Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A trip to Vancouver, CA. B.C. Chuck and Jane Posted by Picasa

1963 Sunbeam Alpine Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Pumpkin and The Maroon Beauty

                            The Pumpkin  and the Maroon Beauty
                                                      The Grand Coulee Dam Run
                                                               Aug 27-28 2005

     Who gets up at the crack of dawn on a cold foggy morning?  Yea, you’re right, Chuck and Jane, my Drivers.      Here I am, in my nicely warmed garage, under my comfy  blanket, dreaming of this great windy road, where I am just topping the hill and see the road ahead is a tight switchback.  POOF, off comes my blanket.  “Unfair!”, I’m thinking, But here they are, looking all excited, while putting the lunch box in the back seat and strapping down the suitcase to my trunk.  I really like that part as it means an overnight trip, besides that , it tickles!  As the garage door started up I got a blast of cold air on my tail pipe and again I’m thinking, “Why so early?”  Us Old “62” Alpine’s need our sleep. I feel the electrical charge of the starter, so I figured it was time for me to wake up the rest of my parts and see where this day takes us.

     As I am backed out and the cool air of the morning inched up my body, I yearned for my blanket.  The heater came on so I knew my Drivers were cold too, but I had seen, they were wearing heavy coats. With my top off , it gets pretty windy, but they seem to like that. Now, with warm water running through my radiator; the oil lubricating my four little cylinders, we were headed off on yet another adventure.

     As we left our sleeping  little neighborhood I was wishing I could toot my horn to wake up all those sleepy heads parked in the driveways, but instead I just pulled the gas peddle a little harder and revved my engine.  No one seemed to notice.

     It was really lonely driving along the streets and onto the Freeway, no one around to see. But then here they came, those big wheeled Dodge Rams that make me shiver.  I really like the big rigs though and wonder if I could zip in under the belly of the trailer like they show on TV.  I saw it once on Jane’s little TV , while she was on the treadmill, in the garage. I do remember one night that Chuck had to put on the breaks as a couple of those big guys tried to give us a hug.  Sure made him mad.  But it seems he stays far away from them now.

     Crossing the Columbia River a Van full of kids, pointed and smiled at me.  I really like kids! Sometimes Snoopy rides on the rack with the suitcase and that really gets the kids excited.

      In Washington now, we pull into a drive and there are no cars to be seen. I’m excited as Chuck drives right up to the Garage door.  “Open it!, open it! , I’m thinking!”
“Deb Steinbeck  lives here“, I heard them say and I impatiently waited, as they went inside.  It seemed like forever before they came out and I hear the garage door starting up. I’m trying to see who I am going to run with and just them, Chuck moves me back.  “Whoa!, I’m thinking”  And then I hear this beautiful sound.  And out  that Tigress came, those hot sounding 8 cylinders, just a purring. She looked pretty darn good for being a “67”. I had heard those Mark 1 A’s were hot, but this lady was steaming.  In the morning light that “Maroon Beauty” made my tail pipe quiver. Ron Simcox had joined us for the fun and to be another relief driver for Deb. What a great friend he is.  So with everyone readied, instructions in hand, we headed North.  As she slowly passed me, in the drive way, I was able to look this “Beauty” over.  I’m thinking, “This is going to be a great weekend!”  

     The trip to Tacoma was very enjoyable, for the Sun burned off the mist and warmed the air. I started seeing fellow English cars and some older American cars as we got close to the LeMay Car Museum.  What a big place and so many cars.  We turned into the parking area and were directed to the collector car area.  Passing through the parking area, a bright red Boat Car caught my eye. Those double propellers make my engine rev.  She looked a little too snooty for me with her straight boxy lines and shinny chrome. She didn’t even look our way as the “Maroon Beauty” and I drove in.  We were directed to a shady spot just at the end of a drive area and as Ron and Chuck backed us into place I could see we had a perfect spot, because we could see right down the drive at all of the cars coming in and the people could see us. We heard there was another Sunbeam over a couple isles, but never saw it.  We heard Ron and Chuck say it was Rob Carpenter’s but they hadn’t seen Rob or Beryl anywhere. The place was just too big.  They also talked about how many cars there were and how no one could see the entire Museum in a week.  And we would have to come again when we could stay longer.  We left about 2: pm, and as we did we said “Hi and ’By “ to Dick Sanders, as he snapped our pictures, then headed out to Hwy 97 east, the road that leads to Leavenworth.  

