Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To Review This Blog

This blog extends over two web pages and is in bottom-to-top sequence with the most recent daily post at the top .  To read the entire blog please scroll to the bottom of this page, click on "Older Posts", and read the daily posts from bottom to top to catch the chronological sequence!  Then move forward to the bottom of this page and do the same.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Windshield Mount & Camera Setup

Okay, due to numerous requests via email and on MG Experience (http://www.mgexperience.net/) here is a photo of the windshield camera mount I use. I got the components from Mount Guys at http://www.mountguys.com/. Look under camera mounts. The angle of the image at the right perhaps hides that I added a second barrel clamp. So what you see is a suction cup with ball (as in ball and socket), a barrel with sockets on both ends, a short dumbbell with fixed balls on each end, another barrel with sockets on each end, and finally a camera tripod mount with fixed ball. I had to add the second barrel and dumbbell because the Mount Guys standard windshield suction cup tripod mount would not rotate to an acceptable angle given the rake angle of the MGB Windshield.


Here in the second photo you can see the second important element in the setup, a Canon A650IS digital camera. The IS (image stabilization) steadies the image. The A650IS has a 640 by 480 video mode and the videos look great even at full screen on a 21" wide screen monitor. The other important feature of the A650IS is the swing-out, 360^ rotating screen. With this feature the screen can be angled toward the driver's seat for easy aiming and viewing.
NOTE: Click on the photos for enlarged images.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Homeward Bound! More scenic video!


Today's goal was to leave Cedar City, UT, early enough to navigate the worst part of the desert before the heat of the day, and if that goal was reached to continue to home. With the companionship of fellow Southern California MG Club members Dan and Ann McClean, the day was carried off without a hitch. As a tribute to the McCleans, I shot approximately 14 minutes of video (first video below) as I followed them in the descent through what I believe is called the Virgin River Canyon, on I-15 just south of St George, UT, and about 110 miles north of Las Vegas.

The canyon goes on and on, and just when you think you are coming out of it you instead dive deeper into it. Also interesting to watch the reflections on Sapphire's hood. I am remiss that Sapphire, was pretty dusty from the journey toward home, and "splotted" from the few raindrops that caught us late yesterday. Despite that, the angle of the morning light provided some pretty awesome reflections of the surrounding scenery. Sit back and enjoy this fourteen minute video, and don't be tempted to cut it short. At about the 8:00 minute mark we pass under a bridge. From there it just gets more and more incredible. Note how early in the video you can see the horizon across the full frame. Then compare that to what you see during the last half of the video.

I had my top up with the rear window zipped out because of the brutal sun we'd encounter later in the morning. I swear I am going to repeat this section of the journey again some day with the top down for the full 360 view.


UPDATE: For comparison, today (7/1/09) I found and added video (second video below) from the 6/22/09 trip through this canyon in the other (northbound) direction as we traveled to MG2009. That was the same very hot day that we had just spent two hours roadside when Kristian had his fuel tank problems. Very interesting to compare the northbound to the southbound video. I recall approaching this mammouth wall of mountain, looking ahead for the obvious climb that was ahead. And I was worried because of the heat and the stress of the climb. As we got closer and a climb became obviously out of the question, I thought to myself this is going to be quite some tunnel. Watch as the towering wall of rock gets closer and closer and see if you can identify where the road is going. Listen closely and you can probably hear my exclaimations when the path became obvious. I have been to the Grand Canyon, a mile deep on an angle, and have been at the bottom of the Snake River Canyon at Hells Canyon Dam, a mile deep vertically. There is no way to drive into or through either of them on an Interstate highway, which is what makes this canyon so incredible!


video video


The desert was of course very hot, but we were able to navigate traffic and construction areas in Las Vegas, and pulled the long straight climbs (see image at right) beyond Primm and Baker without incident. The 134 ft tall thermometer at Baker (photo above) was registering 97 degrees as we passed. It got considerably hotter as we drove from Baker to Barstow, but then cooled off some as we descended to the San Bernadino floor. I arrived home in Irvine about 1:30, and shortly thereafter received a text message from Ann letting me know they had arrived home in San Pedro. Around 5 pm I received a message from Zelda Davis that she, Steve, and Nancy, had also made it all the way home today.

