Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Aftermath - John Guzzetta


You may have asked what the Mansfield group has been doing after re-entering Earth’s atmosphere over a week ago. For a few days, we washed clothes…more clothes than we ever thought we owned. The Model A even got washed after a week or so, and we examined the old warhorse for new battle scars. Some of us went back to daily pursuits, and the more neurotic among us kept driving…at night…in our dreams. I claim another 1000 miles, nocturnally. I’m still driving that yellow pickup every night to an un-named destination…with weird obstacles along the way. In hopes of leaving the dreams behind, we went to the Jess Blaker estate auction in Turlock this last Friday. We previewed the entire collection of antique cars, clocks, player pianos, car parts and memorabilia on Friday, and stayed overnight at the local Motel 6…I drove another 400 miles in my “A” to nowhere in my dreams that night…

Early the next morning, I knocked on Bob & Patti’s door (#131), and # 133 (Ray & Linda) were already up and ready for another breakfast experience at the McDonald’s next door. This was very reminiscent of an ordeal we had just experienced! Early rising in a strange motel room and fine morning cuisine…brushing your teeth, if there’s time…is my underwear clean? Am I wearing underwear? What am I doing here?

We all trooped down to the auction early. Way early. Got good seats. Up front, so they could see our bid cards clearly when we won that neat yellow speedster. Maybe the little red Maxwell Roadster…2 cylinders! Or that C cab with the calliope in the back…

Bob & Shirley and Dave & Susan came in on Saturday morning…now, this was becoming real familiar! Like dejavue…

Apparently, we’ve been on the road much too long. People with real money to spend had come in from all over the country…in fact from other countries, as well as nosing in on the internet…and none of them gave us a break. I raised my bid card once or twice, but I think they laughed at me.

So, we didn’t come home with anything that Jess Blaker had collected over the years. No Regulator clocks, no Rolls Royces, no little yellow speedsters and no parts piled up on pallets with a numbered tag on a pile of rust. People with big checkbooks, people who flew in on private jets, people, who for the most part, never met the man, took his things away. But according to Judy, it was fun. An experience. And it was certainly cheap at the price. I have to get to bed…time to drive…

John Guzzetta
Ps: in the middle of the auction, 100 miles from home, among maybe 1000 or more people…guess who popped up? Yep…
Twilight Zone…

Aftermath - Dave Jones

From Dave Jones:

Many have noted a lack of trip updates since we returned home. Perhaps you thought all was well. Well, as Paul Harvey would say, "And now, for the rest of the story. Saturday and Sunday were spend resting and trying to remember where the bathroom is in the middle of the night. On Monday, I drove the car to my traveling buddy Ted Kafer's for some engine diagnostic work. First was a compression check. Compression was 110 PSI when I left and now read 65. Decision was maybe it was only rings. My concern about engine noise was met with "its just valves". After all, I had driven well over 3,000 miles after hearing the "ugly" noise around the transmission and complaining of engine noise. Decision was to pull the engine because (1) I needed to determine source of increased oil usage and low compression and (2) I needed to work on transmission because rear seal had failed and caused me to lose LOTS of transmission oil from about Wisconsin on coming home.

Wednesday was the appointed day to pull the engine, etc. Bob Hazleton and John Guzzetta came over around 10 and Bob Meneely joined us after lunch. We had the engine and transmission out by lunch. Too bad, I had no desire for food at that point. Why you ask?

Well, first; the U-Joint came out in 2 large pieces, 20 or so small pieces and lots of bits. What a U-Joint is NOT supposed to look like! We drove this 4,000 miles after breaking? Seems the UGLY noise it made in MA was the U-joint breaking. Somewhere in WI, the pieces tore the transmission rear seal and thus the oil loss. Care to guess how Lucky I am to drive 4,000 miles home?

What a U-Joint is NOT supposed to look like!

Next we began engine tear-down. Removing the head disclosed that #2 piston could be slid sideways soooo much you can check ring gap. NOT GOOD. Next we removed pan. Lying in the pan is the following part. At this point, we can NOT figure out where it came from.

Unknown metal part found in pan. Any guesses?

Our once proud car now sits in the garage.

John G., Bob M., Bob H. and Dave disassembling the engine.

Next, serious engine disassembly began. Removing the pistons disclosed that #2 piston was cracked. Wear in #2 was at least .030!!!! #3 wasn't so good either. Next the crank. Bad, bad wear on #2 and #3 rod throws. The inserts had worn .011 deep groves in crank so they looked like the wagon tracks for the Oregon Trail (not kidding.) The Valves were basically OK (Finally something I could use again.) So now, we are just not Lucky, but Really Lucky to get home!

