With the 31st Hot Rod Roundup in the books it was time to head out on the Shades of the Past Road Tour to the NSRA Nationals North Plus in Kalamazoo, Michigan. On Sunday morning it was a three-hour drive to Nashville where our first stop was at the Frist Museum to see the "Sensuous Steel" exhibit. It contained 18 cars and two motorcycles that represented the Art Deco styling that was a trademark of the 1920s, 1930s, and beyond.

From the Frist Museum it was a short drive to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They really tell the story of the history of country music in America. From the museum it was a short walk to Broadway and the honky-tonks and restaurants of the old Nashville.

We started out on Monday with a visit to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The museum recounts the history of this iconic Chevy model and the people who built it into one of the most popular brands of vehicle in the world. Across the street work has begun on what will be a racecourse and test track that will be part of the facility.

It was a 2-1/2 hour drive north to Jasper, Indiana, and the huge Jasper Engines facility. While the building looks big from the outside, the activities taking place inside are also amazing. Over 1,000 workers are busy rebuilding and refurbishing engines, transmissions, and rearends. Especially interesting was the area devoted to refurbishing earlier special-interest vehicle engines.

Continuing north we made a brief stop in Plainfield, Illinois. It was Hot Rod magazine's Drag Week with over 250 vehicles competing at various dragstrips across the country. The catch is that these participants must drive from track to track in the vehicles that they are racing and have all their tools and equipment in the vehicle or small trailer that they pull. We had been invited to join in the fun at the Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Many of the Drag Week participants stopped by and after dusk the movie Snake and Mongoose was shown.

Tuesday we headed to Indianapolis Raceway Park to watch the Hot Rod Drag Week participants run down the famous 'strip. As a tour bonus we also found out that there were six Indy car teams at the Speedway in the morning doing some tire testing. A number of us went to the Speedway and watched, then made a quick walk through the Speedway Museum.

From Indy it was about three hours to Manteno, Illinois, the home of Rad Rides by Troy. At first glance you really wouldn't expect Manteno to be home to one of the most famous hot rod builders of our generation. Troy Trepanier grew up working in his father Jack's body shop in Manteno.

Troy and Jack Trepanier greeted us when we arrived. We were given insight into their background and they answered questions from the Road Tourians. Jack gave us a tour of the shop and afterward he invited us to walk across the street and enjoy some great pizza. It was a fun evening with one of the nicest families involved in our hobby.

Our destination for lunch was the Studebaker mansion (Tippecanoe Place) in South Bend. The home was built in the late 1800s by Clement Studebaker, one of the founding brothers of the Studebaker empire. It's literally a castle with 40 rooms on four floors.

Next up was a short drive to the town of Elkhart, Indiana, the RV capital of the world. Our destination was the RV/MH Hall of Fame. The displays contained examples of motorhomes and trailers from every era.

We were invited to a behind-the-scenes look at Coachman's Class A assembly plant in Middlebury, Indiana. It was amazing that a bare chassis rolls in one end of the building and a fully equipped and complete Class A motorhome rolls out the other end.

Thursday morning we headed north. Approximately 15 miles past Kalamazoo is one of the greatest car museums in the nation. The Gilmore Car Museum is located on 90 acres and presently includes 14 buildings filled with a wide range of vehicles. There are more buildings under construction and the Gilmore is a must see if you are anywhere close to central Michigan.

It was a great weekend at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals North Plus in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour tent was a center of activity all weekend as folks wanted to find out how the summer was going and a great way to wrap up our week on the Shades of the Past Road Tour. Go to streetrodder.com and see more details and photos from our trip. You will also find the 2014 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour schedule. Come along for the ride next year.