After touring the second, third, and fourth floors we walked back down the steps to the first floor and the real highlight of the entire visit at the Smith Collection occurred. At the bottom of the steps was Bill Smith himself, and he greeted everyone with a handshake and a hello. Every time we have stopped at the Smith Collection on any of our Road Tours, Bill Smith has gone out of his way to personally make us feel welcome. It was an amazing wrap up to an amazing afternoon at the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed.

From the museum we took a short walk across the parking lot to the Speedway Motors retail store and warehouse. There we got a real behind-the-scenes look at the entire warehouse operations of America’s oldest speed shop. Many, many thanks go out to Bill Smith, son, Clay, Damon Lee, and all of the staff of Speedway Motors and the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed. It was a Road Tour afternoon to remember.

After checking into our hotel we all made the short drive to a Culver’s Restaurant just down the street. Jim McNeil and members of the Rebels Auto Club had put out the word and we were welcomed to Lincoln by about 50 local car enthusiasts. After some burgers and shakes we spent time talking with the local folks in attendance. It was the perfect ending to a dream day.

It was a windy and cloudy morning on Thursday in Lincoln. The wonderful memories of our visit to the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed were still fresh in everyone’s minds. After taking a picture for the Road Tour Gallery, which appears on the STREET RODDER website, we headed north toward Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the headquarters of Dakota Digital. It rained briefly during the three-and-a-half-hour drive but things were dry when we pulled into Dakota Digital. We were greeted by President Ross Ortman and his staff. Sub sandwiches were ready and we enjoyed lunch and tours of the modern Dakota Digital facility. Dakota Digital is again this season the official gauge sponsor of the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour. Their new VHX series combines digital accuracy with analog looks and they are the perfect complement to our tour vehicles. Thanks to everyone at Dakota Digital for the great welcome on Thursday afternoon.

It was a short drive to our destination of Brandon, South Dakota. After checking in at our hotel a major rainstorm hit. It brought the temperature down about 20 degrees in 10 minutes. It soon passed through and we headed as a group to see the car collection of Larry and Carol Olson. Larry and Carol have welcomed us on previous Road Tours. Their fantastic collection includes award-winning hot rods and muscle cars. We got one of the first looks at Larry’s just-completed ’40 Ford coupe that was built by the team at Bowman’s Real Hot Rods, which is right around the corner from Larry’s facility. After spending time looking at all of the cars on display we were treated to a fantastic meal at the Olsons, which was prepared by Kevin Bowman’s wife, Edane.

From Larry’s collection we drove two blocks to Bowman’s Real Hot Rods. Kevin had offered assistance to anyone on the tour who was in need of some repairs on their vehicles. There were some minor adjustments made on a few Road Tour participants’ vehicles. By about 9 p.m. things started to wind down. It was a great afternoon and evening in the Sioux Falls/Brandon area. Thanks to everyone who made it another great day on the Aeromotive Road Tour.

We were up and rolling by 8 a.m. on Thursday. It was time to get to St. Paul and the Back to the 50’s Weekend. It was a great four-hour drive from Brandon, South Dakota, to the Twin Cities. The rain of the previous day had dropped the temperature considerably. When we arrived at the registration headquarters the car show and parking lot party had already begun. Once inside, the Minnesota Street Rod Association folks helped the registration process go very smoothly. It was then off to our hotel to check in and get ready for our plans for the evening. We had been invited to be special guests at a picnic put on by the Scavengers Car Club.

The picnic is an annual pre–Back to the 50’s get-together. It was great to meet the members of the Scavengers. All of the Road Tourians really enjoyed the food and the hospitality of a club that represents what true car clubs are all about. Thanks to all the Scavengers who made us feel so welcome on Thursday evening.

Friday we were all up early and headed to the fairgrounds. The Minnesota Street Rod Association was ready at the grounds and we all rolled onto the grounds quickly, considering that by noon there were probably over 10,000 vehicles in attendance. Friday’s weather was perfect and the great cars, good food, and friendly folks were everywhere on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. While Friday was a very busy day, Saturday was bound to be even bigger.

By Saturday afternoon the vehicle count at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds had swelled to over 11,000 registered vehicles. The grounds were wall to wall with participants and spectators and a walk along the tree-lined streets proved that everyone was having a great time. The 39th edition of the NSRA Back to the 50’s Weekend wrapped up on Sunday afternoon. It was another huge success. Next year is the 40th Back to the 50’s Weekend and the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour will very likely be back again in 2013 to help them celebrate. For more pictures and expanded coverage of the Aeromotive Road Tour, go to www.streetrodder.com.