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Where in the World is the Hot Rod Reverend? (Part 2)

It has been almost two months since my last blog post. The trek across country from Ohio to California has been quite the undertaking, especially when we ran into snags with our new property. (To learn more about why I made this life-changing move and what it all means for the 1955 Ford, Y Blocks, and other projects, you need to read more from Where in the World is the Hot Rod Reverend, Part 1.) Transition is always a challenge, and this one in particular at this stage of life certainly continues to be my greatest yet!

From the photo you can see that we ended up using PODS as a means of transporting most of our belongings across the country. With temporary storage included in the overall price and the closing date on our house in California a moving target, we thought PODS was the best route to take. I was able to load some of my shop equipment, boxes and tubs of parts, two T85 transmissions (more on that later) and quite a bit more.

Even the smaller POD held more than I thought capable when I first walked inside to examine its space. The church to which we are moving told us to handle the move any way that we wanted, and that they would cover the entire cost. When my wife and I received estimates for what it would take for a moving company to do all of the work, we balked at spending so much money - even if it was not our own. Going this route with PODS (and a UHaul truck and trailer to take us across the country with the 55 Ford) has certainly allowed us to load at our own pace, make the most use of the space inside the PODS, and in our opinion it was the best use of finances.

My prior experience in loading UPS trailers certainly helped in making things snug!

Many years ago while in college I supported myself with a job at a large distribution center for Patterson Dental Company. Much of my position included loading thousands of boxes and items a day into UPS trailers ensuring cargo was secure by building very tight-fitting walls as you worked from the front to the rear of the trailer. The few days of loading have been a game of Tetris as we have filled every nook and cranny with belongings, outdoor equipment, shop equipment, parts, furniture, and all the rest. If you go this route, I highly suggest using a ladder and also using dollies as you move items out to the driveway for load out. Even heavy equipment such as an air compressor can be very manageable if furniture dollies are used. Since PODS sit at ground level, there is very little height to navigate and moving from a furniture dolly to the floor of the POD is quite easy.

Furniture dollies are a must for loading heavy items - even air compressors!

Loading a POD or a truck is mix of art and science as you fill every available space.

Along with furniture dollies and a ladder would be the use of shrink wrap. We have gone through two rolls of the stuff, but if you examine the pictures below you will certainly understand how useful the material can be. The recent swap of T85’s (I mentioned this further in part one) put me in a wonderful position for the future, but these transmissions had to make it to California. I wrapped the rebuilt T85 in foam insulation and shrink wrapped it for the trip in the POD. The other core T85 was wrapped in two large towels and was also shrink wrapped tightly. They were both placed on the engine run stand (it was easy to roll the whole works out when we unloaded) with both a large table cloth AND a sheet metal drip pan underneath just in case any leaks were to take place. Both transmissions are empty of oil, so we did not expect any leaks - better safe than sorry. Larger items such as cabinets, rolling tool boxes, and my favorite hardware rack with all the bins were shrink wrapped as well.

Shrink wrap is not a luxury but a necessity during any move.

An acquaintance of mine stopped by during the week of the move to give me an old timing light. It happened to be a Sun brand, still in the box, with the original documentation and boxing and manual. This timing light was manufactured before UPC codes (I would think sometime in the 1970’s) and has a body made of metal, not plastic. Of course, this box was wrapped and put in one of the PODS as well.

The Sun timing light and its original packaging were very complete.

By now you may be asking, “So what did you put on the truck, and how were you getting your cars out there?” The plan for the 1955 Ford was to load it on a trailer being pulled behind the UHaul truck and the minivan to be moved across the country by a transport company on an open trailer much like what you see on the interstates when new cars are being delivered to dealerships. Our Chevrolet HHR was sold in advance of the move. The truck was loaded with our bedroom, all of our clothes, personal valuables, tools, and the bare Y Block for the 312 I am building! Along with the block were a few boxes of parts that contain a new crankshaft damper, Barker rocker arm assemblies, push rods, camshaft, lifters, a rebuilt pair of ECZ-G heads, etc.

My buddies helped me load the 26 foot UHaul truck, and this only took a couple of hours. On the Saturday we loaded the UHaul, it was day five of the auto transport company’s promise to have a driver scheduled to pick up the van. (This was a large, well-known outfit based in San Diego.) Early in the day, I was told that the driver would be showing up at 4:30 pm. Knowing that we were leaving first thing Monday morning and that Sunday would be a day when auto transport companies usually do not schedule a pick up or a delivery, I was getting a little concerned. Sure enough, by 6 pm that evening I had to tell the company to send me a full refund. No trailer would be stopping to pick up the van and I was certainly stuck. I decided to load the van onto the UHaul trailer and leave the 1955 Ford in the hands of my best friend, Mike Goodson.

