A 30-year-old New Hampshire native has driven across Route 66 in the height of summer in a 1929 Model A, taking in the famous sights in just nine days while rarely breaking 45mph.
Ryan Tebo – who had never been beyond Pennsylvania – spent several days driving from New Hampshire and arrived at the route’s eastern branch starting point in Chicago, Illinois on August 13 and made it to Santa Monica, California in the three-speed manual by August 22.
Despite the sweltering 115 degrees Fahrenheit heat in places, and the coronavirus pandemic, Tebo documented his 3,600-mile-journey on social media and found it was the ideal time to take a road trip in the Ford motor which has no electronic fuel injection and drum brakes.
‘I was looking for one that I could just leave outside, not worry about, was pretty good mechanically … and that’s really why I bought this one originally,’ Tebo told Hagerty.
Ryan Tebo completed Route 66 this month and is pictured with his certificate in Santa Monica, California
Tebo drove the 1929 Ford Model A, taking in the famous sights in just nine days while rarely breaking 45mph on the trip to California (pictured)
‘It’s a good driver, which is what I look for—I like them pretty much original. I won’t buy one that’s been chopped or anything like that, but I’m not so crazy that it has the right spark plugs in it for the period.’
Just days into his trip on August 16, Death Valley, California recorded the highest temperature recorded on earth at 130 degrees. Meanwhile Tebo was heading toward the West Coast in a motor with a decades old cooling system.
Tebo said there were no major issues with the motor, last driven by its previous owner 10 years ago. The only times it would have had to hit 55mph was when it overlapped with interstates.
He only had to fix the carburetor on Day 2 when he smelled burning and realized an aluminum component had warped and begun to leak between the intake and carb.
Tebo also constantly had to refill the radiator on the old motor he picked up on Facebook Marketplace because it was regularly boiling over but after details of his journey were shared on Facebook, he made some new friends across the country.
‘You watch the news and you think America’s really in a bad spot,’ Tebo said in an interview with Hagerty. ‘If I go off what I’ve seen so far, I don’t know where the news is getting their information from.
‘The people really surprised me – how outgoing they are, and how willing they are to help. I’ve gotten hundreds of messages from the United States and all over the world [from] people that are watching.’
Tebo shared shots of Mt Rushmore in South Dakota (pictured) last week and also noted a few ‘close calls’ with elk
The 30-year-old motor enthusiast from New Hampshire started on Route 66 in Illinois on August 13 and ended in California on August 22
The motor is pictured outside a Bates Motel sign near Route 66 in Amarillo, Texas
The old car is seen leaving Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota this month
Tebo – who is from a small town – said he identifies with the people who reached out to him excitedly as with the arrival of interstates, many roadside restaurants and other businesses have lost customers.
Pictures taken on Tebo’s phone show iconic locations along the route such as in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the quaint motels, gas stations and beautiful horizons along the winding highway.
After getting his certificate of completion on the Santa Monica Pier, he took a different route back starting up the Pacific Coast Highway and heading along the Oregon Trail.
He told followers that tackling roads with 10% gradients between Oregon and Wyoming was ‘interesting’ going up and coming down.
Tebo shared shots of Mt Rushmore in South Dakota last week and also noted a few ‘close calls’ with elk but said luckily they decided not to cross.
With four weeks off work for the trip, he is currently still on the road.
‘I have received several messages and comments about being a “hero” for doing this trip,’ he said in a Facebook post.
‘I’m honored that so many feel that way, but the true heroes of Route 66 are the ones who have worked and continue to work on the preservation of Route 66. That is no easy task.’
‘The people really surprised me—how outgoing they are, and how willing they are to help,’ Tebo said. ‘I’ve gotten hundreds of messages from the United States and all over the world’
He took a different route back starting up the Pacific Coast Highway and heading along the Oregon Trail. Right shows how he has clocked up more than 6,000 miles so far