The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (August 1-August 15, 2014)
Friday, August 1, 2014:
Not going anywhere. Editor dropped the electronic copy of the newsletter on me, needing to be posted to the web site. The copy was corrupted, wouldn't open. The file size was huge, and not all there. After some fiddling about it turned out the server space for the FPT upload was overstuffed, so the file wouldn't fit. An increase of space allowance fixed the problem, but I will have to determine later why the allowed space was totally stuffed with nothing. Rest of the day was spent creating web pages for the newsletter, and only half done. But we did take a late night drive from Morgantown, West Virginia, to New Stanton, Pennsylvania.
Saturday, August 2, 2014:
After a well deserved late sleep, we went to the Cracker Barrel restaurant in New Stanton, PA, to meet the Greater Pittsburgh MG Club (and friends) for "Johnstown Fun Run". Good turnout, must have been two dozen little British cars in attendance.
The "run" consisted of a drive through some nice side roads in the hills, about 60 miles plus a few more miles for the convoy getting off course a couple of times). Destination was "Boulevard Grill" in Johnstown, PA. The convoy collected a few more cars long the way. We were also joined at the restaurant by more cars from Central Pennsylvania British Car Club from Altoona, PA. Collectively we nearly filled three parking lots on three corners of the intersection. The restaurant had enough seating capacity for everyone (two rooms on the second floor), but they were short of staff due to the larger than anticipated turn-out. Nevertheless, everyone was served in due time, and a good time was had by all.
Including a little nap and some late night cruising, we ended up in Breezewood, PA, for the night.
Sunday, August 3, 2014:
Spent the morning finishing upload of the newsletter to the club web site. After noon we started to make a short loop run on some side roads and got immediately attracted by a sign reading "three covered bridges". We quickly found one of them.
Jackson's Mill Bridge was refurbished in 1992, but is currently impassable due to a rotting approach span. You can walk through it. It has a rather unique "suspension arch" built into the sides, which I had not seen before.
There is also Jackson's Mill still standing there. It appeared to me to be a grain mill, but was boarded up to deny entry for inspection. I though it may have originally been water powered, being built on the creek, so I walked around back to have a look. Built onto the back of the mill main building is a shed roof covering what is (or was) obviously a saw mill. Closer inspection revealed an auxiliary power source, which was the front end of an old car with engine and clutch in tact (possibly the gearbox as well). Can anyone identify the car from the dash board? From the bonnet (hood) I suppose it is a Buick. I wonder if the radio works.
We spent considerable time searching for the other two covered bridges which were supposed to be in the same township.
A local resident told us one of them burned down about 20 years ago, then gave us instructions to find the other one, but still no joy. On return to town and access to WiFi, I did a search for covered bridges, and I find there are supposed to be 14 of them in Bedford County, PA. Some of the locations site township road numbers that cannot be found on maps so I am having bad thoughts about spending a whole day (or two) just trying to find the locations.
Monday, August 4, 2014:
Having spent two nights in Breezewood, I can tell you it is definitely not a tourist town. It is primarily a monster truck stop with lots of hotels, restaurants, gas stations, traffic congestion, and not much else. Well rested, better things to do so forget about covered bridges today. Breezewood McD's has WiFi but no wall outlet for the charger. The computer's car charger is getting weak in the knees, on all night but only did 40% charge. So we follow US-30 east one town (less than 20 miles) to find another McD's in McConnellsburg, PA, which also did not have wall outlets (this is getting old). After a bit of shopping at the Giant food store we drove another 23 miles east to Chambersburg, PA, for another McD's, our last resort, as this is where we will stop today. Better luck here with a "user friendly" McD's with a handy wall outlet (perhaps the only one in the dining room). This may sound trivial, until you remember that I'm still playing MGA guru and CMGC webmaster while traveling, and I need to spend a lot of time on WiFi.
After a couple hours on WiFi, just long enough for business and a full charge, we get a call back
from Ron Shellenberger, today's appointment and just a few miles away, so we drive on over to his place. We park near his front yard garage, then toddle around to his side yard workshop where he was working on the ABS for his P/U truck.
