I could sum up this little adventure in one phrase–1977 MG Midget–but here it is anyway. I left Los Angeles in July of 1979 with my girlfriend, the MG Midget, and naiveté. We were headed for Yosemite. Going up the Cajon Pass the car boiled over, so we stopped and let it simmer down. As soon as we hit Victorville, the accelerator cable let go. I found a foreign parts store and the only cable they had was for a Spitfire–it just barely worked.

We made it up Tioga Pass sputtering all the way. I hit a deer at the summit. It busted both headlights. It was dark so we slept on the side of the road. The next morning we got to Yosemite Valley and promptly lost the clutch. I tried unsuccessfully for two days to fix it. T hat night bears ate all our food. The next day a stranger suggested that I drive the car with no clutch. I didn't know how, so he taught me the finer points of "speed shifting."

The next morning we loaded up and headed out toward Merced, grinding the gears on twisting mountain roads. We made it to Merced in time for a rain storm–of course, the top leaked. The fuel pump gave out in Salinas. We had it fixed in Monterey. It cost a fortune. We made it down to Bakersfield when the water pump went. We finally puttered into the San Fernando Valley and oops–there went that throttle cable.

Thomas J. Martinez

[ As Read on Car Talk ]