2016 Pacific NW Fall Trip

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Road Trip photos Blanding, UT and Between Monticello and Moab. Ending up in Green River, UT

On the way back from Ray’s Tavern last night, I noticed a severe vibration in the front end at around 30 MPH. It felt like we had lost a front wheel weight or two… We stopped at 1st Choice Automotive and had them check the balance on the front tires. Verdict was that we had lost weights on both front tires, which caused the severe vibration. Unfortunately the vibration was so severe that it hydraulic locked the steering dampener up and broke it. We rebalanced the tires with clip on weights, rather than the glue on ones that wouldn’t stick to the rims. Everything was good except at low speed around 30 mph when we really missed the damper. Made it to Ogden without too much problem. Will try to find a replacement dampener and install it in Enumclaw. After that the bonus was finding the town of Helper UT off US 6 east of Orem UT. Check out the photos…

We had intended to visit the Classic Car Museum in Salt Lake City and went out of our way to go there to find it was not open… sigh. So we drove around the Mormon Tabernacle Temple with the idea of taking so photos of it. Of course driving a old sedan with small windows all we got to see was the bricks and mortar. To photograph it you needed to be a ways away… finally said to heck with it and headed up to our hotel in Ogden. 

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Drive from Show Low, AZ to Boise, ID

Or, You Gotta Drive Them…

Shortly after crossing into Oregon, we began to hit the rain. Our route was west on I84 to US 12W and onto WA 410 which takes us by Mt Rainier. The fall colors were still vibrant and had it not been raining so much we would have stopped to snap some. It took us around 8 1/2 hrs to traverse the 472 miles under some very ugly conditions.

As long as we could maintain 50 mph or greater the Rain X sheeted the rain off the windshield nicely. The slower you went the less well it worked. Truck traffic on I 84 was heavy which made matters worse due to the road spray. Not having defrosters meant that for most of the day we ran with the heater blowing on our feet and the side windows open.

We stopped at Bob’s Burger and Brew in Kennewick, WA for lunch and a break from running with the semis, many of which didn’t seem to care if we were in the left lane or not, if they decided that they needed to pass the semi in front of them. We were almost run off the road several times in the rain… oh well.

Visibility was down to 10 – 15 ft when we crested the pass opposite Mt Rainier. It was a pretty interesting drive – 25-30 MPH, fogged up windows, Rain X not working – the plus side was that the front end shimmy shook some of the rain drops off the windshield.

Made it to Enumclaw in time for dinner with my sister Louanna and her hubby Donald Bonogofski which made it all worthwhile.

When we were in Boise, I ordered a replacement steering damper from Amazon, gave instruction to have it shipped to Lou’s home in Enumclaw. The next morning before we left Boise, I checked Amazon and found out that they had already shipped it to Show Low.  My go to parts store if I need something right away is NAPA. I checked their website and found a damper that appeared to be about the same as the one I ordered from Amazon. I got the phone number for the NAPA store in Enumclaw and had the counterman check to see if they had it, they didn’t but could order it out of Portland, OR. I had him order it. 

We got to Enumclaw and I checked with NAPA and the part had come in. Down to the store, picked it up and went to a highly regarded repair shop who was able to get me in that afternoon. They installed the new damper and I was doing my happy dance. Drove the car around a bit and all of the shimmy seemed to be gone. Headed back to Lou’s only to have the steering lock up when I tried to turn right into her driveway. The car would turn left okay but could only make a very slight turn to the right. After backing up and going forward many times I was able to get the car into the driveway. 

Got out my floor jack and tools and jacked the front end up to see what was going on. UGH! when I turned into the drive, which had a decent rise, the right wheel was lifted up and since the front suspension has a transverse leaf spring the right side of the axle raised as well. The damper body hit and jammed into the passenger side exhaust headpipe and the power steering managed to bend both the lower control bar on the 4 bar suspension, but the tie rod as well.  When I went to take the damper off to free the steering, I noticed that the shop had installed it upside down which caused it to jam. By now it was 5:00 PM and the shop was closed.  I drove the car back to the hotel and got cleaned up, went to dinner and called it a day.

I needed to find a shop with a lift and a 20 T or more press to straighten the lower bar, luckily the Les Schwab Tire Company was open on Saturday.  We drove over to the shop and I explained my plight to the gal running the service desk. She told me that they generally don’t take work like this, but she called the front end alignment tech and he looked at the situation and told me that there might be the chance of cracking the bar when we went to straighten it. I told him that as it sat now we were 1500 miles from home and that the way the car was now, it could not get home. If we broke the bar I would be in the same fix as I am now. He talked with his boss and they agreed to give it a shot.  He shortly had me drive on to the alignment rack and we were able to remove the bent bar and get it mostly straight with their press. I looked at the tie rod and it did have a bend, but not that severe. Since he had a number of cars lined up for work I didn’t want to take the additional time to try and straighten the tie rod.

