Getting There is Half the Battle!


August 16, 2003

Wake up at 1:30am - a whopping 2.5 hours of sleep. Ugh!! Our goal was to leave the house at 3am. For the first time that I can recall out of any family outing we've ever had, we were actually in the car pulling out of the driveway at the time we were shooting for - 3am! A miracle has just occurred, and I am grateful.

   We drive to the Philadelphia Airport and park in "economy" parking (versus the parking garage which costs twice as much) and catch the shuttle back to the terminal. I'm surprised at how many people are traveling at this hour, but as we talk to people we realize it's because of the New York City blackout - there are still people grabbing any flight they can to get home. Security at the airport was tight. We checked 2 bags, which we "locked" with plastic tie wraps. The airline guy says that's fine - but they'll cut them off and replace them with new ones after they open and inspect the contents. I don't have a good feeling about this, but what can we do? I was bringing tools for the trip that were not allowed as a carry on item.
We proceed to the gate - security there is even tighter. After the carry-ons are x-rayed, they still open them up and search them anyhow. People walk through a metal detector, and then get the wand treatment - even the bottom of our feet are checked. We tried to get something to eat, but the line was way too long. Get on the plane - a 737 - and before we take off we learn that 60 pieces of checked luggage did not make the flight. OK, now we're getting concerned - we checked the bag with all the important stuff - the tools, the license plates, and our clothes of course. No sense in worrying, there's nothing we can do until we get to Denver. No food on the flight - just a cookie and an OJ.
Land at Chicago Midway. Nice airport. Over to the connecting flight after grabbing a candy bar for my daughter and me. On board plane #2 - another 737. This time we spring for the $2 headphones. I watched a sports show that reviewed the WRC series' last race - man that rally stuff is wild. Makes NASCAR look pretty tame… Also listened to a few of their music channels. It's a 2 hour flight, but only about 45 min of music that then repeats. Again, no food - just a cookie and a coke. Welcome to cheap airline fares.

Touchdown in Denver. Very nice airport! We hit the McD's, and although we think it's 12:30pm, in Denver it's 10:30AM and it's that weird McD's time where breakfast is ending and lunch hasn't really started yet. We settle for whatever we can get. The terminal has a Lear Jet hanging from the ceiling - cool - a plane in an airport! Go figure. Don't they usually keep them outside though? This is the plane that set a round-the-world record.
  Off to baggage pickup - find the right carousel. No bags. Hmmm. We wait a few minutes, and then I start walking around the huge carousel. There are dozens of bags there that were already removed - and ours are there! Very cool. My stomach immediately feels better.
  A few minutes later, Bill (the seller) arrives to pick us up. Load up the bags and head to his house in Golden. His house is beautiful, up in the foothills. The car is shined up, gassed up, ready to go. We look it over really good, talk to Bill and Pam, and their dog, Sparky. Sparky wants to play with these new people he's never met before.
  I was happy to see my package from IPD was here - I ordered hoses (all), a fan belt, spark plug wires, and a tune-up kit from IPD and had it shipped to the seller. I was hoping we wouldn't need any of this until we get back to NJ.
Off we go - the car runs well but the clutch and gearbox feels a lot different than my 71. Nancy is having trouble getting the hang of it at first, but quickly adapts.
We got back to the hotel and dropped off our stuff. Then we headed over to the Coors brewery for the tour. After the tour we grab a bite to eat and head north to see Carl Johnson.

Carl helped us fix a few things on the car - we improvised a hose from the flame trap to the air intake. We attempted to fix the wipers - but failed. I did find the line that was shorting the circuit and blowing the fuse. Tested the switch - it's OK. The motor seems to be the wrong one (3-wire vs 4-wire) and it doesn't want to run no matter what. Work-around: Apply Rain-X to windshield. We did get the headlight fixed - one light was wired backwards so that it was on high beam when the other was on low - and vice-versa. Tried to fix the lighter - the socket is rather dirty but there's no voltage on the wire. We'll address that later. We replaced the water temperature sensor - gauge works properly now. The old one was causing a very high reading all the time. Oil temperature sensor is not hooked up but we couldn't find the wire for it. We checked out the spare and put air in it. Carl checked the brakes and attempted to check gearbox oil - but couldn't get the fitting off. OD is working well, so we're presuming gearbox oil is OK. Carl found a washer pump motor for me - I'll hook that up later when the wipers are working.
  We worked on the car way too long - it's late and Carl put some burgers on the grill. We tidied up the garage and headed out. By the time we got back to the hotel it was 11:30pm mountain time - which means we've been up for 24 hours straight!
  I have to put in a big thank you to Carl Johnson here - he not only checked out the car for me, but gave me parts, dinner, expertise and several hours of help. I'll be sending a big thank you gift to Carl!

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