I have been reading every post for about the last three weeks in preparation for a solo driving trip I am making from Boston to San Francisco, leaving this Sunday or Monday. What a great resource and collection of knowledge. I hope to exchange info along the way about technical things and traveling in general.
It would be great to meet some people on the way from time to time, and have a coffee with other enthusiasts. I would also love to find out if anybody knows of anyone who worked at a dealership or the factory in 1931 - That would be neat to hear about and possibly record an interview to share!
Here is a bit about the car.
1931 4 door, 2 owner car, 48k. Engine was refurbished but not completely rebuilt about 20 years ago. Here is what I did to get ready so far: New top - it did not have one Complete interior - not stock New Clutch New aluminum radiator, water pump, hoses All new brake linings New tires, tubes Wheel bearings serviced Steering box rebuilt 6 volt alternator, coil, condenser, points, and ignition switch electric wiper motors Period Harrison heater 6 to 12 volt adapter for phone and gps Sleetchaser - period electric defroster panel All new wiring
I could not find a place to rent that would allow me to paint the exterior, so did a little touch up with a rattle can for now.
The route is heading south from Boston until it gets warmer - - probably around North Carolina, then due west until get to my home near San Francisco - hopefully before Christmas.
I have basic tools, a good stock of spares, a credit card, a phone, and a ton of wyndam rewards points I got from work, so I'll likely be at a Days Inn in your town soon!!
Blaine, you have one great trip planned there! Best of luck on your journey. How far are you planning to drive each day? I realize that road conditions and terrain play a factor, but do you have a ballpark number? Say 300 miles or so? I'm a bit north of your planned route (Cincinnati, OH) so we probably won't meet, but I'm sure there are others you will run into. We did a long drive back in 2007, and the only major issue we had was overcharging the battery. It exploded. Worst part is, it could have been avoided had I backed the charge rate back (20+ amps continuous will do more than just boil the water out). Keep us posted on your progress. I'm looking forward to hearing about your journey as you travel across this great land.
Re: Coast to Coast in a 31
#295421 12/06/1303:16 PM12/06/1303:16 PM
Way to go, Blaine!!! I'm a little bit envious to say the least. I had something like that planned many years back but it never happened, unfortunately. If you can, document your trip each day; post some video here in General Discussion - it's new - &/or just post a bit of "how it's going" each day! I know I'd be interested in reading about your adventures!!! Back tires in the Atlantic to start; front tires in the Pacific to finish, EH!!
'33 MASTER PARTS WANTED ~ ESPECIALLY SHEET METAL! RADIOS & "TRINKETS; TOO.
Blaine, If you get to the Houston Tx area I would be happy to try to meet you. I have a 40+ year "hoard" (that is what some of my buddies call it) of 1931 parts should you need one. Not a coffee drinker but another beverage would be great. Even have a spare bed if the Days Inn (yes we have one in our small town South of Houston) is not your nights preference. If you are a VCCA member you can use the online access to VCCA membership database to locate members on your route. If not a member you can join online at vcca.org website. Have a safe trip.
Wow...Way too cool. We are having some bad weather west of us here in Northwestern SC. Freezing rain for tomorrow so please be careful, take a ton of pictures and keep a log of what you see and do. We would love to do this is our 32 one day. Peace,
Blaine, Good luck on your trip. It sounds like this will be a trip to talk about for many years to come. Please be sure to bring a video camera. After all Bill has made a new way of communicating via the addition of video's to the chat area. Many of us will be looking forward to seeing your posts about the trip. This is a trip I took in the early 70's but in a new car. It's wonderful way to see the country.
Someone's opinion of you does not have to become your reality.
Thanks so much to you all for the kind responses and offers - I certainly will post some pics and video - just got a GO PRO camera this morning.
I am truly looking forward to checking in with people when I am in their areas.
I have a leaking valve cover gasket to fix today, changing the oil, and installing the rear view mirror - just waiting for some of the snow to melt and the sun to peek out.
The big goal tonight is to pick a route out of New England that avoids icy roads and big cities. Gonna shoot for about 200 miles on the first day. I would expect there to be some things to tinker with, so we'll see how it goes. If things do settle in and everything is running well, I will probably plan to drive all the daylight hours I can unitl I get far enough south or into good enough weather not not have icy roads at night.
It turns out, I am a bit more nervous than I thought I would be. When I was 20 I did things like this all the time with little or no prep, no mechanical experience, and no money - and it was glorious and horrific, and I loved it. Now I have a bit more resource and experience, especially with the power of this forum behind me, but I have grown a little squeamish about laying in the slush at night under the car in big city. I am not that worried about having problems in the middle of nowhere, that has less variables in it for me.
As a kid I remember watching a TV movie that later became the Waltons TV series about trying to get home for Christmas - even then I wanted an old truck like the ones they were driving through those dark snowy nights. Now I'm on my own holiday homecoming quest, missing my two girls and wife intensely already, but feeling equally drawn to being alone on the road in the old Independence.
If you get somewhere and need help let us know. We know people across the US that would be happy to lend a hand or parts. Documenting the trip in words and pictures would help others make a similar trip, either in person or vicariously.
Blaine, A good place to post your TRIP photos, dialogue and video is in the YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE forum. See HERE
If you forget, I can move it for you, once you start one.
I have driven my '31 from Boston, MA to Fredricksburg, VA. My only advice is to avoid rush hour - which generally runs from 6 am until 7 pm, Monday thru Friday. Saturday and Sunday is only 8 am until 5 pm. !?!?!? Sorry.
Bill Barker Previous VCCA CHAT Administrator (VCCA Member: 9802)
What a great goal. You will only be alone when you want to be, and there will be dozens of us in VCCA ready to give a push or pull when you ask. As for the "jitters" part, DanR (from the post above) won't brag at all, but his understated "We did a long drive back in 2007" was an amazing 7000 miles, or more, as I remember, everything from no-road deserts to scenic European back roads, from Peking, China all the way to Paris, France, in his '30 Chevy. Dan will be a great one to stay in touch with for encouragement, and some great stories, along the way.
Joining VCCA, and having access to our on-line list of members and their information whenever you need it would be a great comfort and benefit.
Keep in touch. We'll all be rooting for you.
SEE THE USA.......
Old Iron (cars, trucks, tractors, fire truck) Too much, never enough........
Once again, thanks for the offers of assistance and encouragement. I did join the VCCA for that and other reasons, and have to recommend to all the readers of these forums to do the same.
Made it to Waterbury CT yesterday in about 4 hrs - 155 miles. Road speed was between 40 and 47 mph most of the time. Looks like I am getting between 17-19 mpg.
