New Year’s Eve morning of 2016 found the Drive Home II caravan on the road at 5:45 a.m. winding its way through northern Virginia toward a Katie’s Coffee and Cars event in Great Falls. Still dark when we arrived at 6:15, the parking lot was already filling up with classics, hot rods and exotics. The folks at Katie’s gave us prime parking spots for the 300G and Nomad, and Dale unloaded the Crane-Simplex as well. By 7 a.m. some 100 cars had shown up along with families and enthusiasts, many of whom said they were following our exploits on social media and the ACM Web site. Katie’s Coffees and Cars has been a weekly event for the past five years, and in the summer we’re told it’s not unusual for 400-500 cars to show up.
A few hours and some miles later we connected with a dozen or so motor aficionados who came out to meet us for lunch at the Prince Street Café in Lancaster, PA. The cars included a ‘62 Chrysler 300, a ‘60’s Rambler, and a ‘70’s Z-28; additionally, there was a mid-40s Pontiac gangster-style coupe with a violin case/fake tommy gun on the back seat and whose driver was decked out in mafia-wear that included a black overcoat and hat and white wing-tipped shoes. After a good lunch, the troupe traveled with us for a good ways toward our next stop in Allentown, PA. Charlie, the driver of the ’62 300 that he lovingly called Marilyn (named after Marilyn Monroe), followed us all the way to Allentown even though he lived about an hour in the opposition direction. Continue reading “A Diary From The Road: A New Year’s Like No Other”→
Our Drive Home II crew was up early again this morning for a 360-mile drive from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis. No events today, but a good photo opp for Derek at Heinz Field (Steelers Country!) and several gas stops along the way at Shell stations to fuel up and surprise fellow fuelers with $10 gas cards from our Shell Corp. sponsor.
Heading through West Virginia and into Ohio we stopped for lunch at Schlepp’s Family Diner in Belmont where Bill had a meatloaf sandwich the size of his head and Ashley’s club sandwich probably wouldn’t have fit into the Chrysler’s trunk.
It was about then that Dale noticed a bar on the trailer hitch had lost a part and was unsecured. Dale cornered a local fella named Ron Moore who was coming out of the restaurant and inquired if Ron knew of a nearby repair shop where we might get a large bolt to fix the hitch. With full Midwestern hospitality, Ron said, “Yes, I’ll drive down to the Ford dealership and pick one up for you.” What a gracious offer and we accepted it with appreciation.
Click here to read more on the blog “A Diary From The Road, by Rock Jenkins.”
Some days are just like that. You awake with a set of expectations and are eager to start the day. Then, plans go awry, expectations are not met, and you struggle with disappointment. If you’re willing to be flexible and adapt, you may find that, sometimes, important lessons or new opportunities may arise from the unexpected. Day 2 of The Drive Home II was one of those days for us. Continue reading “The Drive Home II Day 2 Update from David Madeira”→
Seeing the 1961 Chrysler 300G again was like being reunited with your high school girlfriend after she spent the summer in Europe. Something in her had changed, but you just couldn’t put your finger on it. Was she still the same girl? Did she still love you?
Well, after a contentious re-acquaintance period, the Chrysler and I seem to have settled back into a comfortable routine. We believe the front brake problem was actually a rear brake problem, in that we had little or no braking from the rear which was overloading and overheating the front brakes of the heavy Mopar. A quick rear shoe adjustment in the hotel parking today lot gave us a half-inch more pedal and carlengths of confidence. Continue reading “The Drive Home II, Day 4: Exorcising Demons”→
I’m pleased to report that while Day 4 of the Drive Home II adventure included a few notable occurrences in Washington D.C., it contained no mechanical malfunctions or unplanned delays that were my fault – or anyone else’s! Being well spent by our taxing Day 3, the team used part of the morning catching up on administrative work; the exception was our ace mechanic Dale, who tackled the Chrysler 300’s issues by bleeding its brakes in the cold and windy hotel parking lot. Just another reason Dale is a top contender for the Drive Home II MVP Award.
The rest of our day was spent treating folks around the Washington Mall to a good look at the Drive Home II cars and giving Derek ample opportunity for video footage. Along the way there were lots of waves, cheers and requests for me to rev up the throaty engine of the Nomad; and at one point, we heard someone say – “Look, the LeMay Museum, that’s out in Seattle!” (Well, close…)
If you insist on driving your classic car in Manhattan, there is no better time than 4 a.m. The streets are quiet. Most of the night’s revelers have returned home, and the folks that keep the city’s big machine humming along dutifully go about their business. It’s one of the world’s most densely populated areas, but at four in the morning it is the vacuum of activity that is striking. Navigating the island’s wide, neon-lit avenues is one of the most unique driving experiences in the world.
An early-morning media appointment with a local television news affiliate afforded the The Drive Home team that opportunity. We drove our three red classic cars over to Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza on Flatbush Avenue where we unloaded the Crane-Simplex for photos and interviews. The early start on little sleep made for what would become a very long day.
Dec. 29 was a study of patience, perseverance and team leadership for the Drive Home II road crew. We started early, rolling out of mid-town Manhattan at 5:45 a.m. and crossing over to Brooklyn for a TV segment with the local Fox station at Grand Army Plaza. Dale led the process of unloading the 1917 Crane-Simplex from the trailer near the massive Plaza arch, and David handled the short TV interviews over the next couple of hours at designated time slots.
Although we may not understand it at the time, even unfortunate situations can prove to be a blessing. The corollary rule is that fate likes to cruelly group these events into sets of three.
Ninety miles into our first leg of The Drive Home II, the LeMay-America’s Car Museum midwinter trek in three classic cars from Boston to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we experienced our first setback. The trailer of our chase vehicle hauling the ex-J.D. Rockefeller 1917 Crane-Simplex Model 5 suffered a fairly innocuous tire failure along the fieldstone fencerows of southern Massachusetts. Continue reading “The Drive Home II, Day 2: The Rule of Threes”→
By William Hall. Photos by the author, except where noted.
Somewhere around my last birthday, I reached a sort of existential equinox. I realized that the days would start to get shorter from here on out. Less light to do things by, and likely some long stretches of cold and darkness ahead.
That perspective liberated lots of decision making in my life. Once deferential, I now never turn down the offer to drive someone else’s car, regardless of its value or my trepidation. “Hell yes” is my new default answer. Care to take my Maserati 150S around the block? You bet. Want to co-drive in La Carrera Panamericana? Tell me when you need me there. And yes, I think I will have that second piece of chocolate cake. Are there any cigars to go with this bourbon? Continue reading “The Drive Home II, Day 1: The New Default”→
“Teamwork” is the word of the day. When the unexpected happens despite great planning, good teams come together to make the best of things and create new opportunities.
That’s what the LeMay-ACM Gang did today when, after heading south out of Boston, we had a breakfast of Famous Gray’s Ice Cream (black raspberry and coffee chip the biggest sellers) just before a tire blew on the trailer and Dale Wickell had his first chance to come to our rescue. Tire replaced, it was on to Newport, R.I. to get the 1917 Crane-Simplex a little air along the beautiful Newport Ocean Drive. Continue reading “A Diary from the Road: “Teamwork” is the word of the day”→