This page last modified- 11/10/01
{Note: The "Valve Adjustment Tracking Table" is kept on the 2000 year page, click here to jump directly to that table. } 

Event Details
9/2/01 5120 Trip The Rhode Island VW Club's "Show Off" in Cumberland RI.  Again, we took the "team" of cars out, my wife driving the '57 with the kids ('50 had no seat belts at the time) and me the '50 sunroof.  We took first and second place.  Yeah, I feel a bit bad about putting both of my cars in the show, and honestly didn't know that they would combine the Ovals and Splits.  There were about 8 cars in the class.  My wife registered my '57 in her name and it took first.  I guess if my cars take 1st and 2nd, I'd like the one *I* restored to take first, not the one I just bought restored.  She drove the '57 to and from with the kids and blew past me on the uphills on the highway.  Damn 36hp speed demon..... 

After the show, Peter Cook and I took a couple really cool pictures of our cars.  His black '58 and my '57 and '50.  It shows the "Evolution" of theback window quite nicely.

The 2001 driving season had officially ended.

8/4/01 5045 Trip Took both my '57 and the newly acquired '50 Sunroof to the Hebert's Candy Mansion "Air-Vair" show (VWs and Corvairs).  Wife drove the '57 with the kids, I took the '50.  I had just got it registered days before and wanted to drive it somewhere.  The weather was pretty bad, rainy.  The '57 and older class consited of my 2 cars and Bill Collin's Hebmueller. He got first, my split got second, the oval 3rd.  I forgot the camera that day....
7/8/01 4984 Trip The Bay State Antique Auto Club's 30th annual Endicott Estates show.  And yes, it was wet again.  No, not a rainy day, but it did shower in the morning, I had to wipe off the car a few times, and it was cloudy all day.  Every show so far this summer....rain.

The "VW Class" in this show is Peter Cooks idea.  Peter is active in the BSAAC and is the founder of the Bay State Volkswagen Owners Club.   And the VWs made a strong showing.  I didn't actually count, but I think there were about 9 Beetles, two buses (each had the side tents, seen in the picture on the left) and I saw a Karmann Ghia briefly.  More and more, I am enjoying these multi-marque shows, especially when the VW hobby makes a strong showing (I think that there were more Beetles than 60s Mustangs).  People "connect" with VWs in different ways than with other cars it seems.

Our 9 year old son with me and had a great time.  This was a first for him to go to a car show all day.  We left home about 7:30 and got back about 4:00.  We saw a "Straight 8" Packard engine that was quite possible the biggest piece of automotive machinery I had ever seen.  We also studied several flat 6 Corvair engines and noted the similarities to Beetles.  Some of the vendors were selling toys (cars), he bought some.  We had brought our FRS radio walkie talkies and they had an ice cream truck there, so he truly enjoyed the day.

As usual, my '57 is running frighteningly well.  So good, I am beginning to take it for granted, not doing the thorough "pre-flight" checks each time, just jumping in it and driving it, and wiping off only the obvious dirt.  I cleaned it up, covered it up and put it back in it's space to make room in the garage.  A couple weeks ago, I bought a new Cabriolet (water cooled, a '91), haven't sold my old one yet.  Last week my wife got here new minivan, and we haven't sold her old car yet either so there are now 5 cars at our house.

I should be getting a sixth car at the end of this week......

Miles Driven: 80

6/22/01 4842 Trip The New Hampshire VW Club Show at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds in Hopkinton NH.

There is definitely a pattern forming here.

I missed the Norwalk CT show this year as I was on vacation with my family, but I heard that it rained in the morning as was not as well attended as in the past due to the wet weather.  A few weeks later, I braved a dismal forecast in my watercooled VW, drove the 2.5 hours to Litchfield in epic rains hoping to at least get a few hours of swap meeting in, only to have that show cancelled about 10 minutes before I got there.  So needless to say, I had high hopes for the New Hamphire show on June 24th.  I was logging on to 3-5 times a day for the week leading up, hoping that a weather front which ground to a halt over New England would feel obliged to drift out to sea.

But it was not to be.

I had gone to the Hopkinton NH last year, and while smaller than the CT shows, it was in  a nice setting, the swaps were good and it was a very "friendly" show.  So I put it on my calendar for this year, and reading show details, entertained the idea camping at the fairgrounds the night before.  I really enjoy camping, but had never camped at a VW show before.  But in the early stages of the weekend, the weather channel wasn't foretelling good news.  It wasn't close compacted storm of the weekend past that killed Litchfield, but it was definitely going to be wet some of the time.  But having thoroughly rain tested our tent with my son at a Cub Scout  this past April (and it passed wonderfully), I decided to go in spite of the ominous forecasts.

