So Long Summer

Not too long ago was my last day working my summer internship at Tired Iron Works. The day started off like any other day, just walking in and starting to work on the 1909 Pope as I did most days as of late. Soon after Mr. Kidd walked in an asked me to put the battery charger on the 1941 Lincoln. I did, thinking nothing of it and then continued working with the Pope. After a little bit of time he asks me if I have ever driven a Lincoln before. I told him that I had not. He then casually asked me to move it to the church parking lot so we could have some room in the shop. I was so giddy to do so, I grabbed my camera, my hat, and jumped in. I was quite giddy. (I know, I already used that word, but even as I write, I am still giddy).

After Kyle gave me a quick rundown on its quirks, (every car has quirks) I backed it out and brought it to the church. I stalled it once because I figured being a V-12 I wouldn’t have to push the accelerator too much, turns out I was wrong. When I got going though, it was so smooth. I was excited and slightly terrified at the same time. It’s not like every day I get to drive someone’s $100,000+ car.

DSC_0444After parking her in the church parking lot I went back to the shop to finish up working my last day. Today was definitely more relaxed for me. One of my main duties for the day was to be the hand cranker for the 1909 Pope. Kyle was trying to get it to run. I did a lot of cranking that day. After setting the magneto and the firing order we were ready to go.  On my first crank it fired and started to run, but quickly died. Ultimately it was figured out that fuel delivery was the issue, but that was not sorted out during the time that I was there.

My good friend Stan showed up later that day. His friend Bruce was coming to pick up the firetruck speedster, but I think he wanted to say goodbye knowing that I would be leaving California in a week. After a bit of chit chat and Bruce concluding his business, Stan headed on out and I continued to help around the shop, mainly polishing miscellaneous brass pieces for the 1911 Pope. I stayed until 5ish, when the main crew started to head out. Mr. Kidd asked me if I was willing to move the Lincoln back in. I agreed, which is honestly why I stayed as long as I did. I took my camera, my keys, and my hat, to go take in the beauty of the Continental.

DSC_0434I just stared at in the parking lot for a while, admiring the curves and the sheer elegance that it possessed. I took all sorts of pictures from every angle, taking in the moment before climbing in. I made the mistake of not pulling the ignition out before trying to start it, but  I figured it out and fired her up. That V-12 is so quiet and so smooth. I know, I said that before, but it really deserves to be appreciated again.

As I pulled out of the church parking lot I saw most of the Tired Iron Crew walking out. They just looked kind of surprised to see the goofy intern in the Lincoln. I took the long way back to the shop, going around the block, instead of merely going across the street and turning left into driveway, because where is the fun in that? I got her into third gear and revelled in  going around the block. She had no trouble steering, braking, or accelerating. Everything was dialed in and was amazing. Driving that work of art I could see why someone back in the day would buy a luxury car. It was far superior to anything I have ever driven of the time period. You honestly did not need power anything, everything was so easy and so fluid.

After my little joy ride I pulled back into the shop and parked her. I was still so enthused and stopped to  talk with Chris and Kyle. They mentioned that I had been gone for a bit, then I explained that I had a done a quick photo shoot and forgot about the ignition trick. They chuckled for a second saying how they though I had pulled a Ferris Bueller. I got Kyle to take a few pictures of myself proudly standing next to the Lincoln. After that we said that we’d see each other at Pebble and parted ways.DSC_0421

I am extremely thankful for the experiences I had over the summer at Tired Iron. I am thankful that Mr. Kidd was willing to take a chance on a college kid who had never worked in a shop before and trusted me to even work on those cars going to Pebble Beach. I made mistakes along the way, simple ones, stupid ones, and pure accidents, but I was forgiven and allowed to work. The team at Tired Iron was willing to help me whenever I needed it, even when they were busy with their own projects.

I have to say that I could not have gotten there without the help of my good friend Stan Pitts, who showed me the shop, introduced me to Mr. Kidd and who recommended me and vouched for my integrity. Without Stan I never would not have had any of these experiences that you have been reading about this summer.

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Sanding,painting,painting,sanding, and… “driving”(Weeks 2 and 3)

So I have been a little behind on my blog these last couple of weeks be cause I was primarily sanding and painting on Mr. Kidd’s Pope. That does not equate to the most exciting of blogs and I prefer not to bore my readers and chase them away. I can honestly say that I had to Keep Calm and Sand On, as a sign in the paint lab of McPherson says.

