The Trip – September 2022 – 11,500 miles in 41 days

So as Mike and Susan Goodwin where leaving our house one night after dinner Susan says “Mike’s always wanted to drive the MG across the country.” And Barbara then says “Leon’s always wanted to do that also.” Then someone says “You need to do it before you get old.” That’s when I said “I’m already old so we should do it damn soon.”

And that’s why I’m writing this – about our trip across the country in our MGs. We left September 6th, got on the road about 10 am in the rain.

We took the thruway to the Queenston – Lewiston bridge into Canada. We stopped at the 1018 Coffee Bar in London, Ontario. Barbara and I split a grilled Ham Sandwich. And I broke a tooth off on the toast. It was the end tooth on my temporary implant. Only problem was it left a sharp point that cut into my cheek. Wasn’t much I could do about at the time so onward we went.

We went to our motel in Saginaw, MI. and had dinner at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth, MI. Really good food, friendly service.

At breakfast in the motel we saw a lady with a jacket that had what looked like a race track outline and it said NBRA Racing – Barbara started a conversation with her thinking she was into racing like we are. But NBRA stand for National Barrel Racing Association – she races horses around barrels at rodeos. She’s been doing barrel racing since she was 10 – she was our age. Her granddaughter does it now also – very interesting conversation.

From Saginaw we headed up toward Marquette MI. The roads were like washboards. In talking with some of the locals they agreed unless you’re on a highway they are really bad.

We were in this area because Mike and Susan hike and are hiking all the high points of each state. They hadn’t done MI yet so they were going out in the morning to do the high point and we would meet them in DuLuth. We stayed the night at the Cedar Inn and as we’re leaving the driveway the driver side exhaust pipe fell off, I pulled over to the side of the road. I had one of the nylon hold down straps in the trunk so I get that and drop it down the side of the engine, around the exhaust pipe and then back up the side of the engine. I knew the heat from the exhaust would melt the nylon so I looked around and found one of the steaks they use to put markers up during construction. I was wood about 3′ long, 1 1/5″ wide and 3/8″ thick. I broke it into 8″ pieces and took four of them and made a cradle between the pipe and the strap – it worked.

There was a Midas shop across the street. I went over there and the counter guy says they could help me out but had nothing open til the 21st of the month. That obviously wouldn’t work. Asked him to recommend a place and across the highway from them was Pepp Motors – no relation to Pep Boys they pointed out. It was just what I needed – a regular garage with guys that think on their feet. They put it on the lift and could see the problem. I asked if they could spot weld the pipe to the header and they said “OK” and did it. Up on the lift I took a look and it looked pretty good. Go it down and we went about our day. But – it didn’t take much of a bump for the car to scrape – sounding quite terrible.

I looked under the car and we had about 2″ of clarence between the one exhaust pipe and ground. That wouldn’t work – the roads where real bad around here and we scraped way too many times. We went back to the shop and I asked if they could take another look and see what we could do about it. They said it would have to wait until morning because two of the guys had left for the day. I didn’t have many choices so morning it was.

I went down the next morning and they put it on the lift. They could see that it was angled wrong. Their guy, Jamie, removed yesterdays weld, put a jack stand under it, raised it up and rewelded it. Looked much better – was up where the other side was. Thinking about it I was worried it was too much pressure on the headers so I asked if he had any strapping we could use to put in as a backup. The garage was also a U-Haul rental place so he went next door and came back with some heavy metal strapping. We put it around the pipe and then through the cross member for the tail of the transmission. Did both sides:    


Also decided to put a hot dog on the top:








uh oh! Deja Vu all over again –

About 12 years ago I put up a page about how a spark plug blew out –

Well I’m pulling out of a parking lot yesterday and POW – and a then very loud what sounded like exhaust noise – but familiar. Another spark plug popped out. Threads on the plug were fine (Oh – and the car is running beautiful according to the burn on the plug). I tried to put it back in thinking that I must not have tightened it enough – of course I put the plugs in over 9,000 miles ago so you would think if it was going to go it would have done so by now.

;We have to leave to meet the Amtrak Car Train in Sanford FL tomorrow so I needed to get something done quick. Remembering the last time it happened I went over to O’Riely’s and bought a Save-A-Thread kit – a heli coil.

I did the same as last time – because it worked the last time – made sure the piston was all the way bottomed, loaded the tap with grease, cut the thread, cleaned it up, put the plug back in with the heli coil on it. Put the wire back on and it fired right up, no problem.

About 7 years ago I had the engine freshened up by Jim at Drakes and there were no signs of anything unusual with the first heli coil I put in on the road so I’m not too worried about this one. Interesting we did find that these heads had a couple other heli coils. One of them came off in April when I pulled the engine to clean things up. I couldn’t get the coil off the plug so I took it to Jim and he removed it for me and suggested I put it back in with a little titelock. He also noted that he coild was the style that hasn’t been used for over 40 years – which means these heads have a habit of doing this or it’s coincidence.

Now I have to wonder if I should pull the engine this winter and put coils in the other 4 cylinders – before they blow out on the road.

Some Pics from the Around The Country Trip 2022

Trip Around The Country PICS