August Bank Holiday............................................
28th August I took the Chevy truck on it's own down the M5 to Droitwich Town to a little car show at Webbs Garden Centre doing a fuel check at the same time after swaping the two carborters over from the race car to the truck, I got 17 MPG out of the 350 ci V8. (Not bad)
On Monday 29th August I took the Chevy towing the Race Car to Arley Vintage Gathering which was a nice hot day, the race car attracted lot's of people around it, I was asked to fire it up which I did for about 5 mins much to the delight of a big crowd that gathered around the front of the car. When I got back I did another fuel check and towing gave me 10 MPG (Not bad)
10th September. Black Country Boating Festival. I took the race car there, just on the Saturday, this was a very wet day with not many people around, I did manage to fire it up inbetween a dry spell which drew in the crowds around me for a short while.
TIPTON BOAT FESTIVAL. Had nice dry sunny weather. I took just the Chevy truck with me as it's a bit tight for room here in Corrination Gardens, just off Owen Street. Dave Shortland and Graham Howland were there with their engines. DCT had Sagitta there plus the tombola stand and trip boat which was busy most of the day. The place was packed out with visitors most of the day. Bittell was missed as we did not do the Band On The Boat this year, Phonix took that job over.
Later we used the mobil Tunnel gauge on the "Caggy" Tug to see if it could get through Dudley Tunnel.
18th September. I took the race car to Stoke Prior Steam Rally, it was a very nice warm day, I had a lot of interest around the race car most of the day, later I took it in the ring at 4pm to fire it up in front of the beer tent.
23rd/24th/25th September. The Parkhead Canal Festival is Opened by the Steam Boat "LAPLANDER" Who legged it through the 2-miles of Dudley Tunnel to Open the Show by cutting the red ribbon across the tunnel portal.
Over 70 Narrowboats came from all over the country to attend this show in Dudley.
Over 68 Classic and Vintage vehicles attended.
8 trading boats and 30 trade/ craft stalls were also in attendance.
I took the race car and Chevy truck, plus the Morris Commercial to the show.
23RD/24TH/25TH September saw us host our 8th Parkhead canal festival. I took the week off work to get this show sorted out.
The Morris truck came in usefull by moving things around the site in preperation for the event. Over 71 boats attended with 68 vintage and classic vehicles, Saturday weather was dry/ sunny but windy. we had plenty of visitors today with the place packed out by the afternoon, Dr Busker and Towbar Tom arrived during the day in ready for the entertainement on Saturday night.
Sunday, was sunny with heavy rain showers which slowed down our visitor numbers, it was still a good day. I managed to enjoy this event for the first time in a long time, it was less stressfull due to getting good help to set out the show.
Little and large steam engines at Parkhead Canal Festival
8th October. I took the race car to Shakespeare County Raceway in Stratford on Avon.
Saturday 8th October, as it was a nice dry sunny day I took the race car to Shaky to do some runs, this time setting the throttle to fully open, hoping for some quicker times ?
I did four runs today
Unfortuatley due to having missfiring and holding back problems I only managed a 13.54@ 86 mph ! I tried everything to cure the problem which I think is a carb problem but alas I only made it worse !!
I'm thinking when I'm back home I shall put the Altered on a rolling road to sort this problem out.
October 15th/16th The Bonded Warehouse open weekend.
I took the Morris Commercial truck, the Portafold classic caravan and the Chevy Step-side. I decided to take some old autojumble with me to try and sell, I managed to sell 50% of it which I was pleased about. Both days were dry and sunny plus mild for the time of year. We did have a night of rain during Sat night which did not stop till around 9.30am on the Sunday.
Time for a Holiday...........................
Wednesday October 19th. Mick and Myself flew from Gatwick to Las Vegas, USA, upstairs in a Jumbo 747 plane, flight took around 10 hours to complete, we took off at 11am and landed the same day at 2pm in Las Vegas. Flight was on time and good, flew with Virgin Airways, plenty of food and drink on hand. Plane averaged 36,000 ft @ 500 mph.