I was able to put the new damper back on the front suspension, this time correctly oriented so that it didn’t interfere with the suspension.  I pulled the car off the rack and asked the tech how much I owed them… he came back with No Charge, glad to help. I have since learned that Les  Schwab gets a bit more for their wheels and tires, but they are highly regarded for their customer service. They are Five Star in my book.

The new damper was made for a 1964 to 71 VW and did not have the same amount of dampening as the one that broke. By the time we got to Eugene it was pretty much worn out so I had to deal with the shimmy. The bent tie rod increased the amount of toe in which added to my woes but it didn’t stop us.

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Drive from Boise, ID to Enumclaw, WA

As we left Enumclaw the rain started and stayed with us until we hit Portland. Sunny skies and dry until after Salem where we went back to rain,

We met Brad & Toni Willett at the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts to see The Emerald City Jazz Kings concert Mood Indigo celebrating the Duke Ellington Era Swing/Jazz of 1924-46. The show was wonderful! The Emerald City Jazz Kings nailed every song, and where a joy to listen to! It brought back memories of the Jazz Supper Club we used to go to in Munich. After the show we went to Rain, a new very urban moderne restaurant for dinner that had a very nice varied menu, great ales and wine. After dinner we headed back to their home for an after dinner malt and schmooze with their cat Tug… The car ran well with no problems in the rain or with the front suspension! There is a lot to be said for living in a university town…

Once again we stayed at the Timbers Motel in downtown Eugene, not far from Brad & Toni’s home. They had an appointment in the morning so we slept in and met them for lunch at the High Street Brewery and Cafe. After lunch Brad had to take Tug the cat to the vet for an appointment so Michelle and I walked around town for awhile and then headed back to High Street to wait out an afternoon rainstorm. We met Brad and Toni for dinner at Soriah, one of our favorite restaurants in Eugene.
After dinner we went back to the Willett’s home for an evening of talk and single malt scotch… doesn’t get much better!

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Visit to Eugene, OR

After breakfast with Brad & Toni, we headed down I5 to Grants Pass and then over to Brookings. As usual for this trip it rained most of the way down I5, but cleared as we headed toward the ocean. California 199 is a beautiful drive, that I would recommend. We got to the hotel just before sunset so I was able to get a few snaps from the balcony before we went to dinner. We split a wonderful piece of halibut, red potatoes and assorted veggies.

After dinner we adjourned to the Jacuzzi tub that is in our room, with the window open we were able to hear the waves breaking on the beach. I really love this spot!

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Visit to Brookings, OR

On the way to Bakersfield we planned a stop in Hollister CA to visit our nephew Lance Rhinehardt and his wife Jody. I am so glad we did… the trip though the Bay Area was a nightmare. We came down 101 through Santa Rosa where we took the freeway over the Oakland Bridge – four hours later we pulled into our hotel in Hollister – what a freakin nightmare of a drive. Jody told us had we taken the Golden Gate and Coast Highway it would have added another 2 hours to the trip… Insane I say, Insane.

The drive to Bakersfield was uneventful, thankfully….

I was having such a good time with Rustin Delling, Dixie Delling, Mike D’Addario, Bill Cooper, Joe Keyes, JO Johnson and Michelle Mimi Wilkins Monroe that I really didn’t do much in the way of photography. Please excuse the half hearted photo shoot.

Was able to grab a few shots walking through the pits of cars that caught my eye. We had decent seats thanks to Rusty & Dixie getting to the track at 7:00AM. We were in the top row across from the 1/8 mile traps. Most of the race photos are from the Nostalgia Funny Car Class – the had 32 cars show up to make a 16 car field. As I recall it took something better than a 5.86 to make the cut.

Another class that was exciting to watch, sorry no photos, was the Nostalgia A/FX class – One jaw dropping run that got my attention was a 1961 Ford Galaxie 2 dr hardtop laid down a 9.158 – 145.08 MPH! Powered by a 429 that had to be making a ton of HP to move that heavy car… It finished 2nd to a 67 Nova running a 540 Chevy 8.838 – 145.66

Again, sorry about the photos having too much fun talking with my old friends…

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2016 California Hot Rod Reunion – Bakersfield

We left Bakersfield and headed down CA 58 to Barstow where we picked up I40. We stayed the night in Laughlin NV so that Michelle could gamble a bit. I had hoped to update Facebook at the hotel, but they wanted $10 for WIFI! so I watched an old movie. 

Stopped in Flagstaff for lunch at Beaver Street Brewery for some chilli and an IPA then home. Normally our cats go out of their way to snub us when we are gone on a trip. This time they were all over us, I guess they missed us this time. They still are a bit clingy.

I guess that about wraps this one up!


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