DSC_0072One small, but I thought interesting thing that I did do that was not sanding, was to  install the leather straps that go around the live axle of the Pope. Nothing earth shattering, but one of those neat little details that one does not think of or rarely gets the opportunity to actually do. I am assuming that it is a backup in case the live axle comes loose, I could be wrong though. I am just now learning about these horseless carriages, and  you know what they say about assuming…

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The high point of last week goes to the 1911 Pope coming back from the paint shop. Chris parked his truck and trailer which contained the “package”, in the middle of the street and came in to assemble the staff. Once assembled we all did our part to “escort” the Pope, by that I mean us pushing her, across the street and up the driveway and into the shop. I can also tell you that I was a bit shocked to see it’s sparse state and then hear that this vehicle is going to be ready for Pebble Beach. Of course as soon as this one was in…I started sanding on it.

DSC_0049I should mention though that all of my sanding efforts have not as of yet lead to an actual finished product. I have been multi tasking on two vehicles, the 1909 and the 1911. I swear I am not just a slow sander. One of the days I had to sand and clean the cylinder heads to the 1909 Pope. After a full day of cleaning they were perfect to paint. So we masked and rolled the ol’ girl out and our resident painter, Bob, started spraying. I will say that a few things were odd to me. First off we were painting something fairly noticeable outside with no booth, second no one was wearing respirators. I mentioned that to Mr. Kidd and he said, “Well that’s what that thing on Bob’s mouth is for”, referring to his mustache. I have also since learned that you can actually legally spray up to one gallon of paint outside without a paint booth. Huh.

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WP_20150601_15_33_02_ProAside from taking on a new projects we had a few visitors breeze into the shop. The first being a a 1933 Rolls Royce. It was in for about 2 days and then *poof* it was gone. I didn’t really take any good pictures of it because I didn’t expect it to be gone so soon. A mistake that I had yet not learned from.

WP_20150609_15_34_45_ProThe other pit stop was a 1938 Mercedes 540. This one was definitely a pit stop, because it came in for some brake work and to get some tuning. Yet again, I did not take any pictures with my Nikon, because I did not expect to to disappear so soon. Lesson learned, always take pictures.

The two other nifty vehicles, probably my two favorite thus far, are a Lagonda and a 1909 Peerless. I was drawn to the Lagonda because of it’s lack of running boards, the cycle type fenders, and the leather body. It is the kid of sporty race car that I could like, additionally it has two rows of seats. I could bring some friends along as well. Who knew a four door race car even existed? . The Peerless is just plain nifty!

I was later tasked with steering and braking as the Peerless was towed up the driveway. It appears to be very original, or maybe just a very ratty car, because the upholstery was very worn. The steering wheel was cracked(part of it broke off in Kyle’s hands), paint was sparse in areas, and it may have even been stored in a barn and used as a chicken coop. Bert, one of the regular visitors to the shop, snapped a picture of me as we pulled up. It looks as though Jethro, from The Beverly Hillbillies, just pulled up.IMG_1601 Later on the big cheese (Mr. Kidd) had me bring it into the shop, and as I started to back down an extremely tight hallway he said, “left hand down”. I was puzzled for a second. I threw my left hand down, looking for a lever or something to grab, something that wouldn’t surprise me on an early car, but none was to be found. Instead I used my right hand and started fumbling with my right hand with the levers over there. After that my boss told me to hold on, as he proceeded  to pickup the phone and said, “Hello McPherson College, I have a student I need to talk to you about”. “Don’t you know left from right? Or will I have to refer to those as wheat and barley?” He then explained to me, which he clarified might purely be a story, saying that at one point in time (World War I, I believe) they used to train people who did not know left from right by putting wheat in the left hand and barley in the right hand and referring to them as such. It makes for a good story at least. After a good teasing I was then told that left hand down is referring to turning the steering wheel to the left, apparently used with tow truck drivers and such. You learn something new everyday.

