View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good bye, old friend

 You can say what you want about the current "recession", but there is one industry that is going gang busters: The scrape iron dealers.  The price of scrape iron has reached a level where it is now attractive to clean out barns, sheds and barn yards of old equipment, cars and scrape iron that has laid around for decades.  So far I have taken in two loads in my utility trailer of about a thousand pounds each of just scrap that has accumulated over the years that I swore I would eventually need.  And, yes, I used some of it on occasion but it was accumulating faster than I was using it.  They are paying $189 a ton for stuff and I have probably two more trailer loads to go. 

I took the header off a really old swather and my next door neighbor came down with his fork lift and loaded the two pieces on to his flat bed trailer that I borrowed - from him.  Received $321 for that.  Still have two grain drills, one very old four bottom plow and a liquid manure tank wagon to dispose of.  

So, it was finally  time to say goodbye to an old friend Yesterday, I loaded the old 78 Olds  diesel and took it in.  Got $378 for that.  We drove the Olds for 13 years, went through 2 engines and transmissions while putting 230,000 miles on the old girl.  The odometer turned the first 100,000 in October of 1983, and the second 100,000 in July of 1988.  It was stolen once, would not start several times when we were out of town, once at the Bonneville dam with the Winkles with us, and was towed for being in a no parking area in Portland late at night.  We thought it had been stolen again, until we noticed the unlit no parking sign in a dark corner of the lot.  Turned out to be an expensive dinner that evening. 

Yet it survived four kids learning to drive.  Andy slid it sideways down the highway at 60 mph, the deep black skid marks visible for 6 months, and Lani put it 100 feet into a neighbor's wheat field one wet spring, those ruts being visible for all to see until that fall when the field was finally plowed.   She also put it into a bar ditch that same year.

The engine finally quit running the fall of 1991.  At the time it was not worth it to haul it to the junk yard, so I parked it down by the shop and it has sat there for the last 20 years.   And for 20 years, Andy and his friend John wanted to use it for target practice, but I refused to let them.  Sorry about that, Guys.  

There are a lot of good memories, and some not so good, associated with that car, and I am sad to see it go.  It was GM's answer to the fuel crises during the late 70's, converting a gas 350 ci engine into a diesel.  It got great mileage and back in those days diesel fuel was cheaper than gasoline.  But the heads kept cracking because they just weren't heavy enough.  Chuck and I replaced the heads once, and then the engine and transmission, courtesy of Oldsmobile.  They shipped everything to us and we removed and replaced everything.  Great learning experience for both of us.  But even with the later model engine, the heads still cracked.  Finally when the injection pump failed, it was time to give up. 

Over the years it seemed that to be classified as a farm you had to have at least one old car or truck setting in the weeds.  Seemed like every farm or ranch I ever saw was that way.  But that may be a'changing.  The times I have been at the scrap yard (now called recycling centers) there have been several rigs bringing all kinds of vehicles, tractors, combines, you name it, and the number of truck and trailers hauling the scrap iron on to Portland is unbelievable.  The local dealer has at least 10 employees driving cranes and loaders, cutting stuff down to size, removing tires and sorting out the good stuff for resale.  In the mean time there is a lot of places that are being cleaned up that should have been years ago.  I know my place will look a lot better with all this stuff gone, and my lovely wife will not have to - ah, how do I say this - not mention that I should be getting rid of all this.