We had three inches of snow last night and now a steady light rain - since freeway speeds have dropped due to conditions - I can blend with traffic now!! I am going to stay on the freeway today, though it has risks ( other drivers) and benefits(plowed and salted). Would like to get to Allentown PA before dark. I mostly need to get through New York ASAP - I might have an outstanding ticket or two there still on the books for driving a sponsored show roadster I built on a scenic byway. Because the car said "Autodesk" on the side, they got me for commercial advertising on a scenic roadway. I appealed by mail, but never heard anything.
The car is using a bit of coolant, which I thought was from the fitting I made to install a heater, but that was dry.
QUESTION - is there a freeze plug on the back of the block, or could it be leaking from the head gasket??? Anyway, since the temp is near freezing, and the engine temp is staying cool, I'll soldier on for now l I can get to a better place to look that over and the oil leak from the rear main.
QUESTION # 2 - anybody in PA want to arrange a day rental of a garage space?? Please feel free to call - 925.325.8051 or post here.
Yes there is a core plug on the back side of the block. Not easy to access with the engine and body in place. A hole can be cut in the lower firewall to gain access and then welded back later if necessary.
Sounds like you are making good progress. As for the coolant leak, if you overfill the radiator, the coolant will expand when the engine warms, and be blown out through the overflow. When cold, the top tank only needs to be filled enough to cover the top of the radiator core, and maybe a little more. Keep on truckin' and stay warm.
Hey Blaine,you are making good time sounds like to me ! I cannot help you in Pa. but if you are gonna be in N.J. my gaf is in Red Bank and I could roll out the ol 31 if you would like to do any light mech. work...Not a proper auto shop but got tools and a dry floor !! I sent you a PM the other day so check your private messages. Best of luck,Merry Christmas to you !!
Blaine-I will be looking forward to seeing your progress, you definitely are having an adventure of a lifetime. Yes, Chipper is right, there are tons of VCCA members along your route if and when you might need assistance. I have driven my Independence many thousands miles, but not all at once like you. Please keep us posted.
First, thanks to Chipper for the freeze plug tip - cant really see if that is the source, but when I get to a place where I can do a thorough look, I'll be glad to know what you passed on.
DanR, jay32249,and Jmm, thanks for the tips, invitations and encouragement. At this time I west and north of you all, but we'll see what turns up!
This morning in Allentown we have 3 inches of new snow and will get snow all day. I am gonna head out about 10 AM toward Lancaster and then Gettysburg, hoping to get to Charleston, West Virginia in a couple of days - just trying to get south and a little west for now. Ultimately, will shoot for Springfield Missouri next. If weather stays sour, I'll head south more directly. I would also change routes to catch up with folks from the forum here if that works out.
Might be really icy tomorrow as temps drop - so a layover somewhere between Gettysburg and Morgantown might be necessary - anybody around those parts want to hang out??
Just my curiosity, I am wondering why you are going through the mountains instead of the more Eastern route down the valley? I expect the weather (snow/ice) would be less that way. Any way not my business which route you choose. If get close to Morgantown "Corvette" Mike McCagh lives in Cumberland, MD a little East of there. I am sure he would welcome you and your coolant leak. Never been to his place but suspect he has every tool and gadget needed to work on an old Chevy.
Blaine-If you are going thru St. Louis on your way to Springfield, Mo. and would need a place to stay or a garage to make repairs, we have the Greater St. Louis Area Region of the VCCA and many members here who own and drive 1931 Chevrolets that would be happy to help out in any way. 314-852-8991
So how's the heat in your '31? I have an aftermarket heater (it says Studebaker on the cover) in my '30, and on cold days all it does is re-arange the cold air on the floor. I also do not have a thermostat. Maybe that would help. Cold temps predicted through the mid west for the next few days, but at least the snow/ ice/ rain should hold off till Saturday. Hopefully you can make some good time once your across the Appalachians. As the Brits used to say "Keep Calm and Carry On".
Re: Coast to Coast in a 31
#295838 12/11/1312:03 AM12/11/1312:03 AM
Made it to Gettysburg last night and moving out now for Morgantown - 24deg!! I adjusted my radiator muff and hope for a little more heat in the cabin today. I had a great chat with Bill last night - I will forward another video tonight, including a detailed tour of the car, and my luggage!
It was quite magical yesterday going down the main street in Kutztown, snowing like crazy while the bells rang out "Silver Bells". The day finished the coolant level in the same place where it began, went through some oil, though. I stopped to change the plugs - more on that story later - and I noticed that the carburation is spot on - not too rich, not too lean, and not appearing to burn any oil, just slinging a bit. But from my British car experience, we just add oil and claim the nice distribution of oil on the underside is a built in rust deterrent!
More news, and new video to come!
Note: Blaine told me yesterday that he created a "cover" for the front of his radiator to allow it to stay warmer in the cold weather. He said that he found he only needs 3"-4" open to provide sufficient air flow. --Bill B
Blaine It appears you may go through Tulsa. My garage is unheated, I do have a kerosene heater, I do have a lift, I'm 25 miles west of downtown Tulsa. My garage is full but I can pull the tractors outside. Love to share a coffee or meal with you.
ALERT - The next week through the 20th the weather looks great here, 50's during the day, freezing at night. However, they are predicting snow and extremely cold weather to arrive here on the 21st.
Dunkin' Donuts - gotta love it. After all, "America runs on Dunkin'". I like your idea of covering the radiator part way to let some heat build up. I tried something like that once with some cardboard. It worked ok as long as I was moving. Upon stopping, the temp quickly shot up to near the red, so I abandoned the idea. Probably had too much of the rad covered. Are you still sticking to the interstates? I've driven my '30 a little bit on the local interstate loop, but the speed of the surrounding traffic just made me a bit too nervous. Especially scary are the ones that come up quick on your rear (and all you can see is grille and the word MACK). Great videos, keep 'em coming. JYD, you're going to have to find yourself a faster connection. You're missing out on some good stuff here. And Mr. Bill, thanks for the map updates.
Re: Coast to Coast in a 31
#295957 12/12/1309:45 PM12/12/1309:45 PM
If you go to the main web site (vcca.org - requires a separate logon) and go to member services, you can search the member directory for 'lexington'. According to the database, there are two VCCA members in Lexington KY.
Hearts and wishes are with you!
Dean 'Rustoholic' Meltz old and ugly is beautiful!
Thanks Chipper -- But I don't know if he can afford your shipping fee!!
I just talked to Blaine again. Also talked with Dave Miner. We are giving Blaine some additional phone numbers of Miami Valley Region guys who might be able to help him. But it's past 11 pm their time, so he'll have to call in the morning...
In the meantime, check out the PROGRESS MAP and read the info posted at each marker.
Blaine, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I would check on your progress. Behold and lo, there you are having, probably, the ol’ early-30’s broken axle problem. Maybe I can help a little to speed up your diagnosis and treatment. This might get a little wordy, but may help you get moving. I’ll generally be taking some of my stuff and others from the VCCA Chat site, so you can search further if you can do that from your Days Inn home.
