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 furnishings and other articles surfeited the bed of the Pickup, Gary humorously remarking about the load looking like Okies from the movie The Grapes of Wrath.  Sunday after church the family embarking on the 175 mile encompassed journey,  but this time instead heading south on highway #58 thru Cherokee Gary opted to take #11 east to #132 then south towards Nash.   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  almost certain Ole Blue thru a rod.

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 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 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 State Park.  Gary explaining their situation and the need to make a phone call to Kiowa, the ranger suggesting they accompany him to the Park station to make the call, Jan holding Robert, Gary holding Mitzi squeezing in.  Gary placing a call to Kiowa, the resolution activated, Jan’s Father, his  Pickup and a tow rope proceeding to Old Blue’s location.  Bud arriving, the tow rope being instilled, Jan and Robert finally out of the heat in Bud’ air-conditioned pickup,  Gary  in the pickup at the end of 10 foot rope, the towing endeavor commencing, having been on both ends of a tow before, he settled in for slow journey to Kiowa.

Union Bus Station – Oklahoma City

With *Ole Blue incapacitated, the bed of the pickup still fully loaded,  a plan to resolve the situation and get both *Ole Blue and the furniture back to Oklahoma City contemplated.  The Willson would stay the night, Gary calling Greyhound to see what time the bus heading to Oklahoma City would pause  in Alva.  The morning finding his father-in-law Bud transporting him to the convenience store on Oklahoma Blvd that served as the Alva Greyhound stop.  Arriving in Oklahoma City,  Gary giving Jerry Willis a call for a ride home 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 he made some inquiries restoring the ailing pickup with most of the estimated being questionable until they tore down the engine, but even the ballpark estimates were financially unattainable.  By chance he ran across his truck driving friend Paul Ambrose and when told of the fate of *Ole Blue, that he was familiar with, said he might be interested in buying it. After inspecting the engines affliction he was confident that over a period of time he could repair it, but the only foreseeable problem was the rule about working on cars at the Penn Apartments where he still lived.  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.  He still 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 that  Gary had poured for their boat and trailer.   Paul was not without accountability, Kaye securing an agreement that he would help any needed household 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 somewhat sadden with his loss of *Ole Blue, the familiar feeling one gets from sitting behind the wheel of this provision of reliance in the early morning hours after playing a club date in West Texas,  knowing that your 8 hour Oklahoma destination is secure.

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