Gunners Garage

Miracle in Hudson

We made it to the arch in Hudson for the start of the Yellowstone Trail tour. Members of both the Lion’s Club and the Yellowstone Trail Association showed up. There were around 20 people, plus a hot rod and a Chevy Advanced-Design pickup truck of the early ’50s. Donuts, coffee and water were served. The Hudson police shooed some picture takers out of the roadway. Our first problem arose when the zipper on Dave Sarna’s dress pants refused to operate properly and “came off the tracks.”

Dave Changed clothes and took off on the Trail, with several traffic lights and hills greeting us before we left Hudson. Finally we got out of town and had a pleasant ride along Highway 12. The sun was shining and it was a little chilly. Dave’s GPS said he was going 22-23 mph. Great weather for not overheating and we had no problems in that regard. That was the good news.

We had traffic backed up several times. About 25 miles down the road, Dave sudenly pulled over into a farm. The engine was knocking. It had just started and he stopped almost immediately. There was nothing to do but load the car on the trailer.

With the car on the trailer, we continued on to Menominee. Due to the breakdown, we got there late. There was a group of some 20 people including the Mayor and John and Alice Ridge of the Yellowstone Trail Assoc. No one seemed to mind that the car was on the trailer. They still wanted to have their photo taken with it and they still wanted to see under the hood.

 

After lunch, we took the car to a shop owned by a friend of John’s. Steve Rindt runs Eau Claire British Classics. He let us work on the car near his shop, but had no empty bays to work on it inside. We removed the oil pan and could feel that several rods were loose. One was very loose, since the rod bearing had totally disintegrated. We worked on the car until nearly 5, then loaded it on the trailer and took it to the designated stop at the Classic Garage, an old Texaco gas station turned into a restaurant by a Cadillac collector named Rick Payton.

Dave wanted to unload the car for the local TV cameras. He then gave a good report on the trip. Afterwards, Rick Payton offered us the use of his shop to start work on the Oakland. Dave also ordered some bearings and other parts from Andy Wise, the Oakland expert from Delaware. Andy promised to quick ship them. Little did we know Rick’s shop was in Chippewa Falls, rather than Eau Claire. But it was a cool place with 18 cars under restoration, most of which were ’50s Cadillacs.

By some miracle, Dave got the original room in Eau Claire cancelled and we decided to stay in Chippewa Falls so we can put in a few hours disassembling the car again (again). The plan is to then load it up and keep moving until we get to Waupaca and put the replacement bearings in.

We made some great new friends today, including a friendly farmer, a man who brought us a photo of his grandfather’s 1918 Oakland and a Cadillac collector with a big passion for old cars. What more could you ask for?

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