Last but not least I will tell you about our firetruck. In the shop we have a 1917 Seagrave, being the city of Monrovia’s first firetruck, and is currently undergoing restoration. With the San Marino Classic Car Show at Lacy Park DSC_0119coming up we needed to get it out of the shop and allow access for the tow truck to pick it up the following  morning. It was being brought to the car show in order to help raise funds for the restoration.  Once again moi was at the wheel. There was a lot of fooling around and 20 point turns but we got her out. I have to give a lot of credit to the firefighters back in the day. They got their workout by just driving the dang thing. Even when we were moving at a good speed it was tough to steer. I really had to hoof it at times. Forget it when I had to turn and was not moving. I was putting my weight into it and nearly zilch was happening. Luckily I had Chris Moore pushing the tires, as my power steering.

Well that is all I will discuss for the moment, however the next day I  assisted in judging at the Lacy Park Show in the Brass Era Section, so there will be much more to tell.

Until then Smeltzer out.

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San Marino Motor Classic

Mr and Mrs. Hunter heading to the Judges sign in.

Mr and Mrs. Hunter heading to the Judges sign in.

A few  Sundays back,  I was given the wonderful opportunity to go to the Lacy Park Car Show, in San Marino for free. The catch, which was not truly a catch, was that I was going to be judging in the Brass Era section. Mr. Kidd had told me a week before that I was signed up to do so, but he had no qualms from me. I was ecstatic at the opportunity. I was going to meet up with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, the couple who owns the 1904 Pope Toledo,                                                                                             and be under their wing for judging.

 

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I showed up a little before 7 to see the cars come in, a suggestion by Mr. Hunter. I walked to the front gate and told the attendants that I was here for judging, somehow I was not on the list but one of them walked me in and gave me a judges pass. See, just act like you know what you are doing and you can get into anything.

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I stood by two parking attendants flagging cars every-which way ,and took a bunch of pictures of course, while discussing cars that the attendants had owned in the past as well as naming the make, model, and year of whatever was coming in. I will say that I was at a loss when it came to the Porche’s and Ferrari’s.

A bit before 8:00 I managed to find the Hunters. We continued to watch the classic cruise in then proceeded to have a Judges breakfast, (another perk to the job). After breakfast and a meeting, which consisted of making sure each class had a judge and that everyone knew where they were going, we proceeded to make our way to the Brass section.

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First up was a 1903 Cadillac owned by Joe Conzonire, whom I later found out owned “The Hat” restaurants. The procedure for judging was to walk up to the owner, introduce ourselves and have them talk a little about their car. After that the owner will proceed to fire up their vehicle. Assuming that it runs well, the judges will them ask the owner to turn on headlights, taillights, signals, horn and such, assuming that the vehicle has all of these. Once those requirements have been checked we then look at the rest of the car,looking for leaks, tears in upholstery, incorrect fittings and bolts, paint finish, and so on. The Cadillac did very well,mainly because we didn’t have much to judge. Mr. Hunter explained to me that very early cars have an advantage, because there is less to them, therefore there is less to go wrong.

The cars that were in our section also included a 1913 Mercedes owned by the Nethercutt’s. Later, Mr. Hunter told me that we had met Mr. Nethercutt, which I was unaware of. I wish I knew at the time, because I always like to put a face with a car. I was told beforehand that there was a high chance that the Nethercutt car would do very well and indeed it did. If I can recall correctly it received a possibly 100 out of 100 (before Elegance factor) which I will explain later on.

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Additionally entered was a 1924 Hudson. I know that this is a little later than the traditional “brass era and nickel era” but it was in our section, as well as a 1915 Dodge (not judged), 1915 Pierce Arrow, a 1908 De Dion Buton, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter’s Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (also not judged), as well as a Rauch & Lang Electric.

Even though it was not judged my favorite was the Dodge. Wait…What..a lowly driver condition Dodge touring car? Yes indeed my dear readers, yes indeed. I talked with Mr. Lucas (the owner) and his mechanic for a while about the Dodge. Though Mr. Lucas has quite an extensive collection, I was told a 36,000 sq. ft. warehouse full, he said that if all his cars were to be auctioned off this is the one he would hide in the corner to keep. He said that as a kid he and his friends would get these old Dodges out of farmers barns. Evidently the farmers were making bank in the 1920’s and wanted to step up to something other than a Model T, so they bought these. After enough years the Dodge’s were relegated to the barns.  Many of the farmers told him if they could get it running they could have it, so he and his friends did just that. Apparently Mr. Lucas was driving himself to Junior High in these types of cars as well. His teachers said that he couldn’t possibly do that, he wasn’t old enough to drive and it was illegal. He explained that for most of the drive it was on farmers’ fields (private property) that didn’t care, so it was indeed okay to do so. Lastly I will mention that he had a nifty addition to it called an explosion whistle. What it is, is that a primer cup was converted to open during combustion creating a loud whistle, just one more personal touch to the vehicle.

