Eliminators Car Club trip to California

In September 2010, the Eliminators Car Club traveled to San Bernadino, California via old Route 66 to attend the 21st Annual Meet. Glenn Steiner and Carl Cooperider spent several weeks planning the trip itinerary. They checked how old the motel was, when it was renovated, how far from the freeway, an aerial view of the surrounding area, and available restaurants.

On September 8, 2010, a group of 13 people from the Eliminators Car Club set off in seven classic Bucyrus cars: Guy and Ann Dunn; Bill and Joyce Bloomfield; Bud and Carole Schiefer; Jim and Louanne Miller; Paul Stinehelfer; Jim Brown and Harold Siefert.

Due to the age of the cars, they had a checklist of things that could easily go wrong. Everyone had different spares in their trunks, hopefully to cover any issues. They traveled in a trailer and used their cell phones to communicate. When it was dinner time, wherever we went, they all went.

Day 1 – heading to Vandalia, Illinois, a 397 mile trip, things went well. Day Two – planned stops included the Chain of Rocks Bridge which crossed the Mississippi. It was all the more worn as the years went by; semi-trailers had hit the bridge when they crossed it. They traveled to St. Louis Arch and climbed there, then to Merrimac Caverns and Jesse James Hideout. The caravan was delayed when some members of the group took the wrong way, but by the end of the day they had traveled 205 miles.

Third day – provides 394 miles of travel. They passed Joplin and headed for the Kansas Scenic Byway. One of the cars had problems with the brakes. The whole caravan stopped in the middle of the road, jacked up the car and it was fixed. Ironically, not a single car passed. Leaving Kansas, they headed for the Trains and Mining Museum and the last of the Rainbow Bridges with a large arch. Then they continued to the “Blue Whale” which a guy built in the mid-1930s out of fiber and concrete. In the 1940s and 1950s, you could slide through the water. One car had wiring issues and it was fixed at this point. Before leaving Oklahoma, they saw The Round Barn and completed another day just in time for their community dinner.

Day four – while still in Oklahoma, they planned to go 269 miles. They saw the federal building that Timothy McVeigh bombed and caused so many deaths. Next is the Leaning Tower, a water tower of yesteryear, built as a “tourist trap”.

Day five – with 288 miles to go – a sight was Cadillac Ranch where half the car is buried and people are driving by and spraying paint on these cars. While driving through New Mexico, they saw the long mural and the Blue Swallow Motel.

On day six – with 286 miles ahead – they toured the Laguna Indian Pueblo, surveyed ancient lava beds and toured the mine museum. As they entered Arizona, they saw the Red Rock Cliffs, Querino Canyon, Trading Post Ruins, Painted Desert, and Petrified Forest. In Oatman, Arizona, during a stop, the donkeys wouldn’t leave Carole Schiefer alone; they walked beside her and she didn’t like it.

On the seventh day – 130 miles further – they saw Meteor Crater, but then had car trouble when the starter died until a wrecker came to tow it. They must have spent the night.

Eighth day – with 160 miles to the Grand Canyon.

Day nine – entering California, they arrived in San Bernardino, a day before the car show. Spaces have been demarcated for 1,900 cars to park, including their group.

They arrived for the two day show, but one of the cars had transmission problems – a very big problem. One of the members of the Good Guy’s Car Club came to fix it. The other members of Eliminator took a detour by the ocean. All the classic cars were judged and Bud Schiefer was the only one of the group to win a trophy. He made sure on the trip home that everyone knew that too. They visited Las Vegas and continued north where they saw a copper mine, Bonneville Salt Flats and Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore, North Dakota.

The great Wall Drugs offered a free glass of water; the signs were everywhere. Glenn needed more than water when he fell ill and bought medicine and ended the day with his head hanging out the window. Carl Cooperider then took the wheel! They visited the Corn Palace and House on the Rock in Wisconsin.

The last major city to come was Chicago and everyone was given an ultimatum to have fuel, drinks and leave by 7am. Carole wasn’t too happy, but she took it very well. When they returned home to Bucyrus, they were better friends than when they left.

Go online for more Mary Fox stories and photos at bucyrustelegraphforum.com. If you would like to share a story, write to Mary Fox, 931 Marion Road, Bucyrus, OH 44820 or email [email protected]

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