I had spoken to Gary Constantine the previous day, he was just finishing up a '56 Sunroof but was having trouble with a leaky carb.  I had picked up a spare "28" in Kelly Park and offered to drop off this as-yet-untested Solex at his house on the way to the show.  Gary lived just a stone's throw off Rte. 3 in Tyngsboro MA.

I dismissed my self from our street's annual block party early, amid darkening skies, but the weather still seemed pretty kind.  I headed north in my '57 Beetle up 495, then onto Rte 3 north.  I pulled into Gary's at about 4:40 to see one very nice looking oval sunroof in the driveway.  Gary does phenomenal restorations, no detail is spared.  His cars (he has a '50 split too) are well accessorized and nary a pit will you find on any chrome, keep an eye out for this one at any upcoming New England shows.  He showed me some of his very cool accessories and parts, including a very cool NOS Hella suction cup fan.

After chatting for while, I left him the $5 swap meet carb, and headed north up 3.  I took the Everett Turnpike and the sky got grayer, and grayer as I went.  It drizzled and spit for a while, then stopped, the started again.  But just as I got to I-89, it really started to rain hard.  I don't mind my '57 getting wet, but with tiny taillights, anemic wipers and bias ply tires, I just don't enjoy driving it in the rain.  With the help of a heavy coat of Rain-X applied to the front and back windows the night before, I made it the 12 miles or so to the Hopkinton State fairgrounds in the rain.  It was downright dismal weather, and I was driving my "show car" through muddy fair ground roads.  In spite of coming in at an different exit than I used last year (and passing a dog "agility" show in another field, I wonder what their swap meet is like?), I found the VW show area and spotted Geoff Aldrich's black '50 sunroof near tent where a group of guys were huddled.  I bolted from my car and headed over.  There was quite a long line of type 2s already along the road and tents and tarps were spread in between them.

Fortunately the rain stopped after 20 minutes or so, and I took the opportunity to go and set up my tent.  Geoff and I camped along the back side of one of the fair buildings.  After I got my tent up and some stuff unloaded, I walked back down to "bus row" and chatted with some of the folks there.  The NH show does anice job at this show, they even have a cookout in the evening.  I grabbed a couple hot dogs just as the skies opened up again, and we all huddled under another tent shelter. The rain stopped, it was getting dark, and the mosquitoes became ravenous.  I had sprayed my bare arm and legs, but now they were biting through my T-shirt.  I had Geoff "fog me down" and basically applied the repellant to everything but my face.  Sitting at the picnic table talking about early splits, I swear some of the mosquitoes were trying for my eyelids.

I was very pleased to find clean restrooms and showers in two buildings at the fairground.  Climbing into a sleeping bag on a humid night all covered with bug spray isn't something I look forward to.  Interestingly, about 10pm, the air seemed to get thinner and a but cooler, some stars could be seen, and the mosquitoes vanished.  I grabbed some fresh clothes from tent and took a quick shower, then packed it in for the night.

About 4pm I awoke to hear heavy rain hitting  the tent.  Then realized my feet felt real damp, as did the end of my sleeping bag.  The thin nylon material does a great job of keeping water out, that is until a nice cotton sleeping bag get up against the inside, then the sleeping bag starts wicking water through.  The rain finally let up, and it got light, and I never really fell back asleep.  At this time of year in the easter lattitude on New England, it gets light about 4:45.  At 5:30 I heard horses whinnying.  The dog show had left, the horses for a horse exhibition in another part of the very large fairground complex were coming in.

I got up at 5:45, fired up the propane stove and made a pot of tea.  Then I packed up my stuff and took my very wet tent down.  I drove over to the show area and parked my car in the "B" (Oval) class.  I emptied the car and, as usual, began building a big pile of stuff behind, this time on a blue tarp that could be folded over it.  After cleaning out the interior, I started wiping the outside of the car down.  About halfway through that task, it started to rain again.  I should have learned.  Never wipe your car down on a cloudy day at the show, it will make it rain again.