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After going through the section we conferred back at the judges table for lunch, may I reinforce what a good deal this was. We had a fanciful looking box lunch, even with a ribbon on top. During this period in time the points were tallied and elegance factor was taken into effect. Essentially “elegance factor” has to deal with the provenance of the vehicle.
DSC_0120As someone else put it, if two vehicles are really close the Mercedes shouldn’t lose to a Hudson, if both had the same quality of restoration finding out information, parts, and such on the Mercedes require more effort and is a more impressive feat than the Hudson. It would be the equivalent of having a Model T win over a Packard, which one is harder to find information and parts for? It was interesting to see how similar the judging style and process was to Pebble Beach. When I was shadow judging at Pebble Beach I was just starting to see how everything worked, so to already have a bit of an understanding helped.

DSC_0284After everything was tallied up ( with the Mercedes’s getting first) I was free for the day. The Hunter’s were able to give me one of their extra tickets as an “exhibitor” since they had two judge passes, so my Grandmother was able to tag along as we walked through the show.

The day seemed to get progressively hotter and the cars were not exactly in the shade, but the show was enjoyable. Thank you to Mr. Kidd as well as Mr. and Mrs. Hunter for this wonderful experience.

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A week with a Pope

DSC_0051For those of you who might have missed out, this summer I am interning at Tired Iron Works in Monrovia, California. This is my first true experience in a shop, so it should be an interesting one.

I have finished my first week at Tired Iron and I can say that most of it was involving prep and painting. When I walked in on the first day Chris Kidd, the head honcho, briefly introduced me around the shop and put me to work. He told me if I did not know someone’s name that I should ask for Chris, since there are three of them working at the shop. I dug right into work, this was a welcomed surprise because I figured they would have me sweeping floors, getting coffee, or the like for the first day or so. You know what interns end up doing ,being a go-for. “Go for this” and “Go for that”.

DSC_0006I was placed on Mr. Kidd’s 1909 Pope Hartford, which will be attending Pebble Beach Concourse D’Elegance. Luckily I will be in attendance, so not only will I be able to see the car in person, I will be able to point at that car and tell everybody that I worked on that car, even if it is just a little bit. But I seem to be getting ahead of myself.

I was introduced to the person already working on the vehicle, another Chris, and got to work sanding on the frame rails. This car had been through a restoration almost ten years ago and has been driven a fair amount, so the restoration was starting to show it’s age. We were sanding parts of the frame rails and such to touch it up with some silver paint…brushed on…I know…I know…brushed on? Originally this vehicle would have been DSC_0012brushed on from the factory, but most people just shoot paint today due to it’s cost effectiveness, ease of application, and shine. Don’t get me wrong though, from the factory this vehicle would have had a good shine, but the painters at the time doing these cars were true craftsman, using the best of brushes, and having a great deal of experience…not some 20 year old college kid that just walked in. Also the paints of the time would have had much much longer drying times than what we have, so that the paint would have had a chance to flow more.

I can say that for the whole week I sanded, painted, sanded, painted, and so on. It is not the most exciting work, but it is what needs to be done to this vehicle as Pebble Beach looms closer. On that note we happen to have two more Pope’s. One of them is at the paint shop right now, while the 1904 is having some finishing touches done. There will be a section at Pebble just for Popes this year. When I was at Pebble Beach last year they had a section just for Ruxtons, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I like the fact that they have such variety in their special section.

On Wednesday I had a chance to go for ride in the 1904.  Mr. Kidd was taking it out earlier for a spin and I mentioned about being able to go for a ride in an early car later. Sure enough right as I am finishing up lunch Kyle, the head mechanic, asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. Heck Yes!

First I, along with a couple others, pushed the Pope up the hill in the alley, so Kyle could have a push start. After she fired up I hopped in and away we went. We went down a block, turned right onto Myrtle and started an incline. Not too long into the incline she started chugging a bit and then she died. I had to jump out and push her along until we were able to get to the side of the road to let traffic go by. Of course people were slowing down and taking pictures, after all it is not everyday that you see a 111 year old car broken down on the side of the road.

