9/26/14 - On the hook again

We started out this morning with our usual after breakfast routine, Joe checks and packs the car.  I check all the outlets for chargers of electronic items, pack them up, look for forgotten items and check out. We got in the car and buckled up in preparation for the drive to the Springfield car show where the T-Bird would be proudly displayed along with other vintage jems.  The T-Bird started first try.  We backed out of our parking spot, put it in drive and the engine reved but the car did not move.  I tried other forward gears ,.. nothing.  We added a pint of tranny fluid and got a little movement but not enough to drive on the street.  The car was to make a short trip to the shop today to check out a leak at the control linkage, but we did not expect to get it there on the' hook'.  Joe called AAA.  I called the car rental company and after waiting for the second tow truck to show up (the first one could not get under the car) we went our separate ways.  Joe and T-Bird went to the transmission shop and I went to the rental car agency.

While I was doing the paperwork for the rental car I explained to  the fellow that was helping me what we are doing  and asked about brew pubs in the area. He gave me some recommendations and said that we should try a Horseshoe.  I didn't know what a "Horseshoe" is but he had another customer so I didn't interrupt him to get clarification. 

I picked Joe up at the transmission shop and we headed for the car show to  pick up our registration and look at cars. They couldn't find our registration and we were sent to the organizers motor home.  When we explained our T-bird situation he agreed to refund our money if I agreed to look back on the credit card records and send a copy of the purchase. Then we were free to walk around the area and checked out some of the fine cars. 

The transmission shop called and told us that the transmission needs a complete rebuild and it will take until Tuesday to get it done.  We needed a beer... so we stopped in at a little restaurant to think up a plan.  After a beer we went exploring again and found people were setting up there lawn chairs along a couple of streets and waiting for something,  just like before the Rose Parade.  A few of the curb loungers told us that the tour of vintage cars started about 6:15, a little over an hour from then.  We picked a cafe with outdoor seating and a good view of the street just as a crowds started to show up also looking for a place.  We could order dinner and watch the cars go by in comfort.  We ordered another beer (why not) while looking over the menu.  There was a menu section of Horseshoes, but it wasn't clear what they are exactly. Joe decided he would have one and I played it safe with a turkey Ruben,and we both had  salads to balance out our meals.  When our dinners arrived the horseshoe mystery was revealed.  It is Springfield toast, (a lot like Texas Toast but tasted pretty good here) layered with boneless chicken strips done in buffalo sauce then mounded with  french fries, secret beer cheese sauce and sprinkled with chopped onions and jalapenos. It was quite a taste treat! Then our salads arrived.   Our waitress was a Penny clone from Big Bang Theory, younger then our kids, blond, attractive, a little overwhelmed with all of the customers.  She forgot our silverware but flirted with the Old Farts on Route 66 (that's us),  Maybe it was only to increase her tip...but we doubt it.  We were feeling young and good lookin' until we got up from the uncomfortable chairs we were sitting in for two hours and realized how creaky we really are.  After watching dinner and cars on tour we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.  The police had the streets blocked off and there still were cars in line a mile from where we had dinner waiting to cruise the strip.  I heard that there were 1300 cars last year in the cruise.  There's no word yet on how many came this year, but there are plenty.

The plan we decided upon is to continue to St Louis, MO in the rental car on Saturday and explore the area until the T-Bird is ready to continue on.  Then we will be able to sprint ahead on the freeway to the part of Route 66 that we haven't yet seen.  A good plan, we think.  

9/25/14 - Day 11 - Starting down Route 66

We were off to breakfast first thing this morning,  It will be best to eat light, we thought, since we are planning to have a dog at Henry's Hot Dog at about 11:30. In anticipation, we pack up and head out about 9 am.  After examining all possible routes, I-290 looked best to get us right to Buckingham Fountain, and it turned out to be a great choice.  it took only about 40 minutes to get there instead of the 75 minutes that Google had estimated.

