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T – Times

Volume 30 Issue 5

September 2010

Three Rivers Model T Ford Club

P. O. Box 7083

Kennewick, WA   99336

“T-Times” is the publication of the Three Rivers Model T Ford Club and is published monthly solely for its members and exchange with other antique automobile groups.  Editorial copy and advertisements should be sent to: Editor 218 NE A Street College Place, WA 99324 by the 25th of the month for inclusion in the next month’s issue.

The Three Rivers Model T Ford Club is a chapter of the Model T Ford club of America.  Membership is recommended and encouraged.  Make membership requests to: MTFCA  P.O. Box 126 Centerville, IN   47330

2010 Officers

Club President 2010             Marlene Coder

Vice President                      Dean Stokes

Secretary                              Wanda Stokes
Treasurer                               Mike Porter

Newsletter Editor                  Dale Peterson

Board Members

1 Year  --  Dale Peterson

2 Year  --  Marlene Coder

3 Year  --  Russ Armstrong

The Three Rivers Model T Ford Club is dedicated to the restoration and enjoyment of the Model T Ford.  Ownership is recommended but not a requirement of membership.  Annual dues are $20.  Monthly meetings are held the third Thursday of the month at the Reata Springs Baptist Church, 2830 Leopold Lane, Richland, WA at 7:00 PM.




·         Sept 16         Regular monthly meeting in Richland

  • Sept 19-24  San Juan Islands Tour by the Seat of your Pants.  Tour Chair Dale Peterson.  See the newsletter and website for details.

  • October 21  Regular monthly meeting in Richland

  • Dec 12        Christmas Party at Canyon Lakes Retirement Center at 1:00 PM

Special Dates

September Birthdays are:


Ivan Dike 9/5

Linda Porter 9/8

John Lackey 9/18

Lamar Barnes 9/24

September Anniversaries:


Rush and Jane Armstrong 9/11


Paul and Doris Burma 9/17


Gary and Sandy Ellington 9/30






Three River's Model T Club

August 2010

 Tonight's meeting was attended by a good number of members.  President, Marlene Coder opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.  She also welcomed Dan Danko who we have not seen in awhile. 

 The minutes from the last meeting were read by Secretary, Wanda Stokes.  There was one correction; Paul Dion is building a speedster, not buying one.  The minutes were accepted.

 Treasurer, Mike Porter, gave his report.  We have money in the bank.  He passed around newsletters and brochures from other Model T clubs for members to look at.  Mike pointed out that the Ye Ole Car Club's newsletter had a picture of Langdon's Model T's lamp with a birdie nest in it.  Thank you, Mike.


 Old Business

 Marlene asked for a report on the Majestic Mountain Model T Tour to Glacier National Park in Whitefish, Montana.  Several members who went gave their highlights of the tour.  Everyone agreed it was a wonderful tour with lots of interesting things to see and do.

 New Business

 Marlene asked Dale Peterson to give an update on the Seat of Your Pants tour to the San Juan Islands coming up quickly.  Dale and Sharon urged everyone going on the tour to bring warm clothing, coats and scarves and mittens or gloves.  Dale said that they will be touring many of the islands and everyone seems to enjoy seeing Model T's.  Dale urged all members to have a full tank of gas before starting up an 11% grade to the top of Mt. Constitution.  It will be a fun challenge in a Model T.  Dale also reminded members to bring their passports, as part of the tour will be in Canada.

 Phyllis Langdon asked if there was going to be a schedule of the ferries for everyone.  "Yes" there will be.

 October - we have nothing planned for this month.

 November - Marlene pointed out that elections are coming up.  If you would like to have a position with Three River's Model T Club, please do not hesitate to volunteer.

 December will be the annual Christmas Party (12/12 @1:00 pm). Marlene pointed out that the Christmas gift exchange has not gone well for the past two years due to members not bringing gifts and taking one.  She asked for everyone to come up with a different activity to pursue instead of the gift exchange.