First a clue we have all learned on Search: Good lesson for searches: the fewer key words the better.
So, here are several bits and pieces from a few posts I found. I might start with a few things not necessarily broken-axle related ( I had a “clunk” back there), to help you eliminate other possibilities.
....(Blaine, this is from a Chat post)...I think I gave you too many words for the search clue. Just search here in the 29-32 area, using only the word "clunk", and you'll find the right threads when you look at discussions from about November 2007. I'm still betting on a loose rear axle, since mine was loose before.
Blaine, another possibility....The nut that holds the front universal joint yolk to the mainshaft,should be as tight as possible,with the cotter pin locking in that position.The loose yolk on the mainshaft would be the most likely source of the "clunking" sound.If the nut is loose,it could shear the cotter pin off with very disastrous results.
(this was me) ...I just got my 30 on the road again, after finding a loose hub and a worn rounded keyway. I cut a new keyway on the other side of the taper, put the wheel back on good and tight, and made sure it still cleared the backing plate (still plenty of room). That was it. That clunk is gone, the one that I swore was coming from the transmission area. Search on here for "Clunk", it will help you find "Clunk 1930 Found the Source" for more details and the helpful advice I got.
So, Blaine, now on to the axles. My ’30 has two size axle shafts. One has obviously been broken and replaced with a larger diameter one. Here’s some info. you should use to see which axle(s) you have. The difference is plenty big enough to check carefully with just a tape measure, so one of us can get you the right axle.
(me here again) ...I checked both axles. There is a big difference, 0.20" between them at the inside bearing diameter. The bigger one is 1.575", the other is 1.375". If the 1932 idea is right, they really beefed 'em up then. I'm just glad I've put in sealed bearings now. No more oily floor, brake shoes, wheels, etc.
.....There is a topic in the tech talk section of this site which gives you the same dimensions as you quote 1930-31 1.375" and then 1932 at 1.575"
...If you have a 1932 axle shaft in your 1930, then the rear hub has been changed to a 1932 as well.
...rear of my '31 to replace the inner and outer sea...Blaine, this post, started by Vetteman 61 on Jul 09 2011, has and has a link to some great ’31 photos that will surely help.
...removed the axle from my 1931 coach to replace the seals. Here are pictures of my disassembly process. I would like to add that you DO NOT have to remove the brake backing plate at all. Once you can see the actual bearings if you put the drum and nut back on and pull the drum against the nut the axle will slide out.
Blaine, good luck. Hope this helps a little. call me at 937-533-0621. I'm only about 150 miles straight north of you, and I may be able to dig up an axle around here.
SEE THE USA.......
Old Iron (cars, trucks, tractors, fire truck) Too much, never enough........
I have a spare U-Joint if you need it. It is off of a '30 transmission, but the parts book indicates that the '30 and '31 U-joints were the same. Also a spare '30 transmission, but I don't know if it will fit in a '31.
There is a VCCA member that lives very close to Lexington that has a '31 Chevy. Maybe he would have an axle you could use. I give you his name and number on the phone. I can overnight an axle if you can't find one closer.
On my way to Ohio with a rental car! yuck! to see a guy about an axle - FORUM TRIUMPHS AGAIN!
HE mentioned he would like to get his asking price, I told to reach in my wallet and take all he wants - I am in no position to dicker - we had a good laugh.
Its all apart and under cover in the parking lot now, I should get back this evening and will try to do what I can since it is raining and snowing tomorrow - I might need to upgrade to a room with a hot tub !!!
I can already tell that it is not going to take long for you to look back on this adventure and laugh! Let's hope your wife is as understanding the first time it happens when she is along. My first big trip with my wife(GF at the time) was to Flint Mich. for the 50th anniversary meet. Before we left, I had a talk with her and explained that things often did not go according to plan and that support and a sense of adventure was required. If not that, then bring a good book! Sure enough, she was out there push starting my '51 in the heat, and taking pictures while I emptied the trunk to get tools and a fan belt out on the side of the interstate. She added that she is "done push starting old cars" to her wedding vows... but has happily broken that vow numerous times. Maybe I should be worried about the other vows??!!
Keep plugging away... you never told us what your deadline is for being home?
Those accustomed to the finest...find it in Chevrolet.
My wife is not only understanding, but a willing participant. When we were first married, I once had a radiator hose come off a Land Rover in the summer in CA. Once I patched the hose, the only water available was from a dirty nearby irrigation ditch. I told here I was reluctant to put that in the radiator, but went over and filled up an empty soda bottle anyway.
By the time I returned, she had taken off her underware and was holding it out the window so I could strain the ditchwater with it.
I just talked to Blaine... He's back at the motel with a new (used) axel and bearing all ready to be installed. (Thanks to Glen!!!) He's going to install it in the morning and hopefully be on the road asap.
He'll post HERE tomorrow before he leaves... and more PHOTOS and VIDEO will be forthcoming. Promise!!!
Also.... after tomorrow, he'll have a better understanding of what his route will be (OK City???) and WHEN he might be there.
It might be nice if a couple of DUDES could tailgate him down the road for a ways..... just thinking!!! And don't forget yur camera!!?!?!
---Bill B (First to submit Chat Region dues for 2014!!!!!!!!!)
If he is coming down Bluegrass Parkway to I-65 or US31E or W to get to I-40 to go to Oklahoma City, I would be happy to follow. Just let me know. I'll update my profile with my cellphone number. I'm just outside Bowling Green, KY but I can follow him just about anywhere in Kentucky with notice.
Ron, et. al. Your offers are what the VCCA is all about, taking care of family! We have good members all along his route. One is ~ 15 miles from Lexington but apparently not home when Blaine called.
If Blaine gets stopped near you he can wait until next spring and drive on the Southern Spring Tour in Bowling Green. It is a tour for 1912 to 1954 Chevys. The '31 will fit right in. We can bring what ever parts he needs. About 10 years ago we changed the rear axle on a '28 Chevy in the parking lot one night. Car was back on the road next morning.
I had a good run today after installing the axle - got on the road about 11AM
I am now in Russelville - just to the west of Bowling Green. Oldiron, gonna call you in a few minutes here to catch up with you.
There may be video coming shortly - Bill has been kind enough to post em for me - clips today of installing the axle, and a little test of the repair.
I stopped at the Kentucky Arts and Craft center and got some great footage of a guy playing a hammer dulcimer. I also stopped in Nancy, KY for a little lunch, gas, and tightened up a hose clamp on my fuel line.
Today was the first time I got a little tired while driving, so I called a few friends to chat myself awake.
At the Arts and Craft Center, after talking to the musicians, I wondered around looking for something to bring my two girls at home, which lead to a pretty good bout of homesickness. I have been away working since August, and while having a great time on the road, I am eager to be with the family as well.
