Oh, How We Crept and Crawled!

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Posts: 157
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:15 pm
Location: Morristown, NJ

Oh, How We Crept and Crawled!

Post by oldcarfudd » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:26 am

The Rambler fords a stream
The first official Creepy-Crawly is over, and we learned a lot.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, this Creepy-Crawly provided alternative shorter, easier routes to the joint AACA/HCCA Reliability Tour. The intent was to encourage slow, primitive vehicles that are overtaxed even by one-and two-cylinder tours. In addition to my one-lung Cadillac, we had Reggie and Cindi Nash’s canopy-topped, rear-entrance 1904 Rambler, Bob and Louise Nunninks’s 1909 Renault roadster (aka Fifi), and Keith Young Sr. and Jr.’s 1902 Locomobile steamer, with Vic Walker going along as the Youngs’ mechanician. Doug and Beverly Tomb were scheduled to bring a Chase high-wheeler truck but alas, it was not ready.

The tour was marred on Sunday evening by a serious accident that could have been much worse. Climbing a long hill on a route we shared with the big cars, the Locomobile seemed to have ample steam pressure but somehow couldn’t get it to the engine. The brakes didn’t hold in reverse, and the car started to roll backward down the hill. Mechanician Vic Walker, driving behind, tried to stop the runaway with his rental car, but the Loco bounced off it and capsized; in retrospect, that was probably better than continuing to accelerate backward down the hill. The Youngs were very, very lucky to get by with minor scrapes. They are still trying to analyze why the car didn’t proceed. The car will need some repairs to its wooden body, probably a rebuilt wire wheel, and new patent-leather fenders.

(It wasn’t just the Creepy-Crawlers who had troubles. The big car tour had several flat tires, blown rear ends, broken rods, and one violent disagreement between a Ford and an Overland as to which was entitled to occupy a specific piece of real estate. Changing the name to Unreliability Tour was briefly considered.)

Except for some light rain on Thursday afternoon, the weather was excellent. The Creepy-Crawly routes averaged 40 miles, were scenic, and went to interesting places. (Full disclosure: I have to say something nice about the C-C routes, since I wrote them myself.) The Nunninks found Monday’s C-C hills a bit strenuous for Fifi even though, with their intermediate gear, they easily outclimbed my Cadillac; they used their Model T the rest of the week and drove with the big cars. So, Tuesday through Friday, the C-C consisted of me and the Nashes. Tuesday and Friday we all shared the lunch stop, though we got there and back by different routes. The other days we didn’t see the other tourists. But every day we saw lots of Amish buggies.

Monday we went to the National Watch and Clock Museum, followed by an old-time drug store that had a lunch counter with great food and ice cream. Tuesday we drove to Lititz, went through three covered bridges, toured the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory and the Wilbur Chocolate Factory, and had top-notch ice cream. (Is there an echo in here?) In the evening we joined the others at a park for home-made ice cream produced with an old hit-and-miss engine – eat it fast before it melts! Wednesday we went through two covered bridges, visited Amish upholsterer Chris Petersheim (he did my ’12 Buick, and will make new patent-leather fenders for the Youngs’ Loco), and had Amish-prepared food for lunch.

Thursday included four miles of pot-holed dirt roads with three low-water creek fordings –FUN! Although the following day, when the big boys went that way, some were heard to grouse about the condition of the road. Beats me why, since that would have been a good road, back in the day. Lunch was in a quaint country pub. On the way to lunch, Cindi Nash noted that we were passing a house with old gas pumps in the yard and several big outbuildings; she wondered whether there were cars to see. Yup, there were – three Grand National Model As and three 1960s Corvettes. That night there was a gaslight parade through the retirement community that encircled the host hotel.

Friday everyone met up at the Robert Fulton (he of steamboat fame) birthplace for a catered box lunch. Then we went to see Robert Lefevre’s gargantuan collection of ancient farm machinery, mostly tractors. AACA Executive VP Don Barlup was photographed contemplating a purchase. If this place is ever broken up and sold at auction, all GPS coordinates will be wrong, since the shift in the earth’s center of gravity will perturb its orbit. At the final banquet that night, I won the coveted Oldest Driver Award for the first time. Oh, goody! Another milestone!

There will be other Creepy-Crawlies. There might even be one at the HCCA convention next March in Kerrville, Texas. Watch this space. Now, will someone please write up the big car tour?

Gil Fitzhugh the Elder
Don Barlup wonders whether this gem is for sale.

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Joined: Fri May 03, 2013 2:14 am

Re: Oh, How We Crept and Crawled!

Post by Rrdoubleday » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:25 pm

I enjoyed your story on the tour. Hope to see more on this tour.

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

Re: Oh, How We Crept and Crawled!

Post by FullerMetz » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:29 am

Thank you GFtE for the report! Someday? Maybe? I will have something driveable that may go on such an event.
Safety is an issue. I much prefer to keep antiques as close to "as was" as is reasonable. Some early cars do have serious brake considerations however (first year CDOs for instance). I am very grateful that it was not worse, and hope to hear soon that the Locomobile is back to wonderful and running well (they usually do well on hills). I wonder if a minor modification would improve the brakes. It often does not take much.
Thank you for all you do!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2

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