Mechanical Memories of Stormy

Memories of Storm almost overwhelm me this week as the Hatchery prepares for an on site car show.  Much of Storm’s retirement time was consumed by his work as lead mechanic on our RV.  But he occasionally took on side projects that he especially enjoyed.  Many of you will remember the airplane that he helped build in New Bern, but you may not be aware of the Ford Apache truck he had hoped to get running at the DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.

Storm was so excited to be heading back to South Dakota to get this historic pickup running again. Although he explained his restoration strategy to me in detail in the months leading up to our return, I lack the mechanical skills and inclination to implement his plans.

Storm's Restoration Project

We found this in the Apache's glove compartment. Storm's last squawk list.

Storm actually began his work on this gorgeous old pickup when we first volunteered at the Hatchery in 2017.  When he opened the garage doors and first laid eyes on its slightly dusty, government green paint it was at first sight.  Our 2017 visit was too short for him to do much more than get the engine started using a fuel tank by-pass to circumvent the antique crud in the existing old tank. 

We made plans to stay much longer in 2019 so he could delve into the mechanical short comings and prepare this vehicle for the road. Or at least make it safe enough for a short parade through Spearfish.  Sadly, he barely got a chance to visit the truck before his illness forced us to leave.  Brakeless and in need of some engine TLC, this old truck still spends most of its time hidden away in a garage. 

But for this first hatchery car show, the staff carefully towed it out for a special appearance on the grounds.  The joyful crowds of male admirers racing up to study the truck tells me Storm is not the only one who appreciates it.

Slow Drive Down Memory Lane

As I walk among the proudly polished machines parked on the carpet of green hatchery grass, I can almost hear Storm regaling me with tales of the cars he owned as a kid.  “Yeah,” he would say, “I had a Chevelle like that except mine had the special factory 454 with the overhead cam and the something or another turbo charger… 4 in the floor ‘some more numbers I don’t remember’ transmission.” 

Obviously I can’t specifically recall all the details of each automobile, but I know those recollections made him very happy.  As do my bittersweet memories of Storm enjoying each gleaming 4 wheeled beauty from his past.  Although my happiness is slightly masked by the rivulets of tears sliding down my face.

Pretty sure Storm had a souped up version of this car when he was a teenager.

Scenes from the Hot Rods for the Hatchery Car Show

Change of Plans

Dean and Terrie had graciously planned to meet me in Missouri and caravan/vacation together as I made my way to NC.  What they did not expect was for their rig to catch on fire during a trip to the mountains a few weeks ago.  They are throwing in the RV towel after this.  If you know the history of this machine and its numerous expensive fiascos you would certainly not blame them.

I, however, cannot deal with the stress of planning a trip to the east coast alone.  The thought of driving my RV east of the Mississippi without a co-pilot or caravan makes me break out in hives.  So now I am opting for plan B.

Dean and Terrie are OK and they saved the motorcycles they were towing.

My intentions at this point are to head South to Benson when I leave Spearfish.  I hope to arrive there in mid-September.  After getting my RV squared away, I will head out around the first of November to visit NC.  This time I plan to drive the Jeep and leave my motorhome behind.  I am hoping that will be a less stressful way of covering the east coast miles while I visit with family and friends.

In Loving Memory

Stormy Weathers

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

5 Replies to “Mechanical Memories of Stormy”

  1. Great post Sunny. It’s amazing how those memories sneak in when we least expect them. But, thankfully those memories keep us going.So what are you currently doing and where are you. I’m sure sorry your plans will not pan out to NC. I know how you were looking forward to it. What a nightmare for your friends. Hopefully everyone is ok. Do they have any idea what caused the fire. I guess I would be prone to calling it quits too. Love hearing from you. Miss you.

  2. Iknow it is hard when you bring back the memories of Stormy, but they help me to recall the good times with him too. You are both missed and Sandy and I are very proud of you for carrying on, Stormy would be very proud too. Glad your OK and doing well, so sorry to here about your friends loosing their RV. We are thinking about selling ours and it is in great shape, but when you call it quits that is usually the end of it. Take care, we are in Illinois with Sandy’s sister. Catch ya later. Love and Miss ya. GOD BLESS
    Jim & Sandy

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      Hope you are having a safe and happy visit in Illinois. For sure if you are thinking of selling now would be the very best time. With so many RV shortages, you could probably get a really good price! Take care and hugs to you both!

  3. Hey Lady
    Thanks for sharing the story of Storm’s vehicle adventures! I think of you and Storm very often and have found memories of out time together in Albuquerque. Hugs to you my friend ??
    Safe travels

    1. Hi Theresa! You are so wonderful. Thanks for the fabulous memories. Safe Travels to you as well and hugs right back to you!!

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