Posts Tagged ‘Cars’

“the photos are coming, the photos are coming!”

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

A few of the other teams have sent us some photos they took during the rally.

As we were traveling along the Natchez Trace we entered a national forest, I can’t remember the name, it was peaceful, quiet and beautiful. This serene scene was shattered by “the mad avaitor” as he is now known. This cropduster appeared between the trees at a altitude of around 20 feet and proceeded to buzz all the cars. Dave remembers seeing in the rearview mirror smoke curling off of all the car’s tires that were behind us. Everybody panicked and stomped on the brakes!

The Mad Avaitor

John Steger is a nice man, a true enthusiast, and a nut. John owns the MG that has doors which close when they feel like it and, even worse, are known to open at highway speeds. A quirky car owned by a quirky guy. We are so very glad we met him. Years from now he’ll bring a smile to our faces each time we think of him.


“Hey John! Your door is open again.”

Door Open

Chris from the Birmingham News

The crazy Germans, Carmen & Holger. They’re back home and have sent us an email. Nice people.

Carmen & Holger

A few fun photos including Dave under the car, Nut #1 and Nut #2 (aka, Ruben & John), us winning the “Iron Butt Award”, and a few others.

Nut #1 and Nut #2

Good times………..


Notes, Photos, and Videos

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Well its confirmed, you can’t have more fun while doing something good for others. Its true, we looked it up. We might ramble and jump around a bit here but we want to fill in a few blanks that we couldn’t while on the road.

iPhone, WordPress, And Other Technology: The HP photo printer we purchased to print pictures for the kids at the event worked great. It was spitting out photos as fast as we could put in memory cards. As you may remember all of our posts, and photographs, during the trip to and from, and while on, the rally were created on an iPhone. The technology didn’t work perfectly but it was so close we couldn’t believe it. Many of the posts below were created by Helen while she was sitting in the passenger seat of the 6, traveling 40 to 60 miles per hour out in the middle of nowhere. She’d take the photos then begin to type the entries for the blog. A push of the “upload” button and 99% of the time, presto! Once or twice we had trouble getting cell service so we had to wait just a couple of minutes before we could upload. Amazing technology, we hoped you enjoyed it.

The Birmingham News: Chris Tutor is a reporter for the newspaper who joined us on the run. He is also a car nut, a techno geek, and a great guy to meet. Dave really liked the time he spent with him. The two of them were so engrossed in their conversation about iPhones and vintage sportscars over lunch the first day that we think they would have chatted all day if they had the time. He publishes a blog relating to car events in the Birmingham area and was posting via laptop during the rally. Everytime he was hanging out of the MG he was riding in trying to get THE shot for the paper we thought he was going to die. Once we found out he didn’t have a seatbelt on and the door on the car wouldn’t stay latched we concluded he was just plain nuts. You can view his blog and his postings during the rally by clicking here. He also put together a great video. You can see us and the 6 in it quite a few times. Just hit the “play” arrorw in the center of the screen to make it play:

British Reliability Run 2008

Did you notice the field with the hay in it at the very end of the video? We are the car right in front and if you look close you can see Dave reach over the windshield and take this picture:

Natchez Trace hay field

The Kids & Fundraising: The total tally isn’t in yet but it looks like we’re going to reach our goal and raise around $10,000 for the Magic Moments organization. Thank you! Here is a collage of a few of the photos we took during the event at the hospital. Luke, the little boy we talked about in a previous post, is in the green shirt next to the Bentley.

Collage of kids at Children's Hospital in Birmingham

The Trip To And From: The trailer we used was loaned to us by a man we still haven’t met. It tracked well and Dave’s truck didn’t know it was back there most of the time. We had a small problem getting the night running lights to work, but no biggie. Michael we thank you so very much.

Gas mileage was worse than we expected and therefore expenses were a bit higher. Overall we averaged 8.35 mpg in the truck. Yikes! Total mileage to and from was around 1,500 miles. It was interesting how hard it was to find fuel. We found many stations without any gas at all and many with just mid-grade. Dave actually pulled into one station and pumped 56 cents worth of fuel and then it ran dry. 

We passed a HUGE number of power company trucks heading east on I-10 on the way back. Houston must have had 1,000’s of trucks come from other states to help restore power after the hurricane.

The Rally & The 6: The 6 is back home safe and parked in her spot. She’s never let us down and this trip was no exception. There will be some tinkering with the transmission and hopefully only minor repairs. Overall we think it says a lot about the reliability and condition of our beloved 6 when you consider she is over 34 years old and after 600 hard miles through beautiful hills and countryside she delivered us back to our starting point safe and sound.

