1. April

One for the Record Book

KMW, Arroyo Grande, April, 2014

ONE rainy day . . .

TWO planned and completed cruises . . .

THREE drivers

FOUR cars

FIVE breakdowns

ZERO KMs on the service trailer!

This witto King Midget got weighed. And it was the first to hit the woad. And the first to bweak down. Enough of that. Bob took Randy for a ride in this car to show what a Chonda can do. Pretty impressive! The throttle stuck wide open! Got 'er stopped though, and Randy found alternate transportation home. Bob drove 'er back, one foot on the the brake and one hand on the ignition switch.

Weighing Don's Model 3. We used four tuned bathroom scales and four ramps on a smooth concrete floor. The cars need to be roughly centered on the scale, with all scales the same height.

Here we shimmed one scale up with hardboard. Bob's M3 with Kohler weighed 808 pounds, perhaps due to the bondo and extra metal he hung on it. Don's M3 Kohler weighed 783. Gert's M3 with 14 hp Chonda weighed 743 and Bob's M2 with 14 hp Chonda came in at 600 pounds even.

How do you know when your drive chain is worn out? The manual says, when you can compress it 3/4 inch. To do that you must remove it, stretch it out, secure one end and measure. This photo shows the result. A new chain on the left; old one on the right. Both are four feet long, but the old one compresses almost an inch. The new chain compresses a bit, and the difference is about 3/4 inch.

Here's another test; the new chain will hardly curve at all, while the worn one looks like a drawn bow! It's wise to replace such a chain.

With his M2 laid up, Bob wheeled out his M3 and the four KMs drove off to Rooster Creek for lunch, where we were joined by Bud & Karen plus neighbors Bill and Barbara.

Alvays mit der silliness, it's Gert lofting his menu.

We parked our three running KMs beside the creek in question, the Arroyo Grande (big ditch), where the local roosters hang out.

No rooster photos this time, but look at these fine dogs being trained, all mixed, various stages of training, but all under perfect control.

While we were dining, Gert's new and larger gas tank was delivered. He has a plan to fit it in without anyone suspecting his car is not stock.

With the rain relenting, we decided to try our run to Huasna. We made it almost all the way, but Don's car was having problems with the hills, so at the crest we decided to return home. No problem until driving the last hundred yards up the driveway, when Bob's car lost all power. A busted low-speed drive belt. We pushed it up the hill and into the barn.

It was, perhaps, an original belt; just gave way and climbed off. What to do? Just two cars left running!

Gert to the rescue! Prepared for anything, he had a spare set of belts for the KM he did not bring to the meet.

How to install the belts? Just give Gert his favorite tool and get out of the way.

We'd planned to go out for dinner, but lunch was so filling we just sent Linda foraging for snacks, which we ate around the dining table, joined by Dick and Sheralynn.

Bob and Marge hosted, because Bud and Karen are hosting in Tehachapi next fall, in conjunction with a car show where King Midgets will be the featured marque.

No sign of rain for Saturday, and we got out early for breakfast at McLintocks. Three cars, running fine.

Too chilly for dining on the deck, so we gathered inside. Randy forgot his KMW shirt and so did Gert, but Gert borrowed an off-color one from Bob. Don was pleased that he'd remembered to wear his. The waitress took the photo.

So Gert took this shot of her shooting us.

We wow'd 'em again at the Pismo Derelicts car show, and then set off on our cruise to Oso Flaco. What could possibly go wrong?

On the Huasna cruise, there had been a clue. Don's brake lights flashed intermittently. Probably an electrical malfunction? We chose the flatter route, hoping flattery would get Don somewhere, but it didn't. His tail lights were on continuously, and were still on as his car was pushed into a parking position with its brakes dragging. He had to disconnect the battery cable and leave the car behind.

No problem. Gert to the rescue again! And we're off to the beach with two KMs running fine.

The sun was shining but the air was brisk as we hiked across the lake on this bridge. We saw lots of wildlife and flowers, and since we'd left both KMs in the parking lot--no breakdowns.

Our hiking destination.

We buzzed the KMs back to this country delicatessen where we wolfed down teeny tacos, straight from the barbecue. That's where Don had left his KM. He connected his battery, the brake lights were off and he decided he could probably make it home using the emergency brake only, and driving carefully.

We all drove carefully--until Bob's car coasted to a stop on a perfectly flat street, despite its new belts in fine shape. Banging around with a hammer proved ineffectual, and we determined the key on his drive sprocket had fallen out. No spare, so off to the hardware store in Gert's ever-reliable KM.

"DON! Don't lean on the fender! You're squishing my head!"

Best efforts of Gert and Bob cold not get the proper new key into the slot, the old one having buggered the chase. A smaller key was installed, hoping it would get us home. And off we went, with two limping KMs and only Gert's steady Chonda-powered beauty unaffected by this meet's stream of calamities.

With sighs of relief, Don and Bob made it home with no further problems. But where were Gert and Randy? Turns out they made it too--to the driveway--where Gert's car finally gave out.

Aha! The transmission worked loose and the drive chain climbed right off the sprocket. Another candidate to be pushed the final lap, but no cars ever had to be loaded on the service trailer. This might not be deemed a great accomplishment, since we started with four fine-running KMs, but it was decided we'd take comfort where we could find it.

At least the food was great! Off to Rib Line for dinner, where we drove "regular" cars and the only incident was Marge backing the Prius into a barbecue and busting a hole in the bumper. No damage to the barbecue!

Both evenings were concluded with fresh strawberries, served with ice cream, chocolate and a dose of Irish Cream. Such a treat made it possible to laugh off any little difficulties the day might have brought.

The irrepressible Gert rounded off the event by presenting Marge, the service vehicle driver, with a tool kit for future meets.

Close examination determined the kit did not contain an accelerator cable, a set of drive belts, a drive sprocket key, a master cylinder or a drive chain. In other words, it looks about as handy as the claw hammer in Bob's tool kit. But Gert's heart is in the right place and he proved able to get any busted King Midget back on the road, one way or another.

Gentlemen, fix your cars.