WP_20150529_11_36_07_ProI tried to push start her again, but she would not start, so Kyle jumped out and popped the hood to take a peek. After seeing that we had gas, we gave it another go. Still no luck. As he jumped down again I could not hep but think of an old song titled, “He’d have to get under get out and get under” in which a guy is driving his sweetheart around and every time he gets in close the car breaks down and he needs to fix it. It’s a neat little song if you want to hear it and no I am not the sweetheart.

WP_20150529_11_42_43_ProKyle noticed that the linkage for the timing was knocked loose, so we had no timing. He got the linkage back on and had me try to hand crank it, but after one rotation I couldn’t get it to budge, there was more resistance than I thought. I couldn’t do enough rotations to get it going so Kyle gave it a shot, but he didn’t have much more luck than I so we parked the ‘ol girl and we walked back to the shop, it wasn’t like anyone could steal it. I went back to work while they towed her back. There were a few things wrong with it that he hammered out, he also figures that whoever restored the car upped compression a bit, because it should not have been that hard to crank, though I am sure Chris Paulsen, a professor at McPherson who loves early cars, could put us to shame.

That is all I really have to report for this week, so I’ll leave you with a bit of history. Another tidbit that I was thinking of while we were going through this whole ordeal was that someone like Horatio Nelson Jackson drove his 1903 Winton coast to coast, being the first to do, so with his mechanic Crocker and dog Bud. They did encounter many troubles along the way, but they had to go across some crazy terrain with no paved roads and here we were. We didn’t even make it a couple of blocks from the shop. It is amazing that folks traveled in such basic vehicles across none existent roads. Jackson’s story is an interesting one and I highly suggest you take the time to look it up or if you get a chance, PBS made a program called “Horatio’s Drive” a few years ago.

There is something to say about the human spirit and perseverance.

Jackson, Crocker, and Bud in their 1903 Winton named the “Vermont” Image borrowed from http://korecologic.com/about/urbee_2/

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No particular place to go


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The day started out with the usual shooting the breeze at breakfast. I was asking what I might be able to drive around and see today. Grandpa Mick and Barb mentioned that a place called Balanced Rock as well as a Kaiser that was fairly close. In case you do not know, aside from Chrysler products I am also a big Kaiser fan, really big.

So I mounted my purple steed and rubbernecked around the area. I didn’t find the Kaiser that he was talking about, it appears that it was moved, but I did happen to find another one not too far. Who knows, it might be the one he was referring to and it was moved. I just cruised up and down the streets admiring the scenery and riding the road.

My next adventure involved me driving to Balanced Rock, approximately 10 miles awayDSC_0105 (2) from my grandfathers house. It must have been a pretty funny sight for anyone watching me drive on by. Again, my head was sticking above the windshield,as I did my best Jeffrey the Giraffe imitation with my hat was blowing in the wind as I squinted my eyes. Eventually I found a picnic area among the rocks before finding the rock itself. Of course then I took my photo shoot.
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After messing around for 15 minutes I made my way back to Buhl, stopping by in the town of Castleford for a quick drive through, don’t blink otherwise you’d miss it. After my aimless wandering back to Buhl I wound my way back to my grandpa’s house just in time for half an hour of downpour.

During that time I found  Gary Nelson, a friend of my grandfather’s working on a Ford 8N tractor. Mr. Nelson is a big Dodge nut and is going to give me some pointers when it comes time to build my engine. This 8N was being rebuilt because someone speed shifted DSC_0185 (2)the transmission, buggering it all up.  I shot the breeze with him and assisting in a few ways, while the downpour dissipated. After talking about Dodges and Mopars for a while he decided that enough work had been done on the tractor and headed out. Mr. Nelson did tell me that he would send me some information on how I might be able to spruce up my flathead  without doing anything major.

Not much else happened after that, just lots of conversation with everyone at the house and dinner. Not everything can be exciting, but I think more people should spend time just talking to one another.

The next day was a moving day. By moving I mean that I moved cars around the yard and helped pick up another one. After my morning routine of breakfast and chatting, Grandpa Mick suggested that I offload the Chevy from the rollback to get some experience. My task DSC_0003was to place it in line with the next one side by side.  After he gave me a brief rundown on what each lever did, moving the bed forward and back, tilting the bed, and operating the winch, I went to work. I had everything lined up but the winch was bound so I could not get the car to lower. After monkeying the winch with a hammer I was able to loosen it, but the Del Ray would not budge…then again she was sitting on three flat tires. I don’t know what I quite did, but she eventually slid down and I used the bed of the rollback to push her right next to the other Del Ray.

