SCOTTSBLUFF — The anticipation began to culminate as my dad, Sean O’Brien and I made the final preparations on the 1964 Corvette ahead of Thursday’s Sugar Valley Rally tech inspection.
After rolling the car out of the trailer and into the garage Thursday morning, we started testing the headlights, taillights and blinkers. They were operable.
Then we popped the hood and decided to check the timing using my dad’s timing gun. After turning the engine on, I shot the light onto the timing indicator tab to make sure the car was ready for our three-day cruise. Nothing happened. My dad took the timing gun and tried, but the connector to the cylinder was not secure, so he adjusted it. He tried the light again and it started flashing. The car’s timing was good.
Just as my dad and I were assessing the reading, I see motion out of the corner of my eye. The car’s windshield wipers started gliding across the windshield.
“Look,” I said. “The windshield wipers are on.”
We looked at each other dumbfounded. Ahead of arriving in Scottsbluff, dad had unplugged the wires and cleaned the engine compartment, trying to get the wipers to work.
“I had diagrams of where the wires went and had mapped out everything, but I couldn’t figure it out.”
With the wipers on, dad removed the stainless steel shielding to test the wires. The ground wire had shorted, causing the wipers to remain on when the power was on.
After disconnecting the ground, the windshield wipers stop.
“Well, at least we have wipers now,” dad said.
The irony of the situation was we did not anticipate the windshield wipers coming on as we messed with the engine’s timing, but it was the first unexpected event of our Sugar Valley Rally experience.
Once we stopped the wipers and polished up the car, we decided to take the soft top off as we cruised to the Star-Herald.
As we sat at the stop signs, the purr of the motor rumbled the car and it took me back to our Saturday night cruises. Dad hit the gas and took off down West Overland before I realized my hair was not braided. My hair started swirling in the air and I remembered why I used to tie my hair back. While we were only going a short distance, it was the maiden voyage through the streets of Scottsbluff and was the start of a memory with the 'Vette, my dad and our first Sugar Valley Rally.