Here are a few more photos and a short video clip (hit the play button):

Dave and Helen at hospital


In Tupelo


The People We Met: From Hunter’s Mom who had a tear in her eye when she thanked us for cheering up her son, to John who during the rally gave Helen a small statue of an angel and said, “She’s protected me for years. I want you to have her. She’ll watch over you and your transmission.” The crazy Germans who made the decision they were going to like us even if we were crazy Americans, the others who gave us a warm welcome and a knowing smile; they understood what it was to be far from home and unsure.

The people we met? These people are what Webster was trying to describe when he defined the words “good” and “quality”. These are the people who fill hearts, and make others strive to be better.

How do you describe the feeling you have in your heart when there is an instant bond of friendship between you and another? Then how do you tell others how it feels to leave them and head back home?  



Monday, September 29th, 2008

700.9 miles today. We pulled in a few minutes ago. I’m bushed.

Tuesday or Wednesday I’ll post a final wrap up and a bunch of pictures.

Off to bed.

Here we go…3 days and we’re off

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Run a business or have a career in addition to being a husband, wife, father, mother, grandfather or grandmother then try to get a 35 year old car ready for a cross country trip. What else could we have to do you ask? Well, deal with a hurricane of course!

We’re all alive and well. We’ll have a new roof on the house. The only question is who will be writing the check, us or the insurance company. We’re still on for the rally, much to the surprise of the hosts.

Dave has been working late nights to get the 6 ready. The departure time is here; she’s as ready as she’s going to be. We leave in 3 days. A few swipes with the wax rag, a bit of chrome cleaner, and we’ll be off. Anything else on the “to do” list will just have to be ok.

The rear bar was installed in the past few days. Look close at the pictures. If you see the skin from Dave’s right hand please let him know, he’d like to have it back.

TR6 Rear Bar

TR6 Rear Bar Left Side

Dave has also replaced the rear brake shoes, wheel cylinders, adjusters, wiper blades, door seals, radio, etc, etc. As we were getting ready for a test drive he was checking the systems under the hood and discovered a very small crack in the steering coupling. Breaking down the steering column and fitting a replacement wasn’t high on his list of things he was hoping he could do. Considering the repercussions of a catastrophic failure Dave started the tear-down process. Here is what the coupling looks like:

TR6 Steering Coupling

This part connects the steering wheel and upper steering column to the lower steering column and the steering rack. With a bit of sarcasm Dave said, “its pretty important that it works.” Here is what happened to the coupling once the bolts were removed.

Broken Steering Coupling

Pretty scary if you consider that we were going to try to drive mountain roads! God is indeed on our side, Dave had a new coupling in his spare parts box. A couple of hours, a few layers of skin off the knuckles, and Dave instructing the coupling to do some things we’re not sure are anatomically possible and  the new one is in place.

There has been a few interesting last minute entries in the rally. We now have drivers from as far away as Cologne Germany, Atlanta, and Sugar Land of course. The list of vintage British cars is very impressive and includes a 1936 Bentley, 1949 Bentley, 60’s & 70’s MG’s, a beautiful 1959 Austin Healey 3000 (see picture), and a couple of TR6’s. There is even going to be a one of the new Smart Cars from the local Mercedes dealer. Yes we know its not British but the dealer wrote a big sponsorship check which is what this is all about, so we’re going to make it drive at the back of the pack, and get this, we told them they HAD to install an MG name badge on it to make it legal and they did … too funny.

Austin Healey 3000

Healey 3000 rear

Right now the weather looks great. We’re expecting sunshine with daytime highs in the low 80’s with evenings in the low 60’s. Perfect weather for an old English sports car!

Here is our schedule this week:

  • Thursday 9/25 – We’ll hit the road at some horribly early hour and plan on arriving in Birmingham late in the afternoon or early in the evening. We’ll stay at the Hampton Inn Colonnade in Birmingham, AL
  • Friday 9/26 – The morning is reserved for the event for the kids at The Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. The car show, pictures, hospital visits, and various festivities take place starting at 9:30 and run through 11 or 12. Friday afternoon we’ll do one more walk around on the 6. Friday evening is the kick-off dinner. We’ll stay again at the same Hampton Inn in Birmingham.
  • Saturday 9/27 – Rally Day #1 – Another early day. A drivers meeting during breakfast. Then its “Meet The Press” (isn’t that on Sunday? only smart people will get that joke) In addition to local television and press there will be national publications at the press conference. We have a start time just a bit after 8am if we remember correctly. Barring any unforseen disaster Saturday night will find us in Tupelo, MS at the Hampton Inn
  • Sunday 9/28Rally Day #2 – We’ll get our start time at the drivers meeting on Saturday. The end point is back in Birmingham. The celebration dinner is Sunday evening which, knowing car guys, will include many drinks, much boasting, and quite a few tall tales, a venue which we all know is custom made for Dave. Sunday night we’ll be staying at the home of the President of the Birmingham British Car Club.
  • Monday 9/29 – On the road and home late in the evening.