 Dan Danko reported a tractor and engine show this coming weekend in Yakima.  The price is $5 per person with lots to see and do.

 Dale Peterson asked about doing something with the Boy Scouts.  Larry and Marlene said that they will ask the Scout Master if they are still interested.

 It was reported that Ernie Ferguson is doing much better.  We are all happy to learn this.

 Wanda urged everyone to check out the Three River's Model T website:  (threeriver'   It has a wealth of information in it check it out.

 Phyllis & Jim Langdon are scheduled for refreshments for September.


 With nothing more to come before the members, the meeting was adjourned.


Respectively Submitted,  Wanda Stokes, Secretary

Me and the Model T

The Beginning by Bill Sheller


Well… I have had a wonderful relationship with the Model T Ford for quite a few years now.  When people meet me and learn of my relationship to the Ford Motor Company, they assume it to be a life-long one!  Although I’ve managed to squeeze a life’s worth of enjoyment from that old rattle trap Ford, I’ve only had a close relationship since 1995; a span, as of this writing, of about fifteen years.

You know, the Model T Ford has garnered accolades and achieved an almost unbelievable list of accomplishments in its 100 plus years of service.  I can certainly add to that list.  The Model T Ford… saved my life!  During the first half of the last decade of the twentieth century I was devastated by an almost un-survivable personal crisis in my life.  The downward spiral placed me in such an emotional whirlpool that the harder I struggled, the deeper I went.  I’m quite sure I can recall the feel of rock bottom under my feet.

I was reading my Grandfather’s book Me and the Model T one day.  You know, my Grandfather, Roscoe Sheller, was quite a magnificent man.  He was well known in his Yakima Valley, Washington as a noted historian and was dedicated to community service, not only through his writings, but through his long association with the Rotary Club.  In one of the chapters Roscoe was reminiscing about all the trials and triumphs of being in the Ford business during a time when folks were still quite comfortable with getting around on a horse and later when folks just couldn’t get enough Model T Fords.  He was in an imaginary conversation with a little statue figure on his bookshelf known as Reasoning Ross.  Now Reasoning Ross was, in his day, the trade mark of the Sheller Motor Company.  Reasoning Ross was a professor-ly looking gent with the fore finger of his right hand pointing to the palm of his left while peering over spectacles worn low on his nose.  His reasoning was always considered to be right and just.  His likeness appeared on all Sheller Motor Company owned vehicles, letterheads, and the building itself.  He became so well known and admired for his symbolism of fairness and honesty that he was cast into a plaster mold and handed out as a thank you token for buying a Model T Ford from the Sheller Motor Company.  Well… during Roscoe’s conversation with Reasoning Ross, Roscoe wrote that “My how I hope that he (Reasoning Ross) would outlive me.”

