Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hope Your Weekend Is As Good As Mine...

I have to start off by saying that I have had a magnificent weekend so far and it couldn't have come at a better time with what looms on the horizon for me and my fellow workers the next couple of weeks.

I started the weekend Friday evening by going to a car show on the way to my grandson Zach' second baseball game in the adult leagues presented by the Parks Department in the city he lives in.

The car show is an impromptu gathering at the local WalMart store in that very same city.  It apparently occurs every Friday evening in the side parking lot next to the store, weather permitting, from 3:00 o'clock pm to 8:00 o'clock pm.  There were a lot of really neat cars available for the viewing.  Here are a few.
Wonderful example of a Ford Model A

Rumble Seat

37 Ford pulling a Teardrop


Guessing '53 or '54 Chevy

Work in progress

Clean custom

Beautiful custom

Ah, the days of the Muscle Car

1956 Chevy 

Old time hot rod

I always wanted one 

Nice Chevy II

Outlandish VW Bug

California Bug

Then I went to the baseball game to watch Zach with his mom and friend.  We had a good time watching Zach play.  He so enjoys the game and has so much energy that it is hard not to get caught up in it.  He joined this adult league team a couple of months ago and up till now it has just been practice.  They officially started to play last Thursday.  He is the youngest player on his co-ed team.  The picture below is his first hit of the season in his first game of the season.  Zach went 4 for 4 his first game with three singles, a double, and two runs.  The second game wasn't as good but he did get on base a couple of times.  Unfortunately his team has lost each time they have played by a huge margin.

On to the big surprise.  My son told me several months ago that I was to hold July the 14th open because he had tickets to the Mariner game and he wanted me to go with him.  I love baseball, especially at Safeco field in Seattle.  The setting is perfect, the stadium is perfect and I always enjoy spending time with my son.

We drove down to the stadium and right up to the parking garage.  You have to understand that I usually park several blocks (sometimes miles) away and walk to the park because I hate the high price of parking.  Jeff hands the attendant a ticket and he lets us pass with no money exchanged, to a nice parking spot just across from the stadium.  As the gates were not open yet and Jeff needed a new hat, we went to the Team Store and browsed around.  He found and purchased a new hat and then we started towards the gate.

As we walked down the side of the stadium Jeff motioned for me to get in line with him and we were no where near the gate.  He handed me a ticket for the Diamond Club and said happy belated birthday. I cannot express how surprised I was.  He said I wouldn't want to sit in the bleachers to watch a game again.  He might be right.  This place is amazing.

Sponsored by KeyBank the Diamond Club consists of 370 VIP prime seats, a bistro, bar and an executive chef.  We walked through the doors and were given a quick orientation.  The rules regarding what could leave the Diamond Club and go out to the seats.  We started with a wonder buffet created just for the game with wonderful dishes that you would not expect to find at the ball park.  We sat and talked for a couple of hours before game time and then went to our seats.  As we walked to our seats we passed popcorn, peanuts, cracker jacks and cases of sodas.  We grabbed some to take to our seats and went out to find out we were 6 rows behind home plate.  We were closer to the batters than the pitcher.
On Deck

Ichio on deck

Is this close or what?

Yep. The Mariner Dugout was that close.
It was an amazing evening.  The weather was perfect.  The company was perfect.  And our star pitch, Felix, pinch a shutout and we won.  You wanted for nothing.  If you wanted it, you merely had to ask and it was delivered to your seat.  I got to tell you, going back to the bleachers might be a little tough.

Hope you all are have as great a weekend as I am.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Vacation Started July 4th

Our mini vacation started with a perfect 4th of July with Mia, Zach, his friend and I attending the Seattle Mariners dismal game.  It was two hours of shear boredom but the pom and parade was cool.  Before the game a color guard brought the flag to the infield while a group of current military unfurled a giant flag in the outfield.
Safeco Field

Once we left the game, we headed over to our daughters house to deliver Zach and his friend and meet up with our son Jeff, his wife and our grandson.  We spent a couple of hours there and had dinner with them and some of their friends.  We didn't hang out for the fireworks since Honey had been home alone since before 11 am and we didn't want her to think we had deserted her.  We got home and she was doing her happy dance.  Not to worried about the fireworks although later when the Federal Way City Fireworks display went off in Celebration park, less than a mile from where we live, she was very upset and so was I.  I was awakened from a deep sleep at around 10:20 pm when the grand close went off and include many explosive rounds.  We finally got to sleep.

Thursday morning Mia and I got up and went to the store to get provisions for our stay at Gold Bar.  We drove up the back route through some small towns on the way up.  It took us awhile to get up to Monroe and we couldn’t decide if we wanted to get donuts and Henry’s or drive on to Startup and visit the Aplen House roadside drive in.  We decided on the drive in and had bacon cheeseburgers with fries and root beer shakes.   Very tasty indeed.

