So you want to read about Joe and Betty Swann's 2012 E-M-F Cross Country E-M-F Adventure is going? Well, you have found the right page.
The summer of 2012 marks the 75th Anniversary of the Horseless Carriage Club and the 100th anniversary of the 4th and final year of production of the E-M-F automobile. A special year requires a special trip. Joe and I will travel from the San Diego area of CA along with 2 other Brass era cars to the 75th HCCA tour in Colorado Springs and then continue by ourselves (without a support vehicle) to the E-M-F celebration in Lancaster, PA, a trip of about 40 days and 4,000 miles, zigzagging along America's back roads cruising at 30-35 mph.
Preparation for the Trip
Since Joe is an upholsterer of Brass era cars, and knowing that RAIN was going to happen, he made side curtains. We plan to make the trip as authentic as possible and tent camp. The back seat cushion was removed and everything for a 5 week trip was packed under a platform bed for naps under convenient shady trees. Spare parts (magneto, spark plugs, miscellaneous nuts and bolts, lacing wire and duct tape, cotter pins and extra batteries for the turn signals were packed. Basic hand tools, jack, spare tire and tube, soldering torch and tow rope, bucket and rags, valve spring compressor, sponges, 2 gallon gas can, extra water and oil, flashlight, cordless drill, spare brake linings and special tools and rivets to replace them, and a wheel puller were packed next along with a 2 week supply of basic clothes, pillows and other necessities, antique dusters, a vintage hat and outfilt, leaving just enough space for 2 "OLD CRAZY PEOPLE"! Total weight of gear stashed is 365 pounds.
Ever since we were kids, we've wished for a "time machine" to take us back to different periods in history. It looks like this car and this trip are as close as we will ever get to one. In our minds, we are passing through the summer of 1912. Gasoline is supposed to be 15 cents gallon, though ......reality sneaks in once in a while.
Our adventure begins June 23rd from the San Diego area. Please join us for periodic updates as we travel across American in our 100 year old E-M-F touring car.
Friday, June 1, 2012 8:29 AMWe are planning to start out on June 23rd, 2012 and drive our 1912 E-M-F Touring car from San Diego to Colorado Springs for the 75th HCCA Anniversary Tour and then drive by ourselves back to PA in time for at least a portion of the E-M-F tour in Lancaster, PA the 22-27th of July. We will be posting a brief day by day travel log and a few photos here on the E-M-F website. Check back and follow our progress.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:05 AMThe trip hasn't even begun and the "Adventure" has already started!
Last night we received a call from Bill Otteman in CA. Our E-M-F was to be delivered to him yesterday. The car transport truck arrived but they could not get the E-M-F out of the transport due to a hydraulic problem with the ramp which they use to drive cars onto the second tier. The ramp is stuck in the downward slanted position trapping 2 cars in front of it. The front car is directly over the area where they need to work on the hydraulic system to correct the ramp problem. Our car is between that car and the down ramp! They are doing their best to figure out how to get our car out, but no word yet on success. I know they will figure something out but we can't help but be a little anxious about the timing of the "Escape of the E-M-F".
We leave for CA the day after tomorrow so these last couple of days are tying up loose ends and making sure we have everything under control here while we wait for word about the car. More tomorrow.
Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:54 AMWe received a call from Bill Ottemann in CA last night to let us know that the E-M-F was safe in his garage. The transport company fixed the hydraulic system for the overhead ramp and the car came out in pristine condition, not even any dust - per Bill. The transport company was very professional in their handling of the unusual and unexpected situation. We leave from BWI tomorrow afternoon and will arrive in San Diego tomorrow night. We are READY to begin the trip and looking forward to meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends in Colorado and along the way.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 6:43 AM
Yesterday we traveled about 218 miles from 29 Palms, CA to Yarnell, AZ, starting about 5:30 A.M. By noon, we had only 2 of the original 4 cars in running condition,. One broke a crankshaft and the other cracked a cylinder head. Both cars returned to CA, one being towed by AAA and the other privately by trailer. After much discussion, the parties owning these 2 cars decided to drop off both non-functional cars and to return to the group the same day with a Model T. Our day was spent in more desert heat - up to 113 in AZ. The overheating problem of the previous day was more manageable because the guys brainstormed and jury-rigged a misting system for the radiators with brass irrigation fittings, hoses, and a pesticide pump sprayer full of water which the passenger pumped as needed when the radiator began to get hot. I know I have developed new muscles in my arms over the last 2 days. Our evening stop in Yarnell, AZ was especially good for me as I was able to visit with a college roommate I hadn't seen in nearly 40 years. What fun! Another good friend from high school days had hoped to come, but was not able to at the last minute. I really wish I could have seen her too, but will try to make that happen before too long. Wildlife today was limited to a few birds, ground squirrels, rabbits and highlights of the desert were the Saguaro cactus that live for hundreds of years and mesquite, creosote bush and various other desert plants.
