Winston's Trip - Coast to Coast
Hi everybody. It's me again. My name is Winston and for those who don't know me, let me introduce myself. I am a black 1958 MG Magnette 4 door sedan. I guess most of you didn't know that MG made more sedans than roadsters. Few of us made it to this side of the pond. But I'm straying from what I wanted to tell you.
Each year the MGAs and Magnettes gather for a Get Together (GT), kind of like a family reunion. These are in a different place each year and I love them as I get to see new places and go with those cute MGAs. I consider this trip an opportunity to get out with my harem. This year the GT was in Solvang, California. I had never gone on a trip that far and was worried that at my age (I'll be 60 next year) it might be too much. I'm not sure if my keeper was foolhardy or just had a lot of trust in me, but we decided to go. After a bit of preventative maintenance we were ready.
As the journey Coast to Coast began in Virginia Beach we left a day earlier to head there. It felt cold to me (60+ degrees) when we gathered at the statue of Neptune to start our journey with a picture. I got left out of the picture, it was only for humans. As there was a bit of traffic, the cool mist felt good as we headed to Mount Airy, NC. I had been there before on the way to Ashville for a GT. While the others went to see "Mayberry," II rested from my first day. My keepers went out with Nelson Wilson and his wife Sally for supper at a winery. You remember Nelson. He was our club president a few years ago.
Our next day was on to Maryville, TN. The best part was that we were going to do the Tail of the Dragon on the way. I didn't know what to expect as I think I'm afraid of Dragons. It turned out to be a real challenging road with over 300 sharp turns in 11 miles. Sports cars and motorcycles love this road as it challenges them. I am neither a sports car nor a motorcycle but I had fun. I got enough speed up that I was low on one side through the turns and actually squealed the tires on one turn. That was fun.
Another night to rest before a trip to the Jack Daniel Distillery. I was told this is only for adult humans so once again I got left out. That's ok, as I'm a bit older I do enjoy an afternoon nap. After my nap we went to Fayetteville, TN for the night.
I was a bit apprehensive about our next day's adventure. We started off with a drive around Memphis, TN. They had us scheduled for a long excursion around the city of two lane secondary roads. Luckily sane heads prevailed and we went on interstate highways. After all it was Sunday morning. The rest of the day was just uninteresting miles. We did about 380 miles today getting to Searcy, Arkansas.
The next day looked like another day with nothing to do but roll. Oh no, one of my MGA girl friends just hit a big dog that ran out in front of her. I was shocked by the amount of damage to my friend. The humans were resourceful though and used something called a scissor jack to push the front wing (fender for yanks) away from the front tyre (tire) so we could get back on the road. We slept in Shawnee, Oklahoma that night.
On day 6 we left Oklahoma for Amarillo, Texas. Flat, hot, booring... I got to rest that night while the humans went to the Big Texan for supper. They actually got there in a limo. Not me though I stayed at the hotel.
After a short ride we stopped beside the road so some of the drivers could walk across a field and look at the upended cars at the Cadillac Ranch. I just couldn't understand it - why would someone treat such good cars that way? This was a long day as we drove for over 425 miles. Still hot, still uninteresting for me. I got to rest that evening in Gallop, New Mexico.
Finally I get a short day - still hot though. We took a drive through the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. I'm still confused though as I was expecting a bit of shade from the trees, and just where are the trees?
We stopped in Winslow, Arizona for lunch. Apparently there is a song about a street corner in Winslow. The humans had to stop and get pictures of them beside two statues. Didn't make any sense to me. My driver told me that the lunch they had there was exceptional. Very upscale but at extremely reasonable prices. Couldn't prove it by me. I've gotten progressively poorer food on this trip. Some gas stations only sell regular gasoline. I didn't like that. As I left Winslow I heard a loud bang. My keeper thought we had driven over a piece of metal. But no, I heard it again as we left town - my temperature kept rising - I wasn't feeling good. My keeper got off the highway and into a gas station with a very small bit of shade and popped my bonnet (hood) only to discover that the pulley on the front of the generator had disintegrated. This pulley is needed for the fan and water pump. They called two other members of our group. One of them was carrying a spare generator and pulley. After some repair work I was on the road again. I had been worried that I would be stuck in Winslow until a new pulley could be shipped in. I was so glad to arrive in Flagstaff for the night. It was still hot, but now I also had to climb some good hills. Hot temperatures and hill climbing do not go well together for me. I got very hot when climbing, but cooled down going down the other side of the mountains.
The rest of the crew were going to the Grand Canyon the following day. I wasn't because my keepers had been there before so I had an easy day of short trips to two museums. After the museums I went on the interstate to Seligman, Arizona on old Rte. 66. I beat the MGAs to the motel. It seems that one of the MGAs had fuel pump problems at the Grand Canyon. They pushed the car out of the road onto a sidewalk and worked on it until they finally got her going.
They keep Seligman old looking for us tourist. There were old cars everywhere for display only as rust is very important I guess. Now it was really hot outside. Our plan called for an extensive trip on old 66. We had split into two groups by this time. Our four cars wanted to leave very early before breakfast as our owners had heard about the forecast temperatures - they didn't tell us but I figured it wasn't good. We drove on a good portion of the route, but when we came upon Interstate I-40 we decided that the temperatures were just too much for both our keepers and us. We drove directly to Barstow, California where the high that day was 106. We were told that we had been in areas where the temperatures had reached 112. I don't want to do that again. The rest of our group did more sightseeing and arrived at the hotel 4 hours after us. They were REALLY hot.
After Barstow we only had about 300 miles to go to get to Solvang. I was never happier than to see our destination - now I could rest in the small bit of shade I was parked it.
I'm not sure what took place during the GT as I spent a lot of time getting my energy back. There was a car show though, right beside an old Spanish Mission. I got to talk with 5 of my brothers. They were so envious of my trip (I embellished it a bit when I told them) as they were all from California. I was a bit surprised in how tired looking several of them looked. I guess living in California must be very hard on cars. One was very unique as he had seats with head rests and a boot (trunk) that was very luxurious - nothing like what my makers had envisioned for us.
On Thursday night after the closing banquet for my keepers, they told me I had won 1st in class for the Magnettes. I was as surprised as they were. I guess being hard working and original does have virtues. On Friday we drove to the Hearst Castle, or so I was told. They wouldn't let me go up to the castle so I have to take them at their word that there is a castle - I couldn't see it.
Now my time was running down. I stayed at Vandenberg, AFB that night. What a dead place. I got fed (they only have 91 octane out in the west) but my keepers had to hunt on base for a place to eat. They roll up the sidewalk here at night.
With the heat and time schedule it was decided that I'd go into Los Angeles on Saturday to begin my journey home. Hooray, I'm not driving but instead being chauffeured home on a truck. Getting into LA wasn't high on bucket list but I had to do it. Luckily the traffic wasn't all that bad for a Saturday morning. Once again fate shined on us. The map we had didn't have the street we need. We stopped at a traffic light and there was the cross street we needed.
My keepers turned me over to the shipping company and left. I missed them, but was parked right beside my MGA friends. Twenty-five days and 3,800 miles. Life is Good.