#2 Rod wear on crank

Wait, there is more. On Friday I went to Bob Hazleton's and tore my 4-speed transmission down to replace seal and change OD gears. We discovered evidence of excessive heat and wear on the main shaft and needle bearings such that they will be replaced/repaired. (Probably due to low oil because of seal failure because of U-joint failure.) So Monday (yesterday), I went to transmission builder and made arrangements for new or repaired parts. AT LAST, I am starting back together! Oh, and did I mention that we are just not Really Lucky to get home, but Really, Really Lucky to get home?

Any Good parts here?

Parts is Parts

So as I write this, the last two pictures are of my garage. You can tell that I will NOT be taking a long trip next week. Would we do it again? YES! Do I have some work ahead? YES. Also, I would also like to point out that I had over 35,700 miles on the engine since spring 2002. The transmission and U-joint probably had more than 40,000 miles as they were installed in early 2001. In no-way can I comment on the quality of the engine or transmission. It was a good run for an 76 year old girl. Just because we have made improvements, etc on the engine, many parts are still 76 year old designs and will not act like modern pats.

I am busying deciding on how to repair things and what I might change. If you want to hear the final decisions, let me know. One change for sure is to add full-flow oil filtering. It is clear that as the engine came apart, the metal parts got into the oil and destroyed everything it touched. Had I not been so far from home and had I been smart enough to tear things down, perhaps some of the damage could have been averted. However, things went South in MA and getting home became the goal. To say Susan and I were glad to drop down the final hill and see the Bay and home is a considerable understatement.

Dave Jones

PS: I am NOT the only person tearing things apart. I know of one badly damaged rear end that came out Friday (comment was "Lucky to get Home". Why does that sound familiar?) Also, another car will not start and I know of another with a broken OD and leaking transmission. I am looking forward to reports from all.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Just for the record, we showed 7753 miles, 29 days on the road, 20 states, 1 province, 33 summits (that we kept track of), sea level to 11, 158 ft, crossed the continental divide 4 times, 67 fuel stops, 408.1 gallons of fuel at avg price of $3.048 per gallon for a total fuel cost of $1243.95. We averaged 19.0 mpg overall, 19.24 with overdrive (4414 miles), 18.67 without overdrive (3339 miles). We changed the oil once. We added 1/2 quart of oil to the engine, two quarts to the transmission, and about 1/2 quart to the radiator overflow bottle. We boiled once on a low gear climb in 110 degree heat. We were stopped once for a short time by mechanical problems when the overdrive took a header. We flirted with vaporlock anytime the temperature was over 100 degrees.

We had over 11000 hits on our Blog.... We are wondering just how many people were tracking us so here is a request for all you folks that followed our progress. Click on the word "COMMENTS" at the bottom of this posting. When the comments page comes up, type your name and where you are in the box on the right side, and then click on "Anonymous", and then click on "Login and publish". This will put it on the blog in the comments section. We are just curious, I know lots of folks watched us and did not make comments or send us emails. thanks a bunch for all your support and good wishes, I think that's what helped all those A's make it all the way home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The final stretch - cheer them on home!

I'll be talking to the folks throughout the day by cell phone and posting real-time tracking updates here, so check back often (you might have to hit "refresh" on your browser to bring up the newest info):

5:40am: 5 cars got off to a roaring start from Winnemucca, Nevada! (Bob & Patti, John & Judy, Bill, Bob & Shirley, Ray & Linda). Don & Jack needed a little breakfast fortification first and will be catching up with the group shortly.

7:48 am: They're on 80 now heading toward Fernley, which is about 35 miles away. After that they'll pick up route 95 toward Silver Springs, NV. They should get to Silver Springs about 9:30am. Care to place bets as to whether they'll have icecream for breakfast?

8:20 am: The "tailgunners" (Dave & Susan, Ted & Susan, Will & Karla & Chris) have checked in. They left Wells at 8am this morning, are currently having lunch at Elko (a fancy McD's lunch, of course), and will spend the night in Fallon. Tomorrow it's on to Carson City, then home Saturday. Have a few fries for me guys!

8:31 am: They made it to Fernley, NV. I asked mom if there was anything cool about Fernley and she paused and said "Well, no. There's nothing but gasoline... Oh wait! There's a sign saying fresh Krispy Kreme donuts, gotta go!"

10:25 am: They're in Carson City. Don and Jack have rejoined the group, and John & Judy apparently flew past them all (go go speed racers!). They all had a quick antiques store pit stop and are now heading to Silver Lake to meet up with Bob B. They expect to arrive there between 11:30 and 12 (gee, just in time to eat again, what a shocker...).

