Three days running and still going (but almost falling apart)

Day 3: depart Little River Inn (sadly)

lunch at Boonville

finish at Solage Hotel in Calistoga

total distance: 189 miles

We were up quite late last night implementing a McGyver style fix for the gear oil leaking out of our differential and all over my right rear brake drum. Mike and I filled the hole that was missing a threaded plug with Permatex Gasket silicone while Jack preformed his nightly ritual of adding 16 ounces of gear oil to the leaking differential. The entire time Will illuminated our work area with his ’57 Porsche Speedster headlights (which sounded like it ran with a diesel engine) and continuously asked us if we needed any duct tape.

In the morning, a section of the hotel parking lot had been coverted into a makeshift garage. The Yoshida Pre-War Jaguar SS-100 (all the way from Tokyo) was getting a new Fuel pump while the ’57 light weight Giuletta was getting some attention as well.   We needed to swap the right front wheel with our spare because we had worn the tire bald, but since the floor jacks were being used I decided to join my Jack for a quick breakfast.  When learned upon our return 30 minutes later that Mark (co-driver of the spectacular ’42 Alfa Romeo 6C2500 SS) had gratiously changed our wheel for us while we were eating.  He reminded us to check that the knock-off was really well seated after driving 5-10 miles.  We did and it was.

I don’t want to forget to mention Jeff Walker & Bill Crowley, who represented Chubb Collector Car (a major sponsor of the California Mille) providing mechanical support.  It was really helpful that they are true gear heads (Bill has several hot rods that keep him busy while Jeff is a muscle car and motorcycle fanatic whose dad was a drag racer and auto restorer). Together with the incomparable Conrad Stevenson & Jere Brown (Cal Mille mobile mechanics extraordinaire), their tireless and heroic wrenching assistance helped keep the 70 entrant cars on the road. Jack and I are especially grateful for Jeff & Bill’s assistance because they transported our spare wheel & tires for the entire route–without which we would have been side-lined after the second day–while Jere hauled our tool bags.

I encourage you to check out Jeff Walker’s Cal Mille blog on the Chubb Collector Car Insurance site.

After a brief drivers meeting, the 65-or-so cars still running departed the Little River Inn on a beautiful but warm drive through Ukiah, Comptche & Navarro then throught the Hendy Woods State Park on our way back to the coast.  Jack and I really enjoyed the cooler coastal temperature through Greenwood, Elk and all the way down to Manchester (just before Point Arena) and then headed inland with ambient temperature steadily rising to the 90s on our way to lunch in Boonville.  We arrived at the Boonville  Hotel totally dehydrated from riding in the Rally cockpit enduring a constant temperature in the 150 degree range and were thrilled to be offered two cups of cold cider as soon as we walked in.

The afternoon run was a relatively short but challening 91 miles from Boonville to Calistoga via routes 128, 175 and 29.  Once we arrived in Calistoga, it was time to change our left front tire which was now worn bald.  Since we used the spare wheel in the morning, we would have to change the tire and tube tonight.  We decided to put off maintenance until after dinner.

When we returned to our car after dinner, I also noticed that 2/3 of the body fasteners holding the lower front side panels had fallen off on the rough drive of the past two days!  Alex (on the Engineering crew at the Solage) generously gave us all the fasteners we needed to get the Rally back together and road-worthy for the last day of driving.

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Make-shift garage in the Little River Inn parking lot. Site of our early morning bonding session with the mechanics (Jere Brown & Conrad Stevenson) and other entrants

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1937 Jaguar SS-100 from Tokyo gets a new fuel pump

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our Rally (at left) waits for a jack to free up so we can change the first of our three tires worn bald by the hard driving on rough roads

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Time Warp: we stopped in Elk at the Greenwood Pier Inn to show Jack where his mom & dad honeymooned long before he joined the family

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Jack in front of the Greenwood Pier Inn. If his mom and I hadn’t honeymooned there, it’s possible that YOU WOULDN’T KNOW JACK

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Jack and I enjoy the view from the Cliff House at the Greenwood Pier Inn

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Jack’s expression in anticipation of the heat we’re about to endure when we leave the coast to head towards Boonville

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Late night tire surgery in the Engineer’s shed at the Solage Hotel. I was not only grateful to have Bill, Mike & Jeff’s company, but Mike & Jeff’s motorcycle racing experience was invaluable. Their helpful tips dramatically reduced the time it would have taken me to change the 5 x 19 Rally tire on my own.

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I think the engineer’s shed was my favorite facility at the Solage Hotel. Midnight tool time with Bill & Jeff (the Chubb Insurance guys) and Mike.

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new front left wheel mounted and missing body bolts replaced. Just need to top up the Engine and Differential Oil and we’ll be ready for another day.

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