ABCS Insignia

The July 2002 Newsletter

June 13 Meeting Highlights

C. C. Goodson

For our June 13th meeting, we had 2 MGB's, 1 Austin Healy 3000, and 1 XJ6 Jaguar. There were 24 members and 1 guest, Wayne Dye. Wayne is the Advertising Director for The Business Journal. Glad you came Wayne. We invite you to become a member soon.

Several upcoming events were discussed. The Celtic Festival in Elizabethton is being coordinated by Ben Bailey and will be September 7 & 8. The 10th anniversary ABCS picnic celebration will be September 22 in shelter No. 2 at Warriors' Path State Park in Colonial Heights. The club will furnish hot dogs and hamburgers and each member is requested to bring a dish of your choice. More on both events soon.

June 19 Drive

Herren Floyd

Under clear skies and with agreeable temperatures, five convertibles with tops down assembled at the Sears Automotive parking lot in Johnson City, and their occupants sipped coffee and cappuccino in McDonalds next door until about 8 AM. Ben Bailey and Larry Bridwell came in their MGBs. Larry is our new member who bought the nice green MGB that was owned by Steve Taylor and rebuilt by Mark Whitt. Gerry and Becky Mitchell came in their yellow 1957 Jaguar XK-140, and Clarence Goodson drove his black 1994 Jaguar XJS. Herren and Otti Floyd were driving their Mercury Capri since their 1963 MGB engine and transmission are still in repair.

We left Johnson City by way of Interstate 181 and US 23 South, and then followed Unicoi Drive to Clarence's Restaurant for a leisurely breakfast where both the food and service were quite good. After breakfast we drove on TN West 107 through Erwin, crossing a street with the increasingly rare name of Gay Street before turning left onto Love Street and eventually leaving Erwin on Old US 19 & 23 toward North Carolina. We enjoyed truly spectacular scenery and delightful two-lane roads among the hills and along the creeks in Madison and Shelton Counties.

We all pulled over onto the grass beside the road and converged around Larry's MGB which had come to a halt with the battery completely discharged. An inspection found nothing wrong with the battery connections and fluid level. Under the hood, a disconnected wire was discovered and reconnected. Just as we realized that none of us had jumper cables with us, Ben flagged down a nice young man in a pickup truck who had some and was happy to lend a hand. In the short time it took him to get Larry started again, we learned that he had once been an MG owner and is now missing it. Apparently the loose wire was Larry's only problem.

After crossing the French Broad River we continued on US 25 to Hot Springs where we expected to eat lunch. We found the popular dining place at Hot Springs to be just a bit too popular and their parking to be a bit too crowded and disorganized, so we backtracked the thirty miles to Greeneville and had a very enjoyable lunch at West Main Grill where the hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches exceeded our expectations.

After lunch, we drove to the Mountain View Bulk Store operated by Mennonites and bought some cheeses and other items. While we were there, a gentleman parked his open 1956 Thunderbird which looked brand new, right next to some of our cars, which of course called for some discussion.

Heading back, Larry and Gerry & Becky split off and headed back to Kingsport. Otti and I were glad we decided to stay with Ben and Clarence when we found ourselves on some of the most enchanting tree-lined and tree-canopied roads of the trip such as Arnold, Dry Creek, and Sinking Creek Roads. Thanks, Ben for a very pleasant and enjoyable club event.

ABCS June 22 Drive

Randall Thomas

Larry Elswick and I left Pikeville around 8:00 AM Saturday to meet up with the other club members at a supermarket parking lot in Lebanon, VA for the drive to Burkes Garden, VA. It was clear and cool, so we both wore jackets and drove on in the cool morning to meet Sam Chandler and Ricki Fields at the KY/VA state line. At the same time the Tri-Cities group was leaving Rush Street in Kingsport and coming up US 19 towards Lebanon. When we all got together in the Food City lot there were 5 MGB's, a Sptfire, and a Mazda Miata. Our group included Ben Bailey, Wayne Dye, Eddie & Judy Penland, Larry & Diane Bridwell, Sam Chandler & Ricki Fields, David Wallace, Larry Elswick, and Randall Thomas.