This ends the MG2009 Journey. Thank you for following and commenting, and please allow me some time to catch up on all of the wonderful emails and the posts on the MGB forum at MG Experience (http://www.mgexperience.net/). I may continue to add some new posts with video from the journey and perhaps add more music. Participation in the event itself of course limited the time available to do that during the journey. Check back in a few days.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Seeing Utah & Brief Thunderstorm Video set to music!

Today was about Utah as we cut a short day to stop short of the hottest weather in the country. I captured some great video today, and have even set one to music. The video set to music, the second below, is of a stretch just out of Cedar City where a mid-afternoon mountain thunderstorm closed in on us, but either mostly fizzled out or we outran all but the fringe. I could see the precipitation approaching and tried to time the video to match the length of a typical 3:30 minute song, but the thunderstorm only caught me toward the end of the video. Zelda Davis is in front of me in her white '74 1/2 MGB roadster and later reported she stayed clear of the rain just that little distance ahead!

The first video below is of a long descent on I-70 in eastern Utah and the splendorous scenery that opened up in front of us and then opened up more, then more, then even more. That's Steve Gardner in front of me in his '67 MGB GT. I have additional video from farther west on I-70 but may not get it uploaded tonight because it is longer and because of the time involved.
video

video
Here is a pitch for MG 2011 and for the Utah tourism bureau. MG 2010 is scheduled for a year from now about an hour north of Toronto, Ontario. MG 2011 is slated for Reno, NV. What ever you do in making plans for MG 2011, include I-70 in both Colorado and Utah in your travel plans. It is a “must do” experience!

We traveled only 337 miles today and stopped in Cedar City, Utah. It was in the low 90s when we arrived, but 30 miles down I-15 the temperature changes significantly and temps were around 106. Dan and Ann McClain, in the British Racing Green ’63 roadster with matching trailer, split from the group this morning, leaving an hour earlier to meet friends who live here in Cedar City. Their plan was to take a drive with those friends through Bryce Canyon. My plan for tomorrow is to meet the McClains at the south end of town for another early start down into the hot desert with the intent of clearing Las Vegas and then the California border before 10:30am. If that timing works out I hope to continue to home, arriving by mid-afternoon. All of that is dependent on how well both Sapphire and I survive the forecast 105+ degree temperatures from St George, to Las Vegas, to Barstow. Kristian completed that same path this morning and called to report that the heat was grueling all the way down into the San Bernadino valleyvalley. My contingency plan is to stop at Primm Valley at the border in mid-to late morning and then complete the trip early Wednesday. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Journey Home begins

Well its Sunday and was time to pack up and set out for the journey home. As I mention packing and journey again in the same sentence I must profile our unsung journey member, whom to this point has eluded mention or photographs. Nancy Stipe is a member of our MG club, an avid MG owner, and graciously and dutifully volunteered to pilot a chase/support vehicle for the journey. Where does this volunteer/support spirit come from for such a long hot journey? Well Nancy is a retired Navy Corpsman. Her help has been invaluable on this journey, sweeping along behind us in case of trouble, transporting some of our possessions including tools and spare parts, and providing cold bottled water and energy drinks, and snacks! A BIG thank you from all of us Nancy! Nancy is also the clubs Webmaster and you can see her work at our club website at http://www.scmgc.org/.

Our return journey plan is to reverse the stops we made on the way to Breckenridge. Today's destination was Grand Junction. This was to be the easiest day since it is void of the Colorado National Monument drive we included in last Wednesday's opposite direction drive from Grand Junction to Breckenridge.

