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Thursday, May 22, 2014

You may have won this round New Mexico... ...

At approximately 10:30 PM on Thursday I walked into my apartment. After spending 12 plus hours in the back seat of the 2014 Toyota Corolla, it was a treat to hop in my car and drive the last 30 minutes in comfort.  It was agreed in the morning that we were done with the trip and just wanted to get home, we weren't messing around, we were getting home.

New Mexico definitely won the battle, but the war is not over... so to speak. Among the talk about what we will do with the Javelin that we had abandoned, was talk of doing it all over again. It was agreed that we'd have a larger budget and get a running driving car that needed less work if we were to do it again.  (For the wives reading this, that is a BIG if.)

I feel we made a couple bad decisions pertaining to which car to take and chase down parts for, but overall it was a successful trip in the respect that the three of us all agreed it produced some of the very best memories we can remember. We were sunburned, exhausted, dehydrated, and filled with excitement of what tomorrow would bring for the better part of the trip. Other than the fact that we failed our goal, we have no regrets.

The fate of the Javelin is still up in the air. Chris (the owner of the Junk Yard and previous owner of the Javelin) has graciously offered to store the Javelin for one month while we either find a buyer or ship it back to Wisconsin. 

In addition to that, he is hauling the Javelin from it's current location to his storage unit he rents in that area. He's already shown the car to someone who was interested in it while we drove back to Wisconsin. He told the potential buyer we were asking $2,500 or best offer. The potential buyer offered him $800, Chris having a lot of work put into the car himself along side us informed the potential buyer that it has a set of brand new tires valued at $600 and politely told him to take a hike. 

Spending a fair amount of time and forming a solid bond with Chris, I can only image what he really wanted to tell the potential buyer! I wish there was a way we could repay Chris for everything he's done for us, if you or anyone you know is in need of parts for old classic cars, please let us know.  We will definitely point you in Chris' direction. 

I wish Chris lived closer, he would definitely become the 4th member of our rag tag crew. (I can't say enough about how awesome Chris was from the way he told us we were doing things wrong to the way he fell right in line getting his verbal jabs and one liners in just like the 3 of us have been doing for years. It really felt like he has know us for years.) We met some amazing people on our journey...  I can only describe it as Epic. Watch for an upcoming post as we give each of them the accolades they deserve! 

If you or anyone you know is interested in a 1968 Pontiac Catalina, which has a monster of a motor and transmission, or a 1973 AMC Javelin in a very rare Moxi Blue paint scheme with an amazing body. Leave a comment below, and we'll get you into touch with Chris.

Traveling through the South

We made good time out of New Mexico yesterday. For the first couple hours we drove straight but as we neared Texas and Oklahoma we took some time to sight-see a bit; it was great!

Funky fire pit!
 Remember Kids, you don't have to pick sides. You can just sit on the middle and be half of two different entities (!?)
I guess it's fresh?
 Very excited to be entering Oklahoma!

Somehow the pictures of the 30 ft cowboy we stopped to look at were lost. Whoops! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I mentioned we’d be speeding home

The last line of my last blog update was "Stay tuned for updates on our speedy adventure back home." about 10 minutes later ... this happened.  Talk about speedy  . .
Nice Time for a Selfie Marty!

The cop pulled over two of us; that Prius got it first and then the cop waved us over. The Prius was doing 62 in a 35 and he had us at around 50 (but also inferred we were tailgating so I wonder how accurate his reading was.) We'd just been playing with a Lingenfelter Corvette with Wisconsin plates and he honked as we went past. The cop said he wished he could have gotten him as well. When I say "playing" with a Lingenfelter, I mean Jon would pull up beside it and he'd blow us out of the water with a 1/4 mile burst; probably topping 150mph . . twice. All good fun. Sorry Jon; tell your wife you were hurrying home for her.

