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Driving from California to Illinois--with 2 X H.A.M.B. friendly vehicles

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hemifalcon, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. cell phone coverage south dakota.?. hope we see you before the snow is 3 feet deep

    pics of dakota pleeeeze
  2. rebarsfords
    Joined: Feb 17, 2004
    Posts: 477


    Love these kind of posts! I'm at work & just spent the last 45 min. readin' this. I should be doin' other stuff, but now I'm hooked!
    Great story. Good luck on the rest of your trip.
  3. bt34
    Joined: Dec 22, 2006
    Posts: 283


    Great adventure & pictures.
    Words cannot describe the things that happen along the way.
    I have done a similar one from Milan, Ohio to LA in a 53 Chevy pickup with a 250/th350/10bolt......We to had dist troubles, finally died outside a rubbish dump of all had spares..(a decent GM HEI unit.)
    Good luck with the rest of the trip..
    cheers bt (New Zealand)
  4. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,281

    from Missouri

    still crazy and only encourages more foolishness in my opinion---
  5. JaBoney
    Joined: Feb 2, 2006
    Posts: 168


    I tink maybe u B a little "jealous" of our hero adventurer!:D
  6. RHRH3P
    Joined: Mar 7, 2007
    Posts: 148


    I was the buddy in the T&A Flathead post. That was a heck of a trip.

    This tread has been fantastic to read. Good luck!!!
  7. povertyflats
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 8,281

    from Missouri

    I figured as much:D
  8. falcon61
    Joined: Sep 6, 2010
    Posts: 7


    What a great thread! Best of luck the rest of the way. Just wondering which project you will work on first. The 62 Squire is attending its last car show Sunday in its current state, the Resto-Rat starts in a coupla weeks. Stay safe, Dan
  9. bt34
    Joined: Dec 22, 2006
    Posts: 283


    I think maybe Mr.Povertyflats is going to have to better this trip, maybe?:D
  10. hemifalcon
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 379


    Hey ya'll!!!!!!!

    This is a verrrry brief update to let you know the two dinosaurs have arrived in Manchester,IA... with regard to the comment abbot the SD detour--/ I did get worried when the trans finally ran dry and was making some horrendous wheezing noises... But I got all the way up to Beresford with no issues other than filling up the leaking trans in Yankton...

    I'm going to get some sleep... I'm not completely done yet... ;-)

    Oh-- and the comment about the sixer in the '41---- I thought about that yesterday after the old girl finally came together... It's a strong motor...

    Only time will tell-- thank you all who have provided me with your offerings of assistance, sights to see (although I didn't see much beyond my credit card, parts counters, and the dirty underside of my suburban)... Everyones words if encouragement and oozing excitement was really good to read at the end of thr long and trying days...

    I have more pictures and little side stories to post in the next couple days...

    I was happy to share the ride with you all.. Yes---even you PovertyFlats :)

  11. Screw everything else, I'm happy for ya and may the rest of the trip be trouble free. Thanks for a great ride, Scruffy.
  12. retiredblue
    Joined: Mar 1, 2010
    Posts: 272

    from california

    I sent your story to our Marines in Helmand Prov- they are all rooting for you Semper Fi-
  13. duste01
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,213


    John, I'm sorry that I came in on the end of the ride, but I dude I can soooo relate. I have a similar story along the same lines and the same roads, but with a family of 7. When you go on an adventure such as this, there is only forward when you have committed yourself and having been there and done that, you know exactly what I mean. Good times and lifelong stories.
  14. koth
    Joined: Apr 30, 2007
    Posts: 161


