Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Race for the Barn.

Late on Tuesday nite, the debate raged on what to do about Nicholson’s engine, leaking water into #2 cylinder. Final decision, put a bunch of stopleak in the radiator, run it around a bit, and then drive it home, concensus was that it would probably make it, although it might be on 3 cylinders.

Wednesday morning, we got up at oh-dark-thirty, quicky breakfast and on the road, Nicholson’s car doing okay, adding a little water now and then, the Alumaseal did its job. Course, the cars are pulling out of the motel and I (bob m) hit the starter button and nothing. Either no contact in the switch or the starter has totally died, whipped out the crank and crank started and raced after the group. We had 11 cars as we wound down the Feather River Canyon, very scenic drive, but lots of trucks driven by sports car drivers. As we left the canyon, we disbursed a bit into a couple of groups, and got serious about getting home, fast food and gas and that's it, go, go, go. As we got to Sacramento, at least 3 cars opted for freeways all the way and headed out. The rest took a short stint on I5 until we could get on the river route down to the Antioch bridge, a very nice and peaceful drive after I5 through Sacramento (where are all those people going?). Fortunately, it was not real hot today, and the two groups played leapfrog all the way down the river. We arrived home about 3:30, banished the A to the garage and collapsed on the couch.

Mechanically, this tour to Pendleton has taken an unusually high toll on the cars. Buenos are on their 3rd alternator, Darryl could be tracked from Pendleton to home by following the oil trail. Nicholsons limped in with a leaking head gasket. Bill Rose has a clack, Melvin has a clunk, Ewart used up two bendixes, Meneely lost an engine in the first car and then a clutch arm and a starter in the 2nd car, Jack shed a fan blade and made a nice new hood dent.

In the minor category, John and Judy lost their speedometer, tachometer and temperature gauge and had a flat tire, even Chuck Elderton had to change a condenser by the side of the road. And I almost forgot, Will Lancaster had a flat tire. The winner of the maintenance free no trouble car prize is Ed Simpson, I want him to work on my car.

At breakfast, somebody brought up driving to Dallas in 2008 and got shouted down, it might not have been the right time to bring it up.
by bob m

The Very End

We all departed the Best Western Motel this morning at 6:30 AM. The same West Bestern in Chester with the frustrating so-called wireless connection that crumbles in the middle of a thought.
Linda & Bill decided against doing major surgery on the Vicky this morning, believing the car could make it home. We left town with crossed fingers, light hearts, and full tanks of gas...invincible. We passed the southern shores of Lake Almanor wrapped in the fragrance of the pine woods, headed down the road to the Feather River. We attempted to run Hwy 70 along the Feather early in the day to avoid the traffic on this two lane route. We succeeded in getting there early but did not succeed in avoiding the traffic.
Truckers there delight in crawling up your rear bumper and breathing on your rear view mirror.
Took a break to watch a train of 100 cars or more squealing along the tracks across the river doing about 40 mph on the craggy hillside. So far, the Vicky was running well, and we longed for home.
Next stop was Yuba City for fuel and a stretch. Someone said that there was a possible fire on Bill's ranch, as he flew by us sitting at the Quickie Snack & Gas.
We figured that was the last of Bill, but the rumor must have been false, because we saw him not long after as we tried to tack down Darryl's new top along the side of the road.
Things were deteriorating...Bob & Patti's starter wasn't doing what it oughtta, their oil was vaporizing in the morning air. Darryl could see daylight where his top should be, and announced that he could not go over 45 mile an hour. Our clutch wasn't clutching so well, and it was getting hot...upper nineties. Plus, we hadn't seen the Vicky in awhile...
Running along the River Road in the Delta, we suddenly saw Bill's, Mel's, and Linda's A's parked for lunch in Isleton. Up, over the high arched Antioch Bridge we ran, on toward the killer Vasco Road, full of crazed drivers and roadkill. Then, over the top into the Livermore Valley...we could see Bill's ranch off in the distant hills, glistening in the hot afternoon sun. By the last climb up the Sunol Grade, we'd lost Patti & Bob, but kept in touch by phone.
Home at last, we called Bill & Linda to make sure. They arrived home under their own power. There were lots of mechanical problems, and a bit of fun. The real miracles were Bill and Mel...Mel had a coupe that by rights should have been dead and buried back in Gold Beach, and Bill's sedan was making terrible mysterious rattles, yet they both made a 1500 mile side trip to Grand Coulee Dam, and kept on running strong all the way home. Now we can all patch and repair for next time.
Thanks for going along with all of us on this 2400 mile trek. See you up the road.