After parking, walking around checking out the park and fountain, we returned to the car to try to locate the starting point of Route 66.  It is supposed to be close to the fountain.  A gentleman noticed us looking at our maps, books and phones and stopped to ask if he could help.  The distinguished elegance of the T-Bird had attracted his attention, he said. His name is Dennis and he runs a tour company called See Chicago With A Cop.  He is a 30 year veteran of the police force and was able to tell us where Route 66 originally started before the city made the street one way the wrong way,  He said that it was moved a block over.  Just a short walk and we found the end of Route 66.

We talked to a lady there from Australia for a minute.  Her husband had rented a Harley and was riding it to the Harley plant to see them made.  While he did that she was catching a tour of Chicago and was off.   We took a few pictures at the original end of Route 66 and then moved over a block and found the new start.  Another minute or two were spent taking a selfie and more pictures.  The Joe went to get the car so we could try to get a pic with the car and the sign.

The best one has a bus between me and the T-Bird.  We left at about 11 am trying to get to Henry's Hot Dogs before the rush.  Some parts of Route 66 are marked well and others are a little vague .

South side - Where is Dennis when you need him?

South side - Where is Dennis when you need him?

We made it to Henry's about 11:30 and ordered.  Henry's is in the book titled, Route 66 and we brought it with us.  We asked the ladies behind the counter to sign our book and they all did.  We weren't the first to ask. 

After lunch we headed to Joliet, IL and had our pictures taken with Jake and Elwood,  We also topped by the old Joliet prison where Jake spent time.  Then we moved on.

Next was Pontiac, IL.  There are lots of murals and old cars. I didn't take pictures of the murals because no one can take a picture that will do them justice.  Then we continued on.  Route 66 in this area is like Oregon's Hwy. 99.  It is a rural road through farm country.  Route 66 is generally a two lane road with grass and fields on either side.  Some of the little towns have changed the route to include there main street. We visited a bank that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Dwight, IL.  It had his signature small entrance and recognizable outside lights. 

We missed a turn or a sign in the next town and had to ask how to get back to "Old Road" 66 (as it was marked there).  The fellow lead us there in his car, showed us the way, wished us well and then returned to where we first saw him.  We had followed the bike Route 66 sign by  mistake.  We encountered a number of detours to the larger and faster I-55.  These were usually only a couple of exits long and then we were back on the slower roads.

We decided to get to Springfield, IL a day early to try and get the leak in the transmission fixed.  It is a different leak than the one we fixed in Idaho.  We are losing about a pint or transmission fluid every 4 gas fill-ups,.  It isn't a horrible leak but it is a pain to keep thinking about it. Joe called someone from the National Street Rod Association member book who called a friend of his in Springfield that does transmission work in his shop behind his house. Hopefully, the parts are available.

9/24/14 - Day 10

We followed the group of ," newlywed and almost dead tourists", to the to a breakfast place where the food was good and not to spicy.  There was Tabasco to give it a kick, if you want it.  As we were leaving the first set of newlyweds came in for breakfast, it was about 10 am.  That classification if tourists tends to sleep late, I guess. 


We got  on the road about 10;30.  We had  slept in late, too because we had two long days on the road trying to make up time and distance we lost to two consecutive days of car repairs.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to make up enough time to fit in a visit with family and friends in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  They will have to do without seeing our charming selves, this time. Sorry Aunt Ruth and everyone else.  It just wouldn't work.

Our trip was uneventful and even without not much traffic,   The leaves are starting to show their fall colors of bright yellows and dark reds. We did have to make a stop so Joe could purchase a fridge magnet from Wisconsin.  He is collecting one from each state we go through for a friend.   He almost forgot but we stopped at the last exit where he was able to get one.  There was a cheese theme in the gift shop, so he also got cheese curds, cheese and crackers. 

Joe trying to locate a funny sound with snacking mouse in background

Joe trying to locate a funny sound with snacking mouse in background

what state am I  in again?

what state am I  in again?

