Keith’s Blog: Boar’s Head or Rovers in the Snow?

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Boar’s Head or Rovers in the Snow?

Every year I’m faced with the same difficult decision. The first weekend in December is when the Pacific Coast Rover Club has its annual Christmas run in the Tillamook State Forest, followed by a tasty dinner at hosts Paul and Pamela Petroff’s home.

It’s the same night that my alma mater Reed College (well, my first college anyway, but that’s a different story) hosts its Holiday Dinner. The highlight of the evening is the Boar’s Head Carol, performed by a group of Reed students and professors as they carry a boar’s head around the room. The spectacle is as captivating today as it was in 1969 when I attended my first holiday dinner at Reed.

The Tillamook Alternative

Actually, when I say “as captivating today,” I mean five years ago, which is the last time I went to the dinner. Sometime after that I bought my first Land Rover, a 1973 Series III 88, and discovered the joys of Rovering.

So that’s why this year, instead of dressing up to watch the head of a giant pig being carried around with an apple in its mouth, I was at the Rover Club Christmas party, recalling tales from our day in the forest.

Good friend Michael Cottam, his son Benjamin, my son Bradley and I fired up the trusty SCM D90 200 tdi and set out at 7 a.m. from downtown Portland. Forty-five minutes later, we joined forces with another 10 rigs in Banks, Oregon, and headed for our off-road starting point, Brown’s Camp.

It was a glorious day, clear, sunny and cold. Fifteen degrees was the warmest it got, and the heater in the Rover put out about as much warmth as the breath of a dying caterpillar.

Nonetheless, we scrambled up and down hills, only stopping a few times for repairs (a Defender 110 broke both rear shock mounts and dislocated the coils from their perches). Our brake pedal mysteriously went to the floor after a particularly deep hole filled with snow and ice, but it healed itself, and I didn’t ask any questions.

Cottam took a raft of photos, and I’ve included just a few. To see all 103, go here.

Alfa Night

Sunday night was the annual Alfa Club dinner, and I took Bradley. Surprisingly enough, there was a Lego car kit as one of the door prizes, and he won it! The master of ceremonies, Cindy Banzer (President Secretary of Alfa Romeo Owners of Oregon), introduced Bradley as the “third generation of the Martin publishing family”; He was quite pleased with his win.

At the same dinner, master restorer Bill Gillham was honored for his years of work with the Alfa club, both locally and nationally. He is retiring from the national board this year, and he will be missed.

I’ve put another 50 miles on my 1958 Sprint Veloce that he restored, and the car is well on its way to becoming “in service.” The wipers wipe, the heater heats, the car starts and stops. It will take me awhile to become familiar with the car and its habits, but so far driving this 55-year-old jewel (one of just 149 Series II Confortevoles built) has been a joy.

 

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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