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 Ruby's Road: Born Again

Ruby's RoadBy Dawne Belloise Photos By Dawne Belloise

“Almost cut my hair. It happened just the other day. It was getting kinda long. I could have said it was in my way. But I didn’t and I wonder why. I feel like lettin’ my freak flag fly. I feel like I owe it to someone…” David Crosby (CSN&Y)

“I think it may be time for you to let Ruby give up the ghost,” my editor said of the 72 VW bug I had sunk over $4k into over various and continuous mechanical ailments. There she sat in her red splendor, dead again by the side of the road. A glorified lawn mower... how hard can it be to find someone who knows what they're doing to work on her? Beyond foolish adoration and the somewhat disturbing humanization of a machine, Ruby represents an era, an entire hippie generation of mobility and freedom, a lifestyle choice and philosophy. And as a bonus… 30 miles to the gallon. However, similarly to that love-generation's dream of changing the world, sometimes Ruby just didn't get as far down the road as I had hoped.

The young man from H & H Towing carefully cranked the car onto the enormous truck bed, “My grandmother has one of these VWs,” he offered sympathetically. I had located yet another mechanic, this one in Gunnison and of vintage 60s himself – who didn't laugh when I told him I had an unconscious bug. The Triple A Plus road service I had wisely invested in was paying off and footing the ride down.

Past the point of no return financially, I had started to wonder about a reliable companion car... not for me, but for Ruby. Sort of like getting a young puppy for an aging dog. There's no way I could sell the car for what I had already invested into it. Sure, by today's standards $13k to $17k is cheap for a slick new car but it's a fortune for a Crested Butte working woman who already has three jobs to support her habit of living in paradise.

The new guru Veedub doctor, cigarette perpetually dangling from his lip, was sitting behind an absurdly cluttered desk in an even more congested shop with grease permeating everything including the gnarly but friendly dogs. I took this as a positive sign. The guy had more work than he could handle. He must be good. Cars and projects were lined up like planes waiting for take off. Ruby had been moved up to next in line for departure. The guru's head was buried in the small engine compartment, cigarette smoke wafting from somewhere within, “Girl, what moron has been working on this?” He seemed completely amused, “The choke's been disconnected and she's running way too rich... no wonder. And look at these plugs… they're black. And she's got serious electrical problems,” he growled, “who's been choppin’ at these wires?” The tone of his voice made me feel like the idiot bad mommy. “This isn’t a VW battery… if half of Mama Cass sat in the back, it would short out on the metal seat frame and you’d have a fire!” he confirmed those rumors of spontaneous combustion every VW Beetle owner fears.

Nevertheless, the good news was that he found the engine to be excellent with exceptional compression. That was all I needed. Ruby was strong headed, still kicking and downright refusing to grow old. I could totally relate to that.

“Fix her,” I said with the revitalization of an old gal with new dancin' shoes and an invitation to a raging party. We weren't growing old gracefully. Hell no.


Posted On Friday, June 22, 2007


 
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