Friday, July 24, 2009

Tech talk:

Tech talk:
I've been asked about MPG. We got about 12 miles to the gallon. We have no idea how accurate this is as we had so many issues with fuel which at times caused us to use more gas than I think we should have. We spent a lot of time adjusting the carb trying to get the flow right. Headwinds really sucked down the gas as did "tractoring" up the passes at 10 mph. So, after all is said and done, I'm guessing 12. More than 10, not as much as 15. Malcolm concurs.

While de-greasing and cleaning Malcolm discovered that many of the issues with the Cadillac probably trace back to the gas tank lining. This was a solution he used to seal the inside of the tank to keep rust and other bits out of the fuel lines. It didn't work so well.

All the spark, carb and other issues with the gas were most likely really little clogs in the lines caused by bits of lining that made it through the filter and lodged in various places. There were still bits of lining left in the tank that we didn't get when we cleaned it as at the time they were solidly attached and appeared to be holding. Those bits were quietly shedding in the tank and one large chunk acted like a deflated balloon floating over the exit hole and blocking the flow of gas. It floated around causing all sorts of trouble when the car was in motion and settled into a corner when we stopped. We never saw it when we checked and all appeared to be fine in there. Malcolm didn't discover it until he had drained the tank and pulled the lines. This blob caused all sorts of issues; during acceleration, when starting and when the gas was low in the tank (it sucked into the hole to the line and stopped the flow completely). Discussion with other car guys has led us to the conclusion that the high alcohol levels in the gasoline out west may have caused the lining to deteriorate and sluff off the sides of the tank. Frustrating, yes... the end of the world... no. Half the battle with an old car is figuring out what is wrong. The fix might just be the easy part.

So, tomorrow is another day. There is much to do and time to do it. Besides my fingernails were just a little to clean anyway.


We are finally home after a very long drive across the country back east. Funny how driving in a modern car is so very different. I found the speeds we were driving very disconcerting. Hitting the brakes in the high speed lane gave me heart issues and passing at 70mph was almost impossible to watch. It took me a few days of riding as a passenger to get used to everything moving by so quickly. It was almost a sensory overload. Strangely enough, the distances we drove each day, which would have taken a week in the Cadillac, seemed SO unbearably long in the truck. The last part of the trip was the most difficult, we were getting close to home and the anticipation of sleeping in my own bed made the time go by so very slowly.

After arriving at our doorstep at 3am, Thursday the 17th we turned around on Saturday and left for a quick trip to Rhode Island to meet up with friends who were heading back home to Arkansas. We spent a great two days at the ocean before coming back to Vermont. One truly appreciates the ocean after smoldering in the desert. I do love the subtle colors of the far west and the remoteness of that part of the country but the drive to the ocean is a bit daunting from Wyoming.

Now we are home working on cars, sorting photos and letting the trip slide through our psyche. I am dreaming of driving again. The past two nights I find myself dreaming of the trip, sitting in the driver's seat and watching the world slowly move past. And I find that I am planning.....


I'll get in trouble for this surely, but the other guy I have not thanked publicly is my 17 year old son Dylan. He was The Navigator, assistant mechanic and the all around great guy this whole trip. He sat in the passenger seat keeping us moving in the right direction, his job was to know the maps watch the road, jump out and crank when we stalled and push when necessary. He was invaluable when traveling on the interstate. He was the eyes in the back of my head. It was only possible to move off the shoulder and into road when he was watching our back for trucks, campers and other high speed motorists.

Dylan plays a mean game of "I spy with my little eye" (which is challenging in the desert), knows most of the words to most of the Beatles songs and all of the dialogue to most Monty Python movies and television shows. He is a great traveling companion. By western Nebraska he knew the sounds of the car as well as I did and could drive it with ease. He understood what needed to be done every day to get going and every night to put the car to bed. And, he accurately judged the amount of Rice Krispie treat needed for a daily fix eating his last piece on the last day. Impressive!

He never complained, well not much. When offered a chance to give up his seat and ride in the comfort of the air conditioned truck with Malcolm stated that he would rather not. He wanted to see it to the end. He weathered rain, hail, heat, blistering sun, rabid grasshopper attacks and driving a few thousand miles with his mother, keeping his sense of humor throughout. What a great kid.

There is another son. Gordi, who kept the home fires burning. He could not join us for this trip. He had commitments (work - bah!) and couldn't work it out. We had hoped that he and his girlfriend Eugenia would be able to join us in Salt Lake but it wasn't to be. But they were with us in spirit and we missed them terribly. Maybe next time....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thank you

When recently asked what I would consider the most amazing part of our adventure I found it hard to pick just one thing. There were so many moments that were, for the lack of a better word, Amazing! But, if pressed, I might have to say that it was the people we met at every juncture that really made this trip what it was. From the folks who just wanted to ask about the cars to the people who told us their own personal stories about their old cars, everyone had some sort of connection.When we were stopped by the side of the road, folks stopped to offer help, tools and more than once even a place to stay should we need it. We had the offer of cell phones, route information and even advice on places to find good food. Many times guys in auto parts stores handed us parts and said, '"don't worry about it" One man sewed up a part of my cover for me, free of charge then gave us great advice about our route through Utah.

This type of response you is not terribly surprising when you hang out in the world of brass and gas but what we did not expect was the number of people who took us in and offered us beds for the night. From friends of friends to total strangers, we were taken in like strays when our cars were in dire need of repair, given beds and fed breakfast before we were sent on our way. We have had numerous opportunities to be thankful for the generosity of so many wonderful people. Kindness is not fading in this country, and just as it was 100 years ago, there are people out there who will when necessary open their homes to total strangers and make them feel like family. Throughout the journey strangers looked out for us. And it was this caring about us, our cars and what we were doing that was the most touching.

Thank you to everyone who gave us a bit of their time and a bit of their hearts. No matter how large or small your kindness was, it contributed greatly to our success. This journey was made complete by your part in it and for that we are grateful. Thanks

The Men behind the Women

Behind every great idea there must be someone who can make it happen. In our case the someone(s) were Dan Boehm and Malcolm McNair. Malcolm is the owner of the Cadillac and my husband.Without Malcolm this trip would have probably ended for me in Indianna. He kept the Cadillac running, troubleshooting all the weird things that kept happening and making superior roadisde repairs. He was 100% responsible for us being able to drive all the way to California.