After a short tour of other toys in the workshop we find his half polished collection of wire wheel knockoffs. He swears it's not a hobby, he was just taking inventory and got carried away with cleaning. Then we move on to his back yard barn.
Here we find his old MGB race car (with 2-inch SU carburetors), and another MGB parts car, a couple more vintage British things under tarps, and a Toyota Corolla SR5 vintage racer (which he swears is not his, but is collected here anyway).
Then we mosey on to the back pasture where he has stashed several more vintage relics, most of which would prefer to remain anonymous, but including a '49 Ford flatbed dually with PTO and hydraulic dump bed.
I think Ron is seriously trying to be retired, and is recently retired from racing, but is still doing regular race track corner working. We all know that junk accumulates to fill the space allowed (and sometimes more). But I still have to say, Ron has too many toys.
After dinner and drinks and friendly chat until after dark, we try a new strategy for WiFi. In the north end of Chambersburg there is a local Giant grocery store with a deli and small sit down lounge/dining room and WiFi (and wall outlets), open 24 hours a day. Very quiet tonight, great for late night work.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014:
Short trip today, about 55 miles. For the second time in two weeks we go to visit the Tuesday night tinkering team in York, PA. By a bit of convenience it happened to be on our route to a next day (Wednesday) appointment. It would also be an opportunity to use the lift for access to put oil in the rear shock absorbers (which navigator has been complaining about ever since we changed the front shocks). Also an opportunity to get pictures of the front of the "commercial" building from the other street.
In the first picture, left side, is a view of the 4-car garage across the "alley", being part of the residence on the next street over. In the foreground, the white garage door is front door (never opened) to the 3-deep service bay containing the 2-post frame hoist. The "977" door is access to an upstairs apartment (not currently used). In the second picture the small porch "residential" entrance is currently used as storage space by a local contractor. Large door on the far right end of the picture is access to warehouse space on the side street. Tonight the gang was pulling three MG Midgets out of the right side of this space as we arrived, relocating them to a rear entrance space immediately adjacent. I guess this is intended to free up a more useful service bay. I suppose the single garage space to the right in the last picture is intended to be part of the two-story residence in front.
But my primary interest tonight is the triple depth service bay to the far right, as I have a use for the 2-post lift. This makes it very convenient to dismount the rear shock absorbers from my MGA to refill them with oil (and purge the air) which we do in short order. Once again the MGA gets a bit of service on the fly and is ready to roll again. Very nice people here. This place is beginning to feel like my home away from home, or a new local club (if they would just give it a name).
Wednesday, August 6, 2014:
A fairly short travel day, 82 miles in late afternoon from York to Macungie, PA. We are here for a dinner and club meeting with British Car Club of Leheigh Valley at the Willows restaurant. We had tried to fire a warning shot through their web site, but the message did not get through, and no one was watching the BBS, so we crashed the party unannounced. Nonetheless we were warmly welcomed and had a nice dinner and chat about some recent and future car shows.
During dinner I received a phone call from Terry Kozo in Allentown. He needed a little help with his MGA Twin Cam, and by coincidence he was very near by. So after the club meeting we dropped by his place to lend a hand.
If this looks familiar it is because we were here eight weeks earlier on June 9 fiddling with his oil filter. Since then he as installed a spin-on filter adapter, the inner fender louvered panels, and the "organ hose" fresh air intake hose.
Tonight we have one task, to install the bottom rubber seal on his MGA windscreen. This is of course a bit of a gut wrenching chore, but Terry and his wife and myself ultimately prevailed, with help of a ratchet strap, bench block, C-clamp, and lots of slimy dish washing soap solution to make things slippery. This was followed by a well deserved "loafing hour" on the patio until after midnight.
We then made a short dash to the local Wegman's super store (open 24 hours) to visit "The Pub" with a lounge, beer garden and restaurant, all of which were closed after hours. But they also have open WiFi which is very useful to us tonight. Enjoy the photos and notes. We will get a late start tomorrow.