DON’T FORGET! Starting Thursday we’ll be updating this site on a regular basis (during the rally as often as every couple of hours) so you can track our progress and see pictures. Stick a note on your computer and log on often to see how its going.

Please take a moment and wish us the ability to make a difference in these kids lives.

Thank you so much for your support and your prayers.

Stay tuned here, we’ll “talk” to you from the road…..


Was that a bullet?

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

If that was a bullet we think we dodged it.

Just over a week ago we had a mishap, a problem, actually what we had was an electrical fire in the TR6. The 30+ year old headlight switch failed and created a dead short under the dash. If Dave hadn’t been in the car with a wrench handy we believe it would have not only burned the car to the ground, but considering it was in the garage also burned down our house.

TR6 dash apart

Dave has spent many a late night under the dash of the Triumph over the past week running some new wire and repairing some of the damage. It looks like we’re back up and running without having to replace the entire wiring harness. That would have been a +200 hour job and one he wasn’t looking forward to. 

The rally is in 35 days. 35 days? Oh my we still have a lot to do!

6 with decals and bar fitting

There will be so many touching stories as a result of this event. Due to the pathetic headlights on the 6 we wanted a factory light bar so we could mount sets of rally lights. These bars haven’t been made in over 30 years. If you can find them used they are very expensive. Quite by accident Dave “met” a man in California through email who had a set of front and rear bars. Not only did he ship us his front bar so we could copy it, but he gave us his back bar! The trust he showed in us really made an impact. The front light bar has been fabricated, test fitted, and sent off to be chromed. 

Two of our concerns have been how tired we’re going to be after all those miles in a very little car and running behind schedule because weather slowed down our arrival in Birmingham. Our plan was to drive the 6 to Birmingham and it wouldn’t look very good if we were late because of weather or other problems. Hauling the 6 in an enclosed trailer seemed to be the perfect solution. We’ve found a gentleman, who again we’ve never met, is willing to loan us his 24′ trailer.  It should make life much easier hauling the car there with the truck and starting “fresh” the day of the rally. A 24 footer is a monster trailer. If any of you know someone who has a 20′ trailer we’d like to talk to them.

Circle S Shirt logo

Tee-shirts for the kids…. Helen came up with a great idea! We’re making tee-shirts with the Circle S Racing Team logo on them. Under the logo will be the word “driver” and a line. We’ll be able to take a sharpie and write in kids names on the tee-shirts. On the 26th we’re going to the hospital to take kids for rides. Once they have on their tee-shirts, we’ll put them behind the wheel for a picture, and then print the picture so they can have it by their bed. We’re attempting to get the local police to give us a police escort when we go for rides. Chris’s Stuff (the supplier of all of the shirts at the winery) has donated 24 kids shirts and Avery Dennison (the manufacturer of the paper stock the winery labels are printed on) has donated the iron-on transfers. THANK YOU!

The final route is set! A few changes have been made to the route due to construction delays and road conditions. Day #1 we’ll start early in the morning at point #1 on the below map. Late Saturday night, barring any disasters, we’ll pull into Tupelo, MS:

route for day #1

Day #2, Tupleo southeast to Pratville, AL then to the finish, and a good stiff drink, in Birmingham.

Route for Day #2

The number and types of cars entered is growing and getting very interesting. In addition to a 1932 Bentley which has recently entered the rally there are a couple of other Triumphs, MG’s, an old Austin Healey, and a 1949 Bentley. Looks like we’re going to have a great group of old British cars.


Thank you for your support, your words of encouragement, and your prayers.

stay tuned……….

Charity Rally Specifics

Friday, August 1st, 2008

If this is your first time here please read the post titled “British Reliability Run” below so you can get caught up.

Get notified of updates to this page. Look to the right. See the heading “Subscribe To Updates Here”? Click on the 2 little arrows all the way on the right side. The most popular RSS readers are listed, pick the one you use. Our techo challenged friends are not out of luck. You will want to click the envelope so you’ll get email updates and not have to try to figure out just what an RSS thingy is.

Sponsors and Appearance. We have a few corporate sponsors who have helped with spare parts, accessories, communication services, etc. We’ll announce the list of sponsors in the next update. During the rally the “6” will be decked out in full racing regalia with decals from various sponsors on the car. She’ll be sporting the number 17, the day we were married, on a white circle with black numbers.

