Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
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!
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.
Monday, June 29, 2009
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
- 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)
Friday, June 26, 2009
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!
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
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.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
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.
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!
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.
Monday, June 22, 2009
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.
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.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
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
Beaver, UT, where we stay Monday night, June 22.
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 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:
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.
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
(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.