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And the end of day 3

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 07:48 AM

Finally we had a day where we got on the road without having to attend to mechanical issues and thus we racked up some decent mileage, which we need to do if we expect to get home before Christmas!

After loading up, we stopped for gas before heading for the Idaho border via US 20-E. As the attendant filled both our tanks (Oregon is one of a handful of US states that do not permit self-service gas stations), a guy in a beat-up old car pulled in behind me and suggested I take a look at his front bumper, as it might look familiar.


Sure enough, it did, as it was a Model A Ford bumper bolted to the front of a modern car I never did identify. Anyone recognize the make and model?

Turns out that Big Dave, as he identified himself, bought the car without a front bumper. A friend who is a car collector, with a Packard and several other antiques, offered to remedy that condition using some some parts from his bone pile.

Dave was actually headed over to the friend's house and invited us along to view his cars, but we regretfully declined so we could get rolling.

Because we had run out of gas twice the previous day, we were a little concerned about the long distances between fuel stations today, but we need not have worried. The longest run was about 115 miles and when we gassed up in Vale, we found it only took about 7-3/4 gallons to fill the A's tank back up. My thinking is that the previous day the OR pump jockeys hadn't gotten the tank completely full. Because of the flame arrestor screen under the filler cap, the Model A takes fuel pretty slowly, especially as it is getting full. This shouldn't be an issue from here on, as I'll be filling the tank myself.

Stopped a time or two to check on the water pump packing, but we seemed to have slayed that dragon. I had to tighten it up a couple of times after installing the new packing the day before, but it seems to have seated well and no further worrisome leakage is present.

Here's a pic at the side of the road after checking the leak. Pretty flat here but you can see the hills in the distance.


The run eastward from Burns is quite flat and pretty desolate until about halfway to the Idaho border and then the terrain starts to get more hilly. We had two passes to climb, the highest being Stinkingwater Pass at 4,848 feet, followed by Drinkwater Pass at 4,212 feet. The old A chugged right up all of them, though I did have to grab second gear for about 45 secs to clear the crest of one. We're able to cruise happily at about 45-47 MPH on the flat and when she hits the hills, she slows down to about 30 MPH on the long climbs and digs in.

Stopped several times to takes some pics and even took a couple of through-the-winshield shots.





When we pulled in to the overlook parking lot seen in the last shot, there was a truck and a mini-van parked near the road and I pulled further to the right to get near the edge. As I was taking my pics, an older guy walked over to see the car and to tell me he remembered Model As well from when he as younger. Dave Clark, of Juntura, OR, was 84 years old (same age as the car!) and had spent his life in Oregon as a cowboy.


After chatting with Dave for a few minutes, he revealed that he and his wife were waiting for a tow truck, as a deer had come bounding down the hill across from the pull-off area and she'd hit and killed it, mangling the left front fender and headlight of her mini-van. The damage was on the other side, and the deer carcass was across the highway, and I'd seen neither. Dave felt the mini-van was still drivable but his wife was seemingly too rattled to continue on; she never came out of the car so I didn't speak to her.

When we reached the next fuel opportunity at Harper, OR, a little roadside store in the middle of nowhere, the owner popped out to apologize for having no gas for us. "Ran out this morning and I'm waiting on the truck." The next fuel was 23 miles at Vale and we made it easily. This is where we determined that we are getting 15+ MPG out of the A, matching my computation on the first day on the road. Whew...

Just to illustrate the generation gap, Geoff was taken with this phone booth, as I guess they're so rare these days as to be a novelty to younger folks. The phone was set up for free local calls and didn't have anywhere to insert money.


Just past Ontario, OR, we found Interstate 84 East, which will be our route across the lower southwest corner of Idaho. There was still enough daylight that we continued past Boise to Mountain Home, ID, where a fairly large US Air Force base is located. Pricelined a decent rate at a really nice Best Western hotel right off the highway and found it located right next to what Tripadvisor rates as the second best restaurant in Mountain Home (of 31 restaurants, mind you...). Geoff ordered a half a rack of ribs and I got a dozen really good teriyaki wings and a 24 ounce beer, the latter probably being one of the key reasons I didn't post this report last night. LOL!

Today, we're going to try to cross Idaho to get into into Utah and will probably stop near Ogden for the night, which would be a distance of about 265 miles. Would love to make it to Evanston, Wyoming, but that's about 340 miles and my butt will probably not permit that much time in the seat.

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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap

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