FAR 165K

TNO 882K



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Link to the UK National Office of the MND Association
We would like to apologise to everyone who visited this site over the period that we were away hoping to find regular 'updates' throughout the trip. Unfortunately, we were unable to update the website as planned, as we discovered that there was no method of connecting to the 'host' computer from outside the UK to upload the necessary files. We are sorry about this and for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Wed 31st Aug - The cars depart!

Car departure day - There's was no going back!! The cars were sent on their way to the USA. They were driven to Southampton Docks for shipping to Baltimore, which is about 200 mile south of New York on the east coast of the US. The cars were booked onto a ship called the 'Aida', which was in effect a 13 deck floating multi-storey car park, capable of carrying 5800 cars. Upon our arrival at the docks we were told by the shipping agent 'just leave the keys in the ignition and the cars unlocked, and we will sort them out later'. 'Your having a laugh!' was our immediate reply. However, we were told that this was the way it had to be done, and that we had no choice in the matter. I have to say we were not entirely happy about leaving the cars like that, but as you can see from the photo below, they were being shipped to the US with a load of Range Rovers and Minis, worth a bit more than our cars (financially anyway).

127 mile driven today

Day 1 - Thursday 15th Sept

We were taken to Heathrow by Debs, Lee's friend (thanks Debbie - very good skid control - the lessons definitely paid off !). The flight to Baltimore was fine, except that take off was delayed for an hour. Unfortunately the time could not be made up during the flight, so we therefore arrived at Baltimore an hour late. Thankfully Hugh Anderson (An Englishman not in New York, but Baltimore) was there to meet us with his 'Fords on Tour' board so that we would identify each other. He then took us back to his home in Hunt Valley (a Baltimore suburb) where we had a chance to freshen up. We then spent the rest of the evening being fed and watered and relaxing with his family in the warm, humid weather (a bit sticky - but a million times better than a dull, rainy London).

Day 2 - Friday 16th Sept

An early start saw Hugh driving us to the docks to collect the cars. This involved bouncing backwards and forwards between the Customs Office, the shipping company and the vehicle holding area office. After about three hours and loads of form filling, the cars were free and were relatively unharmed. Lee's car had a bent rear number plate (someone trying to nick it as a memento ?) and the tool box, complete with all the spare parts for my car had been stolen (thieving *****s), a little unnerving given that we were about start a 5000 mile drive. The rest of the day was spent around the recently renovated Inner Harbour area sight-seeing and quenching our thirsts (84° today - how awful !) In the evening Hugh had arranged a party where we met some of his friends and neighbours who were interested in meeting us and having a look at our old cars. There were a number of comments about ' mad dogs and Englishmen' etc., which we tended to agree with, and an enjoyable evening appeared to be had by all (plenty of beer consumed).

48 miles driven today.

Day 3 - Saturday 17th Sept

An early start - we hit the road at 6.00 am today as we wanted to get as near to Canada as possible by the end of the day, to give us a chance of being able to get to Oakville, Ontario tomorrow to attend a 'British cars' car show being held there. We had found out about the show only a few days before leaving the UK, from Patrick Wilson - a member of the North American English Ford Registry Car Club (NAEFR), who owns an excellent primrose and white Mk2 Zodiac! We reached New York by about 10.30 and got onto Manhattan Island quite easily via the Lincoln tunnel. It was here that the red 'battery charge indicator' light lit up like a Christmas tree on the dash of my car, indicating that the alternator had probably just failed. It was agreed that after a drive up Broadway we would get out of New York and then check the car out. Upon examination it was concluded that the alternator had indeed failed and as we had no spare we would have to run the car off the battery a far as we could. We headed north, the car managing about 200 miles before the battery had pretty much died. Although the car was still running when we pulled into a Service Area, there was not even enough power left in the battery to operate the indicators or the starter solenoid. The good battery from Lee's car was swapped into mine and off we went again. My flat battery was being recharged by Lee's car while I was running down his battery in my car. Before too long we reached Rochester and eventually found a car spares store, but surprise, surprise, they could not match the alternator with anything they had in stock. As a stopgap solution we purchased a battery charger and both batteries were removed and recharged in our hotel room overnight. We hoped that if we could get to the car show the next day, with a bit of luck we may be able to get hold of a new alternator.

601 miles driven today.

