It was a cold night in November '78 when the Bondo Bus died. From infancy, when the disabled 1967 Ford Econoline van hobbled into its stall for repair, through the engine rebuilding, paint stripping, interior transformation that made this junker into a mean machine. Across the Arizona desert for a Thanksgiving test drive resulting in the thrown-rod disaster, only to rise like a Phoenix from the ash tray to launch the 5000 mile adventure of my youth – across the continent (with girlfriend, dog and guitar). In spite of the flat tires, electric failures and dissolution of the romance, it took only 5 seconds to thoroughly demolish the car. For the final 100 feet, the Bondo Bus slid down the icy road until the ass-end of a Boulder city bus totaled us cold. Obscenities, fear, impact, shock, each reaction following the next in nerve-wracking fashion. I have been through this sequence before – the split second death of a dream made ever-so-real by the sound of breaking glass, mangled steel and before my eyes, the snapshot of the front passenger seat disappearing in the instant of collision. After the shattered windshields are swept away, tow trucks arrive and the police reports taken. All parties disperse. I'm off in search of a hamburger and the solitude of Andrew's office. Once the shock wears off and a few days pass, all things aside, I'm still in need of a car. The contemplation of these few days produces some great results – I've hocked my father's life insurance policy for some quick cash, reconsidered my inadequate winter driving skills and found a bargain on a '73 Dodge Swinger with 3-on-the-tree and a hefty V-8. The salesman at Broomfield Rentacar sealed the deal on this car – "It's a dinosaur. If someone hits you, it's their problem." I agree. 'It's a Hulk,' I mused. The car reminds me of my friend, Lou. Later on, I would cut out a photo of the Hulk and paste this image to the headliner interior roof – an image of strength and invincibility. Little did I know, I would need his help yet again. On a sub-zero day on a lonesome country road, the second accident came a year later. As I turned into the driveway, I hadn't seen the speeding motorist approaching on the ice slick road. Here's my incident report:
Know why I'm crying? My car's twisted iron. Got a fender that looks like a crushed cola can. Smacked a Honda Accord right in front of my door. Now it's a Honda Accordian.
Unlike the first accident, I was just lucky enough to survive the second crash with a minimum of bills and bruises. Lou rebounded from the hit and soon after, we were wheeling around on the Colorado highways once again. I felt safer now, experiencing the resurrection and freedom from another automobile demolition. Little did I expect that a reunion with my celebrity friend was right around the corner.