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Old 05-29-2018, 11:14 PM   #55
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Danville, CA
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Default Re: tell a Model A related story

Reprinted from Henry's Horn, the newsletter of Henry's A's Model A club, Livermore, CA
From the Drivers Seat (Because I'm the President)
Dave Mc Arthur - Danville, California -
Chapter 1 - The trip to Addison
Well here we are in Addison and will be looking forward to having a fun week and an uneventful trip home, via Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Nevada, with the last mad dash from Fallon on the 5th of July if all goes as scheduled.
This was how the trip Started, ten miles from home, at the top of an overpass the left front wheel departed, never to be seen again.
Initially there was the problem of a six wheel roadster
insisting that five wheels are plenty. Unfortunately the
one it chose to throw off was the left front. Fortunately I
had a Jack. Unfortunately it wouldn't lift the axle high
enough to put a tire on. Fortunately I have a bride.
Unfortunately she was home in bed. Fortunately I had a
cell phone and she could bail me out with another jack.
Now with two jacks, I could put on a spare tire and be
on my way, all be it an hour later than planned. The
errant wheel has yet to turn up, though I suspect it is
directly below the flyover at Hwy 680 and Hwy 580.
That was where it headed and I didn't want to watch it as I was steering to a stop, a tad apprehensively, and amid a shower of sparks that would have started a grass fire, had I been out on the road. But luck had me on the highest part of the flyover.
Hot over the Tehachapi's, but the little car pulled that fine. Once out in the Mohave at Kramer Junction, running on the two lane out of where 395 and 58 cross, the points did their diminishing clearance trick. Once up to speed they bounce enough to let me cruise on into Barstow, but then it was all popping and backfiring into the Motel lot. Gapped them out a bit and all was well.
The next day was fun exploring the wild and exciting city of Barstow, then off to Oatman to see a burro. I had a pal leading the way and we both stopped at Golden Shores for some fuel. I barely made it up the hill into Oatman.
Street scene in Oatman Arizona, wild donkeys come into town for a handout from the tourists. Carrots can be purchased at the store.
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On old Hwy 66, Cool Springs Station, AZ. Closed today
After leaving Oatman, the car did fine until we got back to Hwy 40. I managed to get it to wind up on the highway and we got to Kingman. There we put on another distributor and left with full power. Five miles later it was again running poorly and after nursing it for an hour with no noticeable improvement, I was on the trailer into Williams. By now I was running on my third distributor, second coil and frustration. The next morning I drove off to the Grand Canyon and it ran rather well most of the way there. Then lots of popping and backfiring. Steve Lewis put his spare carburetor on and away I went to the Canyon. Sort of. We got there but the popping and snorting was back and no power.
By now I was thoroughly frustrated and out of ideas, but as a mild exhaust leak had now turned into straight pipes we changed the manifold gasket, had to double up to stop the leak, but it ran fine back to Williams. Then it did the pop, snap, buck thing so I backed out the mixture control and it improved. We cleaned the carburetor and tightened wires and got back to my original distributor and carburetor and it ran okay. Not perfect, but okay. In Gallup, NM we took the ammeter wires off one of the studs and tightened the stud.
In Santa Rosa, New Mexico, a lady advised us of pending hail and tornado warnings on the way to Tucumcari, NM. We braved the weather and were rewarded with smooth sailing though it did appear threatening. All turned out sunny and dry in Tucumcari.
That seems to have me running like I should and I did so
well into Tucumcari that the next morning I took off on
my own for Amarillo and an old fashioned biscuits and
gravy, sausage and bacon, eggs and fixins breakfast at
Nelda's cousins. (For those that don't know, Nelda is my
bride of 50 years.) Then drove to Quanah where I met
the rest of the group. Now we are safely in Addison and
will be checking out the convention. This all sounds
bad, and it would have been except for the wonderful folks I'm traveling with. They still are talking to me so I guess they haven't totally lost patience with me yet. So I'll test them on the way home.
Thanks to Roger Griffith and Bill Miller, Nelda has sent me some spares for the trip home.
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Chapter 2 - Addison and the Return Trip Home
By now you've all read of my wonderful start and the trip to Addison. It was a lot like the Marine Corps boot camp. Looking back it was a lot of fun and challenges met. At the time it was a lot of frustration and grief. But how about the event and the trip home, you ask?
The first day in Addison I got settled into my room, met a few of the folks staying in my hotel from various states and with various cars. Seems a lot were from Indiana and Iowa. Most were just there to observe things but one guy from Oregon was busy making his car ready for Touring class judging. I believe he must have topped his classification as he scored 486 points. I also walked to the International Hotel and got the lay of things. My main concern was to find the repair tent and compare it to Reno or Lodi. Then I ambled off in search of good Tex-Mex.
Second day I went to the time trials put on by F.A.S.T. Some real driving and fast cars at the time trials in Addison. This lady can make her machine fly.
I saw some real displays of racing skills and some hot machines. Went to the repair area and changed my oil and greased a few fittings. Then went in search of vendors to replenish my friends parts supplies, of those pieces I had put on my car.
