Nostalgic trip to 1955…

Last night we took a nostalgic trip back to 1955, but first let me catch up our mechanically minded readers on our work day. We got an early start about 0630 by starting on the fuel filters. I wanted fresh ones to cross the Gulf. According to the log onboard when we got the boat, they were last changed in June of 2006. That is not as bad as it seems because they only need to be changed every 10,000 miles or 500 hours and it had not been close to that. I started with the secondary filters which are located on the engines themselves. Removed one and saw that the new ones I had were the wrong size hole to screw back on. These were on the boat when we bought it and I assumed they were correct which is always bad. The old one was clean and all the diesel I drained from it was clean so I refilled it and reinstalled. The reason for filling is to prevent an airlock which can kill a diesel and require a mechanic to bleed out the air. I might could do it but then again I would be practicing. These Cummins have a unique feature. There is an automatic air bleeder built in to the system just before the injectors. It will allow a certain amount of trapped air to escape but will not take care of much. But if you follow the directions for changing it says that you should be OK. I was OK and it started right up, stumbled when it hit air and ejected it and ran fine. So I turned to the secondary filters and I had the correct replacements for them. These are Racors mounted on a bulkhead and really do the bulk of the work as they are bigger and better. I replaced them and again the diesel I drained looked perfect. These have a built in pump that saves the mess of trying to fill manually and you pump all the air out through a bleeder screw. Everything cranked and ran fine.

When we came to St. Andrews the generator had died on approach. I did not have time to worry why but this morning I had cranked it and let it run when I noticed overheating. There is a kill switch that cuts off the generator when high heat is detected before any damage can be done. It measures exhaust temperature and saves disaster. So next I checked the water flow strainer. It was fine. It was the impeller in the water pump that had a torn vane and needed to be replaced. I also went ahead and replaced a gasket on the heat exchanger that I had noticed looked questionable the last time I was down there. All seems OK after a 15 minute trial run.

Then the Admiral wanted to clean the cockpit so we broke out the Kool Aid and spruced her up. The boat I mean, not the Admiral.

By evening it was pouring cats and dogs so we suited up in foul weather gear and walked to the Shrimp Boat. This is a landmark opened in 1950 by Lowe Smith and a must eat location for anyone coming to Panama City in the 50’s. It was the Capt. Anderson’s of it’s day. It fell on hard times as things shifted over to the beach and was eventually destroyed by hurricanes and fire.

Lowe’s son, Lauren, promised his dad he would one day rebuild it better than ever. His dad died in 2004 but not before he saw the plans for the new building. It is magnificent and helped to bring this area back to prominence. When we walked in dripping wet it was different by far, but pictures on the wall brought back memories. I was once again a child coming to the Shrimp Boat with my Bigmama and Bigdaddy to eat in luxury. I ordered the same thing my Bigdaddy would have ordered, stuffed red snapper. It was delicious and I was stuffed.

We had a chance to speak to the manager, David, and to the owner. I told him my grandfather was a friend of his father and we talked about the old glory days. They are even restoring the old Cabana Motel across the street which the family had owned. A grand legacy.

Well if I can convince the Admiral to go we may head to Port St. Joe today. got to run. Still looking for a decent WIFI?