Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day 24 - Road Weary Travelers but Still Speaking

You know you have been on the road for 24 days when: You no longer can remember your room number for the night. You don’t know where the bathroom is. You don’t know the name of the motel and the key card says dominos. There is a strange man in your room, oh he’s just repairing the TV.

7:15 and ready to leave, Jack, Don, Bill and Bob checking the route and lollygagging around in the parking lot. “For heavens sake, get in your cars and leave!” 30 minutes later, we hit the road, decisions, decisions, decisions.

TDSCF5632Sights of the day, white mountain goat, white kid; Crazy Horse, antelopes, Devils Tower, rock climbers on Devils Tower, prairie dog town, two cross-country cyclists resting in the shade of an overpass (100 deg +), a Subway/florist shop/gift shop/ice cream parlor/card shop, a mama cow standing over her calf making shade for the calf, a huge open pit coal mine with a 100 foot vein of coal.

TDSCF5628Prairie dog trivia, downward tunnel, 3 to 10 feet, then horizontal 10 to 15 ft. They are vegetarians, maximum lifespan 4 years, active during daylight hours only, very social.

Still flirting with vapor lock, but our contingent of 6 cars all still moving. Ray lost his air for a while when the mounting bracket broke, but after arriving in Gillette, found the “Auto Clinic” and had it rewelded.

Here are Lucky Ray stories. Ray got a Golden Age Passport for nothing, while Bill paid $10 because he forgot that he had one in his wallet. His AC bracket broke and the guy welded it twice for FREE! And then went to Taco Johns and got two free tacos and a large free pepsi, Bob and Pat got charged for Ray’s large pepsi and two mediums.

Day ,23,24 Crazyhorse, Mt, 056Jack and Don, Bob and Pat, Ray and Linda, Bob and Shirley, John and Judy, and Bill R. all here in Gillette and leaving real early tomorrow morning to beat the heat. It was only 106 here today.

They sold blasted rocks at Crazy Horse, and so several cars are now heavier, as if we were not having a tough enough time on the hills. It was mentioned that maybe John could carry them in his truck, but he shook his breaker bar at everyone.

Just like old touring times, everyone is in our room, trading tales.


Day 23 - Rushing to Rushmore

TDSCF5617Went out to pack the car at 5:45 AM and Bill R was sitting on the glider ready to go and John and Judy were almost packed, also. Got fuel and off we went on route 18. J & J started out with their usual one headlight until the car warmed up and then they had two! Bob said he had gotten rid of an annoying knock in his car (tightened up the float a motor bolts). I wondered what he meant because I hadn’t been talking for a mile or so. We stopped beside the road to watch the sunrise. We knew it was going to be a scorcher when we saw the red ball rising in the east. The country side was absolutely gorgeous. The sharp contrast of the light color of cut oats and then alfalfa was just like a TDSCF5609painting. We had the road to ourselves and it was cool. All of a sudden we saw small dots darting back and forth across the road. As we approached, we discovered that they were young pheasants and their parents. Very narrowly missed a couple of them. They were eating gravel from the side of the road. The ring necks were beautiful. There was a family of turkeys in the oat field. Then we came to prairie dog town, funny little creatures sitting up alert and then scurrying to their hole.

Hey we have been to Dallas! Now we do not have to go to the national in 2008. Just because it was in South Dakota it still counts. And yes I have signed a paper with signatures from witnesses stating that I WILL NOT go to Dallas in 2008.

Rolled into Pine Ridge for fuel and lunch at 11:00. This little native American burg is a crossroads with construction, one big building for food and fuel and it has pine trees! Took off on route 18 looking for 79. We went through Indian reservation land, many of the residents had a small “shack” with numerous junk cars around it. Passed a road sign, Lone Tree Road and of course there was one tree. Bob that sign said reduce your speed! Don’t have to, we are already reduced.

TDSCF5621J & J and Bill went ahead to try to get out of the unbearable heat. So we kept creeping along and getting nervous as we approached each hill, flirting with vapor lock on each climb. Everything was fine until the last climb before Keystone. So steep, we even had to go to LOW gear. I worried us to the top but not before we boiled and had vapor lock also. Pulled off the road under a tree and began spraying the radiator, everything was so hot on the poor little black coupe. After a few minutes we took off down, down the road to Keystone. As we pulled into the parking lot, there was a welcome committee to greet us. The east side gang (a very welcome site), J & J and Bill all together. It was so good to see everyone. Each day I am so thankful for our air conditioner.

