words & photographs by John R. Paul
After three days spent frantically trying to get the glorious (and aptly-named, it turns out) Miss Adventure up to speed, we were finally greeted with success. A quick consult with Casey revealed that, after tightening all of the necessary bolts and shoring up the oil leak that left us stranded just south of Traverse City late Wednesday night, the car developed an issue in the steering column. This appears to have been the result of the car still possessing all original components, some of which have obviously worn with age, leaving a great deal of play in the steering column and making shifting far more interesting and requiring more muscle than it would normally. The diagnosis: more elbow grease.
Thanks to the efforts of Casey and a myriad of others who lent a helping hand last night and this morning out at the Hagerty garage, our Olds Super 88 was able to get out on the road and, perhaps more importantly, registered, inspected, approved, and stickered for the Great Race. There’s no turning back now, folks, we’re in this one for the long haul.
But first let’s get to a bit of a recap of the day: The morning started out at the Holiday Inn here in Traverse City with Rally School. While this may sound like the name of an eighties metal band of little renown, it’s actually a course offering directions on how to read directions (and is not nearly as redundant as it sounds). It was here we were taught the ins and outs of the race, how to read and interpret the day’s directions and how to more or less successfully get from point A to B within a previously determined amount of time (or, as we learned today, each “leg” of the “stage”).
After the whirlwind, but quite helpful and informative, course it was back to Miss Adventure and the final stages of the planning process, wrapping up a number of last-minute details; checking, re-checking, and checking again each list and item contained therein to ensure smooth sailing in the days ahead. (Or, to be a bit more appropriate and in the spirit of things, smooth driving.) With minds racing at a million miles an hour and verbal skills struggling to catch up, all seemed to be going well; each integral cog (the players will be introduced shortly) fitting snuggly against the next, ensuring a well-oiled machine hitting the ground running.
Following a quick regrouping session, rental car pickup (that’s us in the big white Suburban) and, perhaps more importantly, ice cream fix, we headed back to Miss Adventure to get her washed up and ready for her close up. Inspection proved successful and, with the application of the fitting number 88, she officially became a participant in the Great Race.
Sadly we were unable to participate in today’s Trophy Run from Traverse City to Empire (but it sounded like a blast and was certainly the perfect day for it, weather-wise), however we were able to take an abbreviated tour of Leelanau county upon completion of the inspection and stickering session, during which we saw a number of other classic car owners out enjoying the ideal summer weather, cruising the back roads of Leelanau county.
This evening saw all the Great Racers gather in the parking lot of the Holiday Day, creating quite a spectacular scene with West Grand Traverse Bay as the backdrop. Everyone was all smiles and handshakes, clearly loving the weather, company and great cars. A few of the future car guys and gals got into the act as well, marveling at the size of the cars and a few even taking advantage of generous offers to try out the horn.
A quick, mandatory meeting for all Great Race participants hosted by Corky Coker brought all racers and support crew together for one last time before they all line up first thing tomorrow morning on Front Street in downtown Traverse City. The HVA will be in the number 25 slot and, with cars moving out starting at 10am, will see us bidding farewell to Traverse City around 10:25am (EST). If you’re in the area, be sure and come on down and check us out and cheer on all the Great Racers as they make their way northward across the bridge into St. Ignace and onto the final destination for the day of Sault Ste. Marie.
Before closing this out for the day I would like to take a moment to pull back the curtain and introduce the featured players with whom you will be traveling over the course of the next nine days: sitting literally in the driver’s seat and piloting Miss Adventure (a 1954 Olds Super 88) will be HVA Chief Counsel and Vice President Carmel Roberts; sitting immediately to her right and making sure we all stay on course will be Events Coordinator Katy Jackson; heading up the support crew and all things mechanical will be HVA Intern Casey Maxon; in the promotional vehicle will be Technical Commission Manager Tim Weadock and Member Services Coordinator Emily Noss; and lastly, your guide for all of this will be me, Government Relations and Media Specialist John Paul. The stories you’re about to read will be real. The names will not be changed to protect the innocent. It’s time to hit the road!
Top Five Things We Learned Today:
- A person can survive solely on bad coffee, Red Bull and ice cream.
- Sometimes you need to have directions on how to read directions.
- It’s amazing just how much you don’t realize you need until you need it.
- Sheer force of will can actually sometimes (although rarely) fix cars that refuse to run.
- If you name your car Miss Adventure, you’re just asking for it.