    Congradulations making it to Iowa! I think we all worry about making it home with an old car and after a while it just bothers us too much to make it worth the while. But you proved it can be done and will have the scars to show for it LOL!
  15. I've been following the thread all along just wanted to wait till the end to share a thought... anytime I've ever done anything like this I've always gotten home and upon closer examination realized my life was hanging on by a 3/8ths thread the whole time. Judging by the previous repair work to the rear end you posted my guess is you'll discover later you were in an episode of Highway to Heaven... Either way, this has been a fun read and at times your situation had me praying for you.
    I like everyone else dreams of doing this too, and when I find the right car I'll give you a chance to sit on the sidelines and shake your head. Like other bad idea's maybe we should start a club, "gluttons' for punishment" I nominate you for club president.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2011
  16. norms30a
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 571


    Been reading this story from the start and it's a good one,and then to hear you went through Beresford is cool since it's just a few miles from my house, good job.
  17. itstom
    Joined: Nov 27, 2010
    Posts: 7

    from illinois

    I've been lurking on the H.A.M.B. for about a year now as I try and decide what to do with my own short door 41 coupe. Well, now's the time for my first post.

    I don't know how old you are (I'm 54) but when I was 19 I had a similar adventure. I won't hijack your thread, but suffice it to say it was Iowa in January, the snow was coming down, the sun was going down, I-80 was being shut down, and I was broke down. No cell phone or credit card.

    Now, 35 years later, whenever I hesitate to try something outside my comfort zone (car related or not), I look back on that trip as a little reminder of what I'm capable of when the shit hits the fan. I predict you will too.

    Congratulations on a job well done. Thanks for posting it for us.
  18. Malcolm
    Joined: Feb 9, 2006
    Posts: 7,703

    from Nebraska

    Finally had a chance to catch up on your last couple of days. Glad all is well. You're almost home!! Good luck on the rest of the drive.

  19. for the record there was not any food pics in this thread ... But i think he can write more stories too real or not
  20. bobwop
    Joined: Jan 13, 2008
    Posts: 6,098


    I am glad you showed up that naysayer, Povertyflats.

    yes, he is jealous. He wants all the attention for himself, but no way does he have the stones to take on a challenge like this. He certainly wouldn't want to get his soft little hands dirty.

    did you know he is a male nurse?
  21. 1964countrysedan
    Joined: Apr 14, 2011
    Posts: 1,131

    from Texas

    Looking forward to a good progress report...
  22. Doll Kustom
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 110

    Doll Kustom

    ya know John, you have to keep this thread going now. with the progress of both of your new rides.. you have quite the following, and i am sure proud to have met ya and shaken your hand on principle alone of the trip you made successfully with two old vehicles, that were completely a mystery to you, towing on roads you hadn't traveled, or even pre-planned and mapped out.... i'm proud of ya darlin! don't be a stranger! :)
  23. hemifalcon
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 379


    Well Doll Kustom... Since you called me out here.. Here is the final report..

    I got into Manchester, Iowa the night before last (Saturday night) and grabbed a hotel room for the first night's sleep without any stress about what the next day had in store for me.. Ya know--it was about 5 days of troubled driving--so, I think I was developing a sort of old-car-rescue PTSD!!

    Anyway--I spent a full day at my dad's shop bangin on my '61 Chevy, as there has been little done on it in the past couple months due to my dad's work schedule.. Oh well--so, i started doing some of the stuff myself. I hammered out the rear valances and took the rear bumper off.. Then, hammered out the rear tail light panel corners.. We had to fix up the alternator bracket.. blah blah blah.. Then-I took care of some other little things before leaving today for my last little jaunt home..

    I hopped in the old burb and patted her on the dash and started her eastbound for the remaining 4 hour drive that I was hoping would be problem-free.. And---taadaaaa!!! It was.. I filled her up with gas in Beloit, WI after my GPS took me through Amish Country, Wisconsin---I guess Mr. Garmin thought the old rig needed to go up and down some more hills as I exited the Mississippi river valley!!

    Anywho--I ended up in Salem, Wi-at my mom's house where I unloaded the '41 for safe keeping..(She refuses to use her own garage for the purpose of what it was designed--keeping her car in there.. And, she insists that I use it.. so..).. I arrived at 7pm and I had the car off the trailer and rolled nicely into her garage after about 10 minutes.. My mom thought the car was huge--so she grabbed the tape measure and went from bumper to bumper to measure out at only 16' and some odd inches.. The car's appearance is decieving as it looks much larger--maybe because of its height..

