16. Week Three

Wednesday, October 9.   After the four day blizzard delay and the closing of the national parks wreaked havoc on my itinerary.  I’ve had to eliminate my visits to Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and northern California.

On Sunday I left Sioux Falls and headed south into Nebraska, then west across Wyoming.  Off in the distance you see the beginnings of the Rocky Mountains, which I’ll have to cross to get to Utah.

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As you get farther west, you see the land change from FLAT to rolling prairie, to fascinating stone formations lining either side of the highway.

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I have one word for I-80 across Wyoming.  WINDY.  Most of the drive was fighting 30-40 mph gusts, made worse by the passing double and triple trailer transport trucks.  You’re gripping the steering wheel tightly against the gusts from the south.  But when you’re heading west and the trucks race by at 75-85 mph, they block the wind and you’re suddenly over-correcting and veer to the left, but then get buffeted by the truck turbulence.    The largest trucks left me actually fish-tailing left and right for a few hundred feet.  Pity the folks driving Winnebago motor homes!

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The photo above shows my official escort into Logan Utah.  Fellow classic car enthusiast, member of the Bonneville Austin-Healey Club, and member of the British Car Forum, Keith and his beautiful Austin-Healey met me in Garden City Utah.  Here we are at the scenic overlook at Bear Lake, on the way to the top of Beaver Mountain:

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I have to include a photo of Bear Lake itself, altho’ when Keith and I drove up, the visitors stopped taking pictures of the lake, and pointed their cameras toward our cars.

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We left Beaver Mountain and drove through Logan Canyon on US 89.  Fall colors are making steady progress:

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Keith, his wife Liz, and son Matt invited me for an overnight at their beautiful 19th century home in Logan.  They’ve restored the entire property, and added a fantastic garden area.  Of course, there are a couple AH Sprites stored back there too.  Here’s a photo of Keith and Liz the morning I left – after a *great* breakfast of waffles and Historic Grounds coffee from Wally and Renee in Metamora.

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I admire their patience listening to my trip stories and lesson in “old ways to plant squash”.    Nineteenth century agriculture is an interest of mine, which I’m learning as a volunteer at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

After driving around Salt Lake City and heading across Utah, something caught my eye.  A Sinclair gas station.  My dad worked for Sinclair Refining Company from 1946 to 1966.  I hadn’t seen an operating Sinclair station in many many years.  What memories that station brought:

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Gasoline available:  Dino, and Dino Supreme.

Just before leaving Utah and entering Nevada, I had to stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  So many important events in the continuing competition for “fastest” …

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I discovered my fan belt – and generator – were loose when I did my usual morning car check prior to leaving Elko, Nevada.  One nut was frozen, and in a hard to reach spot, so I needed assistance and called Elko’s Gallagher Ford.  As I pulled in to the Service Department, about a dozen young mechanics stopped their work and circled my car.  They seemed fascinated – and a bit puzzled – by 1950s engineering and design.  I had to chuckle when one young man asked me “What’s that round thing with all the wires sticking out of it?”  I then told him what a distributor does!  And only one of the mechanics had ever worked on a car with a carburetor – and what a surprise when I found out his prior job was with a classic car restoration company somewhere in Nevada.

That mechanic really dedicated himself to diagnosing the generator and fan belt problems.  The threads on the adjusting bolt were badly worn, so we rigged a “spacer” to move the tightening nut onto the non-worn threads.  Thank you Gallagher Ford!

Next destination:  Palo Alto California.

8 Responses to 16. Week Three

  1. Pingback: Coast to coast in a 1960 190b - PeachParts Mercedes ShopForum

  2. Bob Graham (Frozen Bob) says:

    Tom
    Wishing I was riding shotgun with you, but many of us less adventurous IPOG souls are with you in spirit. Happy trails and smooth roads are in my prayers for you. We are looking for you in Sept in Philadelphia at Kevin’s so we can all toast your Great American Road Trip.
    Frozen Bob

  3. Call me: 650-255-6006 and leave me a message telling me how you’re getting from Bonneville to Palo Alto, where you’ll be, and how long you’ll be here. We have to try to get together — I live right on the Palo Alto border. We’re going up to Tahoe this weekend with other MBCA friends — hope we won’t just be passing on the freeway going opposite directions. So call me! Gary Anderson

  4. reesed says:

    Route 89 is a great scenic highway drive. If you go through Salt Lake in Utah, try to stop at SaltAire. Hope to see you here on your return trip.

  5. Dave McChesney says:

    Your trip on Rt 89 (Logan Canyon) brings back my memories of driving that on a British bike (Norton 600cc flat track racer). Your wind experience echos my experience when I passed those big trucks on my Shadow in 2010. I envy you getting to the “salt”. If you get the chance, see the video The World’s Fastest Indian with Anthony Hopkins. It catches the spirit of Bonneville. Safe and trouble free travels.

  6. Tom in CT,
    Looks like a real nice trip. Keep that “b” Ponton rolling!
    Jeff

  7. C. Todd Phillips says:

    Hi Mister. Todd here, Scott and I met you at the scenic turnout near Goldmine Cali. & you were kind enough to take the time to let me look under the hood.

    Very much appreciative of your web pages, and wishing you the very best of luck !

  8. Kevin Dexter says:

    I now live in the Bay Area but I grew up in Wyoming and traversed the state on I-80 about a hundred times. A couple of more times across the state and you will be correcting for wind shifts caused by gaurd-rails and tractor-trailers just like a native. Best of luck!

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