Monday, October 17, 2016


October 15, 2016:  Rained a lot during the night and Saturday morning, we had one very reluctant Model A.  Just would not go. Had spark, had gas, had compression, swapped parts, just not happy. Puzzled looks all around.
  We finally decided that it just needed to rest, left it and went on to Travis AFB.  This is where we finally crossed off the planes part of the tour.  Even though we have been talking to the folks at the Travis Heritage Center since August, and confirmed two days ago, they never heard of us at the Visitor Center where they were supposed to have visitor badges ready for us.  They informed us that we could still go to the Center but we would have to fill out a form and they would do a background check on the spot.  45 minutes later, 4 folks had been partially checked in.  The handwriting on the wall was clear, this was not feasible.  We took a show of hands and abandoned the effort and proceeded on to our next destination, the Western Railway Museum.  We will investigate this SNAFU later.
At the Railway Museum, they were running these cars that used to run on the Oakland Bay Bridge.

The train took us to a pumpkin patch, with pumpkin pie, bluegrass music and pumpkin chuckin.


So now that our itinerary has gone to hell and we are winging it,  where we going for lunch?   I phones were consulted, and we decided on the Point Restaurant in Rio Vista, and this turned out to be a great choice.  Long table by the window, river view, and more food than we could eat. 

So, despite our lack of planes to look at, I think everybody had fun, the weather wasn't too bad, only one car went home on the big yellow truck, the reluctant A finally started when they went back for it, and drove on home just fine.  And I may take a job as a rainmaker.


Had the idea for this Model A tour when I read a little news item about the last two ferries in CA that are operated up in the Sacramento Delta by Caltrans.  So laid out a route, added a couple more attractions and generated this flyer,,,,,,
Lots of folks responded and we left the starting blocks with 18 cars, 14 A's and 4 moderns.  I might mention that the weather forecast was dire, rains heavy at times, for the whole area.  But we got a little bit lucky and kind of dodged the heavy stuff.  The ferries were fun, we split the group in two and one group took the ferries from E to W, and the other group took them from W to E and we passed in the middle.

And as you know, this Model A Club travels on its stomach, so on to the Bighorn Restaurant in Rio Vista for lunch. 

While we were in the Bighorn, the rain was playing havoc with the power grid, the lights in the Bighorn went off and on at least 10 times and finally the whole town went off for good. We finished up lunch, not by candlelight but by cell phone flashlight.  It became a real safari adventure to find the restrooms down a long ramp into the darkness.  And, take away the power and you cannot pay with credit cards. Just like old times, a bill scribbled on a scrap of paper, and pay with greenbacks.  After lunch, it was a rainy drive to the Jelly Belly factory.
The factory was operating and it was fascinating to watch all the moving lines and robots.  Loaded up in the gift shop and headed for our hotel in Cordelia.  Here the group ferreted out the liveliest place to have dinner, the Slanted Tree Taproom.  The people in the next picture shall remain nameless, but suffice to say, those appetizers look a whole lot like draft beer samplers to me.
End of Day 1


Tuesday, July 05, 2016


Home we are, despite the best efforts of CA highways to reduce our rig to a pile of rubble.  Coming up I5, which is breaking up very badly in the truck lane, we slammed from one hole to the next for miles on end, resolving never to do I5 northbound again.  Finally, Patti heard metal dragging on the road.   Started out with an occasional ping and finally got loud enough and continuous enough that I could hear it, we pulled to the side of I5, which is a bad thing to do anytime.  The damn tail pipe has broken just aft of the last hanger, just couldn't take any more jouncing I guess.  I broke it off and we went to the next exit to deal with it.  Baling wire and plumbers tape to make a temporary hanger and we came on home.

Anyway, here is a synopsis of our expedition to Albuquerque.  12 days on the road total, 4 days to get there, stopped lots, 5 days of touring NM (hub tour), 3 days to hightail it home (no stops).  2049 miles on the Bronco, 468 miles on the T, total gas for the Bronco $409.65, total gas for the T $48.54, most expensive gas, $2.90 in Los Altos, cheapest $1.99 in Albuquerque. There were 92 T's at the event and over 200 people.  Only one T had a fatal problem.  Highest altitude in the T was 9101 ft at the Valles Caldera (1.2 million years ago volcano)  enroute to the Jemez Pueblo.   Lots of low pedal.
Pat's favorite sign on the whole trip, "Indoor Machine Gun Range", this was in Needles, those folks ain't voting for no stinking gun control.

Yesterday evening, Pat went out to take the Fusion downtown and came back in and said it is vibrating.  Raised the hood and this is what we found.

A damn rats nest, Fusion running on 3 cylinders because of the chewed wires.

Spliced in some new wires and set some rat traps.   Went out this morning and the new wires and more of the other wires were chewed, no rats in the traps.  Got it to run again, more drastic measures required.  (machine gun?)         End of story.   Where we goin' next year?

Friday, July 01, 2016


Boy, some maddening developments today.   Overnight, a truck, trailer and speedster were stolen.  And one vehicle broken into in the parking lot behind the hotel. That is the bad, the good is, they found the truck and arrested two scumbags, but have not located the trailer yet.   The hotel has a security guard walking the parking lot tonight.   I would like to invoke sharia law for this, whack of their hands.

On a lighter note, Sam the snake found one final place to lurk,  Bill bratt's speedster.

Nice easy day, toured within 10 miles of the hotel, including getting lost.  Found our way to Old Town and Pat bought two ankle bracelets from this nice Indian lady who is a sidewalk vendor.

Our next stop was the Unser Racing Museum

The ladies were all thrilled and loved it, Ray and I hated it.

Great collection of Pikes Peak, dirt track and Indy cars plus a collection of Model A Fords, an apparent weakness of Al Unser's.