Fortunately, it didn't rain much more that day.  It even got sunny and hot feeling for a while in the mid afternoon, then it got cloudy again and started to sprinkle just a bit.  The swaps were little thinner than last year, but I scored a set of A1 GTi springs for my new Cabriolet and a used but very nice 36hp muffler for $10.  I lost on a nice pair of '51 rear fenders; I was haggling with the guy on his $150 asking price when someone swooped in and snatched them up for what he was asking.  Geoff Aldrich later gave me a tip "if you ever find split rear fenders in that condition again for $150, buy them!".

One guy in the swaps had an 80's vanagon with a Rabbit top section welded to the roof.  The whole rear hatch hinged off the Rabbit roof like a massive cargo bay door.  It wasn't pretty but was very functional.  Both windshields had their own inspection stickers.  One guy commented "What a horrible thing to do to a Rabbit!!"

I did spend some time just sitting behind my car chatting with folks, some I had met via e-mail, others just knew of my website.  Again, it was a very friendly show. I won first place in my class, there were only 4 ovals.  They awards were done by 2:00 pm, so I packed up and headed home.  The drive home was uneventful (about and hour and a half), my '57 still running very well, and getting lots of thumbs up signs from passing cars…..

Miles Driven: 190

6/22/01 4650 Trip 4th annual "Drive Your VW to Work Day", and of course I drove mine.

Miles Driven: 78

5/20/01 4437 Trip The whole family was kind of excited about going out to Hebert's for the second "Cruise Night" of the year.  I had reserved this evening on the kitchen calendar months before and left work early to get home in time.  A day or two earlier it was clear that the weather was going to rainey, but I comitted to going anyway.  The kids knew that they still had ice cream inside even if it was raining.  I even called Hebert's earlier in the day just to confirm that they were having it and expected that there would be fewer cars there than usual.

But I didn't expect to be the only car there.

We went inside and looked at the shops.  A few minutes later, and older couple drove in in a 60's Impala, parked next to my Beetle and just sat in their car.  We had some ice cream, and left.  The couple int he Chevy were still sitting in their car...

5/20/01 4437 Service Changed the oil, cleaned the  strainer.  Took the turn signal flasher apart and filed the main contacts, it had been very
intermittent.  Seems to have fixed it.
5/13/01 4410 Service Set the valve clearances.  All of the exhaust valves had receded (stretched?) a bit, #3 exhast is way out beyond the others, it was about -2 thousands receded this time!  Now .014" (0.36mm) total.  Hope this isn't a bad thing, good thing I set them so often...

Drove the car to church thelast two Sundays...

5/2/01 4293 Trip Drove the '57 to work, just because.  It was the first really warm day (89) of the year, and the tank was still full of the "Storage gas".  For the first 20 minutes or so of my 45 minute commute, the turn signals mysteriously didn't work.  Then they suddenly started working but real erratic blink rate.  On the way home, same erratic behavior, then more gremlins.  A tractor trailer passed me plodding along in the right lane, as he cleared my car he signaled to turn back in and I reached for the dash headlight switch to signal to him that his trailer had cleared my car.  But as I often do, I pulled the wiper knob out instead (the damn things look exactly alike!!).  I quickly pushed it back in, but the wipers just kept flailing away.  There I was going down I-495, on a desert-dry day, with this useless little wipers flopping back and forth.  I started chuckling.   I pulled the knob out and in a couple times, but other than the wipers going slightly faster when I pulled it out, it really had no effect.  Over a steep hill I started scanning the shoulder for a good wide grassy area to be able to pull well off the highway and have a downhill to re-merge.... then the wipers finally stopped.  Not quite parked all the way right, but good enough.

Those bias ply tires are little squirmy at 60mph, especially in that right lane with the truck tire ruts worn.  I am going to save up my allowance to get some of those Diamondback classic wide white radials this summer.  I'll keep the Firestones for the ultra correct vintage look ( I have a full second set of painted rims, currently with blackwall radials on them, but I cannot but blackwalls back on that car.  Ever.)

A nice drive, I got a beep and a wave on the way up, and a beep and 5 waves from passers by on the way home, one from a girl in a New Beetle.

Miles Driven: 78

4/28/01 4215 Cruise The second annual Bay State VW Owners Club "Dust Off" cruise.  I met up with the caravan that had left Dedham MA at around 11:00am at the Massachusetts Turnpike Westboro service area.  Already there was Bob Hayes in his newly painted '77 Beetle Convertible as well as a Fred Stetdler and his Dad all the way from Central New Jersey.  This is the second time Fred has made the long haul for a club driving event in his beige '67.