TR6 Rally Number    

Donations. We’re doing this because we want to, because we haven’t been away from the winery for longer than 48 hours in over 4 years, and because we’ll raise a few bucks for a cause. You don’t have to donate, nor do we expect you to, in order to help. Prayers are great and we’ll take all you can spare. A few of you have asked how to make a donation and what an appropriate amount would be. The hosts of the rally tell us the average donations are in the $10 to $50 range for the run. If you’re picking up a gas card we think we’ll burn 150 gallons of premimum grade fuel ($675) so a $10 card helps a lot and a $25 or $50 card  puts a big dent in the fuel bill. Donating is the easy part:

  • If you want to donate directly to the charity by check please make it out to “Magic Moments” and bring it to the winery or send it to Circle S Vineyards, 9920 Hwy 90A, #B-268, Sugar Land, TX 77478. Then tell us if there are any limits on it, i.e., we have to complete the entire event, etc.
  • If you want to donate directly to the charity by credit card please come by the winery, or call us at 281-265-9463 and we’ll run your card and issue a check on your behalf.
  • If you’re sponsoring our car we’d prefer gift cards for gas. You can pick up cards for specific stations or an American Express or Visa gift card would enable us to use it at any station.

Live Updates During The Run. Yes its true! During the run we’re going to update this page with photos and running commentary in REAL TIME. We’ve been playing with some new technology on an iPhone. We’ll be able to post pictures and let you know whats going on as we’re on the rally. If you’ve subscribed, see directions above, you’ll be notified every time we make an update. Great technology!

Press coverage. We’ll have some press coverage. There are a couple of national publications who have said they’ll be covering the rally. Those of you who’d like to see the article Hemmings did last year can do so here. (opens in a new window)

Current schedule. We’re a little under 8 weeks out right now. The current plan is to leave Wednesday or Thursday, September 24th or 25th, taking one of 2 routes; the southern route would take us near the northen shore of Lake Pontchartrain then up to Birmingham, the northern route would send us through Monroe, LA, Vicksburg and Jackson, MS. If we leave Wednesday we’ll stop halfway and make it into Birmingham Thursday the 25th. Leaving Thursday means one long day of driving. Friday the 26th would be spent at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital giving kids rides, passing out stickers, etc. The rally starts first thing Saturday morning. Back in Birmingham Sunday night (exhausted and sore) and home Monday or Tuesday. 

The \"6\"

stay tuned…. and THANKS for cheering for us, praying for us, and allowing us to know you.  

British Reliability Run

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

The weekend of September 27th and 28th, 2008 we will be participating in the 5th annual charity auto rally called America’s British Reliability Run (we know, “British car” and “reliability” are words that aren’t often used in the same sentence). We’re going to be driving a 35 year old British car over 2,000 miles and do it in just a little over 2 days. We must be nuts!


It is an endurance run of sorts, and it always benefits children’s charities. The event is based on several events held each year in Britain with the same goal: to help a worthy children’s charity and have fun while doing so. This year the charity is Magic Moments, they fulfill the non-medical wishes of chronically ill children.

The rally will begin in Birmingham, Alabama and head northward to Mentone Alabama, proceeding northward to Chattanooga Tennessee, westward to Collinwood TN and then onto the Natchez Trace. Southward to Tupelo Mississippi then on to Columbus, MS, from there east to Tuscaloosa and south to Montgomery. In Montgomery we will head north back to Birmingham and the finish.

We’re looking for sponsors (thats you in case you hadn’t figured that out). You can participate in 2 ways:

  • Charity Sponsorships – You can sponsor us per mile, per segment of the rally, or a guaranteed sponsorship that you’d pay even if we broke down, didn’t finish, or were hampered by weather (this is obviously what we’d prefer). This would go direct to the charity.
  • Car Sponsorships – We’re paying 100% of our own expenses. 3 or 4 nights in a hotel plus 2,000 miles of fuel, spare parts, repairs, meals, and lets not forget how much wine we’re going to need after a long day in the saddle. (nevermind we have plenty of wine). We don’t want any cash for expenses but we’d sure take a few $5, $10, or $100 gas cards to help offset the cost of the trip. Maybe we’ll bring you a souvenir as a way of saying thanks, you never know!

Through the wonders of technology we have discovered that we’ll be able to post photos from the trip and running commentary in real time using our iPhone. Apple’s new SDK has enabled us to log on to this blog while driving down the road and post entries with photos. VERY COOL!

Stay tuned……