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"A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Tour!"


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I'm posting. grin.gif" border="0 I'm posting. grin.gif" border="0 You didn't say what kind of message we had to post. wink.gif" border="0 Now what's the story. We want to hear it. <P><BR>oops, I forgot. Peter doesn't have audio media on here. I guess we'll have to read it. grin.gif" border="0 <P>So, Howard, we want to read your story!!

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Now by popular demand [1 person] we bring you the saga on one couple's trip from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina to participate in the 1999 Vintage Tour.<P>This is a fairly long story, so if AOL threatens me with cutoff during the writing, I will immediately post what I have written and then come back to finish. Such breaks will be punctuated by a written "DING".<P>We departed Cheyenne driving a '93 GMC Suburban pulling a trailer containing a '24 Buick touring. 6000# of Suburban and a GVW of the loaded trailer in the neighborhood of 6600#.<P>After 425 uneventful miles, while in the left lane of I 80 passing 2 semis, the transmission lets go. Blue smoke everywhere.<BR>Let off the gas, slow down to let the trucks move out so we could get in the right lane and look for a place to bail out. And what to our wondering eyes should appear but a rest area within coasting distance. Get off, call AAA and get towed to Seward, Nebraska. The rollback took both the Suburban & trailer.<P>Visit the friendly [and I really mean that] GMC dealer in Sewand and 24 hours later we are on our way with a GM rebuilt transmission with a 3 yr./ 50K warranty.<P>Drive on to St. Joseph, Missouri for the overnight stop. Next day, set out again. 30 minutes later some guy pulls alongside frantically pointing at the tires. Stop and get out to check the tires. Left side OK, right side not so OK. Right rear trailer tire is not just flat, but most of isn't there. Two sidewalls and no center, nada. Put on the spare and examine what is left of the tire. It turned out that the wheel had cracked and the air had leaked out through the crack. The tire didn't fail, the wheel did. <P>Move on again, but the transmission seems to be slipping on the start but drives OK. Continue on across Missouri worrying about why it slips on the starts. Cross into Illinois and now the trans is beginning to slip more. Check fluid level and add 2 quarts. Hope the mechanic that did the installation forgot to top it off. Wrong.<P>Get to Marion, IL and spot a GMC dealer just off the Interstate. Pull in and tell the service manager my problem and all symptoms. Told to "Come back next week. We haven't time to look at it any more this week." Sneak in the back door of the shop and talk to the transmission technician. His advice, "Go across the street to Walmart and buy a case of tranny fluid and a funnel.<BR>"Then check the fluid level every 100 miles and add fluid until you get where you can leave it for a few days, 'cause you got a bad transmission." DING<P>Go to Walmart and get the case of fluid and a funnel, who in a few hunderd miles is christened Fred the Funnel as the result of the very close relationship we establish with him. Move out and proceed out of Illinois, across Kentucky and into Tennessee, to Nashville and then east on I 40 toward North Carolina. Judy, Fred and I spend a lot of time with our heads under the hood, tranny fluid bottles in our hands and looking at the front of the trailer as it gradually turns pink tinged with road dirt.<P>After we reach the I 40/I 81 split it starts to get hilly as those of you who have driven 40 from that point know. Performance deteriorates as we move up hill. Finally as we cross into North Carolina, I realize that the end is near and this rig ain't gonna make it over the hills between there and Asheville and on to the east. Another blessed rest area appears, and I talk to the folks on duty about overlooking the "No Overnight Parking" rules and allow me to drop the trailer and leave it for not over 48 hours. They hesitate, Judy pleads, we win. the Suburban barely makes it to the drop site.<P>After unhooking, we move out 6600# lighter and the Suburban acts like it might make it the 300 miles to Fuquay-Varina. It's now check, add and pray every 50 miles. Finally we arrive at F-V and the host motel. Check in and try to relax.<P>Now we are in F-V and the tour car is 300 miles to the west. What to do? Naturally, find a <B>VERY GOOD FRIEND</B> with a tow vehicle who would be willing to make a 600 mile round trip the next day to get my trailer. Enter John Myer and his ever loyal one ton duelly. The next day, Sunday, we take off at 6AM and get the trailer, returning to F-V at 6PM after an uneventful trip. DING<P>Now to get the Suburban fixed. At the crack of dawn Monday, take it to the local [1 mile away] Chevrolet dealer only to be told that they won't do warranty work on a GMC. Tell me to take it to the GMC dealer in Apex, 30 miles away. Just make it to Apex. Leave the Subn. to be fixed. I will not go into the details of the absolute hell they put me through as I sought to force them to replace the defective replacement transmission. I won, but not before they tried to sell me the entire parts department with claims that it was everything else but the transmission. "It can't be bad, it is one of our GM remanufactured transmissions". YEAH<P>I finally had to drag the service manager out<BR>and push him in the Subn. and drive him around. When we got back, he said call him in the morning. Next morning he said, "We're getting you another transmission and you can pick up the car tomorrow afternoon." <P>To which I replied, "What about all that crap I was told yesterday." His response was that we would talk about that tomorrow, one on one. When I went to get the Subn., we stepped outside and he quietly confided, "My technician blew his diagnosis." To this I replied, "No s***." <P>They had tried to sell me over $1000 in parts and labor which would not have solved the problem, but not having just ridden into town on a load of pumpkins, I wasn't their designated sucker of the week.<P>The second replacement transmission was great and an updated model from what came on the Subn. new. A big plus which still performs well to this day after 30K additional miles.<P>Aside from that, it was a great tour for us, and as always we had good friends to help us out and to share our pain and pleasure. Thank you again, John Myer.<P>I just noticed in editing this post that it is #1000. I guess that is why it is so long.<BR>Just hope I didn't bore you all to death with this touring story.<P>Howard<p>[ 09-08-2001: Message edited by: hvs ]

