Blog Post #6 September 30th 2015 – Car Maintenance & Key West to Homestead

I spent the early morning of September 30th sitting outside an Affordable Auto & Truck Repair in Key West, hoping to catch the proprietor on his arrival to put the Jeep up on the lift.  Wanted to check for the source of a strange noise that momentarily appeared the evening before.  Experience over the past treks has helped us in selecting the appropriate repair shops for on-the-road maintenance and repair.  One has to strike a careful balance between competency, professionalism, and cooperativeness based on the work required.  For example, a modern franchise shop might not be the place to go for a lube job, as it probably does not have a grease gun and its “insurance” might not permit one to be present during the greasing to point out the location of the grease fittings (17 fittings in my case).

Affordable Auto lived up to its on-line reviews as a flexible, customer oriented operation.  Despite its “informal” and outwardly brash atmosphere (P.G. warning: zoom in on the no BS statement on the sign under the street number), the folks at Affordable provided exactly what I needed in prompt and personal attention.  They permitted me to inspect the underside of the Jeep, where I discovered the source or the grinding noise the night before.  I discovered that a clip that retains one of the rear brake shoes had dislodged and became momentarily wedged between the brake shoe and the brake drum causing the grinding noise.  Fortunately, the clip apparently subsequently found itself an innocuous resting place in the brake drum cavity.  There was still some risk that the clip might again find its way into a problematic location, or that its absence as a brake shoe guide would create a problem, but due to the need for a specifically designed wheel-puller and perhaps a replacement clip to make the repair, we elected move on while keeping a watchful eye (ear actually) on the situation.  Should the brakes act up, the closer we are to home, the more convenient the repair.  The folks at Affordable allowed me to assist in the greasing to be sure we hit all the fittings including the unusual ones on each rear axle bearing and the one on the steering column for the shifter mechanism.  With reasonable care, the Jeep was originally designed to last.

9-30-15 Affordable Auto & Truck Repair- “No BS” on the window sign

When I returned from the repair shop around 9am on Wednesday, September 30th, I was approached by three ladies from a French tour group that was staying at our hotel.  Had they been able to speak English (full disclosure: I do not know any French), I think that they would have said, yes, “I love your car”.  They took several photos of each other (and yours truly) posing with the car.  Before they departed I took one shot of them together for myself.  Viva la France!

9-30-15 three French ladies admiring the Jeep

On our way out of the keys the on morning of September 30th, we stopped in front of a small aircraft museum that I had noticed on our way down to Key West.  What caught my eye was the DC-3 passenger plane sitting outside the building.  I graduated from Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio in 1967.  The largest city around was Lima, Ohio, 30 miles west.  At that time it was traditional for recruiting companies to invite perspective employees to their location for an initial interview.  Phone interviews were rare and the internet was still 25 years off (boy, I’m old).  The commercial planes flying out of the Lima airport were non-pressurized, tail-dragging, twin reciprocating engine, prop driven Lake Central Airlines’ DC-3s.  Every trip was an experience; from getting stuck in the mud on the side of the runway, to camouflaged wing panels “borrowed” from a C-47 (the DC-3’s military transport counterpart), to oil running out of the air cleaner at a 5,000 ft. cruising altitude over ice-encrusted Lake Erie.  Anyway, Jean took a couple photos of me in my Ernest Hemingway hat and back on the road to the mainland we went.

9-30-15 Ernest (Dan) Hemingway in the Keys

We spent the evening of September 30th in a nice hotel in Homestead, Florida.  If you are wondering, no sign of the devastation that this area suffered from “Tropical Storm” Andrew in 1992 was apparent in the areas we traveled.

Blog Post #5 September 28th & 29th 2015 – Key West & the Dry Tortugas
Blog Post #7 October 1st, 2015 – Homestead to Sanibel Island via the Everglades