Clark’s Great Adventure
Across America in a Model "A" Ford
In 1999 my older brother, Claude called and told me that he had just heard that the
Model "A" Ford Club of America would be holding a Northwest Regional Meet in 2002. It would be held in Boise, Idaho and they were expecting about 180 Model A cars and trucks, all built between 1928 and 1931. Since this is only about 150 miles from our hometown of Fairfield where Claude still lives, he thought we should drive my 1929 Model A Coupe across country to attend the event. 2002 seemed like a long time in the future, so I said I thought that was a great idea. As always happens, the time passed VERY quickly and suddenly the event was just a few months away. Feeling a sense of urgency and asking "what have I gotten myself into?" I started preparing the car and plans for the "Great Adventure."
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Claude arrived from Idaho last night and we finished packing the trunk of the Model A with spare parts, maintenance items, car cover, oil & grease gun, and tools. Took spare distributor, water pump, generator and carburetor, as well as spark plugs, points, condenser, head and tail light bulbs, spare headlight lens, 21" inner tube, parts catalog, Model A Ford Club of America National Membership Roster ( Model A Restorers Club roster was out of print), front and rear wheel bearings and other assorted stuff.
Thursday, June 20, 2002 Boca Raton, FL to Clermont, FL
Looks like rain, but dry so far. Loaded up the trunk with last of luggage (one bag each) and 2 gallons of water, flashlight, umbrella. Black trunk on rear rack really comes in handy with the car trunk packed full. The car was loaded heavier than I’ve ever driven it.
After Sandi and Shannon leave for work, we get ready to head out – guy from across the street comes over to say goodbye and takes a couple of pictures of the brave travelers! Pull out of the driveway at 8:30am, odometer reads 40,790 miles. Think it will be nice to start the trip with a drive along the ocean so head east 4 miles to go up Hwy A1A along the coast. Bad idea! Drive north for about 20 miles was nice, but then had to fight through traffic for over an hour getting through West Palm Beach just to get "out of town." Finally headed North on route 98 up around the east side of Lake Okeechobee. My navigator (Claude) missed a road sign and we went on an 8 mile detour on a really lousy small road, ( with much complaining by me) but soon we were back on track into the town of Okeechobee where we got gas at 12:30pm (8.2 gal.) and ate lunch.
Claude started driving as we headed north and joined Route 27 near Sebring. It started to rain about 1:30 and about an hour later it was really pouring. My windshield wiper only works if the blade doesn’t touch the glass, so we had put RainX on the windshield which works great since it’s completely vertical. However when it rains cats and dogs nothing works very well. Also the windshield, which opens for ventilation, doesn’t seal very well, and hard rain and 40 mph results in water leaking in and running down the dash on the floor and us! With windows up, its so hot inside that everything steams up so I was busy wiping windshield off, poking paper towels under dash to sop up water, and sweating! We were on a 4 lane road with trucks passing us throwing mountains of water all over us so we finally gave up and stopped at a little restaurant in Lake Wales, FL. for about 30 minutes until the worst of the rain let up. Then continued on north on Rt. 27 as rain continued and stopped for the night in Clermont, Florida at 4:45pm and by now it was just raining lightly.
Odometer read 41,026 – we’d come 236 miles the first day which, considering the late start, all the traffic, and the rain, didn’t seem too bad. We figured we’d actually driven about 6 hours so averaged about 39 mph for driving time. Checked into a Holiday Inn Express. When we were unpacking we discovered that the brake lights were staying on all the time, but after I got under the car and worked on the brake light switch it seemed to be OK – hopefully it just got filled with water and kept the contacts closed. Ate dinner at place called The Rusty Fox and called it a day. I was exhausted from tension over how car would run, driving all day in heavy traffic, and just getting the trip underway. Before starting the trip, I had about 700 miles on my engine since it had been rebuilt and as we drove, (about 45mph most of the time), it seemed to loosen up a little more. Although the engine never missed a beat in all the rain, I had trouble getting to sleep that night, with my mind racing about all the things that could go wrong the next day.
Friday, June 21, 2002 Clermont, FL to Thomasville, GA
Ate free continental breakfast at the hotel, and then made some adjustments on the car since it wasn’t raining yet. Greased the water pump and tightened the packing nut, tightened the clamp between exhaust manifold and muffler that had started to leak a little when it was cold, checked air pressure in tires (OK) and checked wheel lug nuts to make sure they stayed tight. Loosening lug nuts are sometimes a problem with Model A’s, and we checked them every night, but never really found any that had gotten loose.
Got gas, 7.6 gal. and hit the road at 7:35am. Continued northwest planning to stop in Dunnellen, FL to see Frank and Barbara Vercouteren, former members of our Model A club who had moved up to Central Florida. Once again my navigator missed a road sign (at least that’s MY story) and we went straight west when we should have turned north. Shortly, we were seeing signs for Highway 19, and I was pretty sure that road ran up the west coast of Florida and we really shouldn’t be that close to the Gulf Coast. We stopped in Crystal Springs to ask directions and found we’d gone about 19 miles west instead of going north, so headed back northeast to compensate. This was the last time Claude missed a road sign (at least that’s HIS story) on the trip.
Got to Frank and Barbara’s at 9:45 and had coffee, some of Frank’s great big, very fattening, very delicious homemade cookies, and an enjoyable visit for about an hour. Frank had a dozen cookies packed and ready for us to take with us and we certainly didn’t protest! It started raining while we were there, and after taking pictures under an umbrella, we started out again at 10:30.
Stopped in Chiefland, FL to gas up. Mileage 41,150, 7.7 gal. So figured we got about 19 mpg on the last tank of gas. Rain stopped, and weather is partly cloudy now, and not too hot, which is nice. Car is running fine – we can cruise at about 48 mph where the engine seems to kind of "settle in" smoothly, and we slow to 40 and down to 35 going up the rolling hills, which we’re now starting to get into – a pleasant change from the uninteresting flatlands of central and southern Florida. Stopped at 1pm in Perry, FL for lunch and continued North on Hwy 19. Crossed the Suwanee River and sang "Way down upon the Suwaneeeee River, far, far from home!" Questionable quality of the singing was offset by the enthusiasm of the performers.