We drove out to Patrick VW in Auburn where we had arranged to gather for the early afternoon. WE parked out back by the service bays and had about 12 vehicles.  The folks at Patrick had put out some refreshments for us.  But there was little activity at the dealership and by around 2:00 we were pretty bored and decided to hit the road.

Riley's Roast Beef cruise night was our last stop, and ideally we wanted to get there about 4:00.  So we had some time to kill.  We opted to take Route 20 east through Shrewsbury, Northboro and Marlboro and then to Wayside Inn just over the Sudbury town line.  Peter Cook had suggested that we go up the brick drive at the Martha Mary Chapel.  I warned him that they did 3-6 weddings a day at the Chapel in the spring and summer months, but I would take the lead and if we could go up the drive, we would.

The drive to the Wayside Inn was nice, and lo and behold, when we got there there didn't seem to be anything going on at the chapel, so I pulled up the drive and past the Chapel a bit to allow room for all the cars; we would at least get a photo op out of this before we got chased away I thought.  No one chased us away, we stayed for a bit and talked to the sexton cleaning the Chapel.  We had hit some dead space between the 3rd and 4th weddings there that day!

The weather was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky.  After a bit of hanging out, we rolled down rte 20 turning south on Edgell road to Riley's.  We arrived at about 3:45.  A scant dozen hot rid die hards had already arrived and taken the spots up front, so we rolled past and like last year basically took over the whole left side of the back lot.  As most of us had skipped lunch to be at Patrick's, we were all famished and rushed inside for one of their huge sandwiches. 

All in all a great driving day, thanks to Peter Cook of the BSVWOC for organizing it and to Glenn Robbins for taking the pics.  See the club website for some more pics.

Miles Driven: 80

4/16/01 4135 Trip/ Service After  struggling for a couple evenings in a row to get a new muffler and intake mainfold on the car (sandblasted and sprayed with POR-20 Hi Temp paint), and then taking a day off from work to do yard cleanup work, it dawned on me about 3 in the afternoon that it was too nice of a day to not try to get the car out for the first time.

The night before, I had finally got the new muffler and intake in (you have to take a LOT of the engine apart to get the intake off, in hindsight it would have been easier to just pull the engine), and all I needed to do was to put the battery back in and hook up the choke cable to get it running.

As it turns out, this  new muffler (actually a real low mileage used part) had a mouse nest in it that smoked for a bit, and then was expelled out of both tailpipes at high velocity when I finally got the car going.  It literally covered the garage floor behind the car.

I took a nice 40 mintue drive around a neighboring town, the car ran just as it had the previous season, incredibly well.  I checked the new paint on the muffler when I got home, it looked as new as it had when I left.

Miles Driven: 18

12/9/00 4117 Trip Now you may be asking yourself, why is the car being photographed, and why in the heck did he take his car out in the snow!?  Well, as of this date, I can't really say why it is being photographed, but I will say that many VW enthusiasts will see this photographers work, and it is not for a VW Magazine.  And no, I didn't really want to take my car out after this very light snowfall, but this last minute photo shoot mandated it.  The location is the Wayside Inn in Sudbury MA, about 5 minutes from my house.  We originally were going to try to replicate this pic, but this late in the year, the sun would be behind the car and the mill no matter what time of day we shot it.  So we opted to try and get a shot in front of the Inn itself.

It was a bitterly cold day, only about 25 degrees F.  I went through the yellow pages the day before, contacted a local studio, who gave me this freelance guys name and number, and by some luck, he lived in my town, and was able to meet me at the Inn the very next afternoon.

On the way out, I took a picture of my '57 on a snow covered road.  After uploading the picture, I rendered it with Photo Impact as a pen and ink drawing, thought it looked pretty cool.

On the way home, I topped off the tank.  Once back in the home, I sprayed hot water and rinsed out the fenderwells and under the running boards.  Then I eased the Oval back into the heated garage, pulled the battery out, emptied the oil bath air cleaner, and did the handful of other "hibernation" tasks  that are called for.  I covered the car, placed it up on its dollies to get he wheels just off the ground and rolled it back into its little corner of the garage for the  winter. 

