Note to Reader: Joe has many pictures associated with this article but I need to get them from him so I can embed then in the article. I am just learning about how to work this website.
Reflections on Tumbleweed Tour 2013
By Joe Abbin
Well it’s over but not soon forgotten. The tour was our local Tumbleweed Early Ford V-8 club’s first and the national club’s second formal tour. For me, the tour took place from 10/14/13 through 10/18/13. We had 25-30 (they came and went) vehicles from NM, CO, TX, AZ, CA and even IN. I took my 1950 Mercury and covered 522 miles door to door and averaged 15.2 mpg. I had no auto service problems and no oil consumption. This was the Mercury’s first foray in the snow and it performed like a champ. Hooray! I took over 166 photos and had a great time with both old and new friends. Everything went relatively smoothly and all of us involved should take great pride in a safe, happy and very successful event! Special thanks to Jay Hertz for initiating and coordinating the tour and to Jeff & Beth Jackson for handling the registration and publicity. I’m sure the club will produce some type of scrapbook with more detailed documentation of the event, but the following are some of my favorite photos. These and many additional photos of the cars and people are available from me and others.
On Monday 10/15/13, we had an early arrival tour of the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad yards in Chama, NM. These yards and the railroad have been designated a national historic site and operating museum. Here a docent, Bob Ross, points out some of the high points. Our Tumbleweed president, Jay Hertz in the red cap, was distracted by a shiny thing in the sky.
The Chama station of the Cumbres & Toltec railroad. The complex dates from the 1880’s.
One of four functional narrow gauge locomotives at the site. I rode Number 489 from Antonito, CO to Chama, NM. The bus trip from Chama to Antonito was also very nice and had different scenery from that visible from the train.
Engine 489 chugging up grades of 4% in some places. Sand was often applied for traction.
One of the many scenic views on the train ride.
Deer feeding in the yard of the Elkhorn Lodge in Chama, NM. We spent two nights here. We had a chilly outdoor reception with wine and cheese there on Monday night, 10/15. The reception generated enough leftovers for another warmer reception the following night after the train ride in the room I shared with Frank Corey.
Another view of the Elkhorn Lodge with JC Bole’s, Ken Ballew’s and John Carother’s V-8s. We woke up to snow on the cars Wednesday morning, but no jump starts were required.
Several V-8s at the closed service station in Tres Piedras, NM on Wednesday, 10/16. We had just driven thought a snowstorm (first for the Mercury). Elevation went over 10,500 feet on this leg of the trip. Luckily, the road didn’t freeze and we proceeded safely on our way to Taos.
The view through the Mercury windshield after the snowstorm on the way to the Rio Grande Gorge and Taos. A parade of V-8’s (and others) are seen moving in front along Highway 64.
“Earth Ship” homes under construction. These are part of an “off-the grid” development just before the Rio Grande Gorge. Someday I’ll go back and take more pictures of these homes.
The fabulous Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. The river is about 650 feet below. There was a 50% off sale on bungee jumping tours for V-8ers.
Part of the collection of V-8 touring cars next to the Quality Inn in Taos on Thursday, 10/17/13.
Two of my favorite Mercurys on the road across from Johnny Meier’s Classical Gas Museum in Embudo, NM. My 1950 is on the left and the 1953 on the right belongs to Clyde and Gail Bangiola.
Johnny Meier’s Classical Gas Museum. He has amassed an impressive collection of automobilia and petroliana that even includes a roadside diner. Talk about having “stuff”. Check out the famous “Flamingo Grove” below. They never moved while I was there.
Another sample of the beautiful views available on the trip. This view of the river was across from the museum. There is a barely visible grave or memorial marker in the lower right.
Marv Coffee contemplating the next move in the generator war at the Chimayo Mercantile parking lot in Chimayo, NM. Overseeing was John Abrums, the owner of the business. John had several of his own vehicles on display for our group including a 1908 Sears and a 1917 Detroit Electric. Marv and wife Neva prevailed and finished the tour on battery power.
The last day of the tour, Friday, 10/18/13, featured the Los Alamos, NM area including Bandeleir National Monument, and in town attractions such as the Bradbury Museum of Nuclear History which featured the cruise missile above and many other historic items such as replicas of the first atomic bombs, “Fat Man” and “Little Boy”. Great place and it was free admission!
The Old Santa Fe Inn, a refurbished 1940’s style motor inn, was voted the favorite of our places to stay on the tour. Only blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza, it is an excellent base for exploring the attractions in downtown Santa Fe which many chose to do on Friday, 10/18/13.