We crossed in Georgia at 2:30pm and stopped and took pictures of us and the car beside the "Welcome to Georgia" sign. Felt like we were making real progress since we were finally out of Florida, changed to a new state map. Began to feel like we were in the South because people smiled and were friendly (quite a change from south Florida), said "Y’all", and we got sweet iced tea with meals without having to ask. Arrived in Thomasville, GA at 3:30 and decided to stop since I wanted to change the oil and grease the chassis that evening when we knew it wasn’t raining. Odometer read 41,281 so we traveled 255 miles in about 6.5 hours of driving time. Ate supper while things cooled off, and then changed the oil and greased the chassis, checked lug nuts, tire pressure, and added a little water to the radiator. I feel more relaxed now that we’ve got a couple of days under our belt and the car is running perfectly. Only problem is that Claude keeps thinking he’s driving his 1957 Thunderbird and gets a heavy foot. I see the speedometer creeping over 50 mph which worries me so I have to admonish him to slow down. He keeps trying to convince me the car runs smoother up there, but I insist I’m the boss since it’s my car, and 45 - 48 is fast enough - after all, we have to STOP sometimes, and with mechanical brakes, that’s something to consider. He reluctantly agrees, but I have to keep a sharp eye on him! Since I’m the one that has to worry about the car he can just cruise along blissfully and relax. I slept a little better that night.
Saturday, June 22, 2002 Thomasville, GA to Tuscaloosa, AL
Weather nice, overcast and cool. Got gas in Thomasville before leaving – mileage 41,286, 7 gallons. Left at 7am. Stopped in Carnegie, GA, a little wide spot in road to take pictures since it was so picturesque. Only problem was that Claude drove off the pavement into the red mud and got it all over the right side tires and insides of the fenders. He claimed that I didn’t give him enough advance notice to stop where there wasn’t any mud, but I strongly proclaimed it as just bad driving on his part. When we stopped that night it took me two buckets of water and a half hour to clean up the car. (possibly a slight exaggeration).
At 10am we gassed up in Georgetown, GA just 3 miles from the Alabama border. Mileage 41,396 - 6.7 gallons, $8.12. Then crossed Chatahoochie River which is border between GA and AL and stopped and took pictures. This moved us into the Central time zone picking up an extra hour, and we moved on to another state map, so now we really felt like we were making progress.
Drove in light rain for a while and then it let up, but stayed overcast, which we didn’t mind because it stayed cooler. To get around Montgomery, we drove about 15 miles on I-65 and had no problems. As we were going through Prattville, AL my cell phone rang and a voice said "This is the Alabama Highway Patrol. Get that old junker off the road – you’re creating a hazard!" With the windows down and noise from traffic I couldn’t tell who was speaking, but knew it had to be a joke. Finally discovered it was Tom Gill, my best buddy from Idaho, who had figured out which state we’d be in and decided to harass us. I told him we were having to pay attention to traffic, looking for the road sign for a turn coming up, and couldn’t hear very well so "quit bugging me", but we had a good laugh.
Got gas in Prattville at 1:15pm Central Time – Mileage 41,507 - 6.5 gal, $8.51. Had to tighten the front license plate holder so it wouldn’t bend in toward the radiator. Ate lunch there, and then continued on headed northwest on Route 82. Arrived in Tuscaloosa, AL at 3:30pm Central Time and stopped for the day. Mileage 41,590 so we drove 304 miles today – figured about 8 hours of actual driving time. Car pulls well on hills – we get a run at about 50 mph and then pull down to 35 or so and then it just pulls – haven’t had to shift down out of 3rd yet on a hill.
Greased and tightened nut on water pump which is leaking a little, checked tire pressure and lug nuts, lubed distributor cam and added drops of oil to distributor shaft. The handle on the trunk won’t lock and it seems that the lock is broken. Will have to take the tools and other valuables in the motel from now on at night. Started raining again pretty hard, so had to drive the car to get something to eat, instead of just walking a few blocks. Called Ed and Sally Waldron, friends from college days who live in Birmingham and visited by phone for a few minutes. Also looked up information on Graceland in Memphis and called ahead to make reservations at the Heartbreak Hotel for the next night. Figured it must be "right down at the end of lonely street." Decided we’d need to leave early the next morning to get to Memphis by 2pm at the latest so we’d have time to take the tour since they stopped at 4pm. I slept really good for the first night on the trip – sure glad I brought my pillow from home since hotel pillows are usually too fat.
Sunday, June 23, 2002 Tuscaloosa, AL to Memphis, TN
Got up at 5am, loaded the car, and ate continental breakfast at 6 when they opened. Rain has stopped during the night. As we were getting ready to leave at 6:30, a bird flew over and crapped on Claude’s head. We took that as a sign that we weren’t welcome so we said "good riddance" to Tuscaloosa. Claude said it was the crappiest city he’d ever visited!
Car continued to run well – we’ve actually gotten to where we don’t even think much about it since it just purrs right along. Stopped at 7:40am to take pictures at the Mississippi state line. Later as we were driving along we heard an overtaking car honk as they pulled alongside. As we turned to wave we beheld an amazing sight – here was an old, dirty, beat up Olds Cutlass with the rear end jacked way up with some kind of racing shocks, driven by a young guy, and in the passenger seat was an old lady with frizzy gray hair, no teeth, and a huge, bushy dog in her lap, smiling and waving at Claude like a long lost friend. We waved as they went by and laughed for days about the experience.
Decided to get gas at West Point, MS but when we got there we realized we had to go about 8 miles north off our route to get to the town. We were running pretty low on gas already, and the "0" on the gas gauge was pretty well up in the window by the time we got into West Point. It only took 8.8 gallons so I guess we had about a gallon left. Mileage was 41,669 - $12.07.
Claude drove as we continued on about 60 miles on Highway 78, a 4-Lane road about like an Interstate. We did just fine, running 48 to 50 mph, and down to about 40 on long hills which weren’t too steep. Had lots of other honks and waves and smiles. Stopped in Olive Branch, MS for lunch at 12 noon just before we crossed the border into Tennessee. After eating we drove few miles to the TN border and stopped to take pictures at 1:15pm. Drove a short distance into Memphis and got off at Elvis Presley Blvd, Route 51, and arrived at the Heartbreak Hotel located right next to the visitors center for Graceland at 1:45pm.
After checking in, we went on a tour of Graceland for about 3 hours and enjoyed that. Having been a teenager in the 50s, it was fun to see all the stuff from that era, and very interesting to see all the stuff about Elvis. An impressive area was the 80 ft. hallway with gold records lining both sides from all his hits, and a big display from 1997 commemorating the sale of 400 million albums!
After getting back to the hotel, I changed the oil and greased the car while Claude took a little rest (after all, he’s 3 years older than me!) Then he helped me adjust the toe-in on the front wheel alignment to eliminate a shimmy we’d experienced occasionally at slow speeds. It was still really hot, and a guy from South Carolina who was a hotrod builder about talked our ears off while we were trying to concentrate on getting the alignment adjusted correctly. Finished about 6:30 and cleaned up for dinner.
