Freakin’ out the Squares! Bombin’ the A-Bone down to Santa Maria 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
It was one of those things you decide about a month out, “Hey, lets get the Model A put back together and take it to that Santa Maria Car Show!”
I’d never been to this show, it was where the West Coast Kustoms show moved after the city of Asshole Robles kicked them out, and I figured it’d be a great destination for the model A. I’ve also always wanted to follow Highway 1 all the way down and I figured what better mode of transport than the roadster? A plan was forged!
Two weeks of thrashing got the body panels welded back together, 1932 Ford dash with the 1931 Chevy cluster opening installed, a 1940 Ford Steering column and wheel installed, trunk hinges installed, a trunk floor fabricated, sending unit installed in my spun aluminum tank and tons and tons of other little stuff.
Saturday morning we pack the car and we’re off! Thirty seconds after launching the little road rocket off the freeway on ramp my beanie decides it’s not ready to leave Tracy so it jumps ship.
We’re cruising right along with the flow of traffic on 580 through Pleasanton and fifth gear mysterious disappears. Just like that… one second its there, next it feels like its in neutral. No worries, it’s a Borg Warer T5, weve still got four more gears and the rearend is sporting 2.76 gears.
Everything was chugging along fine, we made it over the San Mateo Bridge just fine. See video below.
We must have been quite the spectacle as a car full of Asian chicks video drove up next to us and videotaped us as they drove by.
About ten minutes in San Mateo the car begins to sputter and dies and I pilot the car off the road.
A quick inspection reveals a fuse has blown. Replacing the fuse results in another blown fuse, so I get to checking the wiring. I install a 20 amp one and that one doesn’t blow. However, the high-zoot fuel pump is not making it’s usual “whirrrrrrrrrrr”. Checking out the wiring, it’s on the same power circuit I have the fuel gauge on which is still working.
I needed to check the wiring at the fuel pump to make sure I had juice there, but I didn’t pack a test gauge or trouble light. Looking over the car I realized that a headlight could be easily unbolted and used as a test light.
That’s when CHP officer C.W. pulled up. He was cool, just wanted to make sure everything was okay, I let him know what had happened and he said he’d hang out for a while until we figured out what went wrong.
Sure enough the electric fuel pump was toast, so after a 45 minute wait AAA got there an towed us to the nearest auto parts store.
A new fuel pump and some more fuses for peace of mind and she fired right up and we were on our way again!
The rest of the cruise down 92 was peaceful and fun, a light coastal drizzle peppered us for a couple minutes until we turned left onto Highway 1 and made our way south. Again we because the target of someone with a video camera and they followed us for several minutes while taping us.
These next couple pictures are kinda neat because it’s real close to where I took a picture of my old ’57 Chevy truck with the cowl to this car in the back of it. See it here: This car’s cowl in the back of my old 1957 Chevy Truck!
The few pictures are just random coolness as we made in down the coast. There was a little traffic in one area where some spots where the road had to be repaired
We stopped for lunch at the Safeway in Santa Cruz. Deli Sammiches, chips and soda pops.
Continued our blast down Highway 1, seeing some excellent sights and having fun in the little car. Little more coastal drizzle, but that felt great as we bombed on down the highway in the hot rod.
Another really cool turnout! I loved driving down Highway 1!
Our gas tank was getting low so we rolled into the Lucia Lodge to ask where the next gas station was. The lil’ ol’ lady at the counter said either 12 miles up the road, right before the road was out, or 23 miles back the way we came. The roadster again became the target of an avid photographer and some old fart talked to his wife about the glory days when he had one just like it!
We kept pace with a Rolls Royce Silver Phantom for a while, and waved at them as they drove by when we pulled over to take a few pictures, and them likewise.
Cruising with the Rolls Royce was a neat experience, one of those Ying and Yang, black and white, light and darkness kind of things.
One car was large, heavy, quiet, slow, and the epitome of luxury. It was valuable and rare, appreciated by only a few “upper crusties”.
