Beaches Summertime Cruise

The summer time cruises are back! There are a number of recurring events that happen all summer long. One such weekly cruise is the one at PIR, Beaches Summertime Cruise, celebrating their 22nd year.

This cruise goes on every Wednesday starting at 4pm and lasting till dusk. It’s really amazing, this cruise consistently brings in hundreds of participants particularly on opening night which was June 7th this year. The number I heard was 1800 cars. See, I told you it was amazing.

At the same time that the cruise is going on there are 1/8 mile drags going on too. You can go watch the drags and well as “cruise” the cars displayed for one low fee of $5.00 when you drive your pre-73 car. If you don’t bring a car but still want to get in it will cost you a little more but the proceeds, after expenses, are donated to charity.

So, plan a Wednesday afternoon/evening and come check out one of the biggest cruises in the Portland Oregon area. Beaches Restaurant is the organizer and they sell food and drink. There are picnic tables in the shade to use and live music from a number of local bands. It’s a party atmosphere but for the whole family with lots to see. You’ll have a good time, I think.


Medford Rod & Custom Show

Every Spring even as early as January there are car shows everywhere. For instance, the Portland Roadster Show which has been running continuously every year for 61 years, but wait that’s not all.

Rich Wilson of Better Car Shows LLC. In Central Point, Oregon (Medford) puts together a terrific show every spring. One of my traveling buddy’s Bill Nelson and I have made the trek a few times now and we are never disappointed. I don’t know where Rich finds them but every year he fills up four buildings and outdoor spillage with show cars, hot rods, super nice drivers, vendors, and other auto related stuff. I guess it’s true that the old car hobby is alive and thriving everywhere in America.

Have you ever displayed your car in a multi-day show? Me too. After the set up you didn’t have much to do except run the duster over your pride and joy once in a while. Then hang out with the other participants and swap car stories. All good fun but it can get tiresome ‘Standing’ around, especially when you get to be my age.

Rich has come up with an idea that’s just spectacular, that helps solve this problem. He brings in comfy overstuffed chairs. Occasional tables. Sofas etc. and sets them up in a private anti-room near the main display area for the participants to use to take a much needed rest during the show. What a great idea. He also recruits helpers who cook off site and bring in meals around noon and later and he supplies beverages, coffee, soft drinks etc. for the participants. Only VIPs have access to this space with their “participant” lanyard. Everyone seems to love it. I commented to Rich that I’d never heard of doing this but that I thought it was such a good idea. His reaction was a humble shrug and a comment that he wanted to show his appreciation to the car owners for coming out.

Next spring look for their AD in Roddin’ & Racin’ for the Medford Rod and Custom show. It’s worth it even if you have to drive 350 miles. I recommend Holiday Inn Express. They had the best beds I’ve ever experienced in a Hotel/Motel.


 

Points & Plugs

This year has certainly been an interesting one for me.  Interesting doesn’t mean all good or all bad… just different.  I’m the oldest of all my cousins born in the younger generation of our family.  My Mom has several sisters and brothers spanning several generations.  My first cousin Linda (our Mom are sisters) was born in March 1950, I was born in August 1949, so I was just almost seven months older.

Her brother Jerry, whom we refer to each other as, “… my brother from another mother,” haven’t always been “buds” but we have grown closer in the last 15 years. He and his lovely wife Donna live in Phoenix, AZ. He and his wife publish “Roddin’ & Racin’” in Arizona and have for the last 26 plus years. They are single handedly responsible for the paper you are reading right now. Jerry bugged me for years to start a paper here in Oregon.

I’ll bet that most people have a cell phone… and as a result of cell phones being in common use these days with “free,” no charge long distance calling it’s a lot easier to stay in daily contact with our friends and relatives even went they aren’t living near us. Technologies are amazing, aren’t they?

Recently Jerry called me (we talk all the time) but didn’t sound like his usual upbeat self. The moment I answered and he responded, I instinctively responded, “What’s wrong?” His response was a shock. His sister Linda, my cousin, had been a passenger with her son-in-law in his car that was hit, head on, by a drunk driver. He had minor injuries, she had much more serious injuries, including broken bones and they were transported to a local hospital where treatments were administered but Linda’s internal injuries were so serious that she passed away within a few hours.  Totally shocking and sad. RIP Linda, you’re home with God.