    Oh well.. I pulled the muffler off of the '41 which was hanging perilously after the long voyage (the rust particles that were holding hands finally lost their grip apparently..)-and I found the muffler had been turned into a mouse-tel.. I guess that is where all th seat stuffing disappeared to.

    We closed up the garage and called it a night..

    Tomorrow I will return the trailer to U-Haul after power washing it to get all the gear oil which has escaped the trans off of the front section of the trailer.. Can't turn it back in looking the way it does.. I think the little trip down the dirt road in Beresford, SD allowed for it to look a little worse as the dust cloud behind me clung to the truck bottom and the trialer. :)

    So--that basically finishes up the trip.. I have photos that I'm going to post up tomorrow that I have to resize for Also--some other little side stories..

    It's late y'all--and I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight..

    Thanks to all of you for hanging in with me--wish I coulda had more time to meet more of you along the way.. But, the roads we travel are long and winding--we never know where we may cross paths..

    (Oh, and Doll Kustom--when I start on the truck and '41 [in due time]--the threads will be built on here for certain..) :)
  24. what is the futrue of the Berb? that is a good old rig, sounds like you got the bugs worked out!
  25. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,925


    What a story !!!!
    Simply awesome...
    And I think you need to make a movie out of it....Would be a best seller for my generation......
    You be the star, and maybe include BobWop and Poverty Flats in some of the scenes too.... YIKES......:eek:
  26. hemifalcon
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 379


    Plans for the Burb are to take it down to the frame.. Just to get it all apart.. Shouldn't be too hard.. The colors will be white on top, and the same color as the hood on the whole lower portion of the body.. I'm thinking the big '6' will live on until it dies.. But--she carried me this far..
    I'd likely lower her a little bit with the big tall '15's on it still.. Put some small older chevy dog dish caps on it-- and call her done on the outside.. All new window seals.. rolled pans to replace the bumpers may be cool-but I don't mind the bumpers.. The interior would be re-stocked.. Nice subtle viny interior.. I'd like to make a fold out bed in the back.. But--that is a little down the road.. She's going to serve utility duty of course--that was what she was designed for--and she does it quite well after working out all of her bugs..
    Oh and she'd probably get disk brakes with a dual circuit master-power brakes would be nice for towing.. The drums work quite well when the truck is unloaded.. I finally had time to clean her out today.. I found a massive nest of seat stuffing in the right side cowl vent--I was wondering why that side was giving me less air flow on the freeway..

    When I washed off the u-haul trailer this morning--I attacked the truck--most of the grey primer came off the bottom half..

    This was backing her into the garage last night..

    temporary home... keeping her dry..

    Here we were passing into Wisconsin from Iowa..

    I honestly can't remember if this is one that I took on the road in Iowa yesterday, or in South Dakota.. ughh. it's all running together..

    much of the roads looked like this..

    This was a view of the sky as I was heading into Cheyenne on Thursday (?) night...


    more wide open road on I-80 in Wyoming...


    This was the view of the rocks in the hills coming up into Green Riverk, WY where I hooked up with Doll Kustom.. Ate at Penny's Diner, and visited Mark at Rust Rods.. Doll Kustom was cool as hell giving me the road-warnings for the rest of Wyoming, and showed me her cars which she had stashed away at her pad.. Strangely enough--she had made a similar journey a while back out of California with a truck and her project.. How many girls do you know who'd do that?? I owe her a big thank you--next time I'm in Green River--I'll buy you some Chili at Penny's!!! ;-)



    Here was the last scene of rescue work.. This Napa in Evanston, Wyoming got me the right points I needed and offered the tools I needed--but I bought them instead. Denise was the woman who was working the desk--and she was very knowledgable.. Seemed like a local gathering spot for some the town folk--and I'm guessing it's partly because of the very cute girls who were also working there.. As with the rest of the auto parts establishments I visited.. This one was just as great..