Thursday, August 7, 2014:
Today we have a special invite from another MGA friend. After sleeping late and catching up with some WiFi commitments, we point it north for two hours, half expressway and half local paved roads in the hills.
By 2 pm we arrive in Honesdale, PA, to visit Bayard & Jeryl DeNoie. First impression is, what a really nice old home. Then we shuffle the car down the little drive to the back to visit the toy shop. This one is very sensible, one MG in a garage large enough to be a workshop with a moderate amount of tools (and I don't have to fix anything today). Nice day too, temperature in the mid 70's, sun, shade trees gentle breeze while we sit on the patio and chat. Thanks to our gracious hosts this is also a chance to catch up on the laundry without wasting a half day doing it. It also comes down to barbecue and dinner on the patio, Sauteed Chicken, stir fried vegetables, beets, and corn on the cob.
After dinner we collected our "infrastructure" to reload the trailer and car, then trucked on up the road 17 miles to the northeast to a neat cabin overlooking the Delaware River. This spot is less than a mile north of PA-371 on "Old River Road" (which is so small that Mapquest doesn't recognize it as separate from River Road).
Friday, August 8, 2014:
Okay, an honest day off, bit of vacation from the road trip. Sleep in, late breakfast (or lunch), and soak up some sun while catching up on the WiFi stuff. And I get to take some pictures in the light of day.
Jeryl came back to visit, and we had a short chat with neighbors in the next cabin. Check out the ducks and a few people wading in the river, some canoes and kayaks and rubber boats floating by, and gazing at New York on the far bank. It must have been a pleasant day as I didn't have the yen to cruise, and I didn't touch the car all day.
But I was still playing guru, answering tech questions, and fixing a glitch on the club web site. Then I got an e-mail and made a phone call to an MG friend in Missouri at midnight EST (11-pm CST), and chatted for 90 minutes to fix his turn signals and signal switch and fuel gauge and fuel sender unit, and a few personal things. So much for the day off.
Saturday, August 9, 2014:
Cabin on the river was nice, but we have places to go, things to do, people to see. Up and rolling early today, make our way out of the hills, then run some expressways south to Bethlehem, PA, for Lord of the Valley British Car Show. Today is hot, and we duck for shade occasionally. Seems like our MGA has earned another award, this time for "Ye Working Wench", which is appropriately highest mileage and hardest working car.
A few steps away is another car show for the Austin Healey national convention.
After the show we cruise farther south to Rosemont, PA, to visit Tom Going who has (among other things) an nice running MG TF and an MGA 1500 in process of restoration (and two 4-post lifts to double stack things).
He also has MGA parts in process and stored in various places throughout the house. I dunno about this, except for sure he has a very tolerant wife (who also serves up an excellent spaghetti dinner). We stay here tonight, for sure!
Sunday, August 10, 2014:
Today we traveled to York, PA (one more time), for a picnic and club meeting with Lanco MG Club. It's only 82 miles west, so we had a 4-1/2 hour stay for picnic, club meeting and chat with a few new friends.
Nice cars nice people, a chatty bunch. I won a contest prize by guessing how many chocolate candies were in a large glass mug. My guess, 82. Actual count, 81. The prize was the mug of candy, so we have plenty to snack on for a while. I think we have a new appointment with some Lanco members for later in the week. We were back at Tim's place by 7:30 pm.
Monday, August 11, 2014:
A short trip west today to visit Jim Giunta in West Chester, PA. We had a bit of misdirection when Mapquest didn't recognize the street address and sent us to the geometric center of town. At least it was a nice diversion.
One phone call, and a few minutes later Jim came by to escort us to his mother's house where he keeps the MGA. (Jim lives in Bristol, PA). Jim has an MGA 1500 held and driven for decades past. He recently acquired new wire wheels and splined hubs, and a refreshed cylinder head.