My low back has been giving me a lot of trouble… for years actually but now with the dreaded Arthritis setting in, it’s really been bothering me. An MRI reviewed by the best local area Orthopedic Surgeon revealed all kinds of bad going on. Obviously, I knew it, ‘cause I could hardly walk some days and the pain was increasing. Doctor Keenen is sought after for his expertise in back surgery so getting on the surgery schedule can be a challenge. As such I called his office to try and schedule my surgery and lucked out that he had a cancellation the following Monday. Linda’s Memorial was the week before surgery and after I got back on Friday I had planned to actually spend the weekend, Saturday and Sunday working on the 66 Biscayne. I had a lot I wanted to do before surgery because I knew I’d be out for a while and wouldn’t be able to work on any projects. Saturday morning, after a restless nights’ sleep I found that I couldn’t walk. My legs were so painful that I could barely get out of bed. I tried some stretching exercises which also caused pain and it only helped a little. I was down and couldn’t do anything, either day. I went upstairs to my office to work on the R&R NW but couldn’t walk down the stairs after doing a little work. This really isn’t going the way I envisioned it.

The beauty of “spinal decompression” surgery is that after the surgery, all that constant pain is gone! Of course, there is surgical pain, and in my case bone spur, calcification removal, (arthritis) so I wasn’t pain free but better for sure. They let me out after one night in the place of no sleep. Thanks goodness. They say they want to keep you overnight just to make sure us old people (my description) come out of the anesthetic fully and that everything is working. What that means I found out is that if you can’t tinkle… the word wasn’t scary before but it is NOW, CATHETER, and I’ll not bore you with the details because it ain’t pretty, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about I can only hope you never find out. My rules are don’t lift over five pounds, no stretching, bending, or twisting. Best thing for me is walking, with a cane, but hey at least I’m walking.

I visited my General Practitioner a few days after getting released because I was having some issues. Of course, there they always ask you a bunch of questions that you never ever thought you’d be having a conversation about… with anyone… but hey getting old ain’t for sissys. I didn’t know that a BM would be cause for a celebration but it surely was. The Doc and I got a big laugh out of that. His comment was, “Did you ever think you would be celebrating a BM?” No. No I didn’t but there is a first time for everything, and there was drinking and dancing and everything. Sorry if that’s TMI. I guess I’m just a sharer.

1961 Biscayne Quater Panel Replacement

I wanted to tell you and show you a little about another project I’ve been working on for some time now. I do this to show you I’m not goofing off and ignoring the 55 Chevy, but in fact trying to make progress on this other project.

It’s foolish of me perhaps, trying to work on two projects at the same time but originally there really was method in my madness. A little reasoning: I wanted to learn more about body panel repair, sheet metal welding, panel replacement, etc. etc. before I embarked on that process on the 55.

I tend to cruise craigslist a lot so one of those times I ran across a 66 Biscayne for sale and I’ve always like those for some reason… I don’t know why. It was in need of most everything but the price was decent and it looked straight so with the help of my brother, Randy, we trucked to Tacoma to get it. I already had an engine/trans, it didn’t, so I thought we could do what was needed, fix it up quickly and make it roadworthy, learn some things and practice on it and then start on the 55.

As it turns out and we didn’t realize it until we had already drug it home that it was rusty due to the fact that the window channels collect and hold crud, water/moisture and more. Like I said the body was straight and the rust was hidden. We discovered the problems while taking it apart in preparation for body work and paint prep.

This discovery necessitated the purchase of a parts car. A greater amount of disassembly and the project snowballed into a monster of a project. Someone said recently I should have cut my loses but you know me, I didn’t. I pushed on and I’m still pushing. The car is coming along ok but taking way more time than I originally thought.

The big block has a new cam, lifters, timing chain and gears, upgraded oil pump, water pump, A/C pulleys, and so on. I acquired all the factory A/C components to allow for that upgrade. The TH400 was rebuilt and prepped by A-1 Transmission in Vancouver, Washington. The 10 bolt has been removed and a rebuilt 12 bolt with a Yukon Gear Dura-grip, 342 ratio, Dutchman axles, new bearings/seals were added and rear drum brakes were rebuilt. Power disc brakes were added in front.
At some point in the process I decided to mostly clone it into an L-72, sorta. It doesn’t have a 427 but a 454. As mentioned it has a TH400 not a 4 speed and I don’t know for sure but I don’t think that there was ever an L-72, built with factory air but this one has it.

