Bungees,Duct Tape Are Musts

The funniest admission was the story about the snow brush in the carburetor. It seems journalists truly are among the most creative people on the planet and it has little to do with their ability to put words together that make us laugh, smile, cry, grimace or think.

Recently during a shoot-the-breeze session among fellow journalists in the office, stories were swapped about the vehicles we have driven from the time we were legally allowed. First-car stories topped the list but somewhere down the line, it just kept getting funnier to the point of ridiculous.

Yes, one young man reported having to stuff a snowbrush into his carburetor to get his “heap” moving on down the road. Another said he was envious of anyone who drove a car that did not require bungee cords to keep the doors from flying open while on the road. Bungee cords and duct tape were the most common ingredients among those who had to admit their vehicles were less than perfect.

It’s part of the job for reporters and photographers to take their vehicles through mud bogs and the rutted back roads of our vast coverage area throughout the region.

One time while chasing a story near Bethany I wound up on a lane that ended abruptly at a fence behind which stood an angry, black bull. There was no place to turn around so I ended up backing up about a quarter of a mile to the main road.

One of the most common vehicle complaints was the fallen window syndrome. You really earn you stripes in the driving world when you pilot a car whose windows have fallen into the door frame and refuse to roll up again. So if you are lucky enough to bribe the window glass up into place, you then have to clamp or tape it into place.

There’s nothing like going through a fast food drive-thru or being stopped by a cop seeking identification at a crime scene and having to open your door to communicate. That can present some real problems when a state trooper is staring down at you and telling you to roll down your window and stay in your car.

One of our first new vehicles was a bright yellow Honda Civic we bought at Straub’s in the mid-1970s. It was a tiny little thing unlike the comfy and more spacious Civics of today. It had a black interior, a radio and no air conditioning. However, I loved the hatchback that we used like a pickup truck, and the fact that the car was front wheel drive. That little car got us through snowstorms when bigger cars sat spinning their wheels.

Between the Honda and today’s Chevy, there have been many more vehicles – new and used – that have graced our garage. Some required duct tape to keep the ceiling cloth in place, and the old Rambler tested the strongest arms as it did not have power steering.

It really doesn’t matter if you drive a Ford or a Cadillac. It’s more about how you drive. Just keep your eyes on the road and the duct tape in the glove box. Happy driving.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.