Miles Driven: 15

11/24/00 4102 Trip It's that anxious time of year.  There are no more VW events, the weather is turning cold, and you are looking for just about any reason to drive your old VW.  Cold doesn't bother me, but salt and sand on the roads do.  Thus far, no snow or ice.  And that "free" day, Friday after Thanksgiving, I tell the wife I'm going out for some errands and fire up the '57,  It is a really cold day, about 27 when I leave the house and an expected high of only 32.  But reputations aside, the Beetle heat does work if the heater channels are, heater boxes, engine bay seals, body seals and all are 100%.  I was not cold, nor was I driving at highway speeds at all.  I went to the post office, then to a Mobil Station that I frequent to get the Beetle a new inspection sticker.  Last year they passed a a "new and improved" inspection process that raised the cost from $15 to $29.  And as part of this new process, the station owners must drive the car in and out of the bay.  I was a little bit nervous of this, and when they pulled in and closed the door, I stood like an expectant father out in the cold peering in through the glass in the door to see what they were doing.  I really had no reason to fear, they had inspected the car last year right after I finished it.  the car passed inspection without incident.

I made another stop, then took an unfamiliar  road in the country on purpose, just to see where it went and to drive my car some more.  On the way to my last stop, I did something I wanted to do for a while; I drove into a new VW dealership.  They had tons of new cars in the lot and almost no place for "customer" parking.  So I pulled up right in front of the glass front and parked at the curb.  Upon walking in, I was greeted with "nice car!" before I could ask if the parts department was open (a pseudo reason for going there).  One salesman barraged me with questions, then when I meandered to the parts department, he asked if he could go out and look at it.  I said sure.

I normally don't like VW dealers and VWoA in general, but I have had good dealings with this dealership (Colonial in Westoboro, MA, formerly Roy Rieux VW).  They found me the only front beam needle bearing on the east coast, and ordered it for me with no deposit.  They have also had the best prices and stocking on parts for my watercooled daily driver.  I chatted with the salesman some more, and of course had to explain the color.

Then I went off to my last stop, a small grocery run to BJs for some dog food.  Heaving a 50 lb bag of Purina in the back seat, a car pulled in beside me (and I was parked waaay at the end of the lot, of course)  a couple got out and the girl was smiling ear to ear. Here husband said "you just made her day", and then of course we chatted and I heard about "the Beetle she used to have" and how much she loved it.  Normal vintage Beetle fare...

Two days later a rainy front came through, not before depositing a layer of ice.  My Cabriolet wouldn't make it up the hill on my street, I had to go out the long way around (well worn summer wheels with performance tires on them, haven't switched to the Blizzacks yet).  On the way to church I heard the sound of winter in the wheelwells.  Chunks of rocksalt and gravel pinging the body panels.  I guess it is over.  Since it rained hard afterward, I might gingerly drive the car to the gas station to top it off and get the sta-bil through the fuel line to the carb for the winter...

Miles Driven: 55

10/14/00 4047 Cruise The Bay State VW Owners club "Pumpkin Run" to Nashoba Winery.  The idea of the club's founder, Peter Cook, this was to be a short-drive cruise in the "metrowest" Massachusetts area where I live.  Peter had called me in the middle of the summer and asked if I knew of of an "end spot" for a short cruise that might be interesting.  Peter lives much closer to Boston than I, and out where I live, there is a lot more "open space".

I told him that Nashoba Winery in Bolton came to mind, that they had a lot of open space and it might be a good cruise from Dedham where he lived.  He checked with them and as it turns out, on the date he was planning the cruise, they were having an Octoberfest!  Perfect.  For a long time we tried to get in touch with their "event coordinator" but got no replies.  Then along about September, she did reply, said she would be interested and that they could give up space for up to 12 cars right up front near all the activity, food, wine tasting, German band, etc.

I opted not to drive all the way out to Peter's starting point in Dedham, as I would just then be re-tracing my route coming back.  That, and it would have meant that I would have to get up much earlier on a Saturday morning.  So I arranged to meet up with Peter and his participants at about the halfway point in Wayland.  Accompanying me was Ed Sterling who had recently purchased a '51 Split and actually lived in Bolton.  Ed met me at my house at about 10:00 am and we left from there to meet Peter.  My kids Ryan and Eryn went along with me and help me look out for the other VWs.

Peter's caravan of 6 or so VWs came rolling through just after we got to the meeting spot.  We jumped out in front of them (Peter had asked that I lead from that point on, as he didn't know where the Orchard was).  We pulled off in Sudbury in a residential area just to exchange greetings and then continued on.  We arrived at the orchard at about 11:20am, the Octoberfest was scheduled to start at 12:00 noon.  They lined us up adjacent to the food tent, Craig Sheape was already there in his super nice '58 Ghia 'vert, having driven down from NH that morning with his wife.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  I grabbed a bratwurst for lunch right after noon and that was good thing as after that, the food line was at least an hour long the whole rest of the afternoon.  The place was mobbed (I think they underestimated the number of porta-potties too, the lines for them was longer than our line of VWs!).

