How I blew off Earth Day

still life with overhead cam

I recycle garbage into clean, renewable fuel that I use almost all year-round. So in a lot of ways every day is “earth day” around Chez Goolsbee. So while the rest of the first world was sending each other self-congratulatory notes about what they did on “earth day” I blew it off and went for a drive in my archaic, inefficient, old British sports car. The E-type Jaguar was, as Clarkson says, built not to save the planet, just get ’round it as fast as possible. Ironically I went to visit an archaic, yet efficient old British guy!

The plan was to meet my friend Greg Bilyeau near Bellingham, then take back roads up to the border crossing at Sumas/Abbostford, then over to Chilliwack for lunch with our mutual friend Geoff Pickard. As it happens halfway to Bellingham I realized I had left my passport behind. I called Greg and let him know the situation. As Greg wanted Geoff (a retired mechanic) to check his power steering, I sent Greg ahead while I doubled-back to fetch my papers.

After racing to the border mostly by Interstate to make up time, I breezed through Canadian customs in literally seconds, then jogged east to the Chilliwack airport via the Trans-Canada highway. I arrived about the time Geoff was finishing up looking at Greg’s Series 3 steering issue…

Rumor has it, those are actually Geoff's legs. We can not confirm this supposition.

Geoff doesn’t like to have his picture taken. He does however like to have “his” cars photographed:

L—R: the 65E, Greg's '74, and Geoff's '72 (on jackstands for spring cleaning.

In the summer of 2005 Geoff rebuilt my engine. It had been completely bodged by an incompetent (yet somehow famous) restorer in Texas. In hindsight, given what I’ve had to do to address this bodged restoration I’ve come to calling it “The Worlds Most Expensive Car Wash” as it seems clear from what I’ve seen that a half-hearted rinse was about the pinnacle of their skill at the time. Geoff addressed the major issues, and I’ve tackled most of the minor ones over the years. The car is now for the most part ‘sorted’ as evidenced by my long distance tours of late. The engine I owe to Geoff, and his excellent work. I respect his current state of retirement and beyond the occasional plumbing his vast memory of all things Jaguar, I wouldn’t dream of imposing on him for work on my car. However I do like to show him how it is doing, which is why my bonnet is open in the pictures. I showed him how “his” engine is doing and the various things I’ve done to the car since.

After I showed him those various things, and asked some advice on some other things we had this exchange:

Geoff: “How many miles since I did the engine?”
Me: “Um, I don’t know (lean in to look at odometer), maybe fifteen-thousand?”
Geoff: “It’s out of warranty!”

We both laughed, and then went to lunch.

Lunch as always when visiting Geoff is at the famous cafe at the Chilliwack Airport. They are famous for their pies, but I never remember to save room for a slice. Can’t risk taking it to go lest the overzealous guys at the border take it away from me.

Greg Bilyeau waiting for lunch at the Chiliwack Airport.

Speaking of which, the queue at the border going into the USA, in contrast to the morning’s zero-wait going north into Canada, was an hour+ slog. All I can say is: The terrorists have won.

Leaving Chilliwack and heading for Abbostford on Highway 1
The start of the border queue… approx 3:15 PM
The end of the queue, maybe 300 yards further, approx 4:25 PM

Since it took so long to get through US Customs I didn’t have time to take my usual back road route home and elected to follow Greg to Bellingham where I hopped onto I-5 and barreled home.

So I spent “earth day” spewing half-burnt hydrocarbons rather than my usual baby foxes and rainbows out of my tailpipes. Deal with it.

5 thoughts on “How I blew off Earth Day”

  1. The cafe photos were taken with the *amazing* Panasonic f1.7 20mm “pancake” prime lens. I swear it is the most phenomenal bit of glass I’ve *ever* used.

  2. the cafe photos almost look like HDR one as well…

    and earth day? there was an earth day? well today the V8 sits idle so that must count!!


  3. Great story and great shots – are you shooting the EP1 or G(H)1? Been thinking about one and haven’t yet made my mind up. Probably should divest of another camera first…

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