After a six and a half hour trip we got into our hotel outside of Chicago just before the full effect of the rush hour traffic could slow us down any more.  Google maps indicated that there was road construction on the express toll way in a few spots.  What it didn't show was that the construction was the full length of the highway.  We had to travel 45 mph for what seemed like hours.  I am sure it was. Tomorrow we head for downtown Chicago and find the starting point of Route 66.


9/23/14 - Day 9 Corn Palace

Well...the T-Bird is back in the shop.  That loud noise last night was caused when a nut stripped off the top of a shock.  While we wait for parts from Sioux Falls, we had breakfast at Fanny Horner's, then we were off to see the Mitchell Corn Palace

What a interesting place!  There are large murals with an agriculture motif that are all made  using corn and other grains. They are remodeling and reworking the murals at this time.  The grain tends to get moldy and the birds like the smaller grain so they change them every year.

We got gifts at the gift shop for the granddaughters.  There were plastic tomahawks, plastic guns and even pink gun sets for girls, and all types of corn stuff, including corn cob jam!

Now we are headed for the George McGovern Legacy Museum.  It is part of the college here in Mitchell. We were unable to find the museum. It must have been in the Library at the College.  

The car parts were due at about 1pm so we were hoping to make some progress today. Parts arrived and were skillfully installed after one of the guys called his dad to ask a few questions about how to get the shock out of a car this old.  (The car is older than he is.) We had the manual and his dad just said it would tell him what they needed to know.  there isn't anything hard about it. We want to thank the guys at TMA in Mitchell, SD for there fast work and for the loaner car to use so we could go to breakfast and look around town.  They were great!

Our Team At TMA in Mitchell SD

Our Team At TMA in Mitchell SD

We were out of town by 3pm headed east.  I-90 heads thru some flat parts of the country where there is lots of corn and more corn.  There are also power generating windmills along the highway.  The difference between these windmills and the ones in the Columbia Gorge is the Gorge windmills face the way the road travels following the Columbia and the wind.  In SD, and Minnesota the windmills face perpendicular to the road the way the wind blows. Today most of them were working due to the windy conditions.  It was fun driving. We passed the Jelly Stone Campground and we went by Laura Ingalls Wilder's home and through the landscape that was the setting for her Little House on the Prairie books .  Her books were based on her own experiences and as we were traveling along we realized where she got her ideas.  Trust us..  Even though there might have been mountains in the TV show scenery, there are no mountains out here at all.  Thanks Al for the information on the Pipestone National Monument.  We enjoyed reading about its history.

As we got to Austin, MN we started to smell an unusual odor.  About the time the odor got the strongest we were passing the Hormel plant and the Spam Museum. We are about a day behind schedule so we continued on at night.  The highways don't have lights at most exits and it takes your eyes a second to adjust from the travel stops, we continued with care and we made it to LaCrosse, WI.


9/22/14 - Day 8 Back in the Shop

The T-bird was first in line and at the mechanic's and was able to get into the shop to get its brakes fixed first thing this morning.  They had to turn the rotors 3 times to get the surface flat. They were very helpful at L & A Welding and Machine,

So as a result, we got a late start on our days travel.  We had to get moving along to get to the other side of South Dakota and make up time for the late start. Our first stop was at Wall Drug Store.  What a big place!  They have almost everything you could want and might even have something you might need? Joe got a free doughnut for being a vet.

The next part of our excursion was the Badlands.  We took the scenic route and saw   vistas that were very impressive.  We also came across a mountain sheep a couple of types including the big horn sheep that we have been looking for ever since we were warned that they could be in the road.

