IT REALLY DID SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA

At the time $50.00 seemed like a very fair price for the 1963 Cadillac. Sure, it had been hit on the side so hard the drivers door didn’t open and it rubbed your knuckles when turning the wheel. Okay, the upholstery was a bit rough having weathered more than 15 years without a window and there was a bit of a smell as cats had called it home for most of that time.
But it ran, once I bought a battery, and water pump, and fuel pump, and rebuilt the carburetor, and bought some tires, and a master cylinder, and four wheel cylinders, and a couple of wheel bearings. In fact, it ran so well that it seemed like a good idea to take a little weekend trip to Las Vegas.
The ticket really wasn’t that much money but it was enough to defund the weekend that then became a one day trip. The tow bill was what drained the wallet.
As it turned out the problems were quite minor. In no time at all I had it on the road again once I bought a transmission kit, and a distributor, and an oil pain gasket, and fixed the radiator leak. 
I only lamented not having a drivers door window on cold winter mornings. As the weeks passed and daylight began pushing nighttime into a corner, the weather became warmer and not having a window wasn’t really that bad. 
Getting in from the passenger side and sliding across the seat was an inconvenience but only when the seat springs snagged my pants or poked me in the backside was it really a pain. By early summer I had fixed that problem and made the car more enjoyable for long cruises on warm summer evenings with another idea that seemed good at the time. 
It started with a porch swing, a couple of cold beers, and good friends whiling away the late evening hours with discussions about girls and wistful thoughts of how nice it would be to have a convertible. It ended with a small upholstery fire and a cruise in the old Coupe DeVille under a desert sky littered with stars, and no top to impede the view.
My new convertible provided hours of fun that summer and I might have kept it for years if another good idea hadn’t come to mind. So, before moving to Flagstaff just in time for the first snow, I traded the Cadillac, and $100.00, for a 1963 International pick up truck.
The old truck was arrow straight and as rusty as a Brillo pad left in the sink for a week or two. But it had both doors, all its windows, a heater, and only burned about four quarts of oil in the 150 mile drive to Flagstaff.
About a month after moving to Flagstaff, which would be about two weeks before I lost my job, somebody had a good idea and stole my truck from in front of Alpine Pizza. How desperate can someone be to take a truck like that?
Well, with no job and no truck it seemed like a good idea to head back to Kingman where the snow wasn’t piled up about as high as my back side. And it seemed like a good idea to leave most of my worldly possessions with my roommate, a personable fellow I had met a month or so before, and hitchhike down the mountain.
As it turned out, heading for Kingman was the only real good idea but first I had to get there. 
I would bet a buck or two that the fellow who picked me up at the Monte Carlo Truck Stop thought it was a good idea to rob me but the joke was on him.
What are you going to get from a homeless man without a job? The answer, a military surplus sleeping bag, a tattered back pack stuffed with some long underwear, socks, and a couple pair of jeans.
I had no money. That was already invested in my future. It had been sent to a friend in Kingman who needed help with the rent and who needed a roommate. As it turned out he also was about $100.00 short on paying off the fine for a D.U.I. I wonder where he moved after leaving town?
One of the blessings that come with age is the ability to look back on the years, reflect on the things things that seemed like a good idea at the time, and marvel that we survived. From that perspective my goals are relatively simple, make new mistakes every day as there is no fun or potential for profit in making the same ones twice. 

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jimhinckleysamerica

Jim Hinckley's America is a grand adventure on the back roads and two lane highways. It is an odyssey seasoned with fascinating people, and memory making discoveries. As made evident by the publication of fourteen books on subjects as diverse as diverse as Ghost Towns of the Southwest, The Illustrated History of the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, Travel Route 66, Backroads of Arizona, and The Route 66 Encyclopedia, I enjoy sharing adventures and helping people plan for their own memory making journeys.

Thank you, shared adventures are the best adventures.

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