TDSCF5623Got settled in a cool room and all 4 ladies sat down to read the blog and comments. All went to dinner and then to town to shop and have ice cream. We drove to the top of the hill to Mount Rushmore. This has changed drastically since we were here in the 70’s. There are two huge parking garages, and an avenue of flags from each state and an amphitheater. We found a seat and waited for the show. The heads are very impressive. As one sits admiring them, it is very difficult to understand how each 60 ft head was shaped using dynamite. All of a sudden we hear, hey SCVC. Yes you are right, it was Jack C and Don S! We can’t understand how they found us among 1000 people. Again they traveled over 400 miles. That is one tough little roadster and guys also. The program was very patriotic and moving. It was long after a hot day but well worth it. Tomorrow, more record heat predicted, fortunately it is a less mileage day.

Day 20,21,22 063

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 22 - Waterloo, IA to Pickstown, SD

TDSCF5598We poor souls without overdrive got up at the crack of dawn and headed out before the speedy cars. Very light traffic this morning. Several trucks hauling pigs passed us so we started to look for the pig farms, Actually we smelled them first and then saw the long white buildings back off the road. All this corn has to go somewhere. About 100 miles down TDSCF5595the road at Fort Dodge we met Bill R at a gas station. Took some pictures for Janet L. of Fort Dodge signs and the water tower because her mom was born here. Got back on the main road and tried to find Sally and Andy (Bob and Pat’s friends from MN), you know they were in a modern car and couldn’t keep up with the A’s.

From Fort Dodge, three Model A’s (Bob TDSCF5603and Pat, John and Judy, and Bill R.) and one modern car (, Sally and Andy Vano) played tag all the way to Vermillion, SD. In fact, Andy got to drive the little black coupe and I rode with Sally for a while.

John and Judy caught us at the next gas stop in Sioux City and then we traveled all together until Vermillion. Said our goodbyes to the Vanos and off we went westbound into the sun. Getting hotter all the time.

We all seemed to have conflicting maps. No two had the same roads or same size circles for the towns. Route 12 is called the Nebraska Byway. Judy and Pat were driving giving the guys a break. All of a sudden Judy made a sharp right turn into a Dairy Queen. I guess it was root beer float time. Two senior gentlemen stopped to admire the cars and assured us that we would find a motel in Pickstown. We weren’t sure because Pickstown was the tiniest circle on the map and we had driven through a lot of tiny circles that consisted of a clump of trees and 3 houses. After our fiasco of trying to find a room last night we wanted to be sure of lodging tonight. We did find a nice fifties motel with a steak house next door, aaaahhhhh! And it has wireless!!! After dinner we went into the local gas station/bait shop/cafe for an ice cream cone and in walks a couple who had just arrived on a motorcycle from Maine. A little sunburned and hair blown straight back. We traded stories, each thought the other was nuts.

TDSCF5607Somewhere in our travels today, we took a stone to the radiator but luckily it did not make a hole, just a quarter size dent. John is still trying to pull us up the road and Bill is pushing from behind. They are good sports to go so slow with us, roaring along at 49 mph.

John’s truck foamed a bit today and Pat accused him of trying to store beer in TDSCF5606his radiator. Bill’s car just wants to go and Bob’s had a bit of vapor lock but now has a tin foil wrapped gas line and carburetor. It has been very hot and humid, only 104 in Pickstown.

Parking lot maintenance, Bob filled the empty transmission again, John switched back from antifreeze to water, Bill sat on the running board and studied the map. Pat washed clothes.

Heard from Hazletons and Fontaines, they are in Keystone, SD. Dave and Susan, Ted and Susan, Will and Karla are in LaCrosse, WI where they went for a ride on a paddle wheel boat. Daves car is still moving. Jack C. and Don S. are incommunicado today, sure hope they are still moving west.