Our drive went well. The westward climb over Vail Pass was not as severe as the eastbound climb. Then came the long slow descent from Vail, to Sulpher, to Glenwood Springs. Here is a short 2:20 video of the bluffs, plateaus, and colorful cliff faces that typlify I-70 as it parallels the Colorado River approaching Glenwood Springs. We cruise at around 65 MPH. The Colorado speed limit in that area is 75, and many of the passing vehicles are likely at 80 or 85 MPH, so that will explain the speed differential you see in the videos.
video

Kristian, who I am following in the video above, stopped with us at Grand Junction to cool off and to wait out the heat of the day, then he journeyed on ahead needing to get back to his home in Hermosa Beach a day earlier than the group. Today was also Kristian's 32th birthday!

The group has amended its plans and will set Cedar City, Utah, as the destination for Monday, a distance of 337 miles. We are still kicking around the idea of visiting Bryce Canyon Tuesday. The heat is forecast to be in the brutal range at 105F to 108F.

Update: Kristian called about 11pm tonight to say he made it just fine to Mesquite, AZ.

MG 2009 ~ Show Time!

Breckenridge and the Beaver Run resort certainly provided a breathtaking backdrop for today's Peak 9 Car Show and Concours. As is traditional the car show is held the final day of the event. Many different classes were recognized with approximately 300 entries. This view shows only a fraction of the entries. Plaques were awarded for first, second, and third in each class. Classes for MGBs were organized by vintage, or range of year models. Classes were also organized for the earlier MG T-Series cars, MG Midgets, other MGs such as the Magnette coupes like the one owned by Jeff Schlemmer shown in an earlier post in this blog, and even a class for other British cars (non-MGs).


Awards were announced at the wrap up banquet by Bob Gloyd of the MG Car Club Rocky Mountain Centre. The MG Club RMC did an outstanding job organizing and hosting this year’s event and I would like to thank each of them for their efforts and success. Thank you very much! It certainly made this journey worthwhile!

The Southern California MG Club was richly rewarded for this journey to MG 2009. Each member of our journey was recognized with the Road Warrior certificate presented to each participant who drove their MG over 1,000 miles to get to Breckenridge. My MG Experience friend Paul Hanley, of Chestertown, MD, won the award for the participant driving the greatest number of miles to get to this year’s event! I believe approximately 3,000 miles.
Here left to right are the national-level awards won by our club members:
  • Jay Cohen, Third Place, MGB Limited Edition (1980), and Road Warrior
  • Steve Meline, Second Place, MGB (Scale) Model Competition, and Road Warrior
  • Steve Gardner, Road Warrior
  • Zelda Davis, Third Place, MGB Mark III Early Edition, and Road Warrior
  • Frank Patton, Second Place, MGB Mark II Chrome Grill, and Road Warrior
  • Dan and Ann McClean, Third Place, MGB Mark I Early Edition, and Road Warrior
  • Kristian Bassilios, Road Warrior
  • Nancy Stipe (not pictured), our chase truck (Chevy Surburban) support member, Road Warrior

Kneeling in front is Elvin Davis, First Place, MGB Mark IV Late Edition. (Elvin is from Detroit and is the brother of our member Zelda)

Now we pack up and will head for home tomorrow morning, reversing the route of our journey!

Friday, June 26, 2009

MGs of Abington Display, Tech Sessions, and Car Show Prep

Today started with a visit to event headquarters to place my entry in the photo contest, then on the car wash area. Currently hailing from Orange County California, I rarely find the need to wash Sapphire, my blue ‘69 MGB roadster. It should go without saying that I doubt I have ever washed it twice in three days, but the journey here, the driving tours, and the seasonal Colorado weather contributed to that need! I barely got done with the wash, detail spray, glass, and chrome wires and parked back in the covered garage before the light rain hit. I should have taken a photo of the wash and polish area but I was too busy with the work at hand.

