Barb and I lived in Albany, Oregon, some two hundred miles south of the mountain during the period that included the day it blew out – May 18, 1980. There were a host of unknowns congering our fear. We didn’t know what the ash might do to us. Ash flakes the size of half-dollar coins floated down in our yard like gray snow flakes.
I was service manager at a Honda Car Dealership in Albany. And we went about our business selling air filters and giving advice about things about things we didn’t understand.
One evening, after the owner, mechanics, and sales people were gone and I was the only one in the store, a faithful Portland customer sang into the service drive. He’d traveled the hundred miles because he trusted us.
“Will you replace my air filter?” he asked.
“Of course,” I replied. But when I raised the hood I was unable to see the engine. It was as though he’d filled his engine compartment with Mt. St. Helens volcanic ash. THIS ENGINE IS TOAST, I thought to myself. But instead of saying anything to him, I washed the engine down with a water hose. Only then did I unbutton the filter cover.The breather side of the filter was totally clogged. But I felt no grit between the air filter and the carburetor throat.
The filter had preformed as advertised.