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THE FAITHFUL MABEL: Gassin' up at the local watering hole.

It's been a helluva winter, man. I don't have to tell you. No matter where you live in the country, you've been living this hellacious winter, along with me. We've all been a part of this involuntary, captivated audience to this hideous play. Yeah, I know. Everybody's a critic. I'll tell ya what. The plot stinks, even thought some of the play's scenery is hauntingly beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that view is jaundiced, when you're shoveling snow for hours.

It seemed like when one snowstorm ended, another was waiting in the wings to take over for the depleted storm, like some demented understudy, eager to take over the starring role in this tedious play we call winter. The director of this play is Old Lady Winter. What do you say we give the stage a rest, huh, Ms. Winter? The actors in this play, are a little tired and need a break. Not fer nuthin' was Old Lady Winter nicknamed, Nuclear Winter.

I took my '72 Corvette Stingray, "Mary" out today. That's something I've been able to do all winter long, because unlike her sisters Mabel (my '71 Super Glide) and Amy (our '97 F-150), Mary stays in an indoor garage here in the Lower Beast Side of NYC. Both Mabel and Amy are kept in an outdoor parking lot, that's part of our apartment house. The lot is fenced and locked, so Mabel and Amy are secure---but they are exposed to what Old Lady Winter spews at 'em. Guess what Mary's indoor garage means: No walls of snow surrounding her, when I go to take her out. That means no shoveling. Mary wouldn't last outdoors. These old Vettes' chassis parts would corrode like crazy. She has to be protected from the inclement elements, in a way that Amy and Mabel do not.

All the snowstorms this year have required more snow-shoveling, than in the past five years combined. Mabel and Amy are just not as available to me as Mary, when the snow piles up two feet deep around 'em. Man, I hate shoveling snow. One of the storms was particularly bad, because of the subfreezing temperatures following the snowfall. Getting rid of the two inches of hard ice that formed on Amy's hood (our Ford pickup), took most of the three hours of shoveling and clean-up, in order for me to take her out. I had to be especially careful, because we had Amy re-painted this gorgeous gloss black last year, by Jerome at his Ludlow Garage. Amy used to be this mousy maroon. Now she's an Evil Black! Black paint always makes a statement. I didn't want to scratch her hood while chipping away at the ice on her hood. It was slow going and painstaking.

But, The Big Thaw is underway! I even went to take the Mabes out last week, but discovered that the harsh winter she suffered in her outdoor parking lot, took a deadly toll on her battery. This was a battery that I bought only a year ago. This set a record for how short a life one of Mabel's batteries, had. One year, man! Even with Mabel outside all year round, I usually get at least three years out of her batteries. The one year life sentence paid by this current one, is a testament to how insistent and pounding Old Lady Winter was this year. She's been hard on Man and Machine. It was time to order a new battery for Mabel, so I can wake her up for 2014.

For the past few years, I've been buying my Harley 65991-82B AGM batteries from Team Latus Motors, a pretty good vendor I found online. Their service is good. This was a link I gave you for 'em, in case you want to check 'em out for parts. Andrew Rosa, my trusted Harley engine builder and ace mechanic at his Rosa's Cycle Shop in Huntington out on The Island (we Queens and NYC people always say, "out on The Island" when we refer to Long Island), recommended that I routinely change to a fresh battery every year, anyway---but this is ridiculous. Oh well. That's price of doing business when yer a biker who doesn't have a magneto-fired bike.

It won't be long until I hear Mabel's sonorous voice again, gas emissions blasting out of her straight pipes, again! Her battery wasn't the only casualty of Old Lady Winter, though. Mabel's cover was ripped to shreds by Old Lady Winter's winds. I've got another one coming from J & P Cycle. I've gotta say, the Internet has made parts procurement, a lot easier. It is amazing how integral a part of our lives, the 'Net has become. Can't live with it, can't live without it!

Photo by Genghis

Mary's glass packs make my Vette righteous-sounding!

As for Mary, who I took out for exercise today, what can I say about this loud and righteous machine? Man, she wakes up the neighborhood with her V-8 rock and roll emitting from her glass packs, just the way I want her to. Mary's a Bellowing Ballistic Missle on high test energy, a machine that makes my heart glad. If there's any sound that's almost as righteous as the sound of a Harley motor, it is the sound of a Chevy V-8 being activated in anger. It is so much fun to drive her, man. I feel so blessed that I have both Mabel and Mary, different Instruments of Intimidation, subject to the whims of my right hand and right foot. Later.