This was the Plane's flight path on the right................
The Hire car, a 2015 V6 Chevy Impala which we did around 1,500 miles around California/Nevada with.
20th Oct. After staying the night in Las Vegas we drove south 100 miles to "Calico Ghost town", spent around 3 hours looking around here before going another 150 mls to Bakersfield.
The 25th Hot-Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield.
Saturday 22nd Oct.
31 Nostalgia Funny cars racing for a 16 car field top spot was 5.57 @ 245mph. Bump spot was 5.96 @ 242 mph.
28 Top Fuel cars racing for 16 car field. top spot was 5.46 @ 255mph. Bump Spot was 5.86 @ 251mph.
There were 18 Fuel Altereds racing for 16 spots fastest was 6.23 @ 228 mph. no 16 was 6.53 @ 220 mph.
The weather was hot, around 85 f over the three days. I saw Garry Beck sat in front of me in the stands plus many old ex racers like Roland Leong, Ed the Ace Muchlach, Butch Leal, Larry Dixon sr, John Force/Robert Hight Jack Beckman plus many more.
There was a very good auto jumble there, but I had to be carfull what I bought due to me not getting it in my suitcase !
Tuesday 25th. Had a good look around Alcatraz Prison.
After leaving Bakersrfield on Monday 24th we drove about 300 North to San Francisco, as we were going North were we running into some bad weather, wind and rain showers, temp had dropped to 64 f.
The next day the weather was not much better, still at 64f and wet on the morning. we got on the 9.30am boat to Alcatraz Island to have a tour around the prison for the next 3 hours. this place was an ex military Fort beforhand back in 1776 which has 111 Cannons around the Island to protect San Francisco Bay. In 1934 it got turned into a Civilian Prison housing prisoners like Al "Scarface" Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly and the famose Robert Stroud "The Bird Man of Alcatraz". They were housed in cells about 5ft x 8ft.
We escaped around 1pm back on the main land where we finished the day on top of a "open topped Bus" touring around the streets of San Fransisco in the sunshine.
Wednesday 26th Oct. We drove about 400 miles down Highway 1 The Pacific Coast Road down to Los Angles.
After a 400 mile drive down the Coast road on Wed 26th Oct. The next day (27th) we had a good look around the Queen Mary which is berthed in Long Beach C.A. The Ship has been here since 1967 and is now a Hotel which we stayed in for one night, (82f) later we drove 350 miles back to Las Vegas which got us in to Arizona Charlies Casino at 8pm. The Submarine is Russion.
Thrusday 28th Oct. Las Vegas, The Casino of "New York" "New York" Note the big dipper going through the buildings !
Itfel Tower at Las Vegas all lit up...............................
The Pair of Jet Cars ran 5.54@ 290 mph..................
Friday 29th Oct.
Las Vegas Speedway. The 22 Championship Round. We saw some awasome runs with Top Fuel running a best of 3.67 @ 330 mph which Clay Millagan did as No 1 Qualifier.
Funny Car went 3.86 @ 332mph which "Fast" Jack Beckman did for No 1 Qualifier (Track Temp was around 100f outside was 83f ) Below is a link to some of the action on the first day.
Leah ran 3.70 @ 328mph to get Number 2 position on the Top Fuel ladder.
Cruze Pentrigon went for a wild ride in Funny Car, he lifted the front end of the car at the 1/8th mile about 8ft in the air and carried the wheels up the last 1/8th of a mile over the finish line doing around 240 mph !!!!!! he landed okay pased the finish line, but at the cost of a bent chassis after beating Robert Hight in the other lane, Cruze could not compete in the next round of racing.
John Force win's in Funny car
Antron Brown wins the 2016 Top Fuel Championship, Steve Torrence won Top Fuel Final, Shane Grey won Pro-Stock Car whilst Jerry Saviour won Pro-Stock Bike. Ricky Smith won Pro-Modified, we also saw Johnny Lindburge win his 2nd Pro-Comp Funny Car Championship.
The view of the Hoover Dam from the Hellicopter ride.