Met up with some friends for dinner and a movie in a park the third day. None of us stayed for the movie, but the hot dogs and hamburgers were great.
Next I went to the Dallas Book Depository and heard the story of Kennedy and Oswald again. Also went to an Air and Flight Museum.
Snoopy's Sopworth Camel at the flight museum in Addison.
Another trip was to the Forth Worth Stockyards and the place that prints much of our money for the Federal Reserve. Had another shot at the Tex-Mex. Spent a good part of the rest of the time wandering and looking at the cars. We were never allowed to see the top cars up close. One could view them from above, over a balcony rail.
Nelda joined me and we wandered some more. We also went to her cousin's in Hurst for a night. That was right after we did the three laps on the Texas Speedway and then changed our distributor for the umpteenth time because the backfiring had people ducking for cover.
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We started early on our return and drove up to Clinton, OK. Another of Nelda's cousins came over from OK. City and we took him through the Hwy 66 Museum there. Another meal and off the next morning to Fairview, OK.
Some of the many steam and gasoline tractors A fine collection of race car bits and pieces and other machines in Fairview, Oklahoma In Fairview
There we visited a machine shop, farm, airport, racecar builder and whatever. The older man restores tractors his wife makes quilts. The son builds and restores race machines. We also were fed fritters and good things of every sort. All too soon we were again on the road into Garden City Kansas. There we hit Hwy 50 for our journey home on America's Loneliest Road. (Actually that part is in Nevada.)
The next day we took off early and drove over to Pueblo, CO, and stopped for lunch. I have a sister fifty miles away, so we decided to drive up to Colorado Springs and see her. While we ate lunch our condenser sat out there cooking and when we got back to the car it had no intention of going to Colorado Springs, so we nursed it into Canon City and I finally fixed the backfiring for good. I put on a complete distributor Roger Griffith had rebuilt and also put the cover back on my manifold heater. But by the time I got all this done it was late and so we went to dinner and spared my sister unexpected company.
29 Smile, my little roadster, at 11,312 foot Monarch Pass, in CO. You ask "Why 29 Smile?" Because that is the license.
I bought the car from Alan Funt and he had Smile 29, he had told me I could use it, then after I bought it changed his story, so I got 29 Smile.
I also still have his Smile 29, just in case I can ever us it.
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Two of us at the 11,312 foot summit of Monarch Pass in Colorado.
Morning found us driving up the Arkansas River and over Monarch pass and down into Gunnison, Co. Great breakfast and a great museum where we spent several hours.
The ride out of Gunnison, CO took us past this beautiful lake, on our way to Grand Junction.
Our stop for the night was Grand Junction. There I discovered a slight drip in my "leakless" water pump. Within minutes I had a spare in hand and proceeded to put it on. With my six bladed fan on it there was no way to turn it. So off it came and back on with the leaky leakless.
Parked overlooking the San Rafael Swell, a 35 by 70 mile stretch of rocky residue from oceans of the past with deep, narrow canyons and high rock cliffs. It's a beautiful bit of country and very dangerous to those that get off the main road without proper maps or a guide. Also food and water are required. A local guide is advised.
Next we drove over to Delta, UT. It's a beautiful spot to have some Tex-Mex and then kick back. A friend supplied me with a water pump and I put it on in twenty minutes. Did a test run and the leak was history.
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Morning again found us pulling a grade out of Delta, on our way to Ely, NV. Near the top the new pump began to scream at me to stop, so I did. The repair truck was a few minutes behind us so I changed back to the leaker and was just in time for the repair driver to help me a-fix the hood and off to Eli, determined to just add water from now on. In Eli we took a train out to the massive copper mine that is in Ruth. One of the largest open pit mines, they say. It is over 900 feet deep. Then back past the brothel, where one of the ladies was out waving at the train and telling us, "Ya'all come on down."
From Eli to Fallon was our next drive, and Fallon was our last night out. 4th of July and no Fireworks. No gunfire and I doubt anything else happened that was worthy of note. The next morning we all went our separate ways home. We stopped in Carson City for breakfast and got home about 1:00 pm All in all, a very memorable trip.
I learned that a manifold heater is a good thing in cold weather and a very bad thing when it is 100 degrees plus. They are also worse with the cover off than they are with the cover on. Also it is okay to back the fuel mixture screw out if you are experiencing slight vapor lock, even in high altitudes. At some points mine ran best backed out 2 1/2 turns. At others it had to be all the way seated. Even modern point condensers will malfunction if exposed to enough heat for long enough. I used up two before I got wise and replaced the cover on the heater. I also folded aluminum foil and stuck it between the heater cover and the distributor, several layers.
Also learned that "leakless" water pumps aren't leakless, and it only takes 15 minutes to remove and replace a water pump, if you practice enough times. Leaving more than half your spare parts at home is not a plus. Having a "quick fix" sort of tool set consisting of a screwdriver, a test light, 1/2," 9/16," a pair of pliers, feeler gauge, gloves, flashlight and a small crescent wrench is a great time saver. You don't need to carry a starter, just a crank, but a generator is a good thing to have along. Someone else may need one.
Dave Mc Arthur
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