11:40 am: I think they're getting a little giddy, I just answered the phone to hear my dad singing "California here we come, right back where we started from..." They said they just crossed the border and are now back in the homeland. They're running a little late and still have 30 miles to go before they hook up with Bob B at Silver Lake. They're down to 4 cars now, Don & Jack took off at a faster clip, and they think John & Judy are probably halfway to San Jose by now. Heh.

2:55 pm: All 7 cars are now traveling together and homeward bound. Bob B & Paul brought a big icechest of icecream to greet everyone in style - alright! And they have caught up to Don & Jack and John & Judy.

4:52 pm: The 7 traveling As are getting so close to home they can smell it. They're on 580 approaching the Altamont pass heading toward Livermore (shoot I even know how to spell that one, they MUST be getting close). They say Bill R has been keeping them amused with a running agricultural commentary - it's better than tv.

6:36 pm: They're home!!!!!! Weary but still smiling. Rod and I surprised them in the driveway with beer, chocolate, strawberries, and burgers. We figured it had probably been at least an hour since they last ate. *wink*

IMG_1942s DSCF5720s

Cheers, M

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 28 - 400 more miles and still moving

We left Logan in four different groups this morning. Everyone had specific sights they wanted to see but the end destination was Winnemucca, Nevada. As usual John G. came by to bid us a safe trip as we departed at 5:20 AM. We have now found a lonelier road than route 50 (The Loneliest Highway) and it is Utah route 30 From Snowville, UT to Oasis, NV (a ghost town- without a sign). Route 30 is hawk heaven, we counted 85 hawks (that’s the sort of thing you do when the road is lonely and endless). There was one on almost each power pole along the road side. When the power poles stopped there were no more hawks except one lonely pair by a very lonely tree, where one hawk was perched and her mate was perched nearby on a fence post.

TDSCF5689Yahoo, we changed to Pacific Daylight time and gained an hour at the border. You know you are getting closer to California when you are on the same time. Saw many triple trailer trucks and yes, they could pass us on the long hills even with their heavy loads. The tag team of Guzzettas, Hazletons and Fontaines caught us (Bob and Pat) the first time in Wells at 10:00am. Took off towards Elko while they stopped for food and fuel (in true SCVC touring fashion) and Bill Perry (All-Ford) and his band of street rods passed us also heading west (way faster than our 49 mph). What are the chances of meeting them twice on this trip? And now they are staying at the motel next to us in Winnemucca. Our ambassador, Ray, went next door to visit and found out that they are going to the same Basque restaurant tonight.

TDSCF5685Once again Bob and Pat have a room right out of Winchester Mystery house. When you see the picture you will understand. Can’t wait to get home and sleep in my own bed. Everyone is still having a great time and can you believe we talked about the tour we want to take next year, NO not to Texas.

Tomorrow, the final push,,,, home sweet home.

TDSCF5690Late breaking news!:
Jack and Don ground to a halt just 30 miles short of Winnemucca, stripped timing gear. Came in on the AAA truck, and the guys swarmed it and had a new gear in in about an hour. Pic included..

Last day's route

On Thursday, we will be on the home stretch via I80, US 95, US 50, US 395, NV 88, CA88, to Jack Tone Rd, to 120 to 580 to 84 thru Livermore, to 680 and HOME!!!!!!

Bob Beaman is going to meet us somewhere, maybe Carson Pass, come on down (or up), it will be good to see a friendly face, we should be in cell contact all day.

Pass it on. bob m

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Days 25, 26, 27


Day 25

From Gillette, up, up, up and down, down, down to Cody

As we drove up the on ramp for route 90 there were 3 antelope grazing by the road. We turned off the engine and watched these beautiful animals. They seemed so tame until we started the Model A and then off they went. Again, we are treated to another beautiful sunrise. The road is an interesting red color. We drove by an open red gravel pit. That explains the color of route 90.
Drove by herds of antelope. It was very nice of the farmers to plant fields of alfalfa for them. There were herds trimming the alfalfa and herds just lying down in the fields. Saw two elk with big racks.

Stopped in Sheridan for breakfast and saw 10 Model A street rods pull in with California plates. Of course Pat had to go over and talk to the group. It was Bill Perry from All Ford in San Jose and his touring group. Bill wanted to know where were Hazleton and Jones?