Late breaking, heard from Jack and Don about 11 last night, they were in Tyler, MN after a 400 mile day. Those guys are tough, they may catch us today.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day 21: Field of Dreams

We left Joliet, IL at 6:00 am with a half hour head start to pick up Bill R. in Aurora, IL who we thought was about a half hour down the road. After 10 miles we were enmeshed in an incredible traffic jam. We called on the cell and told John and Judy to avoid route 30 to Aurora at all costs. We actually turned around found some country roads around the mess. Bob followed his nose and two hours later we arrived on the other side of Aurora. About 2 ½ hours to go 45 miles. We finally caught up with Bill at Lee Center crossroads 2 hours later, J and J about 10 minutes later, and we all had breakfast. Interesting crossroads out in the middle of the farmlands, an implement dealer, a restaurant, and a motel and that’s all, looks like it would be a good place for a gas station. Did I mention that it rained for the first two hours on the road?

TDSCF5583To Chuck Christensen, we have spent considerable time on the Lincoln Highway (route 30 in this part of the country), we know this because it is well marked. We stopped at a Harrah’s casino in Joliet (of all places) to try to find a wireless connection to post on the blog from the parking lot, but no luck. Stopped in Sabula, IA (on the Mississippi) at a one room schoolhouse (converted to a welcome center) where we bought some handmade crafts and a bottle of local cranberry wine (drank the wine this evening, not bad).

Bob filled the transmission again on the little black coupe and then checked Bill’s transmission and added a bunch of gear lube to it also. I think we can be trailed across the country by following the oil drops.


Next stop was on route 20 at Dyersville, IA where we visited the Field of Dreams. The white house, the baseball field, the bleachers and even the corn were all there. It was getting hot and late so we targeted Waterloo as our destination for the day. Had a little miscommunication problem, Bill R. was following John, lost sight of him, didn’t pick up on the fact that he was no longer in front of him and ended up a 100 miles down the road from us tonight. Bob found out that the little black coupe does not like to sit at long traffic lights in hot weather, gives it a touch of vapor lock, until a little speed is reattained.

Sally and Andy Vano (friends of ours from way back when) drove down from Alexandria, MN to meet up with us tonight. They are going to shadow us for a day or so. We have heard from all our friends on the road tonight, Ray and Linda, Bob and Shirley are approaching Keystone, SD already from the southwest. We won’t be there for two more days. Dave and Susan, Ted and Susan, Will and Karla are in Rockford, IL tonight. Dave still has a bad noise under load, everybody has their fingers crossed on that one. Jack and Don are in Waupaca, WI. They had a problem with the roadster today. It did not want to start. Took 5 ½ hours to get it going, changed about everything that could be changed, and still not running 100%, but they are heading west. Never did figure out exactly what the problem was. Maybe it didn’t get enough sleep last night.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day 20: A quick update, circling Chicago

Hi everyone, I just talked to the folks and they don't have any computer access tonight but asked me to let everyone know that the little black coupe and the little yellow truck have made it to Joliet Illinois. They're still heading west and still running (thank goodness). Today they drove through Detroit, Indiana, and the Chicago area at a top speed of 46 mph. Whew. They'll update more as soon as they can.

Day 20 – Circling Chicago (detailed update, as promised)

Hit the road at 6:30 on route 12 out of Detroit, which took a while through the urban sprawl. Drove past several huge Ford plants and one GM plant. Passed one UAW hall that had a sign that said “No foreign vehicles allowed on this property!” Rumor has it that they can get smashed.

TDSCF5574Met long ago friends Pam and Joe Watts from Lansing at Harolds restaurant on Hwy 12 for breakfast and had a short visit. While at the restaurant a senior gentlemen asked if the coupe was for sale and we both said “today yes!” Two miles down the road, lo and behold there was a ’30 coupe for sale, we wondered if it had a working overdrive. Check with John and Judy for an interesting writeup on it.

There was road construction everywhere. Countryside was pretty, and we drove through a lot of Amish and Mennonite farm areas. Actually route 12 is like a scene out of the fifties. We saw vintage roadside parks, drive-in theaters, drive-in restaurants with bellhops, and all the downtown areas actually had stores and looked prosperous. And we now know where lots and lots of motorhomes and camper trailers are manufactured, passed at least 4 large factories.

Route 30 bypassing Chicago was tough, endless towns and redlights. When our clutch legs gave out, and the temperature and humidity became too high, we stopped for the night at Joliet, IL. Hopefully, it will be country driving from here.

Jack C. and Don S. checked in, they are in Port Washington, WI. When I asked how did they get there, they said they had taken the interstate through Chicago and Milwaukee. Jack said “it was very competitive.” I think they were pushing the hell out of that little roadster. Tomorrow they are visiting a cycling buddy in Wawona, WI and then pushing west to rendezvous with us in Keystone, SD.

