Today, July 6th, we chilled in Murdo trying to find who would go home and how they would do it. Originally, as I said yesterday, the plan was to have myself, my brother, and my father head home, while my uncle and grandfather continue on to a new destination. However, when I woke up in the morning, the others were already checking emails and making calls. They found a great dude willing to let us borrow a 27′ engine, but after further research, we found it was just slightly too new to work in the 11′ without requiring some major modifications. We also visited a near-by farm whose owner had a Model T engine, although they didn’t know much about it. We decided to check it out, but on further inspection, we found it was a 25′, also requiring major modifications to make it work, plus being in poor condition, as it had been sitting in the guy’s yard for several years. On the way back from the farm, we were about ready to head off to pick up a new rental car we reserved in Pierre, due to our current car not being one-way (it had to be returned to the same rental place). Just to confirm our online rental, we called the rental place to confirm our car. However, the ultimate problem of the day became apparent: contrary to their website, they did not rent one-way vehicles. After calling every rental place within 200 miles and checking flight times and prices, it became apparent that, other than a $6,200 five-day van and some way, way, overpriced flights, we were trapped in South Dakota. After hours of researching and many “hear me out’s,” we finally found a couple reasonably-priced flights by finding nearly every combination of airports we could layover at. In the end, the Grandfather/Father volunteered to take myself and my bro back home to Virginia where he will stay until taking another flight home. In the end, by tomorrow, the 10′ should be heading out to Virginia with the Uncle/Brother/Son and Father/Brother/Son, the 11′ should be sitting in a garage waiting to be sent back to Virginia, and myself, my brother, and my grandfather should be heading home by plane. It’s a disappointment that we weren’t able to finish the trip with all five people, but we decided to leave the trip to the two who planed the entire trip and own the cars. This will probably be my last post, at least till we do this again in our 28′ and 29′ Model A’s, so thanks to my two followers that managed to find the tiny like button at the very bottom of the page, one of which is my mom. Till next time, this is Nico, signing out.
Today, July 5th, we went from Wall to Murdo on the fourteenth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. After leaving around nine from Wall, we traveled through the badlands of South Dakota until being thrown back into the flat prairies. We continued on long straight roads until we reached an explicitly average long and straight stretch of road where, the 11′ which I was in, started making a very loud clunking. We immediately stopped and pulled over on the side of the road and opened up the inspection plate on the bottom of the engine. For all you non-technical peeps out there, it basically allows you to see the inside of the bottom of the engine where the crank-shaft, the bar the engine uses to transfer the engine’s power to the transmission, connects to the piston rods which convert the pistons’ up-and-down motion to the rotation of the crank-shaft, which leads to the transmission, which leads to the wheels. While the Uncle/Brother/Son looked under the car, he first tried to find a problem with the rods, as they most suspected them to be the reason for the stiffness in the hand-crank. However, after a quick check, there appeared to be no problem. Everyone else backed up to discuss possibilities, when the Uncle/Brother/Son gave a little “Found the problem.” After taking a picture for the others, which I’m sure you all saw on the main blog, you can see that the crank-shaft fractured in twain. After brainstorming for an hour or two, we decided to call for a flatbed to take it to a nearby town. The 10′ began its drive to the town just as the flatbed arrived, and was quickly passed. I won’t go into the details of what our plan will be for the rest of the trip, as it should be on the main blog, but due to the lack of room in the 10′, y’all should plan on the group splitting up tomorrow, as the Uncle/Brother/Son and Grandfather/Father head off in the 10′ to an undisclosed location, and myself, the Brother/Son/Grandson, and the Father/Brother/Son head back home to Virginia by modern car. I know it’s disappointing, BUT to the two bloggers who liked my log, I will continue to take pictures and log for the next couple of days as we head home. Anyway, here are some pictures from today:
Today, July 4th, we went from Deadwood to Wall on the thirteenth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. After getting an average start from Deadwood we traveled towards Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore was, unsurprisingly, quite crowded, but we got to take some neat pictures and eat lunch their. We then traveled through more grasslands in South Dakota before entering the badlands. The land quickly became more treacherous, and the road turned to dirt. We saw more fields of prairie dogs and a few bison, one of which walked within 20 feet of us. We than worked our way out of the badlands and into Wall. After checking in and having diner, we also visited Wall Drug where we had ice cream, and where I purchased a small rock as a souvenir after finding a quarter on the ground.
