The last leg and final day of the rally morning brought a dull overcast day into focus when after we got our amendment instructions and left the Red Lion Inn in Eureka at 8.12am, not more than two kms were covered when the left rear wheel bearing began to complain with some weird graunching noises and pings as the bearing basically self destructed.
This noise had occurred in the previous day’s hard journey and regularities’ but we didn’t determine what it was and it was neglected.
This morning it heaved its last sigh and collapsed.
We pulled into an unused parking lot and Steve got to work jacking up the car with a borrowed bottle jack, removed the wheel and began dismantling the rear wheel assembly. What was left of the bearing fell out in many pieces and after removing the axle shaft and cleaning the bearing housing, Steve simply inserted the spare half shaft that he had prepared with the bearing and fixing flange already in place. He had anticipated that in the event of a bearing problem it could be replaced quickly and easily. He had the job done and replaced the wheel before the sweep team had arrived in 20 minutes flat!
Fantastic job and we were back on the road heading west to the pacific coast.
The last official timing control was in a little cafe on the coast at midday, after which we were more or less left to our own devices and to make our way to San Francisco.
We decided to take the freeway which was some 160 miles to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Betty was in her element cruising down the roads for which she was so eloquently designed. With the top down on a day that turned to bright sunshine we drove through heavily forested areas of cedars sequoias and pines in the now warm afternoon sun, with gay abandon. No stresses other than following and finding the friendly signs for the 101 to San Fran.
As we closed in on the bridge the traffic intensified and began the slow and as the sun got hotter, the thought that Betty’s engine may once again over heat in the heat of the day entered our minds.
She kept on pumping for home though, the motor purring as if to say she enjoyed the smell of home in California USA.
We got to the hotel by about 5.30 at which time the other cars that had arrived formed a welcoming committee for Betty as she was clapped into the arrival garage. A great feeling for this crew having completed the rally in full. Cool.
After a few drinks in the bar we were requested by the organising committee to take a drive around the block then through a finish line arch for publicity purposes. It was seen as a great event to have finished and each car was photographed as if it had just arrived in order of finishing. Great stuff.
Then we needed to ready for the diner and prize giving.
Every team member attended this evening to an audio visual of the rally taken by the official photographer of some fabulous events during the rally and of some of the people that had met with misfortune with their cars on this journey. A fabulous display and then onto the announcement of the overall winner of the event.
This went to Peter and Zoe Lovett who drove a very well prepared Porsche 912 in a well deserved rally win. Congratulations to a very expert team.
Other prizes were distributed with one going to Steve Partridge for wearing the most outlandish shirts in the event. You know what I mean?
Many more drinks, congratulations, back slapping and good byes to the many people we had befriended during this fantastic trip.
Our thanks must go to the ERA for having allowed us to partake. Their team of personnel are just magnificent. The best.
Also to the people that followed our daily blog and who supported our efforts and gave advice on various occasions. We took note and applied what we thought would help. Thanks to you all.
Also a special thanks to Monte J Montgomery who flew from New York to meet us in San Francisco and to John Rich who helped with some repairs in his workshop on the way to Halifax and with whom we stayed a few nights and enjoyed some special company. Len Treeter who we met on the P to P drove 1100 miles to meet us at one destination of the rally.
We have met so many great people on this rally and we want to thank them for supporting Betty and her crew with such enthusiasm. It has been a fabulous journey.
Thanks to Brooke who prepared the daily reports and to Gerard Brown for permitting the use of some of his photos for our blog.
As a footnote, we were placed 24th overall in this event. Not good but better than the earlier placements as reported.
Steve and Corgi and Betty.