I found fellow MG Experience members at the wash area, including DB Wood, Jeff Schlemmer, Rick Ingram, and Paul Mclaren, as well as Kristian from the So Cal MG Club. Paul, DB and I used DB’s digital fuel/air meter to fine tune our mixtures. I took careful notes to continue my tracking of the number of flats of adjustment I have made since leaving California. What comes up must come down, so as I descend toward home I will need to adjust the other way.

I had lunch with Kristian and past Southern Calif. MG Club president Jay Cohen. After lunch I headed to the historic MGs of Abington display in the event headquarters area, followed by the highly popular tech sessions. The indoor presentation lasted about 90 minutes and was very informative on common problems, dos and do-nots , and memorable DPO mistakes, (DPO = dumb previous owner). The rain stopped just as the indoor session ended, allowing John to set up his famous roll-through tech session. That is Robert Gloyd in the yellow Worker B shirt. What a treat just to stand there and listen and learn from actual hand-on service demonstrations! See for yourself in the short video below!


video
My day ended with a Southern Calif. MG Club pot luck dinner and birthday party for two of our members. Then I took in the later segment of the Country Boy Mine and Wine Tour.

Weather for Saturday looks good for the morning with a mostly sunny forecast, followed by a 40% chance of an afternoon thundershower. Everyone is hoping any showers will hold off until after the Concours and Car Show and the second John Twist rolling tech session. Then MG 2009 will finish with the awards banquet, and Sunday we will begin our journey home.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Silver Dollar Tour and Backcountry BBQ

The Silver Dollar Tour & Kingdom Come Tour were organized like a scavenger hunt. An essential part of the tour was a contest seeking the answers to a series of questions in context to the stops on the tour. Both shared the same route to the town of Leadville. From there they split into two tours with the Kingdom Come and Gone Tour being a full day. My group opted for the four hour Silver Dollar Tour. The scenery during the 125 mile circuit was absolutely stunning, and quite diverse, ranging from snow capped peaks rising above towns surrounded by forests, to colorful stratified rocky cliff faces, to rushing white water streams, to lush green livestock pastures in the high valleys as evidenced in the following two videos. Each is about two minutes in length.

video

video

The MG Car Club Rocky Mountain Centre did a great job of setting a tour that was both fun for these cars, and informative about the history and culture of the area. We found a stark contrast between two mining towns on the tour. Leadville has transformed itself from a mining town to a quaint picturesque village well stocked with art and antique shops, throwback saloons, barber shops and photo studions, as well as local coffee shops and a creamery. The views of the Rockies from Leadville are stunningly beautiful and the townsfolk were keenly interested in all the little British sports cars. We spent over two hours drinking coffee and browsing the shops.

Red Cliff, Colorado, on the other hand is a well preserved mining town. So well preserved I felt like I was 50 years or more back through a time warp. That throwback era was represented well by most of the buildings, dwellings, 80% dirt & gravel streets (including the main drag) and the true to life demographic nature of the townsfolk. Modern cars and machinery were present in places and some modern construction appears to be finally in process. The town does already have one old-styled but otherwise modern lodge and tavern. The townsfolk seemed bewildered by all the strange cars and may not have recognized what we were all about. One even shouted a question to one of our drivers, who declined to stop for lemonade from a kids stand, "then why are you here?"

From Red Cliff we passed under a fascinating high arched metal bridge, which we later climbed and crossed on our drive to another well kept valley town named Minturn. From there we wound our way back to I-70 just below Vail. We stopped for lunch in Vail Village, then once again made the grueling climb over the 11,000 ft. Vail Pass before completing our run back to Breckenridge.

The Silver Dollar Tour afforded me another
opportunity today, that of meeting world renown
Lucus distributor and ignition system master Jeff Schlemmer, along with his very well maintained 1958 MG Magnette. I am running a distributor I got from Jeff a couple of years ago, with an ignition curve matched to my engine, exhaust and carburators.