My gosh, those words absolutely jumped right off the page at me.  There was not a doubt in my mind that my Grandfather was talking directly to me.  For the first time in a long while I felt motivated and inspired to accomplish a much needed renewal.  I have been a “car lover” for as long as I can remember, but my interests were strongly centered on 50’s and 60’s automobiles.  Now… NOW, I needed to have a Model T Ford.  I really know nothing about a Model T Ford other than listening to my Grandfather spin his tales about them as I was growing up.  Now I simply had to learn all I possibly could about the old Ford, maybe even learn to drive one, but where I the world do I begin to locate a car that old.  One of the first things I learned was if you’re interested in a Model T Ford… they’re EVERYWHERE!  Heck, it seemed like everyone had one or two or more or knew someone who had one.  That very week there was an advertisement in the local want ad paper for Model T and Model A Ford cars and parts from an estate sale.  A nephew or some other relation to the man had organized it all and was selling it all and was selling it so the property could be sold.  I could hardly believe my eyes as this sale was only 6 miles from my house.  I really was un-sure just what I was looking for in a Model T Ford, but I know I had to go have a look.  As it turned out, the ad I read in the want ads was the last one published and this was estate sale was almost finished, so the complete cars were pretty much all gone, leaving partial bodies and several buildings filled with picked over parts.  As I toured the acre or so lot, way back in the corner there was an incomplete and dilapidated 1925 Model TT C-Cab one ton truck.  It was love at first sight and I just knew this was the Model T Ford for me.  This was for sure one pitiful looking specimen of a TT.  The top had long since rotted away, the C-Cab sheet metal had broken in half and was bolted together with a 2X4 on either side of the split metal, there was no bed behind the cab, the side panels of the hood were missing, there was no sign of a seat, the cab was pretty badly rusted, as the little truck had sat out in a field for thirty five years… BUT… the engine turned over with the hand crank and I couldn’t get the $1000 out of my pocket fast enough!  Wow, less than a week after reading my Grandfather’s words… I owned a Model T Ford.  I now had a goal.  I was going to restore this C-Cab TT into a replica of a Sheller Motor Company Service Truck in honor of my heritage, my Grandfather and the Sheller Motor Company.  Little did I know at the time what a wonderful world of newly formed friendships lay ahead.



Bill's truck 002.jpg



Reasoning Ross 001.jpg




Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Dale Peterson

   I have seen several suggestions on how to go about restoring a Model T over the years.  Some say to start with the running gear first, others think that you should tackle the body first since that will be the hardest to do and takes the most time.  Still others have recommended breaking it down into small tasks and doing only one at a time, such as motor, axles, or even smaller items such as key switch, generator, and etc.  Some, when they start the restoration of an antique car do not have the slightest idea of what they are getting into or where to start.  It seems that I fit into this latter group.  Enthusiasm not lacking, in short order I could pick up each piece to count and tell just how many parts there are in a 1915 Model T touring. 

   But, back one step!  You first have to consider where you will be doing the work, in the garage, on the driveway, or preferably in a dedicated workshop.  When we were living in Hermiston and working on the 1918 Chalmers, I realized then that the garage just wasn’t going to work too well for that project.  We had a one acre lot on Daisy Lane, so there was no shortage of room to locate my “man cave.”  Now, remember, I grew on a farm where you learned to do a lot of things yourself, you just couldn’t afford to pay someone else to do what you could do yourself on a small farm.  Dad also was a carpenter in his later years and I had helped him build a couple of houses.  So when it came time to build, I just dove in with both feet (sometimes finding myself over my head) and did it myself.  That shop was an easier build once the foundation and floor were in place.  There was a neighbor that wanted to remove a 24’x36’ carport so they could enlarge their lawn area.  A friend had a semi truck and flatbed trailer, so I jacked up the carport (wood truss roof) and carefully drove around the block to our lot.  A little work and walls and a garage door were in place making for a pretty neat shop.  

   However, after three years, I decided that I would prefer to live closer to family in Twin Falls.  We looked all around but just couldn’t find a house with a shop that Sharon liked, so we settled on a nice house on three acres with a 3 stall horse stable.  A little work and this was expanded into a 22’X45’ shop with three garage doors!  This is where we were when the Model T followed me home.  Nine years we lived there, but a busy private practice and a young family just didn’t allow for enough time to work on the old cars. 

   A serious case of burn out resulted from having run a family practice office, building a satellite office in a nearby town with a partnership that did not work out very well, and trying to put together a multispecialty medical group (ever try herding a bunch of cats!).  I needed a change so looked into taking a break by doing emergency medicine.  There was an opening in Hermiston, but we chose to move to Milton Free-water, Oregon where the boys would be close to a private school we wanted to have them attend.  And, you guessed it, we couldn’t find a house we both liked with a shop.  But we did find a nice house on two acres that had about 30 fruit and other trees, a real beautiful place that fit into our budget.  Again, the garage was not sufficient so I had to take the time out to erect an 11’X14’ shed to work on the T.  The Chalmers was relegated to a 40’ shipping container.  With the new found time that my job allowed, the Model T finally received some time and after 2 years the running gear was nearly completed and the body was re-wooded and nearly ready for paint. 

