Monday, September 3, 2007

Model T Jamboree Part I

We had plans to leave before dawn on Friday for a much needed weekend away. However, on Thursday night a family member developed a health issue so we ended up at the Emergency Room. We got there at 10:00 p.m. and didn’t leave until 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning. While we were waiting, first for the doctor and then for the test results, I finished my first sock ever.

As we were leaving, I remarked that at least the evening hadn’t been a total waste of time, but Dave disagreed. He was anxious to get going. (He also didn't seem to get that finishing a first sock is a momentous occasion. If he was a knitter, he would understand.)

Tests revealed the family member’s condition wasn’t dire, so Dave and I slept for a couple of hours then headed out to meet up with John, my father-in-law. John's a man of many interests and enthusiasms. If you want to see him light up, ask him about his hobby of restoring antique cars. He’s restored a number of different models.
Everyone’s favorite is his 1915 Model T Ford. This is Cleo.
Every Labor Day Weekend Model T owners from Ohio and a few neighboring states congregate for the Annual Model T Jamboree. This year the Jamboree centered around Mount Vernon, Ohio.

As soon as we got to Mount Vernon, I went looking for Craftman Hill Fibers, a yarn shop that hosted the Yarn Harlot after her first book was released. I was planning to buy some yarn, but they were in the process of moving. The owner told me most of her merchandise was already in big plastic garbage bags on the floor of the new shop outside of town. There wasn’t much left to look at (or photograph) in the old space. She asked how I learned about her shop, and I told her I'd read about it on Stephanie's blog. She said she didn’t read blogs and had no idea who Stephanie was when Stephanie’s publicist called to ask if she would host a book signing. Her shop was tiny, so she arranged to have the signing at a nearby church. To her amazement 90 knitters came to see Stephanie that night - some from as far away as Cleveland and Cincinnati. All of the shops on the square stayed open late that evening. That appears to be typical of Mount Vernon hospitality.

A total of 129 antique cars participated in the T Jamboree, including a handful of Model A Fords. There were cars from West Virginia, Michigan, and Kentucky, too. The residents of Mount Vernon were excited to have us there. On Friday night all the cars were displayed in the town square. A band played old-time country music, and the locals came by to check out the cars. John and I listened to the band while Dave took pictures. I took the opportunity to work on my second sock.
Model Ts are very basic cars. Henry Ford designed them to keep the cost low so more people could afford them. Ford used to say: “You can have any color you want - so long as it’s black.” Some have since been painted other colors, though.

Many Model Ts are convertables. They typically travel at 20 - 35 mph depending on road conditions and how much the owners trust their brakes. On a good downhill they can reach speeds of 45 - 50 mph. John and Dave put the top up to shield us from some of the wind. I'm not sure if you can see it in this photo, but there's a crank in front. Dave and John took turns cranking to start her. A couple of times we started her up by allowing her to coast downhill. In the past we've had to push-start her, but we didn't have to do that this time.

This is Cleo’s ignition and speedometer. Space is tight. When the driver's behind the wheel, he needs the front seat passenger to lean forward to turn the key in the ignition.

You access the gas tank by lifting up the front seat. Model Ts don’t have shock absorbers. The springs under the seats and springs on the axels were all we had to smooth the ride. The T tour kept to rough country roads, including a few gravel roads. I didn’t even try to knit.

I didn’t mind. The rolling hills and farms in the countryside were really beautiful.

It was hard to take good pictures from a moving T.

We passed an alpaca farm, and this was the best I could do. Pretty sad.
John drove on Friday. That was when I learned he has limited range of motion in his neck, so he doesn’t like to look over his left shoulder before he makes a left turn. This made for some harrowing moments – especially when we entered the traffic circle around the town square. Dave drove after that.

There's more to show and tell, but I'll save that for tomorrow.

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