WP_20150521_10_59_46_ProAfter that stint grandpa asked me if I wanted to do it again, but to load up the 1958 Buick and move it behind the “toy box”, meaning his car storage bays. This one went fairly well, except I had to have grandpa revving the truck a bit to get the bed to move back into position. Unloading it next to the Edsel was fine. Then after that we went to pick up a 1965 Bel Air Wagon in town and place it back there. I sat in and steered a bit while he winched it up. Once again I fit fine and further fueled the flame to someday have a wagon, something in the early fifties though. Once we got the ‘ol girl up I was once again tasked with unloading her. Everything was set up to go well and once again  I got it into position and the darn thing had started to slide. The winch hookups had come loose and I did not check them…ooops. She slid off the trailer fine but I had to pull her forward a bit to get her in the right position, with some help from Barb at the controls while revved. I was lucky that something was not damaged in the process and will make sure to double check that everything is in place every time. You know what they say about assumptions…

DSC_0282 (2)After I had my fill of loading and unloading I helped Freddie get the bumper on the Thunderbird. After taking apart the bumper and straightening it some more then it was time to line it up. After playing with it for an hour it was time to fly the bird. In my typical fashion I took it out to a scenic area and took pictures with a sunset. Overall I think they came out pretty nice.

The next day was a cruising day.  I made sure to get everyone together for a group shot. After a family portrait I convinced my grandfather to put the top on the Thunderbird to see if I could fit. No one believed that I could, but indeed I did…just not with my hat on. Oh well, you can’t have everything. I kept the top off though and took Great-Grandpa Dutch out on a cruise down to the dairy and back. He had not been for a cruise for years and we had a blast. Dutch was saying that everybody was looking at us, so he waved back; he played the role of Rose Princess perfectly.DSC_0013 (2)

After our parade up and down town we made our way back and had lunch with our freshDSC_0088 milk. You could say that the dairy was milking a lot of my money this week. I drove to the gas station put 10 in the tank and just drove. It was so much fun to just drive. I headed out to the area where the springs were coming out of the hill side.  After more pictures (no surprise) I decided to make my way back. I missed the turn off…and got lost, but like a Hagerty ad I saw, “getting lost is part of the plan”. For me this was not quite true but it worked out. I was on the highway, so I figured it would eventually lead back into downtown Buhl.

After a bit of time I did make my way into Buhl and slowly made my way back home. Sometimes there are vehicles that you just drive for the sake of driving, to have fun, and this was one of them. I need to buy a first generation Thunderbird. I know it is not a true “sports car” but I loved that car. It was definitely the sportiest vehicle I have ever driven.

After I was done having Fun, Fun, Fun it was time to pack up for the journey back home.

The next morning I told everyone goodbye and mounted my green steed to California. Nothing much happened on the way back. I just knew that I was officially in California when I and everyone else came to a stop just over the Cajon pass. At least I knew I was back…

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Driving in circles

DSC_0001This morning I rolled out of my bed around 6 o’clock to a enjoyable morning conversation with Barb and Great Grandpa Dutch until Grandpa Mick awoke. From there we all talked and enjoyed breakfast while planning the day. The main objective was to pick-up a 1958 Chevrolet Delray (the second of two) which he had traded an early 1960s Cadillac for. Yes, my Grandfather is a consummate horse trader. He had already picked up one of them earlier. I will say that this one is rough. My grandpa has a saying for these types of cars and that is that they are “fine clean and only one owner. This one definitely fell into that category. The other one is in much better shape than this one, but this one is still extremely solid. The DSC_0009biggest part obviously being a slightly crushed in taillight area. Aside from that though it is in a great starting point. We loaded this one up onto the rollback and made our way back. Before leaving though I snapped a picture of this pre-war Chrysler sitting pretty close by. You know how I attached I am to my Mopars.

Just a few minutes later I posted a picture of us loading up the Chevy on the rollback to the World Wide Web and within five minutes of me posting that one of my friends from the college Nick Lechner, who is a 58 Chevy Nut, called. As soon as I saw his name pop up on my phone I knew exactly what he was calling about. So I told him a little about the vehicles and such.

