Life’s a TRip, Episode 1

By Ojijaak

Every story has a beginning. It is the prerogative of those who record and retell stories to choose that beginning. This story has many beginnings because it is the story of many people who came together, each with their own beginnings. I will record and retell some of these, and some and some I never shall.

In this first installment I will focus on introductions of the dramatis personae. These are a few who may drop into our story at times from my memories. Others will come and go, but these are the personalities who form the basis of our TRip:

Polly:  A good friend, a college buddy. Polly has become an expert in marine biology, specializing in Antarctic ecology. I remember her as always being cheerful. My much-abused memory seems to tell me that she once said that her favorite color was yellow.

Ann:  An even better friend, and more than that. I alone couldcall her Annie, but for reasons that will become clear, I shall refer to her as Ann. She was Polly’s dormmate/roommate at times.  She was my muse, the great inspiration of my life, the only woman I have truly loved, and the best musician I have ever known.

Keith:  My friend and dormmate. For a time, he was romantically involved with Polly. Keith became a college instructor in Texas

Deron:  The Pineapple. A roommate of mine, and a good friend to Keith and me. Deron became a dentist.

Joe:  Little Bear. Our inscrutable Joe, a friend and dormmate to Keith, Deron, and me. Joe transferred to a California school, U C Irvine, I think, to complete his degree. I have lost track of Joe, but I would like to think that he might have become a successful brewer or winemaker.

Chris:  A dormmate to Ann and Polly.  Chris attended the same high school as Deron.  She was also, no doubt, the medium through which the rest of us were acquainted. Chris became a surgeon.

Ojijaak:  Me.  The crane, my clan name.  I suppose that the best way to describe myself is to admit that I was unable to make a commitment. Maybe that is how or why I became a warrior. I was a reluctant warrior, but I developed a talent for warrioring. I would spend most of my life being a warrior of one sort or another. It was a great mistake.

We were our own little social group in those college years. You would rarely see any of us other than in the company of at leastone more.

In the years since, I have made many more acquaintances; some have become friends. Some have not. For the moment, these are the few more who must be introduced. They will be joining us on our TRips.

Nokomis:  My loyal companion. A mostly blind mostly dingo. You will have to accustom yourself to her, as she willaccompany us as we travel. She goes where I go, and we do not attend those places where she is not welcome. If you are uncomfortable with her, stay at home.

Annie:  My 1967 MG B. I should have told you that I went off to school with the first new car that I ever bought. It was a 1967 MG B. There was that special young woman, Ann, who loved riding in that car with the hood (top to Yanks) lowered. I wish that I had never sold that car, but Annie is my present MG B. She is the wrong color, she has the wrong wheels, and she does not have overdrive. Other than that, she is exactly the same car…
Red 1967 MG B

Annie, the red 1967 MG B

Polly: My 1975 Triumph TR6. In many ways, Polly should be seen as the leading lady in this story. She will be our transport on most of our TRips. Notice that I do not reference MGips, although there will be a few that we take in Annie. Here is Polly as she looked just before her restoration was begun at Macy’s Garage. Polly is our marathon runner, while Annie is our sprinter, or, more often, our little day hiker. Our first TRip will begin soon, and it is going to be a long one.

Polly, 1975 Triumph TR6

That’s the crew, except for you. We have plans for our travels, but mostly we are about to start unstructured experiences. At the moment, I doubt that we will begin actual travel before June, some three months away.  If weather, Nokomis, and Annie all cooperate, there may be some short hops before that, but there can be no promises made.

With all of that out of the way, I will describe the beginning of my own story. At about the age of ten, I read a book, The Red Car by Don Stanford. As a result, I fell ass-over-teakettle in love with MG. I promised that one day, I would own one. In the end, I have owned several, and I have loved each of them.

I came rather late to Triumph cars, but mostly because the closest dealership was some fifty miles from me as I grew up.  There were three MG dealers as close or closer, and then there was that promise to myself…

Unlike some owners, I never resented either marque. When I became active in various sports car clubs, I got to know Triumph. I was able to drive a few of them. All good.

In what must have been a mid-life crisis, I bought a TR6 in about 1993 or 1994. It was mechanically sound, and I started the process of bringing it back cosmetically. I was unable to complete that project, and, under protest, I sold that car (I called her Tess, or Red Tess) on to an enthusiast. It is my understanding that she lives on.

I bought Annie in 2016. It is more accurate to say that I adopted Annie because se is what I call a FrankenB. For the most part, she is her original 1967 component, but various bits have been collected from parts cars. She is not worthy of a full restoration, but she is too good to sacrifice to the breakers. I will maintain he as-is through my lifetime.

