We had the car towed to Cove Fort which was only about 10 miles up the road where they had a small service station that was fortunately open on a Saturday, and the guys were happy to take a look under the hood.
Not knowing what the issue could be, Rob and I had our fingers tightly crossed that it was nothing major. Soon after removing the valve covers the problem was staring us right in the face... a broken rocker arm.
Luckily, this is an easy fix, IF they could find the part. The thing about these 396 engines is that they are no longer in production, so finding a working part can be a bit of a hunt. The shop owner headed out to Beaver to begin the search. Roughly 3 1/2 hours later he returned with the trophy. He told us he was just about to give up after searching all the local parts stores and having no luck, when he ran into a farmer friend who just happens to own several hot rods. Our luck soon returned when he found the exact part we needed, in his barn full of classic cameros and vettes. The guy even told him we could have the part for free as long as it was for a cool car. The shop owner assured him, it was "a very cool car."
So about $200 and 6 hours later, we were back on the road.
With large gray clouds overhead and the sun quickly setting we were worried about hitting more bad weather. But fortunately we were able to make it home and FINALLY get our new baby safely in our garage.
We had the time of our lives on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip traveling a classic route in a classic car.