US Road Trip Travelog: 21st March 2005

I needed to be somewhere near the end of the I-91 last night as today we're heading west about 60 miles across Los Angeles to Larry Paisley and Rancho Riviera. The drive over isn't too bad, as I think we're heading against the main body of traffic, but the old car desperately needs some attention as she isn't happy in the heat and when things come to a halt.

Rancho Riviera front
The front of Rancho Riviera. Larry has just bought the car on the right, and I really hope he keeps the colour as it's a great one that suits the car perfectly. Just don't tell Loretta I said that - you know how jealous cars can get.

As I pull in and stop Larry is already shaking his head - he can hear how much the car needs properly sorting. Whilst the car is cooling down a bit I have a good look at his 'showpiece' car, as featured on the website. It's even better looking in real life as the paint is (to me) flawless and it has subtle flames up the front. Very classy.

Rancho Riviera back
The back of Rancho Riviera.

Around the back are a whole host of other cars, some of which will be used for parts and some of which will be back on the road at some point. I've said it before but I'll repeat myself, some people think recycling is a new thing. These people probably buy new cars then discard them at some point. Classic car folk have been re-using parts for years.

Larry at work
Larry at work.

You don't interrupt a genius at work, no matter how unconventional his methods may look. Re-seating the distributor properly is, so I've learnt, one of the more difficult bits of the job. This hadn't been done before, and along the way someone has used longer bolts to try to force things into place. I'm always up for learning new things and as he works Larry tells me what he's doing and why, which is a real education. A lot of what he does, though, is obviously just the skills learnt through years of dealing with Rivieras.

Once Larry is done a quick test drive tells me all I need to know. This car hasn't been anywhere near this good since I first bought it. It's a hot rod, one that will just fly off towards the horizon if you give it enough gas. There's a current advert on US TV, for an oil I think, where the tag line is "You've paid for 300 horses. Are you sure you're getting all of them?". Well ours are now definitely back in the corral.

I don't know why, but Larry doesn't charge me anywhere near enough as he ought to for the work he's done. The nature of the man I suppose. I may have to return to Rancho Riviera, however, as now the car has all its power back there are some other things that will need sorting.

Highway 1 north of L.A.
Highway 1 north of L.A.

The route back from Rancho Riviera to the coast is a painful one across the L.A. Interstates. The plan was to get back to a bit north of where I was last night, find a motel, then explore more of L.A. tomorrow. Once on Highway 1, however, there are no motels with vacancies. I end up driving north to Oxnard to find a Best Western with a vacancy (I get the last room) and internet access. Be thankful for small mercies.

You may not have heard of Oxnard, California. Having been here I can tell you why. This evening I will mainly be staying in my motel room, which is very pleasant, and not venturing out for any reason.

US Road Trip Travelog: 22nd March 2005 >