Our First Trip To HERSHEY – Search for the Elusive Radiator Cap

From September 28 through October 24, Janet & I were on a road trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania and beyond.  For those unfamiliar with “HERSHEY”, yes it is the home of the candy bar……. but it is also the home of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Fall meet. The Fall meet in Hershey is also the venue for the super duper largest in the world antique auto parts swap meet & flea market. Miles & miles of swap meet booths numbering in the thousands. And auctions and shows and oh my goodness — car geek overload.  YEAH!!!

We had a laundry list of things we were looking for, including Detroit brand demountable rims (27″ diameter to accommodate 34 x 4 inch tires), any sort of hub cap of the Michigan style circa 1912 and, of course, the mysterious missing radiator cap.

On our way East we stopped day 1 in Tucumcari, New Mexico; day 2 in Memphis Tennessee and day 3 in Bagdad, Kentucky where Janet’s brother Jeff Ewen and sister-in-law Gail have a new house & farm. Jeff is also a great grandchild of our car’s original owner, Michael Fleck.

Gail & Jeff Ewen, Oct. 1, 2016. New house on the Bagdad KY farm.

Next stop, Hershey.  Three days of massive a car parts Easter Egg hunt.

Some Hershey plunder, minus Janet’s several hats.

We got some leads on Detroit demountable rims, but there wasn’t one here.

I refer to this photo as a rim shot.

Nestled in the middle of the photo is….. THE MISSING RADIATOR CAP! The photo shows the cap installed on a piece of PVC pipe I sized and threaded to match our radiator. We tried hundreds of “about the right size” caps over 3 days at the swap meet.  But Janet found this one.  It is the correct Bakelite material with indentations for finger grip and with the cap already drilled for installation of a Boyce Motometer temperature gauge. Hooray Janet!  You win the egg hunt!

The missing radiator cap is FOUND.

A tiny piece of the Hershey swap meet taken from an overpass connecting sections.

After Hershey, we headed to New York to see our son, Eric and wife, Kristie. We spent a day down town at the 9/11 memorial museum and then went to the sea shore and the Fire Island lighthouse.

Craig, Kristie & Eric – Fire Island Lighthouse, Oct. 10, 2016

From New York City we went to the Finger Lakes region where the wood wheels for our MICHIGAN were made. Specifically, Shortsville, where nothing remains of the factory or any local recollection of the factory.

This is the Downtown Shortsville intersection of Main St. and the Lehigh Valley railroad. Somewhere within 100 yards of this intersection, our Michigan’s wheels were manufactured.

Next, it was on to Niagara Falls – Canada (the most scenic side of the river).

Janet viewing a description of the falls.

Next, to DETROIT – and the Ford Piquette plant.

Ford Piquette factory — very scary part of Detroit.

Inside the Ford Piquette Museum

Around the corner from Piquette.

Next we went to the Benson Ford Research Library which is adjacent to Greenfield Village. There we found some information on BUDA engines, Sheldon Axles, Gemmer steering gears, and an interesting fire insurance inventory of the Kalamazoo, Michigan factory for the Michigan Motor Car Company.  Kalamazoo Michigan was our next brief stop to see if the library and Western Michigan University had any MICHIGAN related materials. They did. An extensive collection of advertising for MICHIGAN cars collected as Exhibits to the company bankruptcy.  I will add a complete listing of all the advertising in the ledger at some point.

Western Michigan University – Zhang Library

Bankruptcy Exhibits ledger

From Kalamazoo we journeyed to Hobart Indiana to see Janet’s sister, Sally & husband, Clarence and then to visit Janet’s farms in Benton and White counties. Harvest was in full swing and one of our farmers, Brad Hamilton had promised Janet she could run the combine and harvest soybeans.

Harvest on Gravel Hill farm

From Hobart we did the following in order on our way home.  I may elaborate on this later, but not now.

Old Salem Village, Lincoln Museum in Springfield IL, Lincoln’s Tomb, Hannibal MO, Monks Mound (Cahokia Mounds) IL, Steamboat Arabia Museum Kansas City MO, Correll Homestead – Kay Co. OK, Citizen Potawatomi Nation HQ – Shawnee OK, Las Vegas NM, Chaco Canyon NM, Durango & Silverton RR – Durango CO, Monument Valley UT, South Rim of the Grand Canyon AZ — and finally ….. home.

Choo Choo Janet

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