All in all it was a nice "low stress" event, one that I think will be repeated next year.....

Miles Driven: 37

10/8/00 4009 Trip The DKF Fall Foliage Cruise.  To date, the best weekend ever!  460 miles in 3 days in the hills and mountains of New Hampshire with 15 other split and oval windowed Beetles, and exclusive rights at the Mount Washington Hotel to park on the front lawn!  An event that truly warrants its own page at the BugShop!! 

Miles Driven: 460

(Note, the link above will open a new browser window to view the trip page as some of the pictures are quite large.  Please be patient, download time might be long on slower connections)

10/5/00 3542 Service Changed the oil, removed the strainer and cleaned it.
9/24/00 3542 Trip Well, in many ways the '57 got snatched from its protected "show car" status and forced to serve as a regular "driver" on a long weekend trip to Vermont (in less than perfect weather).  First a bit about how this trip came about.  Every year, my wife and I go up to Vermont for our anniversary.  We stay at the Maple Leaf Inn and have been doing so since 1996.  But this year was our 10th anniversary, and we wanted to do something special.  So in May of 2000, we went to Cozumel, Mexico for a week.  But prior to leaving, my wife was lamenting not being able to go to the Maple Leaf Inn and seeing the Inn owners, Gary and Janet Robison.  So she called them and managed to get a late September weekend in their busy Fall season.  In '99, we drove my '85 Watercooled Cabrio up just for a change of pace, and talked about driving the Beetle up in 2000 if it was done.  So this year we decided we would do just that.  And during this summer, I discovered that by pure coincidence, the VT VW club was hosting their annual show the Sunday of that weekend!

Now "mixing" VW hobby stuff with weekend-away-with-wife is a dangerous mix.  But with the correct spousal diplomacy, my wife agreed to leave the Inn at a reasonable time Sunday morning, head up north another 75 miles and accompany me to the VT VW show.  We both knew that it would make for a long ride home that Sunday, but were willing to do it.  Earlier in the week, I did the usual pre-trip maintenance and fitted a new 2 piece bra for the long highway hauls (chips, they are appearin').  I was concerned about weight in the car and quickly poo-poo'ed the wife's idea to bring along our golf clubs.  We had 2 very small suitcases in the back seat, tool bag on the floor and up in front, my usual "show kit" suitcase, jumper cables and spare parts box.  I drove the car to work, and late in the afternoon, my wife took the kids to grandmas and met me in Fitchburg MA, where we left her car in a hotel parking lot.  We left her car there because I was concerned about the long trip home on Sunday and minimizing driving at night, so I didn't want to have to go too far out of the way to drop her off at her car on the way home.

We left Fitchburg at 5:00 pm and headed up Rte 2, to Rte 140, then along Rte 12 to Keene NH.  A quick stop in Keene for gas and we headed up 12 North along the CT river.  In a "normal" car I might have opted to go straight west on Rte. 9 and catch I-91, but as I could go about the same speed along the back roads in the '57 as I could on the interstate, we took the more scenic route.  Traffic was very light if not non-existent.  We crossed the river at Bellows Falls and hooked up with I-91 North.  This is when it really became apparent that the little 36hp mill was going to work pretty hard this weekend.  The hills were getting bigger, and we were laboring along in the right lane up hills and barely holding 40 by time we got to the top.  After we had been on the interstate for about 35 minutes and were lugging up a hill, my wife asked "Is this all it will do?  do you have it on the floor?"  I replied "It has been on the floor since we got on the highway".   The engine seemed a bit weaker than it had been, but I really didn't know how much all the weight was affecting it.  I kept a close eye on the rearview mirror as it was getting dark fast.

We flipped on the headlights just as we got off I-89 at 7pm near White River junction.  20 minutes later we eased through pretty Woodstock and continued up 12 North to the Inn, knowing that we would be driving back to Woodstock for dinner after we checked in.  We arrived at the Maple Leaf Inn at 7:40 and were warmly greeted by our friends Gary and Janet Robison.  A little before 9, we drove back into Woodstock for a nice late dinner at Bentley's in the town center.

