Silver Ghosts began arriving in Annapolis, Md from four continents for the launch of the coast-to-coast trip that will culminate in Monterey, Ca in about three weeks. Cars and drivers arrived from Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida and Ohio as well as Argentina, Portugal, New Zealand, Germany, Australia and the UK.
Partial line up of Silver Ghosts on first day of touring around the Chesapeake
The cars were as varied as the places of origin. The oldest car on the tour will be a 1911 and is accompanied by a number of other pre-war Silver Ghosts. David Robson from the UK arrived in a magnificent 1912 London-Edinburgh tourer (2079), Gerhard Weissenbach from Germany with his well-traveled 1913 Hume Carriage tourer (2532) and Veasey Cullen from Pennsylvania in London-to-Edinburg tourer (2380). The newest cars include three 1926 models, the last production year for the Silver Ghost. The Silver Ghosts on the tour resemble a traveling museum of Rolls-Royce history, representing cars from the first factory in Derby, England as well as the later transplant in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Upon arrival at the hotel in Annapolis, each driver was presented with a tour package that included over 100 pages of detailed driving instructions for the next three weeks and a thick packet of maps. Every mileage point and turn are provided for the next 4,000 miles. It’s clear that the driver and navigator have to work together, not the time for the ‘silent treatment’ from your spouse.
Gerhard Weissenbach and Anna Nun from Herbertshausen, Germany, 1913 Hume Carriage tourer (2532)
Before the tour even begins, the adventures have started. Cliff Botway of New York arrived in Annapolis after a 325 mile run from New York state…all in the rain. Botway’s car is a very stylish 1925 boat tail roadster (87E), too sheik to have a top. The three occupants remained relatively dry while at speed. The problem came at the toll booths when they had to stop in the line, all while the rain came pouring down. As I was preparing for my trip, many friends asked whether my car had air conditioning (it doesn’t – too early a model by about 40 years). They forgot to ask about the basics, such as a top, windows, etc. Many of the cars on the tour are ‘open’ cars. Most have tops but many do not have windows or side curtains. It’s just part of the adventure and fun of having a Silver Ghost on tour.
Veasey Cullen and Carolyn Martin from York, Pa in London-to-Edinburg tourer (2380)
In addition to weather related problems, several of the international cars were hung up in customs. With the increase in national security at our U.S. ports, it seems that inspectors are more alert to cars with a ‘torpedo’ tourer body…very sinister! It took two weeks before one car shipped from Australia was released from customs. Car insurance for the international participants also presented new issues not faced in their home countries. The idea of collision, comprehensive and ‘uninsured motorist’ were simply foreign to them.
1915 Alpine Eagle (29PD) parked at 18th century London Town outside Annapolis, owned by Lynn Boynton, Shelby, MI
The first day’s tour was around the Annapolis area. It was about 60 miles long through the wonderful Chesapeake area. The instructions included three pages of detailed instructions with almost 30 turning points. After reading the initial directions, I’m just hoping to find our way out of Maryland. I’m from Nashville, Tennessee and the instructions to Monterey would be much easier. Just merge west on to I-40, go approximately 2,200 miles and watch for the signs to Monterey. Pretty straight forward, but not as exciting as our adventure that will cross numerous mountain ranges both in the east and west, a river crossing on a steam-powered ferry, almost no interstate travel, and include a number of stops ranging from ‘the best restaurant in ____’ (usually the only restaurant in the small town) to a number of museums, historic sites and private car collections on the way. Whether from the US or abroad, we all expect the trip to be an adventure.
Continue to July 21-22, 2004
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