First disaster:(

Day 4. When I first bought a Beetle 55 years ago, I never expected I’d be driving one now, or that I would even be alive! Yet here I am driving one around the world or at least to Warsaw. Indiana that is!

There are presently 5 antiques competing. High winds continue and rally speeds today were challenging for all but perhaps the 1951 Chrysler with a hemi V8 with an estimated 300 horsepower. We were on interstates part of the day and speeds were sometimes as high as 70. I pushed Stewball for longer than I like but we made our time with minutes to spare. I filled with gas before we left in the morning so didn’t have to make that stop. I know that some of the antiques didn’t get in on time. I was concerned that the head wind would use up my gas, but even with the weather conditions, we made 26 miles per gallon. Not bad.

Now the disaster. One car out- for at least a day. No, not us, but I am sorry to say it is the 1916 Studebaker. Dennis and Howard deserve a special “spirit of the event” award. They have been driving in these awful conditions, cold, rain, and wind in their open car. Closer to the conditions of 1908 than any of the rest of us. Comfort is relative and we think of them often as we hum along in our comfortable, dry car. First their steering went out. But that was fixable, then the starter shorted out their electrical system. That will take a part which cannot be easily found. The car will spend Monday on the trailer to Indy. The only fortunate part, is all this happened right at the end of the rally day so they were not stranded at the side of the road.

Stewball? We normally have a top speed of about 80 but with the headwind, there were times I was flat-out at 65. We got in on time because I didn’t need the 20 minutes allowed for a fuel stop. But I do have a concern. I have driven this engine 20,000 miles and until yesterday I had never added oil. At the end of the day, it was down one-half quart. Just the temporary effect of the extra stress or am I headed for trouble? Jack Crabtree is planning an engine replacement for his Model A Ford before Asia. Do I need to do the same? Would I have a day when I have the time? Unanswered questions.

More tomorrow from Indy,


P.S. These our the jackets given to us by the Michigan VW club.


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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12 Responses to First disaster:(

  1. Carla says:

    An engine replacement? I don’t think you really mean a new engine, right? Since you’re talking about ‘a day’.
    I’m sorry about the Studebaker. Driving around the world in an open car deserves a medal, apart from any rally!
    Hang in there, guys, the weather will get better.

    • ejhowle23 says:

      Hope so. This morning rain, but at least the temperature is better. Good day for the Studebaker not to go, if it has to happen. Yes, we do mean new engine, but the concensus is just a response to stress. Ed is outside checking oil as we speak. thanks for your support! We almost went to Three Rivers yesterday before turning south. Thought of you and Bill.

  2. Jenny and Bruce says:

    We are on the computer more than ever each day reading blogs and following everyones progress. The going is starting to get tough, but always keep in mind great-gramp and you will succeed! Give everyone our best!

  3. Milford Whitaker says:

    Thanks, for keeping us updated, I’m enjoying following you on the blog.

  4. Leslie says:

    Wow! Always something on the race wether it is you or someone else. Sorry for the studebaker but thankful it was not Stewball. Hang in there, it is good to think big picture but don’t let the what if’s get you down.

  5. Jill and Charles says:

    Love hearing about your adventures!! Sorry to hear of the Studebaker’s troubles and can’t imagine making this trip in an open vehicle !!! Best of luck to you both !! J& C

  6. Laurie Horn says:

    Be glad you’re out of Michigan. 2″ of snow on the ground and still coming down. This is utterly disgusting and ridiculous. Enough already. Glad the disaster was not you personally..

  7. TBC says:

    Glad you’re OK. As to Stewball, just add oil and don’t look for dragsons. None may be there, just headwinds.

    When you push the engines hard in air-cooled models, they will use more oil, so don’t panic.

    Hugs from HB,

    TBC and Arnie

  8. Bob Burtman says:

    Hey Gang,

    We’ll be following your progress. I’m sure you’ve heard that Orange County was spared from the tornadoes over the weekend – brutal to the east, however. Best o’ luck,

    –Bob & Laura

  9. Kevin Moreson says:

    Interesting to note your comment about doing 80MPH. In my old 67 I considered 80 to be pushing the RPMs a bit. Are you using a stock 1500 or 1600 cc engine? Is that a stock gear ratio in the transmission? As a retired VW mechanic (30 years), I am just curious. Good luck on your adventure. I will be looking forward to your daily posts.

    • ejhowle23 says:

      Actually I don’t drive it 80, I just meant I could if pushed. I don’t drive consistantly over 70. It is a 1600cc engine. Yes, it has a stock gear ratio in the transmission.

  10. rdsieber says:

    Whenever my ’57 Vdub would start to consume oil, it was telling me that it needed an oil change. Same with the 356. Those sustained highway speeds are doing it. Just keep topping it off until you can change it.

    I’m sure you know that these modern oils don’t contain enough ZDDP for flat-tappet engines. You can buy it as an additive if you can’t find the oil Stewball needs.

    Hope the winds die, not the engine!


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