The hotel didn’t have a dining room and there was no place nearby to eat. We didn’t feel like driving around Memphis at night so we asked the hotel desk about eating places, thinking we’d take a cab. She said there was a good barbecue place about 2 mile away and they would come pick us up and bring us back. That sounded pretty good, and after about 10 minutes here comes a bright pink stretch limo pulling up with the restaurant’s name on the side. It was about a ‘85 Cadillac and was missing a front hub cap, but we got in and away we went. The AC worked and it was free, so what the heck!
The food was pretty good and when we were ready to go back to the hotel, a couple was also waiting for the limo outside the restaurant. The man was about 80 and the woman was a blond about 50 holding a giant framed photo of Elvis. Come to find out, they were newlyweds on their honeymoon and the lady just "loved Elvis." They were on their way to New Orleans the next day and we figured she’d turn that poor guy every way but loose!
We decided not to go north the next day from Memphis up the Mississippi River to St. Louis as I’d originally planned. That would take us about 80 miles back to the east - which would be a total of about 160 miles out of our way, and that’s a long ways in a Model A. Decided instead to cross the river into Arkansas, head up into Missouri and then northwest up to Kansas City. But we knew we’d need to leave real early the next morning since it was Monday and we’d be right in the middle of rush hour traffic around downtown Memphis.
Monday, June 24, 2002 Memphis, TN to Bolivar, MO
Got up at 5am, got ready and loaded the car for an early departure. All through the trip we would shower and shave the night before, then just have to brush our teeth, comb our hair and head out each morning. We didn’t always look real great, but after a few hours sweating in the Model A, it didn’t make much difference. Drove down the street to gas up before breakfast at the hotel, which didn’t open until 6am. Mileage 41,816 - 8.5 gallons, $11.09.
Ate breakfast and left the Heartbreak Hotel at 6:15am. Drove on Interstate 55 around downtown Memphis in already heavy traffic going about 80 mph (them, not us!) as people sped to work. We crossed the Mississippi River on the interstate – two very narrow lanes going our way and two coming towards us, all moving a lot faster than we were. The "Welcome to Arkansas" sign was suspended on the bridge half way across the river, but we didn’t get a chance to take a picture with an 18 wheeler running about 3 feet from my left shoulder and bridge girders whizzing by about 3 feet from Claude’s right shoulder. We breathed a sigh of relief when we got off the bridge onto solid ground and the road widened a little. Drove a few miles on the interstate headed west, and then turned north on a 4 lane state highway.
Since we hadn’t planned to go through Arkansas I didn’t have a state map, so we stopped at the first gas station to get one. When I walked into the little store area, a grandmotherly lady behind the counter asked if she could help me. Kidding, I said "I need to buy a map to find out where I am." Her eyes got real big and she said in a hushed voice "you’re in Jerico, Arkansas!" I assured her that I knew I was in Arkansas and she seemed much relieved.
We continued on northwest on a beautiful, winding two lane highway through the hills. Once again, we’d get up to 50 going downhill, and then pull down to 35 or 30 going up the next one. A few times I had a big truck right on my rear bumper as he was trying to get a run on the next hill too, and that was a bit disconcerting. I’d pull off at the first place available to let them by, and we never once had any other driver get mad or indicate irritation about us holding them up.
We saw a lot of interesting and amusing things on the trip, and it seemed that this stretch was especially rich territory. Maybe we were just more relaxed and attentive to the fun stuff. Saw one sign for a café that said "Open 26 hours a day." Saw a used car lot in a small town where the complete inventory consisted of two 10 – 15 year old pickups and two wheel tractors. Claude spotted a house with two pickups, each parked under it’s own tree with the hood up and a chain hoist hooked from the engine to the tree – a true "shade tree mechanic" at work! Another road sign near Ozark Acres, Ark. advertised "Cheap Gas, Cheap Beer, Cheap Cigarettes, Lotto Tickets." We saw a little shack with a huge sign that said "JT’s Catfish Market and Bait" with a sign beside it that advertised "RV and Boat Sales" but the yard was completely empty of inventory. Claude was trying to write stuff down so we wouldn’t forget and complained about the smoothness of my driving. He seemed unimpressed that I was trying to keep from getting run over by 3 trucks right on my rear bumper!
We crossed into Missouri at 10:05am and stopped for photos. Then continued on a few miles to Thayer, MO to get gas. Mileage 41,965 - 8.5 gal. $10.82. Stopped in Willow Springs, MO at 11:30am and went to a small auto parts store where they let me dump the used oil from the change in Memphis, and bought 4 quarts of oil. Also bought a can of rust inhibitor for the radiator since the leak in the water pump is getting worse. We’ve decided we’ll have to put new packing in it when we stop tonight and if that doesn’t stop the leak, we’ll change the pump to a spare I brought along.
Ate lunch at the North Café in downtown Willow Springs, (population 1147) and it was like stepping back into the 50’s. The owner was the waiter and his wife was doing the cooking – had about 5 tables. We both had the "special", which included the salad bar
(lettuce w/ three bottles of dressing), fried ham, creamed corn, green beans, roll & butter and a piece of cake. Cost was $4 each. 5 local guys were sitting there eating lunch and they were real interested in the car, our trip, etc. Claude told them I lived in Florida and one of the guys asked where in Florida I lived. When I said Boca Raton, he said "Do you have a card with your address? My wife and I and our 6 kids are planning a trip to Florida this winter and maybe we could come stay with you. The kids are real quiet and they don’t eat all that much." Of course he was kidding and when I apologized for having just given my last card out earlier, his friends loved that.
Back on the road, drove around Springfield and stopped for the night in Bolivar, MO at 3:30pm. Got gas, mileage 42,120 - 7.8 gal. $10.21. Traveled 304 miles today with actual driving time about 7.5 hours. Fuel economy about 18.5 mpg which isn’t too bad considering all the mountain driving. For the first time we had to wash bugs off the windshield, along with the headlights, bumpers, splash shield below radiator, etc. Up until now, the rain had pretty well taken care of that.
Checked into a Super 8 Motel – Claude has a VIP card for Super 8 and I had been telling him I have much higher standards for accommodations, at least a Hampton Inn or such, but since this is the only place in town it will have to do. Actually it’s a real nice place with very friendly people and I’m darned glad to cool off and relax a little.
