Monday, June 29, 2009


Here are some interesting tidbits about our trip to the Model T Ford Club National Tour in Kanab, UT. 197 Model T’s and about 425 people were registered. I think our club, the Santa Clara Valley Model T Ford Club, had the biggest showing, we had 11 cars, and 25 people. I believe that was even more than the host club. There were T’s from 29 different states and two Canadian provinces. We had members without cars from England and Costa Rica. The state with the most registrations was California with 85 cars, then Arizona with 27 cars, then Colorado with 12 cars, then Washington with 9 cars. The farthest state represented was Maryland, then West Virginia, then Ohio. There was one car from Ontario and two cars from Alberta. Most everyone trailered their T’s to the event but one hardy soul actually drove from West Virginia.

For us, we put 1500 miles on the old Bronco and trailer and about 650 miles on the T including our little jaunt down the Las Vegas Strip. We had an altitude range from 4000 feet to 11,300 feet and the T never missed a lick although it got a little weak up at the highest point. In our group of T’s, the only glitch was a sparkplug failure on Ray’s T. Coming home, it was hot, over 100 degrees all the way. This caused some trailer tire problems for Chuck in Bakersfield.

Russ Furstnow and his family and a small cadre of members from the Canyon Country Model T Club put the event on and did an outstanding job. This was the 3rd Canyonlands Tour and they don’t plan to put it on again, so if you missed it, you really missed it, it was great!!! What a great place to drive a Model T!!! What fantastic scenery!!!

Just one picture: one of the driving T’s loading up and getting ready to return to Iowa. that's a little camp trailer on the back. Can you believe it???

Friday, June 26, 2009


Day 8: Zion, 81 mile roundtrip. Today I made my daily 6:30am stop at the Sinclair gas station just down the street from the motel. Let me tell you about this gas station. This is a throwback. The pumps do not take credit cards. Pump first, then pay. A really friendly guy does take your credit card inside and inquires how your day went yesterday and where are you going today. And there is a peanut gallery, three local old guys just sitting around and having morning coffee and donuts, the only thing missing is a pot-bellied stove. They also proffer local advice about the weather and the roads. The whole scene is like a Norman Rockwell painting, flashback to the fifties.

We departed at 8:00 this morning, just before entering Zion, Pat Bratt got out and checked everybody’s headlights, and we put all the tops down for maximum viewing. The drive into the park from the east is spectacular and includes a 1 mile tunnel with no interior lighting. Driving through with a Model T is kind of like being in a cave with a very dim candle. Patti kept telling me to turn my lights on, even though they were on. The problem is your eyes can’t adjust fast enough when you come in out of the bright sunlight. After a few moments, your eyes do adjust, but then you come to a window and the effect is like a flashbulb and your night vision is gone again.

We spent the day riding the shuttle into and around the park. Marvelous place, the sandstone monoliths are huge. It was supposed to be a short touring day, but we did not get back until 4:30 again today and we were one of the early ones. Packed a bunch, went to the final banquet with 430 other folks, came back and put the car in the trailer.

So,,,,,, it looks like we are all done, been great, the car did good, we did good and tomorrow morning we head for home at O:dark-thirty. I will write an epilogue when I get home. So Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are. (Are you old enough to remember that one?)

Pictures for today: The throwback Sinclair station; Entrance to Zion; Great viewpoint on the way into the park; Ray tightening his lugbolts; Waiting for the tram; Ray and Linda just entering one of the tunnels.

(To try and show some of the scenery in the park would be futile, you have to see it for yourself, you just can’t capture it with a camera.)


6:30am: Drivers stirring in the parking lot, checking and rechecking and tightening bolts. Amazing how things loosen up. Could be related to the 3 mile dirt road that we vibrated over yesterday.

Todays tour was 173 miles to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and back. We could have done more with an optional additional 32 miles but we weary travelers passed on that one, too many steep low pedal hills. On the way back, when we broke out of the trees onto the high desert, the wind was howling. Some folks put their tops down, some folks put their tops up. I put Kleenex in my left ear and slowed down to reduce the flapping. Bill thought his depot hack was going to tip over. Tonight we are getting a little rain.

Great sights today: a large herd of buffalo with lots of little ones; the Canyon (always awesome), the high mountain meadows.

