The NSRA Nationals in Kalamazoo, MI, is always a highlight of the fall rod run season in t
The Performance World Custom Car & Truck Show leg of the PPG / STREET RODDER Road Tour, sponsored by the folks who put on the largest indoor car show in Canada, marked the first time the Road Tour has traveled out of the United States. Beginning in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the NSRA Nationals North and then traveling on to the NSRA Northeast Nationals in Burlington, Vermont, the participants on this leg of the tour were ready for some beautiful scenery in Canada. An even nicer surprise was that the beauty and warmth of the folks who greeted us on our trip though Canada were just as spectacular as the scenery.
The Road Tour participants all gathered at the STREET RODDER tent at the Nats over the weekend, giving everyone a chance to get to know each other. As has been the case all summer, there were a number of folks who were participating in their second or third Road Tour, and it is good to know people have a great time on the tours and want to sign up for another fun week on the road!
This was the scene as the participants for the Performance World Custom Car & Truck Show l
We rolled out of the Kalamazoo Fairgrounds after the awards ceremonies on Sunday and started on the threehour trip to the border crossing into Canada at Port Huron, Michigan. There were 21 cars registered for the Performance World leg, with 16 leaving from the Nationals North and five more cars joining us along the route. The afternoon trip to Port Huron went smoothly and we reached the border checkpoint by 6:30 p.m.
We had reservations at a hotel in Sarnia, Ontario, right across the border from Port Huron. A few weeks before this leg of the tour, I had received an e-mail from Bob McMillan of the Sarnia Street Machine Car Club, who wanted to meet us at the hotel and have a cookout for our group. It sounded like a great way to start the tour so we made the plans, but I was not prepared for the wonderful greeting we were given when we pulled into the parking lot that Sunday evening. The lot was filled with more than 50 street rods, street machines, customs, and antique cars, and hundreds of smiling faces. What a welcome to Canada! The Sarnia Street Machines is a 70-family club that has been around since the early '80s and does some wonderful charity fund-raisers while having fun with their vehicles.
We were greeted by the Sarnia Street Machine Car Club when we crossed into Canada and reac
Monday morning we were up and rolling by 7:45 a.m., headed for our first stop at Lowdown Hot Rods in Cambridge. The folks at Lowdown have been building high-quality street rods and show cars for a number of years and gave us a look at their latest projects, along with some coffee and donuts. It was then on to our noontime stop at Legendary Motor Cars, near Toronto, the home of the "Dream Car Garage" TV show and a number of high-performance cars on display for sale. It was here that Brenda Brough and Gary Chalice of the Performance World Custom Car & Truck Show met us. Brenda is the show manager and, with Gary and a dedicated team of helpers, puts on the largest indoor car show in Canada each March. The Performance World group, along with Legendary, provided box lunches for everyone, and members of the Motor City Car Club of Oshawa, Ontario, also greeted us at Legendary. The Motor City folks were our hosts for the day and had planned a fantastic afternoon for our stay in the Toronto-Oshawa area. What was even cooler was making the trip around the busy Toronto area on the 407 Freeway, since, while it is a toll road, the Motor City members had a local company pick up the tab for the tolls.
We made a quick stop at Lowdown Hot Rods in Cambridge, ON, Monday morning. These folks hav
After checking into our hotel, we made the short drive to Parkwood Estates, the mansion built by the founder of General Motors of Canada, for a great tour of the beautiful estate and gardens. Again, it was all complimentary, courtesy of the Motor City Car Club. After some tea and snacks at Parkwood, it was time to head to the Motor City clubhouse for a dinner in our honor. When we pulled in, we were greeted by an entire field filled with club members, their cars, a huge party tent, and 80 pounds of beef cooking on grills. Brenda and the Performance World team provided door prizes that had been contributed and each and every Road Tour participant received something. It was an amazing evening with the Motor City folks, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2009-I am already making plans for the Road Tour to come to Oshawa and help them celebrate next year!
Tuesday found us headed to the 1000 Island area of Ontario for a day of sightseeing. After the two-hour drive to the Gananoqua area on the St. Lawrence Seaway, everyone made his or her own decision as to how to spend the afternoon. Many of us chose to take the three-hour boat trip up and down the river to explore the 1000 Island area, which included a chance to see the incredible Boldt Castle on Hart Island.
Monday afternoon we stopped for lunch at Legendary Motorcar Company near Toronto. Legendar
After our afternoon on the river, it was time to cross over the border and back into the United States. The lines at the border checkpoint were not too long and we all had our photo IDs ready. I handed the young American border guard my ID when I pulled up, and he paused, smiled, and said, "My dad has a chopped '32 Chevy coupe. your Deuce looks great! Have a great trip." We had a wonderful time in Canada, but it was great to be back in the United States! We then made the short trip to Alexandria Bay, New york, to spend the evening.
Wednesday morning we made a stop at the Antique Boat Museum in nearby Clayton, New york, where we saw some amazing classic wooden boats that ranged from canoes to world record Gold Cup racing boats. I am not necessarily a boating fan, but I can see how someone could become involved in the hobby after seeing the quality and craftsmanship in these beautiful rigs. From Clayton we took a beautiful three-hour drive through the Adirondack Mountains to Lake Placid, New york. The winding drive through the mountains was fantastic, and we arrived in Lake Placid, freshened up, and all headed into town for dinner.
Thursday it was time to head to Burlington, Vermont, and the NSRA Northeast Nationals, but we did have a few more stops to make. About an hour east of Lake Placid we stopped at the Ausable Chasm, known as the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks, which was a spectacular view into the river far below. From the Ausable Chasm it was a very short trip to Port Kent to load onto the ferry for the one-hour boat ride across Lake Champlain to the waterfront in downtown Burlington. It was quite a sight to see all 20 Road Tour rides loaded onto the ferry, and the captain even invited me up in the pilot area to sit behind the wheel. We landed in Burlington and headed to the headquarters hotel for registration.
It was a fantastic week on the Performance World leg of the Road Tour, especially since we were part of the first Road Tour to travel beyond the borders of the United States. We found great folks north of the border and saw some of the most picturesque parts of the United States and Canada. The fun carried over into the weekend at the NSRA Northeast Nationals in Burlington with the combination of the extended year format the NSRA has implemented for this event and the beautiful weather all weekend that helped fill the grounds with participants and spectators
Make sure to visit
www.streetrodderweb.com for updates on the Road Tour schedule for '08, and to download the latest information because it is going to be a great 2008!
Brenda Brough (left) is the manager of the Performance World Custom Car & Truck Show held
These are the members of the Motor City Car Club. The Road Tourians appreciated the hospit
On Tuesday we cruised to the 1000 Island area on the St. Lawrence Seaway near the U.S.-Can
The trip on Wednesday afternoon took us through the Adirondack Mountains to our destinatio
Wednesday morning we stopped at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, Ny, a fantastic facili
We loaded the cars on the ferry at Port Kent, Ny, for the hour-long trip across Lake Champ
We made quite a picture as we stopped for a photo shoot near a lake in the Adirondack Moun
The grounds at the Northeast Nationals were filled all weekend. This was the first year th
Thursday morning we made a stop at the Ausable Chasm, a tourist area known as the Grand Ca