Its 6am Saturday morning the 3rd October. I am up packed ready to go, and more importantly so is the Chev. I was a little apprehensive, as this was the biggest undertaking the Chev had ever attempted. So in my mind I broke the trip to Castlemaine into manageable distances from home, being:
1. Safely out of the East link tunnel 13k's
2. Coffee break at the road house near Calder Park Raceway 76k's
3. My Friends Gill and Craig's place at Tylden (near Woodend) 131k's
4. Castlemaine. 157k's
I thought to myself that the worse thing that can happen is a breakdown, and if I come home on the back of a tow truck so be it.
Stopped for a coffee at the road house near Calder Park, then again at my friends, Craig and Gills house in Tylden, then on the back road to Kyneton, and back on the Calder Highway to the Castlemaine turnoff.
Trip up to Castlemaine went well, no problems, no issues, took my time and enjoyed it immensely. I would be driving along and hear a noise, say to myself that I had better keep an ear on that in case it gets a bit worse. Five minutes later I am hearing another noise, then realize, what happened to the first noise?
I think I rolled into Castlemaine early afternoon, gassed up the car, grabbed some lunch and headed for the caravan park. Only attention the Chev required was a minor adjustment of one rear brake as it was a bit hotter than the other.
I wont bore you with all the details unless you ask me, but as an overview the days went like this:
Day 1 Melbourne to Castlemaine - 157k's
Day 2 Welcome Dinner - 30k's
Day 3 Display, show and shine in Castlemaine - 25k's
Day 4 Ballarat and return - 160k's
Day 5 Bendigo and return - 88k's
Day 6 Daylesford and return - 96k's
Day 7 Maldon and return - 36k's
Day 8 Homeward bound - 157k's
749k's in 8 days at a highway cruising speed of 45 to 50 mph, with no problems, well done little Chev.
In summary I had a ball. The Chev performed perfectly, except for a speedo that went to god on the way to Bendigo, so I just drove for the rest of the tour by engine revs and the noise level.
The only maintenance I did for the whole week was:
Cleaned the plugs
Checked the points
Checked and topped up the oil
Checked the water, did not use any
Refilled the overhead oil pad and lubed rocker arms
Checked the fan belt
I drove it pretty hard, kept up with all the other Chevs on the open road and especially the hills.
No breakdowns, nothing that indicated the car could not run all day every day. The most enjoyable run or series of runs that I have ever done in the car, and a perfect confidence builder. I also think it bedded in the new drive train parts that were installed during the 2007 wedding restoration.
By the time I returned to Melbourne I was completely at ease with any noise that the car could throw at me.
Foot note - I did not go on the 2010 Chev Tour as I was out of work. The 2011 Tour is in the Snowy Mountains, a two day trip to get there, so I am not likely to attend this year either.But I will be making sure 2009 will not be the one that I participate in.
Coffee Break at Tylden
Cruising to Ballarat at a highway speed of 45 to 50mph
At the Central Debra Gold Mine and Vintage Tram depot at Ballarat
Outside the Chinese Museum at Ballarat
Removing the Head on a 27 Chev at the Chocolate Factory in Mt Franklin
This 27 had a suspected blown head gasket, which turned out to be sticking valves. The car was stripped, valves freed up, and on its way while the rest of us had a coffee. Word of warning, if you install bronze valve guides, allow plenty of clearance.
A Tour of the British Mine at Maldon
Another shot at the British Mine
Outside the Red Hill Hotel at Chewton
On Parade at Castlemaine
Lining up for the Group Photo at Rod Hadfields Hot Rods
Looking down from the tower at the Debra Mine in Ballarat