Vancouver Regional Group goes "Beyond Hope"

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Joined:Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:38 pm
Vancouver Regional Group goes "Beyond Hope"

Post by pfindlay » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:45 pm

A few weeks ago, the Vancouver B.C. Regional Group held its annual tour. We gathered in the small town of Hope, B.C. about a hundred miles east of Vancouver. The tour was billed as being both historic and fun and that's what we got. We called it "Beyond Hope."
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At the tunnels parking lot
The first day we started out by driving to the nearby Othello tunnels. These tunnels were built in 1913 - 16 as part of the Kettle Valley Railway. After parking it was an easy walk to, and through, the three tunnels that were carved through the rock.
Entering the Othello tunnels
After the tunnels and a short tour through Hope, we headed up the Historic Fraser Canyon Highway (Hwy 1). This route follows the mighty Fraser River and was the route to the gold fields in central B.C. back in the 1800s. The original road was the Cariboo Wagon Road and at Spuzzum we got off the highway and followed drove some of the remaining part of the wagon road.
In the 1850s, this was the Cariboo Wagon Road, heading to the gold fields of B.C.
Further up the highway we stopped at the old Alexandra bridge. It was a bit of a hike down to it, but the 1912 suspension bridge crossing the Fraser River is still a magnificent site.
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The old 1912 bridge seemed to be calling for our cars to cross.
On our way back to Hope we stopped in at the tiny town of Yale, B.C. where we participated in their annual community pig roast. The cars were a hit, and so were the pigs. Earlier in the day we had visited the Yale Historic site for an interesting look at life in gold rush days.
Yale is an historic B.C. town dating back to the gold rush days.
Back in 1848, Yale was as far up the Fraser River as the steamships could carry the gold seekers. (The treacherous Hell's Gate is just a few miles upstream.) From Yale, passengers would travel by wagon to the gold fields about 200 miles away. As a result Yale was a booming gold rush town for about 20 years.
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On display at the community pig roast.
After dinner it was a short drive back to Hope for a pleasant evening with friends.

On the second day of our tour we visited the home/studio of noted chainsaw carver Pete Ryan. Pete has many carvings around the town of Hope and also been featured on a reality TV show. We watched as, in 15 minutes, he he turned a stump into a carving of an owl. We also had a chance to see his shop and gallery of beautiful carvings. They're not cheap - I might have been able to trade all the brass lamps on my Cadillac for a small one!
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Watching a world class chainsaw carver
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It took about 15 minutes for Pete to turn a block of wood into this owl.
After leaving the wood carver, we drove to the town of Agassiz, B.C. There we had lunch at the Agassiz Speedway. After lunch we drove the cars into the track for some fun and games. The track is a quarter mile banked (paved) oval. It was quite a sight to see all the brass era cars in this location. Our hosts at the track had never seen anything like it, I'm sure.
Entering the speedway yard.
The first event we held was timed laps. Each driver got to do one practice lap and then was timed for his second lap. The model Ts pretty much cleaned up here. Joe Davies (1911 Ford) was tops with a speed of 37.5 mph. Ernie Stepney (1914 Ford) was second at 36.9 mph. Joe's car has some period modifications and really goes well. He didn't even put the top down!
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Fastest car: 37.8 mph
In anticipation of this afternoon stop, I had loaded my 1913 Henderson motorcycle in my truck and it was really fun to try it out on the track. My speed was 31.8 mph. The bike was capable of going faster, but the rider was being cautious. Regardless, it was the highlight for me.
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1913 Henderson
Our second event was the bean bag drop. This an opportunity for the spouses and children to show their skills as their driver drove around the track (rather slowly, in some cases). We had some good laughs especially at the left hand drive roadsters, whose passengers had to find a way to get the beanbag over the driver's head and into the hoops located alongside the track.
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Tossing the beanbag.
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Skilled passengers can win this event for you.
The third event was a "LeMans Start" followed by a single lap. Drivers had to run across the track, start their car, and complete the lap. We began with a heat of four electric start cars. Here the challenge seemed to be just getting across the track to the car. It's been awhile since some of the guys ran the hundred yard dash, I guess. The Model T pickup was first off its mark, but the 1912 Hudson passed him on the first turn. (It wasn't supposed to be a race lap, but you know what happens ... )
The LeMans start
The real fun was the following heats for crank-starters. In the first heat, it was a pair of 14 Model Ts and a 1910 Buick. The Ts were off in a hurry, but the Buick, which normally starts easily, just wouldn't start. So, after watching the Fords complete their lap, the Buick was all ready for the next heat.
Gentlemen, run and start your engines!
The second heat saw the Buick lined up next to the 1913 Henderson, 1911 Chalmers, and a 1914 Model T. After some clarification of the rules and some friendly ribbing drivers were lined up the signal given.

Well, Steve's Model T starts on compression, so all he had to do was run over, flip the switch, and he was off. (Time for another rules clarification?) The Chalmers and the Henderson started easily on their cranks and they, too, were off. But the big Buick still refused to cooperate. Not today.
Starting the final heat.
So the three others completed their lap amid cheers and jeers from the onlookers and when it was all done, Bill rolled the Buick forward and it started with a cough and snuck into the pits. It was all great fun!
Lapping the Buick
There is a video of the LeMans Start event at this link:

The following morning we had a short drive along the Coquihalla River, where we saw more of the beautiful scenery of this area. Following that, it was time to load up and head home. It had been a great weekend, with a great balance of fun and history.
Last edited by pfindlay on Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

Joined:Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:39 am
Location:Grass Valley, CA

Re: Vancouver Regional Group goes "Beyond Hope"

Post by FullerMetz » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:48 pm

Wonderful tour report! Local history and fantastic cars. That is what makes a great tour.
Thank you for sharing it!

Joined:Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:15 pm
Location:Morristown, NJ

Re: Vancouver Regional Group goes "Beyond Hope"

Post by oldcarfudd » Sun Aug 07, 2016 4:33 am

Action shots, a video, and a great description of what must have been a fun weekend. Super write-up!

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder

Joined:Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:32 pm

Re: Vancouver Regional Group goes "Beyond Hope"

Post by romanze7 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:25 am

Nice pic pfindlay it very beautiful.


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