I made a quick video - once again on the topic of driving snacks - this time featuring "Hostess Mini Donuts"
Heading out for Memphis tomorrow, then along either side of Interstate 40 going due west. Its probably a good time to do some service, and change the oil - I have not gone that many miles, but the hours of running time add up.
Hello to Everyone - coming to you live from Humbolt Tennesee, where the current temperature is cold enough to make Burger King feel better than it ever has!!
It has been great to hear from you all while I am traveling - its the most unique thing to have complete strangers call me up and talk like we have been friends forever!
Bill has continued to work the magic levers here on the forum to upload a few videos each day - big thanks to him - there is no way I could take the time to do that while on the road right now, so thanks!
Also heard from folks in Oklahoma and New Mexico today about getting together in the coming days - cant wait!!
ROUTE INFO - passing through Memphis late today might make it to Forest City AR. Tomorrow - past Fort Smith and stopping at a Days INN (redeeming rewards points!) somewhere in OOOOKLAHOOOMAAA, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains!
Anybody want a real time live update? Just call the "Snacks Across America in the 31 Chevrolet" hotline. If I am not in the middle of a corn dog or a bag of Funions, we can talk in person!
From your mid-day post it sounds like you should be in eastern Arkansas for your Sunday evening stop. I have alerted Ed Vann, a VCCA members in the Fort Smith area where you will probably be tomorrow. We thought it would be good to alert someone along the path before Oklahoma City in case you need some help or a rest stop. Ed is in sales with the Hug Chevrolet dealership in Charleston,AR,about 20 miles ESE of Fort Smith. He and the Hug family are avid VCCA members and Chevrolet collectors. They would be glad to see you if you want to stop by and could probably give you some service help at the dealership. There are several other VCCA members along I-40 between Little Rock and Fort Smith Ed could put you in touch with if needed. Ed has your phone number and will be contacting you.
I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock is notorious for heavy truck traffic. You might want to consider some blue highway alternative such as US 64 and then AR 22 west of Little Rock.
Hug Chevrolet is on AR 22 (south side of the river) about 20 miles east of Fort Smith. Address is 415 Main St (also AR 22) Charleston, AR 72923, 479 965-2369, www.huggm.com. Ed Vann's cell number is 479 629-5636.
I'm located in Tulsa which is north of your path so I probably won't see you as you pass through. The same is true of cordman who is located in the same area as I am. We have been collaborating with 37Blue 1n watching your progress and being ready to help if needed as you pass through Oklahoma. I understand that 37Blue is planning on meeting up with you when you get to the Oklahoma City area. It sounds like you should have good weather for most of the week as you move through our part of the country. We wish you the best and hope you have a pleasant adventure and get home to your family before Christmas. God speed to you and your Chevy.
I'm approximately 1-1/2 hours from Henryetta and/or Okemah, Oklahoma that you will pass through on I-40. If you need anything while in that area feel free to contact me. (918) 346-9877. We have a good member in Shawnee, Oklahoma just east of Oklahoma City that we can call if you need anything close to there, he does not use the chat site so he would not know about this adventure. I know he recently bought a 1930 that would have parts that could be shared.
Leaving Brinkley in minutes - headed for Charleston to meet Ed Van - thanks for passing the word on to the club members - its great to have some stops, and possibly help if I need it.
Thanks for the advice about traffic as well - had a near miss in Memphis, and an ugly exchange with two big rigs going through a one lane construction zone - I cant blame the truckers, they are at work, and there is no doubt that I am a nuisance to them on the freeway. So I am gonna take the advice of our club members here and take the suggested route.
On into Oklahoma by afternoon and will arrange a visit with some of the guys there - looking forward to it.
See some of you soon! Blaine 925.260.9442
PS - no video today, but I'll forward something tonight
Glad you are moving along, and thanks for the Mid-America geography lessons for all of us. I had never even heard of Charleston,AR, before, and now I know right where the Chevy dealer is there.
Be careful, stay alert, and keep the great videos coming when you can. I can sort of see an article coming in the Generator & Distributor........Hmmm, maybe with videos someday in the on-line version......
Thanks for having us along.
Last edited by 46 Panel; 12/16/1301:36 PM.
SEE THE USA.......
Old Iron (cars, trucks, tractors, fire truck) Too much, never enough........
Blaine, I missed the first few days of your report, but I am on board now (figger I'm sitting on the bags on your rear bumper). It looks like you might miss Oklahoma, but we have a great VCCA region, The Heart of Route 66, with some great members, especially in the Tulsa and OKC areas. Old Rt 66 and I40 are considered the most direct route to California. You might want to look over your maps again. Good luck. ....Sam
Heart of Route 66 Region (Okla) VCCA Chevys: 1929 LQ 1.5T; 1930 LR 1.5T; 1932 BA 5 pass coupe; 1941 Chevy 1.5T US Army Fire Truck, my vintage '82 Chevy Motor Home
How about meeting tomorrow AM between 10:30 and 11?? Will that give me enough time if I leave Shawnee about 9 am? I am all set to visit with the guy you told me about at 8AM, then I'll be off to meet you guys.
More to report later - great day, had an epic lunch stop with Ed Van, Bob and the owner of Hug Chevrolet and serious restorer/collector.
Drove at night with dry roads! - my lights are outstanding btw - thanks forum gurus for stressing good grounds - also running 6 volt alternator - working great.
One quick question - I had a low beam bulb burn out - can I get a 6 volt bulb at NAPA?? anybody know? I know I can order one, but would like to pick up a spare while traveling.
Glad everything is going well. The Hug folks are 110% Chevrolet, both old and new.
I am sure the Albuquerque boys can scare up a bulb or two before you get there. Plenty of '31 guys there. Not sure about others along the route before that. You are probably using 1000 bulbs which are higher candlepower than the original 1110s. Don't know of any NAPA stores that carry 6 volt bulbs as they are a very slow mover.
The Filling Station has the 6 volt bulbs. You can probably get them to ship a bulb to one of your upcoming stops and you can pick it up there. Order several so that you will have spare bulbs to carry with you.
First, a HUGE thank you to Bill Barker for "adjusting" the rules to allow me to post.
A little history:
I rent a space in the garage in Massachusetts where Blaine did his prep on the '31 for his epic trip. We chatted several times when I came by to take my car out for a day or two so I got to watch while he was going over the car. It was amazing to see what he accomplished with limited space and resources. I thought that the LED "headlight" he wore was part of his head. He looked quite different in the videos without it (-:
It was during those visits he introduced me to VCCA and told me he would be documenting the trip via VCCA so I've been lurking for quite a while waiting for something to show up.
I've never linked photos so I don't know if this will work, but there are links below to two iPhone snapshots I took in September while the Chev was "in proess".
I've been watching with GREAT interest as you left MA with that 1931 technology in what has turned out to be the dead of winter, even though it isn't technically winter yet.
You left at the right time. 10" of snow Sunday, 6" more expected today and 0 degrees this morning.