At the same time, I was looking for a Triumph. Ideally, I wanted to find a 1973 TR6. TR6 aficionados may understand why that specific car. One learns to look skeptically at these cars when they are offered for sale. Terms like, “complete restoration,” “no rust,” or “only minor rust” are subjective and largely bullshit.

At any rate, the best TR6 that I was able to inspect was a 1975 car. It had been fully restored (I saw and now possess the receipts) in 1997, and it had been stored carefully and maintained properly since. She had only 33,000 miles on her odometer, and those miles are accurate as shown by receipts for everything from oil changes and lubrication to fuel. No rust, no bullshit.

She was not perfect, though. She was painted as had been her original factory color, in a bright yellow that British Leyland called “Mimosa.” I don’t like yellow. I like rust and bondo less, though, so a deal was struck. Had I shopped for a 1975 TR6 in the dealership, I would have preferred either a blue or a green car. The overdrive option was a must. The yellow girl that I bought has overdrive.

Because this new (to me) car was to join the MG, Annie, I decided that her name should be Polly. After all, they were to be roommates. It was only afterward that I thought that I recalled Polly’s favorite color being yellow.

I drove Polly for a season, getting to know her, her strengths, and her weaknesses. She was a very good looking specimen owing to her twenty-year-old restoration. Her paint shone, but it was twenty years old. She had been fitted with a luggage rack, which I dislike intensely. Mechanically she was in good condition except that her overdrive lever switch was touchy. There was nothing terribly wrong with her.

At this time, I was in the process of moving from the Midwest; I was in the process of disappearing and leaving no bread crumbs. I searched my new home area for qualified “British car mechanics” to help me take care of the girls at need. There were none. I knew that at some time I would want to have Polly resprayed. I found that the best option for a Triumph garage in the U.S., if not the Western Hemisphere is in Tipp City, Ohio. Polly, Nokomis, and I paid a visit to Macy’s Garage.

At Macy’s Garage, Tipp City, Ohio

Before painting, Macy’s Garage dismantles the car and strips the body and all panels to bare metal. No option.  That being the case, a full restoration may as well be commissioned. Just days before Nokomis and I watched all our worldly goods including Annie loaded onto trailers, we delivered Polly to Tipp City. Her rebuild would commence in February, 2018, and would be complete sometime in June, 2019. That is where and when you will join us to begin our Trip.

Here is an outline of our 2019 itinerary:  In late June or early July, we will retrieve Polly in Tipp City.  I hope to have time to drive around Ohio and Indiana to about 500 miles.  My plan then is to return to Macy’s Garage for checks, and a recommended re-torqueing of the cylinder head before setting out on the long road. We will spend a few days around Indianapolis visiting with friends and family, and then head forKansas. I visit Ann’s grave on her birthday, and, by tradition, we dine that evening in Topeka.

From Topeka, we will take whichever road appears most interesting. We are going to “look for America.” You are invited along from the seat that, in happier days, Ann would have occupied.  You must share that seat with Nokomis, but since your virtual presence does not require much space, it will work out well.

I hope to include photos and short video clips as we explore the Plains and then the Mountain States. There is no schedule; if a community appears inviting, we might stay for a bit to get to know its people and its culture. If not, Polly will show her blacked out Kamm tail and bellow farewell.

Later in the year, we will visit Dripping Springs, Texas. Polly is attending the Vintage Triumph Register’s National Convention. In between these Trips, there will be days of travel to nowhere in particular, and to a regional British car club’s annual gathering.

Next year, depending upon location and schedule, perhaps we shall visit another national event, 6-Pack TRials. Between now and Polly’s completion, I will regale you with some of the stories that connect my very special cars with the people I have known and the places that we visited. I think that I have been very patient thus far, but as time for the TRip nears, I am getting excited about it and about seeing Polly as I have not been excited for anything in years…decades. Let’s go!

~~~~

This is the part that you folks can get all pissy about. I have rarely written anything that failed to piss someone off, so here’s my random thought for this edition:

I salute the State of Michigan where adultery is a felony.

You can send me a nastygram if you wish. I will not respond, but you can send it anyway.

Note: Photograph of Annie, red MG B © Ojijaak. Photographs of Polly, yellow Triumph taken by Macy’s Garage and used by permission.

~~~~

Content may not be duplicated in whole or in part or used for any purpose without the written consent of amosmag. Unless otherwise noted, photos and videos © ojijaak and may not be used other than in context of this publication with written consent.

 

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One thought on “Life’s a TRip, Episode 1

  1. Pingback: Life’s a TRip, Episode 2 | Amos

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