The head had one broken thermostat stud, which we managed to drill out and re-tap to save the threads in the head. The car also had some issue with the left rear wheel not seating properly on the cones for the splined hub (all new parts). Removing the wheel for inspection revealed plain
hex nuts and lockwashers where there should be thin hex nuts and lock tabs. Removing the lock washers from both sides was enough to allow the wheel hub to seat properly, and Jim will tend to the proper parts later. Problems solved, we all shuffled over to the local McDonald's for lunch and chat and a shot at WiFi and a couple of phone calls and more chat, until about 7-ish when we bade farewell.
Then we had a 30 mile run back east to visit Bill Hoffner in Philadelphia, PA. His MGA is currently undergoing restoration work in a pro shop, so we didn't get to see the car, but we had pizza and a nice chat until late night when we retired. Well, most of us retired while I was checking email and BBS before sleep.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014:
The prime objective today is a visit to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, PA, "One of the world's greatest collections of racing sports cars". Most of the cars on display have a rich racing history, and have won some significant racing event. There is currently just one MG in this museum, a 1934 MG K3 Magnette that placed 4th overall in the 1934 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Find many more photos of the cars on display on a following page.
After the museum I spent time on McD's WiFi posting the pictures. Then we ran nearly 30 miles up the expressway (in heavy rain) to Phil's Tavern in Blue Bell, PA, for dinner and monthly club meeting with Philadelphia MG Club. Now there's a friendly bunch. They got really excited about MGA guru and the MGA motor home. When I had to leave, the meeting re-convened in the parking lot, and I had to maneuver my way through a field of pedestrians. We finally made our way back to Bill Hoffner's place to spend the night once more.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014:
After most of four weeks in Pennsylvania, we finally escape, and are now circulating around the bottom end of New Jersey, west shore area near the Delaware River.
As usual, we keep looking for end of the world, and we often find it (along with one friendly Peacock).
We will be in New Jersey for at least a few more days, covering most of the state, and expecting to attend a Southern New Jersey tour rally on Saturday. Any more MG enthusiasts in New Jersey?
Thursday, August 14, 2014:
Mostly browsing back roads along the SW coast of NJ (Delaware Bay area). We ran nearly every accessible road in the area, and I'm sure a few that are not supposed to be accessible. Great fun, good wild life viewing, and some more end of the world pictures to share. First the road leading to nowhere, but found a cabin in the woods (or what was once a cabin).
And we finally found Sea Breeze, NJ (after wading through some flooded roads), although houses near the beach seem to be mostly vacant and a few abandoned.
Hello to some herons one bald eagle, a donkey, and lots of marinas and shoreline.
Then Sunset Beach in the most southern and western corner of the state at Cap May Point (tourist attraction).
The beginning of the trip up the eastern shore was, well, not particularly interesting. Southern NJ has some of the lowest gas prices we have seen in the past three months, particularly the lower east coast (near Atlantic City) where we found some stations at $3.09-9/10 per gallon.
Friday, August 15, 2014:
Basically killing a day in New Jersey, we drove west from Absecon (near Atlantic City) to Egg Harbor City (where we picked up some hydraulic oil at NAPA). Then north through the forests of central New Jersey (Wharton State Forest and Brendan T Byme State Forest), going as far north as Whiting (where we stopped at a Wendy's to oil the front shocks and use their WiFi). It was a pleasant tour on some lesser traveled roads (mostly asphalt surface), but also somewhat boring with not much to see other than flat roads and forests.
Seems I found a problem with the shocks (maybe not the only problem). The LF shock had one shaft seal out of position, and I don't think it was like that when installed a few weeks ago. It may have been pushed out of place by internal pressure due to thermal expansion of the oil. For now I topped it up and left the seal alone, as I want to see how long it takes to lose the oil. The RF shock may be okay, appears to not be leaking, and would not take much oil.
Then we turned west on NJ-70, south on US-206, west on Jackson Road south on New Brooklyn Road to Williamstown (where the rally starts tomorrow morning). Aside from the shock service and few tech questions, this was a restful day for the guru.