Goin' Camping In A Lincoln
We wanted lots of greenery but got pink froth instead!
Beth's best friend was finally going to get married and, of course, we had to be in attendance. The ceremony was to be held on a piece of land at the foot of Mt. Adams, about two hours from our Portland home. Our plan was to meet the bride and groom the night before their wedding at a campground at Bench Lake up on the flank of the mountain. We decided to take our '67 Lincoln sedan (see photo above). With its huge capacity, I could take my camping gear.
Off we went - up the Columbia River Gorge and then up the White Salmon River Valley. Past Trout Lake the pavement ended and the road became a very steep, winding, rocky, rutted road for about 20 miles up to Bird Creek Meadows Pass. It was very slow going. From there we wound down 2 miles to Bench Lake. "What a great place to camp," we said. "Let's look around."
Uh, oh. The car won't go. Let's try reverse. Nothing. Well, since we're sitting in the middle of the road, we'd better back down a slight incline to this empty campsite. I guess we'll camp here for the night.
Now that we're here, let's check the transmission. Holy cow! The dipstick's dry! The transmission must have boiled over, but at least it doesn't smell burnt. Well, let's set up camp. Wait a minute. There's no cap for the air mattress. OK, skip the tent. We'll just sleep in the car. So we slept in the Lincoln that night and we can now attest to the great comfort of those seats.
As it turned out, the bride and groom came up the hill after we did and they actually saw a trail of oil on the road from our car throwing up near the top of the hill. "I hope that's not from Beth and Steve's car," they said. But, of course, it was.
The next morning, we were up early because we had to get to the wedding. Having rebuilt this transmission ten years ago, I knew it needed liquid inside to work. And once, many years earlier, a man had told me about having to pour water in his automatic transmission when the same thing happened to him. "Since we don't have any tranny fluid, I guess we'll use lake water," says I. So I poured in a pint, a quart, two quarts, a gallon - over a gallon of water! Meanwhile, the two men at the next campsite shook their heads in disbelief.
Guess what? The car works now! So off we went - up the hill, over the pass and down, down, down to Trout Lake where I checked the dipstick. The stuff on the stick looked like melted strawberry milkshake. Then, on to the wedding, then home with no more problems.
The following week I drained the tranny, pulled the pan and didn't find anything amiss except 2.5 gallons of this pink stuff which I replaced with good stuff. The next week, I sucked out 2 gallons of nearly normal fluid. (A month later, the pink stuff had barely begun to separate.) After a while, I replaced the fluid a third time and the transmission has been working fine ever since.
Many years ago, we took our Lincoln camping and, after returning home, we spent a whole day using a gallon of 409 to remove 'FRESH OIL' from the sides of the car. After that we said we'd never take it camping again. After this last experience, we declare that we'll never take it camping again. This time we mean it.
Copyright 1998 Steve Price. All Rights Reserved
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