After leaving the bad lands we drove to the Minuteman  Missile National Monument Headquarters. We were going to get tickets for the tour but found out that the tour was 20 miles back the way we had just come. We settled for the 15 minute video and then continued on.  At our next stop for gas we were exiting the freeway we heard a loud thunk.  We figured that we hit a big-ish rock or something but didn't think any thing of it. As we left the fuel stop we heard it again and stopped.  We found we could mimic the sound by bouncing the front fender.  It sounded like the shock has come loose.   We are two time zones east of Portland, OR and that means two hours ahead.  It is dark before we know it now.  We decided to check it out in the morning in the daylight.  We were able to drive another 70 miles on the freeway without any problem and pulled up in Mitchell, SD,  home of the Corn Palace.  Hmm, that might be worth checking out before we travel on.

9/21/14 - day 7 Rest Day

Today was our first nearly zero miles day so it was the first day we did not have to buy gasoline.  It was also our first laundry day,  Now we both have enough clean clothes to wear until we get to Springfield, IL next weekend. I worked on getting pictures posted on the blog,  the photo gallery and on the home page, I also re-programed the radio in the car so the volume level would be the same when it was turned on as it was when it was turned and not the default factory setting.  I  fixed the auto time set and auto seek so it would search for the strongest station of the same station format. These things are important when you spend hours in the car, as some of the readers who commute probably understand.  We also made a tentative plan for the next weeks travel,

Joe and I worked on our fuel boiling situation.  The system was loosing pressure and allowing the fuel to form bubbles in the fuel line, thus letting fuel run back to the tank. This caused the T-bird to be difficult to start when warm. We were able to trace down the oil pressure problem.  The sending unit had become unplugged. After re-plugging it we have oil pressure readings again.   Oh right- and we also discovered a potential problem with the drivers side front brake rotor.  After a little research on the Vintage T-bird forum and we have some solutions to try.   Lane, who is back from the Strider races, suggested a shop and Joe will take it in to see if they can get it fixed, if not we will move on and have parts sent from The Birds Nest, to the hotel in Springfield.  We will have to fast track it to get it there a day early so it can get fixed in time for the Springfield car show.

Our outing today included Fred Flintstone Village, which we discovered is closed for the season.  What a shame.  We walked to the Purple Pie Shop.  After lunch I had fresh warm rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream and Joe had cherry. At dinner time we were headed out for Pizza when we noticed the Sea Hawks game was on, called and had a pizza delivered and watched the game,  Sea Hawks won in overtime!  We have packed up as best as we can and are rested and prepared for our next adventures.

9/20/14 - Day 6

Our goal today was to look at cars.  Our friend, Lane, told us about a local car show where there would be about 100 cars at a small park in Keystone, WY, about 40 miles away, It took about an hour to get there. The road crews had just freshly oiled parts of the highway and it was very slow going with a clean car ready a the show and shine. We had preregistered as number 33.  I highest number I could see on my first loop around the park at 10 AM was 127 but by noon it was up to 210 and the parking was getting tight. We met a lot on great people and collected  136.00 for  JDRF.   We handed out envelopes for those that did not have internet connections and those with connections we gave cards so they could donate online and follow our travels. Lane was unable to come with us and had to miss out.  His grandson was racing in the Strider Bike series final in Rapid City SD.  Grandchildren trump everything!

There were a lot of very nice cars at the show.  The fellow next to us in the red Chevelle had done all the work himself except for the upholstery and a fuel injected, supercharged engine. The nice thing about this show was almost all of the cars were driven there.  There weren't many trailer queens.

LS-7  427,  654hp, nice Foos wheels

LS-7  427,  654hp, nice Foos wheels

The show was over at 3pm.  We did not win the door prize a set of Stanley miniature screwdrivers.  There was no contest category for coming the longest distance.  We decided to fill the rest of the afternoon by going back to Sturgis for the Sturgis Main Street Octoberfest.