Today, July 3rd, we went from Broadus to Deadwood on the twelfth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. After finally getting a kind of early start, we left Broadus heading for Devil’s Tower. On the way, I noticed that many of the cows we passed always grouped up in a tight crowd. On further examination, I noticed that they also liked grouping up in the corner of their pasture farthest from Devil’s Tower. They knew something we didn’t. After reaching Devil’s Tower and wondering at its sheer size, we continued on to Sundance for lunch and than to Deadwood. Staying at the hotel in the Tin Lizzy Gaming Resort, named after the Tin Lizzy, a nickname for the Model/ T, we pulled into Deadwood early enough to tour the town.
Today, July 2nd, we went from Billings to Broadus on the eleventh leg of our month(s?) long expedition. After a late departure from Billings, we traveled on long, paved roads until reaching the Crow Indian Reservation where we stopped for gas and visited the Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument. Continuing on long roads, we reached the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, with significantly more trees than anywhere else we had been today. After leaving the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, we reentered the endless grasslands of the big sky country, and reached Broadus a few hours later.
Today, July 1st, we went from Cody to Billings on the tenth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. After Scott Conger generously fixed up our engine valves last night, we put the engine back together and took off around two o’clock with two brand new exhaust valves, leak-free. Knowing we couldn’t go too far with seven hours of light, we set out for the nearest large town in the general direction of Virginia, Billings. Here’s my shorter daily log now in pictorial form:
Today (and this time it’s actually today for me), June 30th we pulled a Lee Vining and stayed in the Cody area as we preformed repairs to fix up what we found to be the cause of the 11’s power troubles: a cylinder with almost no compression. To be honest, I don’t completely understand it, but it means that their is a leak of sorts in the engine causing the third cylinder to not work properly. As the gang continues to work on the engine, we found that only so many hands can fit it the hood, and now I’m using the time to catch up on days June 27th to June 29th. We’re fixing up the car at Scott and Althea Conger’s home near Cody (some great people by the way) and we did get to do some driving as we drove the 75% functioning 11′ to their place. By the way, if you’re ever in the area, they are super helpful people who know a heck of a lot about Model T’s. Anyway, my short log for today:
Grant Village, WY
As I said above, today for me is June 30th, and this is the last log I need to do to be back on schedule (whoo!) Anyhoo, today, June 29th, we traveled from Grant Village to Cody on the ninth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Here’s the transcript of my new and improved log:
Grant Village, WY
Today, June 28th, we traveled from Ashton to Grant Village on the eighth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. As it says above , this is actually being written on the 30th, as I was stuck between super expensive WiFi and no cellular for hot-spotting on the 28th. Here’s the transcript (gallery?) of my new log:
Curlew National Grassland Campground, ID
Today, June 27th, we traveled from the Curlew National Grassland Campground to Ashton on the seventh leg of our month(s?) long expedition. As it says above, I’m writing this on the 30th as I chill on the back porch of Scott and Althea Conger’s beautiful home. Back to the log, now with digital images:
Curlew National Grassland Campground, ID
Hey guys, I’m back, and I am writing this on the 29th. I finally got WiFi and power, but it’s super late and I’ll need to catch up later. For now, I have my new log for the 26th. Today (three days ago), June 26th, we traveled from Wells to the Curlew National Grassland Campground on the seventh leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Yet again, I had no access to internet or power for a couple days, so I am writing this on the 29th. Anyhoo, here’s my new log (with new and improved pictures).
A Change of Format
Unfortunately, today, June 27th, I lost my little log book. I think it bounced out of the car at some point this afternoon, but there is a small chance that I find it in someplace I haven’t looked, even after checking the car at least three times, among other things. However, this could also lead to improvement, as I have a new way to do my daily log. My plan is to use the timestamps on pictures I’ve taken to make a log, and than add captions about the images. After that, I will write my usual one-paragraph summary of the day. For anyone wondering, I did not have an internet connection for my computer on the 26th, and do not have an image or transcript of my log on that day either. Anyhoo, because it’s now almost midnight and because I need to figure out exactly how I will format my new log each day, Nico’s Log should get back on its regular scheduled, albeit with a new format, by tomorrow night.
To better remember this trip, I decided to keep a notebook handy so that I could write down when and what happened each day. Today, June 24th, we traveled from Elko to Wells on the fifth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Here’s the transcript of my log:
7:00 — Wake up.
9:32 — Departure.
9:37 — NAPA stop.
10:23 — Stop to fix up 11’s power issues.
1:46 — Cool down + photo shoot.
4:39 — Guess we’re staying in Wells.