This evenings activity was the Backyard BBQ & Music Fest in the neighboring town of Frisco, seen in this street photo. This was the first opportunity for most of the MG 2009 participants from all across the country to gather in a large organized social setting. It was pleasing to see many of my online friends as well as the staff of the North American MGB Register (NAMGBR). The BBQ was at Backcountry Brewery & BBQ and the staff did an excellent

job of servicing the large group. The food and beer were both excellent. Light rains came at the end of the BBQ. I could hear the music starting from the other end of main street, but with the rain I decided to head back to Beaver Run Resort to create this blog post, and to get more sleep. I was working until 1:00 am this morning on getting that first video up on the blog, and was up at 6:30 to get ready for the tour.

MG 2009 - Being there!

Just a bit of something to get the day started. View from my room after sunrise! Left click the photo and you will see a much larger image of the still snow-capped mountains! This morning I will participate in the Silver Dollar Tour, which is to be an approximately four hour drive including stops. It starts at 8:30 am. This evening is a BBQ at the Backcountry Brewery and Live Music. This afternoon I plan to explore Breckenridge and see if I can find a watch repair shop to fix my watch band.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day Four - MG 2009 Arrival

This day started with our group back tracking west from Grand Junction to Fruita to take in the Gateway from the West Tour evidenced by this spectacular photograph from the first vista we stopped at. The tour was put together by Randy Rex and promoted by LaVerne Downey. The Southern California MG Club would like to thank both of them again for enriching our trip. The tour was a wonderful experience! Please watch the seven minute video of the first segment leading to the vista where the photo was taken. This is the first video that I finally got uploaded tonight, but am still in a steep learning curve so there is no music bed or anything. You just get to hear the drive at this point! You may be able to hear my high revving to clear the plugs as we pulled away. I was sputtering something aweful, likely due to the altitude and the fact that we were idling in line for quite some time at the gatehouse and the engines got pretty hot! You will also hear a lever on the windshield camera mount rattling in the breeze. Guess I need to wrap it with a rubber band. You will hear me warn a cyclist who turned his head a bit too far as the first MGs passed and almost veered right over in front of me!

video

We were joined by Wayne and Dee Johnson and their Magnette from the San Diego MG Club, of which I am also a member. I also had the fortune to meet and share this experience with DB Wood of Bend, Oregon, a fellow active participant on http://www.mgexperience.net/. We also met Bob, an MGB GT owner originally from Missouri and now from I believe Glenwood, Calif., and his father John from St. Louis. John had flown to California to join Bob and the two of them had driven fourteen hours to get to Fruita for the Gateway from the West Tour.

Our drive from Grand Junction to Breckenridge was mostly uneventful. Today from my windshield mounted camera I concentrated on taking two-to-five minute video clips instead of still photographs. Got my first one up! At least that's some success. I will try to get more uploaded in the next few days.
Speaking of climbs, the Vail pass, at almost 11,000 ft tested us and we each spent some 4,400 rpm time in third gear, but we all made it to the crest and it seemed downhill from there. We were also greeted with a brief thundershower just as we entered Breckenridge, causing us to stop and raise our tops and zip down windows.

Breckenridge lives up to its billing, and the Beaver Run Resort is quite the place as well. We were able to check into the resort quickly, and check in with MG 2009 was also quite efficient. During check in I was able to meet another friend from MG Experience, Paul Hanley, of Chestertown, MD.

Several of us took advantage of the free car wash area, and later our whole SoCal group had dinner together.
I am not sure how much I will add to the blog during MG2009 as my first priority now that I am here is to enjoy the event and take in as much as I can!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MG2009 Journey - Day Three was spectacular!

Day three started out with a 22 mile drive up
I-15 to the junction of I-70, and the turn to the east.
We made it to the junction just fine, but this Pontiac Solstace that blurred past us didn't make it much further before gaining an audience with Utah's finest! Despite the jurisprudence, the Solstace passed us again later! We caught it at a scenic overlook. The troopers went easy on them, writing the ticket for 88 in a 75 MPH zone, which kept them under +15!

