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Old 10-24-2010, 08:05 PM   #1
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Location: Granite Falls, NC
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ERIC the RED.....


When I was a small boy I use to like to build things. One day I decided that it would be fun to have a wagon with a sail on it so I could ride the wind and not have to push the wagon. It should be understood that I had very limited funds and very limited tools and supply's for projects that I dreamed up. My ''supply store'' was the community trash dump up in the ''big woods'' behind our house. Back then people threw everything in the trash dump in the big woods. Everyone did it because ''everyone did it''. This became a great supply depot for various and assorted items for a young mans mind when he needed something................ anyhow.......

I went out to the wood shed, (we heated and cooked with wood) and found a couple pieces of 2 x 6 lumber. One was about three feet long and the other was about five feet long. I got out a bucket of bent nails and hammered several of them straight and nailed the two pieces of lumber into a giant ''T''.

I now determined that I needed a mast and boom and a sail, some wheels and a way to steer this thing once I got it together. I figured I would need some brace wires for the mast and some rope for the boom. I had seen all this in the movies. I went up to the big woods and found a pretty straight tree about 8 feet long for the mast and another tree about 6 feet long for the boom...... All was going well...... I carried that stuff home and leaned it against the wood shed and went to the garbage pile and started digging and looking for wheels and some way to ''steer'' this craft if I ever got it going. Nothing but nothing was available for wheels, axles and some sort of steering gear.... I was almost ready to give up when I spotted a kids tricycle. The backbone of it was bent like some really big person had sat down on it real hard. Everything else on it was perfect. I then found a couple of old bed sheets that some one had tossed and they would make my sail. Digging further I found a old plastic rope clothes line. I grabbed up all my ''stuff'' and headed for the wood shed.

My tools consisted of a carpenters hammer with one of the ''ears'' broken off so it was useless for pulling nails. A real hand drill in that it was not electric. If you wanted a hole, you drilled it by hand. A small crow bar, a hack saw, a dull hand saw, a folding wooden carpenters rule with both ends broken off and a large bucket of bent nails and a few rusty bolts with some nuts for same, an old punch and a flat blade screw driver and a pair of pliers with Ford engraved in the handle.

Mind you I worked on this thing for over a week but here is the order of work I did on this out behind the wood shed all by my self.
I got granny to sew the sheets together in a manner of a sail. She sewed a sleeve in one side of the sail to go down over the mast and another sleeve to go over the boom. This worked really well and I was so proud of my bed sheet sail with the ''pee'' stain right in the middle.....
With great effort I removed the ''back step'' of the tri cycle. (the part with the two small wheels on it), I cut it in half with the hack saw and I beat holes in the step portion with a tip of a screw drive so I could nail it to the ends of the 2 x 6. I removed the seat from the tricycle and bored a hole in the long board so I would have a real seat to sit on when I took this thing for a ride. I took the front section of the tricycle and made a ''tiller'' wheel out of it in that I sawed the ''horn part'' of the handle bars off and this left the goose neck of the handle bars for me to steer with. I sawed the backbone of the trike off at the old seat post and beat that flat with my hammer. I then bored holes in that flat part so I could nail it to the body of the wind wagon. Mind you that I worked on this for going on two weeks and I did it in kinda of secret because I figured if mom or dad seen what I was building they would take it away from me because they thought it might be dangerous.........
I bored a large hole in the cross section of the ''T'' and mounted the mast in that hole with the clothes line for guide wires on each side of the mast. I also put a piece of the plastic clothes line on the boom so I could hold to the boom and sail. I could remove the mast and boom and fold the bed sheet around it and hide it beside the wood house.

I finally got the whole thing put together and the only problem was that the steering section made the back of the thing a lot higher than the front. I thought on this for a while but I could see no resolution to the problem and I just figured this would make it go faster in that it would always be going down hill...........

Our driveway was probably 150 feet long covered in dirt, cinders, small stones and several big sink in places that formed mud puddles when it rained. One day mom and dad went up town with our neighbors to get groceries and I was left alone to fend for myself. That particular day the wind was blowing just perfect. Straight down the driveway from the main road and maybe 15 to 20 miles per hour with gusts. PERFECT......