Saturday we went to Moore's orchard in Pomfret and picked apples.  Walking into the gate, my wife suggested that I take this picture with the car on the side of the road and the near foliage on the right.  I'm no photographer, but I thought that this pic came out pretty good (thanks to her excellent suggestion).  On the way back, we went past "Suicide Six" ski area.  It is a very small ski area in a part of Vermont where there are very large resorts like Stowe, Killington, etc.  I just think that ski areas, and lift equipment standing still are interesting to look at it in the summer. 

We spent the rest of the day just bopping around Woodstock and nearby "Quechee" (pronounced 'KWE-chee').  I have been to many parts of the US and many other countries, but I can honestly say there is nothing quite as pretty and unspoiled looking as Vermont.  It is green in the summer and naturally refreshing looking in any season.  The people are very kind and laid back.  The towns have very unique charm to them.  And of course the state is known for its covered bridges as well.  There about 4 of them in the Woodsock/Quechee area, I made it a point to drive through every one of them, and take a photographs along the way.  The one at the header of this log is right in downtown Woodstock.  I had my wife stand by the bridge and take this picture as I drove back through. The leaves are just beginning to turn colors in late September, another 2 weeks and they will a blaze of red and orange.  In spite of the rainy and cool weather, Woodstock was pretty busy this weekend.  I parked along the downtown strip and we went into Gillinghams, an true old town "Country Store" with creaky, uneven, wide-pine flooring.  When we came out, there was a group of about 7 people gathered around my car, some of them peering into the windows.  No matter where I go, there are always people who aren't just drawn to the car, but always have stories about "the one they used to own..".  That is what is neat about Beetles. 

We strolled through the Quechee antique mall, I picked up a 1953 "Esso" map of New England for $4 to display in my car at shows.  This is the place where I had found one of the 1957 MA plates that hangs in my garage (the 5 number plates that are on my car I found in another antique store in Ludlow, VT).  Afterward we  had a late lunch at Dana's Restaurant (one of the best burgers anywhere) and then went back to the Inn.  Chatted with the innkeepers a bit, then I took a nap (hey, it is a vacation weekend!).  We out to dinner at "Firestones" in Quechee (same owners as Bentley's).  We skipped the upscale "Barnard Inn" in Barnard this year as we will be going to the ultra-posh Mt. Washington Hotel in just 2 weeks.  But the innkeepers told us that the French/Canadian couple who ran the Barnard Inn had sold it to a couple from California.  The decor inside had changed, but the food was just as good.  We'll have to check it out next year...

On Sunday we were first in the dining room for breakfast at 8:30.  Janet makes them most incredible breakfasts we have ever had.  And believe it or not, she actually juggles the menus around, matching them with the guest lists, to try to insure that each guest gets something that haven't had before (keep in mind this was our fifth year there!).  The inn was full this weekend with all 7 rooms occupied.  They are very busy from roughly mid September to mid November.  If you ever want to book a room for that time of year, you need to do so a year in advance.  We just got lucky. 

We were on the road at 9:15, headed North toward Johnson.  We took Rte 12 to 107 and hooked up with I-89 there.  I had tweaked the distributor just a bit while we were out running around Saturday, unscientifically turned it just a tad counterclockwise to see if it would run any better.  It seemed to really be lacking any "top end".  It was raining and quite cool, but the engine was running better.  Including 7 or so miles on back roads, we averaged 53 mph in spite of the hills and rain.  Just a few miles out, my wife started begging my to turn in to a Dunkin' Donuts for coffee (she has serious Hazelnut Coffee substance dependency).  Just ahead of us, a blue '68 Beetle turned in also, I parked next to him.  As I got out of the car, he said "John?".  He knew me from the newsgroup and my website, and he and his son had just bought a welder and were starting on a '62 sunroof.  We chatted for a bit, then grabbed the coffees and headed up the road.  We unknowingly missed a turn to the show and passed a hardware store.  I had been thinking about how we were going to unload the car if it was raining and keep all our stuff dry. I did a U-ey and went in a bought a small blue plastic tarp.  Of course this insured that it wouldn't rain at the show,....

