Taking the Met for a "little" ride

April 1st, 2013 by Dale Carrington in category: Travelogues
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Lonny and Dale Make it to Squamish, BC (Lonny is hiding behind the camera) 65 Rally cars gathering '50 Jaguar MK-V '53 Aston Martin DB2 '37 Plymouth pickup '57 Alpha Romeo Gilietta Sprint Speciale Prototype '60 Alvis TD21 '60 MGA '61 Aston Martin DB4 '47 Chrysler Town & Country "Tevie's Termite Taxi" '64 Chevrolet Corvette 'FrankenSaab' off-road rally car gaggle of original Minis! Porsche 356 VW THING ;^{)} Atwell Peak as we leave Squamish Yup - Snow just north of Whistler - and our top is down! Lonny - smiling as big as me ;^{)} a lonely little church - we saw MANY Three FINE examples of British engineering! A fixer upper - with attached garage. This eagle flew faster than the Met 1st ferry crossing of 200 mile long Arrow Lake Arrow Lake from the ferry 2nd ferry crossing further down Arrow Lake Ladies LIKE the Met Free range horses There was old tin EVERYWHERE It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'!

Taking the Met for a “little” ride

Maybe a few of you have noticed how much I like to drive my Mets. I’ve never been afraid or even hesitated to go most any distance or in any direction in my Met as long as there’s a navigable road. Some of you may have read about my trip from Puyallup, Washington to Kenosha, Wisconsin and back for the MOCNA International. And though there may have been a little problem or two along the way, (like a golf ball sized hole in the radiator, and a broken control arm bolt - twice) there was nothing that couldn’t be repaired and on my way.

Well, as usual, the wanderlust struck me again this spring and I was fortunate to make the cutoff for Classic Car Adventure’s “Spring Thaw Classic Car Adventure” held in southern British Columbia. This was the fifth year for the event, usually announced in December or January, and I had applied too late the two previous years. Only 50 to 65 cars manufactured before 1979 are accepted to participate. I made selection as number 65 and am the first and only Met ever to attend! Having visited many foreign countries during my military career I found it best to take someone who speaks the language when in a foreign land. Lonny Andrews of the B.C. Mets volunteered to be my navigator and translator ;^{)}  

Day 1 we all met in Squamish, B.C. What a wonderful collection of classic cars – (the highlights IMHO:) several Alpha Romeos, a ‘60 Alvis, 3 Aston Martins (’34, ’53, ’61), a ‘54 Bentley R Type, , early Fiats, 2 Intermeccanicas, a ’50 Jaguar Mk-V, Jensen Healy, Saabs, a ‘47 Chrysler Town & Country (Tevie’s Termite Taxi!), and a ’54 Met convertible! I think Lonny took about 500 photos just in that first parking lot!

Only a starting point and an end point are announced for this three day 1200 kilometer road rally. How we get there and where we stop for the night is only announced each morning about 15 minutes before we left. As soon as the route books were handed out we were on our way through some of the most beautiful countryside I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. The routes we took were almost all two lane secondary roads through very rugged mountains, sweeping valleys, along the shoulders of huge lakes and through so many small towns bypassed by the highways. We averaged about 400 km per day stopping wherever we wished for photos, lunch, or to help a broken Saab or Mini. The only lure to keep us rolling was what we might see around the next bend and the time dinner would be served at our day’s destination!

We stopped for lunch in Lillooet – a tiny town (I think about 100 buildings & homes) and were joined by a couple who had moved to B.C. from South Africa. Between their heavy accent and my hearing aids I couldn’t understand a bit of the conversation. For all I know I may have volunteered to rebuild his ’64 Corvette for them if he broke down ;^{)} Dinner and motel the first night found us in the city of Kamloops. Wanting a cold beer to wash away the dust we were informed that we couldn’t carry it to the parking lot where all the other drivers were talking about the trip, and could only be escorted to our room where we were not to leave with the beer… We weren’t even allowed to take the glass of beer we purchased in the motel bar to the motel dining room…Strange rules in Kamloops… first time I’ve ever chugged a stout.

Day 2 our destination was Vernon in a very roundabout way – about 520 km. This day involved crossing a 200 mile long lake in two different places by ferry. As we stopped for the first ferry we found ourselves just behind the Bentley R-type and just in front of the Jaguar Mk-V. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of “Three fine examples of British engineering!” At one point we were following the ’47 Chrysler up a steep grade high above a river. As we came around a corner the Chrysler scared up an eagle that was dining on the roadway. Lonny was driving so I used his camera to shoot several quick photos of the eagle in flight and landing in a treetop. The sight was majestic, my photos were not. But driving down the road as such a magnificent bird flew along beside us will be a memory I’m sure neither Lonny nor I will forget. Arriving in Vernon for the night we were invited to eat with the Alfa Romeo folks who turned out to be a club that really enjoys the Spring Thaw. These folks were so much fun to talk with we wondered why they didn’t all drive Metropolitans ;^{)}

Day 3 – Vernon to Hope – somehow. I think I was totally lost the whole three days. If it wasn’t for the route book I would probably be in Alaska now, and judging by the number of snow-capped peaks that we travelled over we may have come close! Did I mention that the route book distances were listed in both kilometers and miles? Like that would be any help at all to us with a Metropolitan odometer… We started out in the lowlands, making turns onto very narrow and thinly paved roads. It was pretty easy to see where we had to turn – the Porsches were ahead of us so we just watched for the tire marks where they had drifted through the turns…. We travelled through Indian reservations, stopped to wait for a herd of free range horses to move off the road, passed many old log cabins and rustic churches. Lonny mentioned that the area we were traveling through was high desert and was extremely hot in the summer. Very pleasant for us though: late April; sunshine; top down; and enjoying the open views. Of course we spotted lots of very interesting old tin along the way and I’m sure Lonny is trying to figure out how to get back there to see what he can find as another project car.

About 2 hours before Hope we started up a pretty steep incline and the sky got pretty dark. There were a few icy sprinkles, then some very chunky rain, then some snow. The heater in the Met was working valiantly, and neither Lonny nor I wanted to be the first one to say “top UP” so I think it was just unspoken that we pulled over in the chunky part of the rain and put the top up. It only took about 10 miles or so for us to stop shivering. It was Lonny’s turn to drive and he was on home turf now. The Met was running great and we made pretty good time into Hope – even so we were just about the last to arrive at the finish. It seems that we stop to take a lot of photos and visit junk shops a little more often than the veteran Spring Thaw drivers. That’s ok – we managed to fit a few treasures into the Met along the way.

This Adventure was 1200 kilometers, or about 720 miles, plus about 420 miles round trip to get up there and back and I had logged another 1140 miles in the Met – what a GREAT long weekend! I really can’t encourage you enough to get out and drive your Mets!

For information on the Spring Thaw and to see some more photos (a couple good ones of us in the Met!) visit the Classic Car Adventures website: http://www.classiccaradventures.com/2013/04/spring-thaw-2013-photos/   

Dale Carrington