I ran to the wood shed and grabbed my famous ''Wind Wagon'' and dragged the complete mess to the end of the drive way. I inserted the mast and tied the guide wires to the front wheel axles and the wind turned my wind wagon over. I immediately seen that there was going to be a real problem in getting the thing set up and getting on it and getting going without turning it over or hitting something. Also, I know nothing about sailing. I finally resolved the problem by setting the wagon up sideways with the wind so that the sail would ''flag'' to the left without turning the thing over again. I caught the ''boom rope'' and sat down on the seat and with my free hand I grabbed the ''tiller''. With a lot of kicking and pushing with my left leg I managed to get the thing pointed down the drive way and going with the wind. The wind immediately filled the sail and away I went like the ''down of a thistle''. It was about then that I discovered that the sail was blocking half of my view as to where I was going. I further discovered that I had no brakes on this wagon. NONE I further discovered that I was more along for the ride than in control and that the roughness of the driveway was not helping at all. Nothing mattered. I was Christopher Columbus, Megellin and Eric the Red sailing the unknown seas and bound for adventure. I was Black Beard the Pirate in command of my own sailing ship on the salty ocean. At somewhere between ten mph and the speed of sound I discovered that I was heading for the back bumper of my dads 37 Special Deluxe Chevrolet parked in front of the house. The ''boom line'' was tied around my finger on my left hand and I had my right hand on the ''tiller bar'' trying to steer this mad machine. In desperation I pushed the tiller with my right hand as far left as I could in order to make a right hand turn and avoid the back bumper of the car that was looming down on me. When I turned the wheel it hit a bump and literally crushed the wheel. The little spokes came out of the rim and the wheel collapsed letting the pedals smash into the ground.

I figure I hit the back bumper of the car doing between nine m.p.h and the speed of sound. Upon contact with the back bumper God and gravity took over and my mast snapped off and smacked me in the head as it came down. The ''sail'' with the piss stain in the middle came down and enveloped me with the boom smacking my right shoulder. The ''wagon'' penetrated under dads car until my shoulders and head were the only thing still out from under the car. I was trapped. It was then that I heard my Granny Cecil saying ''Honey, are you all right? Why are you under your daddies car?'' '' I'm fine Grannie, I'm looking for something'' Granny went back in the house and with a lot of wiggling and a great deal of trouble and ripping a three cornered tear in my overalls I managed to crawl out from under the car. I slowly dragged my ''Wind Wagon'' back around the house and hid most of it behind the wood house. I put some methylated on the scrape on my knee and went up to Charles and Garys house to play marbles till mom and dad got back home.

So life's adventures went for a little boy when he was about nine years old. Back then we had no television and we had to entertain ourselves. All of this from the memory or an old man when he was a small boy living after the war was over .....

Seajay the sailor man ..

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Old 10-24-2010, 08:11 PM   #2
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Location: Okanagan valley British Columbia
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That paints a vivid picture and is hilarious as usual.

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Old 10-24-2010, 11:41 PM   #3
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ROFLMAO. Brings back memorys of my brothers making a parachute for my baby brother in the 60's to drop him off the roof of our two story house. Thankfully mom caught them before baby brother got to test his chute.
"I won't be wronged I won't be insulted I won't be layed a hand on. I don't do these things to other people. And I require the same from them." (John Bernard Books) John Wayne The Shootist his last Movie.
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:56 AM   #4
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Yoooooooooh Coasair... been there and done that ..... I will look back and see if I have posted about the time me and Charles and Gary decided to make a parachute our to an old bed sheet. I think I have already posted it somewhere but maybe not on here. It is a great wonderment to me that one of us did not get killed when I was a kid. We were of the opinion that if we ''SAW IT IN THE MOVIES'' it could be done because ''WE SAW IT IN THE MOVIES'' . We tried some really amazing stuff . I will look back and see what I have already posted so I wont repeat myself. You must understand that we had no television, no phones, no indoor plumbing or running water and it was safe for a Kid to go to the big woods and play all day and it was safe for a Kid to walk the roads at night with the biggest danger was being dog bit. Life was much different when I was a Kid. We were poor but I didnt know it. Our house was filled with LOVE and we were always well fed and dry ....... I think the kids are missing a lot because they could not grow up like I did.

Nuff said for now .....
Be safe my brother and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO THIS GREAT NATION........................
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