Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 1, Vassar College

Day one. Tuesday June 9, 2009. We decided to start here rather than NYC. It seemed safer, kept us out of Emily's way and, as it was where Alice spent her first night seemed as good a starting point as any. We drove down from Vermont late on Monday. We spent a long night sleeping in the trailer with the car. The rain was coming down so hard by the time we arrived at the campground we decided not to set up and just go to sleep. We were comfortable and dry, although it smelled a bit like gas.....

Heavy rain and booms of thunder woke us periodically through the night. I was worried we would end up spending the first day sitting inside waiting for the storm to end. Dorothy was held up by terrible driving and was still making her way to Vassar in the morning. (Sadly, Carol was still in Oklahoma waiting for a part, and would not be joining us until later.) We met at the college around 10am. Unloaded the cars and started to get ready. A number of folks wandered over to chat and ask us questions. There was some confusion as to who we were. We did explain a number of times that we were not connected with the Alice Ramsey Celebration drive that Emily Anderson is doing. (For those few who have not heard, she is driving a fully restored Maxwell, which is an awesome automobile and the same model Alice drove. Her trip is an amazing recreation of the drive. ) It was during one of these conversations that Dorothy said, "Well, we're the road trip" Which pretty much explains our trip and gives the name to this blog. We are the no frills, girls just want to have fun trip. We will be joined by other women and friends along the way. It's a brass and gas party.

After photos and hugs and lots of good luck wishes, we drove off on the first leg of the trip. I honestly can say that I was too nervous to be nervous. This would be the longest drive the Cadillac had done since it had been placed in the barn almost 90 years ago. I had no real idea what to expect.

The drive itself was pretty uneventful all things considered. Malcolm rode shotgun and kept me tuned with the car. I still have trouble shifting into high, I could use about 2 more inches on my leg length to really work the clutch. I did figure out how to make the long reach on the shifter though. I was inspired to add a piece of rope that I can grab and pull to get it out of high gear. It works beautifully! Another two inches on the arms would be helpful...although I might look a little funny as I am only 5'2".

I am still learning how to drive this wonderful car, but I am tuning a good ear for engine noise and especially for the "ting" of parts rattling off. We lost a hubcap somewhere near Hudson NY and a nut off one of the hood hold downs about 10 miles before that. We knew something had bounced free, and figured it out as soon as Malcolm started to open the hood. The only thing that really took us by surprise was when the windshield flipped into our laps. Malcolm has great reflexes and caught it just before it hit my head. We made it to Albany and called it a day.

Currently I am back in Vermont to make last minute repairs on the carburetor which is leaking, and make some other fixes (like better bracing for the windshield, wait for Dylan to finish finals, and spend two more days at school before heading west to join Dorothy and Carol in Ohio. Dorothy is still motoring on. She is in western NY tonight as I write this.

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