Alone through the desert from Salt Lake City to Reno

When we leave Salt Lake City and I-80 the landscape turns empty and the traffic dies down. We follow the salt desert until we reach Wendover UT, where we visit the legendary Bonneville Raceway., the home of high speed racing for more than a hundred years. The day we visit you are allowed to drive out on the salt. We don´t since it would probably take several days to clean the car properly.

Foto 2017-06-11 13 07 52
Foto 2017-06-11 13 13 59

After Wendover we drive some of the loneliest roads out there, highway 93 and highway 50, nicknamed "The Lonliest Road in America". In the evening we reach Ely NV, a small town seemingly surviving on casinos and memories of glory days when it was a regular stop on the route from Hollywood to Sun Valley ID where the movie stars and the rich and famous went skiing at the time. We even accidentally happen to stay in the hotel where they used to stay, The Hotel Nevada, the tallest building in the state back in the day. We find good food and good beer in Ely too, served in a cell at The Jailhouse Steakhouse. The town turs out to be a gold mine for old cars and to have an actual copper mine which supports it quite well.

Foto 2017-06-11 15 12 24
Foto 2017-06-11 15 14 37
Foto 2017-06-11 15 58 18
Foto 2017-06-11 19 13 57
Foto 2017-06-11 21 21 21
Foto 2017-06-12 10 18 34
Foto 2017-06-12 10 12 13
Foto 2017-06-12 10 57 19

A full day on highway 50 takes us to Fallon NV, by way of places like Eureka, Austin and Middlegate Station, an old Pony Express and stage coach station which is still in business but now serves as a roadhouse with bar restaurant and hotel, in a awesome rustic style.

Foto 2017-06-12 16 13 19
Foto 2017-06-12 16 12 23

In Fallon we spend the night at Hans friends Michael and Lory´s house. They treat us to dinner at the house along with some colleagues of Michael's from the airbase. The following day we are let into the base and shown around the home of amongst other activities the navy's Top Gun school. An unreal experience for anyone who's seen the movie. We also have our picture taken with an old F-14. We feel like Tom Cruise and celebrate by washing the car at Top Gun Car Wash.

Foto 2017-06-13 11 22 54
Foto 2017-06-13 10 46 35
Foto 2017-06-13 13 39 56

In Reno we stay in comfort and at little cost at the GSR, the Grand Sierra Resort. Lodging in Reno is often inexpensive in theory at least if you can refrain from gambling. We visit Sierra Classics and Imports and see some nice old cars for sale, before rounding off the evening at a couple of brewpubs. We had to make it two because the first one didn't serve any food.

Foto 2017-06-13 17 41 16
Foto 2017-06-13 18 27 08

The following day we start out by visiting the National Automobile Museum where the remains of the Harrah collection is, about 200 cars out of the original 1400. It is interesting to learn that they early on established a standard for restorations after an embarrassing incident where Hannah was showing a car that was incorrect. That's how to deal with set backs.

Foto 2017-06-14 10 23 38
Foto 2017-06-14 11 27 17
Foto 2017-06-14 11 32 59
Foto 2017-06-14 10 42 02
Foto 2017-06-14 11 30 52
Foto 2017-06-14 11 38 42

The wild wild west. The prairie provides fun museums, great steaks and the old trails.

Once back in Omaha we discover a flat tire. It turned out to be the valve o-ring and all that was needed to fix the tire was to air it up. Thankfully there was nothing wrong with the new bought tires.

Omaha beef is a well established brand for a reason, passing through beef and cowboy country we eat steak every day and sleep like the dead every night.

Following a total brain collapse where we had planned on participating in the Tuesday night cruise-in on Wednesday night, we left our much appreciated Omaha to start heading west again. The first day offers exciting museums, such as Strategic Air Commands museum in Ashland NE with a large collection of airplanes, mostly bombers. As we go west we notice that we either follow or cross some of the old trails of the frontier, The Oregon trail, The California trail, The Mormon trail and last but not least given our choice of transportation, The Pony Express trail.

Foto 2017-06-08 08 48 28
Foto 2017-06-08 07 57 11

From Ashland we come to Lincoln to visit Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed, an overwhelming collection of race cars and engines. An unexpected bonus is that the museum is next door to Speedway Motors headquarters. We visit the shop of course, but unfortunately all our purchases had all ready been taken care of.