It looks like you hooked up with the right people with VCCA. It seems you've joined a big extended family.
If you want to look at the images, it is necessary to copy the address, correct the "cm" to ".com" in it and past it into the address window of a page. Bill has altered web and email addresses so they can't be easily captured by programs. Just trying to minimize the crap we get. Makes looking at images a bit more effort but worth it IMHO.
That "garage" is plenty tight. Looks like the prep is paying off in spades.
When making a post and you also have links, you can hit the "Preview Post" button at the bottom of your text window before making a post. That way you will know if the links or the images will work or not before the actual post is made.
I'll give a short summary of Blaine's stop Monday 12/16 at Hug Chevrolet and attempt to include a couple photos. This is my first attempt at adding an image so it may not work. The link should get you to 2 photos. One is of Blaine with his '31 in front of Frank "Buddy" Hug, Sr's workshop at the Hug Chevrolet dealership in Charleston, AR. The other is of Blaine and Frank admiring Frank's 1915 Royal Mail. It is one of his many fine vintage Chevrolets. Charleston is about 20 miles east of Fort Smith, AR on AR 22 highway. The dealership has been there since 1927 and owned by the Hug family since the mid 30's.
Blaine arrived about 1:30 pm from his overnight stay in eastern Arkansas. Frank Hug, Jack Swartz, Ed Vann and I had lunch with Blaine before a quick tour of the Hug collection. The local newspaper's reporter stopped by to interview Blaine. It was then time for him to move on down the road and into Oklahoma. I led him around the road construction and congestion of Fort Smith and into Indian Territory. Near sundown I turned north to return to Tulsa while Blaine forged ahead to points west. I understand he continued to drive into the darkness for a while with the only casualty being a low beam bulb.
Blaine is a great fellow to meet and truly enjoying his adventure. He has one solid and reliable Chevy that is performing like a champ. He's doing what we all desire to do - seeing the USA in his Chevrolet.
Last edited by Bill Barker; 12/18/1302:35 AM. Reason: fixed links
Well guys, no matter how many ways I've tried, I have been unsuccessful in either adding a link or an image, so, thanks to Brewster, anyone who is interested who wants to see my two iPhone pictures of Blaine's car in September can have a look by clicking on his link.
Just talked to Blaine (6:45 AM CST). He made it to Amarillo, TX last night. He drove well into the night. Had a great drive thru western OK on Highway 152. He's aiming foe Albuquerque and points west today. He'll try to post more when he stops for lunch.
ABQ members: You're on deck. Jay--he'll be calling you soon.
My vocabulary is lacking!!! That's not normal. No fever, though. "One BIG, happy Chevy Chat family, EH!!!!" Inspiring; to say the least? Kudos to Blaine & all the "Family" for making this happen. Just like a Marathon - come to think of it; that's exactly what we have here!!!
'33 MASTER PARTS WANTED ~ ESPECIALLY SHEET METAL! RADIOS & "TRINKETS; TOO.
I am in southern N.H. about 50 miles north of Blain's departure point. Have been shoveling, snow blowing, and roof raking for the last three days. Watching the video's I feel like I'm in the back seat and would much rather be there.
I would think that the high desert to be the better option than up to Tahoe. More traffic but also more help if needed. The up and over can be a real challenge even without snow. Talked to VCCA member in LV today that would be available if needed for help or talk.
Might be able to cut off some miles by heading north from Alb toward SLC or west to Gallup and then across Indian country. Some interesting but lonely scenery.
Yeh, I think that he got "religion" today with some traffic close-calls..... so he wants to avoid the worst of CALIF... if you can. Ha!!
Here's a photo from yesterday!!! Be sure to read the caption.
"I stopped by this General Store in Oklahoma to pick up some Dapper Dan hair treatment for myself and some Standard 600w oil, both of which were on the shelf. They also had a good selection of Ford parts in a barrel - the owner tells me they are quite necessary for the daily repair the Fords need. He said that the Chevrolet owners mostly purchase road maps, Coke, and chewing gum - that's all they need to keep going"
I-40 is not the most user friendly highway particularly where he has been. West from Alb. is not as bad until he gets closer to LA. If he wants thinking and goat counting time then across the reservations is a good option. Problem is that there are not too many road options so may have to put in a few more hours and miles. That stretch between Vegas and Reno doesn't even have goats to count. Has more mystery wrecks (single car run off road rollovers) than any other hwy. Saw three of them last time I ran it. Got to pay strict attention to gas supply too. Not too may places to buy or beg fuel.
in 1969, my wife and i drove from cumberland md to so calif in an olds powered 50 chevy convert. in 1971, we repeated the trip in an olds powered 51 chevy woody. we still have the convert. we were really proud of ourselves traversing the country in 20+ year old chevys. our accomplisments pale in comparison to the current cross country trip in a stock 31 chevy. hats off. mike
Spelling that has is a lot harder than driving to get here for days.
I had some great experiences in the last three days. Of course, meeting other club members, talking cars, and seeing workshops has been incredible.
As you can imagine it also involves 8 to 12 hours of driving alone each day - which for me has fun, necessary, insightful, and sometime emotional. When I think of "road trip", I am not drawn to it for just the roadside snacks, or even the mechanical charm of an old Chevrolet. Its also a time to be reflective, sometimes deeply lost in deep thoughts for as long as I want to be with no one changing the subject.
But now its time to meet the guys from town here and see old iron and get breakfast.
You probably already know this, but if you are planning to head North in CA on I-5, this is the shortcut to avoid L.A. freeways and traffic. It's a good road "The Blue Star Highway" and the travel time is accurate at speed limits. Just a suggestion.
I'll second WinoWally's recommendation of CA 58 being a good route to get west of the Sierra Nevada Mtns via the Tehachapi pass from Barstow to Bakersfield. You will have some opportunities to get off of I-40 and follow old historic 66 in western NM and across AZ. I recommend that when it makes sense. From Kingman, AZ I recommend AZ 68 to Bullhead City to Laughlin, NV and then south to connect with old 66 & west through Goffs, Essex and Amboy to reconnect with I-40 at Ludlow rather than going through Needles. Old 66 from Kingman through Oatman to Needles is an exciting and fun road, but steep and narrow and not the way to make time.
I have emailed Dean Echols (VCCA member in AZ that organizes tours) about your trip but have not had a response. Hopefully the locals along your way will chime in with better route alternatives to the interstate.
We are all watching and enjoying your adventure. It was an honor to meet you and your faithful stovebolt six steed as you entered Indian Territory.
Just talked to Blaine (6:45 CST). He's in Springerville, AZ. He may be stopping there for the night. He had a really good day of visiting with several VCCA members in ABQ, seeing Jay's shop/museum and scenic driving well off of I-40.
I've added a group photo of the VCCA members that met Blaine at Hug Chevrolet in Charleston, AR on Monday December 16; and moved the 2 photos I had posted earlier to a post in the Member's Photos Gallery on the chat room. If I have the gallery & linking process figured out the photo should follow. The other photos can be found in the VCCA Member's Photos section.