It has new stock reproduction Biscayne seats and it will be painted back to the original Mist Blue color. Since the quarters were wavy I decided to replace them and it’s a good learning experience.

Hopefully one day in the not too distant future I’ll be able to take it out for a little cruise. I look forward to that.

My First Car

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From time to time I’ve heard about or read a story about someone’s first car or even cars. How they found it or how it found them and often these stories are fun and entertaining. An example might be my first “car.”

Back when I was growing up it wasn’t considered a necessity to put anti-freeze in one’s cars. I vaguely recall that antifreeze wasn’t in fact used unless threatening weather was coming. At least such was the case in my family.

At this point I can’t honestly remember which car was my “first” car, but at about 13 or so a family friend told me that if I wanted “that old Ford” that I could have it. It was a ’49 Ford 2dr. sedan. It was pretty straight with the front sheet metal off and the engine missing. All I had to do was come tow it home. I talked my Dad into helping with the amazing stroke of luck? But we didn’t have a trailer or a tow bar. I rented a tow bar from A&A Rental on Molalla Avenue in Oregon City and away we went to bring home this amazing treasure.

Of course, hind sight is always clearer but I have to say, “What was I thinking”? I think we got pieces of the engine and loaded them in the trunk, rigged up the tow bar and dragged this pile home. It never became anything more than lawn art, that is until the day 5 years later that it became the donor car for a rear leaf spring rebuild that I had to do on my 55 Chevy after the main leaf snapped. I know what you’re thinking. No, I wasn’t doing a 4-grand clutch sidestep launch in an illegal street race. I can’t say that hadn’t happened to that 55 before I bought it but, it didn’t happen this time. I think the main leaf just died of fatigue that faithful evening as I was leaving the gas station where I worked. I heard a “snap” and the car listed slightly after I crossed the rather large dip at the driveway entrance/exit onto 7th street. I motored up the hill until I pulled into the Union station that was still open, where Jim worked and I told him what I’d heard. He said pull it in on the rack and we’ll see. Yes, it was the same Jim whom I’m still friends with today and it’s interesting to note that he has always been that same nice he is today.

We discovered the broken main leaf that was still hanging together fortunately, but it was evident that it wasn’t fixable only replaceable. I told Jim I didn’t have a spare and he volunteered that he had a set that needed to rebuilt. He also said that if I added one leaf it would raise the car slightly and of course stiffen the suspension a little. I told him I didn’t know anything about rebuilding or replacing a set of leaf springs and he volunteered information about how to do it. I bought the rebuildable set from Jim and used the components scavenged from the 49 Ford and new center bolts to create the springs I needed.

At five years after acquiring the 49 it had managed to get in the way enough that my Dad sent it to old junk car purgatory. The woods on his property where part of it rest till this day. Naturally with younger brothers and their friends and then my kids and then my siblings kids their ain’t much left of that first car.

At the beginning of this tale I mentioned I couldn’t remember “Which” car was first. You might also recall that I told a story about antifreeze being optional back then. Because of people considering it optional my uncle’s wife’s 50 Chevy 2dr. sedan developed a significant freeze crack along the right lower side of its original 6-cylinder block. To my total surprise one day my aunt and uncle drove in our driveway in separate cars. My uncle had driven the 50 Chevy. When asked why they had each driven he said that he was going to “GIVE” me the Chevy. It still ran good but leaked and I could use it to drive around on the farm to learn how to drive. At the ripe old age of 13 I thought I already knew how to drive but I didn’t say that because I was really excited about having my own, running, driving car. I felt like I was the coolest kid anywhere within many miles of Redland Oregon. My Own Car! I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel to see what she could do. I don’t remember how all that worked out but I do remember sitting in it dreaming about driving around in my Chevy.

