished with the existing diaphram, and is now on “Bomber” doing its usual reliable duty - at blinding speeds again approaching 80 feet per second!! Even the astronauts are impressed when they hear of exhibitions of speed such as these - especially the ones who prefer Chevrolets. Isn't that all of them?