29 09 2012

Route 24 North is wide but not very long.  It runs from the outer ring road around Boston, Rt. 495, to the inner ring, Rt. 128.  I was driving North from the undisclosed location of our Shaolin training camp on Cape Cod.

I should have stopped to evaluate a roof on the garage of the summer house of the mysterious Helen of Cambridge, but was daunted by the holiday traffic.

I had been driving slower in Clyde Barrow, my blue 1988 Toyota mini-truck.It felt like it wanted to go slow, which I chalked up to both of us being old and temperamental.

Chain Link                                                                                                                                                                                                    ElFin photo

So I made it past Brockton, where Rocky Marciano, Marvin Hagler, and Robbie Sims learned to be pugnacious, and the drivers wherefrom who clearly felt driven to drive combatively.  I was approaching the northern terminus of 24, and had passed the sign indicating the split. Read the rest of this entry »

Boston Driver’s Notebook 6/9/12

8 06 2012

The Five Month Brake Job -Part 1

I was coming back from a white Christmas at nephew Aaron and Echo’s house when I first heard the noise.  Echo came from what used to be known as a “mixed marriage,” as well as what used to be called a “broken home.”  As a result, she generally entertained her black family one year and her white family the next.  The white Christmases were much more restrained than the black Christmases, which were way more entertaining.

Clyde the Barrow

Getting back to the noise, it was a little ‘thunk’ when I applied the brakes, coming from the rear passenger-side wheel.  Read the rest of this entry »

Boston Driver’s Notebook 4/1/12

29 03 2012

Wareham Harbor

It’s a good truck that will get you home before it gives out.  It was a windy October day that I went to Wareham to put up a gutter at the small beach house of the mysterious Helen of Cambridge.  I caught a radio traffic report that predicted an extremely slow drive from the entrance to Rt. 93 N at the junction of Rtes. 3 and 128 in Braintree all the way to downtown Boston, where traffic wasn’t moving at all.  The report was accurate enough.  I finally escaped at Leverett circle where I picked up Rt. 38, the McRoadRage at Lechmere just past the Science Museum.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 4/1/11

4 04 2011

I was driving home from Jamaica Plain, listening to my new speakers.  They came in a nice box, Sony ‘X-plod’ speakers,  but didn’t sound as good as the old, blown speakers.  In retrospect, I should have replaced the woofer component of the ones that came with the truck.

Beyond Redemption

They were Pyle Drivers, and had a really nice high end, unlike the ones I was listening to now.  There was no going back, though, because I had cannibalized the old enclosures, carving a standard oval 3X5 opening in the old speaker mounting plate.  The old speakers had a separate tweeter and woofer, which meant I also had to make a bigger hole in the interior sheet metal of the truck to make room for the bigger, combination speaker cone.

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 3/15/11

18 03 2011

This morning I drove to Chinatown.  The Museum of Science bridge is temporarily one-way, the wrong way.  I went down my street, took a right, went a half-block, which took longer than you might think.  Took another right, went a block, took another right, went a quarter block.  Took a left, went up a hill, took a right.  Then it was on to the McGrath Highway, known to me as the McRoadRage Highway.  I have my own name for things.
There was intense competition to get on to Rt. 93 South.

Before Things Became Even Worse

There was a stopped line of traffic from McRoadRage Eastbound.  We from the West had a semi-open lane.  I find it’s best to drive up diffidently, and slow incrementally as you approach the stalled angry lane of long-suffering commuters.  It’s the Norman Vincent Peale approach. Read the rest of this entry »

Boston Drivers Notebook 2/28/11

28 02 2011

I’ve been working at repairing a large, shambling, falling-apart house in Jamaica Plain.  The owners are old friends of mine.  Benjamin distributes wild mushrooms to high-end restaurants, hoarder, hippie, good heart.  Mei Ching is a Japanese Chinese flower expert, working for the man every night and day.  As such we had contrived to take our collective ball and chain, the highly individualistic wife of our late acupuncture teacher, Mrs. So to dinner in Chinatown.

Needs a Little Work

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 2/15/11

16 02 2011

While in Vermont I had noticed the exhaust leaking from a galaxy of pinholes and bad seals.  It was easier to see the leaks when it was 20 below zero, and the condensation from the long drive upcountry was just burning off .  Now that I was back in Somerville, MA, we were in the process of being hit with a foot of snow every Wednesday in January.

Buried Again

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Boston Driver’s Notebook 1/14/11

14 01 2011

The Boston Building Department is located at 1010 Mass Ave. in Roxbury. The parking lot fills up early, and I could count on there not being any space. Accordingly, I had to leave my 18V construction tools at home. I had my traveling mechanical tools in a metal Milwaukee drill box. Parking would be in sketchy industrial areas, if at all.

Sketchy Industrial Area

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Boston Driver’s Notebook

7 01 2011

It’s official, the Sixties are dead.

They died when Power Dave died last week.  I knew he was fairly sick, but nowhere near dire, when I dropped off my new, unregistered pickup in his driveway.

Superannuated Vehicle

It didn’t have an exhaust, so as  much as possible, I eased up the hill and coasted back down, in front of the dumpster.  The front door was open and I didn’t see anyone in there.  I figured he was sleeping so I went up and got behind the wheel of Charlie Paradise’s incongruous SUV that he got for four hundred dollars.  It was a Honda something or other.  I started out driving slow, Paradise-like,  but when I got on 3 North all bets were off.  I was in a small modern vehicle with decent steering.

“You are not going to…” hollared Charlie in my ear as I passed between a lurching construction truck and a Jersey barrier near my left fender.  I wasn’t positive about clearing the truck to my right.  It would have to take care of itself.  Fortune was with us because the truck swerved the other way, as I had predicted it would; having carefully observed its periodicity.

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