The show was held at the Lamoille County Field Day Fairgrounds.  We got there a bit before 11:00.  Turn out was about what I expected, I'd guess maybe 150 cars in all, with an even mix between air and water.  The swaps were very small (but the guy who ended up parked next to me in the show scored a near perfect cardboard oval glove box for $2!!) .  When we first got there, we were directed to the Oval, "class B", but as soon as I got out of the car, Jim Silver (who I think is president of the VT club) came over, introduced himself, and then asked if I would park in the "Tournament of Champions" class.  I obliged, not having any idea what the "Tournament of Champions" class was. My wife helped me out a lot unloading the car.  We had suitcases, bra, temporary carpet mats in the front to keep the rubber mats clean, a huge bag of apples, a few liters of wine that my wife had found on "sale" and couldn't pass up, leftover food from the restaurant the night before, the seat adapter plate, etc.  We had a pretty impressive pile of "junk" built up in front of the car before we finally got it emptied.  Then cleaning up a car that had logged 400 miles all over MA, NH and VT in the rain (and then across a muddy fair ground) was bit of a chore too.  But with my wife's excellent help, we got the car nice and clean looking and all the "props" displayed, by the noon registration deadline.

And miraculously, the rain stopped.

The "Tournament of Champions" class is apparently a class of hand picked entries that the show organizers feel represent the "Best of".  At noon there were 6 cars in the class, mine, a '57 black oval that was painted in the 60s but other than that was completely original and had some cool accessories, Craig Scheape's incredible Colorado Red '58 Ghia 'vert, The Pacheco's (hope I spelled that right) '64 Beetle from MA, a "Speedy Gonzolas" graphic'ed dune buggy with a hot motor, and a red '98 Jetta tricked out with rims, stereo and other stuff.  It was clear that an effort was made to represent all areas of the hobby in this class.  At about 2:00, Jon (whose last name escapes me) of Jon's Car Corner in Westminster VT, gave a quick narrative of each of the "Tournament" cars and allowed each owner to give a quick history of the car.  He contrasted my "full" resto to the originality of the black oval next to mine.  A nice touch at a VW show, the crowd seemed very interested.

In the end, I won a "participant's award" in this class, given (according to the promoter) to the non-placing participants on the premise that were removed from their usual class and probably would have won it had they been there.  The Pacheco's Beetle won best display, Craig's Ghia won best engine (I sold him his heat exchangers, I am sooo proud ;-), I think the Pacheco's won third, Craig got second, and first place went to the Jetta owner.   My wife and I really wanted to leave right at 3:00 after the awards, but our worst fears were realized when the "Tournament of Champions" class wasn't announced until last.  We rolled off the fairgrounds for the long trip home at 3:55...............

The trip home was uneventful, the car ran surprisingly well.  In fact, in a 1.5 hour period on I-89/91, I calculated an average speed of 64mph!  This was over some serious hills, although it seemed that there were many more downhills than up.  I was really puzzled by this as I didn't recall seeing the speedo needle over 64 nearly as much as I saw it below 64.  I started questioning the accuracy of my speedo and odometer.  So I checked my odometer against the roadside mile markers.  I did this for many miles several different times and concluded that my odometer was pretty accurate, only "over-clocking" miles slightly. about .05 miles for every 15 or so.  We stopped for gas in Bellows falls and picked up some gas station/lunch counter food to wolf down in the car.  A very slippery chicken salad sandwich and some onion rings that looked better in the glass case than they tasted.  I got about 28.5 mpg on that last tank.  I flipped on the headlights somewhere south of Keene NH, and we coasted up to my wife's blue Sable wagon in Fitchburg at about 7:45p.  She breathed a sigh of relief as she had been worrying all weekend that the hotel might have noticed her car not being moved for the weekend and towed it. 

I continued on home, and in neighborhood near mine, passed one of those big trailer mounted radar speed things that they leave on the side of the road and clocks you and displays your speed on a huge display (flashing in red if you are over the speed limit, maybe some folks have never seen these; they leave them out for a few weeks at a time, this one was placed in front of an elementary school since the school year had started).  I glanced at my speedo, it said 30, the radar unit said 36.  Could it be that my speedo was off that far?  That would explain why I really did average 64 when it "looked" like less.  Did that mean that 60 was really 72mph?  Did my car really go that fast?  In hindsight, when my speedo did say 65 (downhills mostly), I really wasn't being passed by all that many cars on a 65 mph interstate where most traffic moves at 70-75.

I pulled "Zinny" into the garage about 8:40pm.  Whew, that was some drive!!

Miles Driven: 650

9/19/00 2892 Service Preparation maintenance for upcoming weekend drive to Woodstock VT, then on to Johnson for the VT Club show on sunday 9/24.  Set valve clearances (setting entered in tracking table on 2000 Log page), checked point gap, checked distributor cap and rotor, adjusted brake shoes on all 4 wheels, checked brake fluid res.  Did "crawl under" inspection.  Also fitted new 2 piece bra on car for highway travel.

[back to '57 Resto index]