Dan kept the Ford Model T running from Ohio to California. When Dorothy's husband John had to go back to work Dan stepped in to drive the chase car and oversee the mechanics of the T. He is a fantastic guy with a wicked sense of humor and an great talent for old cars. Getting to know Dan was another highlight of this trip. He is kind, generous, patient and a tremendous amount of fun.

Without Dan and Malcolm we never would have been able to make this whole idea a reality. Most nights they worked on the cars before they went to bed. Each morning they checked, filled, tightened and tweaked before we left. I believe I can speak for both Dorothy and myself when I say we are indebted to them and no amount of thanks can really express just how much we valued both their expertise and their hard work on our behalf. You guys are exceptional and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The last day, Sacramento

We decided to end our trip in Sacramento for a number of reasons. Not the least of which was we weren't ready to take any chances with the San Francisco traffic. There was some pressure to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, and it was a tempting idea but Alice Ramsey took the ferry to SF, she never drove across the bridge as it did not exist in 1909. Dorothy was of two minds about this, but she had received news of an accident that had happened on the Model T tour where one of the cars had been hit by a truck. She was very upset by the news and it really showed us just how lucky we had been. We talked about it and my maternal instincts were in high gear. I felt that we had come a very long way without incident, and as we were a small group of two cars and two trucks we might just take the safe route and end in the state capitol.

We had contacted the California Automobile Museum and they were enthusiastic about our arrival. We had a nice leisurely breakfast packed our gear for the last time, pulled the cars out, did our morning maintenance and got ready. The ever faithful Ford started up and the Cadillac..... didn't. Nothing we could think of would get it to start. We pushed it through the parking lot, we primed, we pulled, we cursed, and prayed. Nothing was going to coax one more day out of this little car. Malcolm and Dan worked on it, rebuilding the distributor, checking wiring and finally, after about 200 cranks, many backfires and lots of false starts it caught. Dorothy was walking by and in her unassuming way, she nudged Dan, pointed to the underbelly of the car and we all saw transmission fluid pouring out from underneath. It looked like caramel syrup flowing with the breeze into a huge puddle of goo. Quickly we put a bucket underneath and tried to figure out what had happened. Why now? What had changed from an hour go that would make this happen? The boys looked at the transmission, tightened a ring and tried again. About 4 cups of fluid later we made the decision to put it in the trailer. Dylan and I would ride in the T to Sacramento.

It was now noon, and we were about two hours behind schedule. This was the first time on the whole trip where we had made arrangements with someone we didn't know to be somewhere at a specific time. And again the Cadillac was acting up. I was frustrated not to be able to drive the last day, but we were out of time and needed to go. The ride in the T was really different than the Cadillac. The little T can motor up and down hills puttering on with ease. The difference in the cars was evident and the ease with which Dorothy was able to shift and slow down left me a bit envious. That little car was a real trouper taking the 4 of us along. It also can go about 44mph which although is only a little faster than the Caddy would account for Dorothy's ability to leave us in the dust. It is an impressive vehicle.

We moved along having great conversation about all manner of things. We entered Sacramento City limits and drove along Broadway heading for the museum. We were also looking for 1930 Broadway. We found what would have been the address had it existed and took pictures. This is the address in NYC that Alice Ramsey departed from and we thought it would be a fun spot to stop and change into our clean (grease free) clothes. We decided to go all out and wear our motoring skirts, dusters and hot black leather boots. How those women survived in all that clothing I will never know.

We drove to within a mile of the museum and unloaded the Caddy. I was determined to drive the last little bit into the museum lot. It had come so far that it just seemed fitting. The car started up on the third pull and as I headed off I realized the T had stalled and would not start. For the first time on this whole trip I almost cried. I was tired, happy, sad and energized, a weird combination that makes for difficult emotional stability. I was thinking there was some sort of curse that would keep us from finishing. The cars had had it, and were letting us know. I was just about to stop the Caddy when Dylan ran over, told me Dorothy was running and to drive. We drove into the museum parking lot to little fan fare. We had made it. No press, no television, no welcoming party just us and the folks at the museum. It finished as it started, just us and a few well wishers. We were too tired to feel much of anything by then. Our adventure was done. It was sad, but we were ready, the cars were ready, and the boys were ready.

Derek Fleming was our contact at the museum. He is a delightful guy, and spent some time interviewing us for their newsletter. He asked some really insightful questions which got us thinking about aspects of our trip that we had not really articulated before that moment. He was terribly enthusiastic and I really enjoyed the time he spent with us. Afterwards we toured the museum. The collection of cars is impressive and the scope of the display is fantastic. It is another place that every auto enthusiast should visit.

After our visit, we loaded up the cars then went into Old Sacramento for dinner. We had a wonderful dinner on the river, toasted ourselves, talked, and generally delayed our saying goodbye. Emma had two helpings of penne pasta! That little girl was hungry. We then went in search if ice cream as I owed her some for doing her math homework packet. We wandered around the old town for a bit then went back to the cars for one last group picture, hugs and more hugs then Dorothy, Dan and Emma went south to Freemont and we headed north to Tahoe, lost in thought, driving in the dark wondering if it was really over.

California here we come!

Leaving Carson City for the last legs of our journey was difficult. We were heading to California, and although we were ready for these last days we knew that we would miss the laid back lifestyle that we were becoming accustomed to. I have always worried about the passes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have driven over Carson Pass in a modern car and down around Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe, I would be lying if I said they didn't scare me. I find a long drop and lack of guard rail to be an unnerving combination. So I was less than enthusiastic as we drove towards the mountains. We decided to drive RT 88 over Kit Carson as this was usually a less busy route. It turned out that a lot of drivers made the same decision. The roads were very busy with folks speeding back home after the long weekend.

Maybe the Cadillac feels it when I worry because there are times that I think it just stops running in order for me to get back on track and wish to move forward. It did just that as we turned towards the peaks. It took a lot of fussing and about 30 more minutes of sitting by the side of the road before we started up again. By then Dorothy was well ahead of me and beginning her climb.