   Now, those of you that live in Oregon know that it may be a nice state to live in, but there are taxes to pay.  Sure, there are no sales taxes, but that income tax really gets you if you make much more than poverty wages.  Four years of paying too much to the governor and we sold our dream house and moved across the line to College Place when I took to an ER job at Walla Walla.  And once again, we could not find a house we both liked that had a shop.  We did find a very nice home on a large lot that would allow for the erection of our present shop.  Once again, not wanting to pay out more than possible, I did the building, this time with three boys help.  When this was done, the Model T finally got the needed time to finish it up and get it on the road.  Total invested; 15 years, near the $10,000 Uncle LaVar estimated, and 3 shops built!  Lesson learned; spend all that time invested in building work space instead looking for a house with a nice shop or stay put as you can likely put up with a lot if you have a Model T to love, and a good wife (she likes riding in a Model T).







Tour San Juan Islands by the Seat of Your Pants

     Fast approaching is September 19 and the San Juan Island tour.  Ground work is progressing but I am resisting the urge to do too much pre-tour planning.  I hope that all who are planning to join us on this tour have made their reservations at the various hotels.  If not, call right away before all the other vacationers take any remaining available rooms. 

     Meeting place will be at the Deception Café & Grill, which is located 3.9 miles south of the Y where S.R. 20 splits north toward Anacortes and south toward Oak Harbor and Deception Pass.  Reservations are set for a 1 PM lunch.  You may peruse their menu at:  After lunch we will trailer over to the Rosario Marine Biology Station where we will unload the cars and park the trailers.  We will be spending day 1 on Whidbey Island at Coupeville then travel by ferry day 2 to Orcas Island. A side trip could be made to Shaw or Lopez Islands depending on time and interest.  Two nights will be spent on this island before traveling to Friday Harbor day 4 and then on to Sidney, BC.  Day 5 we will return to Anacortes and head home.

Things you will need for this trip include:

1.    Passport or enhanced Washington state drivers license for our trip into Sidney, BC

2.    Warm clothes.  During the summer, daytime temperatures reach into the 70’s and mornings are often foggy and chilly (ask Sharon).

3.    A full tank of gas on arrival.  The drive out of the marine biology station is steep.  I learned this the hard way and had to back up the hill when we were visiting our son.

 The itinerary will be as follows:

·          Day 1.  Arrive Deception Café & Grill 1:00 PM.  After lunch drive to the Rosario Marine Biology Station to park the tow vehicles and trailers.  Be sure to have a full tank of gas in the pre 26 T’s as the hill is steep going out of there.  Drive down to Coupeville where we will spend the night at the Captain Whidby Inn.

·          Day 2.  Drive to Anacortes in the morning, board the Ferry to the San Juan Islands.  Stay that night at The Outlook Inn on Orcas Island.

·         Day 3.  Tour Orcas Island with another night at The Outlook Inn.

·         Day 4.  Ferry to Friday Harbor.  The night at the 1886 Hotel de Haro.

·         Day 5.  Ferry to Victoria, BC.  Travel to Buchart Gardens and the Butterfly Museum. The night at Motel 66.  Ferry reservations have been made for you to and from Sidney, BC.

·         Day 6.  Return by Ferry to Anacortes. 


Fees will come to $121.65 for seniors 65 and over (driver, car, 1 passenger) and $151.55 without senior discount.  Due to ferry schedules, we will not arrive back in Anacortes until 8:25 PM.  You will need to plan on staying in a motel there or I am also looking into cabins at the Marine Station for the night.  Not luxury but a place to sleep, you would need bedding and a pillow.