Today’s interesting signs:
“Lotto, ammo, guns, beer” (Now is that a combination or what?)
“Ace Hardware and Quilt Shop”
“No passing” (Halfway up a really steep hill, putting along in low pedal at 10 mph, HA!)
(At dinner tonight, on the drinks menu), “Squatters Chasing Tail Golden Ale”, “Squatters Provo Girl”, “Wasatch Polygamy Porter”, “Zion Canyon Virgin Stout”

Today’s true confession from George and Don Azevedo when I asked: “George, how come you can continually pass me on a hill with 4 people in that 1914 touring, what do you have under that hood?” “Oh, not much, does have a Sherman head, and does have high dome Chevrolet pistons, yeah, the cam is a little hot, oh, and big valves, and a counterweighted crankshaft, it also has an oil pump to the mains.” That was all they would own up to right off hand. Did say that it will do 55 on the level with 4 people. Surprisingly enough, it does have an NH carb.

Todays pictures: Heading for the North Rim; Entering the Park; the touring group at the Lodge; Lunch at the edge; a canyon view; buffalo herd (Look at the big guy in the middle watching us.) And last but not least a little high mountain meadow movie:

(Now John, doesn’t that give you itchy feet?)

Thursday, June 25, 2009


7:00 am, the group is looking a little tired in the parking lot. But each of the 5 cars gave a thumbs up and away we went. (Meneelys, Christensens, Fontaines, Roeders, and Bratts) Only 130 miles today, but somehow it took all day, getting back at 4:30, we just can’t resist stopping at anything that looks interesting.

Today our destination was Cedar Breaks National Monument, which is over 10000 ft. Took quite a bit of low pedal for this old non-Ruckstell T. Chuck discovered a 5 gallon hill with only 4 gallons in the tank. Fortunately, he carries extra gas, otherwise one of we other folks would have had to siphon of a quart each.

Beautiful colors, beautiful views awaited us on top. And of course there was a little extra adventure for Ray, Bob and Bill. From the Cedar Breaks first viewpoint, Bob could see a higher viewpoint in the distance with a dirt road going up to it. Couldn’t resist it, 3 miles of steep up, through a snow bank and finally arrived at a 360 degree view from Salt Lake to Grand Canyon at 11,307 feet elevation. Who would of guessed that a T would go that high? We got to the top and discovered that we were looking down on a ski resort. Had a great lunch while we enjoyed the view.

After we came down, we collected Chuck and headed for Kanab. As we got about halfway down, Chucks left rocky mtn brake began to smoke like mad. This was a mystery because he had not been using it all that much. Chuck pulled off and backed off on the adjustment and we took off again. Pretty soon the right brake began to smoke out on level ground. More backing off, and we made it on back, but Chuck isn’t real happy with the amount of braking that he now has.

We did stop at the Moqui Cave, which is a big cavern in the sandstone bluffs. Finally got back to Kanab, glad for some air conditioning, temperature felt like about 100. We need to check all our bolts, Bill found everything loosening on his depot hack.

Quote for today: Pat: “Do we have to go on that dirt road?” Bob: “It’s only 3 miles to the top.”

Pictures for today: T’s climbing up to Cedar Break; Karen & Ed admiring the view; the colors of Cedar Break; watch out for the snow; 3 intrepid T drivers at the top; T’s on top of the world; beautiful alpine zone (we were on that highest peak)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


73 miles, easier day. Off to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The pink color of this huge expanse of sand dunes was created by ferrous oxide. (Model T guys know this as rust.) Today was touring on a bonafide Model T road, some paved, some not.

Since part of this tour was on an unpaved and sandy road, Ray had to improvise a cover for his front wheel bearings since he does not have hubcaps. See the pictures below. Helen christened this arrangement as “hubcups”. We all made it through the unpaved, sand drift and washboard road without losing any parts.

After leaving the Sand Dunes Park, we went to Colorado City, home of the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints, a polygamist community that has made the national news on occasion. Normally this community is suspicious of outsiders for obvious reasons, but they welcomed us by even cancelling school so that the kids could see us and get rides in our Model T’s. A lot of cars gave a lot of kids a lot of rides. It was very rewarding for the Model T’ers. We topped the visit off with an ice cream stop at the local dairy.

Headed for Pipe Springs National Monument, and then returned to Kanab via Fredonia and an antique shop that just happened to be on this road. Got pretty warm on the way back, daily temperature is definitely rising. This bodes for an early start tomorrow because we are going 130 miles and it will be warm again.