From Lebanon, we drove on northeast on US 19 to Claypool Hill and the US 460 junction, and then on to Tazewell and VA Rt. 61. Even thought US 19 and US 460 are 4-lane roads, they are curvy and scenic, with the beautiful ridges, woodlands, and farms on both sides of the highway. Traffic was light, and we could cruise at around 55 MPH without getting in anybody's way. As most of you probably know, 55 MPH in a 4-speed MGB equates to around 3,500 RPM, and so you feel as if you are really pushing the car, and going faster than the legal limit. Another reason these cars are so much fun. When we reached the turn-off to VA Rt. 623 (the only road into Burkes Garden), the fun started, what with the many twists and turns and hairpins that 623 affords. At the old school building, we got out and ate our picnic lunches under a shelter, and then took photos of the group and our cars. Since we were at around 3,300 ft. in elevation, it was considerably cooler than down in the valley at Tazewell, and I almost put my jacket back on. Burkes Garden is like a step back in time, all farms, no gas marts, fast food, traffic, or any of the other clutter of modern communities and highways elsewhere. We all drove the half loop around the area, taking in the well-kept dairy and beef cattle farms and woodlands. Judy Penland claimed to have seen a camel on one of the farms, but maybe it was one of the Jersey milk cows lying on its back taking a nap! Wild turkeys, deer, rabbits and lots of birds were also on view making it hard to gawk around and drive your car at the same time.

We left Burkes Garden after a stop at the General Store, and the ride out on 623 brought out the wanna-be Paddy Hopkirks and Tony Ponds among us, taking the curves as fast as our 20+ year old cars on skinny tires (and our own nerves) would allow. Again, there was hardly any traffic, so we were only endangering ourselves! After a pit stop at the Hardees in Tazewell, we went our separate ways, Larry and me getting back to Pikeville around 5:00 PM, a total of 322 very enjoyable miles.

I don't have any plans for a club drive in July (will be gone too much with vacation and a work trip to St. Louis) but Sam Chandler mentioned a possibility of having a short drive to Natural Tunnel and Stony Creek near Dungannon, to him about it at the next club meeting.

Mark and Ann's Almost Excellent
Spitfire Adventure (Part 2)

Sam Chandler

Sam's note: It is only fitting that the conclusion of this adventure be written by Ann Maclean Jones, new owner of the 1980 Triumph Spitfire. Ann's family arrived in Nova Scotia several generations ago from the Old Country, Scotland. Before Mark and Ann left Kentucky on their journey home to the Canadian Maritimes, they christened their new car, "lil Bit", in homage to my mechanic's chicken herding chihuahua dog.

On Thursday, May 16, 2002 at 1:30 pm, Ann and Mark left Jenkins, anxious to get on the road but sad to leave their new found friends. It was a sunny day and temperatures were in the 80's, a great day to start out! Armed with Ricki's knowledgeable recommendation of historic towns, they headed for Abington, Virginia (Highways 23 and 19). Here, they stopped at a coffee/gift shop and being fine wine connoisseurs, pick up a white wine labeled "Our Dog Blue". Caffeine in hand, they cruise into Salem, Virginia (US 11), where they arrived in time for a great Mexican feast at the "El Rodeo".

Continuing north the next morning, top down in the sunshine, they traveled through Roanoke, Virginia and into the Blue Ridge Mountains for a short stint on the Parkway. The mountains were magnificent. A lunch stop in the historic town of Staunton permitted the sampling of Sierra Nevada's Flying Dog's In Heat Wheat (Ann and Mark are also fine beer connoisseurs) and the purchase of red "Fat Bastard" wine (there's a theme developing here!) Cloudy skies, cool temperatures and spitting showers accompanied them into Berkeley Springs, West Virginia (Highway 522). Here, they checked into what was later found out to be a very religious B&B, complete with chapel, ornaments, and brochures depicting where said ornaments could be purchased. There was a small Italian restaurant here; the marinara sauce was fresh and the spaghetti and balls and lasagna were satisfying. The main interest was the hot springs, however, where George Washington was known to have spent his summers bathing.

