9 September 2009

On The Road To Yellowstone

About the Author

Don Drabik - 190SL Group

Don Drabik is a long time member of the International 190SL Group, having driven his cherry red 190 SL thousands of miles to dozens of National Meets. He’s even taken Best of Show honors. Don was kind enough to send us some photos and updates from their road trip to Yellowstone and back for the 2009 190SL Group National Meet.

When not behind the wheel, Don is well known for his skills as an artist, having created many of the event posters for the International 190SL Group and other car clubs. He’s also a renowned restoration and service artist, running a small shop near Maple City, MI, where he repairs and restores exquisite classic cars of all types. A loyal supporter of the Hagerty Family Car Show, in 2009 Don won the show’s Special Award as the favorite vehicle of the 310/Firefly restaurants.

Don will be one of the co-hosts of the 2010 190SL Group National Meet coming to Traverse City, MI in the summer of 2010. Thanks, Don, for all of your support and your great updates. Drive safely and have fun!

Wednesday September 16, 2009

It's Wednesday, Sept. 16, and we finally left Denver around 8:30 a.m., heading east on I-70 and then I-76 to Fort Morgan, Colo. Only two of us are driving northeast; the other car is heading for Georgia. We picked up Route 34 and headed east on the two-lane highway, drove to McCook, Neb., and stopped for a late lunch. While there we toured the High Plains Museum and had my shoe repaired for one dollar. Left there around 4:30 p.m. and headed to Grand Island, Neb., for the night. Arrived around 7 p.m. and no rooms were to be had! Just our luck – the Husker-Harvest show is on for the week. So we drove 45 miles to the town of York and got the last two rooms in town. I never thought that we would have trouble finding a room out here.

We have been driving the speed limit (65) on two lanes and around 70 on the interstates (interstate speeds are 75 mph). The weather has been great and it looks to hold out until we get home.

Sunday September 13, 2009

We ate an early breakfast on Sunday morning and headed out for Cody, Wyo., but not before taking a run on the Chief Joseph Highway for more sightseeing. We were passed by the rally cars several times. In Cody, we visited the Buffalo Bill Museum; I wish we’d had more time there. Eventually, we headed off to Thermopolis, Mont. One car from Virginia has a loose manifold and another from New Hampshire has a loose starter, which we plan to fix in the morning. We will head to Denver in the morning, along with the Georgia car and Indiana car.

Saturday September 12, 2009

We left the park Saturday and headed to Red Lodge, Mont. We stopped at the north gate at Gardner, the entrance dedicated by President Roosevelt, then headed to the northeast park entrance. At Silver Gate, we saw a bearing tree that served as the land survey for the Montana and Wyoming border. The original carvings, which date back to the 1870s, are still visible. It is a national landmark now. We then headed to the town of Red Lodge by way of the Bear Tooth Pass, elevation: 10,947 feet. What a drive – and we all made it! In Red Lodge, the Going To The Sun Rally cars were there for the weekend, and it was cool to see them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday began with a breakfast and members meeting, then we headed off to Mammoth Hot Springs and spent the night at the lodge there. This was a long drive to the north end of the park. The New York car headed to Seattle instead.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday – the car show was today. After a judges meeting, judging began at 10 a.m. There were four show cars and one founders award car, as well as 11 people’s choice cars. One was an all-electric 190SL from K&K of Grand Rapids, Mich. Really cool! Our banquet and awards event were held that evening and included a great talk on the history of Yellowstone Park. We replaced the starter on the New York car and everything appeared fine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Wednesday, we headed to Canyon Village and the Yellowstone falls. We met the park ranger and received a guided tour of the Norris Geyser Basin, then we headed off to lunch and to the canyon of Yellowstone and the falls. This was spectacular! From here we headed to the mud volcanoes. On the way, we watched a coyote trying to catch something in the valley. The New York car is not starting at all; we need to push it to start it. Looks like we need to replace the starter – we do have a spare. We saw lots of bison all over the park. The evening was spent at the hospitality suite after a ranger talk at Old Faithful and dinner. We also removed the basic equipment on the New York car to make the starter replacement a little better tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday brought our first driving adventure, through the midway and lower geyser basins up to Madison for lunch, with sightseeing on the way back. Our car was having starter problems and so was the New York car. When we got back to the lodge, it was time to look into the problem. A missing bolt in the main cable connection was replaced and everything was good again. The New York car wasn’t as lucky, but we decided to wait until morning to take a closer look. We watched Old Faithful in the moon light; the temperature was about 38 degrees and there was incredible steam!

Monday, September 7, 2009

On Monday, we drove to the Yellowstone Old Faithfull lodge, entering the park from Cody, Wyo. It was cloudy and cold, but we put the tops down anyway. We easily made it over the pass and got some drizzle at the top. It’s a long drive when you’re only able to travel at 35-45 mph (that is the park speed limit). We saw our first wild animal on the way, a grizzly bear! The road was jammed and the ranger motioned us on, so we couldn’t snap a picture. By the time we arrived at the lodge, it was getting sunny. It was great to see many of our friends at the lodge, and a welcome party was at the hospitality suite that evening. People kept arriving – we knew the convention was on its way.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday we left around 8 a.m. and headed to Devils Tower. We also stopped near the geographical center of the nation in South Dakota.  We arrived in Buffalo, Wyo., around 5:30 p.m. It was an easy driving day with no problems. All four cars seem to be running fine. We are having a few intermittent starter problems but nothing serious at this time.

Tomorrow we head to Yellowstone and we will have to negotiate a 9,468-foot pass. That should be interesting.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We are in Menomonie, Wis., this morning and are getting ready to head out. The trip on the Badger was relaxing and the ferry operators were very accommodating with our cars. We drove them on and drove them off. Our New York friends are having generator problems, and we were discussing the way to resolve it while we were sailing across the big blue. The water was calm and the lake was flat. The cars are doing well, all things considered. At the hotel we checked the generator and regulator and found out the generator is not putting out the full charge needed but enough to keep going. We will see what today's (Saturday) drive brings.

Reached a rest stop in Minnesota and the generator let go – missing a nut or broken bolt. We wired up the generator with wire provided by the rest stop care taker. With the fan belt squealing, we headed toward Fargo and eventually stopped at the Kroll's diner, where we decided to replace the generator in the parking lot. An elderly gentleman on a Vespa stopped and was interested in the cars and what we were doing. We needed some bolts and nuts and other stuff from the store, so he said that he would take one of us to the hardware store. He waited to finish shopping and brought our man back.

People and cars are great! The generator is in – 2.5 hours and off we go, heading west to Bismarck, N.D.

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