This week’s winner is….
Spring Break 1975
Corona Competitionentry, week 7
by Vernon Jones
I first made the decision to attend college out of state at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Arkansas back roads were great fun to drive in my 1957 MGA, but you just couldn’t buy a beer in that town as a freshman. And I had my first real girlfriend at home. So, having my priorities as I did at that time in my life, I made the move back in-state to the University of Oklahoma after my freshman year. By March it was appearing that my third major was actually going to work out (mechanical engineering, a vocation in no small part dictated by my first MG— but that’s another story). I maneuvered my brother out of his 1966 MGB after he dropped out of college, convincing Dad that I needed the “newer” car.
Spring Break was here! A group trip was planned for about a dozen of us to caravan to Texas’ South Padre Island and stay in a motel right on the beach. The caravan shaped up with my white with red upholstery/wire wheeled/wood plank mounted 8 track player-equipped MGB; a ’66 VW with interior air flow enhanced by a rotted out bonnet seal; a robin’s egg blue Plymouth Duster that was the only new car in the pack; and others I can’t remember, but all well-used and all unlikely to make the 1,500+ mile round trip without mechanical difficulties.
My car, as the only convertible, was clearly the most desirable way to make this trip. I had no shortage of offers from others to drive it, and I coolly agreed as a means to build favors that might come in handy during the coming week.
Sadly, by San Antonio I had run out of drivers and even my girlfriend refused to ride with me. It seems the ride was just too harsh. How could this be? Just the month before, I had “rebuilt” the seat suspensions because the spring mounted rubber diaphragms underlying the upholstered padded seat bottoms had rotted to collapse. My solution seemed so elegant and expeditious! I simply crisscrossed the bottom seat frame with a weave of nylon straps that were pop-riveted into position. The whole fix had taken less than an hour. Unfortunately, the 1-¾ hour drive from home in Tulsa back to school in Norman had not been quite long enough to reveal the shortcomings of my solution.
The seven hours after San Antonio were brutal, even with the cast iron ass I possessed at the time. My inebriations over the course of Spring Break week were largely an effort to forget about the upcoming drive back to Norman. In the course of the beach partying I also got the worst sunburn of my life, adding yet more misery to the trip back.
I required many, many stops on the way home. I had no trade offer valuable enough to entice alternate drivers. By San Antonio my friends (and girlfriend!) could no longer take my whining and solicitations at the too-frequent stops. I never saw them on the rest of the road north or until school restarted the next week.
I still have that 1966 MGB. To this day I sometimes run across a little collection of sand in the trunk, a corner of the floor pan, or a crevice in the engine compartment, and think back to that hard party trip. If only I could remember all the fun they told me I had that week!