Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back in Miami, Florida

Several of you commented "lots of pictures of cars and other people, none of you."

So here's my last Aussie look, before I had a haircut and shave!

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 19 and last of the JNBC Tour - Sunday, October 26, 2008

A line of Alvis 12/50s, resplendent with hares all ready for the go signal.

Martin and I elected to forego the last day’s organized tour surrounding Healesville and along the Yarra Valley, and drive straight back into Melbourne to visit the Queen Victoria Market.

So ends an adventure which began in earnest last February with an e-mail from Martin Boothman asking me if I was interested co-navigating/driving his 1927 Alvis on the JNBC Alvis Tour of Victoria.

A total of 58 Alvis motor cars ranging from 1923 to 1966 participated, clocking up a total of over 115,000 miles. Only four required flatbed service, and of these, two were back in running order within 24 hours, after relatively minor repairs. Just two still need more substantial repair, one to the timing gear drive and the second to the water pump drive.

Miles for Sunday: 42

Total miles driven on the JNBC Alvis Tour of Victoria: 1912

My thanks go to Martin for inviting me, all the Poms and Aussies that made this tour so much fun and successful, and of course to Celia for encouraging me not to miss this opportunity.

There is already a talk of an Alvis Tour of Tasmania in 2010/11

Watch this space….

Day 18 - Saturday, October 25, 2008

Enjoying dinner in Inverloch. L to R: Jill Murphy, Darrell Horton, Jocelyn Coates, Janet Diffey, Ruth Hirst, John Harvey, Phil Diffey, Helen Storrar, Chris Storrar, and Harriet Storrar.

A rest day in Healesville, and a visit to the nearby Healesville Sanctuary to see up close and personal all the live native Australian animals we've been close to seeing over the past 18 days.

Birds of prey, Parrots, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, Koalas, Platypus, Dingoes, Emus, Possums, Reptiles, and many other nocturnal animals were to be seen. The sanctuary is doing a great job of preserving these animals in their natural habitat. Since 1788, over 200 species of native Australian animals have become extinct, a greater number than anywhere else in the world.

Tonight was the closing dinner, and the last time we would be all together as a group.

The first class buffet dinner was outstanding in every aspect, and a fitting finale to what has been an amazing 18 days of classic car motoring and camaraderie. The late Julian Collins, to whom the tour is dedicated, would have thoroughly approved.

Acknowledgements were made to all those involved in both Australia and the U.K. in making the JNBC Tour of Victoria the immense success it has been.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 17 - Friday, October 24, 2008

“Refreshments” sign at one of our lunch stops, presumably in order of importance. Interesting!

Weather very similar to yesterday (Thursday). Cool and overcast in the A.M., with rain showers changing to warm and sunny after a late lunch.

Another grand day of vintage motoring, with changing landscapes and scenery all day. From Inverloch, we motored through Korumburra (petrol), Warragul (coffee), Yarra Junction (lunch) to our destination at Healesville.

Sadly, today was or last full day of driving. Tomorrow (Saturday), we tootle around locally sightseeing, and Sunday we drive back down to Melbourne prior to all going or separate ways.

Shortly after our start this morning, the magneto on the Storrar 1933 SA Speed 20 Saloon decided it no longer wanted to produce sparks. Successive efforts proved fruitless (actually sparkless) and the car was consigned to a flatbed to be taken into Melbourne for specialist attention.

The Webster 1933 Firefly gave David and Kaye a fright during a long ascent when the engine emitted a wailing shriek, stopped running, and produced smoke from the front and rear of the crankcase. David checked all valve clearances, established all were OK, and found that with hand cranking the engine turned freely. It restarted and ran well for the remaining 90 miles without incident. Strange!

Total miles for the day: 122

Cumulative miles on the tour so far: 1858

Day 16 - Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sally and Chester McKaige, our tour organizers and hosts extraordinaires! Chester is the President of the Alvis Car Club of Victoria, and with the support of Sally and the whole club has put on a magnificent world class tour.

This was our longest driving day so far, 219 miles.

There was a wide variety of driving conditions, flatlands around the lakes, open pastures, rolling hills, steepish climbs, wooded gorges, two lane and one lane B & C roads with sparse traffic, ideal for vintage and older cars travelling between 40-60 mph.