Foto 2017-06-08 09 25 21
Foto 2017-06-08 10 08 16
Foto 2017-06-08 10 01 06
Foto 2017-06-08 10 36 03

After Speedway we stop to look at a bunch of cars in front of a body and paint shop. The cars are in various degree of either restoration or disintegration. Doug Kielian, the shop owner came out and talked with us for quite a while. It turned out he was a personal friend of Speedy Bill, founder of Speedway Motors, he had lots of stories about some of Speedys adventures, about his own and about junkyard tours in the area arranged by a Swedish friend of his. In addition to being skilled craftsman, Doug comes across a goodhearted man. His shop is run partly as a social project to help delinquent kids straighten out their lives through learning a craft, successfully iy seems after we have seen pictures of cars that were exhibited at SEMA among other shows. Doug also must have a weekness for old cars as he tells us the story of when he bought 13 cars at a junkyard auction, without knowing how he was going to pay for them, just to save them from the crusher. Speedy Bill helped him out and some of the cars are still sitting behind the shop, awaiting restoration. You find the full story here:

. https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2011/12/29/these-cars-saved-a-report-from-the-maxwell-junkyard-auction/

Foto 2017-06-08 11 20 02
Foto 2017-06-08 11 17 43
Foto 2017-06-08 11 17 25

Doug insists we need to see the Pioneer Village museum in Minden NE, therefore we spend the night in Kearney, but not before we have visited The Classic Car Collection in Kearney, a large collection of excellent restored cars, most of which were originally donated by the Taulborgs.

Foto 2017-06-08 15 56 27
Foto 2017-06-08 15 14 23
Foto 2017-06-08 15 08 59
Foto 2017-06-08 15 25 16

Pioneer Village on the other hand is an old frontier style theme park that takes up a couple of city blocks in Minden NE. Among other large collections of all kinds of things they have large collections of old cars, all of them in authentic, dusty unrestored condition that just melts my heart.

Foto 2017-06-09 11 06 40
Foto 2017-06-09 10 43 15
Foto 2017-06-09 10 42 27
Foto 2017-06-09 10 47 52

The next museum on our list is Chevyland in Elm Creek NE. Here there is no doubt that the glory days are in the past. Of all the typically impressive models that we see in magazine scraps from the 80's and the 90's that seem to have been there back then, only a 58 Impala remains today. The rest of the collection is more low key and in addition to the chevys it contains an ecclectic group of cars, for instance Mercedes, VW etc. The cars are in the same appealingly unrestored condition as they were in Pioneer Village. Nebraska really surprised us with its good museums and its nice towns and cities. We can tell we are in the west because more and more we see old trucks and cars behind the houses along the road.

Foto 2017-06-09 21 29 44
Foto 2017-06-09 18 17 18
Foto 2017-06-10 08 30 38

After Chevyland we face a couple of days of hard core driving. Our first stop is Laramie WY, where we find yet another excellent brew pub, providing us with good food and good beer. We also find a bar with live music to close the evening. Next day is a full day on I-80. We chose to go 65 mph in our old car to not push it too hard and also to not push ourselves too hard, since we have the top down. The speed limit is 80 and everybody passes us.

Foto 2017-06-10 14 20 19
Foto 2017-06-10 15 09 39
Foto 2017-06-10 15 16 34
Foto 2017-06-10 19 47 47 (1)

That evening we arrive in Salt Lake City where there is yet another brew pub with good food and an amazing beer selection.

Go west old man, Chicago to Omaha

After a few days of intense big city life in Chicago, the road to wards the west and prarie is beginning to look interesting. It's time to move on, to see new roads and new places. To keep our schedule (and our flights home, out of Omaha) we leave really early on Saturday morning. One way to make a grown person really unhappy, is to tell him he's missing the Corvettemeet the following morning. On a Sturday morning even the Chicago traffic is reasonable and we are quickly on our way. Passing through Illinois we see some really nice towns such as for instance St Charles.

IMG_3219
Foto 2017-04-22 16 09 54
Foto 2017-04-22 17 02 28

As we enter Iowa, the scenery become even more rural and agricultural, the farms there are enormous. In Iowa we also find Iowa 80, the worlds biggest truck stop, an entire Interstate world, complete with fuel station of coirse, but also shops and restaurants, dentist laundry, movie theater. There is also a trucking museum.

Foto 2017-04-22 20 15 10
Foto 2017-04-22 19 14 39
IMG_3226

After this overwhelming experience we arrive in Cedar Rapids, it´s Saturday night and unfortunately the classic car place is closed. But we find a nice brew pub with good food and beer, and after that a red neck bar with good live music, before we turned in at the Red roof inn.