    Yeah.. sorry.. this is going in backward-chronological order..
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  27. RHRH3P
    Joined: Mar 7, 2007
    Posts: 148


    Am I the only one that wants him to load it back up and make a run to Cali and back so we can follow this saga more? Honestly the best thread I think I have ever read. What a fantastic story and the pictures bring it all the life even more. Thank you so much for bringing us along. It takes dedication to keep posting when you had to be frustrated at time. Again thank you!
  28. hemifalcon
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 379


    Hahaha.. I knew someone would suggest such a thing.. Maybe an annual event of stealing a car from way out west and wheeling it al'a horsepower back to the midwest?? Is anyone going to do it from the east coast and do the full cross-country haul?? If you do--let me know and I'll head down to hi-five you as you drive on by!!
    And--you're welcome.. Allowing you to all revel in my misery was all part of the fun for me!! And--the helping hands and offerings for assistance made this site way more awesome..
  29. hemifalcon
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 379


    one thing I forgot to mention so far.... the cost of this trip in sheer wallet exercise.. I'm sure many of you are wondering.. Mind you--the truck and coupe had been purchased months ago.. These prices below are only for the strong-willed..
    Cost of the plane ticket.. $130 (one way to LA from Chicago)
    Cost of gas $964 (that I have receipts for)
    Costs of parts (broken down)

    -2 X Fan Belts $30.70
    -1 X Water Temp Sender $8.49
    -1 X Oil Pressure guage capillary tube $5.49
    -1 x Bottle of DOT 3 Brake Fluid $6.90 (I think I went through two of these though)
    -1 X Valve Cover Gasket $7.49
    -2 X Front Brake Hoses 25.90
    -1 X Rear Brake Hose $33.49 (didn't install it though as the original looked fine and rear brakes worked fine)
    - X -Miscellaneous washer $5.30
    -6ft of 3/8ths fuel hose $7.74
    -1 X Fuel Pump $22.99
    -1 X Thermostat Housing 22.99 (plus thermostat--$5.30, and gasket $0.70)
    -2 X Bolts for Thermostat Housing .50
    -1 X Positive Battery Cable $17.50
    -1 X PCV Valve grommet $2.75
    -1 X Gallon of Antifreeze $11.00
    -1 X Air Filter $4.86
    -1 X Battery $115.19
    -2 X Gear Oil $10.20
    -1 X Windshield wiper blade set $13.98
    -1 X Fuel Filler neck hose $8.94
    -1 X Fuel filter (can't find receipt)
    -5-10 cans of Brake Kleener (like $35.00)
    -Drip Pan for working on rear end and fuel pump (coupla bux)
    -2 X Red Rag bundles ($12.00?? or priceless depending on how you see them)
    -1 X Box of blue latex gloves.. They kept my hands moderately clean.. ($16.99)
    -1 X Grease gun and two tubes of grease ($36.99, $4.99ea)
    -1 X Roll of Teflon Tape ($2.49)
    -1 X Roll of Electrical Tape ($3.00)
    -2 X Hose Clamps (for fuel filler neck hose) $2.06
    -4 X Install of used tires leaving from Mariposa headed back to SD (I had these spare tires put on in BootJack, CA which were held by the previous owner.. I swapped them after seeing some separation following the 390 mile drive back to San Diego.. $66.50)
    -1 X Can of Liquid Wrench (Don't go anywhere where rusty bolts and nuts await you without this stuff.. $5.05)
    -Circuit Tester (cheapo-unit from AutoZone did the trick)
    -1 X 4-Way trailer connector
    -1 X Intake/Exhaust gasket set $8.99
    -2 X Exhaust Manifold stud kit $1.99 ea
    -1 X Exhaust Flange Gasket (donut) $2.49
    -1 X HeliCoil 3/8-16 repair kit for exhaust manifold stud that was stripped.. $20.91 (the guys at Iturriaga's NAPA in Battle Mountain, UT let me use their rechargeable Craftsman drill which was awesome..)
    -2 X Headlight Adjuster kits (these things are brittle in the old cars and trucks--expect that if you have a droopy headlight--these will be needed and they might as well be checked or replaced--I had to do two of them--one on each side)
    -4 X New Brake Drums (can't find the receipt for this.. But, the pictures of the drums and shoes shold tell you why i needed new ones vice just resurfaced ones) $45.50 ea X 4
    -2 X Sets of brake shoes for the front and back $32.20 each/pair
    -2 X Cotter pins for front hubs (had to also use an air hammer to knock out the rivets holding on the drums to the hubs.. The original drums were still on it from new..) $.015 ea
    -2 X Brake Hardware kits (I was able to free up the adjusters luckily.) $11.15 each
    -1 X Short steel brake line for the right front as someone mangled the original
    -1 X Set of Points $14.98 (bought an ignitio coil too--but then opted against it..trying my luck some more I suppose)..
    -1 X Rotor and Cap Set $5.69 and $7.99
    -6 X New spark Plugs $1.99 each
    -1 X New plug wire set $22.99
    -Spark Plug Gapper $1.99 (yeah--most you probably have one of these on your keychain right?? :) )
    -1 X Socket for the spark plugs $5.99
    -1 X Radiator Cap (the press-release one was leaking) $5.04
    -Tail Light bulbs (Extras) $3.33 (and the license light bulb was luckily working although it was inoperable when first picking up the truck.. no sense getting pulled over for such an easy fix..)
    -1 X Quart of 20W-50 oil for the beast--the valve seals leak a little--you never notice it in the exhaust color though--and the engine doesn't leak..

