Monday, July 30, 2012

Detroit, MI to San Diego, CA - Route 66: Day 1

"Grain Elevator Museum"

That sign pretty much summed up the greater portion of our drive today.  Illinois is one boring ass state to drive through.  Illinois is mostly cornfields and wind turbines.  There were a few items worth seeing, and I am glad we took the road less traveled.  We took I94 west and connected with Route 66 in Joliet, IL.  While originally I was going to stick to the freeway for most of today, I instead decided to take the original Mother Road from Joliet for a few hours.

One of the first sites I recognized I didn't realize we'd be passing.  Route 66 Dragway, which I had driven my Camaro to back in 2001 on the first leg of the power tour.  Seemed like yesterday, and I still can remember the oil, fumes, and loud exhaust on the somewhat grueling trip.  That said, it was probably the most memorable trip I have ever taken in my Camaro.

 Next up was The Launching Pad Drive In.  This was exactly the cheesy stuff I was looking for. Outside the Launching Pad Drive In stands the Gemini Giant.  This fiberglass space man is was I grew up expecting to see around every corner of the trip.  The reality is, the lone space man seems to be a rare breed.  Still, he looks great, and made our trip down the historical path well worth it.

The next little dinner, The Polk-A-Dot Drive In,  we stumbled upon had The Blues Brothers breaking it down.

Below are some more sites along the way.


The number of wind turbines was amazing.




The scenery was much better once we crossed the Mississippi River.  Mountains and trees were a welcomed site.


The Wagon Wheel Motel. I found this place online with great reviews.  It's truly amazing, and just the type of place I was looking for.  The queen size room is a bit small, but more than sufficient, extremely clean, and quite cozy.  Best of all, the workers treat you like family.  I'm going to look for a similar place for tomorrow.  Many have recommended The Blue Swallow in Nevada, but I'm not sure we're gonna be up for the 12+ hour drive.  That's what we drove today, and it got brutal towards the end, thanks to my 3.5 hours of sleep last night.


My kind of Motel!




Until tomorrow night! (internet service permitting)

Packed and Ready to Go!

Like any well planned out trip, we find ourselves still packing, still burning music, and still rushing around trying to prepare for our trip to California. I reserved a room at a historic old mom & pop hotel along Route 66 and look forward to our stay tomorrow night. Stay tuned, as I hope to provide pictures and updates on a daily basis. I can't wait to hit the road this morning!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Count down to Cali

Just a quick update as to our travel plans. Our house sitter/guard dog watcher (dad) will be coming up Sunday, and the family and I will be hitting the road for southern California July 30th, pre-dawn! I've bought some maps, bought some books, and quickly kind of lost interest in the one book. I'm thinking, this is a road trip. What fun is trying to plan out stops and sites to see? I think we are gonna drive by the seat of our pants, see what we see, and make it OUR adventure, not an adventure somebody else has already made. We have most of our electronics, devices, coolers, and drinks bought and ready to go. A few odds and ends, snacks, and a clean truck with our luggage packed and we will be ready to hit The Mother Road. To say I'm anxious would be an understatement, I was up until 3:30 am last night just thinking about it. Stay tuned, as there will be MUCH MORE to come.