Day 4 - Sunday 18th Sept

Having charged both batteries overnight, we left for Oakville at around 8.30 and within an hour had crossed into Canada at Niagara Falls. Without stopping we drove on for Oakville reaching the gates to the show at 10.30. Once in the show we found Patrick Wilson and his Zodiac without too much difficulty, who informed us that we were being given centre stage at the 'top of the hill' because Mk1 Escorts are so rare in Canada and because we had travelled so far to get to the show. The show was great with around 1200 British cars of all types on display. Our cars attracted a huge amount of interest with many people saying they had never seen a Mk1 Escort on the road in Canada before. To top off a great day we were awarded a plaque for the 'longest distance travelled' to get to the show. Unfortunately, having been kindly given an alternator that we thought would replace the faulty one, we discovered that this was also faulty, so we left the show still running my car on its battery. After the show we drove back to Niagara on the Lake, following recommendations from a number of people at the show who said that it was an excellent place to stay.

175 miles driven today.

Day 5 - Monday 19th Sept

After leaving Niagara on the lake we took the scenic route in to Niagara Falls. There was some spectacular scenery on the way. In Niagara Falls we stumbled across an Auto Electrical Garage where the proprietor examined the car but was unable to confirm what was wrong with the alternator. However, he knew a guy who has a business reconditioning alternators who he was sure would be able to help. We were escorted to the alternator company by one of his employees who happened to be into British cars and had been at the Oakville show the day before. Once at the alternator man, the alternator was removed from the car, put on the test bench and a failed regulator diagnosed. Within about 45 minutes a new regulator had been fitted and the alternator re-fitted to the car. Back on the road again !! However news of our arrival in town had spread and before long we were having lunch with a group of Ford fans who had turned up wanting to see the cars ! After lunch we went on the 'Maid of the Mist' boat trip up to the Falls - a spectacular experience that left us all extremely wet. We then hit the road again, crossing back into the USA a few hours later, ending up in St Clair, a small town about 50 miles from Detroit close to the USA/Canadian border.

261 miles driven today.

Day 6 - Tuesday 20th Sept

We had a bit of a lay in today - we didn't hit the road until about 10.00. After about an hour or so we reached Dearborn, and headed for the Ford Motor Museum. The cars attracted quite a lot of attention parked outside the front gates, including staff from the factory close by. After discussions with the staff at the Museum about speaking to someone at Ford about the trip we were directed to Ford's Corporate headquarters a few miles up the road. However, upon arrival, security would not allow us near the building, so we decided not to waste any more time and decided to go back to the Museum and have a look around. From a Ford motor vehicle point of view, the museum was somewhat disappointing as it also included a large amount of non vehicle related items that we did not find particularly interesting. As a result we only spent a couple of hours at the museum, before driving on to Fort Wayne where we stayed for the night. At our arrival at the hotel we notice the foyer clock was an hour behind - during the drive we had crossed into a new time zone. Tomorrow we head for Indianapolis, where we will attempt to blag our way onto the track!.

295 miles driven today.

Day 7 - Wednesday 21st Sept

After breakfast we headed for Indianapolis, a distance of about 120 miles, and arrived in brilliant sunshine. Upon entering the Motor Museum, we discovered that we could go on a comprehensive 'Grounds Tour' of the race circuit. It was immediately decided to go on the tour - a decision that was definitely not regretted. The tour started with full lap of the track circuit of the track in a small coach which included a stop off at the start/finish line to take photographs etc. Marc in particular was delighted with this, as it has been a life long ambition to walk on the track at 'The Brickyard'. Following this we were taken on a tour of other areas of the race circuit, including the Media Centre, where the winning drivers are interviewed, the Press Centre where the media are located during a race and the pit areas. Following the tour we then spent time looking round the Motor Museum where a large number of historic race cars were on display. Following our time at Indianapolis, we drove on to Terre Haute, about 100 miles from Indianapolis, where we spent the night.

238 miles driven today.

