There is day 1’s drive in it entirety… what more do I need to say? 😉
If you want more, just click “more”.
We left Helena, one of the last cars out because Shaun & I dawdled over breakfast. The route left Helena by I-15.
Normally I hate Interstate driving, especially in the E-type, but as you can see above… we literally had the Interstate to ourselves! It was like owning a private Autobahn! (Hence the soundtrack choice in our timelapse.)
We left the Interstate before it got too close to Great Falls and angled north through the rolling plains that substitute for foothills in the northern Rockies. My double-V belt for the alternator & water pump was squeaking up a storm, so we stopped and made a quick change of it in the parking lot of a small town post office, and swapped drivers.
Not long after a few rally cars showed up behind and I got some good shots:
I had Shaun slow down while I kneeled on the seat, and hung out the back of the cockpit, holding onto the luggage rack with my free hand. I tried to shoot the cars as they went by. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
When the Delahaye passed us I sat back down and told Shaun to catch up and pass it so I could get more shots, but the Delahaye took off over the horizon at well over 110 MPH. Shaun, who drives my car too slow, tried to wind it up and make pursuit…
… and we really didn’t feel like going 140 MPH just to take a picture, so we eased off and enjoyed the ride to lunch at a Blackfeet Nation Casino, with a gas stop beforehand in Browning, Montana.
Up to this point the car had been very finicky to start. This is “normal” when the car gets very hot, but it seemed now that it would not start even when cold. As we were bouncing along on a rough road I remembered that the wire on the starter from the switch occasionally falls off or gets loose enough to not start the car. It is buried, along with the starter deep under the intake manifold. After lunch I shoved my arm down in there up to my shoulder, like a veterinarian examining a cow’s nether regions, and felt my way onto that cable and pulled it off, cleaned the end, tightened the spade connector a bit and then plunged back in to replace it. It took about 5 minutes of fishing around blind to find the connector’s right spot and put it on, but in the end I managed to get it back on. The car has started every time since, much to my satisfaction and pleasant surprise.
After lunch we headed up to the east entrance of Glacier National Park. Along the way we went through an area that was still smoking from a forest fire last year. This year it was sunny and clear, with just a touch of haze. We drove along, Shaun still at the wheel and me shooting pictures of the two other Jaguars we were running with, a Series 3 V-12 E-type and a Mk2.
While I was taking that photo above, my AFP548.com hat blew off my head, and was run over by the Mk2 Jaguar. I motioned Shaun to just keep driving. Hey Joel & Josh, can I have a new hat? 😉
Our entrance fee paid, we continued west on the Rally’s eponymous road, past St. Mary’s lake, and up towards Logan Pass. The scenery was spectacular. The traffic was a tad thick, but manageable. It seemed a lot of cars pulled over at the lake and we continued relatively free of obstruction, beyond a late 80s convertible with two women in it. Since they had a plate that gave away the name of the owner, we nicknamed them “Wendy & Louise”… No matter where we stopped, they always somehow ended up in front of us. Go figure. They never drove off any cliffs though.
I snapped a photo of us as we passed St. Mary’s Lake:
Then latter, and higher up the pass, I shot a video. As soon as I can force-feed it into YouTube, I’ll post a link.
Here it is:
At the top of Logan Pass we swapped drivers, so Shaun could shoot photos on the amazing west side of the Going To The Sun Road. While we swapped I snapped a couple of photos:
Shaun took all the photos here, as I was driving. We came down off the pass and into the valley relatively traffic free. Then all of a sudden near the shore of Lake Macdonald we came upon a big backup. We pulled off and waited in the shade for a while. Eventually the cars all vanished around the bend and we got underway again… only to grind to a halt just around the bend with all the other cars! We stuck in the queue this time and eventually found the cause: a park bus, off the road and into the trees. Once around that it was an easy cruise all the way to Whitefish and our hotel.
Well, not all easy. At one point our electrical system went wonky and we found a spot to pull over. I looked under the bonnet and one of the three alternator wires had shaken off on the rough roads and was shorting against the housing of the alternator in a mini light show of sparks. I had Shaun shut down the engine. I disconnected the battery then re-connected the wire. All was well from then on to the hotel.
We checked into our room, and I edited photos from the day. We ambled down to dinner and had a very nice meal, followed by an impromptu concert by Jim Salestrom and Mitch Katz.
As the concert wore on I noted the evening light turning that wonderful golden shade as the sun set towards the western horizon beyond the lake. I grabbed the camera and headed outside to shoot cars. I don’t have much to say about them, so just scroll.. and enjoy…