Here is TTR member Jackie Switzer’s story about traveling to the 1998 TRA national meet.
The photos are by TTR member Vern Burnett. Jackie’s “little ditty” about the trip appears at the end.

The Triumph Register of America (TRA) National Meet was held in Rocky Gap, Maryland 18-20 June, 1998. Four cars from TTR, with five drivers, covered almost 3,500 miles on an eleven day round trip to attend the meet. Traveling over the Natchez Trace and Blue Ridge Parkway, then through the Allegheny mountains to reach the newly constructed lodge was an unforgettable experience.

Our group received the long distance award for the 1,861 miles we traveled together to participate, far outdistancing our closest competitors. The cars performed well on the trip out in spite of the heat. One brief thunderstorm, with hail, showered us as we sat under the protective covering at a service station.


The Texas Triumph Register cars enroute to Rocky Gap, Maryland.



Although several repairs were required on the return trip, the expertise of our traveling mechanics prevented prolonged delays. Two new water pumps were replaced, two loose wires tightened, one flat tire changed, one set of points gapped, one battery replaced, and a noisy engine rattle quieted by the removal of a loose wrench. The amazing thing, to me, was the camaraderie and sense of humor that accompanied all challenges on the trip. I never heard a cross word spoken! It was a remarkable group.

The day before the event, we had the opportunity to participate in planned optional activities, just for fun. An hour’s bicycle ride along the canal with a very knowledgeable guide was a warm-up. If we had had five days, we could have traveled the old canal path to within 12 miles of Washington, D.C. Later, we boarded a real steam engine, complete with black smoke and cinders, for a trip up the mountain from Cumberland to Frostburg. There was just enough time to have lunch and watch the engine turn around before the return trip. We all attended the welcoming picnic with its giant sub sandwiches and lots of cool “suds” but passed on the breakfast run because it was raining so hard. The hotel “rallye” filled any “spare time” and Russ and Vern won 3rd place. The gimmick rallye was a “rehash from 30 years ago”. Apparently, the main difference was that we ran on paved roads instead of gravel. Guess things don’t change much on Maryland’s back roads.

One of the highlights on the rallye was a visit to Dr. McQuay’s car collection. The cars are mostly Corvettes but the venue would warm the cockles of any car lover’s heart. On the beautiful grounds of his home, Dr. McQuay has recreated a brick service station. The interior is filled with every known need for car restoration. We visited two of his garages holding six cars each and cases of memorabilia lining the walls. We were told he does all his own work and we had not seen it all!

The primary purpose of this event is to maintain the TR-2/3/4 standards of originality. The judging for the Concours, therefore, is exacting. Each deviation, even down to the grains of dirt, are subject to deductions, but it is an excellent way to gather information to ensure your car is as close to original as possible. Ron Harrison, who won Best of Show last year for his powder blue TR-3B, competed in the Preservation Class this year and was awarded a gold certificate and 2nd place. The judges noted a dime-sized dent in the lower part of a rear fender. The dent, a present on our trip from a lumber truck discharging bits of gravel as it barreled along, cost Ron one point.


Vern Burnett received a gold certificate and first place with his TR-4. Wayne Switzer received a bronze certificate for his TR-3A and Russ Seto received a bronze certificate and 3rd place for his. After 13 years restoring his car, Russ is making his mark. He received enough points on the immaculate work he has done to earn a bronze certificate even though the interior is not finished.

Long distance traveling in a Triumph is a challenge for both car and driver. The satisfactions of successfully completing such an interesting journey are “the stuff dreams are made of.”

Let’s keep our Triumphs Rolling!


Ballad of Rocky Gap

(Sung to the tune of The Battle of New Orleans)

In June of ’98, we took a little trip.
Traveled from Texas ‘cross the mighty Mississip.
We took it in our Triumphs and they drove just like a dream.
Winding roads and Triumphs make a mighty good team!

We revved our engines and the miles they kept on comin’.
There weren’t nigh as many as there were a while ago.
Across land and mountain, our Triumphs kept on hummin’.
Bound for Rocky Gap just as fast as we could go!

Every day we traveled, but it didn’t seem too far;
Eat a little, sleep a little, drive our little cars.
But one of our members didn’t fare too well we fear,
He had a little birthday and he aged another year.

Chorus: (above)

We drove from the bottom lands and crossed the mountain tops.
For food, fuel, and photos, we would always make a stop.
The flowers bloomed, the birds sang, our Triumph engines roared,
Eighteen hundred miles to Rocky Gap and we were never bored.

Chorus: (above)

We weathered a big rain and a little bit of hail,
But we can weather anything when engines do not fail.
We drove the Natchez Trace and the Blue Ridge Parkway, too,
Winding roads and hairpin curves, more than we ever knew.

Chorus: (above)

We headed back home, our awards in our hands
When a little car trouble plagued our traveling band.
Water pumps, flat tire, plugs, and battery,
And a forgotten little wrench that rattled noisily!

We revved our engines and the miles they kept on comin’.
There weren’t nigh as many as there were a while ago.
Across land and mountain, our Triumphs kept on hummin’.
Headed home for Texas just as fast as we could go!

When Triumphs get together, wherever it may be,
There’s food and fun and fellowship, just like a family.
As we meet old friends and make some new ones too,
We’ll remember Rocky Gap and share a tale or two.

We revved our engines and the miles they kept on comin’.
There weren’t nigh as many as there were a while ago.
Across land and mountain, our Triumphs kept on hummin’.
Headed home for Texas just as fast as we could go!

Jackie Taylor Switzer 1998