We started into the foothills, the car was running well. We got to the steeper part of the climb, and the car started to falter. As the climb got steeper I became very concerned for the welfare of the radiator. The Caddy was struggling and heating up which is not normal under even the most difficult of climbs. Finally I pulled over and asked Malcolm to take a look. We decided to put it in the trailer and go to the top. At this point I really didn't want to compromise the car, it just wasn't worth it. We drove again from the top of the pass and met up with Dorothy and Dan at Kirkwood Nordic where they had just eaten a nice lunch on the porch. the drive from Kirkwood was thrilling, ups and downs, the car was much happier. We motored along in fine style enjoying the majestic scenery and dodging 5th of July traffic. Most people were really tolerant as they waited for us to get to a spot where we could pull over. We got a lot of waves, many thumbs up and happy beeps. All was going well until again on a steep climb up over Kit Carson Pass the engine overheated and stalled. We trailered a mile to the top and let the car sit to cool. From that point on it was one amazing, superb, hairraising downhill run all the way into Jackson. We passed signs announcing our descent from 8000 to 7000 to 6000 feet and on. Each thousand feet brought both relief and joy. It was possibly one of the best times I have had this whole trip.

We arrived in Jackson a bit after Dorothy and Dan who had found lodging at the Best Western. We registered, put the car to bed and made a beeline for the hot tub. What a deeply calming treat! The water was so hot is was just this side of searing, and my sore tired muscles enjoyed every minute of it. Later Dan, Malcolm, Dylan and I went for drive around the historic part of town then for a late dinner at Mel & Faye's diner. We had a great meal and really really good pie. Our waitress was the cutest girl and we later learned that it was her first night. (She will do well, she's good !) The diner has the most fascinating collection of early photographs from the area. It is well worth a visit when in Jackson. We were content, full and ready for bed. Tomorrow would be our last day together. We had a short drive to Sacramento where we would end our long and fantastic journey.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Amazing Roadside Radiator Repair

First there is a hole.... or two and then the fan is ground into the radiator, good and tight.
Remove fan, cry, look at fan, do a little more crying. Pull radiator, find: tools, solder, and Advil. Go find auto parts store still open on July 4th. Find new fan. Start picking, pulling, soldering, praying and a little swearing. Fill radiator with water, hold breath, watch, wait, watch some more. Put radiator back on car, attach fan, wire fan, test, pray, clap, get more Advil.

Ending Message

We will be ending our drive at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento. We expect to arrive around noon ("God willing" as my dad used to say) I should add "radiator holding".... That is the plan. Wish us luck.

Austin to Carson City... Happy 4th of July!!1

Pancakes!! Malcolm cooked pancakes for everyone, and we enjoyed Jim and Josie's Vermont Maple Syrup that is now so well traveled. They tasted fabulous in the early mountain air. There is something so wonderful about a camping breakfast with people you really enjoy being with. I would have been content to spend the day right there watching the light change on Bob Scott Mountain. But, we needed to move on. Last night we had driven the pass down into Austin. It was a fairly steep descent with no shoulders on the outside curves. I was a little worried about traffic but we saw no one all the way into town. We stopped for a visit at Stokes Castle, which is the remains of a house built many years ago. It looms above the valley, with an unobstructed view both north and south as far as the eye can see. It has an interesting history that can be read here:

After photos and collecting Juniper berries for beading, we drove back down to town and left before the parade held us there. We were tempted to drive in the parade but we had a long drive through some really desolate country to get to Carson. This would be a long day, 172 miles so we didn't have time to spare. We still had some hills to go over but worse would be the long salt flats, which promised to be hot by the time we got there.

We drove for about a mile then turned off onto Nevada 722. We had read that this road was probably the road Alice Ramsey took on her journey. Doug had driven it and found it to be remote, traffic free, and a nice drive through a canyon to reconnect with 50. We drove through ranch land, past lots of cow pies, there's an unusual road hazard and on to the mountains. We passed through the canyon with no trouble. It was beautiful, close and rocky. There were a number of sites filled with tents and ATV's . I guess this is a pretty popular pass time out here. There certainly are a lot of dirt roads to take advantage of. Some seem to go straight up the hills, Personally I think it looks a little nuts, but I guess that's what makes it fun.

We joined up with 50 again and stipped almost immediaetely at the Shoe Tree. This tree stands almost alone in the desert, right by the side of the road and it is covered with pairs of shoes. As we arrived an Australian couple was busy trying to add a pair of shoes to the pile. We watched for a while and then decided to move on. Apparently no one told the Cadillac because it refused to start. Again, Malcom and Doug dove under the hood and under the car to see what needed to be done. After a bit they fixed it and off we went. It was getting really hot and I was ready ot be anywhere else. Driving witht he windshield down offers some cooling so Dylan and I were comfortable. Nancy was back with us and we were toodling along having a great drive.

We drove past the Naval base. ???? Out here in the desert? We later learned that this is where the Top Gun Navy pilots train. OH! Seems like a good idea. There was a target range, Drive past quickly, and a dried lake. I guess that works for Navy. Earlier a white van had passed us and as we looked at it all we could see were cameras. As we entered the Naval base the van was parked by the side of the road facing us and both sides were lined with people taking our picture. It was pretty funny. We debated, wave or not wave and decided to look FAST instead. We probably did look happy but not too fast....

Rounding a corner you see a huge sand dune poking up over the ridgeline. This dune is a Meca for ATV drivers, and other vehicles sand related. There was a small city of campers and tents at it's base and what looked like a lot of ant activity on it's sides. Busy place this 4th of July. This brought us to the salt flats, which were long and hot!. Fields of flat beige salt lay on both sides of us for miles. Broken by tire tracks where someone attempted to drive out onto the flats. Along the sides were names written with rocks. This gave us something to read and broke the monotony of the drive. If it weren't for the rock writing it might have been a hot boring drive. We were getting tired by this time.

As we passed the Petroglyph site there was a sudden and loud clang under the hood. I thought the truck that has just passed us had kicked something up that had jumped up into my engine. As I slowed to stop the noise got louder, then stopped. The car was still running and I decided to try and get to Fallon which was about 4 miles ahead. Nothing sounded or felt wrong so we prayed and drove. I pulled into the first place I saw and stopped the car. As Dylan got out, he walked to the front to look and groaned. There was water everywhere. He opened the hood and the damage was clear. The bearing on the fan had been the first noise, as it was removing itself forcefuly from the shaft it was displacing the fan from it's normal track, which sent it into the radiator. The shaft was bent, the fan had gouged a large hole in the radiator and we were dead.