Majestic Montana Mountain Tour

   August 1-6 six members of the Three Rivers Model T Ford Club made the trip to Whitefish, Montana for the MTFCA national tour.  One would think August would bring some pretty warm weather for Model T touring, but the weather was nice and cool for the most part, if not downright chilly at times.  The first day was arrival, registration, and barbeque.  Dale and Sharon Peterson arrived late so missed the first day festivities, and the 2 AM arrival made for a late rising the following morning as well.

   The first challenge of the tour was getting to the host resort.  Being this is primarily a ski resort, it is located a long way up the mountain.  We passed a couple of tow vehicles that did not make it up to the top with pools of transmission fluid to announce their troubles.  Our group all made it up to the top and spread out to our lodgings.  Unfortunately we were spread out so and touring days so long that evening activities together were limited.  Two of our group chose to leave their cars at the bottom of the hill for the week.  Of those that made it to the top every evening, Dale and Sharon as well as Dean and Wanda were the only ones to take the vulture wagon to the top and only once each—on the same day.  It is amazing how well Henry makes it up the hill with Bill Sheller at the wheel.  And he was a real life saver as he gave Jeff Peterson a ride to the top to fetch the truck/trailer for Dale.

   Day 2 we drove to Eureka where a rain storm dumped a LOT of water on the tour.  Dale, Sharon and Jeff drove into town as the others were leaving before the storm hit.  Fortunately, we waited out the rain storm while eating a very good meal and then shopping along Main Street.   Dale helped put up the top on a 1912 touring from Utah, but alas, the coils got wet and he said later he spent a couple hours getting dried out and running.  The rest of our group was caught out on the road during the downpour and it was reported there was even some hail.  We turned around at Eureka and the others made it to the Koocanusa bridge before turning back to return to Whitefish.

   Day 3 was the drive up the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Park.  It was a cool, foggy, and sometimes drizzly drive, but we all made it up in good shape.  The drive was gorgeous, if only we could have seen the tops of the mountains.  This is one of the best drives in the country when the sun is shining.  The route continued on down the east side of the mountain and around the southern side of the park, back to Whitefish after a long 230 mile day.

   Day 4 was a short drive to Kalispell where we toured a turn of the century mansion and antique shops.  The mansion was amazing as it is much the way it was nearly 100 years ago, including ALL the furnishings, clothing, and etc.  We were shown the bed where Teddy Roosevelt slept when visiting.  Bill was convinced that it was built with graft, and he may well be right given the lifestyles of our wealthy and influential members of society.

   Day 5 was a trip around Flathead Lake.  Due to some miscommunication, some of us got off to a later than planned start, but the route was so long than I don’t believe anyone made it all the way around.  This was just as well since it allowed us to back track on country roads rather than on the busy highway back to the resort.  That evening we took the ski lift up to the top of the mountain for a wonderful meal and an even better view.  It is amazing the view from the chair lift when going down the mountain rather than the up only view in the winter.

   The last day we again toured around the north end of Flathead Lake, visited antique shops and collections of cars of a club member and the V8 museum in Big Fork.  The final Banquet was at the Lodge at Whitefork—at the bottom of the mountain, with a ride on the bus to save driving out T’s up the hill after dark.

   The trip home was on our own, some staying longer and others leaving Saturday morning early.  All in all it was a very good tour despite the weather at times and that monster 4 mile hill with its 8% grade at the end of each day.  There were a few troubles encountered by the cars, Dale and Sharon left a very large oil spill in the parking garage (bad 4th main) and made loud noises often as the exhaust packing nut continued to cause trouble through the week. Jim and Phyllis lost their transmission early in the week.  It was good to hear at the August club meeting that it was a broken motor mount ear and not something more disastrous inside.  Dean and Wanda Stokes made the last day touring in good shape after some adjustments, Bill Sheller’s Henry never missed a lick, Jim and Sandy Ellenbaas’ car was a strong runner throughout the week and Mike and Linda Porter had an uneventful week as well. These national tours have been great and we would like to have more of you join us when able.





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