The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (June 1 - June 15, 2014)
Sunday, June 1, 2014:
Last night ran late, and we didn't get to WiFi or email, so we get an extra dose of it today. When caught up we have time for one evening appointment with Bob Krzywicki in Arlington, VA. Good to see his MGA very close to the go-cart driving stage. It has been running, not sure if it has been driven yet. This one is well known on the BBS, having the half body cowl to secure the working parts in the cockpit, and a "racing seat" for good impression. Front fenders still have a lot of work to do, and some of the underbody still needs to be cleaned and primed, but it moves along as time and motivation permit.
Bob has a nice bead roller. This started life as a cheap hand cranked unit from Harbor Freight, but it was too flexible for any heavy gauge work. He welded on some angle iron for stiffening and added a power drive motor with gear reducer and foot control switch. Nice piece of work. The racing seat was an interesting practice piece.
The rubber tire wheels for his body dolly were also from Harbor Freight.
We retired to Burke Lake Park to camp for the night. Nice and quiet in the forest, considering how close it is to man roads.
Monday, June 2, 2014:
Heading up VA-123 today, destined for somewhere in Maryland before day's end.
Okay, dinner time finds us near Fredrick, MD. Trying to get away from the heavy traffic from D.C. and I-270. Anyone want to play spin the compass? An evening with no appointment, so good opportunity for a late night laundry stop.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014:
Early morning WiFi turns up an email from a nearby friend. Quick detour slightly south again to Germantown, MD, to see Tom Quinn and his MGA 1600. We managed to install a new distributor and give it a tune up, then take it for a test run. Man does this thing run! 1800 engine with a mid-range road cam, HS6 carburetors, and 2-1/4-inch exhaust (excitingly loud). The idle is a little rough below 1100 rpm, but it pulls okay from low speed. When it comes on cam around 3500-4000 rpm it scares the owner a bit, but sure is jolly good fun. It needed a small fix on a throttle return spring to eliminate sticking, and a hand brake cable bracket needs to be relocated to eliminate a rattle. Does anyone know where to find a vacuum advance tap on HS6 carburetors?
We had to knock off the follies after midnight, but I had already booked into Little Bennett Regional Park campground just up the road. Tom spotted a "LBC" sticker and bought one, wanting me to put it on my car.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014:
LBC (Little Bennett Campground) is very nice, so we book it for another night. Discovered my racing jacket was missing about midnight, so first business today is return to McD's in Frederick to retrieve the jacket from Lost and Found. A backlog of email and BBS eats time, and we do a bit of shopping. Weather is threatening in the evening, so we get back to camp, fix dinner, and dive into the tent just as rain starts.
Thursday, June 5, 2014:
Just rain, no big bow during the night, so all is well, and it stops raining in the morning. Good timing. Short run to McD's in Germantown for WiFi, and Tom Quinn joins us again briefly for breakfast. A stretch of BBS and email turns up another appointment.
In early evening we shuffle 100 miles east to the east side of Chesapeake Bay, where we re pleasantly surprised to have escaped the hassle and hustle of the big city. Small towns and some open fields here to go with mild rolling hills and less forest. We stop to visit Paul Hanley at his Blue Heron Cafe in Chesterton, MD, a very nice place with excellent food, highly recommended. Being the owner of the place he was rather busy during business hours, so we bailed out immediately after dinner.
Friday, June 6, 2014:
Early morning rising (for a change), and time to update the web page. We have an after lunch appointment with William OBrien in Newark, DE, anxious to see his 1954 MG TF and 1956 AH 100M. The TF was procured with a Volvo Engine, later switched back to a proper MG TF 1500 engine. The AH 100 is a certified original factory M-type.
