One addendum to the bearing repair at the Coos Bay Transmission Shop. When we picked the car up I asked Dave if he had looked under the hood, and he said; no that he hasn’t but would like to see it. He and the four guys who worked in the shop all gathered around the front of the car as I opened the hood. They were all looking at the engine install when I pointed out Bettie, they all said nice, and continued to inspect and comment on the engine install. I had to conclude that Dave and his guys are total gear heads, I totally recommend this shop!
Peter White playing on the mp3, sunny skies, light coastal fog, cool temps, good roads and no problems! It just doesn’t get any better than this. I do so love the left coast and how much I love the time we spend here.
We have a winner! At our gas stop in Brookings, a gentleman around my age walked up and asked; Is this a 1956? I gritted my teeth waiting for the other shoe to drop, but then he blew me away… He followed up immediately with; “I can’t remember the last time I saw a Dodge station wagon…” I got out of the wagon, and shook his hand! We talked for about a half hour until I started getting the ‘let’s wrap this up and get going’ look from Michelle so we shook hands and I got back in the wagon and we continued on our way.
Bettie Visits the City by the Bay…
After a good run to Eureka and a good nights sleep, we headed down 101 to Santa Rosa to have lunch with my old friend Mike D’Addario. I normally take Hwy 1 instead of 101 because I love driving the twisty roads, which may be the cause of Bettie’s wheel bearing problem. So discretion being the better part of valor, we took the more straight road, but less fun road. The scenery was gorgeous, great weather and Bob Seger playing in the background.
Mike suggested that we meet at Guy Fieri’s Johnny Garlic restaurant near his work at Flow Master, great choice! Good food, wonderful waitress and a lot of catching up since our last meeting in Bakersfield in 2010.
Back onto 101 headed for the Golden Gate, traffic was light going into the city and we made good time, so I decided to try to find the road to the bay overlook that is next to the bridge. Every time I have tried to do this in the past, I have always been in the far left lane when the turn off came up, this time we were in the right lane and made the turn and were rewarded with a great view. Both Michelle and I assured Bettie that we would not take her down to any of the beaches. I don’t think she really believed us, but she cooperated and didn’t break any more of her parts.
Next big adventure was driving though San Francisco on Friday afternoon in a 53 year old car, that is really low in the front. The GPS notified us of a major problem on 101 and routed us around it on a street very similar to the one used in the chase scene in Bullet. At the very top of the hill, there was a sign warning us of a sharp rise at the top, the sign wasn’t needed because of the large 18 wheeler moving truck that was high centered at the top. I wish my camera had been handy… what a sight! Down the equally steep other side and back on to the freeway.
Where we got back up to speed, then the GPS started to warn us about an accident on 101 by the airport, unfortunately there was no easy go around, so we spent the next 45 minutes crawling along until we cleared the 8 car pile up in the left lane.
We made it to 280 and was zipping along toward San Jose where we hit yet another back up. Crawled along for another 5 miles and 45 minutes and finally got though it and back onto 101. We made Gilroy at 7:00 PM and decided to call it a day… we were not going to take on the Grape Vine in the dark.
We got a motel room, found a Seven Eleven and bought some cheese, crackers and beer and holed up for the night.
As much as I hate I 5, we will be taking it down to Bakersfield and then I 40 over to Laughlin where we will spend the night before making the final push to Show Low on Sunday. Not how I planned to end the trip, but probably the best choice until I find out why the bearing failed.
September 22, 2013
The Edgewater in Laugh In wanted $6 for WiFi so we said No, No, No and I wasn’t able to give an update for yesterday.
We left Gilroy yesterday AM and hit my favorite I-5 to 58 and over to Bakersfield and on to Barstow where we caught my other favorite (NOT) freeway I-40 and bounced our way through the potholes to the Riverfront Road that heads up to Laugh In. This road is perhaps in the WORST condition of any road that we have traveled on this trip, until you get into Nevada where it turns into a smooth as glass boulevard. Other than I-5 which to my wonder was actually really in great shape! The rest of the roads in CA are in dismal shape.
