Day 4: Loading up and heading homeward | Cross-Country Morgan Retrieval

Part 4 of Cross-Country Morgan Retrieval.

Sight unseen, we bought a 1952 Morgan on the other side of the country. Now the fun part: Tim and Margie Suddard get to retrieve it.

After taking a break for four days and pre-running our Golden State Tour, we were back in Stockton, ready for load-up day. We met at Dick’s shop at 7:45 a.m. Alan Galbraith, creator of the Concours d’Lemons, was crazy enough to volunteer to meet up with us. Wayne Craig, chairman of the Ironstone Concours, also dropped in to see what all the fuss was about. 

Next, we showed up for an appointment at a local tire and brake shop to get the Suburban’s tires balanced and the rest of the chassis looked over. You could argue that tire vibration isn’t a big deal, but for only $60 we’d be a lot more comfortable—especially once we got up to speed out in the plains. We also wanted to confirm that there were no other issues before we left civilization in our rearview mirror. We were in and out in about 40 minutes. 

Back at the shop, Alan and Dick had the three engines already loaded and it was time to put in the car and boxes of spares. The Morgan rolled smoothly into the Aerovault trailer. At this point we were happy we got the T version of the trailer, which is about 10 inches taller than the standard model and allowed us to stand up and walk around inside. Tie-down points abounded, too, so we easily secured the car and parts. 

With everything loaded, we focused on installing a brake controller—the Suburban didn’t have one. We’d ordered one from Amazon before we left, along with what we thought was the correct harness. It wasn’t, but thankfully the Hitch House had the right stuff and was near Dick’s shop. 

The final step was to get the truck cleaned up a bit, which mainly involved removing dog hair from the interior. By noon we were saying our goodbyes. After a quick sandwich, we headed toward the mountains on Route 88. Our destination: Hawthorne, Nevada, a 5-hour drive. 

You might be thinking that a tiny desert town a couple of hours east of Carson Pass and through the Sierra Nevada mountains is an odd choice for a stopping point. We figured the first leg of our journey should be a short and easy one as we familiarized ourselves with driving the rig.  

Despite a wildfire, a hailstorm and July 4th holiday traffic, we glided up the tricky pass and had no trouble maintaining 60 mph with the super-sleek and aerodynamic Aerovault trailer. We had initially questioned both the hype and the price of this seemingly needlessly slick trailer, but we were naysayers no more. This was the nicest towing trailer we’d ever encountered. 

We rolled into Hawthorne at about 6:30 that evening. We got a room at the Travelodge, the best-rated hotel in town, and then walked next door to Joe’s Tavern for a cold beer and a surprisingly good burger. 

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dougie
dougie HalfDork
7/8/21 8:45 p.m.

Wow, sounds like a great trip. If you made it to Stockton, CA you should have stopped by 

https://www.britishcarspecialists.com/index.php It's one of the few premiere Austin Healey & British car shops in the US. Dave's & Shelia's dad Norman is a legend on the West Coast and was a true a master machanic with most English cars. 

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