Day 8 - Thursday 22nd Sept

Before leaving Terre Haute we found a local car spares shop and brought a 5/16" nut to fit the alternator adjusting bracket as it was found that the thread was stripped. We then headed for St Louis arriving there at about 1.00 pm. During the drive, my alternator failed for a second time, this time it was the rectifier circuit, not the voltage regulator as before. Although odd that it had failed a second time it was agreed that this was purely coincidence. There was not much that could be done at the time so we just carried on driving !! When driving into the city of St Louis, the 640 ft high Jefferson Memorial Arch dominated the skyline. The stainless steel clad arch was stunning in the afternoon sun and dwarfed all other structures in the city. We parked up at the edge of the Mississippi River next to the arch and after a cool drink went on a riverboat trip up and down the river. After the riverboat trip we then took a trip to the top of the Memorial Arch in the strangest, most cramped elevator that any of us had ever been in. The elevator was basically a drum of about 5ft in diameter that could hold a maximum of five seated occupants. On the way up the inside of the arch you could feel the drum rotating (London Eye style) but the ride was nowhere near as smooth. Despite the somewhat cramped/claustrophobic ride, it was well worthwhile, as the view from the top of the arch was awesome. The view of the city was superb and I doubt if we will ever look down on our cars, parked on the riverfront, from such a great height again.
In the evening we met up with Dale, Mark and Sandy from the Fords Unlimited Car Club, who had driven up to an hour and a half to meet up with us and see our cars. We spent a highly enjoyable evening with them, which included an excellent meal, which they also insisted on paying for - thanks very much guys!!

200 miles driven today.

Day 9 - Friday 23rd Sept

After charging the battery of my car overnight again, we made a note of a number of alternator repair companies that were listed in the yellow pages in the hotel room. We then drove to the closest only to find that they had gone out of business two weeks ago. However, a telephone call to another company ended up with us driving over to their premises and them undertaking a second rebuild of the alternator. To make sure that we didn't have any other major problems, a spare regulator and rectifier pack were purchased as back up spares. Following a delay of about two hours getting the alternator sorted, we spent the rest of the day driving to Tulsa in Oklahoma, arriving about 6.00 pm. It was noted during the journey that the landscape was becoming a more undulating, with lots of long inclines and descents and a slightly rougher terrain. Tomorrow we start travelling Route 66 in earnest. As can be seen from the photo below, some of the trucks (Rigs as they are known in the US) are large!!

415 miles driven today

Day 10 - Saturday 24th Sept

We received an e-mail from Annette (my wife) who was back in the UK, saying that whilst she was surfing the web the night before, she discovered that there was car show being held today in a town called Davenport which she thought may not be too far away from Tulsa. Upon checking the map we discovered that Davenport was only about an hour up the road and was not far off route. Upon arriving in Davenport about an hour later, we discovered a small town with an equally small car show (only about 30 cars !!). Despite this, we spent an hour or so looking at the assortment of cars on show and answering questions from the locals about the strange looking cars that we had arrived in. We then headed for another town called Clinton, a few hours further on, to visit an official Route 66 museum that was mentioned in Marc's Route 66 guide book. When we arrived we found that the museum was celebrating its 10th anniversary, and was having a party to celebrate with all the local dignitaries attending. After touring the museum and buying a few mementos in the museum shop, we stayed for a while to watch the activities. From here we drove on to Amarillo where we had planned to stay for the night (we can show you the way to Amarillo !)

400 miles driven today

Day 11 - Sunday 25th Sept

After breakfast we headed for 'The Big Texan Steak House' where 72 oz steaks are on offer for anyone brave enough to tackle one. If you can eat one in less than an hour you don't have to pay for it! Given we had just had breakfast we decided to not to go for it, but on the board showing those who had successfully taken the challenge we noticed that 'Big Al' had eaten his 72 oz steak in only 25 minutes. We also noted however, that 'Big Al' weighed in at 375 lb !! From here we drove west out of Amarillo to 'Cadillac Ranch', where a row of about 10 Cadillacs are buried in the ground in a field about 5 miles out of town. After taking our photos we found a half empty can of silver spray paint which still worked, so were able to spray 'FOT' (Fords On Tour) on the underside of one of the cars (see 2nd car below) to show that we had stopped off on our way through town. From here we drove to a small town called Adrian and stopped of at the 'Midpoint Café' which is located exactly in the midpoint of Route 66 (1139 miles from Chicago and 1139 miles from LA) We then drove on to Santa Rosa to visit the 'Route 66 Auto Museum' where there was a collection of old American cars on display. After lunch in the Route 66 Café, (where we tried iced tea - not a good decision !) we then drove to Albuquerque for the next stop over. During a drive along the old Route 66 we decided to take a detour on a road leading to the Manzano Mountains, which proved to be one of the most enjoyable drives of the trip (long steep hills and loads of twisty bends). Tomorrow we head for Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.

