Skip to content

2009 Alturas Small Car and Motorcycle Tour, Part 2

May 24, 2010

IMG_0283

Friday morning we set off toward the South Fork Valley to the ‘town’ of Likely.  If you call a town a house and a general store, then this is a great little town.  We stopped to give the hot motors a rest, refill the steam cars with water, and to refill the pilots with cold ice cream on the front porch of the store.

 

An assortment of kerosene lamps. You can identify kerosene lamps by the barrel-shaped tanks on the bottom.  Acetylene lamps do not have this tank; although carbide lamps have a tank on the top for water and one on the bottom for carbide.  Also, the burners on kerosene lamps are not shaped like the gas lights, which typically have a ceramic burner shaped like a capital Y.  All three types of lamps need a chimney on the top to exhaust the burnt gas.

 

IMG_1074IMG_1073

Burner for an acetylene lamp (or a carbide/water lamp)

acetylene burner

 

A Maxwell auto. I’m not sure why so many cars have this color of paint.  The front fenders have a great shape when viewed from this angle, like a crazy man’s eyebrows.IMG_1043

Lineup of bikes in Likely, CA.  X, Thor, X, Thor, HD, HD, HD & sidecar, HD

IMG_1051

Cars stopped for ice cream in Likely, CA

IMG_1052

An underslung car, notice how low it sits.  These cars had the chassis mounted below the wheel axles, not on top like the typical cars of the period.  Kim and the kids were given a ride in the car on Friday on the way out to Rodney Flournoy’s ranch.

IMG_1044

IMG_1054

 

 

We drove and rode from Likely along the Pit River on a great road out to Rodney’s.  It is out in a valley almost to Nevada, where his grandfather homesteaded 100+ years ago.  He has thousands of acres for his cattle to roam, and a team of cowboys to take care of ranch work.  In his outbuildings and workshops are some special cars and other vehicles, but he is best known for having the largest collection of Pierce Arrow cars in the world.

IMG_0289

Some of the Pierce’s.  I didn’t get a full count, but there were at least 12-14 complete cars, and maybe a dozen or more projects.  He had about a dozen motors still in the factory crates, awaiting chasses to be restored.  Rodney is a real enthusiast and has undertaken the difficult proposition of having bodies made.  That is difficult for a typical car, but Pierce Arrows have bodies that are made from large aluminum castings.  Each major piece is around 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet, and several different ones are needed, each with its own large effort to construct the casting mold tooling.  Then the parts must be riveted and welded together, sanded, finished, etc.

IMG_1070

Some of the cars had descriptive signs, others Rodney described to us.  Some of the special ones were made for bigwigs of the time, Sheiks, Senators, Presidents, etc.

IMG_1067

Another International.  The porcelain number plate on this one dates to the range of 1916-1919 (blue on white was used during these years, with different annual tags made of lead castings).  I like the shape of the wooden roof; visible since the canvas top has rotted away.  You can see the use of wood on this car:  roof, body, wheels, seat frame, etc.

IMG_1068

IMG_0293IMG_0290

 

Wells Fargo type wagon.  These things are tall!  This one has saddles and bags, ropes and tack strewn all over it.

IMG_1069

 

White steamer. They made several models and sizes of cars, varying from large to double extra large.  About 5 of them were on the tour this year, one pair owned by a father and son.

IMG_1045

 

The White steamer of President Taft.  March 1909, at the White House.  Photo from the George Grantham Bain Collection, here on Flickr.  A mighty big car for a mighty big man.

president Taft's White steamer

Lineup of a few of the steam cars at Rodney’s ranch, just before the lunch consisting of tri tip (from the ranch-raised cattle) and more pies.  I think we had pie with every meal on the tour!

IMG_1060

Pressure gage

IMG_1076

Thor, Excelsior, HD

IMG_1066

Saturday morning, breakfast at Cal Pines after a ride through Centerville Canyon.  International, HD, Thor, Thor, HD, Excelsior.

IMG_1088

Advertisements
One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard McKenney permalink
    May 25, 2010 2:52 am

    Wonderful stuff Pete!

    You live the life of Riley! (blessed). Travelling around the country experiencing historic treasures at close quarters, thanks for taking us all along as well, priceless.

    Could you imagine trying to hang onto that wooden roofed, wooden wheeled, International, whilst traversing mountain passes!! I’d be wearing water proof trousers.

    Also a treat to see the Billy Lids (kids) enjoying Dads hobby, I wish I’d taken more photos of my monkeys at that age, now they’re six footers.

    Looking forward to next instalment

    Terrific stuff, Cheers Richard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: