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looks like d'Smo-VA is shaping up.  I need to put in my $0.02 for Chris (whatever his real name is), and new son Julian: congrats for sure.  Here is hoping that the new-born will be doing his own thing so well by then that a quick weekend in the VA foothills will still be possible.  And the same $0.02 for Stan: suck it up buttercup, and get your self and your  latest rendition of Speedster perfection on down the road for the party.  You can do it.  I hear the roads will be a little less challenging, so maybe you wont break your car this time. ??

Current attendance appears to be as follows:

Confirmed and booked

  • Me
  • Kelly Arnold
  • Kelly Frazer
  • Marty & Sandy Grzynkowicz
  • Tom Boney
  • Phil Luebbert
  • Ron & Maddie Mullis
  • Russ Crosby (not sure if he's bringing anyone)
  • Mike Warjas & DIanne Croxford

Maybes are

  • Mike Fincher
  • Layton Parker (owner of the hotel in Brevard where we've stayed twice)
  • Bob and Mary (?) Carley

We've had a couple drop out due to budgetary considerations or family obligations, but it still looks like a good turnout.

I just got back from Colorado. Breckenridge specifically. Breckenridge is at 9200 ft. Highest mountains around there go up to 14000 ft. In Charlottesville Va you are at 250 ft. But within 30 minutes you can be over 5000 ft. So the changes in elevation aren’t that dramatic in the Rockies vs the Blue Ridge. And the tree line is about 11000. No trees above 11000. I guess that’s why they call it the Rockies. Trees and beauty everywhere in the Blue Ridge. Don’t know about northern Cali but if I’m going for a drive I’d rather be in the Appalachian mountains over the Rockies. Also I’m getting old. Tough for me to breathe over 10000 ft.

I rode a bicycle around Breckenridge, CO a few years back as part of a group tour.  We could ride uphill all morning (8am - 12PM) to reach a pass at or just above the tree line, and then ride 10 miles downhill on the other side in like 15 minutes.  Never had any trouble with wrong-sized jets.

The best part of the whole week (apart from eating at "Slo-Groovin' BBQ in Marble, CO) was visiting the Maroon Bells area, high above Aspen.   It took 2-1/2 hours to pedal up to where the scenic parking area was, 11 miles from downtown.  We pushed off from the parking lot up there and none of us pedaled until we arrived back in Aspen, about 15 minutes later, and some of us were reaching speeds just above 50mph on some of the steeper straights.  That's scary fast on a bicycle.



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Perhaps I will one day Lane and thank you for the invite.  A car and a trailer would be nice additions to make that happen.  Those are in my future so ya never know.  You guys always seem to have a lot of fun up there and I love reading about what you do when you are.  It appears that there is a small group of us forming out here now and I'm excited to see that happening !  When I had Rhonda I lead a group up to Mount Wilson   ( a 6000 ' mountain due north of my home only 5.5 miles as a crow flies) trying to get a group started. There were 6 of us and had a good time. I sold Rhonda not long after that and had no idea at that time that I would be waiting so long for the my next ride/project.  Restoring antique vintage ships Compass's and building custom furniture for clients has kept me busy in the interim but it's not the same kind of passion.  Going to sleep at night, my mind is always rolling over some detail of what I'm doing at the time.  I take great comfort in doing that.  Planning future driving excursions will soon be part of that again, I hope............Bruce

Well, let's see ...  What's in a name??  At first it was Tour d'Hoe, a west coast adventure through the Lake Tahoe area. Those Best Coast guys know how to party , and the local cinematographer (MUSBJIM) puts it all down proper.  Not sure who though the East Coaster needed to save face (I guess it was @Lane Anderson) and so the Tour d'Smo was born.  Hooning through the Smokey Mountain hills, Tail of The Dragon, and so forth.  And now we have the latest rendition of that grand adventure, emphasis on West Virginia, vs No. Carolina -- the Back of the Dragon??  So now the Tour d'SMoWVA?  Maybe we could say:  Hooners' Delight?  I'll confess that this adventure has become a focal point for my driving season.  Yes, I do and will continue to do the Carlisle thing, mostly because it so close.  But this Hooners' Delight is a whole 'nuther vibe, being all about the driving.  Catch me if you can, and maybe get a little scenery thrown in too.  Plus moonshine  . . .

Careful readers will recall some mechanical issues I had with my car that I guess came to bear in earnest as a result of last year's Tour d'Smo.  As the hooning progressed and the days wore on, I developed some wiggle in my steering.  Loose front bearings? Seemed possible. Car was running OK, but the imprecise steering became very worrisome.  The Tour was completed and the car was flat towed home without incident. In the garage at home I took to rocking each tire in turn to see what I could see.  Noted a little wiggle in the front bearings but nothing overt.  I had tightened those bearings during the Tour, and it seemed odd to me that they were now notably looser again so soon.  Hmmm . . .  but then the left rear.  That wheel was definitely loose as a goose.  Another thread somewhere here chronicles the effort there, summarized by a loose castle nut and an all but thoroughly chewed brake spline.  Then ensued a  complete rebuild of that half shaft: new disc hub, bearings, and CV/drive shaft, (IRS lash up).  Then came warmer weather and the discovery of a broke ring gear tooth in the tranny.  That adventure is also chronicled in another thread. short of it: fully rebuilt trans.  And then there has been the: "while we're at it" business, summarized as follows:

New MagnaSpark ignition; new clutch cable; complete Weber tune and balance; replace all front wheel bearings; repaint the front end due to road rash and road hazard ding; application of paint protective film (also explained in another thread); two new rear tires; all wheels balanced.  Throw in an oil and filter change and clean the air filters.  If I ain't ready for the party in a couple of weeks at this point, well, there would just be no point.  I'm saying I'm as ready as I can be, and the car should be too.  Here's hoping.

Post script: I think it was @Stan Galat who observed last year after a couple of bourbons that what we have managed to achieve as a group (some more so than others, and maybe none more so that the President-for-Life of Stanistan) , namely the pressing of 1950s German automotive engineering for the masses (i.e., VW, the Peoples' Car) to limits not considered by said German engineers.  When those engineers thought to go beyond engineering for the masses and embrace performance and racing, they rebranded the concept and called it Porsche.  But we do not, as a rule, drive Porsches, we spec out VWs.  And I'm going to echo Stan's remark about how maybe we push these machines a bit beyond what they can properly bear.  My car may be a good case in point, as it  sports a 2332 in the rear end, bolted up to all that aforementioned 1950s gearing and etc., which was unabashedly designed to carry a 1600 lb car to 60 mph on a 46 hp engine.  That the parts prematurely wear or fail while running near the limit through back mountain roads could  be considered as: expected.  Might be something to that.  Won't keep us from it, but just sayin' ...

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