It needs to be said that Malcolm is an amazing mechanic, as is Doug, put them together and they are not to be beat. They went into town, bought a 12mp fan and some bits and then proceeded to do a very difficult roadside operation. They clipped and soldered, with Dan assisting the new fan was installed and the radiator patched so that we could continue. It wa an amazing achievement. And... it worked! We were back on track. We drove onto Carson City for the night.

We found out when we arrived that we had a bit of a miscommunication, Dorothy was thinking we were going to Reno, I was thinking that the decision was Carson. It worked out, in the end. This was less busy on the 4th and we eventually did find rooms. (it looked a little doubtful for a little wihle) We were 35 miles closer to our destination and might be back on track to get Dorothy off to the Wheelmen meet after this drive is over. We ate a late Applebee's dinner and went to bed. We were dog tired, and needed a good night's sleep for tomorrow's drive over the Sierras. This has always been the part of the trip that worries me. We may need a lot of praying, especially now that my radiatior is not at it's best. We'll see how it goes.....

We have decided to end our journey in Sacramento and not attempt to enter San Franciso. There are a lot of options but we decided on safety and timing to guide us. We will go to the California Automobile Museum to officially end this long and lovely trip.

Ely to Austin

Another day of open road and high mountain passes. We decided to lighten the Cadillac as much as possible to see if we could get up the long hills in something other than first gear so we removed the back and Nancy road in the mini. I was terribly sad to see her go, but I am sure she had much more fun zipping around in the little car. Driving at 10 mph up long hills in the Caddy isn't that thrilling. Although it does offer time to smell the roses so to speak.

Dorothy left before me as she wanted to head up to Ruth to see the area her grandfather had worked many years ago. She didn't find what she had expected to find but it was an adventure nonetheless. The old town of Ruth was moved as the site of the old town is now in the mine. To go see the site of the old town, she had to cross the mine security which consisted of women in pickup trucks who would move back to let her pass. She rejoined us later down the road.

The Cadillac zipped along at a fast 40mph, up and over the hills, zooming up and over passes in second gear like they were nothing. Dylan and I had a great morning and I was feeling pretty good about how things were going. We drove into Eureka, stopped for a late lunch and waited for Dorothy. She arrived shortly after we did ate and on we went. We still had some big climbs ahead of us so we wanted to keep moving. We really didn't have any idea just how long it was going to take.

Often as Dylan and I were chugging along up a long hill I would look up and see Nancy or Doug standing in the rocks taking pictures. At one point the mini flew by, pulled in front of us and Nancy popped up through the sun roof with her camera. It was very California. continued on to Austin. One more big pass and we were at the top of Bob Scott Pass and at the forest service campground. The campground was lovely, remote and quiet. Doug and Nancy had found us a group site with a large area for playing. Dylan and Emma chased lizards and the dogs watched the chipmunks and rabbits. Abby wanted a repeat chase but was tied with a good strong rope. There were no fences to stop her so we were not taking any chances.

We drove down into Austin for dinner. First we stopped for a quick shopping trip at Jason's Art Gallery. A great "not to be missed" rock, jewelry and antique shop. We bought presents, earrings and a great horn for Dylan. The horn, made of a cattle horn is loud and raspy. Abby does not like the sound of it so we can't blow it in the truck or she tries to jump out. Too bad because it is lots of fun to blow. We went back for a campfire and S'Mores. Dylan set up his slackline and he and Emma did their best to master the line. We sat around the campfire chatting and watching the moon come up. It was a beautiful and quiet night.

Delta Utah to Ely Nevada

We left Delta at 6am under dark skies and a promise of daylight. We had lots of water as everyone had warned us about the lack of water, Doug was following in the mini, Malcolm and Dan would join us later. As we were driving out of the lot Nancy and I saw a woman at McDonald's watching us so we drove over to inquire if they were open yet. They were so we did a quick drive up to order two large cups of tea, then Dylan requested a stop at 7/11 where he came back out with a HUGE Rice Krispie treat. I guess he had his own worries about the desert.

The road was quiet and the skies were lightening with the coming daylight. We drove at a brisk 40mph through lovely stark country. We saw nothing but each other. We drove for about an hour and then the mini flew by. Fifteen minutes later we rounded a bend and there was Doug standing by the side of the road. He was parked at a spot where old 50 took off north. We stopped to rest the cars and eat a light breakfast of blueberry muffins and milk. Then off we went again. As we started our first climb into a small canyon two Navy jets flew overhead. They were amazingly loud in the silence. It seemed as if they were trying to figure out just what we were moving so slowly across the desert because they flew over us a number of times, tipping and turning. They were quted graceful in the sky but really really loud.

The passes were not too bad although they seemed to go on and on. The car was working hard with another person in it but when we hit the downhills it wanted to race on. Dorothy's T is much faster on the hills so we lost her for a while. This is common, more so when there are hills, so we each end up traveling alone and sometimes the only car we see is our own. I am sure this country is much the same as when Alice drove through here. I can't imagine this drive on only a dirt track. She was a very brave woman.

The mini spent the day zooming up the road between me and Dorothy, Doug seemed to be having too much fun driving the long open road.We decided he was our little Border Collie, herding us along, keeping us moving in the right direction.

Up and down, long open road, that was our day. We stopped at the Nevada border at a small gas and gambling casino and watched a nasty storm moving across the mountains where we were headed. We grabbed another cup of tea and waited. We were hoping to wait it out but another storm was close behind so we bundled up and tried to out run it. We almost made it but did get pretty soaked in spite of our speed. It was all up hill and the Cadillac just couldn't get us out of the path in time. We did miss the worst of it but got enough rain to get soaked into the dry parts before it stopped. Then it was a long climb, up and a fun ride down all the way to Ely.

We found great camping at the Ely KOA and were in early enough to do some work on the cars. There is always something that needs to be done and it is really nice to have daylight to work in. The fan is still blowing through bearings so they needed to be replaced. I hope it will make it to the end. We went to dinner and through a small seried of events including torrential rain, we ended up in a different place than we had planned and ate the best ever (really) Chinese food at the Twin Wok. I would almost consider doing this drive again just to stop there for dinner it was that great. We have another long day ahead of us with more climbing tomorrow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Too pooped to blog...???