After supper we greased rear shock links which I’d forgotten in Memphis, oiled the distributor, and checked tire pressure and lug nuts. Discovered that the water pump was leaking around the base of the threads where the nut tightens down, so new packing wouldn’t help. In the hotel parking lot we took off the hood, drained the water, took radiator support rods loose, removed top radiator hose and leaned the radiator forward so the water pump would clear when we removed it. Scraped off the old gasket, put on a new one and then put the spare pump on. After adding water, started the engine to check for leaks and felt good when none showed up. Then put the hood back on and packed up all the tools and parts and stuff we had scattered all over the place. The whole job took from about 7 to 8:30pm, with occasional questions and advice from people passing by as they checked into the hotel. Weather still hot but not miserable and I felt tired but encouraged that we’d solved the water pump problem. Also felt more comfortable being in the farm country of Missouri and making good progress. Called Model A club members at home, Tony Spaich and Bob Nobbs, with a progress report.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002 Bolivar, MO to Marysville, KS
Left Bolivar at 6:15am and after about 10 miles the little red thermometer in the motometer on the radiator cap suddenly shot up and we started boiling water out of the radiator. We were very concerned and immediately pulled over and let the engine idle so it would cool off a little. Since the cooling system isn’t pressurized like modern cars, I could take the radiator cap off and add water right away. Couldn’t figure out why it would be overheating all of a sudden – worried that maybe the new water pump wasn’t working properly but the fan belt was tight, the pump was turning and not leaking so nothing was apparent that could be wrong. My comfort level from the night before had suddenly vanished and tension was high as we started out again.
We continued to drive, going a little slower, only about 40 mph, and after another 10 miles it overheated again. Now we’re wondering if the new water pump is maybe moving too much water at highway speeds and forcing it out as it heats up. Stopped at a service station and got an additional gallon of water and refilled the two gallon container we had.
We continued on, keeping an eagle eye on the motometer as we headed toward Kansas City. It didn’t offer to overheat again right away, and we discussed whether we could have had an air pocket in the engine when we refilled it with water the night before, and maybe that was causing it to overheat since it didn’t have enough water to cool. It really was a mystery, why all of a sudden it seemed to be OK. We were glad it wasn’t continuing to overheat, but remained concerned that maybe the water pump wasn’t exactly right.
Thinking we might have to change it again, and not having a spare now, I thought about maybe ordering a new one from one of the parts suppliers and having it shipped overnight to a town up ahead. Claude suggested that I look in the national club roster to see if there might be a Model A guy in one of the towns ahead that might have a pump we could buy. Great idea! I grabbed the book that I had kept up behind the seat, and started looking in Missouri. Amazingly, here was a listing for a Mr. Donald Bockelman in Harrisonville, MO, the very next town we were coming to, about 40 miles ahead. We wondered if anybody would be home on a weekday morning, but I grabbed the phone and dialed and a man answered. It was hard to hear with the noise in the car but I explained that I was driving across country, was a MAFCA member, needed to find a water pump for a Model A and wondered if he might know somebody that had one. He said he thought he had a pump but I was breaking up so to give him a call when we got into town. Immediately our spirits rose and we continued on with the car temperature continuing to stay just fine.
We got into Harrisonville, which is a good sized town near Kansas City, about 8:30am and pulled off at the first place we could stop. I again called Mr. Bockelman and his wife said he was mowing the lawn but expecting my call. When he came on the line he asked where we were and after I told him it turned out that we were only a couple of blocks from where he lived. We drove to his house and he gestured for us to pull around to the two car garage behind his beautiful, victorian style home.
He was a tall, gray haired gentleman who turned out to be a retired tool and die maker. He took us in his shop and showed us his ’31 Cabriolet which was a beautiful car, and then an early ‘29 business coupe that he was restoring as a driver with dual carbs, a ’73 Ford 3-speed modern transmission with overdrive, and other modifications that were beautifully done and not visible from the outside. He had built a really neat little spoiler on the back of his Cabriolet that incorporated a high mount stop light and turn signals. He said with a laugh that he did it because "it drives the purists crazy!" After looking my car over and talking a few minutes, he went upstairs in his shop and came down with a brand new water pump in a box. He said it was a new aftermarket pump made in Taiwan that he had bought at a swap meet, but he didn’t figure he’d ever use it so I was welcome to have it. I asked if I could pay him for it, but he said just to take it along and if I didn’t need it I could send it back or give it to somebody else that needed a pump. We couldn’t believe our luck to find such a great guy who was so knowledgeable about Model As and had exactly what we needed. He was enthusiastic about us driving the car on our trip, and about 9:30 after about an hour’s visit we proceeded on our way, reminded once again how Model A people are usually just really nice folks.
As it turned out, we never had one more problem with the pump we’d installed, but we sure felt better knowing we had a spare if we needed it. (I sent it back to him after the trip, along with photos and our thanks.)
We crossed the border into Kansas on Highway 2 but there wasn’t a state sign on this country road, so we just kept going, glad we continued to have no more overheating problems. Stopped for gas in Spring Hill, KS. Mileage 42, 255, 7.6 gal, $10.16. Continued on north around Kansas City on the west side to Leavenworth where we stopped for lunch. Drove by the big Federal Prison and decided we were very glad we weren’t stopping there.
Got headed west again at the town of Hiawatha, KS on Route 36, which will be our route for many miles to come! Claude had brought along on the trip a thing called the "Misty Mate" that had been laying up behind the seat the whole trip getting in the way, with much complaining by me. He kept assuring me I’d be glad he brought it before we were done. It is a small water container with a hand pump that you pressurize and then sprays a real fine mist of water to cool you off. Now that we were in a dry climate and the temperature was getting up in the 90s, he got it out and we sprayed our faces and arms and legs and it was really great – very refreshing. I hated to admit that it was worth having it in the way for 5 days, but kept spraying myself and enjoying it. Claude wrote in his diary that I was "like a drunk that got religion – just couldn’t get enough of it!" (Found out when we stopped that the high for the day was 101 degrees.)
We continued west, bucking 20 –25 mph head winds, up and down hills, getting hammered by big 18-wheelers as they pushed a wall of wind ahead of them. With the windshield open to the first notch for air, and our side windows down part way, the wind noise in the car was so loud we had to lean over and shout to even hear each other. The old saying that Model A’s have "240 air conditioning" (2 windows and 40 mph) doesn’t work very well when the air coming in is so hot and dry. Certainly wasn’t very pleasant driving for this stretch.
We were planning to stop in Senica, KS but there were no motels in that town so we just stopped at 2:30pm for gas. Mileage 42,382 - 7 gal. $9.55. We pushed on another 30 miles to Marysville, arriving at 3:20pm. Mileage when we stopped was 42,410 so we traveled 290 miles today, not bad considering all the time lost with overheating and the time visiting with Mr. Bockleman. We’ve gone 1,610 miles since leaving Florida so we should be OVER HALF WAY! Marysville is the second Super 8 motel in a row and Claude’s VIP status is starting to look better to me as we consider the other lodging alternatives in these small towns. After checking in we found a really neat poem that was laying on the pillow of the bed.