After that I took the ‘ol Shay A out for a drive. I wanted to make my way to the dairy in town and get some milk. I was told that they had all their milk in glass bottles, so I had to get one. I made my way in my purple steed with my giraffe like proportions sticking up over the windshield with my Indiana Jones Fedora blowing in the wind. All I could think of was Dr. Jones driving away from someone pursing him. Eventually I made it into Buhl and pulled  into the dairy. Did I mention that I honked my ahooooga horn at almost anybody? It brings a smile to my face whenever I ahoogahed and so did the people I passed, or maybe it was the look of an obviously big man driving a small car. Who knows?

DSC_0015 (2)Continuing onward. I walked into the dairy with the intention of buying milk, but I saw the homemade ice cream and a blueberry and strawberry cheesecake ice cream called “Independence Day” I knew I had to try it. First off it was cheesecake, that’s already a good selling point for me. Second, with a name like “Independence Day” how could one not try it? Boy was it good. I do recommend that if you are passing through Buhl, to give Cloverleaf Creamery a shot. I have also found that milk out of a  glass bottle is also a wonderous thing. Too bad I don’t know of any nearby dairies in my neck of the woods in California. It is probably for the best though; otherwise I might spend all of my money on milk.

After cruising around in the only 80’s car I’d ever own I made it back to the house to get the 1958 Edsel Wagon going to putt around the yard. My grandfather has some Swedish contacts that tell him to buy some cars and get them running enough for them to be shipped over. One of their requests was an Edsel Wagon. I used this opportunity to drive an Edsel and a station wagon, because I have not done either. I like wagons a lot because I see the practicality in them. They have more space, so I can fit my friends, my stuff, or a place to sleep when I travel. I also wanted to drive it to annoy my Edsel fanatic friend Jason Peters.

I had to grab a gallon can with a hose to get it to run and had to charge the battery for a while. I originally tried to jump it with the Tundra and got it to fire for about 30 seconds but by the time I jumped in the wagon…it died. I threw the battery charger on it for half anwp_ss_20150519_0004 hour and then she fired up. She had a nice rumble to her, might have to do with the not so factory side pipes that it had. The gas pedal was split, so I had to try and feather it as best as possible, but when I got it going I was so happy. I gave my phone to one of the guys hanging out in the shop to video tape me. As I started to go up the hill …it died. Just my luck. After another jump though she was back in the mix. I enjoyed my little putt around the yard and definitely have added some sort of wagon to my list. As I wandered about in my grocery getter I pictured myself 15 years down the road crossing the country with a wife and kids in some old wagon. All I can say is that my kids will have a different upbringing…

After my wagon adventures I parked her outside and proceeded to see what sort of trouble was being made in the shop. Fast Freddy, the body man that my grandpa will use, was DSC_0061working on the rear 57 Thunderbird bumper. He is known as “Fast Freddy” because, according to my grandfather, “He works so slow he couldn’t catch a cold, but he does fantastic work”. Anyways, I held one end of the rear bumper as Freddy was bending and twisting the other end, then one of the other guys hanging out welded a crack on the bumper. It was interesting to see the way work was being done and yet it was being done well. The precise imprecisions, something that cannot be taught but learned over years of work. I wasn’t looking through the camera when I took the welding shots, I merely set it up and when he said go I would close my eyes and click. Not bad though right? After enough horsing around it was time for dinner and some shuteye though. I’m probably going to take the Shay and see the area.

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Going nowhere fast, and loving it

DSC_0025My original plan this morning was to take my grandpa’s Chevrolet LUV and go back to the sandstone to get some pictures of the sunrise. My grandfather told me the night before, “Go in with two wheel drive so you can get out in four wheel drive. If you go in deep with four wheel drive then you’re screwed”.  Unfortunately the gate to his property was locked still, so I decided to walk up one of the hills to get some pictures of the sunrise. It was still pretty cloudy and drizzling so I didn’t get a sunrise, but was able to get a decent view. I was glad to have the opportunity to walk a hill again.  I also found out that cowboy boots are fairly useless, at least the ones I had. You would think that for use on the farm and such they would be great, but they were a pain just to climb up and down hills with, give me a set of hiking boots any day, the reason I did not use mine, is because I could not find them while packing up. I don’t know where they could be, Montana perhaps? I’m hoping that they turn up someplace.