We are in Carson City tonight. I just finished editing all the errors in that last blog. Seems I can't type well by lantern light. It is very late, we are exhausted, I am about three days behind in blogging but will try to catch up soon. Going to bed just after midnight. Happy 4th of July.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lehi to Delta

We left the Maxfield's later than we planned due to a wonderful breakfast cooked for us by Marlene. We noshed on bacon and eggs, toast and homemade raspberry jam. Filled up we headed off to unload at Thanksgiving Point where we had ended our day the day before. We met up with Bob Rampton and chatted for a long time about the New York Paris Race and the path it took through this part of the country. Bob is somewhat of an expert on this and is the kind of guy you could spend a few days with just driving around while he told you the history of the roads, the cars and the race. Really interesting history!

We drove south around Utah Lake and again the vistas were breathtaking. The lake is the most unusual color of pastel green. I believe it has to do with limestone. We turned away from the lake into more dry country and that is where I almost lost Dylan. For a while we were not sure what it was that kept bouncing off our faces as we drove along. Every so often whatever it was would hit really hard, and it would hurt! We did determine that it was some sort of bug but couldn't quite get a hold of one to see. All of a sudden Dylan jumped up, swore and was ready to jump out of the car. He though one had bitten him. It became clear when one landed on the cowling. They were large brown grasshoppers. Flying in herds across the road, they were grabbing on to anything they came in contact with in case it might be edible. I guess Dylan was just to big to keep so the one that got him had to let him go. We then drove, shucked and dived down the road trying to avoid the small swarms. In addition to the nasty bugs, there were the hay trucks zooming by followed by blasts of air filled with little razor shapr shards of hay. This added to the sting. We became pretty good at avoiding the worst of it but it was not fun.

Turning on to 6 took us away from all that, and then it was just the wide open road on to Delta. It was a very long drive but we motored along at 40mph and got there in time to meet up with Malcolm's brother Doug & his wife Nancy who had driven east from Tahoe. Yay!!! We couldn't find Dorothy or Dan, she was on a hunt for a guy with a fan part. Meanwhile word was out that there was an old Cadillac at the gas station and Darrell drove up in his 56 Cadillac to visit. We parked his car next to ours and took pictures. His car was a good 6 feet longer! You could have lived it it for the summer, it was that large. Still couldn't contact Dorothy or Dan but we figured they were fine and in town somewhere. So we found a place to stay, and by the time we went for dinner they had found us. We had a great dinner and a good nights sleep. Early off in the am to avoid the heat of the desert.

Yet another late day start. Dorothy was checking into the coil issue. She has coils that have fused in the heat. It doesn't seem to bother the car much but it is a little disconcerting to know that there might be a problem in the future. She also has a funny noise in the frnt of the car which we think is the fan. So while she made some calls, Malcolm took the Cadillac to a tire store and borrowed a grinder to grind down some bolt ends. The wheel is much more secure and except for a squeak now and then as the new parts settle all seems to be well. We walked around town a bit, found a nice bakery that had muffins for sale, Dylan and Dan went to look at the old roundhouse that is being rennovated. I noticed a sign on a little building that listed sewing and upholstery as one of the many things offered and walked over to see if I could get my tonneau cover stitched before it really ripped. Roy Montoya, the owner graciously repaired the rips, found others and fixed them too. He then came out to see the cars and give us some advice aobut getting off I80 as quickly as possible.

We left around lunch time and headed down 80, getting off just before the construction. We traveled down a parallel road that took us very close to the canyon walls. The deep orange color of the canyon and the intense blue of the sky was so beautiful to see that at times I had to remember to watch the road. We turned left under 80 and on to drive the Old Lincoln Highway around Echo Reservoir. We stopped to let the hot dogs go for a swim, and Abby with the secret knowledge of all things stinky found a dead fish and took a stink bath. Lovely! Many baths later she smells almost like a dog again.

We drove on through the beautiful and changing Utah countryside to Provo Canyon. Past a huge and interesting house which we later figured out is Donny Osmond's house. (Nice location) The long descent to the valley brought us through a completely different part of this amazing state. It is possible that this part of the trip may be the most beautiful. I can't seem to describe how green, stark and lovely the mountains were. We drove between towering peaks, past high waterfalls and walls of bright lime green grass dotted with dark purple thistles. It was truely a most amazing sight, and I don't do it justice here.

We made it to Lehi only to get detoured by consturction. We had lost Dorothy who was trying to catch up with the Snappers, a brass touring club that was on their last night of their two week tour through Idaho, Whoming and Utah. She made it intime to visit while we saw most of Lehi trying to figure out how to get back to Rt 89. We did finally get there just in time to say a quick hello and head to the Maxfield's house where Merrill and Marlene had offered us beds for the night. We had a quick tour of Merrills current project, a spectacular White Yellowstone touring bus that he is working to finish for the 4th of July parade. We ate a quick late dinner and collapsed into bed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We started with a brisk drive west on the interstate into Green River Wyoming. This was where John Wesley Powell launched his Colorado River expedition. Looking at the river as we drove by you can imagine that the men on that trip really had no idea what lay ahead of them. The power of the Colorado River is unseen this far north but later it surges through the Grand Canyon. Our adventure is insignificant when compared to theirs.

We had a visit with a lovely couple while we were stopped in Green River. They told us we were negligent in not informing the paper of our arrival. I think we are still not expecting to be recognized. We promised to be better at letting folks know what we are up to. We headed north to Opal into wide open country with huge blue sky wrapping all around us. The road was good and we moved along at about 30 mph. Clouds were building above us, sometimes blocking the sun which was a relief. The heat was not as bad as Iowa or Nebraska but it was getting warm. Rain was falling from the clouds but it is so dry here that it wasn't hitting the ground. It was a little weird to be driving under falling rain that we could see but not feel.

We stopped in Opal, ate a quick picnic lunch, looked at what we think might be the hotel that Alice Ramsey stayed in and then moved on to Kemmerer. We drove on by thinking we had enough time to get to Evanston so we should push through. The road from Kemmerer to Evanston was not busy and wide open. The cars were moving well and with a brisk tail wind we were cruising at 40mph for about 15 miles. I never touched the accelerator, just held on. We passed another big wind farm and a HUGE number of sheep. At first we though there were about 500 sheep, then we decided about 1000. Even now I think our estimate was short. There were sheep everywhere. We reconnected with I80 and drove the last 14 miles to Evanston. At the state park we saw the most majestic elk just lying in the grass enjoying the late day sun. We found a place to camp, ate a very large meal at a wonderful Mexican reataurant (Don Pedro Family Mexican) We were so stuffed that I was glad we had walked there, it gave me a few mintues to walk back, or waddle back.

