Two longtime buddies will depart next week on a 30-day “search for America” in a 1931 Model A Ford.
Larry Reed of Turlock and Ray Morey of Cressey – both 69 and friends for 50 years – will be alone in Reed’s four-door, which will pull a small trailer. But through Facebook, the men invite friends, family and anyone else interested to come along for a virtual ride.
“Every day, we’ll start off with a little colored crayon display of where we’re going, what we’re doing Day 1, Day 2, and a little of what happened each day,” Reed said. “We’ll be posting a lot of pictures on Facebook, too.”
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The trip is the product of Reed’s lifetime love for Model A’s, he said. A friend who’s a DJ at a radio station in Shreveport, La., and expects to see the road-trippers as they pass through, wrote a bit about Reed for the Kiss Country 93.7 website: “Larry’s first car was a 1931 Ford Roadster that he got when he was 7,” according to Krystal Montez. “His dad had bought the car for Larry’s sister. When his sister saw the Ford Roadster, she said it was ugly and his dad tossed the keys to Larry.”
The car making the trip to the Atlantic shore and back is a 1931 Model A Ford, unrestored but mechanically perfect, Reed said. It is a 32 engine with an original accessory cast-iron Cragar head. It sports twin Stromberg carbs, a Winfield cam, electronic ignition and headers, he said.
The men already made an advance trip to Santa Cruz to fill a bottle of water from the Pacific. The only destination “set in stone” for the cross-country journey, Reed said, is the Atlantic. There, they’ll pour in the Pacific water and gather Atlantic Ocean water to do the same when back on the West Coast.
He and Morey have a tentative departure date of Wednesday, Reed said. They plan to head out through Yosemite National Park and Lee Vining, stay mainly to rural roads, take a northern route east and return through the South. “We were going to go (east at) the very bottom on Interstate 10, but because of all the storms, we reversed the route,” he said. On the way back west, they plan to use Interstate 40 and Route 66.
The “search for America,” as the men are calling the trip, isn’t a typical sightseeing journey. Their aim is to “meet people, real people. Not what you see on the news at night, but how people actually live and how they react,” Reed said. “America is full of people who are very friendly and gregarious.”
They’ll stay in motels but plan to visit a number of friends and a relative or two along the way. There’s no set plan on how much ground to cover each day, or where to be at any particular time. They do hope, though, to be in Hershey, Pa., on Oct. 5 for a huge swap meet.
I’ve led a very metered, scheduled life, and the next 30 days will be very unmetered.
Even at what spot they’ll reach the Atlantic is flexible. “We’re going to decide when we actually get back there,” Reed said. “Every day, we’ll pick a new point of interest, with no agenda, no pressure on being anywhere at any specific time.”
Having had old cars all his life, Reed said he isn’t worried about the Model A holding up, or his ability to fix something if it goes bad. The little trailer they’ll tow carries parts and tools. And Montez noted in her article, “Larry and Raymond have a added a few extras to help them out during their journey. Signals, oil gauges, temperature gauges, and a port to charge their phone are all commodities which were necessary for this epic road trip.”
If they’ve overlooked something that causes trouble on the road, “we will live with our stupidity,” Reed said. “We’re both guys who can see the humor in all things.”
One last thing. How did they decide the length of their trip? Was it calculated from the places they want to see, the route they’re taking, or the pace the old car can handle? “It’s based,” Reed said jokingly, “on how long we can put up with each other in a Model A.”
Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327