We arrived at Sturgis at 5:15;  15 minutes after the Oktoberfest ended at 5:00.  This is not the busting Mt Angle Oktoberfest or even the Widmer Brothers Brewery Oktoberfest. By the time we got parked and were looking for food we were the only tourists on Main Street.  We looked around for brats and found them at the Knucklehead Brewery. I have never had a brat that was boiled and not grilled.  We now have a base to judge the east-of-the-Rockies bratwurst as we head into Minnesota  and Wisconsin. We watched the news Saturday night and they said it was the 1st annual Oktoberfest, I am sure it will grow and next years will be bigger and even better.  

On the trip back to Custer we saw a dozen or so deer but no big horn sheep,  even though the sign told us to watch out for them.  We only had one close call with a deer and it wasn't that close.  Tomorrow is a rest day to do some laundry repack car and maybe watch some football!

9/19/14 Day 5

Joe contacted Lane today, a fellow member of the National Street Rod Association who lives in Custer. Lane stopped by our hotel and took some pictures for the local weekly news paper. He called a friend who has a shop in town and we headed there. Lane's friend has a fairly complete machine shop and a large bay to work on cars where he is finishing up a '55 Chevy for a customer.  He has his own hi-boy fitted with Hilborn mechanical fuel injection with his own designed idle circuit so it could be driven on the street. We also got a tour of Lane's shop , a 4-bay garage with only two doors. The left bay has a Bridgeport lathe and other metal working tools, The right bays have his present ride, a blue '40 Chevy, and his next project, a 4-door 34 Ford.  it's in pieces that he will start on after his current customers car gets back from the upholstery  shop and he does the final finishing touches.

Lanes Chey

Lanes Chey

After geeking out over the shops, we said our farewells and headed for Jewell Caves. We decided on the 90 minute tour because it started just 15 minutes after we arrived.  To pass the time we browsed the exhibits in visitor center. The tour started with a group elevator ride down about 275 feet to our starting point. The ranger told us about the cave and how it was found and formed and why it was only about 10% mapped.  After the first 45 minutes we noticed that the ranger was spending a large amount of time talking about the same thing after we had climbed or descended the stairs. I think this was because our group was composed of what the locals call " Newly wed and the almost dead" fall tourists.  Our group was made up of 3 new couples, 3 singles and about 15 older couples.  Maybe our ranger thought we were easily distracted or having short term memory issues.  After the tour was completed we headed toward Mt Rushmore.

On the way to Mt. Rushmore we turned onto Hwy. 16A,,The Iron Mountain Road. What a great road for a motorcycle or a sports car, but not so great for a vintage freeway cruiser; 17 miles, 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtail bridges (think corkscrew') and 3 tunnels cut out of rock that are  about 12 ft in width. We made it,  Joe was driving and he was a little more conservative than I would have been on the corners.  Mt Rushmore was worth the twisty trip.  What a project!  It looks much better in person then in any picture. The vintage pictures of how they deconstructed the mountain to form the presidents and the layout to make it all happen are remarkable. We indulged in a little lunch while we were there,;Buffalo hotdogs and a Thomas Jefferson Recipe ice cream.  Both were good.  We took the road most traveled back to our hotel by way of the Crazy Horse Project. All I can say is keep at it, they have a ways to go.

A Cadillac Club is staying at our Hotel as well this weekend.  The cars range from a 1941 to a 2013, including a 502 CI '69 convertible.  I thought the 390 CI in the T-bird used a lot of fuel but this beats it.  Off to a car show tomorrow.   See, we do actually plan some things in advance (sometimes).

1950  Caddy

1950  Caddy

1941 Caddy

1941 Caddy

9/18/14-Day 4

We started today at the Devils Tower Inn, had breakfast and headed for the Tower itself.

on to the tower itself   

We joined the herd headed for the tower. Devils Tower is a national monument so we were able to use our America The Beautiful Senior Pass to get in for free.  See...66 is a pretty good age to be. Free is a great Price! We started the hike around the base and encountered some local wildlife.  Chipmunks scampered and turkey buzzards circled overhead using the thermals to soar.  I hope they weren't watching us.  The local deer with two fawns grazed and we were careful not to trip over them. They ignored us.  The tower is impressive.  It is a vertical honeycomb of rock formed by an ingenious inversion.  It seems like Mom Nature molded magma deep in the earth that was exposed by erosion over eons.  She works slowly. 