To summarize what was explained on the main blog, we did not make it as far as we would have liked. HOWEVER, we will get up early in the morning to make up lost time! At this point, the words “we will get up early” have become a running joke, reminding us that taking off with two Model T’s is quite difficult to do in a speedy manner when you’re working with five travelers spread across three generations. Back to what happened today, we spent the first couple of hours just trying to leave the city as we tried to figure out the lack of power in the 11. After leaving the city, we spent a good 30 minutes cruising down some nice country lanes enshrouded by trees before being thrown back into one of Nevada’s seemingly endless expanses of grass and shrubs. It was on one of these expanses that we made two u-turns just to figure out how to get to Wells. Now don’t get me wrong, if we had not made the first u-turn we would have never seen some super neat canyons and ravines, and if we hadn’t made the second u-turn, we would have never made it to Wells. But, we also wasted quite a bit of time, and decided it would be best to start anew the next day. So don’t worry, tomorrow we’ll get an early start!
Somewhere South of Austin, NV
To better remember this trip, I decided to keep a notebook handy so that I could write down when and what happened each day. Today, June 24th, we traveled from somewhere south of Austin (Reese River Cabins) to Elko on the fourth leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Here’s the transcript of my log:
5:30 — Wake up.
8:23 — Departure.
10:00 — Gas stop + breakfast.
12:14 — Plan change, head to Carlin city.
5:33 — Gas stop.
6:22 — Crazy off-roading.
7:22 — Officer volunteers to take us on I-80!
8:30 — Arival.
Today, my log was a bit shorter due to much of the ride being similar. However, that does not mean that it was boring. Like our first day, you reach a point where miles of nothingness become quite interesting and fascinating as you wonder over just how big nothing can get. Much of our trip was on gravel roads. However, our day got more interesting as what started as “…it appears from a distance that we’ll be jumping onto I-80 between Carlin and Wells but I assure you we’re not.” turned into the only way to get beyond Carlin. We first attempted our original route, which turned into bumpy and hilly gravel roads before coming to a crossroads, all of which led to steep hills. We knew that even if we drove in the break-down lane, we would still have to go through the narrow tunnel while trucks going several times faster than us sped by. We were just about to call a flatbed, when we were able to contact an extremely generous Nevada State Police Trooper Dan Schwedhelm, who defended our rear from trucks for 20 miles on I-80 until we could make it into Elko, still not our original destination, but beyond the highway none the less. Going on the highway definitely reminded me that, after seeing so many farms the last couple of days, the world is still quite a hectic place.
Lee Vining, CA
Somewhere South of Austin, NV
To better remember this trip, I decided to keep a notebook handy so that I could write down when and what happened each day. Today, June 23rd, we traveled from Lee Vining to somewhere south of Austin on the third leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Here’s the transcript of my log:
6:00 — Wake up.
8:48 — Departure.
8:49 — Gas stop.
9:30 — Long straight road. Lost my pen.
9:53 — Stop at Nevada + California boarder. Found my pen.
10:30 — Enter restricted airspace around ammunition storage.
10:33 — Enter national forest; no tree in sight.
11:10 — 2 model A’s drive by.
11:12 — Gas stop.
11:30 — Faulty stem on tube of 11′.
2:30 — Pass by hundreds of ammo bunkers.
3:08 — Pass by huge solar farm.
3:10 — Enter the hills.
3:19 — Pull over to cool down.
5:19 — Change plans; staying at Reese River Cabins.
5:50 — Cool down stop.
6:55 — Arive at Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park.
8:30 — Arival.
A new state! This log is actually being posted on the 24th, as I had no internet connection for my computer on the 23rd. Anyhoo, we began the day on an exciting stretch of road as far as the eye could see, with 21 miles or so between the beginning of the road and the California-Nevada state line. We got out to stretch our legs and do the usual things people do on boarders: put a foot on each side, lie down in the middle of the road, jump back and forth across it, etc. After the boarder, we had another long stretch of road heading into Nevada. After cross-referencing our location using over-head satellite imagery (some plane app), we noticed that, had we been airborne, we were in restricted airspace around an ammunition storage facility. On the same subject, we soon entered Hawthorne, which we later found to be the largest ammunition depot in the world, with hundreds of bunkers all around the town. After leaving there, we climbed higher until coming to the town of Gabbs, where we met a nice guy by the name of Ken, whose brother, Karl, owned Reese River Cabins, a small and super nice lodging business south of Austin. Thanks to the two brothers, we were able to secure lodging before dark, and find a really remote and nice place in rural Nevada. We also had the pleasure of meeting Arthur, the tennis-racquet fetching dog.
