Dave_B Posted August 8, 2013 Share Posted August 8, 2013 It was a bright and sunny day in Silver Spring Maryland just outside Washington DC as my girlfriend Lisa and I pulled out of the drive way. We were on our way to the Buick Club of America national meet 600 miles away in South Bend Indiana. The plan had been to take secondary roads and make it a three day trip. I gave myself the option of going on the interstate depending how it went in the first few hours. Those first hours blasted by and I came to the fork in the road at Hancock MD, and the decision was "interstate." The car was running great so why not. The big challenge was coming up, we had to go through the Allegheny mountains east of Pittsburgh. There are two long uphill grades, one at Town Hill and one at Allegheny Mountain. The old car went right up the Town Hill grade no prob. At one point I actually pulled out of the truck lane and passed a slow moving truck. Wow! The Allegheny mountain was a little different. It is about a five mile long uphill 2-3% grade and by the time I reached the top the vacuum fuel pump/tank had run dry. I managed to pull off the road just before the entrance to the tunnel. There was a spot where some paving equipment had been parked in the grass and coaxed the car onto a grassy spot in the shade a few hundred yards off the highway. We sat in the shade with the hood open and let everything cool down, ourselves included. After a while it occurred to me to take the little bit of gas in the sediment bowl and put it in the carburetor and run the engine for a minute to try and get the pump primed. I repeated this drill several times and finally it caught and we were on our way again. It was a little scary at first because as we entered the highway and right away we were in the tunnel, which has no shoulder. If we broke down it there we would cause a big traffic jam . Fortunately all went well and we proceeded to the next rest stop and picked up a can of gas, just in case. Soon we were out of PA and on our way to Youngstown. For the most part everything went well the rest of the way to Youngstown. There was one little thing though, we were going through a construction zone in the middle of a line of trucks and all of a sudden everyone was on the brakes. I hit the brake hard too and the car pulled to the left. Hmmmm? After that I increased the distance to car in front and kept a firm grip on the wheel. I later discovered that a clevis pin connecting the brake band to the linkage had dropped out. The brake still worked but only by half. I was able to get the correct size clevis pin at a hardware store in South Bend and I fixed it in the parking lot. It worked great after that. We Arrived in Youngstown at 8pm after 10 hours on the road.Day two was uneventful and we made it to South Bend by about 3pm. We had a nice lunch at a Mexican place in the middle of a corn field and got caught in a five minute rain storm, but no biggie. The car ran great all across northern Ohio and Indiana. It really liked the flat terrain. The overdrive worked like a champ and I was cruising at 55-60 mph.The highlight of the car show for me was the awards banquet where, much to my surprise, I won the Longest Distance Driven Pre-War Award. You could have knocked me over with a feather, but the man really did say my name!The return trip was much like the way out just in reverse. The car ran great across the flat terrain and we made good time cruising at 60mph. I got an amazing 12.89 mpg in Indiana and Ohio. As we entered PA the sky became dark but we pushed on. We passed Pittsburgh and it started raining hard. I pulled over under an overpass to wait it out. After 20 minutes it let up enough to continue. We got off at the next exit and called it a day.The next day dawned bright and clear. We had the mountains ahead of us so I was eager to see how we would fair. Not so well as it turned out. The vacuum tank/fuel pump ran dry twice but I had a gallon of gas to prime the pump with so it wasn't disastrous. We met Frank who stopped in his '65 Falcon on his way back from a meet in Chicago. He rode with us the rest of the way. After the mountains it was a down hill ride and we were home by 2:30. Gas mileage in the mountains was 11.05. Wow!It was 1,200 miles plus side trips. The car used 3.5 quarts of oil total and the battery needed to be topped off. That was it. As a teenager when I first got this car my dream was to have a driver and enjoy the driving of the thing. I think I can safely say that dream has come true. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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