Today was another day of heat and long miles (200 plus),on back roads and some Forest Service dirt roads to by- pass a dangerous stretch of road for slow vehicles. A short stop on Route 66 in Williams, AZ for a late breakfast after a 5:00 A.M. start, was followed by a leisurely couple of hours at the Grand Canyon, then more hot temperatures and desert as we came off the Kaibab Plateau near the Grand Canyon. Our cars were a big hit among all the tourists at the Canyon. No car troubles today for anyone. Desert vegetation gave way to juniper and pinyon and ponderosa pine near the Grand Canyon but reverted to desert as we came down off the plateau into Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation in the Northeastern part of AZ.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 7:09 PM
Departure from Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation was early again to beat the heat but everyone was rested after an early arrival in Tuba City last night. Check out the photo of one of our old cars driving into the sunrise this morning. I had a conversation with a Navajo man last night who gave me a little historical tidbit for us "Brass Era" people. Did you know old cars were called "spiders" by the Navajo? During the early 20th century census takers came onto the reservation in their black Model T's, crisscrossing to take their census. The Navajo did not have a word for "car" as they had never seen one so they used a word that, in their language, best described the Model T - a little black thing that scurried about the desert, ie. a "spider".
Just before we got into Tuba City yesterday as we were coming down from the Kaibab Plateau, I snapped a picture of several deer feeding at the edge of the road. I thought you might enjoy seeing them. There were the usual road signs for deer, but I also saw road signs alerting us to possible sightings on the road of horses and mountain lion. That mountain lion sign was a bit of a surprise! We did see horses at the edge of the road but nothing more ominous.
Today we took a swing through Monument Valley, Utah where the rock formations were extraordinary. Parked to take pictures in front of one of the rock formations, we were joined by a group of Italian men on motorcycles who had left Los Vegas and were headed for Denver. We had great fun talking with them and taking photos of cycles and antique cars - all of us out for adventure in the great outdoors. Lunch was at a great restaurant under twin spires of rock and featured Indian Fry Bread. If you get the chance, try it! Check out our travel on dirt roads - dusty but lots of fun.
An early arrival in Cortez, CO was a welcome event - naps, followed by dinner and for those willing to take a long walk under dark and threatening skies, ice cream. Discussion at dinner was about the fires in Colorado Springs and the latest e-mail from tour coordinators is that the show will go on with changes made if needed due to fire threats. Tomorrow is day 5 and who knows what we'll see and get to do.
Thursday, June 28, 2012 5:10 PM
This was a day of beautiful scenery, an unexpected meeting with a documentary film crew and slow progress up and through Wolf Creek Pass in CO. The early part of the day was cool with the scent of sage in the air and wildlife was abundant - multiple sightings of deer, elk in a preserve, a flock of wild turkeys and bison on a ranch. We passed through areas of pinyon pine and scrub desert - each with its own beauty. Our morning's highlight was Durango and a visit to the Durango/Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad Yard to watch the steam engine and train depart for Silverton. Wish we had had more time to take the trip up through some of the most incredible mountain vistas where gold and silver were king. We did get to wave those lucky steam train passengers on their way. Note the back packs lined up along the fence where hikers left them to ride to Silverton and back. We passed through Pagosa Springs, CO and I was reminded of a country music tune from the 1970's about "truckers, downtown Pagosa Springs and Wolf Creek Pass". The road up through Wolf Creek Pass was long and steep and our E-M-F continued to have overheating problems. We were fortunate to have Michael Sullivan following us with his truck and trailer. He assisted as needed and gave moral support and was the picture of patience and calm. The road up to Wolf Creek Pass was about 8 miles long but the elevation rose from about 7,000 to 11,000 feet. We stopped numerous times to refill the radiator and in between stopsI religously "pumped my sprayer" to mist the radiator. We stopped once to refill our water containers at a waterfall coming down off of the mountain - a unique experience. At the top of Wolf Creek Pass, we met up with our other 2 antique cars and also found a documentary crew that was filming the cross-country trip of a classic Triumph car. They interviewed us and filmed our cars. Someday we may all be in the movies!