Reflection on the Classic Car Adventure

Sorry for the abrupt post today about the change in schedule. The truth is, we’ve had pressure to get moving all week. If we had time to burn we’d likely have just waited for parts for the Catalina. All along we’ve known that we wanted to drive back (no last minute flights for us) so each day that we delayed we were messing with the schedule. Truth be told we never intended to wait to Wednesday to leave. On Tuesday afternoon we all agreed that we needed to leave by noon on Wednesday. That’s why we took the risks we did when miraculously the brakes and carb/fuel issues were resolved late Tuesday night. The disappointment when the brakes were dead this morning was crushing. The story there is that the shop bled the brakes (as I asked them too) and called to say there were 3 problems. One was that the front right brake line was loose where it connected to the cylinder. The second was that the front left brake line was cracked and the third was that the master cylinder was leaking into the carb. This happened shortly after my Wednesday Morning update post. We immediately called all the auto parts stores in town and were able to get a master cylinder but no brake line. We took the master in to the brake shop about 30 minutes before noon and hoped for the best. I started the last blog post on my phone as we waited and just after noon we got the bad news. The consensus was that there is a blockage in the lines somewhere and we’d blown the last master cylinder trying to bleed it the last time around. Most likely (and I agree) the rubber lines were deteriorating on the inside. That would mean they would all need to be replaced with new ones and new ones were not available on our schedule. We left without a plan for the Javelin but had left a message with Chris in hopes he’d tow it back to his auto yard for us. He confirmed this later in the afternoon. We are undecided on the cars fate. We may ask him to sell it consignment or we may have it shipped to WI; we’ve been debating that all day. If anyone is interested in a slightly worn rust free 73 Javelin with a 304; let us know!

Of course we were sad to leave the car. We each had a private moment with it and then we hopped in our trusty 2014 Corolla and headed East without a look back. We have been driving almost non-stop and as I write this we are currently in Oklahoma and will be in Kansas before too long.

Stay tuned for updates on our speedy adventure back home.

And it's over. (With the classic car)

So we haven't really talked about the time line recently. Jon needs to be home Friday night, Marty needs to be home by Saturday night, and I need to be home at a reasonable date, Saturday would be ideal. However we are about 19 straight hours from home. We need to decide now as it is Wednesday noon. 

We just got the news that the brake shop can't fix the brakes. Next plan is probably to park the car and head home in the rental. Sorry guys, time ran out. 

Returning the Rental Car #FAIL

So this morning after a very long day yesterday Aaron and I got up at 6:30am to take the rental back: finally! Marty said that he would keep the hotel for us by the odd noises that were being omitted from him so Aaron and I booked it out of there in a hurry. (Marty ate Cheetos, Jerky and a Mexican burrito yesterday.) We transferred some things to the Javelin so we wouldn't have to do so much at the drop. I got in and put my foot on the break and my heart sank when it hit the floor. Aaron heard it too and said that we would need to try bleeding it again. I drove it to a corner of the parking lot where there was an uphill slant to get stopped. Aaron and I bled the breaks for about 15 minutes with no improvement so we came back up to the smog in the hotel room that Marty had created; keep in mind he is still sleeping and we had to wake him up.

We told him of our woes and then discuss our options. Give up and go home (I know that is what my wife wants) or see if we can fix it quick and get on the road asap. Aaron had done some research which is very odd for him; no pun intended (so I asked him if he was feeling alright, which he said yes) and thought it was a bleeding issue. Marty, bless his soul was able to dial the telephone between emissions and called Brake Masters to see if they could get us in right away and they could!! 

