The ALLURE of Rallies & Tours 11 When picking a car for a monu- mental journey of this sort, the three most important factors are reliability, reliability, and reliability. Packard, of course, comes immediately to mind, and by sheer coincidence I had two. There are several other consider- ations: speed, space, comfort and je ne sais quoi. The One-Eighty limousine had the first three in spades, but the Speedster boattail runabout was even faster and it had elan. So the Speedster it was. After thorough preparation (brakes, tune-up, re-packing the water pump, balancing wheels, etc.), we were ready for the first leg: Atlanta to the tour’s starting point in Newport, RI was ac- companied by my oldest son, Wyatt, who is also no stranger to cross-coun- try travel in a vintage automobile. The first day’s drive to Winchester, VA (633 miles) was a breeze, other than driving through the tail of Hur- ricane Allison for 500 miles with the lone windshield wiper on, then having the fog get so thick that we were forced to leave the Blue Ridge Parkway for regular roads down the Shenandoah Valley. Trouble Strikes The next day, after visiting Harpers Ferry and the Antietam battlefield, we notedanominousriseinthewatertem- perature gauge. Topping the tank with water brought things back to normal, but just as we entered the Delaware toll road the gauge again began to rise. By adding a couple of gallons of water ev- ery80milesorso,welimpedintoWest- field, NJ, the residence of my wife’s sister and husband. After discussing with my mechanic back in Atlanta, it was decided that a back-flush of the ra- diator was needed. The next morning, after finding an ad in the yellow pages for IC’s Radiator Repair (“vintage cars our specialty”), which featured a pic- ture of a 1934 Packard coupe-roadster, we arrived at the Plainfield, NJ, shop just before opening time. Although he was very busy, the accommodating John Kavenaugh immediately set to work on the back-flushing operation. While he was doing that, Wyatt dis- covered that the right rear wheel had a seven-inch stress fracture in the rim and the tire was beginning to bulge at that point. So, while the engine got its flush, we did a wheel change. After 90 minutes, the redoubtable Mr. Ka- venaugh had completed three flushes and the car was ready to go again. (The water was remarkably clear, which worried me somewhat.) Through the Lincoln Tunnel, past Times Square and Central Park, east- ward we sped, arriving in Newport by midafternoon. Wyatt, now apprehen- siveaboutwheels,examinedthemagain in Newport and found the spare we had installed the day before had thrown a two-by-five-inch chunk of tread some- where, apparently in Connecticut. Our spare situation was now one good tire and one good wheel, but a mix-and- match would be required before either would do us any good. By now, even though the sledding had not been 100% smooth, the idea of drivingthroughall48contiguousstates on one trip began to jell. I hadn’t men- tioned it to anyone at this time, but had covered the bases by making sure we drove through West Virginia and Dela- ware on the way to the start, two states we surely would have missed had we gone a more direct route. Since the first leg of the official tour was heading west to Poughkeepsie, NY, via Connecticut, I needed an excuse to make a side trip to enter the three northern New En- gland states. Telling Wyatt I wanted to see Lexington, MA., and Concord, NH, before I took the Big Dirt Sleep, we headed north to Boston. The car was runningwell,andafteravisittoLexing- ton’s village green, we continued north to Portsmouth, NH, just across the riv- er from Kittery, ME (where we filled with gas, lest anyone dispute that we’d been there). We then headed west to Concord, followed by Bennington, VT, and to Cobleskill, NY, where we spent the night after roughly 375 miles. We rejoined the tour the next day in Ole- an, NY, after we had seen the Cornell campus in Ithaca, then Watkins Glen, followed by the new Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, and in the process seeing three of New York’s OneLap_010-015.indd 11 12/23/17 11:04 AM