The above is the car Al Unser won Indy at age 47.  They had a simulator that you could drive 5 laps at Indy in.  I was very fast but I hit the wall three times,  don't laugh.

Tonight, the wrapup banquet.   Ed Archer provided some of the entertainment.

Managed to get a picture of most of the folks there,,,,,

Hey, these guys won my raffle prizes, original Indian pottery from Jemez, and a brass motor meter..

The other part of the entertainment was Lorna Azevedo's Ernestine at the switchboard.  Hilarious.

Well that is it for this Model T Tour, next year's tour is a return to Whitefish, MT.  Lot's of people remember that one and the Majestic Mountain Ski Resort transmission eater hill.

We won't be blogging on the trip home, just pedal to the metal, will do an epilogue later.


Santa Fe to Albuquerque, 122 miles, took the long scenic route.    Departed the Buffalo Thunder Resort and started climbing.  Up through Los Alamos again and then up some more on NM route 4, scenic byway.   Three miles steep stuff, low pedal, abusing the poor old pickabout at 10 mph, high rpms.

At 9500 feet, on the rim of an ancient volcano, overlooking the caldera, called the Valle Grande, beautiful verdant untouched valley,  elk heaven.

Descended down to the Indain pueblo of Jemez Springs.  Walked the trail around the old Spanish Mission dating from 1600's.   Explored a restored Kiva,

Down that ladder into a room maybe 30 ft in diameter, 12 ft high, with stumps to sit on all around the perimeter,  instantly transported back to a previous time. No pictures allowed inside.

Here is a little oddity, these are everywhere, every dwelling seems to have one, an outside bake oven.

The Jemez Tribe hosted us for lunch.  They led us on a tour through the streets of the Pueblo, kind of a grand parade, again no photos allowed in this part of the pueblo, but it was quite fascinating mix of old and new, narrow dirt streets, small houses, lots of outdoor bake ovens.  We waved, the folks waved, must have been the big occurance of the summer.  I like this picture of our parade of cars just before we entered the Pueblo.

Our parade ended at the community center building, the biggest and most modern structure in the pueblo, and we were treated to a lunch of Indian frybread covered with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions and a fruitcup.   We even had entertainment,  these little guys did a butterfly dance for us.

One of the elders gave a history of the Pueblo, the folks living there are the actual descendents of the folks that lived there 400 years ago.  After lunch, lots of folks gave kids rides in Model T's.  I might have a picture on Pat's phone.

From there, back to the modern world, down down down to Corrales, for a stop for root beer floats at Larry Azevedo's home. (and garage, and workshop).  Very nice under the huge cottonwood trees.

I want Larry's workshop. This is just one little corner.

That's it, lots of redlights and back to the Elegante Hotel and collapsed.  Well not quite, went across the street to the Village Inn and had a chocolate milkshake for dinner and apple pie for dessert....  My cure for a hot afternoon drive......

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Up at the crack of dawn,  all the cars were wet, good thunderstorm last night, seems to be a nightly occurrence.    In the parking lot before the rush, long shadows being cast by the T's.

First stop was Bandelier National Monument, a very early pueblo way down in a canyon by a stream.   Ancient peoples, longgone.     It was a very steep road down into the canyon, we stopped at an overlook and had a look before committing the T to the task.

Am I really going down there?

This canyon cut by water through volcanic cliffs,  and the ancient people enlarged naturally occurring pockets to make dwellings.   We did explore a few of them.

Home, sweet home.  The kiva below was quite large.   The typical dwelling was about 10 x 10 at the most.

Next stop on todays tour was Los Alamos.   Now, you will notice that there are no pictures of that little excursion,  very frowned upon.   In addition, Bill and Pat Bratt were selected for the random search, pat down for weapons and inspect the car.  "What's in the back?"    "Tools to fix the car."   This shady couple was then judged to be harmless and they passed through the check point.  Great fried chicken lunch in the original ranch building at Los Alamos and then a tour through the museum.   Would have loved to take a picture of Little Boy and the Fat Man but did not.  

Los Alamos is on top of a rather remote plateau and the road down is steep and curvy.  "Patti, take a picture."   " I can't, I am too busy leaning!!" 

All still present and accounted for.  Tonight we will make sure nobody glows in the dark.

One more funny story.   Jim Boyden had a starter switch failure.  Could not get the car started.    Solution:  Jim posted Jean at the controls, crawled under the car and shorted across the starter terminals with a screwdriver.   Car started, Jim was not run over, life is good.

Gotta throw in one more picture,  since we knew in advance that the hills today were going to require some significant braking, Ray tightened up his brakes.   So,,,,,    all day, the car seemed to lack power.   Finally discovered one really hot brake drum.   Loosened it and problem solved.   Must be a moral here somewhere.  Let's see, if it ain't broke,,,,,,,,,,,,,


You know how you can tell a good day coming?     Leaving the hotel in Albuquerque for Santa Fe, I hit 7 miles of green lights through the city,  Wahoo!!!!   That got us out onto the backroads of NM and onto the Turquoise Trail,  so named because there have been turquoise mines here for 1000 years.   Beautiful western country drive.

Fun stop at Madrid at the Mine Shaft Bar.    Madrid was at one time the biggest ghost town in the U.S.  They mined coal here until 1954, then shut down and everybody walked away.   Now recovered as an artsy town.    With a great coal mine museum, just the way it was left in 1954.   I like locomotives.


   Several movies have been made here. 
This is Maggies Diner in Wild Hogs.
I liked this artifact.
We did find a dirt road to go down to another museum.
The on to Santa Fe,  bunch of troublemakers blocking the street.
Got a good shot of a large chunk of the T’s attending.    Look close and you can see Pat and Ray’s white wheels.

One more picture of the day,   yard art…….