Before heading out on Saturday, Ann convinced Mark to "take to the bath", a 100oF and very invigorating mineral water Roman Bath, which was followed by a refreshing crisp morning walk. Life is good! After a brief shopping spree for gifts for the folks back home, they headed north (US 522) and east (US 30 to US 233), through the Caledonia forest. Glimpses of Fiats and MGs were caught in Carlisle (US 34), where the Import Auto Show was being held. Back window unzipped, they continued east (US 11 and US322) through the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania into Harrisburg and then Hershey. Being in Chocolate Town, and with visions of dipping fingers into vats of fresh chocolate, a visit to the Hershey factory was in order. To their dismay, the closest thing to fresh chocolate was a large Hershey double chocolate chip cookie, after eating which they became as hopped up on sugar as the majority of the little people in the Hershey park. Adding to the disappointment, the only specialty chocolates were made in Dartmouth, NS, not 15 minutes from Seaforth!

An overcast day that eventually became sunny, they continued through the rolling hills and farmlands, following the base of the Appalachian Mountains, until Stroudsburg (US422 to US501 to Interstate 78 to Route 61 to Route 443 to Route 895 to US 209), located at the beginning of the Delaware Water Gap. Here a smelly room in a budget motel was a sign not to chance the restaurant; a feast from the grocery store, Vermont cheddar, crackers, New Brunswick sardines, apple, rye bread, pastrami, avocado, hummus and the Our Dog Blue topped off the day.

The next day, Lil Bit and the pair followed the Delaware River (US 209) through the Water Gap to Bushkill, where Ann and Mark stop to hike into the Bushkill Falls. $16 less and 2 hours later, the roaring falls and creeks dubbed the "Niagara of PA" have been experienced as well as the not so friendly hospitality of those trekking to the Poconos from the nearby cities (some folks need a lesson in southern manners). Anxious to be on the road again, as the temperature had climbed at least 15 degrees while on the hike, they head out top down and reach Middletown, NY by early afternoon (US 6). Seeing a sign at a country store for Hershey's ice cream, and determined to have a good Hershey's experience, they stopped. But alas, the Heavenly Hash in a pint size box turned out to be a heavenly blob of marshmallow, most of which became a heavenly mess (on US 211). So much for the Hershey experience.

Opting to head northeast (US 17K and Route 9D), they entered into the very busy area of Poughkeepsie before continuing on along the Hudson River (the stop-and-go Routes 9/9G). Hindsight being what it is, north into the Shawangunk Mountains would have been better. At Hudson, the Berkshire Hills were calling, so they headed to Pittsfield, Massachusetts (Routes 66 and 295), then into Vermont (US 7) through the Green Mountains. This was a very nice drive, however, the temperature had dropped into the 50's. Tired, cold and hungry, they found a small inn called the Killington Pico and later a pub in the Cortina Inn at the base of Killington Peak near Mendon (outside of Rutland, Vermont) (US 4). A couple of large local Rutland brews, a burger and pizza, and the final predictable episode of Survivor ended the day.

Now Day 5, Monday, Ann and Mark woke to a frosty sunny morning, and after taking a outdoor hot tub and finishing a quick continental breakfast, they buckled up anticipating a leisurely two day drive back home in familiar territory. Unfortunately Lil Bit had other things in mind. Being that it was at near freezing temperatures, it would figure that the Spit would be a bit cranky starting. After chugging up and coasting down hills for 17 miles, however, it was evident that something was not as it should be. Literally coasting into a gas station at West Bridgewater (no cell phone service here), Mark found a pay phone and called a British car service shop, Sports Car Services in Putney, Vermont. The mechanic recommended tapping the carburetor float bowl to release a potentially stuck needle valve, which was thought to be allowing fuel to spill out of various ports. He also provided the name of a local shop in Wilder, Vermont. After traveling a trouble-free 955 miles, the Spit hobbled another 6 miles to Bridgewater, and came to a halt on a sharp turn. It was 10 am and time to call AAA.