Aaron and I headed out right away to get the car to Brake Masters which was a few blocks from are hotel. Aaron decided to drive the few blocks to the shop following me in our delinquent rental car. We head out of the hotel parking lot and make it to the stop sign with no issues that I can tell. The left that is needed to get to Juan Tabo (street that the shop is on) is a pretty steep decline. I waited until all the cars were past and the light was green at the bottom because I had driven the Javelin and knew how the brakes were acting. I pulled out and was half way to the stop light when it turned orange; I gunned it as I wanted to ensure Aaron had extra room to stop. When I looked in the review mirror I see Aaron careening on Juan Tablo like a uncontrolled ship on the Bering sea... needless to say there were some people that were not very happy and speed around him with gusto as if to say "what were you thinking you idiot". Nevertheless we were on our merry way! About half way to the shop I start hearing a something dragging on the road but don't think anything of it and turn into Brake Master and then I see the exhaust on the Javelin is dragging on the ground. Aaron rips it off before I can get any tools out, throws it in the trunk and says to the mechanics standing around "you didn't see that" and then walks away. They all laugh and the car is still with them. What will happen next???!!

Wednesday morning update

When is a late rental car considered stolen? Jon and I headed out early this morning to return the rental car and found that the brake pedal on the Javelin had gone flat. We tried a quick brake-bleed in the Super 8 parking lot and had no luck. Dejected, we went inside to wake up Marty and discuss our options.  

Let's take a step back; before we went out to the car we asked the still-sleeping Marty where he'd put the key as he had helped unload the Javelin the night before. In my exhaust fume "high" I wasn't very observant and Marty had held on to the key. Well, his response as to where to find the key was "on the dash". We questioned him; "On the dash? Really?" and he said; "yes, on the dash". We muttered under our breath about how irresponsible it was to leave the key to our "valuable" chariot on the dash; I mean sure, we can't lock the doors and it isn't valuable to anyone but us but still . . Anyway, we set his phone ringer to high and headed downstairs. Of course the key was no-where to be found so we called him. This must have woken him up as he then stated that the key was in the glove box of the Toyota! When threatened with this information he stated "it's not my fault you can't speak sleep!"

Anyway, back to the Javelin. We headed inside and discussed our options. We really need to be leaving today; mid-day at the latest if possible. We could ship the car back, we could, try to have Chris sell it consignment or . . ? Or I guess we could have someone other than ourselves work on it. I decided to try that angle. We happened to be on a block with a lot of shops and I found a brake shop about 3 blocks away. We had Marty call them and they seemed willing and weren't afraid of our timeline. 

I again elected to drive (having no kids etc.) and took my life into my hands again. Getting out of the Super 8 parking lot and on the the side street was no big issue. We then had to turn down hill before turning right on the main drag. Jon was ahead of me and just as he reached the light it turned yellow. He ran through and I hit the brakes. What brakes .. the car was headed downhill and there was no time to stop. The super-soft brakes work when you are costing 15mph below the speed limit and allow 5 times the necessary stopping distance. This wasn't going to happen. The light had turned green before I entered the intersection, sideways. 

As soon as that I felt I didn't have room to stop I floored it and was thankful that the two-barrel carb was working well. I flew through the intersection just ahead of the oncoming traffic and then immediately let off to slow to a safe margin in the middle lane. The glares from the traffic coming up on both sides of me made me feel very small; the guy in the little orange S10 really wanted to kick my teeth in; I could see it in his eyes. To make things worse the drift session was a little too much for the flex pipe and muffler Chris had helped us tie on with baler wire and so it was dragging underneath the car as I gingerly pointed my Jalopy down Juan Tabo Blvd. The next few blocks were somewhat of a blur. I do know I cut someone off abruptly (with no turn signals remember) to change lanes but what you can't see won't hurt you (!?). 

Of course the Brake Masters #108 employees were standing outside laughing as I pulled up. I quickly untwisted the baler wire, drug the exhaust out and threw it in the trunk. I said "you didn't see that" to the guys and asked who was in charge. There was a small argument with the brake shop about parts etc. but I asked them to just do a bleed and see what they could find. Since we have no leaks and parts that seem to mostly be working I'm hoping they can get it working. So now we are waiting for them to give us an update. If this doesn't go well, the trip may have an abrupt end or change significantly; just due to deadlines. We will keep you in the loop; thanks for following along.

Now about that rental car . . I better call them.