We thought that was a pretty neat greeting for their guests, and made us feel welcome after a long, hot day. Ate dinner at the Hong Kong Café in downtown Marysville, where the Chinese Buffet was pretty good. Claude’s fortune cookie said "It may be time to consider some new romantic relationships." I’m sure his wife of over 40 years will be interested in that!
After supper we washed the car – 6 days of road grime including the first 3 days of rain have left it pretty dirty. Sure looked a lot better when we were done. Checked the lug nuts, greased a squeak in the passenger door, and checked the oil and water. Water level in radiator is staying right at proper level, so apparently our water pump problems are behind us. Will go for one more day before changing oil – that will be about 800 miles, but it still looks clean on the dipstick.
Major crisis! Discovered that I had left my pillow at the motel in Bolivar, MO last night. Had to call them and have them mail it home since Sandi will kill me if I lose the new pillow case that was on it. Now all I can do is hope the motel pillows aren’t so big and fat that I can’t sleep. Actually it’s a minor concern compared to our worries about the car overheating early in the day. We plan to leave earlier tomorrow morning so we cover more miles before it gets hot.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002 Marysville, KS to St. Frances, KS
Up at 5am, packed the car at 5:30am. Late last night I happened to think that I should have checked the transmission oil since it always leaks just a little and we had 5 hard days of driving since I’d checked. Decided to do it that morning while car and temperature were cool. Crawled under the car and checked and discovered it was low but didn’t’ want to pull floorboards to add oil the easy way. We made a paper funnel to add the oil from underneath and finally got enough in the transmission, but had about twice as much all over the ground and all over me!
Left Marysville at 6:25am – not as early as we planned. Temperature cool with the sun just starting to peek over horizon. Traveled through beautiful farm land with corn about 3 feet high (about half as tall as we’d seen in the South) and huge fields of lush, golden wheat. Saw many combines harvesting wheat and met a lot of wheat trucks heading for the grain elevators. Just west of Washington, KS Claude was driving and had to slow abruptly to keep from hitting a skunk that was crossing the road. He said it was only his superior driving skill and the outstanding handling characteristics of the Model A that had prevented a smelly disaster!
Stopped in Smith Center, KS for gas at 9:20am. 8.3 gal. $11.16. Forgot to write down mileage. Continued on west and at Agra, KS we dropped down to the south of Hwy 36 to drive on county roads where we wouldn’t be meeting so many big trucks. Pleasant driving for about 40 miles on small farm roads, but then they turned to gravel so we jogged back up to Hwy 36 again at Norton, KS where we stopped for lunch at 12 noon. Ate at the Frontier Café where we had a big bowl of chicken and homemade noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, roll and butter, iced tea, and cherry crisp for dessert. Cost $4.80 each.
Left at 12:45 and then stopped in Atwood, KS for gas. Mileage 42,633 - 8.8 gal, $11.71. Took photo of a picturesque, old general store across the street from station. Spent quite a while cleaning bugs off windshield, headlights, bumpers, splash shield, getting them off the radiator behind the stone guard, and even had bugs splattered on the wheels! Continued heading west and later passed a wheat field, at least a mile long, that had an old shoe or boot upside down on the top of every fence post for the whole mile. Somebody must have figured bored travelers would need a conversation piece!
We arrived in St. Frances, the last town in Kansas at 2:30pm and could have driven a while more, but the next town was over 50 more miles (26 to Colorado border, and then another 30 to Wray, CO) so we decided to stop, even though the temperature was a little cooler – only mid 90’s.
There were two small motels in town and we chose the best of the two – the Empire Motel. It looked like something from out of a bad "B-Movie" and when we went in the little office it was empty. Since it was mid-afternoon I guess they didn’t expect anybody to be arriving. After waiting a few minutes with nobody in sight we spotted a cleaning lady outside and went out and asked if there was anybody who could check us in. She said she’d get somebody and in a few minutes here came an attractive Vietnamese woman in a blue velvet tank top and jeans. She was very enthusiastic about having customers waiting, and assured us over and over that we would be very pleased with the rooms there. We had noticed that the Dusty Farmer Restaurant and Tumbleweed Lounge next door seemed to be part of the same establishment and asked if the restaurant would be open for supper that evening. She said "Oh yes, very good food. Then you come to lounge and can get boucoup funny stuff !" I knew from my time in Vietnam that "boucoup" was French for "very much" but we had no idea what "funny stuff" meant and we were both afraid to ask! Later I suggested to Claude that maybe this had something to do with his fortune from the night before about new romantic interests!!
We drove around to park in front of the motel room door and walked in. The beds sagged in the middle with yellow, velour bedspreads, a couple of beat up chairs and an old desk were along one wall, an old rotary dial TV set on a stand, and a small air conditioner mounted way up in the back wall. The lamp between the beds had about a 30 watt bulb in it and there was a huge stain of indiscriminate origins in the middle of the worn carpet. Claude stood up on one of the chairs and got the AC turned on, and after a few minutes it started blowing air that was at least cool. By this time, driving an additional 50 miles to the next town in 95 degree heat didn’t look as bad! But the AC kept getting a little colder and we figured we were already there so we’d just make do. After all, we each had our own bed so if we rolled to the middle it wouldn’t matter.
We ate dinner at the Dusty Farmer – were the only customers in the dining room, but the food was pretty good. Then changed to oil and greased the chassis on the car after it cooled off. Mileage was 42,698 so we drove 288 miles today. The headwind hadn’t been as strong as yesterday, and we didn’t meet as many trucks, so it wasn’t too bad.
Later in the evening a couple of pickups pulled in with some pretty rowdy young guys that were yelling and horsing around outside. Claude suggested that I should take the radiator cap with the motometer and chrome wings off and bring it inside since that’s the kind of thing somebody might decide to swipe if they got to drinking. It was a good idea and we took it off every night for the rest of the trip.
I had an old towel that I’d spilled a little gas on earlier in the day while filling up. (Since the gas tank is up in front of the windshield, I put the towel around the filler to protect the paint.) I decided to leave it hanging on the bumper during the night to air out, and when we got up the next morning it was gone – we couldn’t imaging somebody stealing it, but after looking around in case it had fallen or blown off, it surely was gone. That’s the only thing like that we experienced on the whole trip, and it was certainly a very minor loss.
Thursday, June 27, 2002 St. Frances, KS to Walden, CO
Left the "No Tell Motel" in St. Frances about 6:15am headed west. Crossed the border into Colorado at about 6:45 but moved into the Mountain Time Zone so it was now 5:45am. Stopped and took pictures just as the sun was starting to break the horizon. Stopped in Wray, CO, a pretty little town, for breakfast. Ate with all the farmers and ranchers at Demi’s Café – great food, eggs, hash browns, bacon, sour dough toast and coffee. This was the first real good breakfast of the trip since we’d been eating the free continental breakfasts that the hotels provided up to now.