After completing the  hike around the base the buzzards were still circling.  We headed into Sturgis. Sturgis was not as impressive today as it probably is with out 20,000 Motorcycles in the streets.  It's a small farming town that hosts a big party for a week and then goes about its usual business. In the saloon there was a group of 10 motorcycle riders at one table who were old farts like us (and proud of it).  There were also a couple of family's with small children. We had some quiet time and enjoyed a beer and a BLT before heading to Deadwood.

Deadwood is in a deep little valley.  It was a lawless gold mining town when it was founded illegally in the 1870s. We parked the T-bird and walk the streets to take in the flavor of the place.  We were warned to be prepared for car and pedestrian traffic congestion due to the staged hourly gun fights in the middle of the street.  Deadwood looks a little like a mini Reno.  There are slot machines everywhere.  Even the ice cream parlor had a couple. 

The Deadwood tour was recommended by a lady we met at Devils Tower.  She was attracted by the T-bird's graphics.  She said that her sister had died at 42 with type 1 diabetes and she was supportive of what we are doing and interested in our trip.  We decided to take her tip, found the Boot Hill Tours booth at the train station and signed up to take the tour.  Our tour was narrated by Wild Bill Hickok, in full period costume.  His talk was informative and he made a tour of a grave yard both fun and somber both.


While we were talking  to "wild Bill" a fellow tourist asked if we were raising funds for JDRF.  I explained what we were doing she gave me her card.  She is a researcher doing endocrinology research in Belgium, and some of her funding comes from JDRF!  She was very positive that there will be a cure found, and that they were finding better treatments all the time. She has wondered how funds were raised for research like hers.  I explain that the Walk for a Cure, that our family and friends are doing back home in Portland 9/28/14, is a little more typical than two old farts on driving Route 66 raising donations along the way.  She thanked us and said she is going to post our trip on the researchers website.  Wow!

9/17/14- Day 3

We had another long day, a total of 400 miles.  Yesterday we figured out where the transmission fluid leak was, with the help of Bollers Auto Repair.  We checked the fluid level numerous times today and it was always at the proper level.  The T-bird is getting dirty and that won't do.  This morning we were washing the car in the bike wash area when a gentleman stopped by.   He is diabetic and said he was impressed with what we were doing for JDRF.   He went to his room for his video camera and not only interviewed us so he could put it on u-tube, but he also made a donation. We have met a number of people on this trip who have diabetes or know someone who does.  It doesn't seem to be that rare at all. 

The wildlife was abundant where we traveled today.  We saw antelope as large as white tailed deer, not like their skinnier cousins we see in eastern Oregon.  There were lots of deer.  We saw a coyote, and many birds of pray.  We also saw several coal train.  I counted 129 coal cars on one train we saw.  That's not including the 3 pulling and one pushing locomotives seen on the highway  passes between the Gillette coal processing plant and the mine.  They were busy digging coal and a covered conveyer took it under the freeway to the plant.  Past the plant the rail yard was 3 or 4 tracks deep with empty coal cars about 3/4 of a mile in length.

We also stopped by Little Big Horn Monument, listened to an informative talk about the battle and what lead up to the fateful conclusion. If Custer had had a cell phone, his back-up could have called to say they were going to be late.  Custer could have left then and history would have been different. 


As we were leaving the park a gentleman stopped and asked what JDRF was.  He and his wife are from France and are vacationing with friends from Napa Valley, CA.  We explained what we are doing and he noted that he had a friend in Belgium that has type one diabetes.  He also made a donation.  That's twice in one day!

We are staying in Hulett WY, pop 383, tonight. we went to dinner at a the only place in town that is open. While we were there the waitress locked the door so no one else could get in until she got caught up. After she served us our food, she unlocked the door again.  it must happen often enough that everyone knows what to do.  A couple of locals stopped by but came back later and went in the bar. 