Bill R. has landed back in Chicago and when we talked to him, was searching for his car, I think he needs a GPS.

TDSCF5576San Jose East side gang is in Laramie, they are making such good time, they may be in to Keystone 2 days early. Looking forward to meeting up with them on Friday.

The little black coupe is running well without overdrive, I even gave it a bath tonight. Included picture is of a dump truck with so many wheels (42) that it looks like a centipede. They must have stringent axle load laws here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 19 – Not a good day.

Dawned another bright blue sky, cool day. Off we went on the QEW, heading for Port Huron and the USA. About 2 hours out, disaster struck the little black coupe. Smelled a hot smell, was trying to figure out what it was and thunk, the Borg-Warner overdrive shifted itself out of overdrive, permanently. Pulled off and looked under the car, the overdrive box was hot and smoking. Didn’t look good. We let it cool down some and determined that it rotated freely, so topped it off with oil, and did a test drive. Seemed to be okay, did not heat up any more, so we proceeded to Detroit in direct drive.

Mansfield Mass.MAFCA Day 19 006 Meneely's Going thru Ontario Mansfield Mass.MAFCA Meet Day 19 009

Tonight, we (John and Judy and Bob and Pat) are staying in Lincoln Park. We have decided to forego our visit to Greenfield Village (which will give us an extra day to get to Rushmore) and we have revised our route of travel to stay off the interstates, and figured out a way to get around Chicago on secondary roads, since I am not interested in pushing the car too hard on the interstates.

Now that the overdrive has thunked itself, I hear two stories of similar happenings, one from Dave J. and one from Bill R. That’s the bad news, the good news is that it is probably okay to continue in direct drive.

Dave J., Will L. and Ted K. are in Dearborn, and will go to Greenfield Village, etc as planned. Dave is having either an engine or a transmission problem, making a racket under load in 2nd or 3rd gear, but okay in overdrive at 55 mph. He will decide tomorrow whether to make a stop in Bloomington for major repairs. Jack and Don are staying with a cycling buddy somewhere northwest of Detroit. The eastbound group (Bob H. and Ray F.) have made it to Salt Lake City. Stay tuned, life is getting more complicated.

As we crossed over the rivers linking the Great Lakes, we were on some really high bridges and could look down at the freighters. Wow!

Day 18 - What is that bright light?

Walked out to the parking lot this morning and there was this incredible bright light in the east. Could it be the sun? We haven’t seen the sun or bright blue skies since western CO.

What a morning, the sky is blue, the grass is green, the sun is shining, traffic is light, it’s nice and cool, the road is level and the A’s are humming. Life is good.

TDSCF5559It is only 9:45 am and Bob spies a MacDonalds at the rest stop. Milkshakes are great for breakfast, just frozen milk. We hummed our way to the Canadian border, crossed the Peace Bridge and the customs gal asked us what were we going to leave in Canada? I replied just money and she waved us in.

Drove the Niagara Parkway alongside TDSCF5560the Niagara River from Lake Erie all the way to the Falls, a gorgeous drive. We came off this quiet country drive and plunged into a tourist mecca. We were amazed by the hoards of people and the commercial development that has occurred here since the last time we were here. On the one hand, the falls, as beautiful and loud as they have ever been, and spray you with mist as you walk around. On the other hand, high rise hotels, ticky tacky tourist traps like wax museums, mazes, hard cafe, planet hollywood, miniature golf courses, house of terror, Ripleys believe it or not, etc complete with loud music and sidewalk barkers. The sidewalks were thick with tourists. We checked into the motel and TDSCF5562walked to the Falls. It turned out to be a good bit of walking and John thought he had seen enough but we convinced him to go to the very end. As we headed back to the motel, the blue sky disappeared and the clouds became very dark. We walked as quickly as we could and just made it back before a huge thunder storm hit. The black clouds of MA and NY are obviously following us. The lightning show was spectacular. We sat out in front of our rooms and enjoyed the show while staying dry.

TDSCF5568We did manage to shop a bit because Pat did tell the custom’s lady that she would leave money in Canada. She managed to fulfill her obligation.

All 6 cars regrouped here in Niagara Falls, ON, all running smoothly. Tomorrow we head for Dearborn.