The following morning we took off early to be able to catch breakfast at the Lincoln caf'e in Mount Vernon, a classic roadside restaurant offering traditional american breakfast.After breakfast we discover the closed down hotel across that street, an old gas station down the street and an old Studebaker pick-up for sale by owner, for anyone who appreciates a big challenge.

Foto 2017-04-23 12 29 18
Foto 2017-04-23 12 20 26
Foto 2017-04-23 12 30 08
Foto 2017-04-23 12 20 34

At last we arrive in Omaha, which turns out to be a nice and pretty about the same size as Gothenburg. We find good food, good beer and a good mechanic who looks over the car and changes out the speedometer cable. We also find storage for the car and an airport to go home and prepare for the next leg of the trip.

It´s 106 miles to Chicago…

it´s actually a bit more from Detroit, especially if you start out like we did and head north on Woodward avenue, the classic street racing venue. Before we got that far however, we stumbled over Les Stanford Chevrolet, the dealer who claims to be the biggest in the US on Corvettes. They had 45 in lot and another 400 in inventory, making the statement seem credible. A surreal experience (especially for a Corvette lover) no classics of course, but very nice cars in unreal numbers. The city of Detroit made a partly worn down impression.

IMG_2890
IMG_2885
IMG_2882
IMG_2891

From Pontiac, the end of Woodward, we drove west, towards Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corner, an amazing museum in an area where probably the residents are fewer in number than the cars in the museum. On our way over we passed Dowling where we made a roadside find in a closed down gas station, a 55 Chevy!! Unfortunately priced safely out of the bargain zone.

IMG_2900
IMG_2902
IMG_2906

The afternoon when we arrived at the museum was not enough time to see everything, so we spent a night in nearby Kalamazoo, a nice little university town with plenty of brew pubs. Another night with good food and good beer.

IMG_3059
IMG_2925
IMG_2909
IMG_3044

In case you wonder, the Cobra is real and the Vette is a 53!!

After a return visit to Gilmores we stopped at Corvette Central in Sawyer MI so that I could think about my own cars for a change and order some parts.

Our next stop was South Bend, where the national Studebaker museum is located. We arrived too late for the museum and chose to stay, spending another night with good food at brew pubs.

The next morning we learned that this was the one day in the year when the museum is closed to the public. Feeling cheated we rolled west towards Illinois, but not without stopping at another museum in La Porte, where there were some more cars, amongst others the car Playboy which is said to have inspired a certain Hugh Hefner when he was looking for a name for a magazine he started in the 40´s.

IMG_3087
IMG_3088
IMG_3093

After La Porte the next stop was Joliet, time for some film nostalgia, before we finally drove up to Chicago.

IMG_3102
IMG_3103
IMG_3113

Chicago with it´s atmosphere, it´s blues clubs and it´s cultural life is a high light on any trip. This time there was also a Rolling Stones exhibit in town, adding to the excitement.

IMG_3124
IMG_3117
IMG_3154
IMG_3141

Dearborn/Detroit and National Mustang Day

 

IMG_2734
IMG_2794
IMG_2801
IMG_2759
IMG_2780
IMG_2809
IMG_2793
IMG_2798
IMG_2819

By lucky coincidence we found info on the internet about The National Mustang Day Event in Dearborn Detroit. To avoid embarressing ourselves we had the car washed the night before. Naturally it rained in the morning.

Anyway, it was clear that the Mustang people in Detroit are as difficult to deter as any other car people. At 9 am cars were gathering in the Ford world headquarters parking lot, just over one hundred cars all in all. A cool mixture of all different generation Mustangs and a very friendly and social mixture of people who made us long distance visitors feel more than welcome. After some initial mutual admiration, we went over to Gateway Classic Cars for coffee and to view the inventory which was impressive. Prices were also impressive and not for those too shy to negotiate. I found a 68 GTO, my old old high school car! If only the price had been a bit lower...

The next stop was at Mike Berardi, a chief engineer at Ford and a Mustang collector. Mike sold icecream for charity and took good care of his guests. We were served pizza and soft drinks while we admired Mikes 43 Mustangs. The Italian Mustang owners club have posted a nice videoclip on youtube:

A fun day which made a couple of Swedes feel right at home. As is often the case in the car hobby, the cars are nice and interesting, but in the end it´s the people we meet who make the big difference.

