When the foot pushes on the accelerator, the golf cart is supposed to move. "Supposed to".
For years we've had problems with getting the golf cart to go, especially when the engine is cold. It's one of those things that is more 'on' than 'off'. After having mechanic after mechanic 'fix' it only to have it revert back to old habits, we've learned that the easiest way to get the motor warmed up is to put the cart in neutral, lift the front seat, move the yellow plastic thing to one of three stops where the engine doesn't make any noise when you push on the pedal (I'm sure that piece has an official name but I don't know what it is).
Then we balance on our right foot while placing the left foot on the accelerator. The left hand is holding up the seat, and the right hand pushes on the accelerator thingy, which gets the gas moving and the engine roaring. Once the engine comes to life we can let go of the accelerator thingy and just keep the gas pedal pushed to the floor while the engine revs its little heart out.
A minute or so later (or several, depending on whether we really gave it enough time or if we have to repeat the process again), and we can move that yellow plastic thing back into one of three positions where the engine doesn't make any noise when you push on the pedal when it's in neutral. We drop the seat and hop on, placing the cart in forward gear, hoping to take off. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't and we have to repeat the process all over again.
This morning we were out of milk for our coffee, and the little store around the corner hadn't opened yet. I decided to hop on the cart to find a store that was open. Of course the cart wouldn't go, and just as I was starting the well-known sequence, Miguel came out to help. But this time he lifted the BACK seat. Why?
Turns out there's a whole other section to the accelerator back there and I got to see how it all connects. First there is a spring that opens when you push on the gas pedal. The spring is connected to a lever, and when the spring opens the idea is that it pushes on the lever, which moves a cable on the opposite side of the lever towards the front of the golf cart. The cable on that opposite side is connected into the accelerator thingy that we are used to manipulating in the front.
Miguel got the engine going, and held down the gas pedal to warm up the engine. When he released the pedal, the lever sprang back and the piece with holes, attached into the end of the lever, popped off. It looked like there was a screw that should have been holding that piece on, but I didn't see a screw anywhere.
Ok, so now we're short a screw (some people would claim we are short a few screws, but anyway...). I decided that the store was probably open by now, so walked back and got my milk while Miguel tinkered with the cables. On my way home I saw a pointed screw lying in the road in front of the workshop down the road, and wondered if I should pick it up in case it would come in handy. I decided to just leave it there, surely we had screws lying around the house.
When I got home I saw that Miguel was still searching for a screw, so I told him about the one down the road. He just looked at me and chuckled - I think he thinks I'm more Mexican than the Mexicans sometimes. To think I would pick up a discarded screw in the road!
Finally Miguel found everything he needed and he made the repair, and the golf cart is once more on the road. It was touch and go this week as to whether we were going to keep it running - the axle broke the other day and a new piece would cost $150. I told Miguel to forget it - I'm tired of sinking money into this cart, and it seems like it's at the shop every couple of days.
But not having the cart all week turned out to be quite inconvenient. I was housebound, and I do like my little tour of the island when we go out. So...I asked Miguel if the cart could be repaired at less cost, and luckily one of our mechanics had a used piece for the axle and we are once again out and about.
Until next time, because we all know there will be one...