After we got to the Edgewater and checked in, Michelle stayed in the room getting gussied up and I went back to the wagon to haul in the cooler and our coffee bag. The Edgewater has added a really nice concert venue and the featured band was one of my favorites, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Of course the show had been sold out for months so any chance of scoring some tickets was out of the question, but I did walk by the refreshment area outside the venue. I was wearing one of my ever popular black OTHG-Phoenix shirts and a pair jeans, on my way through the crowd, I was stopped by a 50-60 something couple who wanted to know if I was one of the band’s security guys. I had to confess that I wasn’t and told them that I appreciated the compliment…
So I trekked up to wagon, collected the cooler and coffee bag and headed back to the room, which was on the 25th floor. I got in the elevator with a couple of couples, all in their 50s who were dressed for the concert. The elevator stopped on the 3rd floor and in walks Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother who now is the lead singer of the group. The two groupie couples haul out their I phones and ask if they can take his photo, he of course says yep, and they start shooting, since he was standing next to me, I got in the photos as well.
The groupies, got out on the 10th floor and since Mr Van Zant was on the 26th floor, of course, we had a bit of time together. I asked him if he was having fun, and he said, “Yes, I have fun all the time”, I said, “That’s what it is all about, isn’t it?” he said, “So true my brother, so true…” the elevator door opened, I got out and my close personal time with a rock star ended.
By the time I returned to the room, Michelle was looking spectacular, and so we went off to dinner, I stayed in my Lynyrd Skynyrd security togs, just in case…
After dinner, Michelle stayed down in the casino and played for a while – actually doubled her money! Played $20 and came back to the room with $40! All in all a great stay at the Edgewater!
The trip from Laugh In home was uneventful, thankfully…
Arrived home at 3:45 unloaded Bettie and put her back in her garage, we had a great 4000 mile trip, saw some of my favorite old friends and in general I got the chance to spend some quality time with my best friend, lover and wife. I have to say that in one way, both Johnny Van Zant and I have at least one thing in common, we are having FUN!
OH, and all of the cats except my Buster, had to give us the cold shoulder for leaving them for so long. Our house sitter, Sue, did a great job taking care of Blue Bell and the rest of the family.
Thanks for following along with us!
Conrad & Michelle
Well, I thought I had pieced together what happened with the rear axle bearing in Coos Bay. On Tuesday I pulled both axles and inspected them and the axle housing and could not find any issues with the axle or the housing and after examining the right side axle, I cannot see how I could have screwed up installing the bearing on the left side. After searching the web and talking with two differential/drive line shops I concluded that the Ford 9″ small roller bearings are not up to handling the side loads during the kind of hard cornering I was pushing Bettie through on the trip. So after Winslow and Springerville I had planned on pulling the rear axle to have the housing converted to large tapered bearings and heavier axles which will eliminate the problem and also cure the brake knock back issue I was having as well.
Then I talked with Paul Nolte and he reminded me that he had had a new wheel bearing fail on his ’31 Chevy after he had the axle housing narrowed and new Moser axles and Timken bearings installed. Then I had a long talk with Manfred Wagoner, one great meticulous mechanic, and he told me that since Timken began sourcing their manufacturing from China, that their quality had gone to hell and that he had had many problems with them. Then yesterday I had a long talk with Toby at Performance Automotive here in Show Low and he told me the same story as Manfred. Further more he told me that between his dad and him, that they had built several roundy round cars using 9″ axles and never had a side load issue, even on pavement. So, the current plan is to replace both bearings with National bearings which are made in the USA (if the one installed in Coos Bay is not quality) and shim the axles to get rid of the end play which is causing the brake knock back issue.
If I have another failure then plan B will be the tapered bearing conversion…