Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harleys and Fire Engine Envy

Winter approacheth, and taking Engine 17 out will necessarily be curtailed somewhat during the lousiest parts, but today was a good day to take her out. One of the worst things for this rig would be for it to sit too much. Gotta take her out and run around sometimes, let the engine warm up and see some fresh air.

Since the weather was so nice, it was a good time to do the weekly check on the 'real' fire truck at my house (Squad 6), so I brought Engine 17 up to the main driveway to idle while I finished the full rig check on 6. Even with 6's diesel engine and 2-cycle pump engine both running, the unmistakable sound of the Detroit was rumbling over it all.... wrap that up and let's go already!

So, with Squad 6 checked out and the typical minor deviations found on such a check summarily corrected, it was time for a country drive with the American LaFrance.

Stopped at the corner store a few miles up the road and left her idling in the corner of the lot.

There, on a bench in front of the shop, were a couple of hardcore Harley riders in full leather and appropriate regalia, graying ponytails nearly to their waists, taking a break next to their shiny big bikes.

"Hey man, what kind of fire truck is that?" one asked.

"American LaFrance, 1970 Type 900," I replied.

And so it started. A bunch of questions and a great conversation. We were several minutes in before it hit them.

"So... wait... so that's not an 'official' fire engine, is it?"

"No sir, that rig is not in service, it is privately-owned."

The look in his eyes was neat, a nice kind of acknowledgment between men who have their big boy toys along with them to share.

I eventually went into the store to get some junk food, and despite their cool customer demeanor, sure enough... they walked over to check her out.

Fire Engine Envy. Even Harley riders aren't immune.