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May. 22, 2007
The hunt for a transmission for Soy George
Soy George is a bit under the weatherFor those of you who followed our Save Our Snow Road Trip last winter, you’ll recall our veggie-fueled RV, Soy George, didn’t quite finish the journey. His transmission fell off in Whistler on the last week of the tour. End of story? Hardly! Mike—(the SOS tour Captain) is determined to have Soy George back on the road for next Winter’s tour. Mike found a similar RV in Seattle with what appears to be a working transmission. Problem is, it’s been sitting so long it  won’t start… 

I headed up to Seattle on Friday, determined to make that old RV run and drive it back to Portland. The weather was good and after tons of work, I was able to get it to start up around 10 pm. The lady who lives where it was parked then came home and I didn’t want to make too much noise so I drove into Seattle to spend the night. I had five dollars cash, enough for two slices of pizza or one gin and tonic; I opted for food and slept in the truck filthy and covered in diesel.

I woke up at seven and went back to the RV. I know more about LeSharos than ever before and fixed so much stuff on this thing it's crazy. I was able to get it to start up again and idle and everything but it wouldn’t go into gear so I shut it down and took a few hours to figure out what was up with the clutch. Finally around two in the afternoon, I had it running and shifting; by now, the drizzling rain was coming down pretty steady.

I drove it up and down the gravel driveway and realized the brakes were pretty much locked up from sitting for so long. I figured it was just the front brakes so I jacked up each side, popped off the front wheels and removed the whole rusted caliper so braking wouldn’t be as much of a problem. Now it could roll pretty freely and the hand brake worked well enough that I felt safe driving if down this middle-of-nowhere country road.

Soy George gets towedI was cruising along all systems go when I came around a curve and the road ended into a T. I quickly cranked on the hand brake, which worked for a second and then completely stopped braking. I cut the wheel as hard as I could to the left. About half way through the turn, the rusted steering column separated from the rack so that the wheel actually popped up toward my face and then was totally free.

Without steering or braking capabilities, I coasted off the road and straight into the woods. I plowed through a bunch of tall grasses and took out some saplings before stopping about five feet from a heavy duty wooden fence post. I took off my seatbelt and hopped out to find a horse staring at me in amazement. Naturally, I ran about a mile in the rain back to my truck, drove over to the RV and pulled it out of the woods with a tow strap.

I was laughing to myself the whole time and I didn’t see anyone throughout the entire experience.

Throughout the day I only ate two Zbars and two sample sized oatmeal raisin walnut bars, but you know those aren’t designed to be a meal replacement, so don’t you go doing that. It was a full on downpour by 6 pm and my hands were totally prunned, like I’d been in a bath for eight hours. I got in my truck, blasted the heat and drove home to Portland.

Today I’m online trying to figure out how to have the thing towed to Portland. I know the tranny and clutch work, at least up to second gear, but it all seemed fine so I think it’s still worth the cost plus the tow charge.

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Guest Starring
Natural Energy Tour, Team Clif Bar

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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