Malcolm will need to pull my back right wheel tomorrow to check on some grinding noise but other than that the car seems to be in good shape. On to Lehi from here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Today was a long day on the interstate. The was no getting away from it. In order to follow RT30 you have to run on I80. Fortunately the shoulders on the highway are almost a full lane wide so they aren’t too difficult to drive down, although the rumble strip adds an element of excitement. We were motoring right along going about 38-40 mph when a large dark THING loomed in the distance. We were pretty sure it was not a chunk of tire. At slower speeds one does have a lot of time to think about this stuff. It quickly became apparent that the THING was a large bloated dead antelope lying across the entire shoulder. We could smell it before we got to it. You know it is really difficult to swerve and hold your breath, while not getting hit by a truck all the time doing so with your eyes closed. I was not going to hit it, no matter what, but it was close.

We drove the interstate for about 40 miles when we saw Dan and Dorothy had pulled off at an exit. She had told us earlier that she was not at all comfortable on the shoulder so we figured that she was going to try the gravel road that we could see running parallel to I80. We weren’t sure where it went but it appeared to be going in the right direction so we kept our fingers crossed. We hadn’t seen them until we were up on the bridge past the exit so we kept going hoping we would meet up at some point. We pulled into a very busy truck stop and Malcolm called Dan. They were out there somewhere heading our way. While we waited we had a long chat with two guys from Texas who were working in the oil fields. They were telling us all sorts of stories about Wyoming. Kind of a good ole boy department of tourism. Really nice guys.

Dan and Dorothy made it to us. Dorothy looked a little shell shocked. Apparently the road was quite something and less direct than it looked. After that she decided the interstate was the lesser of two evils. Just as we were heading out a car pulled up and a woman jumped out. She asked if we were the ‘Alice Ramsey girls’. I made sure to clarify which “girls” we were, and we were the ones she was looking for! She has been following the Twitter. That was pretty exciting for both of us.

Leaving the truck stop the Cadillac purred along at a pretty good clip. We made it about 30 miles in about 45 minutes. I was feeling really good about the day in general. Then, just as I was thinking that it was going to be another great day, I lost all power. The engine sputtered, backfired, burped a huge cloud of black smoke and came to a rolling halt on the side of the road. Malcolm worked the carb a bit thinking it was an altitude issue and off I went rolling merrily along until BANG it happened again. The big burst of black smoke was an indicator that my car was just not happy. After the third time, cleaning the plugs and tweaking the gas flow I gave up. We loaded it in the trailer and drove to Rock Springs. I took a long walk, talked to Mom and got over the frustration. We found a campsite early enough to work on the cars, Abby helped Dan replace a tire on the T, and Dylan helped Malcolm with the Caddy. Chances are Dylan was more helpful.... Hopefully all will be well when we take off this morning.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Laramie to Rawlins Wy

Wind..... that about covers it.

We drove out of Laramie on 287/30. We drove out into the middle of nowhere. As far as we could see there was just rolling hills and sky. Every once in a while we saw an antelope and the antelope saw us. They always look so surprised. We drove into a headwind all morning, if we turned south a bit, we still drove into a headwind. We were well bundled up as the temperatures were brisk to say the least. Dorothy was moving right along, the Cadillac was not as happy. Dylan and I couldn't speak to each other much unless we yelled so we just listened to the roaring of the wind in our ears. I just about jumped out of my skin when a train came up along side of us and blew his horn.

We passed a small group of bicyclists struggling along up a hill and entered Rock Creek. Later we found out they were riding from Texas to Alaska. I wonder if they really looked at how far that is? We stopped in Rock Creek to wait for Dorothy and Dan who were behind us after stopping for a minute. We went in for a visit to the general store and met Carol. She took us out to meet Aaron and Kelly at the welding shop and they came out to see the cars. They were so enthusiastic. We pulled open the hoods and they climbed in. It is really gratifying to meet guys who just love to look at the cars.

Later a rancher stopped for a visit. He told us his family had been there since his great-great grandparents came out with the wagon train many years ago. They broke down in Rock Creek and that is where they stayed. He also told us that the Lincoln Highway used to go through town perpendicular to where it went now. The old gas station used to face the road. When they moved the highway the owner turned the station so that it still faced the highway. There were a number of interesting old buildings that really gave us the flavor of the town in it's heyday.

A young girl drove up to take photos of the cars. She told us her family was renovating the old Lincoln Hotel. We drove over for a look. This was where Alice Ramsey stopped for the night. We chatted with the family for a minute and gave them the info we had. They were happy to hear that as they were trying to date the building, so this gives them at least 1909 as a date to work from.

We pushed on from there to Rawlins. Again we entered the great expanse of grass and sky. A giant windfarm grew in front of us as we drove towards it. The giant blades turning slowly in the
wind looked like dancers on the ridge. The wind was still pushing us hard backwards, or so it felt. We climbed hills slowly and descended quickly. Driving through Sinclair past the huge refinery was a bit surreal. The town is beautiful. Old adobe style buildings centered around a town green with a very lovely fountain. Eventually we came to the end of the old road and had to do a brisk run down the interstate to Rawlins. Fortunately we fit on the shoulder so that is how we did it. The trucks whizzed by but we had no problems and we did go a lot faster! Camping for the night. I could not get my head onto the pillow fast enough.

Sinclair, WY.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cheyenne to Laramie....Oh what a day!

After making sure we had enough clean laundry for the next week we headed off. At this point we are off our earlier planed route. We are still trying to stay on the original route, which will take us along some interesting roadways. We headed out west of town into beautiful empty countryside. We drove past the Happy Jack Wind Farm where huge windmills turned slowly and gracefully next to us. It's a funny thing about these windmills. You either hate them or love them - I am of the latter group. I love seeing the big blades slowly turning in the wind. The sky behind them was dark and foreboding of storms to come. We were driving right towards it.