Evening found us in a quiet and laid back town in southern CO by the name of Saguache. It was like a "step back in time" with many interesting people willing to make our stay as enjoyable as they could. The antique store was closed, but a phone calll to the owner and we were in business.
Friday, June 29, 2012 7:36 PM
Saturday, June 30, 2012 8:37 PM
Wish I could tell you something about this day, but I can't. I slept the whole day - must have been tired or something. Joe washed the E-M-F. It was the dirtiest it has ever been and all that beautiful brass that we had just polished before the car was shipped to San Diego was a mess and will remain so until we get back home to PA.
Sunday, July 1, 2012 5:40 PMThis is the first day of the 75th Anniversary Tour of the Horseless Carriage Club. Cars arrived all day and we got to reconnect with old friends from previous tours. I met a very interesting man in the lobby where they were having a Coin Convention. He used to fly over the mesas and canyons of Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming on the lookout for antique cars abandoned in the 20's-30's. He told of finding a pair of roadsters left in a cave up a mountain side for protection by a husband and wife just before WWII. Both died in WWII and the cars were just left there. He also told of flying over a mesa and seeing some collapsed buildings. Upon landing, he found they contained antique cars abandoned due to a road washout in the 1930's. He used a helicopter to lift out a "Cord" and others. What stories that man told!
The afternoon was a tour to the El Pomar Carriage Museum with an exceptional collection of stagecoaches, carriages and horse related stuff.
Monday, July 2, 2012 5:28 PM
Morning had us visiting the Western Mining Museum which is an award winning accredited mining museum where we were able to see exhibits of machinery used in hard-rock mining and go into a gold mine. My favorite part was panning for gold. I realize that it was only a wooden trough with some salted sand in it with a few flakes of real gold, but to me, it was the highlight of the day. As a rockhound and "would-be" prospector, I was living the days off the "49'ers in my mind. I did find a few bits of "color" and felt that thrill that the old prospectors must have felt when they saw that "mustard" yellow of gold and not the brassy color of fools gold.
Our afternoon was spent at the Air Force Academy. New freshmen cadets arrived at the Academy last week and were already drilling. The Visitor Center highlighted the cadets' progression through their studies during the school year and their intensive summer studies and activities. We are truly fortunate to have the Armed Forces Academies training the officers of the future. The campus sits among the pines above Colorado Springs. The Cadet Chapel where services and weddings are held is a spectacular example of modern architecture.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 2:40 PM
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 5:46 PM
Thursday, July 5, 2012 7:12 PM
The car has been running well, but we have had some unexpected issues, primarily overheating. I have never had problems with overheating in the past, but it seems that the environment here is working against us. When the car was shipped to San Diego, we had 360 pounds of cargo in the back. We had one carry on bag from the plane which we added to that. While crossing the desert, we discovered that we needed a misting system. We needed water to fill the radiator occasionally and also about six gallons of water for that misting system. We now had about 440 pounds of stuff crammed in the back. The following things I think contributed to our overheating. Number 1, of course,was the extra weight. Secondly, the engine is still a little tight from having shims removed from the connecting rod bearings. Third, is the fact that it is a hot time of year. We were crossing the desert where temperatures ranged from 95 to 113 degrees. The desert is not just flat like you might think. There are mountains in the desert. Climbing a mountain at 113 degrees coupled with the fact that cooling systems are less efficient at higher altitudes is a receipt for cooling problems One more thing t seems to have worked against me ...... when I restored the car, I painted the radiator core a light gray as it was originally. I have been told by several people who are smarter than I, that radiators painted any color other than black are considerably less efficient in dispersing heat. When I get home, I will be painting this radiator black, but in the meantime, we will deal with what we have. I've added a product called "Water Wetter" and that seems to have helped. Did you know that at higher altitudes water boils at a lower temperature? Seems like I remember that from science class many years ago. In Colorado Springs at this altitude, water boils at 190 instead of 212 degrees.
Another little issue that we are having at the altitude is the fact that the engine is running sluggish. It is difficult to get enough air into the carburetor for a proper mixture. My carburetor doesn't have a fuel mixture adjustment. I can only adjust the air intake. I have the air intake wide open and it is running smoothly enough, but with about 25% less horsepower. We believe that as soon as we leave this area and the altitude drops about 3,000 feet, the overheating and sluggishness issues will cease. We've seen many, many mechanical issues on this trip with the other cars, a lot of them serious enoughthat they are no longer able to continue the tour.