Headed out of town to Ranchester and we had a terrible headwind. There were 2 cyclists pedaling standing up but not moving. Started climbing up a very scenic drive to Cutler Hill, 8,347 and on to Granite Pass, 9,033. This was a big climb but the ride down was steeper and we flew to Greybull. Many motor cyclists were on the road to Sturgis and groups of police cars were heading the same direction.

Checked into our motel in Cody and then off to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. This is quite a place. There are 5 museums in one huge building, Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Plains Indian Museum, Cody Firearms Museum and the Draper Museum of Natural History plus McCracken Research Library.

Day 26 – Cody to Yellowstone

The day dawned with cool air and low humidity and everyone is in good spirits. As we bounced out of town at 7:15, Bob was concerned that we had a square wheel, but the tires were just cold and the road was ridgey. We departed in shifts but all cars met at the east gate of Yellowstone while waiting 30 minutes for a pilot car because of construction. Yellowstone was the first National Park and has more than 2 million acres. As we drove through the park we shared the road with bison and elk. We saw osprey, ravens, pelicans, trumpeter swans, and ducks and geese. The neatest attraction was a bald eagle in her nest. We looked and looked and looked in vain but we did not see a bear but Ray thinks he heard one rustling in the bushes. Old Faithful did not disappoint us, it put on a great show for a huge crowd of about a 1000 people. A couple from CA came and sat next to the ladies who sat on the boardwalk, while the men found some rocking chairs on the veranda and watched from there. Patti says it’s because they are older. Toured until 5 and then headed for the hotel in West Yellowstone, MT. Stayed at the Country Inn Motel and our “suite” was like the Winchester Mystery House. (No further comment needed) Walked to dinner, shopped, supermarket, and the local train museum.

There is a tremendous amount of tourist traffic, but the park handles it very well with good signs, and large parking areas. Also the park’s forest is in a renewal phase. I would estimate that fully 2/3 of the pine trees are either dead from pine beetles or from fire. It actually looks very grey and sad in a lot of places. However, new pine trees have started in the burn areas but it will be 20 or 30 years before it is forested again.

Day 27 – Back to Civilization (cell phone and computer)

5:00am, We (Bob and Pat) get a jump since we are slower (Bob keeps telling me that the speed of the car is slower but it is because he can’t pass up rust). We did discover that if you hit the entrance gate at that time of day, there is nobody there to charge you an entrance fee. It was very eerie in the geyser areas as we passed through in the morning twilight. The steam vents were much more pronounced and more numerous than in the middle of the day. It looked like a science fiction movie, especially since we were the only car on the road. Do do do do, do do do do.

Went through Grand Teton in the rain. We actually needed a heater today, and wrapped a blanket around our legs for warmth. Stopped in Jackson, WY for gas and got out our jackets and umbrellas because of the cold and rain. Went into a neat trading post, where Bob and the gentlemen reminisced about oldtime cowboy characters and the names of their horses. Help, we need the name of Red Ryders horse. You betchem Red Ryder.

Good day, beautiful drive on Hwy 89 down the Snake River and then the Salt River, past Bear Lake, and up and over to Logan UT.

All the cars still doing well, we heard from Dave Jones who is struggling a little, see the attached comments. Just two more days if all goes well, leave the light on.......

I found them!

cellphoneAfter 2 days without an update (and several emails from you guys) I finally tracked the folks down and got a quick cell phone update. Whew! Here's the scoop:

They're barreling south on Route 89 in Wyoming on the way to Logan Utah right this very minute. They're in good spirits and still enjoying themselves.

All the cars are still going (YES!!!). They're sorry they couldn't update but they couldn't get even a hint of a computer connection for the last 2 days. (I guess most people don't go to Yellowstone for it's technology, heehee.)

They stayed at West Yellowstone last night and Cody Wyoming the night before. Yellowstone was GREAT! (I asked if they saw Old Faithful and my dad said "You bet!" - can't you just hear him saying that?)

Right now they said they're driving through the prettiest little valley called Salt River Valley. And they just stopped at a tiny gas station/antiques store and met the owner who up and moved there from Boston with her husband. Dad says he can see why, it's so neat.

They said they drove through Jackson Hole Wyoming in the pouring rain and it was a "really pretty, really nice place."

Logistics-wise, they're ahead of pack right now since they left so early because of the slow car problem. The other 5 cars are behind them somewhere (Guzzettas, Hazletons, Fontaines, Bill Rose, and Jack and Don) and should be lapping them soon. (I'm guessing an icecream stop will be in the cards when the group gets back together.)

Also, about 1-2 days behind them are the rest of cars (Jones, Lancaster, Kafer), who will spend a day in Yellowstone and probably won't catch up before they get home.

Mom says she's ready to be home... *grin*