Well, here it is, again, Slipper and Wine time�.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, kick off your slippers and relive 7 days with us �.
It all started on back about the beginning of March 2006. I knew that Gail and I were signed up for the Classic Car CARavan through the hill country of Texas with 85 other great cars from the Classic ERA, 1925-1947. Preparations had to be made to make Madeleine, our 1937 Packard Super Eight Convertible Sedan ready for the trip.
The first item was to change the oil and the transmission fluid. When I drained the transmission fluid, it came out like MUD. I knew something was awry, so , with the help of Larry, the mechanic, we dropped the transmission and took it apart. Much to my horror, water had somehow entered into the transmission and rust had destroyed many of the bearings. A search for the bearings proved futile. It seems that these bearings have not been available for at least 15 years.
Fortunately, in the back of the hangar, sat a very forlorn 1937 Packard Twelve (which came out of a junkyard in Calif back in 1964.)
Fortunately, the Packard Twelve used the same transmission as the Super Eight.
Fortunately, the Packard Twelve transmission appeared to be in excellent condition....so we removed it and installed it in Madeleine.
A new set of tires and tubes arrived and soon Madeleine was spiffy as can be. Larry and I took her for a ride, and we were not very pleased with her performance. It seems that the distributor shaft was wobbling too much. No time to send it out for a repair, so I did the dastardly thing.....and 'borrowed' the distributor from Lady Gladys, our 1937 Packard sedan, which has only 8,753 original miles ... and a very tight distributor.
Finally, Madeleine appeared to be in tip-top shape, so on April 18, we put her in the trailer. The plan was to trailer Madeleine to Austin, leave Ollie (the suburban) at friends, Dave and Patty, house.....drive Madeleine to Waxahachie ( 168 miles) to start the CARavan.....jump ship when the CARavan was near Austin the following Wednesday, to get home so we could fly to Florida to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Harold and Patria Summers.
.....back to the saga....
Wednesday, the 19th, we headed for Austin....30 miles from Austin, just south of the town of Bastrop, Ollie blew a rear tire. A rather frightening experience when you are towing 10,000 pounds. Fortunately, I was able to control and stop without major problems.
I will say, this was the VERY FIRST blowout I have experienced since I started driving in 1954...and I hope the last!
Fortunately, a new tire store had just opened in Bastrop and we were able to buy a new rim and set of tires for Ollie. We were 3 hours behind schedule, but that didn't matter. We arrived at Dave and Patty's, unloaded Madeleine, and cautiously headed up I-35 toward Waxahachie , which is just south of Dallas.
After about 25 miles, I started having a bit of a problem.....the engine was not overheating, but the waterpump was forming foam, which spewed out from under the radiator cap. I had to let some water out of the system to allow for the foam, but eventually we arrived in Temple, TX and stopped for the night.
Thursday, April 20,
After a good night's sleep, we got an early start. Since I was intending to drive only about 45mph on I-35, I attached to the back of the car, a large red triangle, like the ones farmers have on their tractors. We must have driven 70 miles on the Interstate...been passed by 10 State Troupers....finally, a quarter mile down the road, the last trouper was sitting on the side of the road. As I passed, he pulled in behind me and started the red lights flashing . ....so I stopped.
The trouper walked up to Madeleine....
"I stopped you for TWO reasons."
"1. If you can't drive within 5mph of the 70 speed limit, you should stay on the access roads, or else someone is going to run into you.
and 2....that red triangle on the back is intended for farmers who can't go over 20mph. You need to take that off as soon as possible.
He didn't even ask me for my driver's license!
We got off at the next exit and drove the State roads the rest of the way.
Just south of Waxahachie, we saw a development of sphere houses....Surprised that the 'invention' has not caught on in the rest of the country .
We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Waxahachie without any major problem. It was great to see so many Classic Cars lined up in the parking lot.
There was a threat of thunderstorms that night, so I parked at the front door of the hotel to be protected. Several others took advantage of the sheltering roof. (Just had to take a picture of the million-dollar Duesenberg parked along side.)
Friday April 21, 2006
There was a light drizzle in the morning when we were supposed to depart for a short 'shakedown tour" through the local hills to see the bluebonnets. Since Madeleine's vacuum windshield wipers are virtually non-existant, I put some Rain-X on the windshield and drove with no problems. Fortunately, the rain stopped and everyone was able to clean up their cars.
(Keep in mind that the small pics are just thumbnails. Click on them if you want to see a larger version.)
Here's a picture of a 1937 Packard Twelve approaching and passing me.
In the afternoon, we went to a local historic home for a tour. Special invitation was arranged by the Chapmans, our tour organizers. The house is currently lived in, and not open to the public. It was a 3 story Victorian, filled with period antiques.
By now, our confidence in Madeleine is established...we had driven her over 200 miles.
In the afternoon, everyone boarded coaches for a trip to Ft. Worth stockyards and a visit to Billy Bobs, the world's largest honky-tonk.