347 miles driven today

Day 12 - Monday 26th Sept

To start the day we headed south to a town called Los Lunas, where again we picked up the old Route 66. After about 30 minutes driving we saw a sign for the Acoma Pueblo Indian Reservation, (Sky City Reservation), but unfortunately once we got there we found that we had insufficient time to take a guided tour of the reservation because it was not due to start for about another hour. We decided to drive on, but before we left we found out that the use of video cameras was not permitted on most Indian reservations, although the use of 'stills/digital' cameras is generally permitted. We drove on through some stunning scenery, stopping off on a number of occasions to take photographs. We stopped for lunch at Gallup, following which we then detoured off the Interstate yet again to visit the 'Petrified Forest National Park' near Chambers, where once gain the scenery was very unusual (see below), and where we were able to see examples of the petrified trees. We then drove on to visit 'Meteor Crater' about 6 miles off the highway just past Winslow, which is a 4000 ft wide impact crater produced by a 150ft wide meteor striking the ground approximately 50,000 years ago. Entry to the site also included entrance to a small but interesting crater museum, that explained how the crater was created in more detail. We then drove on to Williams, Nr Flagstaff, where we plan to stay for a couple of nights. Through the hotel we booked a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon for tomorrow morning.

445 miles driven today

Day 13 - Tuesday 27th Sept

After getting up relatively early, we decided to wash the cars as they were in a pretty filthy condition since they were last cleaned in St Louis. Once this had been done we drove the 50 miles north to the Grand Canyon Airport located on the edge of the Grand Canyon National Park for our flight over the Canyon. After a brief safety talk we climbed into a French !! helicopter (a Citroen with rotating wings on top!!) along with 4 other tourists and Duane the helicopter pilot. The seats assigned to each of us was determined by a computer to ensure that our weight was evenly distributed, but fortunately for myself and Lee we were allocated front row seats (myself next to the pilot and Lee in the right/front seat. Marc was unfortunately allocated a back row seat that had a slightly limited view. The 45 minute flight that we then experienced over the Canyon was astounding. Despite the fact that we had all seen many photos, films and documentaries featuring the Canyon, nothing comes close to seeing the Canyon for real. The scenery, colours and immense size of the Canyon was stunning and the photos below in no way do it justice. No wonder the Canyon is listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Following the flight we all agreed that the experience was the highlight of the trip so far. After lunch we then visited a small aircraft and motor museum and then travelled back to Williams for a bit of local sightseeing.

114 miles driven today

Day 14 - Wednesday 28th Sept

We left Williams fairly early and drove west towards Kingman, about 100 miles away. However, after about 40 miles we left the Interstate and returned to driving the old Route 66 on the long route to Kingman. The scenery became more rocky and rugged and for quite long periods of time we saw no other cars on the road. About 30 miles from Kingman we reached Hackbury General Store, a throw back in time to the early Route 66 days with many original old features including old cars, petrol pumps and signs. From here we drove on to Kingman and then on to the Hoover Dam where we stopped to take in the views. On leaving the Dam, we were pulled over by the police who were sitting on the side of the road, probably because they heard us coming long before they saw us ! We were asked to show them our passports, which I was able to do, but Marc and Lee had their passports in a brief case and the police did not want them to open the case ! (in case they had guns in the case!). After being questioned about who we were, what were doing and what were the strange cars that we were driving, they were happy for us to go on our way. From initially being quite frosty, the officers ended up laughing and joking with us and wishing us well on the trip. Upon our arrival in Vegas we drove the cars up the strip, with the cars generating lots of interest from all the pedestrians. The architecture of the hotels and casinos was amazing, and included the scaled down versions of the Eiffel Tower and the Venice waterway system. We booked ourselves into the Sahara Hotel and after freshening up a bit we then drove about 8 miles out of town to find the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which we intend to visit tomorrow. In the evening we ate in the Nascar diner located inside the hotel and after spending some time observing the fevered activity in the huge gambling hall located inside the hotel, we then spent the rest of the night in the hotels Karaoke bar. To end a great day, I won $25 from a raffle ticket given away with each beer purchased at the bar, and Lee won $50 in cash from another raffle ticket given to him for getting up and singing. A good nights work. Our luck appeared to be in - maybe we should have tried our luck in the casino!!