Tomorrow we will be spending some time checking out the sights in this area, including Devil's Tower that we passed on our way here.  What the heck is that thing, anyway?

9/16/14- Day 2

We had a good night's sleep and then got up to watch the sunrise over the lake.  We had a great breakfast with sausage from a local butcher named Schuffelmire.  After eating and packing up the T-bird we were ready to roll.  Turned the key; it started first try.  Hurray!  Put it in gear; it went nowhere! When we checked trans fluid, the dip stick came up dry. Joe went to town and purchased a quart while I checked for repair places in Coure d'Alene, ID, I  found a small shop that had good reviews.  When I called explained our situation, the owner said he would make time for us. We added a quart of tranny fluid and the T-bird made it into to Coure d'Alene .  Bollers shop put the car on a lift and inspected it. The pan bolts on the transmission were not torqued correctly causing the hose to the transmission cooler to leak. Paul ordered the parts (which had to be returned the first time) and replaced what was required, cleaned everything up and checked the tightness of all bolts.  Then he had us drive for 15 minutes and bring it back so he could check the repairs.  We were out of there and on our way again by 12:30 PM. If anyone ever needs auto repair, I recommend Bollers Automotive in Coeur d'Alene, ID. 

We hit the road about 1:00 after topping off the tank.  Premium was under $4.00/gal. so we took advantage of it. I-90 has a 75 mph limit so we took advantage of that too and made up some time we lost this morning.  We were four hours behind and had a long way to go to get to our night's lodging in a teepee.  I'm serious - a teepee!  I've always wanted to sleep in a teepee.  We got to the park by 6:30 PM on my watch, but the park was closed. We then realized that we were in a different time zone and arrived to late. We inspected the teepee and found that it was not like the Yurts in Oregon. 

These teepees had grass growing inside ,dirt floor, and miscellaneous stuff from other campers.  As we were taking pictures lightning could be seen beyond the valley we were in.  We could see through the top of the teepee structure even with the poles closed.  We decided that we could forgo the experience of sleeping in a teepee at this time in our trip.

By the time we got back to the freeway it was getting dark, so we continued on to Bozeman, MT for the night.  When we checked into the hotel the receptionist noticed our car and was interested in our trip.  She gave us her grandfather's phone number.  He lives outside Springfield, IL and restores cars for a hobby.  He has 8 of cars of various kinds and most are completely restored.  We have decided to stop and see him on the way.

Tomorrow we are headed for Devils Tower.  We are planning to intercept a friend from Wisconsin who drives truck.  He is headed for the west coast on a run that passes us.  Tomorrow, after a morning stop in Bozeman , it is on to Custer for the 66ers for a couple of days.  

9/15/14 Day 1

The car arrived at last 5:30 Sunday night. Dianna cleaned it up and took some pictures for the web site. I loaded it in the dark and got everything in. Just like the reality shows it all works out in the end, we just don't have dramatic music and I haven't thrown anything. We left Joe and Priscilla's house  at 6:30 AM this morning. Any one that says that traffic is light in the early morning in Portland is not traveling at that time of day. Trucks are coming off Swan Island, including the entire fleet of  UPS trucks one after another. We had smooth traveling east, on I84 and decided to stop for breakfast at Cousins in The Dalles.  Their dishes are so big that we didn't feel the need to stop for lunch.

The T-bird is running fine.  When we stopped for gas we calculated that we had managed 13+ mpg! Not good by today's standards, but we have gotten worse in this car.  On a trip this long better mileage means big savings on gas.   We stopped in Kennewick to see Al and Claire and then continued on northward. We stopped by the JDRF office in Spokane and talked to the staff there and took some pictures of them with the T-bird. We continued on to Lake Coure d'Alene, ID and are staying with Joe's family this first night. My initiation into the family was at the local watering hole.  After a beer they suggested I use the  restroom before we went home. This place has one way glass over the urinals so it is possible to see people eating and drinking, but no one can see into the restroom.  No one told me that.  I was startled to looked up  and see Sue, Gary and Joe having a great time making faces in the mirror on the other side. Beware of the restroom at Shooters in Coure d'Alene!