After the racing had finished on Monday 1st November we went first to visit the Hoover Dam, A new bridge was put in since I visited here back in 1983. We had a chance to do the tour down inside the Dam to look at the generators, Lake Mead looked very low.
On Tuesday 2nd We took a Helicopter ride over Black Canyon to finish the holliday off. Wednesday 3rd November we took the Hire car back at took off from Vegas Airport having a 9 hour flight back home to the cold.
November 14th. I took the race car around the block (On the trailer) to a rolling road (Rolling Road Services) on the Industrial Estate off Bromley Street Lye, to see if I could sort out some of the engine problems I have.
After the first run up I found one electrical problem, then another run up later I found the secondarys choke was not opening at all thus restricting the amount of air going into the engine.
There are a series of different tension springs I need to get and fit into the 4-barrel holley carb to cure this problem, the trouble is, you can't see the if all four barrels are open or not whilst going down the track !
I sold the old 1928 "Ford A" car on ebay on 24th November.
Monday 28th November.
I found 2 Dudley Council Transit vans in the canal basin next to the cottage this morning.
They had both been stolen to do a job last night and dumped into the canal !! The Divers went down first to check for bodys, the Police also arrived plus the truck to lift them both out, I lent the 2 lads the "Dudley Canal Trust" Joey Boat to them to float out to attach the lifting straps through the roof, this took most of the morning to do, plus it was a very wet and windy day and very cold, Brrrr.
Sometime during the middle of November I decided to make a start on the bodywork on the Chevy Truck. But before painting there are a few body repairs to be done.
There was rot all around the air intake vent in the middle of bulkhead, to get at it properly I had to remove the bonnet so I could cut out the rot and make up new bodywork around the flap. Plus there was a lot of rust bubbles around the swage line at the back of the cab, another problem was the o/s front wing had split on the arch which I've now welded a new piece in place, plus been doing a lot of filling of unwanted holes and spraying of primer.
Bittell is lowered by crane into the New Main Line Canal.
Last Saturday 6th December I went back to Bittell to do some work on her. Bittell has been sat on the bank in Caggy's yard in Tipton since April this year awaiting decisions to be made by the committee and waiting for estermates to be done first to replace the hull over this winter.
But first we have to get the tug back in the water without it sinking !
So after appliying fiberglass matting to both the inside and outside of the holes in the hull I made up some wooden shuttering then I mixed up and laid around 3" thick of concrete and let it all go off.
On Monday 8th I had a phone call off Ralf to say the crane was on it's way, as it was only down the road at the time, so I dropped everthing and got over to Caggy's, Bittell was lowered in the canal, I double checked the concrete seal and it looked okay, so with that I steered Bittell back to Parkhead that afternoon and moored it up a shallow Jacks Arm by the cottage, I'm doing regular checks on the hull for leaks, so far so good.
We just need to strip out all the loose stuff in the boat before the next stage of work needs to be done.
Monday 8th December, Bittell on it's way back to Parkhead via the 2-mile Netherton Tunnel.
13th December. Start stripping down the chevy truck for a re-spray.
As from the Middle of November I have been doing many repairs to the cab area getting the truck ready to have a re-spray later on. I've also been stripping all the chrome assessory's off the cab area.
On the 13th December I had to get the truck slid over to the other side of my workshop to unbolt and lift the rear deck off the chassis.
This I had to do so the rear of the cab can be got at to spray the paint on the rear panal.
I started the on the rear deck, firstly by getting it up on the high stands first so I could gert under it to undo the many small bolts that hold down the wooden deck planks with I found some of them rotted through.
I then started to rub down the paintwork plus doing more small repairs.
Tuesday 27th December both boats heading to Stourbridge
The Day after Boxing Day 22 Volunteers took Bittell and Sagitta down to Stourbridge to have both boats worked on during the Winter.
Bittell was dropped off at Dadfords Shed for Ian Kemp to replace the hull. Sagitta carried on down to the Bonded Warehouse to be worked on in the dry dock to have it's stearn gear replaced and a re-paint