270 miles driven today

Day 15 - Thursday 29th Sept

Today we had another lay in, getting up at about 10.00 am. We decided to do a bit of sightseeing, so drove up to Fremont Street in the Northern Quarter, famous for its shopping mall complete with its ceiling canopy that incorporates a computer controlled lighting display system. We discovered that the canopy 'light show' only operates after dark so we decided to come back in the evening to witness it. After lunch in one of the Casinos dining areas, we drove back to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to have a look around. At the circuit merchandise shop one of the assistants told us that we could get into the circuit at a different entrance as they were holding an open day 'Nascar Driving Experience' which meant that we could probably get our cars inside the track without anyone stopping us. She was right and we got into the infield without any difficulty. Once inside we found that for about £50, you could be driven for three laps around the track by one of the drivers from the Nascar driving school. Marc and Lee had already experienced this sort of drive at Rockingham Raceway in the UK, but as I had not, I decided to give it a go! As a result about an hour later I was being driven round the banked oval track at about 170 mph - great fun despite the fact that my stomach wanted to exit my body over the concrete wall that was only a few feet away from me!! After the drive we got talking to Scott Schmidt, the Chief Driving Instructor for the race school who said he would see if he could arrange for us to get our cars onto the pit lane for a photo shoot. He then spoke to the track Safety Supervisor, who on hearing about our trip allowed us to put the cars in the 'winners enclosure' to take photos. Following this he then offered to let us take the cars onto the track and take photos on the start/finish line. To make things even better he allowed us to drive a complete lap of the circuit to get to the start/finish line, and another lap getting back to the exit of the track. Scott then arranged for us to park our cars in the garage with all the Nascars to take even more photos - what a great afternoon! Following our fun at the Raceway we went back to Fremont Street and witnessed the canopy light show - an absolutely amazing sight (well worth a visit if you go to Vegas). After dinner we then went back to our hotel to do a bit of gambling!! We had agreed to gamble the $25 and $50 that we had won the night before in the Karaoke bar. We decided to have a go on the one arm bandit machines in the hope of winning a pickup truck complete with Harley Davidson in the back. We failed to win these, but to our amazement the day got even better, with me turning my $25 into $192.40, and Lee turning his $50 into $667.50 - a top day or what!!!!

49 miles driven today

Day 16 - Friday 30th Sept

We hit the road at 6.00 am to make sure that we didn't have to drive through Death Valley in the full heat of midday. Before heading into Death Valley we filled up with fuel (and water) to make sure that we were fully prepared for potentially the hardest day of the trip for both the cars and us. As we approached Death Valley National Park, we called into the Visitors Centre and noted that although it was only 8.45 am it was already 84° in the shade. Heading through Furnace Creek into Death Valley we were confronted by amazing scenery that varied from rocky mountainous areas to hot flat plains. Death Valley itself is about 200 ft below sea level, however, to get out of the valley the roads climb to about 5000 ft above sea level. As expected the long hard climb out of the valley was the most challenging drive that we encountered on the whole trip and I could smell that my car was working hard on the long, hot climb. At one stage I was very concerned about the state of either the clutch, gearbox or rear axle of my car as the cabin was full of a strong acrid burning smell. I radioed my concerns to Lee and Marc who were ahead of me, but told them that I was going to keep going anyway. I was extremely relieved when Lee radioed me back about 10 minutes later to inform me that the smell was actually coming from the huge 4x4 pickup truck that had just overtaken them. After clearing Death Valley we then took a small road to a small town called Tronta, by which time it was around lunchtime and getting very hot. From Tronta we drove on the Sierra Nevada mountains and on to Porterville where we had decided to stay for the night. The drive over the Sierra Nevada mountains again was hard on the cars, but rewarded us with the most enjoyable drive of the trip, a 20 mile uphill and downhill section of deserted mountainous road that was 20 miles of one tight hairpin bend after another - great fun in a RWD Mk1 Escort!! We ended the day in Porterville, and when stopping off for a drink in the late afternoon, we discovered that the temperature was 105°, (no wonder I was sweating a bit !!). We wondered how hot the temperature must have been when we were driving through Death Valley and over the mountains earlier in the day.