We climbed up and up into the mountains, then tuned south onto Vedauwoo Rd, aka. CR700. We were heading to the Ames monument. The road was gravel, and pretty popular with the dirt bike crowd. We surprised a lot of folks who didn't expect to see us coming towards them. The road climbed into some amazing country. We were having a pretty good time negotiating the bumps and holes when the rain started. The sky above us turned angry almost instantly and the rain came down with a vengance. Dylan and I couldn't cover up fast enough so we got soaked instantly. As Dorothy moved along ahead of us, my engine decided at that exact moment to act up so I was stalled for just long enough to get the only dry parts on my body wet too. Then, to make it much more started to hail. There is nothing as challenging as an open car in a hail storm. The temperature dropped about 30ยบ and we drove as fast as we could for tree covered road. We finally caught up with Dan and Dorothy at the end of the road. I jumped out of the car, dove into the trailer, teeth chattering. There I found a dry sleeping bag to climb into while everyone covered up cars and bodies.

After the rain let up we drove on to the Ames monument. The monument was built to mark the highest point on the Transcontinental RR. While we were there we met a utility worker who had satellite weather in his truck and he showed us the storm. It was heading east, and we were at the back of it. The temperature had dropped enough that we were all bundled up. We drove on to the Summit rest stop for a quick stop and check of the Caddy's carb. It was still giving me a bit of trouble at this elevation. Then we drove on in search of an alternate route to getting on the interstate. We were not excited about driving on RT 80 if we could avoid it. We drove down another road, past a herd of cattle, off into the hills. We found the road that the map said would take us to Laramie. It climbed a sheer rock face for about 10 feet and faded into the scrub. We decided that we would be nuts to take it so back we went, onto 80. That was a bit of a hair raising drive. Only 9 miles to the exit and I drove it on the shoulder. There was enough room for me and I was very happy there. Trucks flew by, Malcolm drove behind me with his lights on, but given that it was a steep decent through the canyon it was really more of a high speed fall. At the end, having survived our hairraising drive on the interstate we whooped with the joy only a near death survivor can geel and pulled into dinner. The first hot meal of the day. Sleep came early and fast, we were probably asleep before we actually got to our rooms. Dorothy was still talking but she was so darn tired that we sent her to bed, following close behind.

Ogallala NE to Cheyenne Wy

167 miles today! We followed Rt 30, the old Lincoln Highway all the way to Cheyenne. The maps showed that 30 ran with the interstate from Pine Bluffs but when we got there Malcolm found someone who knew the roads and he told us, 'just keep goin' where you are, the road goes all the way to Cheyenne." The road was really nice, not busy with long straight bits that allowed the cars to really cruise. Dorothy was motoring along at about 38 mph and if there was a tail wind the cars got up to almost 40. With a tail wind and a down hill it was all I could do to keep the Cadillac at 40. I'm not sure how it would handle going faster but at times it seemed to have a mind of it's own and just wanted to open up and fly!

The open cars offer a different sense of the world as you are driving along. The heat of the day, the smells along the road, and the people who greet us. At one point we drove along an extensive railroad repair project. For about 10 miles there were groups of workers with huge machines on the tracks. Each group waved as we went by. By the time we had passed my arm was a little tired from all the enthusiastic waving. No queenly subtle waves for us.

We stopped in Sidney for lunch and were interviewed and photographed for the local paper. That was fun! Our first publicity stop. Now maybe a few more people will know about us. It would be awesome for us to meet just one person who actually had heard we were doing this too.

We hit the border of Nebraska and Wyoming, stopped for a photo op and eventually arrived in Cheyenne around dinner where we met up with the McKays. Ken and Shirley offered us camping space in their yard for the night. We had dinner with them then went to their house. Ke showed us his cars. He has some real beauties. We met Max, their miniature Daschund who has a tail that won't quit, and is almost as fast as his tongue which can place more kisses than any dog I have ever met.

We had delux accomodations in Kens brand new trailer, much nicer than a tent. Then it was off bright and early in the morning to do laundry, work on cars a bit, look for more bearings and then away we go......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday June 24 to Ogalalla NE a 150 Mile day!!!

Again it took a while to get moving. Mostly because everyone was a still little waterlogged after the rain, and maybe a bit shell shocked. We drove back up to town and unloaded in a school parking lot. Dan had a public information session while we were getting ready. It was a very enthusiastic crowd to say the least. Each one of them honked the horn, then when they were done they came to my car. A few hundred beeps later they discovered the dogs. We became old news!

As we were working on loading things into the cars a woman drove up. She had overheard our conversation in the AAA office and had to stop. Her name was...... Alice Ramsey! We all had a good laugh. This Alice is leaving for a drive to Alaska with her husband. Go Alice!

We finally left after lots of chatting and headed off to meet up with a Rick Kuntz, he had contacted me via the Early Cadillac Group and so as we passed through we stopped for lunch and a visit. He showed us the really nice '06 he was working on and gave us a tour of his barns. We are suckers for barns full of cars. After a long stop for visiting we motored on to North Platte. We made such good time we went all the way to Ogallala for the night. We did a 150 mile day today. The heat was impressive, so much so that as we traveled through the shade of large trees the temperature dropped measureably. At one point I was tempted to stop for a bit just to cool down. But with plenty of water, Gatorade and sunscreen we are holding up well.

On to Kearney

We said good bye to Delilah and Ron and left their house around noon. The T's radiator had been fixed and put back on the car. Thanks to a wonderful man who said he'd work on it as soon as we could get it there we weren't delayed too much. It was stinking hot by the time we got on the road, and the humidity was oppressive. We went through the area on RT 34 that had been hit by a tornado a few days ago. The house was still standing but one whole wall was gone. The trees were shredded and the corn field was bare. It was a sobering sight. We had heard about it but were still shocked at the devistation. Fortunately no one was hurt. The family is ok. The whole idea of tornados really unnerves me. I have been watching the skies as the storms build south ad north of us.

Both cars ran well and we made it to Kearney Nebraska before calling it a day. We camped at Fort Kearny State Park. The lake was so inviting and it was really warm. We went for a late swim after dinner to cool off. It was still pretty warm by the time we went to bed and off in the distance clouds were building. The weather report was for a clear night so we weren't worried. At about midnight the first storm hit. I'm not sure I can remember another time when it has rained that hard. It rained off and on until about three am. I could not sleep. I was worried about Dorothy, Dan and Emma in the tent. Bridgit was trying to sleep under me to get away from the thunder and I wasn't happy when the wind shook the trailer. Needless to say it was a long night.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We are in Waco with breakdowns

Yesterday began with a really hard rain that dumped about two inches of rain in about 30 minutes. Large chunks of hail fell in the rain. I was really glad we were still in the house. We spent a few hours at Speedway Motors museum in Lincoln. Lots of amazing race cars, engines and pedal cars. There was a Model T display with every accessory that could be purchased. The display was really fun to see. There were lots of bits and pieces the auto enthusiast could get.