Oh, Before I forget, the good news is that Kristian got his problems with his fuel tank worked out late last evening in Mesquite and caught up to us overnight in Beaver! Had his tank "cleansed out", a 4 lbs pressure aftermarket fuel pump installed, and even had a broken weld repaired on his exhaust system before the Mesquite auto shop put him on the road about 10 pm last night! Good to have him with us, and his '63 roadster is running very well again!

We found plenty of hot weather again today, but navigated that 110 mile stretch from Salina to Green River with no issues. We found plenty of scenic turnouts, even within that longest stretch of the U.S. Interstate Highway system with no services. Click the photo to the left and you will be able to read the sign. Here are some samples of what we found. Video to follow at a later date.



During that long stretch we came upon a bad accident with a 25 ft Silver Stream on its side across the eastbound lanes. The Utah State Troopers had traffic slowed to an idle past the accident scene,, the only rest area we had seen was closed, and we had not seen any scenic turnouts. So just over the next rise we pulled off on the shoulder among some spendorous landscape, stretched our legs, and took this photo.




Shortly Afterwards we did find scenic turnouts, including this one. It was difficult to get anyone in the photographs at his turnout as all were busy snapping pictures from all directions.

By the way, most of these photos are larger images. Just left-click any of them to enlarge!

Here is my favorite view from that vantage point. This one was taken with a 21 megapixel SLR and should be suitable for framing!


About 40 or 50 miles later we crossed the Colorado state line near Fruita and saw the entry point we will take tomorrow for the self-guided Gateway Tour from the west through the Colorado National Monument and the orchards and wineries just south of Grand Junction.

This evening we met LaVerne, a fellow member with Steve Gardner and I from http://www.mgexperience.net/. The whole group of us had dinner and a great time! And LaVerne snuck out just a few minutes early, but not without paying the bill! Thanks from all of us LaVerne! I'll try to get a photo of the dinner posted. I did not have my camera at the time but others did!

Day Three - Outset - Breckenridge Forecast Improves!

Woke up to what looks live good news! The Breckenridge forecast for Wednesday has improved! Keep your fingers crossed! The isolated thunderstorms forecast for Wednesday now uses the term "stray thunderstorm". Friday is improved from occasional to scattered thunderstorms, and Saturday, the day of the Car Show, is now forecast as MOSTLY SUNNY!


The weather forecast for today appears to include an unanticipated increase in temperature. We should clear Salina, Utah, and the turn onto I-70 early as it is only 22 miles up the road. Both Salina and Grand Juction are now forecast to be in the mid-90's today.

We made a couple of parking lot adjustments last night. Steve Gardner's #8 valve on his roller rockers had opened up to the point it was noisy. Quick adjustment, good to go. Jay and I were both experiencing low idle speed and made that quick adjustment.

Today we head for Grand Junction and hope to have ourselves positioned for the Gateway Tour from the west tomorrow morning starting in Fruita. We are excited about the possibility of engaging some of those inbound from other locations for this self-guided tour.

We have yet to hear from Kristian this morning but hope that means he is motoring Safety Fast our way from Mesquite. We have an 8:30 breakfast schedule, then gas, so will likely leave Beaver about 9:30.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day Two! The Heat is On! and Breathtaking Views!

Day two started slowly. One in our party was not able to tolerate the smoky casino hotel climate, which I can richly appreciate with my chronic dry cough. I loath that environment, which is why I have never taken my wife Beth to Atlantic City or Las Vegas (we lived in southern New Jersey for 13 years). And we also heard on the news that traffic was snarled in Las Vegas due to a nasty rush hour accident and a road construction project. We bided our time with a leisurely breakfast, gassed up our MGs, posed for a group photo, and set out on our way a bit deeper into the heat of the day than we had planned. Kristian joined us at Primm, seemingly having overcome his fuel pump problems.

We made it through Vegas with unanticipated ease. The most interesting site may have been the billboard with the Union Jack.