Saturday, June 7, 2014:
Getting late after business last night, so we decided to skip the campground and take a midnight run into Philadelphia to check out streets with minimal traffic. The Simeone Automotive Museum is near PHL airport, we hear it has a marvelous collection of 60+ racing sport cars including a MG K3 from the '30s. We got as close as to drive past the locked gates late night, but that was it. Near the airport there are hotels and car and truck rentals all over, not much appealing to an MG. This is too much like driving around Chicago, not much to my liking. Also construction work on I-95 that is not too bad at night but must be dismal in mid day. In the end we decide to skip the museum and head up I-95 out of town, making New Jersey past Trenton by 1-am.
After a good snooze, in the morning light we do the obligatory WiFi thing, email, BBS, catch up with the MG gossip, then fire up a hard drive backup for the computer (which hadn't been done since April). Mid afternoon has us heading up to Annandale, NJ, to visit Paul Morrissette, who happens to have a nice MGA and MGC GT. After arrival I get the computer back to completing the hard drive backup (taking a lot longer than desired but necessary), which leaves time for a nice personal chat about all things MG.
Paul has time to prep the GT for a car show, then we do barbeque on the deck in beautiful weather, followed by a few tech sessions with the cars. My MGA does a show and tell, also getting a compression test as a quick diagnostic (with a clean bill of health). Paul's CGT was a slow starter getting out of the garage for clean up, then didn't start to go back in (no cranking). I wave a hand over it and pass a blessing on it, after which it starts right up (true no kidding) but runs rough. Then it gets a carburetor tuning and choke adjustment (which a pro shop had recently botched), and it purrs like a kitten. Pushing midnight again, time to catch some Z's.
Sunday, June 8, 2014:
Up early today to truck along west for the Keystone Region MG Club's "21st Annual British Motorcar Gathering" in Hellertown, PA. It was a great day in the park with about 230 British cars and the opportunity to meet a few old friends and lots of new friends. See following page for pictures galore.
After the show we follow an MGB south for a stay over with Nils and Margaret Ny in Yardley, PA. His toys include a daily driver BMW M-Type, a show condition MGB and restoration projects for MGA, Jag E-Type, and some big Healeys. We have dinner on the deck and late night chat, as well as time to post pictures of the car show and catch up with email and BBS in the quiet of the night.
Monday, June 9, 2014:
Luxury late sleep in, then catching up with WiFi stuff, followed by lunch and a nice mid day chat with the Ny's. Then high tail it north for an evening visit with Terry Kozo in Allentown, PA. He has a BGT in fresh paint bout ready for reassembly, and an MGA Twin Cam needing a bit of service. We get to fiddle (for a long time) with fitting a new oil filter to the Twin Cam, only to find that it leaks when running. After all the frustration it suddenly becomes a prime candidate for a spin-on oil filter adapter (job for another day).
Changing the oil filter is a nasty job on the Twin Cam.
Original style louvering for the Twin Cam Inner fender removable panels. Notice the double louvering with raised louvers on both sides of the panel. There is also a narrow slot punched between the facing louvers before forming, and a small keyhole at ends of the slots. This eliminates a sharp slit at ends of slots to make painting easier. Zinc plated Tinnerman fasteners are installed on the removable panel after painting.
Good news is the generator light went out while running, which deleted one line from the work list. After barbeque and a late night chat on the patio we toddle off to the nearby McD's for another WiFi connection before retiring for the night.
Looking for an oil filter O-ring seal
in Barney's traveling parts box.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014:
Day with no appointments does not mean day off for the Guru. Aside from catching up on the trip log, I had to try three different McD's to get a good WiFi signal.
Then I spent several hours making a new web page for wiper motor rebuild, and posting the CMGC club newsletter on line (not finished yet). At 9-pm in Pennsylvania, (8-pm Chicago time), I got a phone call from some Chicago club friends who were attending their monthly Natter 'n' Noggin. I guess they wanted to say they missed me, and wish me luck on the road trip. At least I was taking care of club business at the time. Found a nice place to camp in the forest near Bushkill, PA.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014:
A bit up the road in Milford, PA (Far eastern tip of the state), it is sneaking up on time for another oil change, so I picked up a case of oil at NAPA. Then I spent the entire day on WiFi finishing posting the CMGC newsletter on line, making a photo page for the club's Jo Davies County Tour, and catching up with tech questions and BBS. After dinner in a nice diner we indulged in a little late night side road wandering until turning in around midnight at Kingston, NY.