DSC_0093After my morning walk I sat and watched the birds from the cabin while talking with Barb, mainly to try and snap some good pictures, while waiting for my Grandpa to get up. I did manage to get a few. I am also going to mention that there is a setting on my camera that makes pictures more vivid, so I’m testing that out for now. So far I am liking the results. After grandpa got up we shot the breeze for bit and we noticed an English Pit walking around on the property. Grandpa told me to get in the Mikado (Chevy LUV) and go after it. Apparently someone lost their pit a few days ago while fishing. She’s supposed to be a friendly house dog, but before I got out of the door she fled. I drove around the property, mudding a little bit, looking for the dog but to no avail.

DSC_0115After returning to the cabin we mosied on over to the Lodge for some breakfast and then he taught me how to drive the Ford 8N tractor. He gave me a brief lesson and then told me to use the rake feature and to move rocks to the side as well as level the road a little bit. We have had quite a bit of rain here, so the roads have been torn up some. I had a fun time on the tractor and feel that I did fairly well. One section of the road was extremely muddy and I had some trouble around that point. If I had the rake too low the tractor would start to get stuck, but it I had it too high then it really didn’t do much…so that area needs to dry out before it can be leveled again. After feeling Amish for a few hours I went to the mineral hot springs on the property to soak for a while. Let me tell you. Those mineral hot springs beat any hot-tub that I have been in.

DSC_0129Keeping with the theme of being busy I hopped in the Mikado and decided to go have some fun. I considered the Toyota, but after yesterday’s adventure I thought it might be good to give it a break and to take the vehicle with Four Wheel Drive instead. I drove on the main dirt road heading to the reservoir and took some scenic shots before heading back. Let me tell you folks if your gut says that you shouldn’t do something you probably should not do it. On the way back I saw this good sized hill and thought to myself, “I do have four wheel drive, I might as well”. DSC_0175So I put the Mikado in Low and went away. As I got further and further up the hill I realized that maybe this wasn’t the best idea, so I tried to turn her around.  As I did so I stalled it…figures. So I was perfectly perpendicular to the trail. As I tried to start her again, she wouldn’t  have it.  I was listing fairly well so I thought that the gas wasn’t quite flowing, so I got out and pushed…slowly as to make sure that I could jump back in once it started rolling down the hill. Luckily that all worked out, but I ignored my instincts again.

This time I saw a little trail that wasn’t steep or anything going off into a canyon, I thought that maybe I should turn around and head back to the cabin since it was getting late, but then I thought, “Ahh it looks easy enough, I’ll just go down a little bit”. I put her back into 2WD, following my grandfather’s earlier advice and continued. Well…I went down a little bit then I realized I really should turn around, as I proceeded to turn around I got stuck. Once again I found myself perfectly perpendicular to the trail. I figured that it wasn’t an issue, I wasn’t in 4WD yet. I turned the vehicle off and stated to take pictures of me being stuck, kind of like trophies I guess. After my photoshoot I hopped into the truck and turned the key…click…nothing.  Well what good does having 4WD do if you can’t start the darn thing? After pondering for a few minutes I still had not pondered what exactly I could do. For a moment I wondered if I could MacGyver my way out of this one like I did yesterday. I tried pushing the truck up a little, then lodging rocks under the tire, inching my way back so that I might be able to turn the vehicle onto the trail and maybe push start it. Well I backed up to a point that I couldn’t back it up any further, and I was nowhere near the room I needed to turn around. I grabbed my gear, locked the truck and walked along the road and not too long after Louise came by, she was heading down the hill to go back home. Good timing for me.

She came to the trail and tried to jump the truck…no luck. We tried a few more times; trying to get her to go but the same results…click…nothing. So we headed back to the cabin to get Grandpa to either possibly find another solution or to pull me out. We brought him back with a wire brush and some wrenches, to loosen and clean the corroded battery terminals, but again nothing, she was as dead as a Gemco credit card. So we pulled out the chain and used the jeep to pull me out and drag me back. I tried to start it while I was being towed but no luck, so I just watched closely as I was being dragged along turning quickly and having to break very quickly as another truck came around the corner. Eventually we made it back and Robert, one of my grandfather’s friends who lives on the property, said that that the system is  not charging and that I just ran it down far enough. He said that he will get on it some point this week, so out of luck.  After a little bit of shooting the breeze and dinner it was time to call it a night.

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