This thumbnail photo shows (left to right) Jack Schwartz, Blaine Dehmlow, Ed Vann, Frank "Buddy" Hug, Sr. & Bob Strattan with Blaine's '31 in front of Buddy's workshop on the Hug Chevrolet campus in Charleston, Arkansas during his December 16, 2013 stop on the coast to coast trip.
This morning at 8 a few Rio Grande VCCA members met with Blaine for breakfast, then a short drive to Jay's shop, a lot of car talk and great friendship. Blaine's '31 started and ran like it was quite ready to go another thousand miles. We convinced him US route 60 was a good road and safer choice than I 40, and off he went into the bright New Mexico sunshine. Great fun.
If you have old Chevrolets, other old Chevrolets will find out where you live.
Re: Coast to Coast in a 31
#296552 12/20/1305:53 AM12/20/1305:53 AM
I made it to Show Low last night, and left in a snowstorm this morning - not expected - for Globe, outskirts of Phoenix, and then west to Parker.
The visit I had in Albuqueruqe was awesome - it was great to meet the local chapter of Chevrolet enthusiasts and see what they are working on. I hope that all of who have collected, restored and preserved a part of our history will someday know how it has inspired and enabled, in a positive way, those of us that are new to the scene. So thanks a heap to all who show and share their knowledge and experience with these good old soldiers - the cars I mean!
I had a great discussion with Lee last night - just catching up now as if we had been friends forever! We happened on the subject of "driver cars" and how they are viewed in the club, and at shows and meetings. Of course I have an interest in that subject, and I hope to be part of helping the club grow and expose new people to the fun and deeply moving experience of seeing the country through the windshield of our venerable tributes to a simpler way of traveling.
Talked to Blaine tonight. He's making good progress. Needs to adjust his valves tomorrow morning. Then he'll be on the road. Estimates that he might be home in two more days. Then the following day, he'll go to San Francisco for a final photo-op.
Where is he tonight? A Ha!!!! You need to check THE MAP to find out....
PS. As of tonight this thread has 3,505 views. That makes an average of 250 per day.
Bill Barker Previous VCCA CHAT Administrator (VCCA Member: 9802)
I'm in Mojave CA for the night. I noticed a noisy valve or two coming into Lake Have - uh - Sooo last night. After calling Bill, I thought I would adjust the valves first thing in the AM.
It turns out the noisy valve was due to a broken valve spring keeper on #6 intake. The pieces were lying in the spring cup, just barely wedging the valve stem to the cup.
I decided to make up a quick solution rather than to go looking for a keeper of some type at a parts store. So I got out a hand grinder and made the keeper out of a large washer I had in my supply bag. By using a thin piece of copper strand from a piece of wire, I was able to tie the valve up while I compressed the spring with a large screw driver, then slid in the keeper with a needle nose pliers - after I backed out the adjusting screw all the way to allow room to work. Normally I would expect this to take many tries, many swear words, and then drop the keeper pin down in the engine, but uncharacteristically, it went together in short order.
I might make it home tomorrow late if all goes well - going through Bakersfield and up the Central Valley. I'll let you know when I make it !!!
When you put together a slide show and go on the 'Travel Speakers' circuit, let us know where you are speaking and we'll bring our old Chevys to be inspired by your's! Even if it's just at the local donut house.
Last edited by rustoholic; 12/22/1305:45 AM. Reason: added a sentence
Dean 'Rustoholic' Meltz old and ugly is beautiful!
Isn't it great when a plan comes together and culminates in a triumphant arrival at the castle? Got to eat dinner with two hands too! And the best part is we all got to ride along. Merry Christmas and Happy/Healthful New Year.
You and your trusty stovebolt six gave many of us across the country new pride, faith and interest to our vintage Chevys. It was a pleasure meeting you at your stop at Hug Chevrolet in Arkansas. We are all waiting for the big celebration when you have the left coast in view.
And certainly does not look any the worse for wear, either!!! Congrats on a successful conclusion to your trip & inspiring all of us out here in "Chatland"; as well as all those you met personally, Blaine!!! Now you need to post some photos with ALL the Girls together!!!!!
'33 MASTER PARTS WANTED ~ ESPECIALLY SHEET METAL! RADIOS & "TRINKETS; TOO.
What an incredible adventure. I have followed Blaine's progress everyday. I live not far from Blaine and always wanted to a trip like this with my Father in my 32 but because of some of his health issues it will not happen. I'm not sure I would go it alone as Blaine did so I will maybe have to find some one to ride shotgun. Blaine is a true inspiration to all vintage car owners. What a great story!
As of this evening 5,042 views of this thread!! Cool.
Today's update: I talked with Blaine earlier today while he was at home. A newspaper reporter was interviewing him for a feature article in the Contra Costa Times. We'll be sure to let you know where you can read it in the future.
Now we've got to figure out just WHO tipped off the press about "Blain's excellent adventure".
This is certainly great publicity for the VCCA and entertainment for its members. I do hope Blaine has his Touring Passport, however if not I believe it would still be available to him. I think his trip is proof to all members that there is no reason not to drive your old Chevy anywhere.
Thanks to everyone for travelling along with me, and certainly to Bill for facilitating the meetings and communication.
Even though I still have 54 miles to go to the Golden Gate to finish, here are a few summary numbers you might find interesting.
Total miles - 3418 13 days - 1 of those down for axle repair 27 bottles of diet coke consumed, one bottle of Peach Soda at Pops average moving speed - 37.1 mph highest recorded speed - 54 mph, 68 mph on the tow truck, HA! I ate 9 hot dogs, and one corn dog 116 video clips taken $687 in fuel consumed 3 major winter storm days 5 days rain or overcast, 5 days clear and sunny 7 complete strangers called me just to talk while I was driving 14 qts of oil consumed ZERO flat tires 1 roadside toilet emergency 2 times I got lost - Albuquerque and Phoenix 4 sunsets made me think deep thoughts 1 axle replaced 68,000 wyndam reward points redeemed for free hotels 1 regret - don't stay at the Palm Motel in Mojave
Merry Christmas to you and everyone else too. It is going to be a great story to read in the G&D or maybe on Bill's 1931 Chevrolet website. I am sure that he would be willing to have the story with videos on his site. Tells everyone how great 1931 Chevrolets still are.
Coast To Coast In A 31 Cross Country Trip Comes Through Charleston
By P. D. Gramlich
Dave Dudley’s song “Six days on the Road” and I’m gonna make it home tonight was a major hit in 1963. Fifty years later Blaine Dehmlow pushed that a little further, 13 days and more than 3400 miles on a cross country trip. One line of Dudley’s song “Well my rigs a little old,” Dehmlow topped that too, crossing the country in a 1931 Chevy Special Sedan.