Lot more parking lot maintenance going on today, probably as a result of the washboard road. This evening we had a dinner at the local movie museum, and some of us poor souls were drafted to provide the “movie” entertainment for the crowd. Just look at the picture below and don’t laugh.

Quotes for the day:

“You know it cost us $6 to use the restroom today?” (The cost of admission to the Pink Sands Park, which was the official rest stop.) “That’s only $3 a person.”

“Look at all the grownups playing in the sand.” (It was the finest, coolest sand that you can imagine.)

Pat: “Slow down, construction zone!” Bob: “I am driving a T, I am already slowed down.”

Pictures for the day: SCVMTFC cars at Pink Coral Sands; a sand beetle making his track; Arizona state line on a back road; Ray’s Hubcup; Bill hauling kids (the record was 12 at one time); pulled over by a police car; “dummy” cop; the Indian chief and his tribe (I know, I know, how come they are all women.)

Monday, June 22, 2009


At 7:00 am, Patti went to the runabout to start loading for the day, and,,,, found a rubber snake on the floorboard. Woke up anybody who was still sleeping in town. Looks like the SCVMTFC prankster is still out there and on this tour. By 7:55, the snake had been found in at least 3 other cars.

Scenery on our drive to Bryce was beautiful, we had plenty of time to look at it, seemed like it was uphill all the way, although the altitude here must have something to do with that. But guess what, going home was into a stiff headwind, so it still seemed like we were going uphill. Average speed about 28mph (downhill).

Wildlife spotted included, wild turkeys, herd of elk, herd of antelope(with a small herd of about 8 babies), buffalo (with 2 cute little babies).

Glendale police department must be having similar budget cuts to Kanab, another cruiser parked on the street with a mannikin.

One small mechanical problem, Ray developed a bad plug, Arne Jorgensen had a blowout.

153 mile roundtrip today. Mostly full throttle, either climbing or into the wind. Just shows how tough a Model T engine can be. Of course, being at altitudes all above 5000 ft, the engine can't make enough power to hurt itself.

Signs along the way: "Handmade caskets" (we didn't order one); "Fines doubled for speeding" (haaa, very funny); "Nightcrawlers $2/doz" (retro 1950's); "custom made sheepherders wagons (these were cool)"

Lessons learned for the day: When you put the top down and slather up with sunscreen, don't forget your knees!!!!

Video for the day, parking lot entertainment, we all stand around and watch whoever is working on their car:

Pictures: Found in our car!; At the Bryce entrance (only had to drive up the wheelchair ramp to get this picture); Pat looking at nature; my new camper; caskets???; Folks watching the parking lot entertainment; what they are looking at.


Day Three - Happy Fathers’ Day and Happy Birthday to Chuck Christensen

Departed at 7:30 from Las Vegas. It is very early in the morning in LV and no one is out on the streets. Wonder where all the peeps are?

It was a long drive to Kanab through beautiful Utah with all the red mountains. There was some discussion whether it was 100 miles to Kanab or 200 miles, depending on whose GPS was looked at. We arrived about1:15, mountain time.

What a sight, Model T’s going in every direction just like in the old time movies.
Found many SCVMTFC members, Bratts, Roeders, Archers, Barellas, Azevedos, Jorgensens. Rumor has it that the Kepplers are here but we haven’t found them yet.

First order of business was to check out the huge goodie bag filled with great “stuff”. Then off to have our picture taken with our T in front of the waterfall. Then unpack and leave for the picnic at the park.

All of the 198 cars had a BBQ at the town park. We started with a radiator cap contest, wow, these T people are very creative. After dinner and great entertainment, the townspeople were invited for ice cream and they got to vote on the radiator caps also.

After the picnic, we had a five mile parade through and around Kanab. We must mention that Kanab has one traffic light and it will be the only light during the whole week. We crisscrossed paths several times with the T’s while everyone was waving and blowing their horns, what a sight. Try this little video of part of the parade:

There was a cop car parked on the side of the street so naturally everyone slowed down. The Kanab police department budget must have been drastically cut because behind the wheel was a manequin…..


“I don’t think my horn has ever been blown that much.” “My horn stopped working, it’s worn out.”

Quote of the day from Chuck about half way to Kanab: “If you had taken my number, we would be there by now!!!”

Gotta go, the road awaits this morning: we will add pictures later today, check back.