     Debbie took over this leg of the drive and the “Maroon Beauty” really roared for her.  Keeping up with her now was a challenge for my little 4 cylinders but being in her dust was a delight. The smell of her perfume pulled me right up and over Stevens Pass and along the Skykomish River.  I did pass her a couple of times just to remind her I was protecting her back door and to let her see my handsome fins.

     Pulling into Leavenworth about 6:30 pm, we found our Hotel to be beautiful and close enough for our Drivers to walk to town.  They left us parked next to each other in a quiet place and enjoyed their evening at a wonderful Italian Restaurant .  We deflated our tires, just a bit, cooled our engines and settled in for a well deserved rest. It was fun to hear people say how “good looking” we were and how someone in the family had owned  a car like us , some years ago.

     Morning came early, 5:am, again!  Chuck was out wiping the dew off of our windshields and checking my oil.  My new  tonneau cover that has a wind screen for the roll bar, kept the seats dry, so Chuck didn‘t have to work with the cloth top.   Everything was quiet as we pulled  out and we enjoyed the Sunrise on the hills around the city.  Pink Mountains are quite impressive.

     Straight  into the rising Sun we went, headed East over Hwy 97 to Monitor. At that crossing we again took Hwy  97 to Orondo, where we hit Hwy 2 and the sign said Coulee City and Grand  Coulee.  The 60 miles across Hwy 2, is flat and  one can see forever. It was stunning in the early light.  Hwy 155 is a very scenic drive too, as one can see the lake created by  the Grand Coulee Dam and the Dry Falls Dam.  Grand Coulee was where Deb had heard that ” Melody’s Restaurant”  was a great place to have breakfast.  One can see the Dam in all it‘s splendor. The waitress said there is a “lazar light show at night.  After a nice Breakfast, we continued up to the Dam and while our Drivers enjoyed a tour, we watched the birds sore around the cliffs and listened to the roar of the Dam’s generators.  When they returned they talked about how interesting the ride in the “Tram” down the face of the Dam was and how beautiful the Dam was from that vantage point.  And that the Grand Coulee Dam is one of the largest concrete structures in the world.

     Leaving there, we headed back down Hwy 155 to the “Dry Falls Overlook” . What an interesting place.  We were parked where we could see right over the cliff and down into the bottom of the dry falls. There is no water rolling over the falls anymore but there are small lakes at the bottom of the cliffs.  Millions of years ago, in the ice age, there was a big thaw, causing a great flood called the Missoula Floods. In this area the melting waters created a water fall larger than any recorded in the world. The water is gone, but the scares left by the flood are clearly seen at this sight.  It is one place that everyone should see. Besides this wondrous sight, the drive to and from it, is truly spectacular.
It  was getting really warming up by then and the glow from the Sunbeam sign, on the “Maroon Beauty’s” trunk, was like a come hither smile. Hopefully she saw the smile from my grill, shinning back at her.

     Vantage, on Hwy 283 was our next stop.  Ron wanted, not to miss, the Petrified Forest park and information center.  It is a rare and interesting find of petrified Sequoia trees.  And talking trees, we were parked behind a nice shady one as we waited for our Drivers.  It was a nice change as it was really hot by now.  I smelled sun screen a couple times and I even started to over heat a little.  But I couldn’t let the “Maroon Beauty” see me sweat!