Dehmlow left Boston on his solo trip headed for his home near San Francisco, but didn’t take the shortest route. Much like the song, leaving Pittsburgh and heading south, Dehmlow left Boston and headed south until it got warmer, then turned west and headed for home.
Along the route he received calls with offers of help from complete strangers. One of those calls came from Ed Vann, a sales representative with Hug Chevrolet in Charleston. After visiting with Ed on the phone, Dehmlow, who was in Brinkley at the time, altered his route slightly from a planned trip down Highway 64 to Highway 22, coming through Charleston with a stop at Hug Chevrolet. The local Chevrolet dealership was actually in business when the 1931 Chevy Sedan first hit the roads. The Chevrolet dealership began in Charleston in 1926 and has been in the Hug family since the 1930’s.
While in Charleston, Dehmlow visited with and went to lunch with fellow Chevrolet collectors, Buddy Hug, Ed Vann, Jack Schwartz and Bob Strattan, who had came from Tulsa to meet with Dehmlow. It was an “epic” lunch Dehmlow said.
We were honored that Mr. Dehmlow stopped by our dealership and certainly enjoyed the visit immensely, Buddy Hug, “a serious restorer/collector” as Dehmlow put it, said. Visiting with Blaine was very interesting, Ed Vann, also a collector, said. He was having a “once in a lifetime trip,” and it was a pleasure to meet up with him, Ed said.
“Blaine is a great fellow to meet and is truly enjoying his adventure. He has one solid and reliable Chevy that is performing like a champ. He's doing what we all desire to do - seeing the USA in his Chevrolet, Bob Strattan, said.
Before leaving Boston, Dehmlow said he read every post on the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America's (VCCA) web site for about three weeks in preparation for his trip. What a great resource and collection of knowledge, he said. During the trip he exchanged information with other Chevrolet collectors, meeting a lot of fellow enthusiasts along the way.
Vintage Chevrolet Club of America is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of all years of Chevrolets. For more information see http://www.vcca.org/
The 1931 4 door, 2 owner car, had 48,000 miles on it when Dehmlow ought it in Boston while he was working there. The engine was refurbished but not completely rebuilt about 20 years ago. Dehmlow installed a new top, it did not have one, redone the interior, installed a new clutch, a new aluminum radiator, water pump, hoses, all new brake linings, new tires, tubes, serviced the wheel bearings, rebuilt the steering box and put in all new wiring, among other things to get ready for his trip.
On the trip there were minor repairs such as repairing a valve cover gasket, changing the oil, and installing the rear view mirror and sometimes a few obstacles such as just waiting for some of snow to melt. A broken axle in Lexington, Kentucky slowed him down, but he found one from a VCCA member in Ohio. He took a trip to Ohio in a rental car to retrieve the axle, which he installed the next day under the cover in a parking garage.
Once the trip started he was a bit more nervous than he thought he would be. “When I was 20 I did things like this all the time with little or no prep, no mechanical experience, and no money - and it was glorious and horrific, and I loved it. Now I have a bit more resource and experience, especially with the power of this forum behind me, but I have grown a little squeamish about laying in the slush at night under the car in big city. I am not that worried about having problems in the middle of nowhere, that has less variables in it for me.”
As a kid I remember watching a TV movie that later became the Waltons TV series about trying to get home for Christmas, he said. “Even then I wanted an old truck like the ones they were driving through those dark snowy nights.” “Now I was on my own holiday homecoming quest, missing my two girls and wife intensely already, but feeling equally drawn to being alone on the road in the old Independence.”
Offers of assistance and encouragement came in from other VCCA members, which he appreciated. I would recommend a VCCA membership to all the readers of these forums, he said. During the trip he used the forum to ask questions and get tips on various problems, as well as advice about traffic problems. “It was great to hear from so many people while traveling – it’s the most unique thing to have complete strangers call me up and talk like we have been friends forever,” he said.
During a stop at the Kentucky Arts and Craft center he wondered around looking for something to bring his two girls at home, which lead to a pretty good bout of homesickness. He had been away working since August, and while having a great time on the road, he was eager to be with the family as well. I had some great experiences on the trip, Dehmlow said. “Meeting other club members, talking cars, and seeing workshops has been incredible.”
The 8 to 12 hours of driving alone each day was fun, necessary, insightful, and sometimes emotional, Dehmlow said. When I think of "road trip", I am not drawn to it for just the roadside snacks, or even the mechanical charm of an old Chevrolet. It’s also a time to be reflective, sometimes deeply lost in deep thoughts for as long as I want to be with no one changing the subject.”
Some statistics about the trip. Total miles – 3418. 13 days - 1 of those down for axle repair. 27 bottles of diet coke consumed, one bottle of Peach Soda at Pops. Average moving speed - 37.1 mph. Highest recorded speed - 54 mph, 68 mph on the tow truck. Ate 9 hot dogs, and one corn dog. 116 video clips taken. $687 in fuel consumed. 3 major winter storm days 5 days rain or overcast, 5 days clear and sunny. 7 complete strangers called me just to talk while I was driving. 14 quarts of oil consumed. ZERO flat tires. 1 roadside toilet emergency. 2 times I got lost - Albuquerque and Phoenix. 4 sunsets made me think deep thoughts. 1 axle replaced. 68,000 Wyndam reward points redeemed for free hotels.
Brentwood car enthusiast makes cross-country homecoming trip in his 1931 Chevrolet By Paula King Contra Costa Times
Contra Costa Times (California) POSTED: 12/24/2013 01:00:06 PM PST
Blaine Dehmlow, of Brentwood, sits with his 1931 Chevy special sedan in Brentwood, Calif.
BRENTWOOD -- Despite many detours along the way, what kept car enthusiast Blaine Dehmlow traveling steadily on his East Coast-to-West Coast solo road trip in a stock 1931 Chevrolet was the promise of being reunited with his wife and 13- and 17-year-old daughters for Christmas this week.
"I'm on my own holiday homecoming quest, missing my two girls and wife intensely already, but feeling equally drawn to being alone on the road in the old Independence," Dehmlow posted online during his trip that began on Dec. 7 and ended on Sunday at his home in Brentwood.
Dehmlow bought the Depression-era car in Boston three months ago for $4,500 and spent the fall putting it together and preparing it for the solo driving trip to the Bay Area. He even drove through the recent winter storm in Boston with basic tools, some spares, a credit card, a phone and hotel reward points for lodging.
"In 1931, you would drive through that storm and get home for Christmas," Dehmlow said of his appreciation for that era. "'I'll Be Home for Christmas' was my motto for the trip."
The car was originally owned by a doctor in Boston, then sold to his neighbor and used as a daily vehicle until it was stored for many years, according to Dehmlow. Its engine was refurbished 20 years ago, and it has a new top, clutch, aluminum radiator, tires and wiring. The steering box was rebuilt.