Tonight is our last night at the host hotel. From this point on we will be camping. I serviced the car this afternoon - a lube job, a second oil change, and I drained the water from the radiator and refilled it with distilled water and just checked everything over thoroughly. It is not always breakdowns that cause frustrations, sometimes just stupid stuff happens. I checked the oil level in the differential and the transmission this evening. The transmission part of this transaxle has a cover plate on top secured by 4 bolts. Normally to access this cover plate, the back floor board is removed. In my situation, I have a storage area and bed temporarily built into the back seat area of the car, so it would be major job to get the floorboard out. I elected to remove the cover plate by reaching over the rear axle from the rear of the car. It was a little bit awkward, and in doing so, I dropped one of the cover plate bolts into the transmission. Oh,sh- - - -!! (Expletives deleted)!!! Now here is a situation where the bolt simply has to be retrieved. I don't dare move the car until it is. I reached my hand into the top of the transmission as far as I could but couldn't feel anything but gears and shafts. I decided to drain the oil next in hopes that the bolt would come through the drain hole. I drained the oil out, but no bolt. I kept telling myself, "I have to find that bolt, even if I have to tear the transmission apart"! Like a harried and frustrated proctologist, I ran my fingers up into the drain hole as far as possible. I felt nothing but a gear - more expletives deleted!! I fiddled with slimmy mess for 2 hours, then I got the idea of feeling around the outside of the transmission case. Ah, hah, there it was! Bolt and washer lay on a ledge on the outside of the casing. Hallelujah, it hadn't gone down into the casing after all! Everything is put back together and the car is ready to roll. We will be getting up a 5:00 AM tomorrow and plan to be on the road by 5:30. I am tired. Good night!
Friday, July 6, 2012 7:43 PM
Betty: We left Colorado Springs this morning on our return to PA. It was kind of sad to start the trip without our traveling companions from the San Diego to Colorado Springs portion of the trip. Again, these great adventurers were Ann and Bill Otteman from Fallbrook, CA, Michael Sullivan from Ventura, CA, Mike Yeakel and Richard Frombley from Bellingham, WA. We had so much fun getting to know these fellow travelers and found them all to be eager to help if needed, patient and enthusiastic. Early morning departures, desert heat, and car problems can bring out the worst in a person, but everyone on the trip was even tempered and great fun to be around.
The terrain has changed significantly from the mountains and hills around Colorado Springs. We found ourselves in the flat lands of southeastern Colorado with a route through Florence to the south and then on to La Junta and finally to Lamar, CO on Route 50. We were in desert with cholla cactus and small pickly pear cactus, then into grasslands and irrigated farmlands. We saw wide vistas and lots of prairie dogs, a covey of quail, deer, a yellow oriole and a red winged blackbird. Tomorrow we should be entering Kansas where we have several club members to visit along out route. We are looking forward to meeting these people who have been so helpful in providing information about roads and things to see and do. Half the fun of travel is meeting new people.
Saturday, July 7, 2012 10:32 AM
Sunday, July 8, 2012 7:32 PM
By noon we had arrived at Dodge City founded in 1872 after Fort Dodge had been established in 1865 on the Santa Fe Trail to protect wagon trains and serve as a supply depot for troops in the Indian Wars. Dodge became a major railroad shipping point for beef coming up the Santa Fe Trail from Texas and points south. From 1875 to 1886 over 5,000,000 cattle were driven up from Texas to Dodge City. It was a wild town - some say the wildest in the west and Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and other famous names of the old west were influential residents of the town.
Evening found us in Great Bend, Kansas - still on the Santa Fe Trail route. We had dinner at a fantastic Chinese restaurant named the Great Chinese Wall Buffet where we met Sean Lin who was manager there and a great fan of antique cars. It was fun to talk with someone with such enthusiasm about the car. After dinner we went over to see John and Lisa who have a Model T, a Model A and a Stanley Steamer that John is currently restoring. Joe has always been fascinated with Stanley Steamers which run on steam produced by a boiler instead of using gasoline in an engine. A steam-driven car is so-o-o-o quiet and somewhat mysterious to those of us who don't have them. We have heard more than once that you get about 1 hour of driving time for every three hours of working on the car. It is just that complicated and tricky. Those people who have steam cars seem to always be working on them and have to refill their water reserves quite often.