On a back country road

Seems my choice to drive my Camaro to work proved to be a smart one, as the morning after I realized it wasn't totally uneventful. We went out to the garage to leave for church and I immediately smelled gas. It wasn't a faint smell of gas, it was full force, something major leaking smell of gas. A quick look under the car verified my suspicions, I had a hole in the main fuel hose. I guess the hose WAS a bit too close to the tire after all, and it burned a hole through. Better for the hose leak to have happened in the garage as opposed to 50 miles away, with no tools, hose, or means to repair it. Initially discourage, thinking the car wouldn't be making the trip up to the in-laws later, I soon realized I had a bigger problem. I had filled up the night before, and my tank had a full 19 gallons, minus the gallon or so that had leaked out. Unfixed, I would lose the whole tank of gas. Church would have to wait until next Sunday. I was lucky to have ordered up 25' of fuel hose, which left me with about 6' extra. While it didn't solve the issue of needing to remove and reuse the fittings, at least I had the hose. I first removed the end going to the filter, and was relieved that no fuel leaked out, due to the line being slightly higher than the sump fittings. After I had the first fitting installed on the new hose, I got my 5 gallon bucket ready to catch the free flowing fuel. I also had my knife, torch, and hose oil ready to make sure the installation of the second fitting went as quickly as possible, allowing me to install the new hose and prevent the bucket from over flowing. I barely made it, as fuel was about a 1/4" from the top of the bucket when the new hose was installed and secure. I need to drop the tank next winter so I can install clamps on the frame rail. As it is, the hose is routed shorter so as to prevent any tire interference. With the hose fixed, I checked the fluids, and shortly after we hit the road...wife and baby girl following behind. While my speedometer read 68 mph, my wife later informed me we were only going about 60 mph. The car also ran hotter than I would like, but survived. After about 15 miles, the rising/dropping temps settled in at a constant 225 degrees. I have a few theories on what I can do to lower that temp, but that fact that it was about 90 outside played it's part. Once at the in-laws, it wasn't long before my father-in-law wanted to go for a ride. Never one to baby my cars, we got into it good. I hadn't tested out my new combination to this extent yet. First gear, I can turn the tires over with 1/4 throttle, and by feathering it, can leave a set of black marks as far as you wish. Second gear, I can slowly apply more throttle, get her going straight, and find the floor. In second, I still shifted at a high of about 6,000 rpm's, a good 1,200 rpm's below peak rpm. Let me just say, she pulls like a rocket ship, and I can't wait to get some stickies out back! I left a bit early, as I wanted to make home prior to darkness arriving, since I still lack interior gauge lights. Right around the Detroit city limits, I observed a bright yellow new Camaro with black stripes coming down the on ramp. The driver tried to get next to me, but was blocked by a car, and quickly crossed three lanes to come up on my driver side. I looked over, gave him the nod...knowing he was thinking the same thing I was "nice car." As I looked over to the passenger side, a guy in a beat up old Nissan pointed at the new Camaro now speeding off ahead, shook his head, gave it a thumbs down. He then pointed at my car, and gave big thumbs up, head nod, and smile ear to ear. Part of the joy of taking my Camaro out is watching the smiles it puts on the face of others. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Stand her up! Stand her up!"

Today, I power washed my Camaro and decided to drive it to work. While I've stopped by work to show her off, I've never actually drove it in to work. Perhaps not surprisingly, I came out to a dead battery, and need to reassess how I wired up my fans. After a jumpstart, I was ready to head for home. As I hopped on the freeway, the bike in my rear view literally disappeared. The acceleration is unreal, and that's with hard compound tires which prevents using all the power on tap. The music this engine belts out screams race car. I stopped for gas close to home, so as I wouldn't have to fuel it up tomorrow prior to heading to the in-laws. As I pulled in, the dude loitering at the gas station chimes in "nice car officer." The young woman who pulled up also commented on the car, stating she loved the color. The most amusing of all, was the guy on the bicycle as I waited for the light to turn green. He said "Stand her up! Stand her up!" while making a hand gesture of a car lifting the front end off the ground. I couldn't help but smile and think to myself "man, I really gotta get my car out more often." Not just for the smile it puts on my face, but the smile it puts on other faces, from kids to senior citizens, its a universal language of sorts that most in this region simply understand.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Detroit, MI to San Diego, CA - Route 66 out/Lincoln Highway back

The trip I have always dreamed of!  Perhaps in my dreams it was in a 1967 Vette convertible with a big block and 4 speed, but reality will have a Hemi for a 2011 Ram.  While perhaps not the "most fun" choice, it will be much more practical.  At 22 mpg highway, it's doable, and will allow for plenty of luggage, room for baby gear, as well as scuba gear.

The whole trip will be over about a 17-18 day period, with the focus being on San Diego, though seeing some sites and taking a few detours along the way is in the plans.  In addition, on the return trip, the plan is for a stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats during what is speed week.  While we likely won't even spend a full day there, I'd like to at least watch a few hours of racing and be able to say I've been there.

