The transmissions were now dead on the Nova and Oldsmobile. We managed to roll both cars downhill to a large, graveled clearing along the road (thank you, gravity). This would be our camping spot for the night.
Beer in hand, we prepared for the stationary destruction phase. We had three broken down cars, the curiosity of children, and the means of grown men.
A slew of guns came out, along with the pickaxe and reciprocating saw. There were also countless large rocks all around the camping area.
Let the games begin
It was all CQB to start. The Oldsmobile took a brunt of the abuse. Somebody threw a boulder into the windshield. Another went after the car with a pickaxe, ultimately breaking the pickaxe handle (RIP, handle). And, yet, another person decided to remove the valve cover from the engine while it was still running.
The valve cover removal was fascinating, but, far less eventful than I thought it would be. I pictured parts flying out like shrapnel, or fingers getting caught and ripped off. Instead, it was mostly hypnotic watching the valve rockers do their work. The hypnosis wore off quickly and we started loading the guns.
Shotguns and rifles and pistols.
Goodbye windows. Goodbye mirrors. Goodbye gas tank.
Gas tanks really don’t explode when they are shot. We couldn’t even get a fire started. Needless to say, we peppered the cars with countless bullets. Yes, it was quite satisfying.
With the initial assault complete, it was time to try out my homemade thermite.
Disappointment on three
If you’ve watched MythBusters or too much YouTube, you’ve likely seen a thermite video. It’s common knowledge that thermite requires a lot of heat to ignite, and that it burns really hot. So far as I could tell, it would require a magnesium sparkler to light the thermite. These are the old gray sparklers you loved as a kid.
My goal was to put the thermite on different parts of the car to see how much it would melt. Simple.
I dug out the thermite and poured some on a rock near our firepit. Before going after the car, we needed to see it in action on a small scale.
Lighting the sparkler, I was anxious to see a reaction, but somewhat worried that it would work and get on me. This stuff is like lava when it burns.
I tried pouring out more thermite and lighting it. Still nothing.
When I bought the sparklers, they didn’t have any of the old gray, magnesium ones. All they had were the new colorful, paper-wrapped ones. I’d heard those are not actually magnesium, which is why they change colors when they are lit. I was hopeful they would burn hot enough, anyhow. Then, again, it could have been my homemade thermite that didn’t work.
Try, try, again. It was a bust. No burning or melting cars.
As it started getting dark, we put the weaponry and such away. We ate, drank, and chatted around our little campfire. A pretty uneventful night from there.
Morning came, and we had to figure out how to get three broken cars to the bottom of the logging road.
Our plan was to coast them down the hill, call a tow truck, and have them brought to a local recycle/scrap yard.
Easier said than done. It was as funny as it was stupid.
Without the engine, the power steering and brakes wouldn’t work. Without power steering, it was like turning a freight ship. Without the power brakes, stopping was quite difficult and slow.
All of this while cruising down a winding, dirt road with a ravine on one side.
There were sections of the road that went uphill, so we would get stuck on those sections. When that happened, our buddy would push us with his truck, accelerating to launch us to the next downhill run.
More than a few times, the truck had to push two cars at once, as we descended with two cars at the same time.
We made it to the bottom of the hill and called the recycle yard. They got the location of the cars and said a tow truck driver would be out to pick them up.
Both the Oldsmobile and Nova were in terrible shape. The Oldsmobile was riddled with bullet holes and dents. It would have fit right into a John Wick movie.
I can only imagine what the tow truck driver thought when he arrived to pick up the cars.
That is a wrap
It is still mind-blowing to think about how many things went right for us on this trip, despite how much caution we threw to the wind along the way.
As if we hadn’t done enough, we actually hopped into my buddy’s RV after this and drove to Portland for more. That’s a story for another time, though.