Well, I’m writing for two now. No. I’m not pregnant (though the Nobel prize for that would be nice). Instead, I’m picking up blogging for both our team (Old Age & Treachery) as well as Ethan’s team (Youth & Skill). He planned to blog, but hasn’t got access yet.
Today, we made a brief (if not particularly interesting) morning run to Traverse City. Nice town on the shores of Lake Michigan. After a lot of mostly empty space, we suddenly broke onto this tidy little burg FULL of happy tourists, apparently all driving around preventing left turns for everyone. Our first directions took us to Hagerty’s garage (we thought it was their sole site, until we arrived and found no others, except Tony, who’s in charge there and was prepping for the evening reception party). This is a COOL place: wooden boats & fine cars, plus tools and space to work! Since the VW was declining to start again, they offered Y&S a lift and off the starter came, while the Hagerty guys advised, lent tools and even searched a replacement.
Meanwhile, we took loan of a hose and bucket and set to making the Imperial presentable with a wash and wax (which will also keep the stickers to come from becoming permanent). In keeping with our style of perfectly synchronized teamwork, Dave did most of the cleaning. But it kept him off the street while Y&S pulled their starter.
Y&S learned that the starter solenoid was more of a starter sorely-annoyed, so a replacement starter was needed, but could not be had until 8 AM the next day, so they popped the old one back in. Of course, it worked perfectly. This was a mystery until this evening, when Otmar in Oregon (friend via Dave with gobs of VW experience) noted in his reply to yesterday’s blog here that this is a typical VW problem on long trips – stuck solenoid – and that a rotation of 180 degrees usually frees it. Which is what they had accidentally done when re-installing the evil thing. It has started reliably 5 or 6 times since the morning in-and-out! We’ll keep the new starter anyway. It just might come in handy before the Race is fully run…
To the Hotel, Men! The Check-in, Tech Inspectors, and Sticker Placers Await! We found them, and waited our turns while we caught up with SO many old friends from previous Great Races. That’s sweet, indeed.
While Dave sought food, I went to the local glass shop to see if they could stabilize the windshield crack we acquired yesterday. No dice, too big and wrong type. Learn to love it and hope, they said. I’ve already called it in to Hagerty (yes, of COURSE they insure this car!) and planned for more permanent repair post-race. Ifound a print shop and got some handout cards printed (yes, I know – shoulda done that before we left, but I DO have a day job…).
During the afternoon, Dave fell deeply in love. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to be fully reciprocated, except at 1400 rpm, because the object of his desire is the brasswork of a 1907 Renault – this year’s oldest entry, and the ride of the Travises, who won the 1993 Great Race in a 1910 car and thought they’d try something a little older. Here’s Dave in Full Drool mode:
After most teams were checked in, we all headed back over to the Hagerty Garage for a group dinner, music, and general good time. McKeel Hagerty (A true old gar guy if ever there were one) welcomed us (Hey, he IS the presenter of this Great Race) and we enjoyed a summer barbecue all together. My favorite new friend is Tevie, who is driving Tevie’s Termite Taxi – a 1947 Chrysler Town & Country with over 300,000 miles on it, all VERY unrestored. The wood body is still mostly there, but he’s a brave man to travel far in it.
Back at the hotel, we decide to fix the persistent misfire at idle in NO XQS. I know what it is. The #8 cylinder has a leaky intake valve guide that puts a little oil into there and fouls that plug over time or a long ride. We really need only change the one plug. Alas, the Youth & Skill team has left us in search of a cooler for their beverages tomorrow. They have the large sockets, including the spark plug size. So that will have to wait for the morning. We read up on adjusting steering box play, as that’s a bit much, too. Double Alas, we haven’t got the required deep 3/4 socket with long extension to get on the locknut down in the engine bay. That, too, will have to wait for morning. Heck, we can just put off everything til then. The gauges on the Imperial seem to have taken a permanent siesta – even that can wait for tomorrow. Only this blog entry gets done tonight.
The Hagerty Trophy run is tomorrow afternoon. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?