We did hear from Hazletons and Fontaines who left San Jose this morning to meet us in South Dakota. They have had a couple little problems, Bob H has had vapor lock problems (our Bob H?????) and Ray’s AC seems to have quit. They are working on it frantically because Linda has threatened to go home, although the temperature in San Jose today was in the 110 range.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day 17 – Headin’West.

It is Day 17 which is really Day 1 of the return trip to California. Bob filled the transmission with gearlube again, oiled the front spring, stuffed the trunk and checked out of the motel. Said goodbye to Will L. and to Vicki and Glenn W. and headed down the road towards New York. We were sad to leave the ice cream machine at the Comfort Inn. For $1.50 you could have an ice cream plus entertainment. The machine was shaped like a regular upright vending machine except inside was a small chest freezer. The lid would open and a flexible hose would go to the compartment of your choice of ice cream and vacuum it up and then drop it into the hand slot in the front. I think if Bob could have fit it into our car he would have left our suitcases and brought it instead.

The little black coupe is on the road again traveling with John and Judy G. The A is smiling, Bob is singing and Pat is saying turn on the air. It is so soupy that Bob said, “If you were trying to fly an airplane out here, you would have to wait until winter.” We were hoping for cooler temps today. Well we ended up needing a defroster and a heater. Most of the day was spent trying to drive through an incredible rain storm. There was so much lightning that it was scary to fuel the car. John was out front in his yellow pickup and we were the tail gunners with our flashing lights on so no one would run into us. The visibility was awful. Of course this didn’t keep us from stopping for home made ice cream. Sheets of water were racing across the road. In one spot even the toads were moving to higher ground and trying to cross the highway.

Since traveling was so slow we had to stop in several very interesting antique shops. It is good to be on the road again but it is only day one of our return trip. Everyone has checked in and made it safely to their place of lodging for the night. No pictures today.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Day 16: Mansfield, MA

Took a little tour to Plymouth today for some real history. Stopped to see "Plimoth Rock" which is very small, the Mayflower II which is also very small, and then on to Plimoth Plantation. It was extremely hot and humid but that didn’t seem to bother the Pilgrims in their traditional clothing from 1620. Each person took on the character from someone on the Mayflower. These characters were very knowledgeable about everyday life in Plimoth in 1620. One hundred two Pilgrims sailed on the Mayflower and 100 arrived in Plimoth. During the next six months half of them died because they were so weak from their journey.

We walked to the shore and Pat had to dip her feet into the Atlantic. Now it is official, we have gone from coast to coast. The water isn’t as frigid as the Pacific but a bit chilly.

A blogger “Sparky” from Mary-Mia’s blog stopped by to see us! It was a real treat to meet Donna, Bob, and their dog Sparky from Mansfield.

SCVC members took a group picture in front of the Holiday Inn . This was quite a production. Hopefully we got at least one good group shot.

Did we mention that our little black coupe has an air conditioner in it? Well let me tell you that Pat is one very happy traveler, especially in this weather. All she wants to do is ride in the car.

Went out to dinner and on the way back it started to rain. This was a real eastern downpour. Vicki was following behind us in her rented explorer with both windshield wipers on high and couldn’t see. How do you think we were making out with half of a wiper? We also had to drive through rivers on the road but we did make it back to the motel. We are packed and ready to head out early tomorrow morning. It has been a great Model A convention. I have a difficult time remembering that we are only half way on our journey.

Mansfield Mass.MAFCA Meet 143 Mansfield Mass.MAFCA Meet 142
Mansfield Mass.MAFCA Meet 141

Days 14 & 15: Scenes from the convention

No time to write, much fun to be had. Here are some pictures from the convention (some are my pics, some are from John & Judy - thanks guys!). Enjoy!

Welcome to the convention Guess who's arriving at the convention! TDSCF5519 TDSCF5520 TDSCF5515 TDSCF5517 TDSCF5512 A prize-winning outfit! Oooo, good rusty stuff! This picture cracked me up! TDSCF5502 Al Capone's private car Planes, trains, and automobiles TDSCF5523 TDSCF5522 Hm, has anyone ever seen Bob do this before?

Note about images: The pics are small in case anyone's on dial-up. Just click any picture to see a bigger version then hit the back button to come back to this page. Or, if you'd rather view all at once, just click any picture and then you'll see a little "photostream" box on the right where you can choose "view as slideshow."