As I mentioned, I had little brothers and a sister. If I’m right about my age at the time that would make my siblings 5, 3 and 2 ish. My 3-year-old little brother has always been the helpful kind of guy and even then, he wanted to help his big brother. He decided that since my car burned gas and gas was expensive, he would help me out. With the Chevy parked near the pump house and with his understand of putting gas in cars, trucks and equipment he filled up the gas tank on the Chevy for me. Unfortunately, he used the garden hose… with water. The next time I went out to start my car, it started but then died never to start again. Still I didn’t know why so I kept trying to start it. Eventually through conversation with my brothers I learned what had happened.

One day a family stopped and asked if “that old Chevy in the field ran?” After the explanation, they wanted to know what we would take for the car. We settled on $15.00 whole dollars. The woman accompanied my Mom into the house to retrieve the title while I help the man hook it up to be towed by the car they were driving. They seemed so nice and friendly, you know really nice people. They thanked us profusely, climbed into their tow vehicle and the Chevy and happily waved goodbye as they drove out of the drive way.

Sometime later I asked my Mom for the $15.00 the lady gave her when she surrendered the title. She said she gave her the title but she didn’t get the money and asked “didn’t you get the money from the man when you were helping him hook it up to be towed?” What a sinking feeling! No car, no money, no name or address from them, no nothing.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen is the story of my “first” car (s). Maybe you’d like to share your “First Car” experience? Hopefully it was better than mine. We’d like to hear your story and share it with our readers. If you have a “First Car” story you’d like to share please type it up and send it to us @
R & R NW, 17273 So. Steiner Rd., Beavercreek, OR. 97004 or email the copy to us @ roddinracinnw@gmail.com. We’ll give you the byline and print your story in an upcoming issue. I don’t have any pictures but if you do and would like to include them please also include a self-address stamped envelope so we can send them back or email them to us as a jpeg attachment to an email. We look forward to hearing and sharing your stories. ED.

7th Annual Cruise to Historic Downtown Oregon City

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Trick ‘n Racy Car Club together with the Downtown Oregon City Association, has been putting this show/cruise on for 7 years with never a rain out. It’s generally nice in Oregon in September. Until 2016 that is. The weather was great for the seven days before September 17th and the five or so days after the 17th, but the day of it decided to rain and rain it did. It would let up a little once in a while but it never really quit, so the cruise got drenched.
This show/cruise has become very popular and has grown over the years in fact it had outgrown the space that was allotted so for 2016 they expanded the “footprint” so they wouldn’t have to turn anyone away, like had happened in recent years. Unfortunately “Mother Nature” had other plans. It wasn’t a total rain out thanks to some true diehards who showed up anyway and every one of them stuck it out to the bitter end. The organizers would like to thank all who helped and all who participated.

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Hot August Nights

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There are many really big annual and kinda famous Cruise-Ins/Car shows throughout this great country.

The back the 50’s Cruise in Minnesota is one. The Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise in, in Detroit is another. Of course the NSRA and The Good-guys put together great weekend cruises all across the country. They are all fun and usually BIG.

Out here in the West we have our own really BIG cruise-in/car show, Yup, Hot August Nights in Reno/Sparks. This cruise is 30 years old and still going strong. 2016 was no disappointment.

The main drag, Virginia Street, and several cross streets are blocked off during the day and participants display their cars on those blocked off streets each day. Toward evening the streets are cleared and crowd control barricades are brought it and placed along the curbs of Virginia and those cars that were displayed all day and many many more cars form up on North Virginia Street and cruise, double file, south on Virginia to the delight of 1000’s of on lookers from the sidewalks.

This downtown cruise and daily car show is sponsored by the downtown Casinos like, Harrah’s, The Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, The Eldorado and other businesses. There’s live music, great food and of course CARS.

For three days Summit Racing sponsors what I call a, mini trade show, at the Reno Event Center Downtown, billed as Big Boy Toys. A long list of vendors brings their products and knowledgeable representatives with expertise in their chosen fields/products to help you with your next build. Summit Racing sets up a remote order desk right at the show so you can order your needs right there and then pick it up later at their store/warehouse a few miles down the road in Sparks. Or it can be set up for shipment to your home address, so you don’t have to worry about having the room to carry your purchases home in your car. Very convenient!  I’ve used this method myself many times.

