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Some random thoughts on a cool, sunny day

M

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The high heat and scorching sun finally abated yesterday in this part of western Virginia. After a miserable summer of many near 100 degree days and excessive humidity, it was finally time to take the Triumph out for a road trip without its white, sun-blocking top up. I know people who never put their tops up on these Little British Cars and question the seriousness of those who do, but when the sun is a furnace above you, there is no other real option.

Perhaps it was my imagination, but the car ran as close to perfect as I have ever known it to run. The engine hummed along as I drove the gently undulating and serpentine back roads of Rockbridge County. I could easily imagine that the car, which had spent many weeks in a dark garage, was enjoying its freedom and the moderate temperature as much as I.

In third gear most of time, with the occasional shift into second at a hairpin turn or steep grade. From time to time a smooth slide into fourth on a rare straight stretch bordering some farmer's corn field or pasture. Here and there a herd of cows undisturbed by my presence; now and then a doe and her fawns look up. All the sights, sounds, and smells of the countryside available and unavoidable.

There's nothing passive about driving one of these cars. All senses must be operating. You must be fully engaged, mentally and certainly physically as you go through the motions: wrist and foot working together. Clutch in, shift, clutch out, click, click; now second gear, click, click; now third gear, downshift to second, up again to third, fourth gear, downshift, up again; clutch working smoothly; a little surge here, a little deceleration there; touch the brakes; foot off the brakes. No cushioned ride here, only a firm ride and the genuine feel of the road that comes from 50 year old leaf springs. Muscular worm-and-peg steering around the curves.

Engine temperature a steady 185 (never above even on blisterng days and up hill); oil pressure at 50-60; amps a little above zero with a bit of a surge when accelerating.

No highways for me. Only the little-used back roads through countryside made lush and green by a summer filled with weeks of rain and sun. Here and there a lone dwelling; now and then an old mill or barn, some dating to before the Civil War. Off to the right the pine and cedar covered hills so typical of this region; off to the left the Blue Ridge Mountains. The road meandering between a slow moving river on one side and railroad tracks on the other. No train ever came. No other cars passed by to break the welcomed solitude.

Just the two of us -- car and driver-- and the open road. Life has its compensations.
 

Don Elliott

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Ed - Very well written !

Cooler air is denser than scorching air so that probably helped it run smoother. With the top down, you hear more of the wind and glorious engine sounds - so everything else seems much quieter.

What joy.

Cheers

Don Elliott - 110,000 since my restoration in 1990 and a total of 190,000 miles since I bought it brand new in May 1958. Every time I drive "TRusty", I'm 20 years old again.

Photo taken last weekend where they awarded me 3rd after a 1936 MG-PA and a 1949 MG-TC
 

Mickey Richaud

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Nice, Ed.

Work kept me inside this morning ;), but Janet and I will take the B out this afternoon. Gorgeous weather here!
 
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M

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Don,

An interestng point. The car also seems to run better up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is often 10 degrees cooler than down here in the Valley.

Mickey,

Have a great ride.
 

Brosky

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They always seem to run better after not driving them for a while.

It's their way of showing is what we are missing.
 

poolboy

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Sounded invigorating mentally, physically and spiritually, Ed. Thanks for painting that picture. I can just imagine.
I woke up to temperature in the 60's for the first time in....how long..?
I put nearly 100 miles on the odo before lunch. Although not as picturesque it was refreshing nonetheless.. and just think I might get a whole 2 more days with this weather...Such is life in the Deep South; Fall, here today , gone tomorrow.
 

Mickey Richaud

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Brosky said:
They always seem to run better after not driving them for a while.

Also after washing and waxing.
 
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M

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Poolboy,

Life here in the Upper South has been like living in the Deep South for the past two months: high heat and sauna-like humidity. Too hot almost every day, followed by storms in the afternoons and evenings. We all feel guilty about not wanting so much rain in light of the drought going on in most of the country... but enough is enough.

And, yes, here too, we awoke today to high 50s and lower 60s, clear blue skies, puffy white clouds drifting across the mountains.

Fall is the best time for motoring around here, especially with the leaves changing colors, and especially up on the Parkway. Only problem is that sometimes we go from Summer to Winter with only a hint of fall.
 

Don Elliott

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Poolboy - How did yours run the day you showed us the photo of your TR covered with a blanket of snow ? How far south did you say ?

Cheers

Don
 

poolboy

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I had to use use the choke, Don.
100_1105.jpg


......12/5/09.......
 
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