On our way

Finally we were on our way. Early Monday morning we left the house in Virginia Beach, following the coast north towards New York to get to the official starting point for the Lincoln Highway, Times Square,

 

 

Monday night we came upon a spontaneous cruise in just outside of New York. The more organized activities will start up next week, but it was fun to see some nice cars. Already on our first day it became evident that most people we meet, at least those old enough, have a relationship to the Mustang and love to talk about it. We get lots of thumbs up, compliments on the car and even tips on things to see on our trip.

Tuesday morning started early as we got up in time to be on Manhattan at dawn, 6.23 when the sun rose over the horizon was our chosen starting time. As we rode out, watching the lines of traffic heading into town we felt smart.

 

 

Driving two lane blacktops instead of the freeways allows us to see a lot of the surroundings, for instance a late 70's Corvette behind a gas station. But the first couple of days didn´t give us much in the way of classic cars, hardly any in traffic and very few in the surroundings. On our way through Amish country in Pennsylvania we saw some really old fashioned vehicles.

 

 

We spent Wednesday at Gettysburg, soaking up American history and civil war history, everything is very well organized and vey impressive, but nevertheless the lasting impression is one of afterthought. Aside from historical monuments, Gettysburg offers nice coffee shops, bars and restaurants. It is still early in the season and not at all crowded. We stay in a classic motel with the car outside the room.

 

 

Tomorrow we continue west towards Pittburgh.

 

Road trip!

Hasses Mustang

A road trip is one of the best uses for your old car, but it´s always a bit of an adventure, especially when you travel far.

My friend Hasse has lived in the states for quite a few years and now it´s time for him to move back to Sweden. One of the first things he did after he arrived in the states was to buy a Mustang, a 65 convertible. He has restored it and it is a really nice car. Before he goes home he wants to drive it coast to coast.

If Hasse had lived on the west coast such an idea would have had some logic to it, getting it closer to the cars ultimate destination in Europe, but Hasse is on the east coast about three hours from the shipping harbour in Baltimore. When we began to look into things we discovered that shipping from San Francisco was actually a few dollars cheaper. That gave us the rationale we needed (opting to shut our eyes to the expense of the road trip). We contacted our friends at Nordtrafik and sorted out all the practical questions about shipping and import procedures.

Then we began planning our road trip. Hasse took the car for some shakedown trips.

 

Discovering some issues, but it´s better to deal with problems before the trip than facing them en route. With new tires and new brakes the car is in great shape for the trip.

Monday we leave Virginia Beach for New York, where we enter The Lincoln Highway at Times Square, heading for San Francisco. This is the oldest transcontinental highway, dating back to 1913. We will pass places such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit ( a detour) and Chicago, but above all we will travel two lane blacktops, visiting the small towns, with our eyes open for all kinds of discoveries, from historical sites to barn find cars.

Join us on our adventure and share our discoveries

A life of cars - how did it start?

 

IMG_2296
IMG_2613
IMG_2323
IMG_2314
IMG_2615
IMG_2324
IMG_2306
IMG_2616
IMG_2337

A lifetime of cars, how did that happen? It must have started when I was a kid, in the attic somewhere I still have a box of beat up toy cars. Then it got worse.

In the early 70´s when I was in my pre teens I discovered a car dealership specialized in older American cars, they weren´t classics at the time, they were not old enough or respected enough, but they were cool!

Amréns Americans were located out in the countryside, but that didn´t stop my friends and I from riding our bikes out there and fantasize about the cars we would own one day. It was there that I saw my first Corvette, a black ´59, the speedometer went to 160 mph...

I started reading car magazines and a few years later I went to the US as an exchange student. I wasn´t supposed to drive but somehow I managed to persuade everybody involved that it would be a good idea. I got my drivers license and I bought a 59 El Camino to restore and a 68 GTO that was my high school car. I was in heaven.

Almost 40 years later, I realize my whole life has revolved around cars, and not just cars, but old, classic cars (they have earned some respect by now). Our son came home from the hospital when he was born, in our classic Volvo, because at the time the other options were a Corvette and a pick-up truck, none of which would seat three people.

I have bought a few cars over the years, but sold even fewer, so I have a little collection. I really enjoy the uncomplicated mechanics of my old cars, especially the American cars, that allow me to work on them even though I am far from a mechanic. But even more I enjoy and I appreciate the car events and the people I meet there. This blog is my personal view of the car hobby. I hope some of you will enjoy reading about the events and the mishaps in my life, that has become a Classic Car Way Of Life