Thursday, September 15, 2016

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment #6: Silver Maple

When we last left Leslie and Ed, they were getting ready to go find out what had happened to Dr. Ellesmere. Pass the popcorn...

We left Dr. Ellesmere’s lab.

We walked to the St. George subway station.

We rode the subway to Confederation Station.

We took the train out to Port of Hope.

And there we waited for the interurban to go north to Cobs’ Corners; that’s where Dr. Mary Ellesmere lived.

Leslie and I had some time to kill waiting for our train to show up for the last leg into Cobs’. Leslie went off to the station to find some food and call the lab to see if Dr. Ellesmere had arrived. I wasn’t hungry and wandered over to the InterTrak staging area on the far end of the platform.

These areas are usually vast seas of personal railcraft waiting to be scheduled onto tracks by Rail Traffic Control. This one was no different. One particular vehicle in the parking area near the platform caught my eye: it was a pre-war, three-wheeled scooter with a side-car. It looked like a gasoline powered Silver Maple. It was a well maintained specimen. The chrome trim gleamed in the sun, the leather work looked new, and its motor had a smooth, low tone. There were no loose cables, stray grease marks or chipped paint anywhere. It was pristine.

A slight, grey-haired man wearing a Dodgers cap was sitting in the operator’s seat reading an InterTrak route book.

“This is a nice scooter,” I called to him as an icebreaker.

He looked up from his book to see where the voice was coming from. “Thanks”, was his reply. “Are you an Silver Maple fan?”

“Not really, but yours is in unusually good shape,” I commented as I looked up and down the impressively preserved vehicle. “I didn’t think there were any still running. Where do you get gasoline for it?”

“There’s still a few InterTrak stations licensed to sell gas. I know a couple, but I was checking for others.” He waved the book for emphasis.

“Looks like you’ve got one of those long-range tanks installed?” I commented as I walked over to the edge of the platform to have a closer look.

“Yeah, better safe than sorry. Gas availability changes.”

“I guess it must be tough to find parts?”

“It can be, but I’ve got a shop at home where I can make some of the smaller ones if I need to.”

Sensible, very sensible. With a machine of that vintage you can’t rely on parts being easy to get, so you need to have some skills. 

I glanced over at the station and saw Leslie leaving with a small bag that I hoped contained snacks. Now I was hungry. I turned back to the driver and said, “It’s been nice chatting with you. Have a good trip! I’ve got a train to catch.” I waved goodbye and started to walk back down the platform to meet up with Leslie. 

The driver waved and went back to studying his book. 

Leslie gave me the thumbs down signal.

Here's the next spine-tingling instalment.

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