By the time we arrived at the trailer we were both bushed.  We both took a much need nap.  When we got up we went to visit friends returning home around dinner time.  Mia had some wonderful chopped up beef steak and mixed it with onions and on of those oriental style sauces.  It was very good, served with a salad.  I did not each much because I was still full from lunch.

We took a walk around the park and pretty much called it an evening.  I know, boring as heck, right?

Well Friday was far from boring.  We got up early and while Mia fixed breakfast I took Honey for her morning walk.  After we ate we loaded up for a short hike at Wallace Falls State Park.  It is just a few minutes away and we walked up the rail road bed until we came to a crossing that allowed us to connect with the woody trail.  We took the woody trail back to the parking lot.  A quick trip to the store and back to the lot.
Mia and I in the woods

I spent the morning doing our roof, washing the trailer and thinking about some of the things I need to do before I hit the road.  It is warm and the trailer is in fairly good shape, but it still takes a lot out of you to clean it up.   I spent some time on maintenance.  Lubing door locks, hinges, steps, hitch components, checked the battery water level and inspected all the seams and window caulking.  The roof sealant looks very good.  I didn't see any areas of concern.  Around a couple of windows and storage doors I could see cracks in the caulking along the upper edge and down over the side.  I will have to redo the chalking on these four items but after attempting to remove some of the old stuff, I need to find someway to remove the silicone or whatever that product is without hurting or gouging the laminate siding and I am just not sure how to do that.  I'll do some research on that.  I won't be going back up until the week after next so I have plenty of time.
Roof is clean

Had to was the trailer

The remainder of the day was spent cleaning up, enjoying dinner and relaxing in pain.  Oh yeah, the shoulder hurt like heck.

We slept late Saturday but got up and got moving ahead of everyone else.  I had some more maintenance items to get done around the lot and then around 1:00 pm I took a short nap before showering and cleaning up for our big Saturday night event.  We met  up with 11 of our closest friends for a trip to Leavenworth on the east side of the mountains.  It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to drive over and the temperature went from a comfortable 77 in Gold Bar to nearly 90 in Leavenworth.  Granted it is drier heat but it is heat just the same.  We had dinner at a nice Bavarian restaurant in the middle of town
Part of the dinner table

After dinner we drove up to the Ski Hill Theater.  We had to walk from the parking lot up a dirt trail to the steps to the theater.  As we walked up the trail I noticed a nun standing with her hands in her habit at the base of the steps.  She smiled at me and I couldn't help myself.  I said something like, "Wow, that is a first.  A nun smiling at me".  She broke out laughing and I jokingly asked her if she had a ruler under her habit.  She pull out her hands to show me she didn't have a ruler and promptly stated that she was wishing (praying) for an icepack.  90 degrees outside and she, among others, dress in black habits. I kind of felt sorry for them.
The stage

Look at all those nuns

We watched a very good production of the Sound of Music.  The cast used the surrounding forest as part of the props and the building in the picture was moved around an became many different facets of the Austrian life.  It was a good time and every one in our party enjoyed the theater adventure.  We arrived back home (Gold Bar) around midnight and went straight to bed.

Sunday morning we were up and on the rode home early.  I cleaned the truck and took care of some issues around the condo.  Went to bed and slept maybe three hours before all hell broke loose and lightning and thunder hit with hail, sleet and rain.  Instead of cooling things down it just got muggy and sleep was nearly impossible for the rest of the night.

Hope I haven't bored you too much.  I would have posted last night but I had to wait for the pictures to transfer to the computer from the phone.  Sorry about the dinner shot.  Phone cameras aren't' real good in the darkness of an underground restaurant.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Well That Didn't Work Out

After three days in the woods Mia, Honey and I are back home.  Computer problems made it impossible to post to the blog.  As I sit here this afternoon, I continue to experience some issues with my network of phone to computer.  Suffice it to say, I will work it out and post about our adventures but for now we are home, safe and sound.  Hope to read some missed blogs this afternoon.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Another Innovative Car From The 40's

 You know you are photographing something special when you can't seem to take very many pictures without someone in the picture with your subject.  Such is the case with this 1948 Tucker, number 7 of 51 built by Preston Tucker and originally named the "Tucker Torpedo".  Only 51 were built before the company demise in March of 1949 after a stock fraud investigation.  There has always been speculation that the Big 3 helped Senator Homer S Ferguson bring the company and Mr. Tucker down.  The Tucker 48 was a very innovative car for the time period.