     I heard “river road” and I perked up a little, as that meant a cooler road than Hwy 82. We headed out Hwy 90 West, then caught Hwy 82 south, until we saw Hwy 821.  At this point the road winds down along the Yakima river where we could see folks floating down stream, on everything, from tire tubes to small inflatable boats.  They really looked like they were having fun and they looked cooler than us. Even though we were on hot, dry land, it was nice along the 27 miles of high cliffs and the beauty of the Yakima River.

     Yakima loomed in front of us as we came back on Hwy 82 and the word “hungry” was being used a lot.  It was decided to continue to Toppenish where we would stop for dinner.  After a quick look around at some of the murals that make the town famous, we found a quaint Mexican Restaurant that was still open. We were a little concerned as all of the restaurants and stores were closed and it was only  6:30. But it was Sunday. Besides that,  the Drivers were hot and thirsty.  As it turned out the food was great and the service was friendly.  We of course, waited and prepared ourselves for that long drive back to home, as this was the last stop before we crossed over into Oregon at the Dalles Dam.

     As we headed down Hwy 97 and came up on the flats near Goldendale we could see the Sun setting behind some really ugly storm clouds.  It was really an amazing sight, but it did cause some concerns. It was at this point I heard the words “Do we need to put the top up?”, but we pressed on.  We followed Hwy 14 on the Washington sided until the turn off for the cross over at Columbia hills. The wind was getting pretty strong but no rain yet  We pulled in at a McDonalds close to the crossing and it was unanimous that the tops needed to be up. We said our Good-bys and headed for the freeway.  Darkness made it hard to see and now it was heavy rain with very hard winds.  The storm was moving North which was to our advantage but the trailing edge was beating us up quiet badly.  I kept heading right into it though. Chuck held me straight as an arrow and fought off the bad gusts that tried to push us off of the road.  I thought maybe the “Maroon Beauty” had turned off somewhere, to take a break, but just a few miles out of Hood River she passed us like a flash, drivers waving, with her little tail pipe just humming, that hot lady was headed home.

     As we arrived home, and as the garage door opened and I saw my warm dry place, I sighed a sigh of relief .  I had gotten Chuck and Jane home safe and sound, after Deb’s wonderfully planned 800 mile adventure.

     Needless to say, the conversation went “Leave everything where it is, we can clean it out tomorrow!”. And I‘m saying, “ Hey! Don’t turn out the lights yet!  Where’s my blanket? “But all to soon we were all dreaming of that “down hill switch back road“, out there somewhere.    

     Thanks Deb, for all of your in-depth planning and research for all of our stops. And Ron for your exact directions on how to get to the LeMay Museum. Deb, next time leave out the part where the storm comes in and tries to blow us back to Toppenish.

     Until next time, this is the Pumpkin signing off.  Happy trails everyone!


Thursday, September 22, 2005

What has happened since the last post?

Since the first post we have had a lot happen. The Pumpkin has had an operation, which is metal surgery versus plastic surgery. A new roll bar and some new shocks installed.
The roll bar was installed for a safety reason and to help cut down on the wind on the back of the head. Well then, here is the next thing, a new top/cover for the roll bar. With a screen in it really helps prevent wind from blowing the back of the head hair loose.  But us older guys don’t have to worry too much about that last line!!  

Then we even went to an All British Field Meet in Portland OR. The Pumpkin is the nice Orange one right in front. Took a prize of third place Peoples Choice, not bad eh?
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Most of the times the other cars are a bit jealous.    

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Lost Pumkin

Well I found it, it is in the garage. Staying warm and ready to hibernate for the winter. Covered like a small car and snuggled down with the heater blowing on it's tummy. It is a little car,,HA!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Where is The Great Pumpkin

The end of a grand era started a long time ago. The ago was before a dog could bark and before a pig had pork. That time ago we all had hair on our heads and could walk a hundred miles berfore needing a drink of BEER!