Continued on west on Hwy 34 and stopped in Akron, CO to get gas. Mileage 42,795 –
7 gal. $9.83. Realized we have now traveled 2005 miles! Continued on west to Brush, CO and then north to Hwy 14 which will take us west across Colorado. Next 64 miles were pretty miserable – desolate, barren country, lousy, narrow, rough little two lane road, and again meeting big trucks (apparently cutting across there to get to the interstate further east) that practically blew us off the road.
After a couple of hours we got near Ft. Collins where the country got more pleasant and we finally began to be able to see the Rocky Mountains ahead after all those miles across the plains. We talked about what the settlers must have thought – glad to be finished with the great plains, but now faced with the prospect of crossing the huge mountains. Actually, we felt just a little bit the same thinking about the Model A with only 40 horsepower heading over those mountains! We probably would have been able to see the mountains sooner, but the smoke from all the fires in southern Colorado made it very hazy everywhere.
Stopped in Ft. Collins for lunch and filled up with gas before heading up into the Rockies. Mileage 42,916 – 6.4 gal, $6.81. Left Ft. Collins about 12:45pm and started climbing fairly gradually up the bottom of the canyon along the Poudre River. This was an absolutely beautiful part of the trip – the best so far, and a real reward for the crummy terrain and roads earlier in the day. We purred along winding roads about 35mph, pulling fine in high gear as we slowly climbed.
As we left the river and started up Cameron Pass we pulled for quite a while in high gear, sometimes getting down almost to 30 mph and then picking up a little, etc. Finally had to drop down into 2nd gear for about the last 8 miles to the summit. Could go 25 mph just fine in 2nd, but a few places were so steep we pulled down to about 20 for a ways. A thunderstorm had passed through earlier, so it was cool and the water temperature stayed just fine as we climbed. The air smelled really fresh and clean and it got cool enough that we had to wind up the side windows but left the windshield open all the way up.
Reached the summit of Cameron Pass, elevation 10, 276 ft. at about 3pm and stopped and took some pictures. Then it was all downhill for the next 22 miles into Walden, CO, elevation 8,032 ft., population 800, where we stopped for the night. Odometer read 43,010 so we drove 312 miles today. Checked into the Frontier Motel, another small mom and pop type place but a quantum improvement in quality over last night. No air conditioning but I guess they really don’t need it in this climate.
We’ve noticed that the front wheels are getting prone to shimmy again when hitting bumps at real slow speed, so need to adjust the steering for a little more toe-in. Decide to do that before we eat supper. There’s an auto parts store right across the street, so took the used oil from last change and they let me dump it, and we borrowed a big piece of cardboard to use to lay on under the car since the parking lot was really rough asphalt. Adjusted the tie rods and checked and tightened the front wheel bearings, checked all the lug nuts and tire pressure. Did a short test drive and it seems to steer much better. Got gas for tomorrow since we have quite a ways to go before the next chance to fill up. 5.5 gal. $8.67.
We cleaned up and then ate supper at the Moose Creek Restaurant. Had the best chicken fahitas I’ve ever eaten – a huge portion I couldn’t finish, and listened to really great classic country music. What more could a guy ask for?! Turned in for the night as the cool mountain air made for really great sleeping. The pillow wasn’t bad, but still not as good as my long-lost one now on its way (hopefully) from Missouri back to Florida.
Friday, June 28, 2002 Walden, CO to Vernal, UT
Got up at 5:30am and the outside temperature was 38 degrees! Claude decided to wear his Levi’s but being a tough guy, I opted to stay with shorts and T-shirt. I moved pretty fast when crossing the street to the Coffeepot Café for breakfast! Hot coffee and a good country breakfast helped warm me up, but it was pretty chilly (actually downright cold!) in the car as we started out. Windshield closed, windows up and the engine not radiating nearly as much heat into the car as I’d hoped (and was always the case when it was so darned hot outside!) Claude continued to point out that he was much warmer with long pants on and I countered with the observation that when the sun came up it would warm right up and he’d be sorry he didn’t wear his shorts. Then the sun came up but there was a light overcast, so it didn’t warm things up much, to Claude’s amusement.
Drove about 30 miles on Rt. 14, and then turned west on Route 40 and started up Rabbit Ear Pass, which got it’s name from a mountain with two distinctive rock formations on top like rabbit ears. We saw a couple of deer and quite a few antelope with two little fawns, and launched into a loud rendition of Home On the Range "where the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom was heard a discouraging word, and skies were not cloudy all day." There were certainly no discouraging words spoken by us, because this was absolutely beautiful country and the Model A continued to run perfectly.
The elevation of Rabbit Ear Pass was 9,426 ft but since we had started at about 8000 ft it was only a 1,400 climb. Still had to pull the last couple of miles in 2nd gear at about 20 mph. We stopped at the summit to take pictures – this was the Continental Divide, where all water from here ran west to the Pacific and east to the Atlantic. The sun finally came out and warmed things up a little bit as we headed down the west side of the pass into Steamboat Springs.
We stopped for gas in Craig, CO at 9:30am since we weren’t sure where the next opportunity would be to gas up. Mileage 43,105 – 4.7 gal, $7.95. Still cool but it started to warm up quickly as we got lower in elevation and moved into more desert-like country. Within an hour we had the windshield open, windows open, it was hot! I took every opportunity to remind Claude how comfortable I was in my shorts instead of hot, sticky Levi’s. By the time we got to Dinosaur, CO and stopped for lunch at 11:45am, it was about 97 degrees.
Left after lunch at 12:45pm and drove about 5 miles to the Utah border where we stopped and took pictures. It was another 20 miles to the Dinosaur National Monument, and we decided that we’d stop for the day in Vernal, which was only another 20 miles past that. Since we were almost done for the day, decided to go to the visitor center at the National Monument, even though it was 7 miles off our route – that’s a round trip of 14 extra miles which requires a real commitment in a Model A with it so darned hot outside.
We spent an enjoyable hour viewing dinosaur bones, fossils, etc and were impressed with how many there were in that one area which had once been a river plain. As we were leaving the monument, the phone rang and it was Linda Finkle, my good friend and classmate all through grade and high school, calling from Wenatchee, Washington to check up on us. Aren’t cell phones wonderful?
