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Your first Montana 500

A piece of fiction by Tom Carnegie.

You have been tweaking and tuning for the last two weeks, and now you feel that your T is ready for 500 miles of flat out driving. Up onto the trailer you drive her. It seems a shame to put your T in such an undignified place, but you must be practical. The drive to Montana is two days. The trip to Montana is uneventful. When you pull into the hotel parking lot, the large number of brightly colored T's lets you know you are in the right place. You get out and stretch your legs. No sooner than you work out the first couple of kinks in your joints, someone is over talking to you, asking you where you are From and welcoming you to the run. You find out that several of the T's have already been inspected. You aren't sure exactly what that means, but you find out that it is a rather painless operation consisting of being fitted for a restrictor plate, having your engine sealed up, and a quick safety inspection. You look around, and notice one of the drivers has a coil tester, which he is somewhat earnestly cranking away on. You wander over his way, and before you know it, he has volunteered to tune up your coils. Couldn't hurt, so tuned they get.

An announcement is made of the upcoming drivers meeting. At the appointed time, the president goes over the route for the next day, meeting time and place and any other special information that you might need. Numbers are drawn for starting positions. If Ed Towe shows up, he always gets the highest number (it's a club tradition). After the meeting, people head to their hotel rooms, or go out to the parking lot to tune a little more, kick tires and swap lies.

You wake up bright and early. Out to the T you go. A few of the drivers are already warming up their motors. You decide to gas up and check the air in your tires. A half-hour or so before flag-out time one of the "locals" offers to lead you out to the starting line. Several T's head out one after the other. When you get to the starting line, several of the low numbered cars have already lined up in order. You find your spot and get into line. At the top of the hour, out goes the first T. Soon the car in front of you goes. In one minute, it will be your turn. The longest minute of your life has just begun. You watch as the T before you becomes a speck, and then disappears. 15 more seconds to wait! Now 10 - Now 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 GO! The adrenaline is flowing as you ease in the low pedal - you don't want to stall out now. Soon you are cruising down the highway. Your T sounds great and strong. You fiddle with the spark a little, fiddle with the carb a little. Everything is tuned to the max, and you and your T are as one. Now you start to relax a bit and it strikes you: this just may be the most beautiful country in the whole U.S., and this just might be the nicest day ever.

After what doesn't seem like enough time, you notice a speck in your rear view mirror. You turn around, and sure enough, a T is approaching you from behind. Slowly but surely he gains on you, until now, he is right behind you. The traffic is light, and soon he is around you. He gives you a friendly wave, and you watch as his bright green car pulls farther and farther away. Around a couple more bends you notice that you are gaining on a car. Sure enough, it's a T. It seems like a long time, but finally you're right behind him. You notice as he frantically twiddles all manner of knobs and levers to try to coax just a little more speed out of his car. It's no use. You're going to pass him. The double yellow line goes away, and you make your move. Around him you go. You know just the wave to give him as you go by. What a thrill! You continue down the road on cloud nine. Oh - no! What's that up ahead? It looks like a dead T along side the road. Sure enough, it's your friend in the green T with his head under the dash, and his feet sticking out the driver's door. You hope it isn't too serious, and it probably isn't - maybe wiring or a bad switch. Soon you see the flagger up ahead and you pull into town. You love driving your T, but this is far and away the most fun you've ever had driving a T, and that's saying a lot.

(the end)

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