I hope to be able to blog along the way, upload some pictures, and document as much as the trip as possible.  The Griswolds would be proud.  :)

Ypsilanti, MI Cruise Night - Thursdays


This past Thursday we checked out the downtown cruise in historic Depot Town in Ypsilanti, MI. Great show!  I will definitely be taking the Camaro to this cruise night before season's end. There were about 150 or so cars, though some started to head out before we finished our dinner at a near by restaurant.  Seems you wanna get to this show early, as a fair number were leaving by 6:30-7.











Ypsilanti, MI Cruise Night Photo Gallery

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wauseon, OH Cruise Night - Tuesdays

 Dad's '95 Formula

While down at my parents over 4th of July, I decided to head on down to Wauseon, OH and check out their Tuesday cruise night.  It wasn't the Super Cruise, which is the 3rd Tuesday of the month, so I didn't expect it to be too large, but I hoped for a 100-200 cars.  Dad offered up his 1995 Pontiac Formula for my wife and I to take, and we hit the road.  About 25 minutes later, we pulled up at the downtown cruise.

Now mind you, it was still 98 degrees outside at 6:30 pm and bright and sunny, so I'm sure that kept quite a few away. Total attendance was a whopping 25 cars!  Still, it was nice to take a ride through the country and take a walk through Wauseon, all while checking out a few cars.  Once dad's Challenger is done, I will be sure to hit up their Tuesday night Super Cruise, as it's definitely a worthy show.

 Cool old Power Wagon

Nice old Plymouth Coupe

Plymouth Cuda

1937 Cadillac


When you get into the 1940's, I not only have trouble with years, but also the makes.  I think this is a later 1940's Chevy, but don't hold me to it.  I do know this, the color choice is totally 1980's or early 90's.

I could almost hear Frank and Mikie saying "That there is pure Americana!"  Cool old sign just off the main street in Wauseon.

Wauseon, OH Cruise Night

Monday, July 02, 2012

Metro Detroit Car Shows and Cruises - July 2012

Michigan Ave Cruise - July 14, 2012

I've never attended this show, so I can't vouch for how big the cruise is or the turnout is typically.  I will try and see if I can't check it out this year.

Telegraph Tomorrow Cruise - July 28, 2012

This is getting close to our planned road trip, so not sure if we'll make this show or now.  I attended the last year or two, and it's a nice size cruise that is easily drivable.

Concours d'Elegance of America - July 29, 2012

While a bit high class for me, this show is on my list of shows to attend, but it won't happen this year.

The Woodward Warehouse: A cool place to hang

Here's a cool idea. Especially for those who lack garage space to begin with.  That said, I'm not sure whether I'd spend $250 a month to join.  For those who can afford it though, what a cool idea.

The Woodward Warehouse lets classic car owners cool their wheels

No Cruises or Car Shows...yet

Sadly, this car show season has kicked off to a slow start, and I'm not sure how many shows/cruises I will actually make until August/September.  If all goes as planned, we hope to take a road trip to California soon, which won't be in the Camaro.  I didn't make this year's downriver cruise, though I could have.  Multiple friends reported that Fort St was still all torn up, and I really didn't care to deal with that mess.  So, for the first time in quite a few years, I skipped it.

I've only taken the car out a few times, and for the most part, she screams!  I do have an engine miss again, which seems to have shown up after a few times out, and I figure is probably due to an overly rich carb.  I'm going to order up some fuel bowl/metering block gaskets prior to changing the jets, since I'm unsure if they are reusable gaskets.  The Dominator manual states that the carb comes jetted to work with most applications, and often is within 4 jet sizes from the appropriate jetting.  Considering I went with an 1150 instead of a 1050, the the hot as hell/humid temps here in Michigan, I'm sure I'm running rich.  I checked the resistance on my plug wires, and that doesn't seem to be an issue, but the plugs themselves did read a bit rich.  Even so, when I jump on the loud pipe, hold on, because she's a lot more ornery than she was last year and roasts the tires at any speed with just a blip of the throttle.

While the car sits idle, I hope to at least hit up one cruise night over the next few days, and perhaps even go check out an all Camaro show in Ypsilanti, MI next weekend.  Also look for me to update the car shows in July for 2012.  Until next time.