One hour and 15 minutes later found Ann, Mark and Lil Bit in the tow truck heading to Wilder. Three Audi/BMW/Mecedes "experts", as evidenced by the parking lot, examined the Spit and determined that it had "issues". Other than the carburetor, these were a loose front-end, bad connecting rod bearings, cracked exhaust manifold, a slipping clutch, and possibly body work around the sills. Uh, oh. The carburetor problem turned out to be a faulty float thanks to Victoria British, which had filled with fuel. Draining the fuel and coating the float with a gas-resistant sealant fixed the problem. The rat-a-tat-tat, deemed to be the rod bearings, was thought to be a result of low oil pressure and worn bearings. It was recommended that the 20W50 oil be replaced with straight 40 weight. This done, but not prepared to spend all their life savings at a garage in Vermont, they leave Wilder, confidence shaken by what later turned out to be an alarmist (and possibly greedy?) bunch of mechanics. Tuned into every noise, rev and bump, they gingerly drove to Bethel, Maine (US 5, US 302/115, US 2), arriving late into the evening.

Hoping for a day that would take them to the border, Ann and Mark left Bethel behind at dawn. At Bangor, Maine a stop for a much needed coffee at the Vault Café (best coffee ever!) picked up their spirits. A straight run was made into Calais (US 9), where a six- pack of Sea Dog Old East India Pale Ale was obtained (in keeping with the theme). Only quizzical looks at the car and the plates were encountered at US Customs. Waiting at Canadian Customs, Mark collapsed in a chair at the far corner of the room, relieved to have reached the border, but looking mighty guilty at the same time. An insistent glance from Ann brought him to the desk, where, after seeing the declaration form, the official cheerily announced, "oh you have a car, I need a form". He checked out the VIN, deducted the $750 allowance, and of course charged the obligatory 6.1% duty and 7% GST. It took one half hour. Wow! The Kentucky plates must have made it seem that this was too crazy to be of concern!

Now in New Brunswick, it was 2 pm, and a nutrition stop was required. A small restaurant conveniently located on the side of the highway in Pocologan on the Bay of Fundy fitted the bill for a feed of clams before heading to Sussex (Rt 1). The windshield wipers had previously quit working in Saint John, and as fate would have it intermittent showers began. Not to be out done, Mark wiped the windshield with Rainex. (Just hang on Lil Bit!). On the Trans Canada Highway near Memramcook, an RCMP car zoomed by then quickly shrank back and slipped behind the Spit, where he tailed for several miles before deciding that it wasn't as suspicious looking as originally thought. Black clouds, blue skies and rainbows accompanied Ann and Mark home to Seaforth, where they arrived at 9 pm after a long but relatively uneventful day. 1675 miles later, Lil Bit had made it!

Footnote from Sam: My mechanic, Paul, has requested that when his name is used, please refer to him as "Moonshineman." Also, I'm sure I neglected to mention what an intelligent and super nice couple Mark and Ann are. They are mid-30ish and certainly the most perfect houseguests I've ever had the pleasure to share time with. I will bring my new grill badge from the British Automobile Touring Association of Nova Scotia to the next club meeting.

ABCS Officers & Committee Chairs for 2002

President: Robert Hall, 423-262-0402.

Vice-President: Gael Bright, 423-239-4247.

Secretary: Clarence (CC) Goodson, 423-928-2023

Treasurer: Al Bradley, 540-628-4763.

Newsletter: Jane Ogle, 423-282-5687.

Driving Events: Randall Thomas, 606-432-5153.

Programs: John Hanlin, 423-239-5603.

Webpage: Herren Floyd, 423-239-5455.

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