The Model A was small, nimble, and fast, powered by loud V8 with very little interior accouterments. They made millions of Model As and were once the automobile of the workin’ class.
Apparently the road was out, as in, part of the hill slid over the whole road, but that was the closest gas station because the little car was definitely not going to make it 23 more miles. We had a hope that we would make it…. but we didn’t.
It was humorous and we were in great spirits, a little walking wasn’t going to hurt us. We were already really delayed, so we got out and started walking towards the nearest gas station.
Luckily, right after we got up the first hill in the distance my eyes made out a sign that said G A S. Gas! We were stranded. Our excitement was refreshed and our pace was quickened when a dude in a Dodge truck pulled up next to us asking “Is that your rat rod back there?” I confirmed that it was and he offered to tow us up to the gas station.
Dave was one cool good hearted dude! He hauled us over to the gas station and then gave us directions on a tiny one lane road over the mountains to a military base that would put us out on Highway 101.
The gas prices at the little station were outrageous; Premium was $5.89 a gallon! But they knew they had you cornered (literally, the road was closed right after the gas station!), I was relieved to simply find gas so I filled up the little 11 gallon aluminum tank up.
We thanked Dave and got back on the road. We found the little road that Dave had mentioned and took off up a steep hill with a very steep drop off. The weather turned into dense moist coastal fog and the way was very wet, but as long as we kept the car moving we stayed pretty dry.
After we got off the mountain it dried out as the road flattened out. We’d begun to pick up our pace again when what should we see off the side of the road? A tank!! A freakin’ TANK!!
We crawled all over that for a while before went back and checked the car out, turned out the lugs on the front right wheel had been working themselves loose so we tightened those up and got back on the road.
We drove though a military base which was cool but kind of had that eerie “You’re being watched” feeling. Right after we made it through it was about dusk and I opened it up and we were moving again. I had one of the best feelings as we drove on, we were the only ones around as we drove down a long straight road in a canyon. Maybe it’s one of those “You had to be there” deals.
Night fell and the lakes pipes were hot. They glowed a cherry red as we flew, a six inch long blue flame projecting out of the center. We stopped in Paso Robles at Vons to get food, beer, and firewood, then I showed Jonny the square where one of the coolest car shows used to be.
A little more time on 101 South brought us to Pismo Beach and our campground, lucky #13. We roared through the campsite, because everyone loves lakes headers at nearly midnight. We missed our spot originally because some hippy squatters didn’t think anyone was going to show up, but we did. It was 11:30 and drizzling lightly again, so we made haste in making a fire and getting tent up, drinking beers and eating a few of these awesome hot turkey italian sausages I can’t find up here in NorCal.
Next morning the sun was shining and the day was gorgeous!! I went for a quick walk down the beach and around the campground before waking Jonny up and heading to the show.
I forget my digital camera when I went to the show, but I bought a disposable one which is being developed as we speak…. errr…. as you read this… so… Santa Maria car show photos soon!
I bought a scatter shield for a Chevy for $40 at the swap meet there.
After the show, we hit another Vons in Santa Maria for more sammiches and food for that evening. Came back to the camp spot, the vagrants were gone. Jonny took a nap, and I drank a six pack of beer and wandered around. Around sundown an old biplane came over the beach and practiced his smoke trails. It was pretty cool!
Next morning we packed up, fired up the Model A, got gas, and then hit the beach and bombed around on it for a while. I got to drive my freakin’ hot rod on the beach!!
I parked the Model A so I could get a few snap shots, then took off, hit a coffee shop on our way out of town.
About an hour into the trip home it began stuttering again and a quick diagnosis at a gas station revealed that the fuel pressure regulator had crapped out and was barely letting any fuel through. I bypassed it and got a full 7 psi to the carb, and she was a happy car again!
We made the rest of the trip home without any more drama. I really had a blast despite all the drama, I had a good mentality about everything the whole time. After all, they say “The Difference Between Ordeal and Adventure is Attitude!”
While I’m kinda sad the trip is over, I’m already looking forward to next year’s road trip, and hopefully less complications along the way!