On each of our classic car adventures, it’s not uncommon to see cars being worked on in the parking lot. Most cars get a quick check over at the end of the day to confirm things are alright, and others get a little deeper into their tool box. Our Spring events seem to have more parking lot fettling than our fall events, but the Rush to Gold Bridge sure tries to upset the scales!
When John & Marci’s Intermeccania arrived to our Friday night hotel, I was expecting that they would need a quick inspection of our roadside oil pan repair. Instead, they required a full front end inspection to see how much damage hitting a deer at 70kph had done! I guess bad luck comes in multiples, and John might be looking over his shoulder the rest of the weekend. Fortunately, with the exception of some scratches and new fur accents, the car was relatively unscathed.
Paul and Tony were burning the midnight oil adjusting the valves on the Saab 96, it seems that while most were within .005” from the factory specs, one valve was almost 0.25” out of spec. Hmmm…that is going to need some careful attention this weekend! Helen and Chase discovered their front wheel bearing was a little loose…about 8 full turns of the adjusting nut loose, but fortunately that was caught right before leaving on Saturday Morning.
Perhaps the most fun, however, was the Lancia Beta. After filling up with fuel Robert returned to the hotel to discover it didn’t want to run, and certainly wanted to backfire out the exhaust sounding like a 30-6 hunting rifle! Usually a CCA event books out the entire hotel, and morning tuning sessions aren’t a problem…but this time we were all rather apologetic while the Lancia (and a failed condensor) were sorted out.
With everyone finally running, it was off to the town of Hedley via a favourite of ours, Old Hedley Road. Despite the 60 km/h speed limit, the fresh pavement and twisting curves make for a wonderful driving experience, and the perfect start to a day of motoring.
In the town of Hedley, the gravel route turned off onto Hedley-Nickel Plate road, and immediately started a steep switch back climb up the mountain. Given the challenges of yesterday’s gravel road, I was surprised to find out that, once again, every car on the event had chosen to do the gravel route. We were rewarded with a freshly graded climb, and stunning views of the switch back route once you arrive at the top.
Originally a pack-mule route, the road has seen little changes on the climb over the decades, but remains surprisingly smooth given the grade. The road eventually pops out a the Nickel Plate Gold mine, before becoming a gravel highway to the top of Apex Mountain. Along the way you pass historic cemeteries and the foundations from ghost towns, if you know where to look.
Apex Mountain is one of B.C.’s hidden skiing gems, and the route book suggested exploring the site to check out the ski hills. In the summer you can drive all the way to the top, where some guests found historic fire equipment. With exploration and views complete, we began the paved ascent down into the Valley, where we hit another CCA favourite paved road. Green Mountain road has all the twists and turns to entertain, and is sufficiently off the beaten path to give you the impression you’re the only one who’s driven it this week. As we got closer to B.C.’s wine country, the group split. Half of us took the gravel to Keremeos, while the other half went to explore some winery’s in Oliver. Eventually, after an afternoon of travels, we met up at our overnight location of Hope B.C.
293 Wallace was our dinner host for the evening, intending to be a culinary surprise for our guests from the Organizer. The tables were turned, however, as the guests conspired to host an impromptu birthday celebration for the organizer! The Rush to Gold Bridge, you see, was originally “Dave’s Birthday Touring Adventure”. Long before it became an official CCA event, the idea was to simply get out on my birthday weekend and enjoy a car challenge with friends. Over the course of a few years, the idea for the event morphed into what has become the Rush to Gold Bridge. With the addition of “Happy Birthday”, and two birthday cakes, our planned four course meal became a five course meal featuring an extra dessert course for the entire group!
Eventually we retired to bed, stomachs full and minds full of anticipation for our final day of driving, and more favourite roads to end the event.