Forward … To The Past (Part Three)
You knew there’d be a Part Three, right? Of course you did – I said so in yesterday’s post!
Saturday proved to be a very interesting day. Not only was our high school mini-reunion that night, but Tom took me to an antique-engine gathering in the morning. These engines are really interesting. They’re typically a single cylinder, and they run so slowly (300 – 400 RPM) that you can actually *count* the times the spark fires and use that to figure out their speed. I also learned that they all have a governor built into the system to keep them from over-revving. I’ve seen these engines displayed and demonstrated at the Pima County Fair, but I had always assumed that they fired erratically because they were old and they didn’t work all that well any more. Not so. If they rev too fast, a weight of some kind will move out/up/down to a position where it causes some part of the ignition cycle to be interrupted (sometimes it suppresses the spark, sometimes it leaves the exhaust valve open, and there may be another method that I’ve forgotten). When the engine slows down enough, the weight moves in/down/up which releases the inhibited part of the ignition cycle. So in a freewheeling engine with no load (which most of them were last Saturday) you’ll typically get one actual ignition cycle followed by three or four where it’s just spinning. If the pulleys on the crankshaft had belts, that were in turn attached to tools or implements, they would create enough drag that the engine would fire on almost every cycle.
Tom has been involved with antique engines for a couple of decades, and has amassed a decent collection that (along with tools and parts) fills his garage. Here is a shot of a few of the ones Tom has:
This shot shows the barn-size shed where we all met – it’s *full* of engines!
The “shed” also has a couple of back rooms. One is a workshop for fixing and rebuilding the engines; the other is a meeting room where we had lunch. There was a lot of fascinating stuff in that room, too, including some wonderfully unique bird houses.
After breathing gasoline fumes for the morning, we were all served lunch in this room, after which we (there were about 40 of us) found various places in the sun, shade, or shed to eat. Tom and I left shortly afterward, but I really enjoyed the morning.
Tom, Lois and I spent a quiet afternoon watching TV (sports of some kind, but I forget what) and then went to the Huguenot High School Class of 1969 reunion that evening. There were about 50 of us, including guests, and we had a great time trying to identify / recognize each other without resorting to looking at the name tags. There was a small raffle (neither Tom, Lois nor I won anything), with the proceeds going to keep the class website going ad-free. It broke up about 8, which was later than I expected. One of our classmates took all the pictures, and he caught me doing my best Albert Einstein impersonation:
Nothing much happened Sunday morning. The TV was on, but none of us watched it much; the day was nice, but we didn’t go out to enjoy it; Waldo, their 12-year-old (?!?) rabbit, slept on the kitchen floor; and time passed as it always does. Meet Waldo:
Sunday afternoon Tom and I visited another classmate. Richard wasn’t at the reunion, as he is recovering from (another) hip surgery. But we spent a couple of hours visiting him and his wife Debbie, reliving our past foibles and renewing our friendships.
Monday I left Chesterfield around 1:00 and arrived back at Dulles with plenty of time to gas up and return the car; get to the terminal; go through Security; take the tram to the gate; and sit. My plane left there at 6:10 PM; after the change in Denver I arrived home in Tucson right around midnight, back in my own time and my own time zone. I snagged this photo with my iPhone – I think it came out really well.
So I *think* I’m through with traveling for 2014, but you never know…
That’s a great pic though, Einstein.
Bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny bunny
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