The Tucker was a rear engine, rear wheel drive car with four wheel independent suspension and a curb weight of 4200 pounds.  The H6, OHV (overhead valve) engine had 334.1 cubic inches producing 166 bhp and 372 lb-ft was attached to a Cord 810/812 Tucker modified Tuckermatic transmission.  Since there were only 51 built they are highly prized and bring very high prices at auction.  The number 43 car was sold at auction in 2011 for $2.915 million.
 One of the most recognizable features of the Tucker '48 is the directional third headlight that, when activated by a turn of more than 10 degrees, would light corners as the vehicle turned.  At the time there were 17 states that had laws against more that two headlights so Tucker designed a cover to put over the Cyclops.  All of the controls were within easy reach of the driver.  The dash area was padded for safety.

The Tucker used a perimeter frame around the vehicle for crash protection.  In addition a roll bar was integrated into the vehicle.  The steering box was behind the front axle a design to protect the drive in the event of a front end collision.  The windshield was designed to pop out in a collision and was made of shatter proof glass.  The cars parking brake locked to prevent theft.  The doors extended into the roof to ease entry and exit.
Tucker envisioned easy maintenance and repairs.  The whole drive train was suspended from a subframe held to the body with just six bolts.  With loaner assemblies available he saw the opportunity for a customer to have their engine remove and replaced with a loaner in under 30 minutes leaving the owner with their vehicle while repairs were being made.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1000 Days

Wow, just went to my actual blog site to check my posts and look at widget says I have exactly 1000 days to go.  Guess I wasn't actually paying that much attention to it but it is counting down.....days are passing at an incredible rate.

Won't be long now........

Christine And Not A Good Kind

Steven King is famous for quite literally scaring the holy be Jesus out of his readers.  I still remember the release of his book turned movie, Christine in 1983.

It is a tale of a young teen boy who spots a rusted, badly damaged red and white Plymouth Fury parked in front of a house and talks the elderly gentleman who owns the car, Christine, into selling it for $250.00.

As the story unfolds our lead character takes Christine to a repair shop to have it/her repaired.  In the process, the changes to the car appear to happen without the help of the repair shop while the personalities of the individuals around Christine seem to change as she begins to show that she can think for herself and may well have planned to do in several people before finally going after our young hero.
The novel, as always, was more scary than the movie, but the movie did have some great special effects for the day and I'll bet it scared a lot of people who had not read the book.

The LeMay collection contains Christine.

Another American Icon Gone and The 4th

Yesterday we learned that Andy Griffith passed away.  Another American Icon has gone.  I can't help but remember laugh filled lessons in life learned from a small town sheriff portrayed my Mr. Griffith.  Andy Taylor was the widowed sheriff of small town Mayberry.  Each week the trials and tribulations of a single dad, his Aunt Bee and a town full of odd balls were presented for us to enjoy.  They ranged from raising a son as a single dad to issues of the day at at time when racism was tearing at the center of the American life.  I can close my eyes and see Andy and Opie walking down the dirt road with fishing poles in hand as the opening music plays in the background.

R.I.P. Mr. Griffith, you were something very special.

The American birthday party has started.  Happy 4th of July to all my American counterparts.  I was unable to access the computer for the great Canadian birthday that just past so I send a belated well wish to all my Canadian readers as well.

I have a long weekend that starts with a baseball game with Mia, Zach and his friend today at 1:10 in Seattle.  This will be the first Mariner game that I have been to this year.  I have another one scheduled later in the month with my son.  After the game we have been invited to have dinner and watch fireworks at my daughter's home.  I think we'll have dinner and likely head for home.  We aren't too happy about leaving Honey alone for that long.

Tomorrow Mia and I leave for Gold Bar and a weekend alone in the woods in our trailer.  Not sure how busy the park will be this week with the holiday falling in the middle of the week but I don't care.  I need to relax and relax is exactly what I intend to do.  Fortunately it appears that the weather plans to cooperate, something of a shock in Seattle, since I cannot remember the last time it hasn't rained or threatened to rain on the 4th.

Saturday afternoon we will join friends (14 of them) and drive to Leavenworth to see the Sound of Music at the Ski Hill Amphitheater.  Looks like it will be a late night, early morning drive back to Gold Bar.

Hope everyone enjoys the 4th.  I'll keep you up to date on the relaxing if I can find internet access at the  park.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

1930 Model J Duesenberg

This is the information provided about this car on the LeMay Family Museum website with my pictures sprinkled in for effect.  Enjoy this beautiful car.  Believe me when I say, the pictures do not do justice to the vehicle or its builders.

Duesenberg surpassed any American made car of its time and was the peer of Europe's finest: Mercedes, Hispano-Suiza or the Rolls Phantom II.
Smooth. Powerful. Sophisticated. Rugged. Beautiful. Those are just some of the
Superlatives used to describe the "World's Finest Motor Car", the Duesenberg Model J, when it was launched at the 1928 New York Auto Show.