409 miles driven today

Day 17 - Saturday 1st Oct

Another relatively early start saw us driving the hour or so into Bakersfield to meet up with Giovanna Diangello, the events co-ordinator for the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the ALS Association (the US equivalent of Motor Neurone Disease). Giovanna was involved in helping to organize a sponsored walk that was being held in Bakersfield today - Walk D'feet. Giovanna introduced us to Fred Fisher, Executive Director of Greater LA Chapter, who was so please to see us that he insisted that our cars were positioned on either side of the balloon arch that marked the starting line for the walk. During the opening ceremony we were introduced to the large crowd of about 500 walkers and we were then asked to address them to tell them about our trip. We were then given a number of mementos of the day (baseball cap, lapel badge and charity wrist band) for us to take home with us as a reminder of the day. Following an interview by the local press, we then witnessed the ribbon cutting ceremony and the start of the walk. Before we left we were informed that the organizers of the walk were confident that they had raised at least $75,000 towards their cause - a magnificent sum. After leaving Bakersfield we drove north for about 25 miles, to Famosa Raceway, where the world's largest annual Hot Rod show was being held. We were met at the entrance by a large golf cart containing John Ayton and his friend Doug, (both members of the NAEFR) who had arranged to met up with us and show us around. First stop was their huge pick up truck parked at the rear of the car park, to top up on cold beers. We then spent the next 4 or 5 hours wandering amongst the huge array of Hot Rods and watching the drag racing that was being held on the raceway. We lost count of the number of great looking cars on show (but we took lots of pictures Russ!) and had to suffer wandering around in the scorching sun. We left the show mid afternoon and headed for the West Coast, in order to put us in a good position to drive up the famous West Coast (Route 1) to San Francisco the following day. We arrived on the mountains overlooking the sea with the clouds below us, which was quite weird, but we were below the clouds once we had driven down the mountain to get next to the sea. This allowed us the opportunity of getting necessary photos of the cars next to the sea, as proof that we had made it from east to west. However, when it came to finding a hotel for the night, we were unable to find a single hotel that had a vacancy, so with light rapidly fading, we drove back inland for about 25 miles and stayed in Paso Robles for the night.

288 miles driven today

Day 18 - Sunday 2nd Oct

Headed up the Interstate 101 for a short distance and then headed west across country towards the sea. After a while we reached an intersection where the map indicated a left turn, but this appeared to lead into the Hunter Leggitt Military zone which did not appear right. However, after speaking to the guard at the security gate, we found that the map was correct and that public access was allowed inside the zone, but that we had to produce passports, driving licenses and vehicle log books before we were issued with the necessary passes that allowed us access. When we got to the other end of the zone we had to produce the passes before we were allowed through the barricaded exit . Upon leaving the zone we then had a fantastic 15 mile drive, where once again we had hairpin bend after hairpin bend before hitting the West Coast Highway (Route 1). We then drove north up the highway to Monterey, witnessing some amazing scenery on the way. At Monterey we headed inland a short distance and found the Laguna Seca Raceway, where upon our arrival we discovered that there was a race day going on. We then spent a few hours walking around the vehicle preparation area and to the top of the hill overlooking the famous 'Corkscrew' bend at the top end of the track. Upon leaving the racetrack we picked up the I 101 for the rest of the drive up to San Francisco. We drove to Lombard Street, made famous in the legendary car chase featured in the Steve McQueen film 'Bullet' and were able to drive down the twisty downhill section featured in the film. We then drove up and down some of the steep hills for which San Francisco is also famous. Some of these hills were extremely steep and we decided that San Francisco is definitely not the place to live if you have to use a wheelchair!!. We then drove to Miz's house (a friend from the UK) where we were staying for the night and then went out for a meal with Miz, Natasha and Miz's husband Kaitan. After the meal we met up with Andy Smith, a local Euro Ford enthusiast who had contacted us prior to the trip in the hope that he could meet up with us and see our cars. We then spent a couple of hours with him in a local hotel bar before returning to Miz's place for the night.

