Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 22

Mike Darby, well-known British car restorer and SABCC'er is on the road his newly-restored 1959 MGA roadster with daughter Stella, undertaking the dream trip of a lifetime. The Darby duo will be traveling from their Alabama Gulf Coast home to Southern California, then up the Pacific Coast to Oregon and then back to the Heart of Dixie. 

Stella has kindly agreed to send along a daily report of their progress as well as observations of the people and places that make up our nation.

Temperatures of 100°+F (over 38°C) challenged us during the first part of the day. From Green River, where we had a (too-)hearty breakfast in a quirky cafĂ©, Arches National Park wasn’t far. Blistering sun kept us from doing any long walks. However, we enjoyed incredible views and did explore one beautiful formation up close. Touring the unbelievable arches and towers, we speculated about early explorers’ reactions when they stumbled upon the place, and the significance it must have held for native people since long before. We also felt grateful to be modern travellers, not
stumbling through the desert heat, hallucinating amongst towering stone figures. Mike did keep saying something about seeing palm trees and a waterfall, though…

Travelling south and east on fast highways, we left Utah and crossed
briefly into Colorado. Just before the state line, a crazy truck driver
began overtaking us despite oncoming traffic. To avoid the car in the
other lane, they pushed back into our lane before getting past us, so we were nearly crowded off the road. We honked our horn, shook our fists and decided to chase the truck down to get its license plate number. Crossing the state line snapped us out of that futile mission, and we stopped to take photos instead. Hopefully the driver was just having a moment and won’t do the same to others on the road…

Speaking of dangerous road incidents, we realised today what fortunate travellers we’d been on Monday. Looking at news and speaking with family, we heard about a 26-car pile-up in a sandstorm just west of Winnemucca and
floods in nearby Reno. Complaints about a rainstorm and blowing sand seem petty; we feel very thankful for our safe journey so far.

We weren’t long in Colorado before entering New Mexico. We travelled through the Navajo people’s tribal lands before stopping in Farmington. The MG has performed well again today with only minor idle speed issues. Remarkably, there’s been no overheating yet – without wanting to tempt fate, we’ve been delighted that this common MG problem hasn’t plagued us. Even with hot temperatures and long uphill drags, judicious use of the heater blower keeps the

temperature down. Mike’s theory is that installation of an
advanced thermostat, a high water to antifreeze ratio,

and the use of Water Wetter all contribute to
good radiator performance.

Long may it continue!


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