It was the engine, however, that really made the Duesenberg something special. Designed by Fred Duesenberg, it was constructed by Lycoming, a specialized engine builder that had recently been acquired by E.L. Cord. The power plant was a 420 cid, 265 bhp, 8 cylinder in-line engine with twin overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder. No car built before or since has ever matched the impressiveness of a Duesenberg. The engine was linked to the drive train by a three-speed manual gearbox. The production cars were capable of doing 116 mph without much trouble, and 0-100 in 21 seconds.

The reputation of Duesenberg was founded on a brilliant racing heritage. In 1921, a Duesenberg was the first American car to win the famous Grand Prix of LeMans, France. The Duesenberg cars were all custom-built. Approximately twenty coach builders, including six in Europe, built the various bodies for all 480 Model J chassis that were produced (the body for this particular Duesenberg is by Walter J. Murphy of Pasadena, CA). A chassis cost $8500 in 1930, increasing to $9500 by 1932. Finished car prices depended on body style and appointments: the range was about $15,000 to $20,000 - a fortune for that time.

The Model J was introduced at the New York Automobile Salon in 1928. Its straight-eight engine of 265 hp could produce speeds over 115 mph. The wheelbase was 142.5 inches; brakes were vacuum-assisted (after 1930), oversized and hydraulic. The use of aluminum alloy kept the weight of this huge vehicle to about 5200 lbs. By 1932, supercharged engines claiming 320 hp were offered. 1937 was the last model year for the classic Duesenberg. Today, the Model J's are prized by collectors everywhere who pay exorbitant prices for good examples. More than 75% of all Duesenbergs exist today - 55% of them still operable.

This car features a Murphy body, described as the most sumptuous body styling in America. Although many coach builders would build bodies for Duesenberg through the years, Murphy was Duesenberg's largest body provider. Prices for a Murphy-bodied convertible started at $13,000.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Roush 32 Ford Highboy

Anyone who is familiar with NASCAR racing will recognize the name Jack Roush.  Mr. Roush heads up the Roush Industries, Inc.  A large company that includes racing (NASCAR) and performance parts and vehicles.  He has had a long partnership with Ford Motor Company.

Mr Roush was asked to build a prototype hot rod vehicle based on the 1932 Ford.  Ford was studying the feasibility of building 100 limited production Roush Performance versions of the '32 Roadster and this one-of-one vehicle will never be reproduced in its current form.  It was a hands-on project and Rouse has his vision imprinted throughout the car.  He personally chose the engine, a ROUSH Performance 4021R crate motor which puts out 500 horsepower and 500lb.-ft toque.  Roush also chose the interior design as well as the beautiful burgundy color.

The LeMay Museum has this beautiful car for all to admire.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Your Own Backyard

It isn't necessary to travel very far to find a gem of a place to go.  In fact, most of us have places right in our own backyards that we have likely never visited.

Here in the Seattle/Tacoma area we have several museums that the writer of this blog has not visited.  Something I hope to change sometime between now and retirement.

That being said, if it has to do with automotive, I will likely find a way to see it.  Such is the LeMay Auto Museum located in Tacoma, Washington.

I had never heard of Harold LeMay or his collection until a couple of years ago.  I have lived 5 miles from Tacoma for years and yet was blind to this piece of local history.  Harold LeMay was a refuse collector in the Tacoma area taking a one truck route and building it into the massive LeMay Refuse company.  His passion was always automobiles and he started collecting and restoring them in after he returned from his Naval service.  As he built his refuse company through the 50's and 60's, he collect automobiles as well as signs, oil cans, toys, dolls, oil fixtures, farm equipment and on and on.  He amassed such a collection of vehicles that he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest personal collection of automobiles in the world.  The value of the collection is unbelievable.  Everyone can relate to many of the vehicles that are on display.  The vacations, family trips, picnics and emotional ties in vehicles that help to build America.

For several years, Harold and Nancy LeMay purchased property though out the Parkland area of Tacoma.  He stored his cars in many of the buildings on the properties that he owned.  Once a year the family would open the properties and host a car show that allowed the public to visit and view the collection.  So  much stuff was stored in the buildings that one day was not enough to see it.  Some of the collection is in need of restoration while others look like they were purchased and parked.  Zach and I spent a day taking buses between the properties and viewing the collections a few years ago.  At that time we first became aware of the families dream to build a museum to house a portion of the collection.

Early in June 2012 the families dream came true and the LeMay Museum open next to the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington.  The building is an ultra modern facility that has four stories that house 15 different collections as well as a cafe and gift shop.

This past Saturday, Zach, a personal family friend and I viewed the museum for the first time.  I took several hundred photos and will share some of them with you over the next several days.  If you love automobiles you have to see this museum.