We headed on north toward that small corner of Arizona we'd have to clear before entering Utah. About 60 miles out of Vegas Kristian's fuel system went south again. We spent about two hours roadside in the very hot desert, about 20 miles out of Mesquite, NV, doing our best to help him. He had already gained experience in "encouraging" the fuel pump with blows from a hammer, but we finally determined his fuel tank was the source of the problem and he used his excellent Haggarty benefits for the tow into Mesquite.

While we were roadside, we were joined briefly by our other member, Nick, who left L.A. early this morning in his MGC-GT with his grandson. He headed on up the road wishing to cover more miles than our planned route. When we arrived in Mesquite we found him stopped, his hood up with an electrical or ignition problem, and a local auto tech already helping him. The young tech was not familiar with MGs. We provided a couple of basic diagnostic tips and Tim was quickly on his way with a new battery. We left Kristain in Mesquite in the hands of a local shop. We are hopeful that a good flush of his fuel tank and a new fuel pump will get him on his way to catch up with us.

The heat was one story of the day, and now safely in Beaver, Utah, at around 6,500 ft. we are certainly clear of the grueling hot temperatures until a week from now when we head home.


The other story of the day, at least for me personally, was the splendor of the drive. There was a breathtakingly beautiful descent from the point of Kristian's breakdown down into Mesquite. I had no idea it was coming, not having traveled this route before, but I started a video capture with a windshield mounted digital camera at just the right time and hope to gain enough knowledge on how to edit it and later add it to this post in the blog. I captured additional video on the incredible scenery during the canyon descent and climb into St George, and later past Cedar City when we broke into the high plains with its contrasting greenery.
After dinner tonight we heard from Kris. The shop was just about to finish work on his car and had it running reliably. At the moment they were repairing a weld to his exhaust system that he had no idea had cracked. Great for us owners to proudly work on these LBCs like we do, but perhaps good to get them on a lift to get a better look occasionally.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day One! Leaving L.A.

Well, the day has arrived. At 9:30am on the button Steve Gardner, President of the Southern California MG Club called to confirm the contingent from Pasadena was about to embark. The distance from Pasadena and from Irvine is about the same at 70 miles, so we should hit the rendezvous point at Hesperia about the same time.

I left from my home in Irvine and met Steve near Hesperia, at the start of the high desert, just above the Cajon pass, elevation 4,100 ft. The rest of the group had continued to Barstow, near the outlet malls. Guess with the chase car, a Chevy Suburban, they had room for anything they bought! I was packed full.

The drive through the desert was mostly uneventful. We were blessed that the weather moderated. The temperature when we passed the Baker summit was only 91 degrees. My temp gauge stayed within a reasonable distance above Normal, even on the long uphill grades. It did fine until we hit the off ramp at the state line. Traffic was backed up on the ramp and it took us about 10 minutes of creeping along before we cleared the traffic and pulled into the Primm Valley Resort and Casino. My gauge creeped up to just shy of the H mark. As soon as we stopped at the casino drive through I checked the temp with an infrared gun and the highest reading was 217 degrees. That should be well below my boiling point with 50/50 coolant mix, a 10 lb pressure radiator cap, and around 3,000 ft of elevation.

Steve and I arrived about 2:00. The rest of the contingent arrived about an hour later. One additional member left from yet another location and should arrive around 4:30 after experiencing minor fuel pump problems. Another member will leave the L.A. area very early tomorrow morning and hopes to join us here in time to depart with us for Day Two. We will try for a group picture tomorrow morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Journey's Weather Outlook

Many of you who know me understand this, as I was an Air Force meteorologist for four years during the Viet Nam era. Here is the outlook for our journey from the LA basin to Breckenridge. These forecasts are courtesy of The Weather Channel at http://weather.yahoo.com/.

Jean, Nevada, which is at the California-Nevada state line and where we stay the first night, Sunday, June 21.

Las Vegas, which we pass through mid-morning, Monday, June 22.



