No pictures yet... I left my smartmedia reader in seattle! Doh!


Above: Event Organizer Martin Swig (seated on Chrysler New Yorker) holds a driver's meeting to start every day, to inform us about weather and road conditions and any changes in the route. Below: The start. There are two examples non-American iron on the tour... and both are Jag XK-120s... This one is an FHC.

After breakfast we have a quick driver's meeting in the hotel parking lot and get underway. The first bit of interest is the Kingsbury Grade up to south Lake Tahoe. Very cool. The Jag stays cool too. We stay cool with the top down. Once we reach the summit the weather gets ugly and we get some rain that eventually turns to snow.

Below: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night will prevent me from letting Dad put the top up. =)

The route dips into California and traces the Sierra along the Cal/Nev border for about 50 miles, before we climb over another pass and descend back to the valley floor and Nevada. The Nevada/California border is like the Wyoming/Colorado one: You know when you get there because the environment immediately changes.

Above: The weather gets nasty in the California Sierra.
Below: Heading back down to a canyon to Nevada, looking back.

The route takes us to Yerington Nevada, and a shop of a company called Lilliput. They make (or market) old german wind-up car toys. They now sell to collectors for big bucks. I grab a couple of beetle toys for my collection. One old green beetle, and one new white beetle... just like my real cars. =)

Below: Lilliput and some cool cars.

We gas up and head south, eventually doing about 20 miles of dirt road to the "Flying M ranch" for lunch. One car damages it's gas tank along the way. We have some great mexican food, and then head to the airstrip for a speed event. this ranch is owned by Baron Hilton (yes, the hotel guy) and he is a real aviation buff. The airstrip is the only pavement for miles, and we make good(fun) use of it. The event is a measured mile, but the catch is: You start from a dead stop and you must finish at a dead stop one mile distant. The only latitude granted is from bumper to front wheel. In other words you must stop right on the finish line. With a modern disc brake equipped car this would be trivial. With an old monster like these it is a real challenge!

Dad wants me to run it and I talk him into coming along for the ride. If nothing else than to tell me when I should start applying the brakes. We line up for our run and our turn comes. I get a slow start but work the car up to its comfortable top speed. A little past 3/4 of a mile I let off and start slowing down. I manage to (somewhat) easily stop the car on the line. We are allowed a second try and we decide that we can do better and line up for another go.

Left: Waiting in the lineup for the timed start/stop mile on the Flying M's airstrip... the only strip of pavement for 25 miles around.











Below: The lineup for the speed event.

This time we figure we can go as far as 100 meters or so from the finish before we start to brake. I get a good start this time and we fly even faster than the first run. I keep it floored for almost too long because when I start to brake it looks like we aren't going to make it. As we approach the finish I am screaming "STOP! STOP! STOP!!!!!" at the car and both Dad and Dan Radowicsz the timer are laughing out loud. Somehow the old drums manage to stop the car in time and Dan congratulates us on a fine finish. I don't know what our times are, nor know how we finished compared to all this hefty American V-8 iron... I'll let you know as soon as I do.

The next leg is about 45 miles of dirt road over the infamous "Lucky Boy Pass." In years past it has been a nightmare, and it looks like it could be one again... rain is threatening. We deliberately start late so that we are at the back of the pack. I'm driving and it is a bit tense to say the least. About 20 miles down this dirt track I say to Dad "I don't think this sort of road is what Sir William had in mind." referring to Sir William Lyons, the man who designed the Jaguar.

Left: After 20 miles of dirt road you end up carrying some acreage with you. Here is some dirt on the bumper of a caddy at lunch time.

After seemingly hours of having our bodies rattled and eating three pounds of dust we ramble up the pass and plummet down the other side onto glorious pavement again. The scenery was almost worth the bone-jarring ride. We pass through a huge navy weapons storage facility, and wind our way towards Tonopah. About 20 miles from there we have to stop and add some gasoline to our tank lest we run it dry. As the horizon is obscured by a fierce looking rain storm we opt to raise the roof. In fact my Dad is shocked when I suggest putting the top up. =)

Sure enough the desert rainstorm is a fierce one, but we manage to skirt the southern edge of it and miss the real hard stuff. We top off in Tonopah for the long run to Eureka up the Big Smoky Valley. We are reversing part of the last day of the Cannonball Classic. When we passed through last fall the weather was clear and rewarded us with spectacular views.

As we round the ridge and turn into the valley we see that it will not be the same this time. The storm is boiling over the range that makes up the western edge of the valley and we are headed right into the storm...










Riders on the storm.

Clockwise From Top Above: Stopping to batten down hatches. Keeping a grip on the helm in the force ten gale. Yeah right... not today.

Clockwise from Left: The duct tape job to prevent leaks (and the top blowing off! Bubbles blowing through the bottom of the windscreen. Below the view with no windshield wipers... just wait until it gets dark!













As we enter the storm the wind picks up tremendously. Every time a truck passes us in the opposite direction it looks like the rapid change in pressure will rip the roof off the old car. It also makes the engine hood rise and the sidescreens pop out and wave in the wind much to our terror and dismay. We stop and do our best to secure the whole rig with a generous amount of that famed aftermarket weatherstripping and hold-together dear to the hearts of british car owners worldwide: DUCT TAPE.

However once we get underway the wind even starts ripping THAT off the car. Unbelievable!

As we get farther north the wind dies down, but the rain picks up. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. The Jag's meager windshield wipers eventually crap out. Of course Murphy's Law hold true and the passenger side continues to operate while the drivers side just lies on the hood of the car. This is Nevada of course which means the land is too big to wrap a fence around, and that translates to:

"COW! COW! COW!:" I yell as I see a small herd standing right next to either shoulder of the road. There is another car coming towards us in the opposite lane (just to make it more interesting! Probably the 5th car we've seen in 100 miles!) By the time the third "COW!" comes out of my mouth Dad has figured out what I am shouting about and stomps on the old drum brakes. As we and the other car converge on the herd OF COURSE a calf runs into the road. I am bracing for impact and prepare myself for witnessing an impromptu creation of a days worth of Big Macs at the Tonopah McDonalds. Thankfully the other car has disc brakes and stops about 10 feet short of the calf. Dad somehow manages to bring the Jag to a halt as well. Much honking and mooing ensues and eventually the road clears of burgers, still on the hoof. We ramble on towards the north end of the valley in the fading light.

Dad, spooked by the earlier bovine encounter, decides the evening is becoming too dim for his eyes and hands the driving over to me when we reach US Highway 50. The last 60 miles or so are in the dark, with a rain-splattered windshield and the occasional truck tossing a thousand extra gallons of spray our way. I'm getting as spooked as Dad and ease way off on the hard driving. We are almost two hours late for dinner anyway, so there is no need to rush. Thankfully the twinkling lights of Eureka appear as we crest a hill and we roll into the sanctuary of the Best Western's covered drive.

We arrive at dinner very late, but thankfully (for us!) the combination of so many folks straggling in late too and the service being a tad slow that night, we don't miss a course.













For your viewing pleasure I'll toss in a couple of more pictures from earlier in the day:



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