Monday, July 9, 2012 5:39 PM
If you have the opportunity to get to Kansas, go to McPherson College. It has the only Automotive Restoration college program offering a 4 year degree in the natiion. They are a leader in the field and their graduates are at nationally recognized museums and companies throughout the country. Tom Ruggles, another E-M-F owner from Wichita, KS, made arrangements for us to visit McPherson and Chris Paulsen who is on faculty in the Automotive Restoration program and who was also at the Colorado Springs HCCA meet, showed us through the facilities and explained their program . Tom and John, We were impressed by the scope of the program and the quality of work done by its students. They work on early 1900's cars through the muscle car era of the 60's- 70's and motorcycles. Students learn everything from engine and mechanical repair to sheet metal and upholstery to painting. They have majors that specialize in Automotive Restoration Technology, Automotive Restoration Management, Historic Automotive Techology, Automotive Restoration Design, Automotive Communications, and Motorcycle Restoration Technology. If you know of any young people who have an interest in old cars, this would be a wonderful program for them and a great way to combine a life long love of cars with a lucrative profession. prospective students or interested people can contact Matt Tobias at 620-242-0421, on facebook, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We spent the night in Council Grove, KS which was the last place to provision for the Santa Fe Trail. We treated ourselves to a night at a bed and breakfast and ate dinner at Hays House which has been in operation since 1857. You can almost feel the old trail hands' spirits as we ate.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 12:36 PM
Later in the day, we visited with Vic and Lucille Macek in Shawnee, KS , Rod Booth, and saw 2 very impressive private collections of cars. The owner of one of the collections had several graduates of the McPherson College Automotive Restoration Program working for them and doing iincredible work. Many thanks to Rod Booth for his help in setting up these visits. We have met some of the most interesting and helpful people on our journey. We spent the night with Gene and Jane Stieben in Eudora, KS and haven't laughed so much in ages. It is amazing how it seems you just feel so comfortable with some people from the moment you meet them.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 5:37 PM
We continued across Kansas along the old Santa Fe Trail through farmlands and small towns, stopping in Eudora, KS with Gene and Jane Stieben. It is amazing how easy it is to become comfortable with some people. We felt instantly at home and talked old cars, states and places we had visited and just discussing the meaning of life. They were down to earth and fun to be with.
Thursday, July 12, 2012 4:34 PM
We spent the evening at the Lydia Johnson Inn, a Bed and Breakfast run by Betty and Chuck Hartbauer, in the great little river town of Herman, MO, which was settled in the 1830's by German immigrants because it reminded them of the Rhineland. They began numerous vineyards which are now a big draw to the area. We had dinner at Stone Hill Winery in their Carriage House (former stables). It was quaint with some of the tables in the old stalls, and the food and service were exceptional. Amtrack trains daily stop in Herman and the Katy Trail, a rail trail, goes close by. The Lewis and Clark Trail also goes through Herman. Joe and I followed it along and concurrent with the Santa Fe Trail for a while today. Sometimes mistakes and wrong turns can lead to the best adventures and experiences in life. We missed a turn at Jefferson City, MO where we were supposed to cross the river. The only road we could see to get us over the river again was 100 which meandered over hills and through the woods and ended in Herman, MO. Who could have guessed that we would find antique shops, a top rate B & B and great people on a road we had never traveled and on which we did not expect to find anything more than a way over the river.
Friday, July 13, 2012 5:36 PM
We continued on through cornfields, soybean fields, and occasional wooded areas along the path of the Lewis and Clark Trail. President Thomas Jefferson had directed Lewis and Clark to explore the We had a unique experience this evening. We were headed to a little town in Missouri for our evening stop when we noticed very dark clouds and lightening in the direction in which we were heading. Having still about 10 miles to go, we began to really get concerned about the weather as the wind was getting really strong. Side curtains would take care of the majority of the rain, but the wind was a concern as it might tear the canvas top of the car. Joe made an "executive" decision and we returned to an open farm equipment shed that we had noticed a couple of miles back. We set up our bed in the car and settled in for an evening I would like to forget. We were relatively close to the Mississippi River and the mosquitoes were B-I-G, fierce and VERY HUNGRY! After fighting what seemed to be a loosing battle with the mosquitoes, I decided to put the car cover on and just battle those mosquitoes already in the car. About midnight or 1 AM, I finally got them all killed and we had a relatively peaceful rest of the night. This night was quite a contrast to the great time we had at the Lydia Johnson Inn bed and breakfast the previous night in Herman, MO. Talk about night and day, from the best to the worst night of our trip.
Saturday, July 14, 2012 7:45 PM
We crossed the Mississippi River this morning at Louisiana, MO, and entered Illinois. We spotted a fruit stand and a couple of very nice ladies gave us each a sample Calhoun County peach. I am from north Louisiana where peaches are grown and done right, but I believe that Calhoun County, Illinois peach even beat Lincoln Parish, Lousiana peaches for sweetness. What a treat! Following that was a ride on a small ferry over the Illinois River. The roads were just great in this part of Illinois - cool and shaded and with little traffic.
