Colorado and Kansas - car woes

We got on our merry way in the late evening on the 15th.  A scant 40 miles outside of Denver all of my dread is realized.  A loud, clearly abnormal, thumping began emanating from the rear driver's side.  We pulled over to the side of the road, and Doc tried to check under the car to see if he could tell what was wrong, without getting run over by oncoming traffic.  Did I mention that Pearl doesn't have hazard lights?  Oh, the joys of old cars.

He couldn't determine what is wrong with the car, although he guess is either the brakes, or the wheel bearings.  The rim of the back tire was hot, and once that cooled down, the sound stopped.  That lasted for maybe a mile.  We pulled off the highway at the next exit, in Strasburg, CO.

We pulled in to the parking lot of a gas and tire store, and Doc spent an hour or so in the freezing wind trying to jack up the car high enough that he could see what was going on, to no avail.  I convinced Doc that the best thing to do was get some sleep, and wake up when the store opened to see if they would jack it up for us, and continue from there.  
Our first sleeping spot
Once day broke we spoke to the owner of the store, who directed us to the mechanic just down the way - John's Repair.  They didn't have space for us until noon, so we spent the morning wandering Strasburg.
Decent breakfast place

Strasburg is a cute little town. Small of course, but I liked it.  Everyone was very kind and outgoing.

When we finally got the car up and looked at, we found out that it was really both things that Doc has supposed.  The wheel bearing had gone out, and the resulting pressure broke half of the brake shoe off, and was rubbing on the brake drum.  Incredibly, the drum was not damaged, so all we needed to do was replace the wheel bearing, and brake shoe, and lube the car.  I was so thankful.  By happenstance, JD and John, the two mechanics, were comfortable with old cars like Pearl, and were very good at their jobs - serendipitous occurrence #2.

Parts were ordered in from Denver, and we got on our way about 4pm, with a somewhat significant dent in our already small bank account, having lost about a day in our, what apparently was to become a race, to NYC to make it to the opera.

Gratuitous artsy photo
We get on the road, and drive

We finally get in to Kansas the next evening.  It was at this point that the shift linkage went.  The impetus of this mechanical failure was yours truly, although we then discovered that due to the poor way the linkage was put together after changing transmissions, it would have happened at any time.

2 hours in the dark Doc spent on the car.  About 15 minutes fixing the bend I caused, and the rest of the time trying to make the shift linkage stay in its proper position, as it has previously been held in my just a wire.

Nothing was working until Doc used vice grips to hold it in, and drive the 60 miles to civilization.  Over the course of the next day or so, he would use various pins to hold the linkage together, which would hold for about 50-100 miles before needed to be replaced.  

It wasn't until Dayton, Ohio that he was able to fashion a better solution that would hold for more than a tank of gas.  

And we had lost 2.5 days to delays.


  1. Truly a great start to a grand adventure. It only gets better my friends, can't wait to read more!

  2. Truly a great start to a grand adventure. It only gets better my friends, can't wait to read more!