Weather started cool, overcast and damp. We elected to keep the top up to start, which was just as well as it rained sporadically during the morning. The morning coffee stop was at the Gippsland motor Museum in the township of Maffra. The exhibits are rotated throughout the year and currently the “Yank Tanks” are on display. Strange to see Mustangs, Impalas, etc with right hand drive conversions.

After the museum visit we took the top down, and after some initial bracing motoring, the sun gradually made an appearance in the afternoon. Because of the long drive, we arrived at the RACV Club after 6:00 PM

Another great day, and talk over dinner made us all realize that the tour is gradually winding down, with only a few more days to go.

Good news! The Holmes 1948 TA14 Woody has had its distributor and sparks sorted and is back in the tour, with Peter and Susan looking decidedly brighter than yesterday.

Cumulative miles on the tour so far: 1,735

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 15 - Wed. October 22, 2008 – SNOW!

Martin Boothman contemplates the snow situation in his 1927 12/50 TG

We awoke this morning to find every Alvis covered with snow!

A short morning’s drive down the mountain to Omeo, which was just as well as patches of The Great Alpine Road were covered in ice.

Today was a multi-media weather event, starting with snow, changing to cloudy with rays of sun to hail then rain, and back to overcast, and very cold all day. The top on the Boothman 12/50 went up and down a few times. In our 15 days driving so far, today was the first with rain.

One of the best day’s drive so far, although every day is exceptional and varied. To those used to driving in the U.K., or more populated areas of the USA, these deserted and desolate roads are heaven. Except when we stop for a tea/coffee/meal break, or for petrol/gas, we rarely see another vehicle, Alvis or otherwise.

Mechanically, the day did not start well for a few cars. Most, if not all, of the cars have no anti-freeze, and the unexpected overnight chill, though not severe, was enough to freeze some water in the cooling systems. The previously mentioned East then Woodburn driven, Nicholl owned, 1928 14.75 tourer sheared a pin in the frozen water pump drive upon starting, relegating it to a flatbed and apparently out for the rest of the tour. Two other cars boiled in the freezing weather descending down the mountain. How does this happen? The frozen water in part of the radiator, and further frozen by the wind-chill factor in the freezing temperatures, prevents all water circulation and thus leads to boiling in the block and cylinder head. That’s a new one to me, but you lives and learns.

Later in the day, the Holmes 1948 TA14 Woody began misfiring and this was diagnosed as distributor related - points, condenser, or? After concerted efforts, it also was relegated to a flatbed to be taken to an auto electrician in nearby Bairnsdale. The oldest car on the tour, the Lunsmann 1923 12/40 (side-valve) Tourer had magneto problems (sounds familiar!). An old replacement was installed and lasted about 20 kilometers (12 miles). It has limped into the hotel, but requires magneto triage before continuing.

One of our tasks today was to participate in a Limerick writing competition, the first given line of which was:

There was a young lady from Bright (a township we passed by on Tuesday)

Gorgo, if you are reading, I’m reminded of our days on the racing circuit in 1971 and the hundreds of Limericks we created on the road.

Total miles for the day: 118

Cumulative miles on the tour so far: 1508

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 14 - Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PS Canberra on the once
“mighty” Murray River, at Echuca. Previously the river’s edge has been at the base of the trees in background, and the paddle steamer to the right would have been floating.

Beechworth to Dinner Plain (near ski resort, Mount Hotham).

Over the past two days, several participants from New South Wales have joined the tour, and others, still ailing from the "Dreaded Lergy", have decided to call it a day and return home to parts Australia.

A cool bright day, once again requiring warmer clothing in the open cars.

The morning’s drive was on deserted well maintained roads, winding through wine and olive producing country. Long stretches of road can go by without sighting another vehicle, Alvis or otherwise. Great stuff!

The afternoon was a long climb into the Alpine region, requiring frequent changes on the crash gearboxes (transmission) of the vintage cars, with outside temperatures dropping significantly as we climbed. We arrived in Dinner Plain to learn there had been a snowfall last night!

The "Antonio's" manifold fix continues to hold!

Total miles for the day: 149.

Cumulative miles on the tour so far: 1390