Lee Vining, CA
To better remember this trip, I decided to keep a notebook handy so that I could write down when and what happened each day. Today, June 22nd, we
traveled stayed in Lee Vining. Here’s the transcript of my log:
7:00 — Wake up.
11:10 — Moved 1911 to nearby Shell station.
5:37 — Finished up repairs.
Now, you may have noticed that this log is even shorter than my previous log. This is due to today being our unplanned repair day for the 11′ T. After discovering the significant damage to our low-clutch band in the transmission, we moved the car to an extremely helpful Shell gas station near by, and began taking apart the transmission to put in new bands. As I said in the Day Three Update, we would like to sincerely thank the whole family at the Lee Vining Shell station for letting us use their enclosed bay and tools to preform the tedious repair. If you are ever in the area, go and visit their super friendly shop. To close out my daily log, here are some pictures of Mono Lake, the giant hills around Lee Vining, and the 1911 transmission!
Lee Vining, CA
To better remember this trip, I decided to keep a notebook handy so that I could write down when and what happened each day. Today, June 21st, we traveled from Oakhurst to Lee Vining on the second leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Here’s the transcript of my log:
6:50 — Wake up.
8:30 — Flat tube found on the 1911. Must be replaced.
10:30 — Car prep.
11:30 — Departure.
12:24 — Road turns 1 lane as workers clear burned trees.
1:04 — Gas stop.
7:44 — Arival.
Now, you probably noticed that this log is significantly shorter than my previous one. As we traveled through Yosemite, I put my notebook down and picked up my camera as we saw some crazy hills, mountains, wildlife, plants, and waterfalls. At first, we traveled through the forest on two-lane roads, steadily rising as the trees got bigger. Soon, we popped out of the forest and onto more thin roads on steep cliffs with a few lookout points, watching over the Yosemite Valley. We than droped down into the valley we had seen from afar a followed along rivers and lakes. We than began the trek up to Tioga Pass, going up steep roads and tunnels to reach the 9,945 foot tall point. The grass began to disappear, and rocks replaced all plants and animals that we saw in the valley. We slowly chugged along until we reached the top. However, the true challenge had just begun. As we passed the ominous sign showing a truck going down a ramp with an 8% below it, we began to pick up speed. For the 1910, the red Model T, this was no problem as it had what are called “Rocky Mountain” brakes, larger after-market rear wheel brakes still appropriate for the time period. However, the 1911, the blue one, had more trouble as it had smaller after-market brakes in the back. Luckily, all worked out in the end as we slowed down using our low-speed clutch and the parking break.
To better remember this trip, I decided to keep a notebook handy so that I could write down when and what happened each day. Today, June 20th, we traveled from Bakersfield to Oakhurst on the first leg of our month(s?) long expedition. Here’s the transcript of my log:
4:20 — Wake up.
5:41 — Prepping cars and loading luggage.
6:25 — Departure from Bakersfield.
6:35 — Stop for gas.
6:59 — Cross bridge over huge marshland.
7:09 — Spend five minutes in field of oil wells.
7:18 — Giant field of cows. Lots of fumes.
7:31 — My head hurt as I looked at olive, orange, and other fruit trees as far as my eye could see.
7:43 — Bumpy dirt road.
9:00 — Break at convenience mart.
11:15 — Gas stop.
1:14 — Lunch stop.
2:48 — Super silky blond grass with contrasting black cows.
4:15 — While climbing steep hill, both cars boiled over. Without the chug of the cars, my ears rang from the complete silence at 3,000 feet.
5:00 — Gas stop.
5:40 — We follow the coastline of a huge lake.
6:07 — Arrival in Oakhurst.
The first half or so was spent on poorly paved or sometimes even dirt roads crossing fields of never ending corn, figs, oranges, pistachios, fruit trees, cows, and grapes (not to mention, manure). It was quite a mind-blowing experience seeing acres and acres of trees stretching on seemingly forever over the flat Central Valley of California. Of course, the mind-blowing ended around the three-hour mark as the perpetual fields of orange trees lost their appeal, and our morale improved as the we approached the more interesting hills and mountains. As we entered the hills, the grass around the road turned blond, and the amber waves of grain (grass?) swayed in the wind against the contrasting black cows. We continued into the hills until we reached a more dense forest. On one of the more steep hills, we had to rest for half-an-hour to cool down a simultaneous boil-over in both cars, but we eventually came chugging into Oakhurst with spirits high.
Hey guys, I’m the resident 14 year old of this cross-country road trip, and I’ll be using this sub-blog to post a log of daily events in chronological order.