Everything revolves around the drive in the world of hot rodding-at least that's the way I see it. If there ever was a hobby where the phrase "to each his own" applied, ours would be the poster child. Take a look in an encyclopedia and under the definition of hot rod you will find a balding male with strands of hair flappin' while bugs are piling on the windshield. And, yes, his ride would be fenderless and topless! OK, there are some rodders who enjoy cranium adornment as well as facial follicles and prefer the fully covered ride. But not all!

For starters, some rodders thoroughly enjoy the build, and, while the drive is an integral part of the experience, there's no questioning the focal point. Over the course of four decades, I have had the good fortune to be involved with any number of builders (home schooled and professional), and the look of enjoyment on their faces was never lacking as each fired up a torch, shaped metal, wielded a spray gun, tracked a stitch, or buttoned up an engine.

Of course, there is also the assemblage who cannot wait to "git 'er done" and these rodders own the cars that make it onto the "blue line" roads minus a few final touches. Their car may never be "finished," since it is too much fun driving to switch off the ignition only to run the risk of being out of circulation for months (or longer). The road is everything to these dyed-in-the-wool hot rodders; it is the realization of dreams come true and dreams yet to be realized.

And then there are still others who enjoy the meticulous efforts required to "show" their car, and to them the personal adulation that comes with recognition of both the trained and untrained eye is reward enough. There is every likelihood these cars will never be used, even though there are decades of lineage saying, "This ride was meant to be driven."

Regardless, it is all about the drive for me. I happen to be one of those who thoroughly enjoys the "well dressed" ride. The idea of early to rise, gently folding back the car cover, applying a little liquid polish, and wiping off that light mist of dust to release an incredible shine speaks volumes to me.

There are two types of drives I enjoy the most-a short one or a long one. The Saturday morning cruise and the crosscountry treks are my two favorites. The two- to three-hour outing replenishes my nternal batteries, reminding me just how much fun driving a hot rod can be, while the cross-country trek reminds me why I enjoy life. (Wow, that's some pretty heady stuff.) Do I enjoy enough of either? Of course not. But such is life and the plight of monthly deadlines.

All isn't lost. While winter in SoCal isn't like winter, say on the East Coast, we still have cold and wet days. Right now, squeezing in weekend outings between rain storms is my biggest challenge, but I shall overcome. As I look over my schedule for this summer, I realize I have a chance to drive on one leg of the Road Tour that will take me from Vintage Air in San Antonio, Texas, to the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky-one of the truly great events-and even more spectacular locations. Then I get to follow this with a shot at driving to the Nationals, maybe even rounding up last summer's sidekick, Steve Coonan from The Rodder's Journal. By then I am sure he will have forgotten what it was like to ride with me and should be up for another high-speed run across the Interstate. Now comes the best part. With the 60th anniversary of the Bonneville Speed Week, I will have the chance to make this drive followed by a drive-through at the Goodguys Pleasanton event. Now that is a summer's worth of driving that is second to none. Right now it looks like there will be plenty of hot rods at Bonneville, and the chance to see both race cars and street cars side by side is always fun. And we all know the Salt is a great place to work on one's suntan.

It's about time to make sure the ol' highboy is ready for an active winter and even more active summer. And while that's taking place, maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze in some time to get a few more projects handled on the latest ride-my roadster pickup. Well, time will tell and as the saying goes, "If the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise," I will be sure to have me a great summer driving.