Lake Coure d'Alene

Lake Coure d'Alene

See more pix in the gallery - Our Trip

9/14/14 Reality show in the making

We have the makings of a great reality show.  Joe is at the beach with his wife's family; my wife is planning a open house so friends and family can check in and view the car but the car is still in the shop and I am totally occupied.  I am trying to find what I need to take and organize the jigsaw puzzle that will be in the trunk...when the trunk is available to pack...soon.  You can see how things might go in the trunk from a couple of pictures.   We leave in 22 hours!

9/13/14 Back to the shop one last time...We hope!

What the heck is going on here?

What the heck is going on here?

We knew that a car built in 1966 would need some fixing up to be able to make it on the long trip we had planned.  Joe and I replaced a lot of the items, and had a professional  replace and work on critical elements like brakes, carb tuning and automatic transmission, We replaced almost every operating part in the T-bird, some two or three times: 2 power window motors, 3 alternators, 3 starter motors, 1 water pump, all new belts, brakes, vacuum lines, relays, light and ignition switches, and various bulbs.  We were starting to get worried that it would not be ready by the 15th.  It was almost expected that after replacing the carburetor another problem would arise.  It started to over heat.  We had replaced the radiator, thermostat, and water pump before, but in traffic about three weeks ago it started to over heat.  We changed the thermostat, again, added a new fan shroud from an air-conditioned T-bird, seven bladed fan instead of five, that seems to work. Hopefully, only one last thing to work on,  The 21st century cruise control that we had put on a mid-20th century auto was acting up, after the vacuum booster for the brakes was rebuilt.  So... it is still in the shop. We are still planning to leave Monday AM and are keeping our fingers crossed.  In the meantime, there is all that packing to do.  More later.



9/10/14 Car graphics

We picked up the car today after having the graphics put on the side and trunk.  This will take some getting used to - The looks on peoples faces! usually they look at the T-bird admiringly, smile or give a thumbs up. The first few reactions I have seen today start with the smile, then  change to a squint.  They look like they wonder, "What did that say?" Maybe I should drive slower so they could read the logo better. Nope not going to happen!

9/3/14 Trunk puzzel

First thing - The spare tire will not fit over the axle, in the factory stock location, we will keep it in the well in the trunk and pack extra belts and parts and cleaning supplies around it. With the spare in the well, the cooler will be seat belted in the back seat. This will be good thing. Snacks and water will be closer to us and there will be less need to stop. My wife would hate this. Tent, sleeping bags, clothes camp chairs, floor jack, extra tools, all should fit nicely.

First thing - The spare tire will not fit over the axle, in the factory stock location, we will keep it in the well in the trunk and pack extra belts and parts and cleaning supplies around it. With the spare in the well, the cooler will be seat belted in the back seat. This will be good thing. Snacks and water will be closer to us and there will be less need to stop. My wife would hate this. Tent, sleeping bags, clothes camp chairs, floor jack, extra tools, all should fit nicely.

8/31/14 Getting ready

We are making a list and checking it twice.  In fact we have more than one list.  There is a lot to do.  We plan to start loading the car on Wednesday IF  it's back from the shop by then.  After a year and a half of changing parts and test drives to see if what was fixed will stay fixed, we're almost ready to start driving toward Route 66.  Joe and I are backing out of the driveway the morning of 9/15/14.  Our Thunderbird trunk is huge, but we aren't completely sure what we want to go in there.  We'll need tools, a spare tire, camping equipment, a cooler, and at least a few pairs of socks, etc.  We'll need some replacement parts but we'll have to use a magic 8 ball to choose the ones we'll need most.