Thursday, June 12, 2014:
Spent the day cruising casually around the Catskills (Catskill Park, NY). Roads are narrow, hilly, winding through the forest, sometimes a little rough or slow, and generally delightful. Rain in morning, stopped raining remaining overcast for most of the run in the forest, and resuming rain as we returned to "civilization". Returned to Clifton Park on US-9 just north of Albany, NY for the night.
Friday, June 13, 2014:
Taking US-67 east over to Vermont. Found a couple of covered bridges along the way. The first is just off of NY-67 at Buskirk, NY. It says single lane, but you could get two LBCs through side by side in a pinch.
The second one is just off of VT-67A north of Bennington, VT. This one is definitely single lane.
Now mid day, sitting in Bennington, the sun just came out, and we're off to the Vermont information center for a Vermont map and to see if we can find more covered bridges. Oops, change of plans in 60 seconds (so what else is new).
I thought I'd rattle the cages in Vermont to see what might wake up. My club links list turns up "Berkshire British Motor Club", which appears to be in the tri-state corner of Vermont, Massachusetts and New York, very close. Treasurer has a PO box in Pownal, VT. President has a phone number, and it turns out to be only 5 miles away. A couple miles west and a couple miles south, turning into a gravel road up a steep hill, and we meet Al Chicote, proud owner of an Elva Courier (among other interesting toys).
After a not-so-brief chat we roll it down the hill and around a couple of corners to meet Jim Warren who has a 1976 Jensen GT (recently appearing on a magazine cover), and an MGA race car (on wire wheels).
Then we travel several miles south to visit John Werner in Pownal, VT, who has too many toys to count. Lemmesee, a Spitfire, MGB, Jaguar saloon (French configuration), Volvo E-type (or two), a Cobra clone, couple of Range Rovers, and too many motorcycles.
There follows a quick trip south into Massachusetts to find our destination for the next day, and another McD's stop for some serious WiFi. Hang on, we're not done yet. Seems like we forgot about the VT map (for now).
Saturday, June 14, 2014:
Early appointment for the William College alumni Parade in Williamstown, Massachusetts. A number of Little British Cars from the Berkshire British Motor Club (including yours truly) assembled at the college to carry the older alumni in a short parade. Some of these alumni are old enough to make us LBC owners look like kids. There was at least one from the graduating class of '44, which me thinks makes them at least 92. After the parade several club members retreated to "The Chef's Hat" for late breakfast or lunch.
Then we return to Bennington, VT, for a visit to the Bennington Monument, being a tribute to the Battle of Bennington to defeat the British army in 1777. It was built from 1887 to 1891 and remains the tallest structure in Vermont at 306-ft 4-in tall. A short elevator ride gives a marvelous view of the surrounding area.
Then the hunt continues for more covered bridges, and we find two more in Bennington, VT. These are the Silk Road Bridge and the Henry Bridge, all over the same creek as the Paper Mill Bridge found the day before.
If that's not enough, we then stop to check out the Hemmings Motor News museum, also in Bennington. The first two photos below are the working full service gas station. The next two photos are the Hemmings publishing offices next door. The rest are photos from the museum that is attached to the publishing offices (and used to be a working fabric mill).
Three photos above are a Bantam Roadster. Two photos below are a replica of the 1886 Benz Motorwagen. Last picture is in the yard next door, an MGA and a bug eye Sprite under tarps.
And finally we make it into the Vermont Welcome Center where we find a Vermont road map and a WiFi connection to post these photos and notes. Near dusk we strike out eastward on Molly Stark Trail (VT-9) to find Woodford State Park to camp for the night.
