Where else, besides a Classic Car Adventures event, can you find yourself driving a Volkswagen Beetle amongst two Alfas, three minis, a Jaguar, a Caterham 7, a Camaro, an RX7, and a Citroen? That’s exactly how my morning started.
Yesterday, despite throughly enjoying the 1958 Beetle I’ve brought, I found myself often wishing I had the power of the Rally Bug (my usual event vehicle of choice). While I can keep up with the group on the flat sections, as soon as the hills appear the ’58 simply can’t keep pace. It was mid morning yesterday when I even waived sweep on to go ahead without me. “A timing adjustment,” I thought, “and moving to mid-grade fuel, should squeeze a couple more horses out of the tired engine I’m using.”
As cars started departing the parking lot after the Driver’s meeting, I quickly tossed my gear in the ’58 and tried to start as close to the first cars as possible. If I start in the front, it will take longer for me to end up all the way in the back! I nosed the car out into the group, and soon we were on the road departing from Goldendale WA.
Our route took us east through Washington farm and wine country, along rolling hills and meandering highways, before heading south into Oregon. As the road meandered, and I followed the group mentioned above, I enjoyed what felt like a touch more power. It’s easy to forget it’s 2018, and instead find yourself looking at the Minis as they dart around corners without (seemingly) any suspension movement. A sharp contrast to the Citroen DS who’s wheels seem to dance independently, while the occupants inside never move due to road conditions. In the absence of traffic, we could be a convoy heading to work in 1968, instead of a rally of enthusiasts out for a fun drive.
At the first gas stop, the Mini’s admitted to me they were holding back to allow me to keep up. I turned my back for a moment, and zip! They were gone from the gas station. I suppose 30 below the speed limit up hill was really cramping their style! No worries, as the Jag, Caterham, Alfas and RX-7 were more than happy to drive with me south to Heppner, where we all found lunch together.
Dining on a Classic Car Adventures event can be an interesting affair. Entrants are typically on their own for lunch, encouraged to support local restaurants along the way. Sometimes, when we all descend upon a small town at once, it can result in some challenges! The poor look on the bartender’s face as we walked into the Tavern in Heppner, and replied “yeah, I think we will” to her question of “are you all going to eat lunch? Roughly twenty of us ordered lunch at once, and as the grill was fired up the exhaust hood in the open kitchen failed.
Secretly, I think our bartender/waitress/chef (she was doing it all herself today) is a classic car owner in another lifetime. She fired up a couple of fans, tossed the multitudes of burgers on the grill and we all made the best of it! When the food arrived, and the smoke dissipated enough that we could see it, we happily discovered it was excellent, and worthy of being “the best place to dine in Heppner”.
Following a hearty lunch, we headed south over mountain passes, through the Umatilla and Ochoco National Forests, carved along canyon walls and eventually popped out at our overnight spot of Prineville OR. Along the way a BMW had to McGyver a repair for a damaged clutch slave cylinder, and a Camaro has started spraying gear oil out of the shifter boot(!), but everyone made it in time for dinner and repairs will be made before morning.
I can’t believe day three is tomorrow, and we only have one day left together…
Thanks, once again, to Andrew Holliday Photography for another stunning preview of images from today’s adventure.