Well, folks, we have a winner! No, don't worry...we have not picked a name to win our '36 Chevy yet. The car itself is a winner! I must say, of all the past six Road Tour vehicles, this one has to be the most comfortable for the long-distance cruising that we do on the Tour. It is a heavy Chevy with a long wheelbase, and it glides down the highways.
The teams of craftsmen at Fatman Fabrications, CarFab, and Wade Hughes' Hot Rod Shop have put together a winning combination. I realize that all of you enjoyed seeing me in the past Road Tour cars get wet, sunburned, and frozen, but this year (by riding in comfort) I can spend more time reporting on the beautiful scenery and tourist attractions that our country has to offer. (Is anyone buying any of this?) Oh, well, off to the Rocky Mountain Nationals in Colorado!
From my home in Ohio, Colorado is a two-day drive. I decided to get a lot of miles down on the first day, so that I could have some extra time to report on that beautiful scenery I talked about earlier. Rolling out at dawn, the mile markers went by quickly. Traveling from the I-76 to I-71 to I-70 would take me all the way to Colorado. I really was making good time until I hit St. Louis at rush hour. There was a bad accident on the beltway around the city. I sat stopped in traffic for 30 minutes. With the temperature hovering around 98 degrees, it was time to put the cooling system and air conditioner to the test. The Walker Radiator unit, Cooling Components fan, and the Southern Air units all worked perfectly! I sat in air-conditioned comfort and the temperature gauge never went above 185 degrees. I would have roasted in a roadster!
When traffic finally cleared I was a little behind schedule. I wanted to get past Kansas City and avoid that morning rush hour traffic. I pressed on a little further into the darkness than I normally do, but the Vintique halogen headlights lit up the night. I finally stopped just past Kansas City in the town of Lawrence.
Very early the next morning I was awakened by thunder and lightning. I realized how lucky I was to have pushed on as I had the night before. The storm that passed over Lawrence dumped 5 inches of rain on Kansas City between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. That must have been an interesting rush hour! I then set my sights on Colorado.
The Kansas corn crop looks good this year and before too long I was entering beautiful Colorado. The reality is that when traveling across I-70, Colorado does not get real beautiful until you get about 100 miles down the road and the Rockies come into view. Since I had put in a long day on Monday, I had some time for that sightseeing I spoke about.
The city of Colorado Springs is absolutely gorgeous! With Pike's Peak in the background, the city offers lots to see and do. I spent some time at the rock formations called the Garden of the Gods, did some shopping in Old Colorado City, and dropped by Mike DeVriendt's SO-CAL Speed Shop. By Tuesday evening I was in Pueblo, my headquarters for the weekend.
Wednesday I headed north on I-25 for the two-hour trip to Denver. We had a Road Tour Road Show planned at Debby and Tom Albano's Denver Specialty Center. It was my first visit to Debby and Tom's shop, and I was greeted and treated like an old friend. As I spent the afternoon, I discovered one of the reasons why Denver Specialty Center has been successful for over 25 years: they treat all their customers with the same friendly attitude. That friendly attitude (combined with a huge inventory) is the key to a long, prosperous life in the street rod business. We had a great turnout during the afternoon at Denver Specialty Center. More than 30 street rods and customs stopped by to say "hi." By 6 p.m. it was time to head back down to Pueblo.
It was a great Rocky Mountain Nationals weekend in Pueblo. The Southwestern architecture makes a cool backdrop for the street rods. The Sangre de Cristo Art Center had a special exhibit on automotive art and related topics that many rodders were able to check out. More than 2,000 street rods filled the Colorado State Fairgrounds over the weekend. By Sunday afternoon it was time to head back east. I spent Sunday evening in Hays, Kansas. I made it to the Kansas City airport by Monday at noon. As planned, an old friend and traveling buddy Rick White, his wife Diana, and their new son Spencer, met me. In a street rod version of Park and Fly, I gave the keys to the '36 to Rick and hopped on a plane home to Ohio for the Fourth of July weekend.
It was fun to be home for the Fourth, but all too soon I was back on the plane to Kansas City. Waiting for me at the airport was a street rod taxi in the form of Herb Palmer and his black suede '39 Ford sedan. After a short ride to Rick White's, I was again behind the wheel of the Road Tour 2001/Kobalt '36 Chevy, heading south to Oklahoma City and the NSRA Southwest Nationals.
I did make a few visits along the way to Oklahoma City. I had to drop by Pete & Jake's in Peculiar, Missouri, to say "hi" to all my friends there. Pete & Jake's is now also the home of Super Bell Axle, and the move from the west coast to the Missouri location is now complete. I also stopped to see the folks at Halibrand. Design engineer Diane Layton gave us a tour of the facility, and company president Richard LeJuerrne spent some time with us discussing the new products that Halibrand is developing. By 9 p.m. Wednesday evening I was at the headquarters hotel for the NSRA Southwest Nationals in OKC.
The previous weeks in Oklahoma City had been hot even by their July standards. On Thursday the temperature hit 107 degrees! Then an amazing thing happened: a weather front passed through and much to the delight of all the street rodders in attendance, the mercury dropped and stayed around 80 degrees all weekend long. The rods in attendance numbered over 1,600, and on Saturday at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, it was wall-to-wall street rods and spectators.
After the awards ceremony on Sunday I hopped in the '36 and rolled on to Springfield, Missouri. I was up early the next day and made the 800-mile trip back to my home in Ohio by early evening. The weather was great and there is no place more beautiful than the green rolling landscape of Ohio in July.
It was a hectic three weeks, and I saw some beautiful parts of the country. The STREET RODDER Kobalt Tools '36 Chevy is running just fine. This car will make some lucky person a fantastic street rod when it is given away this fall. Be sure to stop by our booth at the NSRA events and sign up to win the car and say "hello."
See you on the Road Tour 2001...
This is the "Welcome to Colorado" sign on I-70 at the Kansas border. There is a convenient
If you are in Colorado Springs, stop and see Mike DeVriendt and the folks at SO-CAL Speed
The Garden of the Gods is in Colorado Springs--it has incredible rock formations, which in
The Road Show before the Rocky Mountain Nationals was held at Debby and Tom Albano's Denve
Artist Darryl Mayabb has been a good friend for many years. He dropped by the Road Show at
Denver Specialty Center has been in business since 1976. With friendly, knowledgeable folk
These are the fun folks who make it all happen! From left, owners Tom and Debby Albano, Da
The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center had a special automotive art exhibit running during the R
The Southwestern architecture, in the city of Pueblo, makes great backdrops for the street
I cannot go near Kansas City without stopping to see Jerry Slover at Pete & Jake's. The "C
Thursday was a little toasty in Oklahoma City. By Friday the temperature had lowered to th
I also stopped to say "hi" to Richard LeJuerrne and the folks at Halibrand in Wellington,
The great folks at Parr Automotive again rolled out the red carpet for the street rodders