A Gas Cap
Years ago, I pulled off the highway on my way from Louisiana to Athens, OH. The trip was a failed attempt to get laid. This stop, on my unbeknownst failed journey, was for gasoline. I filled up and forgot to put the gas cap back on. While making the very wide left turn to hit the on-ramp, I heard the sound of plastic sliding on trunk, then a ‘kunk’ and then I didn’t hear plastic sliding on trunk. I made some quick assumptions and slammed on the brakes and threw it in reverse. There was a large patch of gravel near the turn and I parked and jumped out. My gas flap was open and the gas cap was missing. I did some physics in my head and realize that the cap would have Newtoned while I was Rahaling, so I checked the right side of the road for my gas cap.
The side of the road looked like the place you hear about where elephants go to die in the jungle except it was gravel and covered in gas caps. There were at least fifteen of them at my feet and a hundred others in various states of burial and run-overedness spread out all over the side of the on ramp. Some plastic and some metal. Black and rusted. Old and pretty new. It was exciting and sad.
Even though I lovingly fondled my gas cap once a week during fill ups, I could not pick it out of a line-up. I looked around and did some very poor triangulation. In the end, I did not find my cap or even one that might fit on my car. Getting back on the road got the best of me and I figured I would only lose a teaspoon or so to evaporation.
Later, I got a generic replacement. It was metal. I liked it more than the last one that I couldn’t remember.
I hope that my gas cap didn’t get run over and that someone who lost theirs found that mine fit just right.
An Oil Cap
The dudes took a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina back when we were all single and a lot smarter. Kit, Russ and I drove down in Kit’s car while Greg, Tony and Brett drove in Greg’s truck. Eric kept switch cars at the service stations to avoid paying for gas.
Not more than an hour outside of Cincinnati, Greg’s truck pulled up from behind us and made hand gestures to suggest that they were not very happy. A few seconds later, Kit’s oil light came on. We all did the coincidence math and pulled over at the next exit. Greg’s windshield was covered in a thin film of oil. They thought we were spraying oil out a window. One smell from Kit’s engine and we could tell it was leaking oil a few drips at a time. We bought (and by we I mean Kit) a case of motor oil at highway robbery (now I know were the term comes from) prices and headed south-east.
For the rest of the trip, we would pull over every 50 miles or so and top off the oil with a quart. Not the most environmental thing to do, but the environment didn’t exist back in the late 80’s. When my turn came, I jumped out with a can of oil, checked the dip stick, removed the cap, added most the quart, checked the dip stick for my perfection and shut the hood.
You may see where this is going.
In less than five miles, the oil light was back on and there were CLOUDS of smoke coming from under the hood. Kit pulled over, expecting that the little hole had grown into something bigger. He opened the hood and there was oil everywhere except on top the oil cap. The oil cap was not in two places: on the top where is screws in nor on top the alternator where I had left it, right before forgetting to screw it back on. The oil cap was probably four miles back in the road. Or perhaps in some odd twist of fate, it ended up with my gasoline cap, together in some twisted auto parts love story. But enough of that, let’s get to the part where Kit was mad.
Kit was mad. He didn’t show it very well, but you could tell he was pissed because he didn’t say much and there was the gritting of teeth and clenching of fists. I kept suggesting that we could stick a shirt in the hole. We started thinking about what raw materials we had that we could carve or construct into a make-shift oil cap.
And then Russ suggested something that was both crazy and genius: let’s try the gas cap on it. Closer inspection revealed that Kit’s gas cap was not the screw in variety but rather the round with two tabs sticking out either side variety. Russ took the gas cap and made the rest of the trip possible because it fit, snugly, right in the oil cap hole. It was both a gas cap and an oil cap.
On the way back from that God awful vacation, a miracle happened. Kit took the car in to a shop to get his oil leak checked out. It was a vacation town shop and we were a bunch of dudes from Ohio with an oil leak. They mechanic could have really screwed Kit over, but instead he said that if we kept topping off the oil, the car would make it back to Ohio where he could get it fixed for a lot cheaper.
And he also gave us a pretty good deal on the oil. Gave Kit a pretty good deal on the oil, that is.