Follow Mike and others as they share some RV experiences, tips and advice targeted towards baby boomers.

Raton and Beyond More on the Silver Hornet Saga

- Sunday, May 02, 2010
Once you get the basics covered in the restoration of a classic, the next logical step is to find out how it will do going down the road, both uphill and down. We got our basic stuff covered in our restoration of the 1984 Airstream we dubbed the Silver Hornet. So the next step was to take it on the road to see our daughter in Denver, Colorado. Would we end up on the end of the wrecker? Would it make it over Raton Pass on I-25 or would we have to push? One of my friends had his classic quit on Raton Pass and he had to call the wrecker. He sent his wife to fetch the wrecker, and while she was gone, he fired up the 25 year old motorhome and when she returned he was gone. Needless to say she was not happy about this. I will try to avoid this situation with the Silver Hornet and my wife of 50 plus years.

I got everything loaded and hooked up our Honda Pilot behind the Silver Hornet and I thought everything was ready to go. With the ambient temperature at about 82 degrees it was time to turn on the generator and the roof air conditioner. Good idea, but the generator that had been running ok prior to this time refused to start.

I had my wife go ahead to Amarillo to meet her sister and I told her I would join her shortly on the road. I forgot to explain that to the generator repair people it seems. Yep, they were loaded with ailing generators and couldn't look at mine until the next day. After much groveling and begging, one of the techs looked at my genny and explained that I had a condenser and an ignition coil out. Being a pretty good wrench myself, I asked them if they would sell me the parts and I would install them myself. $97.14 in American money and an hour later I was on the road again toward Amarillo. Hurricane force west winds of 45 MPH sustained and gusts to 60 MPH restricted both road speed and fuel mileage. Some 2 1/2 hours later I arrived at Fort Amarillo RV park to spend the night. The wind howled all night (as only it can do in Amarillo) and when I opened the door on the motorhome, it almost dragged me out and threw me on the ground, the wind was so strong. My wife did not want to continue with such high winds, but I assured her I would drive slower to maintain control. I had seen 18 wheelers turned over by just such winds as we were facing.

Amazingly enough, we were able to cope with the wind, but our highway speed was 45-50 MPH to feel safe. We continued on to the challenge of Raton Pass. With the pass looming in front of us we got up as much speed as we could considering the load in our Pilot and the Motorhome. As the grade steepened, I pulled the shift lever from D to 2 on our turbohydromatic 400 and revved up our 454 Chevy engine hoping it was as good as I thought it was. We were passed by lots of cars, and 1 motorhome which we followed up the pass at about the same speed about a quarter of a mile behind. It was a 2010 Diesel Pusher and here we were in our 25 year old classic keeping up with him. I began to feel better about the Silver Hornet. Long story short, we made it to Colorado City and pulled off into a really nice KOA after a hard day fighting hard grades and high winds. I also forgot to mention we were prohibited from going further north as Denver had gotten 12-20 inches of snow depending on the suburb, Not wanting to push our luck we decided to wait out the storm which passes quickly in the spring in the Rockies.

Once in Denver, we had to go out to the Camping World store to order Day/Night Shades and a Venetian Blind for the living area and the kitchen. Let me digress a little bit. We had 3 microwave ovens to put in our classic (or so we thought) but of course none of them would fit, so this added to our Camping World list.
photo of space for the microwave
Space for the microwave, proved to be problematic, none of our 3 microwaves would fit, we finally had to purchase a new one.

While there, we met a nice lady named Nadia who had a well cared for 1990 Champion TelStar that she was having summerized. Her TelStar was similar to the TelStar we owned years ago. Small world. Now we have all the special stuff ordered and hopefully we will be ready for the Vintage Airstream Rally in Albuquerque in June.

I only have 20 things on my to-do list to get ready. I am fast learning with a vintage that list may never be complete.

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