Beaver, UT, where we stay Monday night, June 22.


Salina, UT, an enroute point for Tuesday where we turn from I-15 onto I-70 and head East over the Wasatch Plateau and San Rafael Swell on the way to Grand Junction.


Grand Junction, Colorado, where we stay Tuesday night, June 23



And Breckenridge. The long range forecast for Breckenridge for Thursday through Saturday is literally a carbon copy of the forecast you see below for Wednesday. Lows around 40, highs around 63, and scattered thunderstorms with a precip probability of 40%. That means a 40% chance of measurable precipitation sometime during the day. If it said intermittent that would mean on and off during the day, so at this point we look good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Route to Breckenridge!

My journey will begin the morning of Sunday, June 21st from my home in Irvine, California. I have yet to decide if I will leave earlier on Father's Day and drive to Pasadena to meet up with other Southern California MG Club members, or head direct to the Primm Valley Resort and Casino on I-15 at the California/Nevada state line, where we plan to join up. The journey will continue on Monday, June 22, through the hot desert up I-15 through Las Vegas, St. George, Utah, and hopefully into a more moderate climate by the time we pass through Cedar City, Utah. From there we continue to Beaver, Utah, where we will spend the night.

The journey will have its challenges! There is a long climb from the southern California desert floor near San Bernadino to the high desert at Victorville and beyond. There is another serious climb near Baker, between Barstow, Calif., and Las Vegas, and that stretch will likely find ambient temperatures above 100 degrees. Hot climbs are double stress tests for these cars. The hot climate should continue through Las Vegas and beyond St. George, Utah, likely cooling off before Cedar City, Utah.

The next real challenge will be crossing the Wasatch Plateau and San Rafael Swell between Salina, Utah, and Green River, Utah, populated with a series of climbs and steep descents. That pass will take us to nearly 8,000 ft, which will richen up the fuel mixtures in these naturally carbureted cars and rob considerable power during the climb. That segment is also a stretch of over 110 miles with no services, the longest such stretch with no services on the U.S. Interstate Highway system. Here is a link for more interesting information about the unique characteristics of I-70 in Utah:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_70_in_Utah

From there we will descend to Grand Junction, Colorado, which is at an elevation of around 4,600 ft. Grand Junction will see inbound MG groups and solo drivers from all over the western regions of the county funnel into Colorado and onto I-70.

A group local to Grand Junction is organizing a Gateway to the Rockies tour for that final stint over I-70 on to Breckenridge, beginning with a drive through the Colorado National Monument. http://www.nps.gov/colm/. This area shares geological characteristics with other nearby national parks such as Bryce Canyon and Glen Canyon to the south.

I-70 in Colorado appears to navigate the lower elevations and valleys, then climbs to around 10,670 ft at the Vail Pass. From there it is a relatively short drive to Breckenridge, which has an elevation of approx. 9,600 ft. Many of us are taking oxygen to puff on occasionally to help condition ourselves against elevation sickness. I don't believe I have been to over 8,000 ft in almost 30 years, except for flights in pressurized airliners.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The event at hand! MG 2009

MG 2009 will be held from Wednesday, June 24, through Saturday, June 27, at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado.
(event graphic is property of the MG 2009 event, used with permission)

The event will include organized drives through the scenic Rocky Mountains, a wine country tour, a Silver Dollar tour, a car show of dazzling and historic MGs, tech clinics with the most renoun MG technical experts in the nation, a rally school and special Goldrush Rally, walking tours of Breckenridge, dinners, and more....

I have online friends who will travel to Breckenridge from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Washington state, Oregon, and other locations throughout the country. Most of us have met and share our experiences and technical know-how on a robust web site for MG enthusiasts, http://www.mgexperience.net/ I will travel from Orange County, California, joining a caravan of members from the Southern California MG Club who will be arriving from Pasadena on Sunday evening, June 21st, at the Primm Valley Resort and Casino on the California/Nevada state line.