These great small roads were left behind and we took another unexpected road but this time ended up on an interstate.. We quickly got off after riding the shoulder for about a mile. At the exit was a Dairy Queen in Wentzville, MO where we stopped to regroup, get out our maps and try to figure out how to get out of town without getting back on the freeway. The manager of the Dairy Queen, Pat Farmer, was great! He helped us figure out how to keep to back roads and parallel the freeway, bought our lunch for us. It is amazing how lunch and a chocolate milkshake can give you a new lease on life.
We met this evening for dinner with Amy and John Daly. John is the Webmaster for the E-M-F website and it is through his efforts and by virtue of his patience with me that this travel log is being made available to everyone. Everyone needs to give a rousing hand of appaulse and three cheers for John! I can write the logs and take the pictures and send them to him, but it is John that magicallhy makes them appear professional and worthy of review. John and Amy drove about 2 1/2 hours to see us and we felt very honored that they took the time from their busy schedules to come see us.
Webmaster Notes - My wife Amy and I drove down to Decatur, IL to meet the Swanns as they stayed overnight there. We got to hear many of their tales from the road, and I can report that the E-M-F is looking and running well. It is a stock E-M-F. No V-8 Engine. No Mag wheels. No Airconditioning besides the vents in the firewall (new for 1912). We so enjoyed our meal together and the tales from the road. I think my favorite was the one about sleeping in the back of the E-M-F in a machine shed in rural Missouri, fending off mosquitos most of the night and then being awoken by the sounds of scratching which ended up being rats in a feed bucket just outside the E-M-F. Sounds like a great time to me. Sign me up! I guess I should finish the restoration of my E-M-F first.
Sunday, July 15, 2012 10:56 PM
We didn't make much progress today due to driveby stops to look at interesting sites. One was a bunch of Model T's in an open shed in the little town of Bethany in Illinois. After knocking on doors at a couple of nearby houses, Joe found the owner, Tom Gregory, who had the cars out in the shed for sale. According to the owner, he has about 40 cars, mostly "T's" and Model A's. We also stopped at Mid-America Motorworks that had a great reproduction gas station and a museum for Volkswagens and Corvettes. The original "Herbie" Volkswagen from the movies was there and the stunt car used in a sequel to Herbie.
Monday, July 16, 2012 3:32 PM
Traveled through more corn and soybean fields in Indiana. I wish I had a nickel for every corn plant and soybean plant I have seen in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. I would be a billionaire, could retire big-time and just keep traveling in big loops all over the back roads of America in the 1912 E-M-F. Since I don't know of anyone willing to give me all those nickels, I will just have to be content with looking at all those fields and dreaming of our next trip.
We traveled today along old Route 40, the National Road, and passed through great little towns with LOADS of antique shops. I like primitive antique furniture like old dry sinks, farm tables and everyday stuff that has been well used - the patina and nicks and dents just add to the character of the item. The stores were full of this kind of stuff but I had a mandate from Joe (a stern little look, then a grin) that I could only get things that were VERY SMALL AND VERY LIGHT. That was a very tough thing for me since I was finding stuff right and left that would take an 18 foot car trailer to haul home. I will just have to come back some day with a van and trailer. I did walk into an antique shop and find 2 antique Edwardian hats in the first showcase. It is next to impossible to find turn of the century to 1930's hats, especially in really good condition. I was walking on air after that!
Our destination was Cambridge City, Indiana where we planned to spend a couple of days with a dear friend, Don Bowne. We had bought our 1931 Model A Deluxe Roadster from him about 10 years ago and that was the beginning of a great friendship. Joe and Don checked over the car well while I hit all the antique shops in Cambridge City and Centerville. They had some great stuff - again I needed that trailer!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 5:42 PM
We had promised to vist Susan and Fred Ertel in Wilmington, Ohio. Fred is primarily an antique tractor man - Averies and Case International, but also has a Model T and a 20's Pontiac and he is an HCCA member. Fred and Susan were having a "Grandma Weekend" where all their grandkids come to spend the night in the barn, go fishing in their creek and go on field trips around town. It was reallly lively around there with 7 grandkids all under 12 running around burning off excess energy. They went go-carting along the grass tracks through the fields, having a ball. Their fishing trip to the creek netted 2 fish and 18 crawfish - all caught with hot dogs. A great haul for 7 little kids. Susan and Fred were so very nice to Joe and I and just made us feel so at home even though they were in the midst of a big family event.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 3:39 PM
Back in Colorado Springs while waiting at a railroad crossing, the engine died. The first thing I checked was the carburetor. I was getting fuel to the carburetor and the float and needlevalve were working properly. Next I checked to see if I was getting spark and there was none. I deciding to swap magnetos and it ran fine. I later discovered that the magneto's rotor was defective. The conductor on the rotor that distributes current to the plug wires had come loose. That was a relatively easy fix. Since Colorado we have had no problems at all and have been 3,500 miles at this point. I've tried different speeds and my favorite speed is 35-38 mph. Our biggest danger along the way has been aggressive and offensive drivers - the worst we encountered were in CO and MO. I lost my hat, that is the only thing I haven't been able to fix on the road and this computer has been nothing but trouble. If we need to lighten our load this will be the first thing to go. I find it a wonder that modern computerized cars run as well as they do.