Dehmlow, 49, noted that 1 million of these cars were produced in 1931.
"America was amazing in terms of manufacturing at that time. I am enamored with that era," he said. "Working with your hands was valued at that time."
Dehmlow combined his classic hobby with modern times by frequently communicating with members of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America via an online forum. Fellow club members whom he had never met offered him free meals, technical advice and even parts.
When the Chevrolet had a broken axle in Kentucky, Dehmlow obtained the part from a club member in Ohio by using a rental car.
"This was a mix of the old and new. It is their chance to participate," he said. "There has always been a brotherhood or kinship among fellow car enthusiasts."
On his route, he headed south from Boston and then started west near North Carolina, traveling between 37 and 49 mph at top speeds. His slow rate of speed drew both positive and negative attention from fellow motorists, and his next mission is to travel north to south in a classic car.
One of Dehmlow's most loyal followers on the club forum was Seattle resident Bill Barker, who is the club's webmaster.
"The club has struggled with realizing that times are changing," Barker said of Internet and social media participation. "Blaine is the target membership that we want to achieve."
Dehmlow said the start of his journey was exciting but the slush and cold weather made it equally nerve-racking. He finally reached better travel conditions near Oklahoma, and his confidence grew.
Among the highlights of the road trip were traveling along Route 66 and meeting with fellow car collectors, he added.
Although Dehmlow's 1931 Chevrolet was never a show car, fellow enthusiasts tried to persuade him to restore the classic, which he estimates would cost between $30,000 and $40,000.
"I'm hoping for a new age of drivers in classic collectors," he said. "At the end of (the journey), (driving) felt very natural. Now, it feels like my family car."
Blaine just read through your Story of you and your 31, I must say that you are a Brave man for driving a stock 31 chevy across the USA especially in these times, with all the crazy Drivers and higher speed limits. Back then it would have been more natural.. My hats off to ya. especially going solo. You did what a lot of us are too afraid to just get in our ole chevy's and just hit the road.... To me that would be a drive of a life time, Looks like you met a lot of good people along the way I'm sure they would have lent a helping hand I would've . I currently have a 48 Fleetline with original running gear, my Dream car has always been a 32 4 dr with dual side mounts. Maybe one of these years.... Sometimes I wonder if my ole Fleetline may have traveled RT 66 in it's life, I found part of an old Newspaper under the rear seat crammed in the springs is was yellowed and when I flattened it out it was property's in California and they were cheap so it had to be old.. Wished I saved it, It was lost during our move.... Any who glad you made a safe trip...
Thanks.. Was just trying to get a feel for a "first timer". I've read it probably 5 or 6 times. And I probably read it v-e-r-y slow, because I don't want it to end too soon. Ha!
The idea of the cross country trip, the implementation of that same trip, the words of Blaine, along with his videos, his mechanical expertise, the ongoing updates by B.B., the support of the VCCA members, as the trip progressed. All just A-1.
Keep in mind, that '31 could only hold so many passengers, when designed, but there was a gang of folks, along for the ride with Blaine, all the way from the east coast, to the west coast.
A true "happening".
1951 Chevy Styleline Deluxe 2 door sedan. Purchased in 2000. 1951 Chevy Styleline Deluxe Sport Coupe. Purchased in 2014. 1969 Chevy Corvair 500 Coupe. Purchased in 2017.
Just over two years ago I remember getting close to home after 17 days on the road, and a little over 3 months since I had been home last. I called my wife and let her know I was about 45 minutes away as the sun set on the Altamont Pass - my last hill before coasting the Independence sedan the last miles on my cross county trip. She asked me if I could stop and pick up some milk and toilet paper.
In the times since the trip, the feelings I have about traveling in old cars have only deepened. Much to my surprise, people who hear about the trip or view the thread with the great map and support from Bill Barker and the many members on the forum, are often quite interested in asking questions.
The most common is about the age of the car. I always answer that the car never knows how old it is, it has no expectation of slowing down or stopping at any time. All it ever asked for was to be properly sorted and cared for. And once it is in running form, what it is best for it, is to be driven.
The second most common question has been about traveling alone. People wonder if I liked it or ever got lonely. I answer that I loved every minute of it, fixing and surprises included, and that I was never alone. At first, there was almost a nightly chat with Bill about posting to the forum, advice about mechanical things, and route suggestions. Second, there was the amazing welcomes and interactions with club members along the way. Quite often, people I never knew would call in while I was driving and introduce themselves, and invite me to stop by and offer work space or a couch. People are universally impressed and charmed with the story of having lunch at Hug Chevrolet, doing interviews with local newspapers, and meeting at the Pop Shop on Route 66 with the great guys from Oklahoma. They marvel when they hear about the collection Jay has in Albuquerque and how generously he shares it with so many others.
The third most common question is about the car - I don't have it anymore. The Spring of 2013 turned out to be desert for me as a consultant, and as time ticked away, the need to sell the the 31 became a reality. Reluctantly, I bought a ticket to the Good Guys car show put the Independence in the car corral for $9500. There were a couple of guys who kept coming back and both set up times to drive it the next day. I was a little sick to my stomach.
Just as I was getting ready to leave, a guy stopped by to talk who told me he had a 31 Independence as well, but it was in baskets. He told me that his Dad had gotten it because his dad (the grandfather) had restored one when his father was a boy. We talked about price and he said he would be right back with his wife. They came back in about 5 minutes together with their two boys, who promptly set about climbing in it and over it extensively. His wife got in, he got in and they had an extended talk. I wandered off a distance until they got out and came over. His wife stood by me while he looked underneath. She told me what they had been talking about.
The mans dad (her father inlaw) had been battling cancer and they thought he would not make it through the summer. They wanted to take the father, sons and grandkids on a trip in the 31 they had, but there was not enough time to get theirs running. He made me an offer - I took it.
The next day I drove the car for the last time to the meeting place we had arranged. I was not sick to my stomach, in fact I was profoundly happy. The Independence.had served me well and made me feel so lucky to be alive during our trip, and now it was off to fulfill a much more important mission for the new owner.
It could not have ended better. I took the money and used a bit of it to ready and sell one of my Jaguars, and just as I did, I landed a great long term contract and am still working on that today.
I am also working on putting together a little documentary of the trip titled "The Drive for Independence" I hope to encourage all of us to trust ourselves and our cars to venture out and rediscover self reliance, and the brotherhood of like minded souls who collect and drive the handiwork of the craftsman who have gone before us.
Here are pics of the car the day on the day I got it and the day it passed from me to it's next adventure.
I hope to be back in touch on the forum soon and hope to come to the meet in August to say thanks in person to all those who kindly took interest and contributed so much to my journey.
Blaine Thanks for the update. Great new adventure for the car too. Every time I drive by Pops I remember our meet and greet and have wondered if you still had the car. It looks like the Independence got a paint job after the trip? Lee