Highways and Byways Road Trip, Part 2: Wild things

Last week we told you about a trip that Tim and Marjorie Suddard, publishers of Classic Motorsports magazine (www.ClassicMotorsports.net/try), were taking with their 1967 Shelby GT350. The Suddards had decided that a 1,400-mile trip from San Jose, Calif., to Whitefish, Mont., was not enough driving, so they were planning to take the 1,300-mile Going to the Sun Rally upon their (hopefully) successful arrival to Montana.

After an uneventful first day, they stopped at California’s Mt. Shasta, near the Oregon border, and enjoyed a view-filled overnight stop before the next day’s planned detour to Crater Lake and lunch at the lodge there. ”Crater Lake is a place that must be seen in person,” Tim tells us. “Pictures just don’t do it justice.” The couple stopped in Bend, Ore., that night, where they found a charming old logging town that has had quite a resurrection.

At this point a bit of trouble started to invade their idyllic old-car vacation. While all of the mechanicals on their old Shelby had been restored, the recently rebuilt power steering pump started to growl and lose effectiveness — not ideal on twisty back roads.

The potential failure wasn’t catastrophic — there would remain the option of just cutting the belt and forging on with no power steering — but that would have made for a long, tiring trip, especially considering that a 1,300-mile rally through winding roads was up next for the pair.

A stop at a local auto parts store netted some Lucas Oil power steering conditioner. This thick, apparently magic goo quieted down the steering pump so the trip could continue.

After traversing the toasted (and toasty) gold hills of Oregon’s high desert on highway 97, the couple made it to the Columbia. The trip east from there to Walla Walla, on the Washington side of the river, is a spectacular drive that retraces part of the route taken by Lewis and Clark on their 1806 return journey.

After a brief overnight stop to enjoy Walla Walla’s considerable charms, the couple headed east on Rt. 12 for more incredible driving through the farms of southeastern Washington. After crossing the river at Clarkston, they switched to Rt. 95 in Lewiston (yes, reminders of the expedition linger everywhere in these parts) and navigated up to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, for a two-night stop and some fly fishing.

Since they had a little extra time and a still-suspect power steering pump, they found a friend of a friend on the message board for Classic Motorsports’ sister magazine, Grassroots Motorsports. Jaime Nash of Flat Top Industries expertly fixed their power steering problems with a GM power steering conversion kit from Borgeson.

From there it was smooth sailing all the way to Whitefish Montana, where the Suddards joined the rally right on time.

Next week we’ll take you along on the Going to the Sun Rally to Montana, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia.

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