    I had to buy an assortment of tools from pretty much every one of the stops I made.. Luckily everything was SAE--no metric stuff on the truck at all. An assortment of closed end dog-bone wrenches, deep and shallow sockets, vice grips.. Flat and phillips screw drivers. Scrapers, a 1/2" drive wratchet, miscellaneous length extensions for whatever size ratchets you have... a magnet, flashlight, chisel, hammer, feeler gauges, pliers, adjustable wrenches, magnetic tray (helps when working in dirt and gravel--eases your mind about dropping bits that you'll never find again), camera (not exactly a tool), high-temp RTV, Blue and Red Loc-Tite, anti-seize compund.. And if you bring along with your GPS--have a real paper map as well. This is only a brief run down of things that I can recall while sitting here....

    Maybe tomorrow I'll run down a list of things that should be done before getting a 46 year old car on the road to drive 3000+ miles!!! Things that I have learned from this trip and a couple others which MUST be tended to and even some of those precautionary things...

    The total cost of this trip according to my credit card account is somewhere in the realm of $4800.00.. That's the total of it all..

    but--as I'm sure all of you will say.. The value however is priceless..

    Many of you guys and gals have posted on here your brief stories and tales of your adventures.. Many of them serve in their own right as bits of motivation--and helped along the road when my mind was clear enough to have a laugh about all the mayhem that was driving me... or was it me driving the mayhem?? Oh well--it was all worth it..

    One thing I forgot to add is that it's good having my military connections still as I was able to go onto Camp Pendleton during the first weekend when I drove down from Mariposa and use the Auto Hobby Shop.. I built my '62 Bug in that shop entirely except for the paint from 2004-2008.. All the folks working there remember me and have my picture up on their wall in the break room.. It was great to see them all again--and they all joked with me regarding the whereabouts of the old VW.. I told them all that there was something new in the wings (err, oldl)-- Having resources like that helped greatly when getting the big stuff outta the way--and parts ordered at the same location.. If you guys are in the military--make sure that you capitalize on such resources--

    Okay--that's enough for now..
    Thanks again HAMB...
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  30. old soul
    Joined: Jan 15, 2011
    Posts: 1,093

    old soul
    from oswego NY

    This storie is a knee slappen hoot.

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