We are sitting at McDonald's now waiting for the rain to stop. I didn't have time to get the side curtains on but at least it is not raining sideways.
I expect to be back in PA next week. See you.
Now Betty's update
After a great night's sleep we went to McDonald's in Wilmington, OH to look at our maps and figure out our next day's trip. What a surprise when Susan Ertel and grandkids showed up there. I looked out the window as I was updating Wednesday's travel log, and there was Kyle grinning at me through the window. It was great since I hadn't had a chance to tell Susan thanks for her hospitality Wednesday night, as only Fred was up when we left. We had plans later in the day to meet in Manchester, OH on the Ohio river with some Model A friends from Lexington, KY. After leaving Wilmington, we ran into hard rain off and on all day. Check out the picture of the old building as seen through our windshield. On our way to a covered bridge that Fred Ertel had told us about, we saw a really wild house made out of old tires and dirt. I am sure it is comfortable and probably really nice inside, but I'm not sure it is my kind of house. If you ever make a trip cross country or just a short jaunt, be sure you have "Rainex" on your windows if you have no windshield wipers. We would have been up a creek without it. Jeff and Mary Rhoads met us at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the Ohio. The food was great, but the companionship was superb! Jeff and Mary met us years ago at our first Glidden Tour and made us feel so very welcome. It is not often that we get to see each other so this was really a special day.
We spent the night in Manchester, OH after a short day of driving, due to the rain and to our visit with Jeff and Mary.
Friday, July 20, 2012 3:46 PM
We ran into hard rain yesterday and had to duck under cover 3 times. The first time was at a Highway Department Repair Facility. I saw an open door and just ran right in. The maintenance guys got a kick out of it and they didn't mind us parking there for half an hour. Before I left, I of course, dripped a little oil on their clean floor as a souvenir As soon as the rain let up, we set off again for about another 10 miles when the bottom fell out a second time and we ducked into a gas station with cover over the pumps. We waited there for about 20 miinutes but just couldn't stay any longer and then just started out again into some pretty heavy rain. There just wasn't any good place to hole up for a while so we just kept moving. Forty miles or so later we were cruising down a rural road and Betty and I both at the same time said, "Look". There was a house with an open garage door. I couldn't stop in time - you know how wet brakes are. I made a quick U turn and went back and pulled into these people's garage. There didn't seem to be anyone home so we sat there for a while, put our side curtains on and went again.
Today, it has been a light misty rain all day, not enough to hinder our driving. A word of caution to anyone along our route. Better close your garage door when it is raining. You might find an old car in it. It is all part of the adventure, folks, all part of 1912 motoring. Rain or shine, we are having a great time. We expect to arrive at our destination in Lancaster, PA Monday or Tuesday unless we pass an antique shop or 2 that sucks the wife inside.
Actually, we are slowing down and lingering a little now since it seems that storms are ahead of us. No sense trying to keep up with that. The car's magneto has been very tolerant of all this wet weather. The car still starts easily and runs well.
...and now back to Betty's regularly scheduled update....
We followed Route 52 along the Ohio River, keeping the river in sight for most of the way. Everything is so GREEN here after the drought ridden areas we have been through on the balance of our trip. We went to the town of Portsmouth along the Ohio at the recommendation of a local lady for lunch at The Riber, a barbeque place. Check it out if you find yourself in Portsmouth. Joe went there while I hit all the antique shops in town (quite a few and they had just what I was looking for). I thought the restaurant was a short walk from the antique shops. Boy, was I in for a shock! Over 10 blocks later and several phone calls to Joe for walking directions, I finally made it there. These old river towns have great old buildings, lovely homes and the countryside is green and lush. Our stop this evening is in Gallipolis, OH, just north of Huntington, WV. One of my goals for tomorrow is to visit the Coldwater Creek Clearance Center in Parkersburg, WV, just over the river from Marietta, OH. I went there a couple of months ago while visiting with my daughter, Julie, and her family. Those $4.99 blouses are calling me - "come and get me, come and get me". I can't let them down.
Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:55 PM
We spent the night in Galliopolis, OH along the Ohio River and traveled along it to Parkersburg, WV to spend some time at the Coldwater Creek Clearance Center. There were dozens of fields of canning tomatoes on the bottom lands along the river. I've never seen so many tomatoes all in one place before. Take a look at some of the houses and buildings along the river. It has been an uneventful day so nothing else to report.
Joe says we should make it back home by Tuesday so will be able to do part of the E-M-F tour in Lancaster, PA.
Sunday, July 22, 2012 3:43 PM
Coming up Hwy 40, we came to crest of one long climb to find the Summit Inn, a magnificient Victorian hotel. The Summit Inn and Resort is in the Laurel Highlands of PA and is over 100 years old. It reminds me of El Tovar Lodge at the Grand Canyon with its stone fireplace and Arts and Crafts furniture and accessories. The outside of the hotel reminds me the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan with its broad porches and chairs for relaxing.
Monday, July 23, 2012 8:36 AM
Just a couple of corrections to the previous entries: The little yellow bird that I kept seeing was an American Goldfinch, see the website, www.whatbird.com, and the split tail bird was a scissortail Flycatcher, see website www.birdwatchersdigest.com. Also, I wanted to apologize to Jeff and Mary Rhodes who met us along the Ohio River for lunch. We had a wonderful time catching up on the events since we had seen each other last. Somehow, their names got omitted from the travel log.
Now the update for Monday, July 23
Joe and I arrived home in Wrightsville, PA this afternoon after another hot day in western PA and western MD. After starting out on Hwy 40, the National Road and going up long grades, some in first gear and using the spraying system, all morning, we decided that we would never reach home if we stayed on 40. The hills were about to do us in. When we reached Hagerstown, MD, we took Interstate 81 North and just rode the shoulder to Chambersburg, PA. We finally got off the Interstate and back onto a 2 lane, Hwy 30 to Gettysburg, PA. We did a quick drive through the battlefields to get some photos and then headed on to Wrightsville, about 35 miles to the northeast. Joe and I used to live in the Gettysburg area until about 8 years ago, so we were back on home ground. The place in Wrightsville sure looked good as we pulled in the drive. Our only difficulty at home was that we couldn't remember where we had put our house key. A call to Clay Green, a fellow E-M-F owner who had a key to our place, and we were able to get in. It is amazing how good your own little bed feels after being away for over a month. Tomorrow we will be on the 3rd day of the E-M-F tour in Lancaster, PA.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:36 PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 5:43 PM
Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:44 PM
Webmasters Note: It has been very hard for me to read of the E-M-F Tour due to the fact that I was unable to attend this one (First one I have missed). The E-M-F Registry has put on a tour like this every Even year since 2004 (2004 - Barkeyville, PA, 2006 - South Bend, IN, 2008 - the Centenial Celebration in the Detroit, MI area, 2010 - Wichita, KS, 2012 - Lancaster, PS). Big thanks to the Gil Fitzhugh family for coordinating what I hear was another fantastic tour.
Friday, July 27, 2012 1:40 PM
Thursday, August 2, 2012 6:10 AM
We have been home about a week - the car is unpacked, the mail sorted, the laundry and grocery shopping have been done. Life is slipping back into its routine. I went to Walmart to pick up a couple of things and it was a zoo! Life on the road was so simple and relaxing. Life in the slow lane was wonderful.
Are we glad we made the journey? Absolutely! Would we do it again? In a heartbeat!
There are so many memorable moments – seeing 2 fawns playing in a field, seeing the flit of a tiny yellow bird in the trees, talking with an old Navajo about Model T’s (spiders), and traveling the Santa Fe Trail. For a history buff like me who loves the old west, there is a special magic to traveling the path of the old trail rides. As we drove the Santa Fe Trail, I was seeing the dust of thousands of cattle plodding along covering the land from the hills to the north to the river to the south.
The car performed like a dream. It is incredible to me that a car that was built a hundred years ago was as reliable as a new car, maybe more so since Joe could fix anything that went wrong without having to replace a computer chip.
We made so many new friends and we became reacquainted with old friends. We were able, at our slow but steady pace, to see the majesty that is America.
To see if we could do this trip of 4,225 miles in an antique car was a personal challenge. We wanted a time machine – to go back to 1912. It happened!