In addition to the downtown venue many of the other Casino/Resorts all over the area sponsor and hold their own car show/cruise-ins right at their locations, with valuable prizes, live music, food etc. In fact the whole town/area gets into the spirit with something going on all the time, every day, the whole week. There are mini cruises at most of the outlying Casinos throughout the days and evenings. And like in downtown Reno, Sparks blocks off their main drag and cruises double file throughout the evenings.

With nearly 6000 registered participants there were Hot Rods, Street Rods, Street Machines, box stock restorations, race cars, you name it. Everywhere.
There is a swap meet too, at the Reno/Sparks Livestock Expo. I like swap meets whether I’m in need of more rusty parts or not. The same organizers have been running the HAN Swap Meet for several years now and it just get bigger and better every year. Plus, they have a car for sale corral inside out of the weather in the Expo Arena. There were some good buys available this year. You could have bought your next project or finished project there and participated in the fun all week and then driven it home.

This year Motorsport Auction Group held a collector car auction at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. This was their first time at this event and what a great job they did putting on a pretty big time auction. Lots of nicely restored, hot rodded, etc. cars and trucks changed hands. Dave Kindig with Kindig-it-Design was on hand at the auction with several of the cars his shop in Utah had recently completed. Some you probably saw on TV on his show “Bitchin’ Rides.” He and “Kev Dog” Kevin Schiele were on hand to field everyone’s questions. They are a couple really nice guys and they build absolutely fabulous cars and trucks. Check out the TV show on Velocity TV.

Marsha and I decided last year we were going and made our reservations way early. Always a good plan since we like to use our time share which is right in downtown Reno. It’s a condo like set up with 2 bedrooms, more room than we need so we asked another couple, who had NEVER been to HAN, if they wanted to go and they jumped at the chance. I’m not sure after spending a week there us, they were still as excited but we did have fun. Fortunately, they are car nuts too and they seem to like Margaritas as well, so all is well.

There is an opportunity to win prizes and money if your car is judged and receives an award. The Main Host Hotel is the Grand Sierra. If you plan to attend next year’s Hot August Nights, August 8th – 13th. Registration is open now and you can register online at www.hotaugustnights.net. Register early and save. The website has a host of valuable info so check it out. What’s not to like about a week of Cool Cars and Rock ‘n Roll music?


Milwaukie Cruise-In

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This year’s Cruise-In was held back on August 6th from 3pm to 10 pm at the Milwaukie Bowl located on Harrison Ave. across the Expressway from co-sponsor Mike’s Drive-In. 69 fantastic awards were given out including 5 special Sponsor Pick Trophies. With over 136 Street Rods, Custom Classic Cars and Trucks in attendance including the local MOPAR Club with over 10 cars registered. Live Music was provided by Ron Ruedi in a fenced off special Beer Garden area. The Benefit for the Missing in America Project and the Veterans Lines for Life, raised over $2800 dollars for the two local Veterans programs sponsored by the Pharaohs Street Rodders. It was a great show complete with Dash Plaques, Special T-Shirts, $1.00 Root Beer Floats & Hot Dogs and Chips plus special Glow Bowling games all day inside. Dirty Dave the Record Slave played Golden Oldies on request till 6pm to the hundreds of people in attendance.

Thanks to all for helping raise funds for our local veterans programs and thanks to all the volunteers making this year’s Milwaukie Cruise-In show one of the best ever.

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GoogGuys

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The GoodGuys host three-day weekend, first class car shows all over America every year starting in March and continuing through November. We, here in the NorthWest are lucky enough to get two of these events right here in our own back yard, one in the Seattle area, Puyallup Washington and one in Spokane. Pleasanton California, their home turf or kinda where it all began, gets four shows a year. Definitely worth the drive from almost anywhere out west and beyond.

I’ve been going to these long before Roddin’ & Racin’ NorthWest ever started but I have to say that this year’s 29th WESCO Pacific Northwest Nationals at the Washington State Fair Event Center in Puyallup Washington was really a great one.

There seemed to be tons of cars in attendance that I had never seen before. It’s really gratifying to an old car enthusiast like me to see that our hobby is going strong, in large part thanks to organizations like the GoodGuys Rod & Custom Association. Memberships and info are available on line. www.good-guys.com. The 2017 schedule isn’t out yet but check back on their site or better yet become a member and you’ll be notified when the new year schedule is out and come check out the fun next year.