Got into Vernal at 2:30 and checked into a Best Western Motel with a POOL! The first place with a pool since Tuscaloosa, Alabama when it was raining and we weren’t interested in any more water. Odometer read 43,232 so we drove 221 miles today. We jumped in the pool and it was really refreshing – just like I’d imagined the end of every day when I was planning the trip. Of course, Claude thought it was too cold and was pretty sure he would drown if he got out of the shallow end – as an Idahoan he’s just not used to so much water! After the refreshing dip, we finished off the last of Frank’s cookies, which we had been rationing each day.
The car steered much better today after the adjustments we made last night so this will be the first evening of the trip that we don’t have to do some work of some kind on the car. A theater a couple miles away was showing the movie "Windtalkers" that we both wanted to see. Rather than park the Model A in a theater parking lot at night, we got a cab to the show and back. Claude said it was the first time in his life he’d ever ridden in a taxi. I told him riding with a friendly 30 year old lady in a nice Dodge minivan was not the typical taxi experience people have in most cities today!
Since leaving Florida we’ve come 2,440 miles.
Saturday, June 29, 2002 Vernal, UT to Montpelier, ID
Cool in the morning but comfortable after breakfast as we filled up with gas. 5.9 gal, $8.34. Headed north out of Vernal on Hwy 191 towards the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Immediately started a long, hard climb, 8 miles of an 8% grade.
(Most grades on Interstate highways are 4-5%.) Mile after mile pulling in 2nd gear and what little wind we had was coming from behind us.
Finally, after about 7 miles the car started to overheat again. We pulled over and stopped and let it cool down a little and then added some water – it had boiled out almost a gallon. Then we ran fine all the way to the top where there wasn’t even any kind of sign with a name for the pass or the elevation or anything. We decided that this difficult climb deserved a name so dubbed it "SOB Pass!".
Then we started down the other side, about 8 miles of an 8% downgrade. There were huge signs for trucks to use low gear, and every couple of miles were "runaway truck" ramps up the side of the mountain. My dad always said that you never go down a mountain in a higher gear than you came up so we went all the way down in 2nd gear. This allowed the engine compression to keep us from going too fast which would cause the brakes to get too hot. One section had 9 switchbacks, but it was beautiful mountain country in the early morning light.
Took Hwy 44 around to the west of Flaming Gorge and stopped at the Wyoming state line for pictures. Then stopped again to take pictures at the Flaming Gorge with beautiful red cliffs gleaming in the sun. Before I’d take any pictures, I insisted that Claude change his shirt so I wouldn’t have to explain him to my friends! He had on a white T-shirt, white hat, white socks and light shorts and with his white legs he looked too much like a Geezer! With a lot of grumbling on his part he dug through his bag and changed to a blue shirt, which looked much better in the pictures!
The car overheated once more on the long climb up out of Flaming Gorge – again the wind was coming from behind us and we just didn’t have enough speed to get enough cooling air through the radiator. No harm done, just stopped, let it cool while running the engine above an idle to keep the fan pulling in air, and then added some more water.
As we came into Green River, WY, a state patrol car had the road blocked off. When we pulled up he asked "are you guys here for the parade?" We said we were just passing through and he said the road was closed for the "Flaming Gorge Days" parade so we’d have to detour around town to get out the other side. (Should have said we were in the parade and he’d have let us drive right through the main drag!) Stopped for gas.
Mileage 43,334 – 5.8 gal. $7.36. As we were following the detour leaving town, we came out right where the parade was staging and saw a 1929 Model A Tudor so we exchanged "Ahoogas" with the horn.
This was the beginning of about 3 hours of miserable driving as we headed west. Had to go about 20 miles on Interstate 80. We were battling about 30 mile headwinds so we couldn’t get much over 40 mph. The speed limit was 75 and everybody was probably driving 85. The wind coming through the windshield was screaming like a banshee even though we had our side windows partly closed. Temperature about the same as yesterday, mid-90s. Interstate has long straight climbs up onto the plains out of the Green River valley and I spent as much time watching my rear view mirror to make sure we weren’t going to get run over, as I did watching where we were going.
Finally at Little America we got off I-80 onto Hwy 30 going northwest towards Kemmerer, WY which we thought would be some better. This is a two lane road apparently used by trucks coming down out of Montana and Idaho and it was just like western Kansas again – every time we’d meet a truck it was like a solid wall of 80 mph wind hitting us.
The only good thing was that the headwinds were so strong that the wind going through the radiator kept the car cool as we struggled along, climbing and hoping the blast of air from the trucks didn’t rip the fabric top off the car. The only moment of levity was when we were passed by a new Chrysler minivan with "Montana or Bust! Please Pray for Us" written on the back window. They had Wyoming plates and were less than 200 miles from Montana, so we figured they needed prayer because they were driving a Chrysler. WE could have used some prayers to help us through the torture of the heat and wind and trucks!
We were very thankful to finally get the Kemmerer where we could stop for lunch at about 1:00 pm. While eating in the small café, we overheard a conversation in the booth behind us where a young woman said "my mother-in-law is a real hag….maybe and hag and a half!" We got a good laugh out of that. Claude started driving and we had another 40 miles of US 30 west with bad headwinds and big trucks, but were finally able to turn northwest at Sage, WY to take a much less heavily traveled road around the west side of Bear Lake. Actually crossed back into Utah for a while, now traveling in much prettier countryside along the lake.
Stopped at 2:50 pm for gas in Garden City, UT which is a pretty recreation area . Mileage 43,455 – 6.9 gal. $10.07. Walked across the street and bought a "famous raspberry shake" and sat at a picnic table in the shade to eat it with a spoon since it was soft ice cream. I was facing the wind, and it was so strong that it blew drops of ice cream off my spoon onto my shirt as I was moving it from the cup to my mouth! Claude said since I grew up in Idaho I should have learned never to spit or ____ into the wind, and this was the same principle!
Left Garden City and soon came to the Idaho state line. HOORAY! Stopped by the sign and took goofy pictures, high fives, etc. Time was 3:20 pm and Mileage was 43,460.
It was the hardest driving day of the whole trip, but our reward was that we were in Idaho. Drove on into Montpelier, ID and checked into the Super 8 Motel. Claude’s VIP status got us a room right beside the ice machine and the stairs, but no matter, we’re finally in Idaho! Mileage when we stopped is 43,484 so we drove 252 miles today, for a total of 2,694. Figure we have about 320 miles to go to get to hometown of Fairfield.
Interesting note about Montpelier, Idaho. The very first bank ever robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was right here. They had horses stationed in the hills so they could ride hard and change horses, so they escaped to Texas. They later sent a photo of their gang all dressed up back to the editor of the paper in Montpelier with a note "Thanks for the Duds!"