Sunday, June 15, 2014:
Vermont is quite narrow near the south end, less than 50 miles. So less than one hour travel in the morning put us in Brattleboro, VT, right across the Connecticut River from New Hampshire (with a McD's WiFi connection of course). Thinking there must be something happening in the north-east on a Sunday in June, I pull up my North American clubs list and click on Vermont and New Hampshire (and also Massachusetts for good measure). Turns out we missed a covered bridge tour the day before with British Cars Of New Hampshire including SIX covered bridges in south-west New Hampshire. But I know how to fix that. A couple of phone calls later I have an appointment to pick up a copy of the tour instructions near the starting point in Keene, NH, barely 15 miles away, and off we go.
Cresson Bridge: One mile north of NH-32 on Sawyer's Crossing Road in Swanzey NH, near the site of an old Indian community.
Thompson Bridge: East of NH-20 on Main Street in West Swanzey NH, over the Ashuelot River.
Carlton Bridge: East of NH-32 on Carlton Road, 1/2 mile south of Swansey Village NH, spanning the South Branch Ashuelot River.
Slate Bridge: East of NH-10 on Westport Village Road in Swanzey NH (near Westport Village) over the Ashuelot River.
Coombs Bridge: West of NH-10 on Old Westport Road in Winchester NH, 1/2 mile south-west of Westport Village, over the Ashuelot River.
Ashuelot Bridge: South of NH-119 on Bottom Road in Winchester NH (in the Upper Village of Ashuelot) over the Ashuelot River.
Referred to as a "waterfall" in the tour instructions, this dam (picture at right) appears to be configured as a water power source for a mill. The structure on left in the picture looks like a dock for a small barge. The river below the dam is (or was) dredged to allow passage of a barge up the river to the dock.
The Park Hill Meeting House (in Park Hill, NH). This was supposed to be a group photo-op, but this is all the group I could muster today.
Stuart & John's Sugar House (on right). We passed on the restaurant, gift shop and Maple Syrup, but the Wild New Hampshire Black Bear ice cream was to die for.
Just some friends we met along the way.
Does that look like a Manx to you?
A little extra treat at end of tour, the Walpole Mountain View Winery (in Walpole, NH). A delightful place for a wine tasting. But this is where the tour instructions ended. This was supposed to be followed by a quick trip back to Keene, NH, but navigator was ad-libbing while I thought he was reading route instructions. In our traditional manner, not knowing where we were, navigating with no New Hampshire map and no GPS, we managed to add another 50 miles or so to the tour (in addition to getting back to Keene).
Approaching Keene on NH-10 from the North, I thought we were South of Keene, so I turned North on "Court Street". This was followed by an impulsive right fork to an interesting tarmac road named "E Surry Rd" which proceeded to deteriorate as we went (and New Hampshire roads are bad enough to begin with). We passed a country club (golf course) before the road got rough enough to disconnect the trailer safety chains (a few times).
Just when we thought E Surry Rd might dead end it came out on another minor road named "Surry Dam Rd", which we took farther North and ended up on top of Surry Mountain Dam across the Ashuelot River. This road dead ended at the other side of the dam, so we had to backtrack after all (but not back through E Surry Rd). Surry Dam Rd going south finally came back out on West Surry Rd, which is a continuation of Court St, and also NH-12A. We turned right again (intentionally North). It was soon obvious that we were going much too far North to be heading into Keene, but it was a nice rolling and winding road through the woods, and we didn't have to be anywhere urgent, so we pressed on. After another 12 miles or so NH-12A put us in Alstead, NH, where navigator recognized the direction sign for the Walpole Mountain View Winery.
Okay, live and learn. We then took another right onto NH-123A South. It figures that if you keep making right turns you should eventually end up back where you started (maybe). Ten miles on we finally make another right onto NH-10 South, and ultimately get back to Keene. Why was Keene so important to us? That's where we know there is a McDonalds with WiFi, so we can sit for hours posting these photos and notes.
Barney and Elliot, and the MGA with an attitude.