OKAY, here are the pictures: T's lined up at the park; some of the folks after dinner; Chuck was having a birthday; 3 motor meters that are eyecatching.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Day 2

What a day, started the day off with a visit to the US Borax mine at Boron, CA. Really big open pit mine out in the desert with really big trucks that look like ants down in there. One of those places where you don’t wear a hat that you like because it will be whipped away by the wind. Got Patti a really big crystal of borax ore for an anniversary present. Might have been better if she didn't see me pick it up off a pile of rock.

Then on to Calico Ghost Town just outside of Barstow. I hadn’t been there for at least 40 years. I think it is a little bigger and more touristy now, no make that a lot bigger and more touristy. Wonder where they get all that ghosty lumber to add new buildings. Fortunately, it is an uphill town, so you wear yourself out climbing up to the top, and then coast back down to the car, no rescue service required. We had lunch on a deck overlooking the town, very pleasant, and even had a sarsaparilla.

Found interstate 15 to Vegas, and pressed on, man they need more lanes on that road, the traffic going to and from Vegas on 2 lanes each way has got to be near saturation. So, for you guys pulling trailers, the hill coming out of Baker is 16 miles long, very humbling when those 18 wheelers zip by, and I thought 5 liters of displacement was enough.

Stopped at Primm, NV for milkshakes and regrouping, I can’t believe the money invested at this stateline location, 3 giant hotels, monorail, outlet center, roller coaster, used to be nothing but a sign, “Welcome to Nevada.”

Biggest adventure for the day was rolling the T’s out of their trailers and cruising the Strip at Vegas. Remember the Sands, the Stardust, the Sahara, the Hacienda, the Flamingo, all those really big hotel casinos, maybe 4 stories high with vacant desert in between? And you could drive down the 2 lanes of the strip and never see anybody because they were all inside gambling? Fogettaboudit. Wall to wall giant highrise hotels, more giant construction underway, no vacant land, sidewalks jammed with people, at least 4 lanes of stopped traffic each way, looks like Disneyland on steroids. But we had fun, gave the tourists someone to wave at, didn’t get back to our trailers until almost 10 o’clock. Here is a little movie of our escapade.

Quotes for the day:

“I am not walking up there unless they have a sarsaparilla.”

Pat: “For my anniversary, you gave me a rock and a Model T ride?” Bob: Wait a minute, that was a beautiful crystal, and a chauffered tour of the Vegas strip!”

“I can’t remember how much gas I have in the T, and I don’t see any gas stations on this Strip.”

“Hey, did you know you only have one headlight?”

“How come you didn’t get a flyer? (Guys in tee shirts emblazoned with “Girls to you in 20 minutes!!”} Good Lord!!!!

Linda: "I'm glad we are old people and won't be doing this again."

Pat: "After 45 years, he still knows how to treat a woman. Starts off by taking me to a hole in the ground, then to a ghost town, then to Vegas with lots of weird (fill in the blank) and tops it off with dinner at Jack in the Box, (claims it was Jacques)."

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Okay, folks, we are ,,,, on the road again,,,,, goin places that we've never been,,,,, seein things we'll never see again,,,,, and we're glad we're on the road again,,,,,

Got a gaggle of 3, towing our T's to Kanab UT for the national Model T Tour next week. We met at the Safeway in Morgan Hill for gas, you know how much Chuck got off his gas with his Safeway card? Discounted $1.50 a gallon!!!!!!

The Porsche in the background is Glenn's, who came down to see us off and Vicki sent snack bags and frozen chocolate brownies, oooooo....

Through the garlic smell and brunch at Harris Ranch, some folks had breakfast, some lunch and some dinner. After all, we are on vacation, so nothing counts, right?

On south to Bakersfield, temperature climbing, 103 in Bakersfield and Chuck's AC not working. Toured a couple really big antique stores in downtown BF, we all found something we needed, Chuck has a new whatzit? Then up the big hill to Tehachapi, little cooler. Had dinner and entertainment at the Apple Shed. Ray had a peach pastry for an appetiser, dinner and then an apple turnover for dessert. Me, I just had home made apple pie with a big scoop of ice cream.

Quotes for the day:
Chuck: "my handheld radio doesn't do 5.6." Linda: "You must have a Chevy radio."

Chuck after checking under the trailer: "It's getting harder to get up." Bob: "That's because the ground is lower than it used to be!!"

Bob: "When we get to Vegas, I'm going to cruise the strip in my T cause it might be my last chance." Ray: "I'm younger than you, so I'll have another chance."