After supper we rotated the rear tires up to the front since fronts seem to be wearing more. All 4 tires are getting pretty worn, but they’re about 10 years old so I guess that explains it. Sure can’t complain about them with no problems even though we have a pretty heavy load with tools, spare parts, etc. Covered the car in the parking lot and quit for the night.
Sunday, June 30, 2002 Montpelier, ID to Fairfield, ID
Left Montpelier at 6:15am and headed west on small, local roads towards Preston, ID. Want to avoid having to travel on the interstate around and through Pocatello which is a big city. (by Idaho standards!) Drove up through the Cache National Forest – a beautiful drive through wonderful mountain scenery, early morning light, cool temperatures and the car just purring right along. Claude was driving and had to suddenly hit the brakes to avoid hitting a bull elk and cow that leaped across the road in front of us. The bull had horns still in velvet, and it was a spectacular sight as they bounded up through the trees from the road. Also saw a beautiful golden eagle soaring over the mountain valley looking for breakfast.
Had to jog 17 miles on Interstate 15 to Malad City, but traffic was light so it was no problem. Gassed up in Malad. Mileage 43, 572 – 6.4 gal, $9.01. Continued on northwest on small country roads. In Rockland, ID, (population 316), we pulled over on main street about 9:30 so I could start driving. As we were stopped a guy on a 4-wheel All Terrain Vehicle with a small boy riding in front of him was coming the other way, and drove right across the street and stopped. He started asking questions about the car, where we were going, etc. After about 5 minutes, he said "follow me around the corner – I’ve got something I want to show you" and jumped on the ATV and took off. We didn’t want to be rude, so drove around the corner to an old garage-type building where he was opening the door. There sat the chassis for a Model A – old, dirty, but all there. Sitting amongst a bunch of junk was a ’29 pickup cab, and the fenders and other parts were stacked all around.
His name was Perry Steidley, the little boy was his grandson, and he said he was going to retire soon and wanted to restore the pickup but didn’t really know where to start. He was encouraged to know that my car didn’t look much different than that when I started, and we encouraged him to just tie in and get started. Also told him I’d send him some information on parts suppliers, restoration books, etc. After a few minutes he asked us to drive a couple of blocks on down to his house so his wife could see how beautiful my car was so she’d " let me spend a few nickels" working on his. He also offered us breakfast, but we said we’d already eaten.
When we got to his house, (remember, this was Sunday morning) his wife was still in her bathrobe and wouldn’t come out, but did look out the door and say hello. We laughed later that if he’d walked in that early with two strangers and said he invited them for breakfast, she’d have killed him on the spot for sure!
After about 45 minutes of unplanned delay, but fun, interesting conversation with a Model A lover in the middle of nowhere, we said goodbye and headed on down the road. Had to get on I-80 west at American Falls for about 40 miles but the head wind wasn’t too bad and traffic was reasonable so we did fine. Left the interstate at Burley to head north and stopped in Paul, ID to get gas. Mileage 43, 692 – 6.3 gal, $8.68.
Headed northwest and got to Deitrich, ID at 1:30pm and stopped for lunch at The Eagles Nest, a little bar/restaurant owned and operated by my uncle and aunt, Robert and Darlene Gaskill. Population of Dietrich is about 240, and this is the "only joint in town." Word got out that we were there, and pretty soon practically everybody in town turned out to see the car and talk to us while we ate. They don’t take credit cards and I was (conveniently) out of cash, so Claude went up to the bar to pay but they insisted lunch was on the house. Said they hadn’t had that much excitement in town for ages.
About 2:30 we headed for Fairfield, our hometown, and figured we’d hit the 3000 mile mark for the trip about the time we got there. Had a long, hard climb up out of Gooding with the temperature 96 degrees and again we had a tailwind, so we overheated one more time. Stopped and turned the car into the wind, let it run just above an idle for a few minutes to cool down, added some more water and proceeded on. Had no more problems getting over the mountains into Camas Prairie.
Stopped for photos with the valley in the background and 11,000 ft. Soldier Mountain in the distance. Then drove the last 10 –12 miles to Fairfield, (population 395) where we stopped at the city limits for goofy photos of the car and us. As we drove through town, we passed the garage where my car had been kept when it was new in 1929 by Oscar Perkins, the original owner. When we pulled into Claude’s driveway at 4pm the odometer read 43,789, 2,999 miles since we left my house in Boca Raton, FL. We drove 305 miles on the 11th and final day of the trip. Have about 150 more miles to Boise for the MAFCA Northwest Regional Meet next week. Pulled the car into Claude’s shop, turned off the engine, and gave the Model A a good rest, after a job well done!
Monday, July 7, 2002 Fairfield, ID to Boise, ID
Filled up with gas in Fairfield. 7 gal. $10.78 and left for Boise at 8:30am. Arrived about noon, temperature 99 degrees, and checked in at the meet headquarters. Mileage 43, 923.
Wednesday, July 10, 2002 Boise, ID
At the Awards Banquet for the NW Regional Meet, Claude and I were both awarded trophies for the longest distance driven to attend the meet. I also won a First Place trophy in the Touring Division of the meet. This was for cars that are drivers, as opposed to the Fine Point division where the perfect "show cars" compete.
Thursday, July 11, Boise, ID
Drove the Model A down to B&W Towing, the agent for Dependable Auto Shippers, the company that was to ship the car back to Florida for me. I was a little apprehensive about leaving it at what in essence was a towing impound lot, but they assured me they ship Rolls Royces, Ferrari’s and all kinds of cars, and had in fact, shipped a 1922 Franklin just the week before. I left clear directions on the seat on how to start the car, locked it up and left, feeling like I was leaving one of my children.
Wednesday, July 17, Port Everglades, FL
DAS called and told me my car had come in and was at their terminal at the Port in Ft. Lauderdale, about 30 miles south of Boca Raton. I arranged to pick it up after lunch. Shane, one of the guys I work with, drove me down and after inspecting the car and handling the paperwork we drove to a service station to get gas. (they had requested it be shipped with less than a quarter tank). As I was filling up, the sky was getting darker and darker. As we started off headed for home the thunder started cracking and the bottom dropped out! Rain was coming down in buckets, 3 lanes of traffic slowed almost to a standstill, and I decided to just pull over in a parking lot of a store and wait for the worst to blow over. As I sat there, sweating, the interior steamed up, and the roar of the rain hitting the roof, I thought this was poetic justice – we left in hot, rainy weather, and now here the Model A and I were right back in the same! It finally let up a little and Shane followed me as we drove on north. A huge accident had blocked the route I usually take, so we had to detour a couple of miles out of our way, and finally got home after about 2 hours. Soaking wet with sweat, with the car drenched and dirty, I backed it in the garage and shut it off, very thankful to have the car and myself home safe from our great adventure.