We left Barb and Myron's after lunch, I guess the humidity was about as high as it could get. We stopped for a picture by an old DLD sign and then headed out. I got about 6 more miles and the Cadillac died. I had no gas in the lines and after a number of attempts we put it in the trailer to go find some place to work on it. I got in the T with Dorothy and we drove on. The T was running really hot and our feet were frying in the cab. When we stopped the radiator was steaming and we weren't sure what was actually happening. We met up with Lineley Kessler near Utica and followed him to Waco to Virgil and Doug Lierman's service station. Dan caught up with us there, he had run to Omaha to pick up some bearings for our fan. Doug and Dan worked on the radiator and determined that there were a few leaks. Virgil, Malcolm & Dylan worked on the Caddy. They pulled a huge chunk of tank sealant out and eventually got it all cleaned out.

We have been taken in by Lindley's cousins, Delila and Ron Dey. They have taken great care of us while we are stopped by mechanical difficulties. We've been fed well and kept cool in the heat of the day, fed the goat and played with the dog. Dorothy is with Malcolm at the radiator shop and we are dragging our feet. It is still hot and humid.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Photo updates from Dorothy's camera

New photos posted on the Yahoo site

Crossing the Missouri to Lincoln NE

Even with an early wake up we still didn't get on the road until 11. We seem to be slower and slower at getting started. Of course much of this is car related with repairs, or maintenance but I still think we are not moving quickly as we are putting in long days and are tired. There is a good part of this though. We do have the most interesting moments when we take it slowly. Yesterday while getting ready in a truck stop near Rt 30 we had a chance to chat with some of the Valhallas, a motorcycle group from NE. I went into the little restaurant to order Dan some breakfast because he was in need of food. I walked in right behind about 20 bikers. It was pretty clear that the only waitress was a bit frazzled at the huge influx of customers. So, I pitched in. I took orders, served coffee and juice, bussed tables, shocked the heck out of the guy in the kitchen and generally had a lot of fun. I chatted with two rather large bikers about Rt 30 across NE and they gave me the lowdown on the road. Nice guys, kind of intimidating women. Go figure.

We stopped for lunch and while we were eating saw Emily Anderson go by. We had a moment of excitement, it is the first time we've seen her. Glad to see all is well with her trip too. After lunch we crossed the Nebraska line then zigged and zagged all over the country side to get to Lincoln. We got our wires crossed a bit and ended up on the East side of the city instead of the West side so we got to drive through Lincoln. Saw a camel at the zoo, that was interesting. We made it to Myron and Barb's house in one piece. Myron and Nathan (their son) showed us their amazing car collection and Barb cooked us a huge dinner. We had a great night talking and sitting in their nice cool house. We are going to take a layover day and do laundry, work on the cars, and do a bit of visiting.

Boone to Missouri Valley

Heading towards the Missouri River. The day looked like it would be ok, and that was about as good as it got. We were on Rt 30 driving along when the rain started. At one point we lost Dorothy, she had pulled over because her engine was loosing power. We pulled over and put the tarp over us as the rain pounded us. Dorothy caught up and we made the decision to get off 30 as we were probably hard to see and were not feeling all that safe. We looked at the map and found a route that would take us where we wanted to go. We didn't realize just how much of that would be gravel roads. Dorothy took off and the Cadillac didn't. It only took about 5 minutes to get rolling but by then I had lost sight of her in all the hills. At a road construction site the flagman told me she had gone by so I followed the route and hit the gravel. Drove to Grey and found the road I thought we needed to take was a dead end. I got some advice which I decided to ignore....silly girl and headed down the road. I really hate to backtrack and moving forward seemed like a good idea. (I was wet, and my thinking was shorting out a bit)

We followed the dirt for a ways until we came to a road I didn't want to go down. I have enough experience with mud to know when to say "Uncle!" We did eventually find ourselves in Irwin, and there was Dorothy!. The sun was out and the day was getting better and better. We drove together until Missouri Valley, camped at Willow Island State Park. I slept like a log and woke up about 3 hours before I was ready. On to another day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Boone Iowa all the way!

We made it 130 miles today! The Cadillac ran on magneto and ran so well that at times I had trouble holding it back. (Sue, call Art and tell him, because we know he'll never see this here)

We started the day with a call from Doug McNair in California giving us an update on the weather. We were surrounded by storms, with chances of tornados, hail and heavy rain. The sky looked ominous. Dark and heavy. I have sworn off watching Storm Chasers. I know just enough about tornados to be really nervous. I told Malcolm if I saw that truck any where near us I was driving fast in the opposite direction. The rain hit us just as we drove into a gas station. We filled up and hid under their cover for a bit as we battened down the hatches. The attendant came out to tell us that the storm was just north of us dropping huge amounts of rain and hail. We had to get moving. As we started off, the rain slackened but the wind was still a problem, and the sky looked nasty. We had no trouble and the sun eventually came out. By lunch time we were under blue skies and it was getting hot.

Dorothy had problems with the T so she rode with me a bit until we could get somewhere to fix it. Ate lunch then worked on the T, it was running better so off we went. We battled cross winds and headwinds which, at times, made it difficult to hold a straight line. Tail winds blew us up and down the hills of eastern Iowa. We stopped for a late snack at Niland's Cafe in Colo. There we met Iona who graciously showed us the restored gas station, and fed us rootbeer floats and the best chocolate cake in the entire world. Niland's was a 'one stop' on the Lincoln/Jefferson Highway. Definately worth a stop if you are ever in the neighborhood. If you do, give Iona a big hug for us she is a lovely woman. Later we met Randy, a big Iowa guy who wandered over and asked if he could give the crank a try. He was the most enthusiastic man I have ever met. So, sure we let him crank. We thought we might need to weight down the front, like I said, big guy. He lit me up with one pull and off we went into the sunset. We ran through Ames with our lights on, the new headlights work really well. Into Boone just as dark settled in. All in all a good day.