Monday, December 31, 2012

Stewie Caldwell and the Magic Roach Clip

One of my best friends when I was stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah was Stewart "Stewie" Caldwell.  He was a smart, funny kid from San Francisco with a bright yellow Superbeetle who smoked a lot of weed.  We worked in live fire munitions testing.  I worked connecting the missiles to the testing equipment, Stewie was one of the ammo handlers who brought the missiles to the test-firing range.


Stewie and I would hang out together in the barracks and went to Salt Lake City almost every weekend so he could resupply his stash and we could meet girls who were possibly more interested in Stewie's stash than in us.

On one of these trips, a sudden Rocky Mountain blizzard blew out of the west turning I-15 white with zero visibility.  Then the gas pedal broke.

The pedal!!!

It came apart and we were idling downhill trying to think of what to do and how to get off the road so we would not be crushed by a semi.  I am not sure which one of us came up with the idea, but the throttle was operated by a cable that went all the way back to the engine in the rear.  There was a bit of cable sticking out of the floor with a crimped piece of metal on it.  Stewie kept his Roach Clip hanging on the dash.  A minute later I was upside down under the dash.  I put the roach clip on the throttle cable and became Stewie's throttle.  This was tricky in the snow with a stick shift, but he would ask for more or less gas and after a while, I could get the throttle in about the right place.

The next challenge was going through the gate.  Stewie showed the air policeman the broken gas pedal and said it was my turn to be head first under the dash.  They let us in the base!

Stewie would never go anywhere without a roach clip before it saved our lives.  Now he also bragged about his roach clip to every girl he tried to impress.


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