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Congrats HVS - On entertaining us with one of the ultimate masochistic touring stories and on reaching the 1000. Just think - it wasn't all that long ago you couldn't even spell kompooter!<P>Now for the Colorado tour. It was hosted by the Buzzard's Breath Touring Region with Dan Binger as the Tour Chairman. First day out was a classic - the city of Ft. Collins shut down almost all of the streets leading to the first stop. You got it, max detours without warning. Cars were driving in all directions with only a couple of people having any idea where we were going. Dan and I were on the radio together and I heard him mumble something about going back to the hotel, putting his Buick in the trailer and hiding. Fortunately all of the tourists had a great laugh over the misfortunes. Even the first time tourists thought this was planned.<P>The rest of the tour went off without hitch. Fantastic weather, unusual and entertaining stops and of course Rocky Mountain Oysters at Bruces Bar in Severance, CO. Looking back at an earlier input on the thread - Tour Chairman, be sure to have someone drive the route the day before the tourists do so that changes on the route can be identified. blush.gif" border="0<p>[ 09-08-2001: Message edited by: ronbarn ]

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Hey Howard,<P>Thanks for your story bringing this thread to its end. Also, I thank each and everyone who posted their thoughts, opinions and stories to this thread. smile.gif" border="0 <P>I am now sending this whole story to my printer and plan on making this the backbone of planning for a tour our Region hopes to host in the future. I can only encourage anyone involved in planning ANY type of tour to do the same. wink.gif" border="0 <P>Terry Bond has already assured me that much of this info will be included in AACA's upcoming publication on touring.<P>Hopefully, the result will be tours that are more fun for the participants grin.gif" border="0 and the "horror stories" shocked.gif" border="0 will illustrate how to avoid those bad circumstances.<P>Happy touring, wherever you go! smile.gif" border="0smile.gif" border="0

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ho There,<BR>It ain't over yet!!<BR>I'm speaking from experience, specifically the 2001 Founder's tour. The Monday tour was checked out on Sunday. You guessed it!! There was a detour on the return from Watkins Glen.<BR> The only way to beat this is for the tourmeister to contact ALL highway jurisdictions and get the schedules for planned maintenance. Also get names and leave your name and phone number in case things change, and yes, they will change.<BR> Good luck to all brave future tourmeisters.<BR> Bill B.<BR> rolleyes.gif" border="0

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Let's see what interesting happens next week on the Glidden tour. Maybe ice on the lake on the day of the boat trip to the island? rolleyes.gif" border="0 Or maybe a closure of the Big Mac bridge with a detour to the Soo Locks via Chicago and Milwaukee. cool.gif" border="0 ~ hvs

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Just another reminder when planning a tour - tour routes are planned for age car going on tour; however, there is often a thirty-year plus span that the cars cover. After the route is planned, please take a moment and consider this time span. Not all the cars are capable of doing the same things. Case in point - the Vintage Tour last week. The horizontal routes were absolutely beautiful but a couple of the vertical routes gave several cars trouble - particularly the Model T's. On one hill, now named the "5-gallon hill" because a Model T could not make it over the hill with less than 5 gallons of gas in the tank, there were 5 Model T's stalled on the hill at one time. After going back down and putting a couple of gas in the tank the T's were able to make it over. Only one had to be towed up. A simple note in the tour book cautioning on trying the hill will low gas would have avoided the promblem.

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