289 miles driven today

Day 19 - Monday 3rd Oct

Another early start (7.00 am) saw us deliberately heading in the wrong direction (north instead of south) so that we could drive over the famous Golden Gate Bridge, in order to pick up Interstate 101 for the drive south to Los Angeles. The drive out of San Francisco was pretty slow and it took us about 2 hours to get fully clear of the city. We wanted to get to Westlake Village near Los Angeles by mid afternoon to visit a US office of MBDA (Ex British Aerospace - Marc and Lee's employers) who were supporting the trip and had asked us to call in on our way to LA. To ensure that we got there in time, the 440 mile drive was driven 'at speed' and we arrived in Westlake Village by 2.30 pm to a cake and ice cream reception. To welcome us there was a large 'Fords On Tour' banner fixed to the front the building. Marc was then volunteered to give the staff an impromptu summary of the trip - not an easy task without any notice! - I think you remembered most things Marc! After an hour or so at MBDA, we then drove on into to Burbank (a suburb of LA) to meet up with Robbie Paramor, another member of NAEFR who had contacted us during the trip and offered us accommodation when we reached LA. Robbie turned up in his beautiful blue and white Mk2 Zodiac, which he had purchased on Ebay only a few months ago from a seller in Canada. Robbie's friend Mike also turned up in his rare Mk2 Zephyr estate which he had had imported about 4 years ago after buying it from someone selling it in the UK. After a couple of hours spent in the car park of 'Big Bobs Diner' chatting about European Fords, we then returned to Robbie's house where his wife Carol had cooked a pot roast for us to tuck into. We then had a few more beers and sampled some of Robbie's best Tequila (thanks Robbie) before retiring for the evening!

489 miles driven today

Day 20 - Tuesday 4th Oct

Yet another early start (and I thought this was going to be a relaxing holiday!!) However, this time it was well worthwhile as we got up to an egg and bacon breakfast cooked by Robbie's wife Carol - Cheers Carol! We then headed for downtown LA to see the famous 'celebrity' sights of the city. However, en route we had to post some jars of Bisto gravy to Lee's friend Glen, who lives in Florida, as he can't get hold of his beloved Bisto easily in the US. The jars had travelled all the way from the UK with Lee, so they must have been the most travelled jars of Bisto in US history. After a successful 'posting' we drove to Mulholland Highway to get some photos of the cars against the famous 'Hollywood' sign that sits on the side of the hillside overlooking Hollywood Hills. Having obtained the required photos, we then headed for Sunset Boulevard to drive the 'Strip', taking in the exclusive Beverly Hills and Bel-Air areas of the city and the exclusive homes owned by the so-called Hollywood celebrities. We then drove down a section of Santa Monica Boulevard, which is the start, or end (depending if you are coming or going!) of LA end of Route 66. It was then off to Hollywood Boulevard to see the Hollywood 'Walk of Fame' with its rows of bronze stars buried in the pavements (or sidewalks if you prefer). We then headed off to Long Beach, 25 miles south of LA, to deliver the cars to Able Cargo, the shipping company that is shipping our cars back to the UK. After filling out mountains of paperwork, we left our trusty old cars outside the shipping company and took a cab to LAX Airport to catch the flight home to London. We won't be seeing the cars again until mid November, when all being well we will be reunited with them at Chatham docks in Kent.

75 miles driven today

Day 21 - Wednesday 5th Oct

Job done !! After a 10 hour flight we landed back at Heathrow at about 3.30 pm and a dull, cloudy 56° London - Welcome home!! (Note : LA was a hot, sunny 90° when we left). Thankfully we retrieved our baggage from the carousel easily and cleared customs in quick time. Debs was waiting for us at the arrivals gate when we came out and after a bit of fun cramming everything into her car (we seemed to come back with a bit more that we went with!!) we were chauffeured home via the delights of the M25 and M1 in the rush hour. Before parting company and going our separate ways we all shook hands and congratulated ourselves on completing such a great trip with relatively few problems. We agreed that all the hard work and effort put in to undertake the trip had been more than worthwhile as it was an experience that we would never forget. The only issue still to be resolved is 'where to next' !!!!

Its fair to say we all had a fantastic time on this trip and will all remember it forever. We would like to say 'thanks' to everyone who helped and supported us and the many people who we met on our travels. In particular we would like to thank Hugh and his family, Miz and her family and Robbie and his family for putting us up. We hope we didn't cause too much havoc!.

The Thumbs Up sign represents David Niven's last defiant gesture. It remains the MND Associations symbol of hope

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