The stockyards now have just a few of the thousand of pens that used to be in the area. the cattle exchange building is still used, and we were shocked to witness a live cattle auction....via satellite. There were maybe 50 buyers in the room. Scattered around the room were numerous screens showing live video from pastures in Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, etc. No longer are cattle shipped to auction. Now they are just shipped from seller to buyer!....The wonders of technology!!!!
Saturday April 22
This was a long day. We were driving to Austin on State roads by way of Lampassas. We stopped at a BBQ house for lunch.
By now I had determined that Madeleine's foaming problem was due to the water pump packing nut backing out, allowing the waterpump to suck in air and cavitate, so in Lampassas I stopped and bought some locktite. A couple drops on the threads, and that problem was solved.
I might interject here, that although this was a CARavan, all 85 cars did not go down the road in one long string. It would have been impossible t o keep together, plus it would have caused havoc in towns. Mostly, people went in small groups of 4-6 cars. A start time was listed in the tour book and the 'trouble truck' departure time was usually 30 minutes later. The Trouble Truck was a pickup with flatbed trailer. If anyone broke down on the road, the trouble trouck would take them to the next stop..be it the lunch break or hotel.
If anyone strayed off the prescribed route, they were ON THEIR OWN!
Unfortunately, not all cars arrived at the Barton Creek Resort in Austin. Some had overheating problems; one had a blown head gasket.....but Madeleine just kept pluggin along. Everyone passed us, but that was OK....we got there.
At night all the cars were parked in the covered parking garage. Unfortunately, it was too dark to take any pictures, but it was awesome to see bout 75 classics lined up.
We had been having a bit of a problem with vapor lock, especially going up long hills. Fortunately the supplementary electric fuel pump worked fine. I would just flick it on for 3 seconds, and the momentary problem would be solved. One of the members recommended that I wrap the fuel line with aluminum foil. At the resort I managed to con one of the staff into getting me some foil from the kitchen.
From that point on, the vapor lock problem was solved.
Dave and Patty joined us for dinner that night, since we were rather close to their home.
Sunday April 23
On schedule for Sunday was a driving tour
to Kerrville via Fredericksburg.
Everyone stopped in Fredericksburg to look around and take in some of the shops. We found some neat tree ornaments of cars and planes in the Christmas Shop.
Not every day do you find a Duesenberg parked on the street.
We found out that at the Lady Bird Memorial Park just outside town, there was a large VW show with about 200 VWs. since I had once owned a '67 bug and Gail had a '73 camper, we decided to cruise through the show. Needless to say, Madeleine was a big hit.. cameras snapping all around us. What a hoot!
That afternoon we checked into the YO Ranch hotel in Kerrville, where we would be for 3 nights.
Monday April 24
In the morning, everyone went to the Rich Atwell museum on the
edge of Kerrville. This is a private museum, owned by one of our members. About 50 very exotic cars...but, alas....no Packards.
In the afternoon, everyone boarded the 3 coaches for a trip to San Antonio. A half hour visit to The Alamo was followed by dinner on the River Walk while we watched the annual Fiesta Lighted River Parade..
Tuesday April 25
This was a great driving tour through the hill country
outside of Kerrville. some really great scenery.
Here we are following a 1932 Packard Dual Cowl Phaeton. The owner has had this car 48 years and driven it 63,000 miles. Now THAT'S what I call having FUN!
We had lunch at the MO Ranch. This is an estate in the middle of nowhere, that was created by the CEO of Conoco Oil Company back in 1936. The sprawling compound is now a Presbyterian retreat . The CEO had built a roller skating rink for himself, complete with organ. One unusual aspect was the vaulted ceiling, which was supported by oil field pipe THAT WERE FAUX PAINTED TO LOOK LIKE CEDAR LOGS.
Here's a few pics of the cars at the MO Ranch..(It was impossible to get pictures of ALL the cars at one time, since they were never at one place at the same time.
Driving back to the hotel, we followed the Guadalupe River, a very scenic drive. It was when we reached one crossing that we had to stop for a photograph of Madeleine's odometer...
it was the 10,000th mile that I had driven her since I bought her.
In the middle of nowhere, a rancher has his own Stonehenge and Easter Island.
That night we had a banquet at the YO Hotel. I provided a bit of the entertainment with my rendition of Phineas Cashpockets.
the other entertainment was a very good trio of old cowboy music.
Wednesday April 26
The driving tour of the day was to visit the 'country-music-fabled " Luckenbach, Texas
and Comfort, TX which had many antique shops in the old part of town.
One shop had the only Harley that I would be interested in having in my 'museum'.
We also visited the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management area....the tunnel is a 900' tunnel under a hill that was dug to provide a railroad to an area.
At this point, we had to 'jump ship' and leave the CARavan so that we could get back to Austin, load Madeleine into the trailer and head for home. From the time we unloaded Madeleine to the time we loaded her, we had driven 924 miles.
Except for that first morning, we were blessed with perfect weather and great driving conditions. Needless to say, we are now hooked on CARavans. It is truly a great feeling, driving through the countryside along with other great cars.....
Try it! You'll like it!
Here are the some more of the pics...Enjoy!
....til the next adventure.... Keep Smiling...
Thanks for visiting our site.
Bob and Gail