The wife and I started our trek on Monday, May 1, at 8 am with a little bit of trouble getting out of the parking lot. I had to load the van that morning in the rain, which was not too big of a deal. However, the bad weather did two things: 1. The electricity went out earlier that morning which caused a little bit of a delay and 2. There was a bad accident where a power pole was taken out by a car (reason for no electricity) and the two lane road that we needed to travel was completely shut down. We rolled out 30 minutes later than expected, but with a long trip to Emporia, Kansas ahead of us for our first night’s stay this was not too big of a deal. The next night we stayed in Tucumcari, New Mexico, and the third night was in historic Williams, Arizona. Williams is considered to be the gateway to the Grand Canyon and of course Rte 66 has a nostalgic stretch of restaurants, hotels, and shops that line the street. Most of the trip was very much uneventful, and we enjoyed the scenery. There is nothing quite like the United States of America for cross-country road travel!

Williams, Arizona has wonderful views as a gateway to the Grand Canyon.

Rte 66 travels straight through Williams - we enjoyed a local restaurant and the shops.

We crossed the state line into California on day four, headed straight for the Antelope Valley and the city of Lancaster. The church took care of our accommodations as we waited to go to closing on our house later that week. Our first meal in California was at none other than In-n-Out Burger - a hamburger restaurant very well known for its own car culture and 50’s nostalgia. The fast food cuisine features fresh beef and french fries that are cut from potatoes right on site. If you ever visit California you need to stop there and grab a bite to eat; the wife and I highly recommend it!

In-n-Out Burger is great stuff; always served fresh!

It was not too long after we landed in California that we hit the craziness head on. We were supposed to go to closing just a day or two after our arrival. Wonderful house - four bedroom, large garage, property and neighborhood only four years old, only one mile from the church offices, etc. I will not go into all the details, but the sellers and the sellers’ agent were not truthful with our agent. We did get all of our earnest money returned as escrow was closed out. Since I needed to get to work soon because of the needs the church was having, we decided to rent a very nice house (of course, the monthly rent was a little more than our mortgage payment would have been) just two miles from the church. College students from the church helped us unload the UHaul, and we arranged for the PODS to be delivered to the rental house the next week. I ended up contracting with Montway Transport to have the 55 Ford shipped to us.

A few of the college students from the church helped us unload.

Montway Transport Company loading the 1955 Ford in Milford, Ohio.

Montway delivered within 6 days - I was very happy with their service.

The 1955 Ford Club Sedan has officially landed in California!

We have been in California roughly four weeks. By this time, I had hoped to be in a house and garage I personally owned that would allow me to “set up shop” so to speak. While the issues are certainly frustrating, there is a new neighborhood going up this year. The builder is reputable, and the various floor plans available do look very good to us. At our current location, the lease is just for a year, but I do have permission from the owner and the broker to put in a 220 volt outlet for my air compressor. Some of the work I had planned to do by Christmas will have to wait until a later date; however, I do have my block, my engine stand, my run stand, and plans to run up to Hanford to see the Y Block Guy as soon as I can get freed up.

I have a lot of work to do! You know the HRR likes to be organized.

Hurst Kits for the Ford and Mercury Overdrives

I continue to have subscribers contact me via email about the Hurst kits for Ford and Mercury transmissions like the 259, T86, and the T85. While accommodating a Mastershift or a Syncroloc shifter is pretty simple to do with the standard transmission, if any of these 3 speeds have the R10 or R11 overdrive tail shaft then clearance is really a problem. The overdrive solenoid just behind the main case is the real culprit here. Locating brackets and some hardware, especially in kit form, is very difficult to do. I do not believe that even the Smithsonian or the Henry Ford Museum would have what you need, much less allow you to get the measurements and specifications.

I may decide to have the original Hurst brackets reproduced by a local machine shop if there is enough interest. Seems like I could have several sets made of items that would fit the R10 and the R11 units. Do let me know if you are interested, just bear in mind that I have no idea of timing and pricing just yet.

Long range plans include having bracket sets fabricated.

Pay Us a Visit!

On Father’s Day, our church will have special services in the morning at 9:30 and 10:30 am, with none other than a classic car display at our main entrance! If you are in the area, I would love to meet you and show you all that God is doing in spite of the world in which we live. The address is Lancaster Baptist Church, 4020 East Lancaster Boulevard, Lancaster, California 93535. My life and work are definitely changing, but right out of the gate the 1955 Ford Club Sedan is taking center stage as I continue my life calling as an ordained minister of the gospel.

The Hot Rod Reverend

aka Daniel Jessup


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