Demise Of *Ole Blue…………………..#147 (the 70’s)

Old Blue - 1966 Ford F100 - V8

Ole Blue – 1966 Ford F-100 – V8

*Ole Blue was stationed at the Murrow’s residence in Kiowa,  the acronym given to Gary’s blue 1966 Ford pickup by the bands Bob Wallace.  Gary, Jan, infant Robert and Mitzi having journeyed from Oklahoma City to acquire surplus household furniture, including bedding that her parents had stored in their basement.  The embodiment of bedroom furnishings and other articles capacitated the bed of the Pickup, Gary jokingly remarking about looking like the Okies from the movie The Grapes of Wrath.  Sunday after church embarking on the 175 mile encompassed journey,  but this time instead heading south on highway #58 thru Cherokee he opted to take #11 east to #132 then south and Nash Ok.  Approaching an area just north of the Great Salt Plains State Park on highway #11, a loud sharp clatter resonated from   V8 engine.   Gary’s first reaction was one of disbelief, receding the accelerator , engaging the clutch, but he was too late, a sudden loud bang, the engine no longer firing, the Ford coasting to the side of the road.  Making one attempt to see if the motor would turn over, from the response it was pretty much locked up, Gary having almost certain Ole Blue thru a rod.

Breaker 19 - no response

Breaker 19 – no response

The late summer afternoon heat suddenly becoming a proponent, Gary activating *Ole Blues under-dash CB radio,  a call on channel 19, the trucking industries communication channel but to no avail, being a Sunday in all probability there weren’t many 18 wheeler or CB operators on the road.  Switching  to  channel 9,  the emergency frequency, still getting no response, deciding to wait, raise the  hood and flag the first approaching vehicle.  As the time passed a concern was beginning but then from the east a pickup appeared and from the markings on its door it was a ranger from the Great Salt Plains State Park.  Gary explaining their situation and the need to make a phone call to Kiowa, the ranger suggesting that the three accompany him to the Park station to make the call, the three and Mitzi squeezing in.  Gary placing a call the resolution activated, Jan’s Father, his  Pickup and a tow rope proceeding to Old Blue’s location on highway #11.  Bud arriving, the tow rope being instilled on both vehicles, Jan and Robert finally out of the heat procuring a place in Bud’ air-conditioned pickup,  Gary a recluse in the Ford at the end of 10 foot rope,  the towing endeavor commencing,  having done this in the past he settled in for slow journey to Kiowa.

Union Bus Station - Oklahoma City

Union Bus Station – Oklahoma City

*Ole Blue was imperturbable, incapacitated, having been towed to the Murrow residence, the bed of the pickup still fully loaded, a plan for Oklahoma City was contemplated.  The Willson’s staying the night,  Gary having called Greyhound to see what time of day the bus heading to Oklahoma City would pause  in Alva.  The morning finding Bud transporting him to the convenience store on Oklahoma Blvd that served as a Greyhound stop.  Arriving in Oklahoma City, giving Jerry Willis a call to retrieve the Torino, followed by securing a rental tow-bar, Gary conjecturing that the Torino should have the  ability to ferry the fully loaded Pickup.  On the 175 mile trip back Kiowa he began to question whether the Torino with its automatic transmission was up to the task, finally concluding, the results would be soon be known. .

The morning Kiowa sun giving new light on the day, the journey beginning, the Torino the locomotive, the Ford Pickup the rest of the train.  The family once again attempting to traverse to Oklahoma City, only this time instead of leading the way, *Ole Blue was following.  Gary driving with kid gloves on, manually shifting the cruise o’matic transmission, gradual accelerations and braking having noticed the Ford stressing under the load.  Once back home Gary solicited estimated on restoring the ailing pickup with most being questionable until they tore down the engine, finally coming to the conclusion it was financially unattainable.  By chance he ran across his truck driving friend Paul Ambrose and when told of the fate of *Ole Blue, who he was familiar with, said he might be interested in buying it.  After inspecting the engines affliction he was confident that with time he could repair it, but the only foreseeable problem was the rule about working on cars at the Penn Apartments, Paul asking if he could leave it and work on it at Gary’s on his days off.  Gary mulling over the idea, not too keen on having what could be a long-term automotive project on the rental property but an idea occurred to him.  Gary maintained a very cordial relationship with his ex-wife Kaye, approaching her about Paul’s dilemma, Paul like his cousin Glenn were like family when Kaye and Gary were married.  Kaye agreeing to let  the pickup park on the extended wide part of the driveway Gary had put in for their boat and trailer and Paul agreeing to help Kaye with any needed projects.  Paul’s weeks of diligence paying off, having only to replace a rod and piston, no damage to the crankshaft, the total amount for parts being cost-effective.

Gary was sadden with his loss of *Ole Blue,  a benefactor of road appearance,  a troubadour of valance, for the most part a provision of reliance providing thirty thousand miles of applicable musical transport,  his trusted friend gone,  no more an articulation of the musician’s life.


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