With our feet still tapping to the bluegrass sounds of the Zipper Motors party of the night before, we headed out of Grand Junction on Thursday morning. It was time to get to Pueblo and the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals. We had been very fortunate on this tour to have some great weather and hot-but-bearable temperatures. After watching the weather forecast we realized that our luck was going to change, with thunderstorms predicted for the entire Colorado region. Both local TV stations not only reported on the weather, but they also happened to show the interviews we had done at Zipper the previous evening. It was fun to see the Road Tour featured on the news.
Between Grand Junction and Pueblo lay a few hills called the Rocky Mountains. Traveling on Route 50, the high climb is up and over Monarch Pass, and at about 11,000 feet you realize how far up you really are. Everyone made it up and over, but it was on the decent that we finally found the bad weather. In an instant the skies got dark and the rain started to fall. Then came some hail. Not bad but enough to wake up the roadster group. We stopped in Salida and had some lunch at the Sonic. While we hoped to wait out the rain, it followed along with us the last two hours into Pueblo.
Some of the group stopped at the Royal Gorge in Canon City and I went ahead to set up the STREET RODDER booth at the fairgrounds. The kickoff party at the Rocky Mountain Nationals is held at the local reservoir and it's a great way to start the weekend. We were able to park the Road Tour cars next to the STREET RODDER tent and we spent the days enjoying each other's company, reliving the stories of the previous weeks' travels, and cooking burgers each day for lunch. We got together Saturday evening at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner since some of the group was heading out in the morning and it was our last chance to exchange addresses and phone numbers. As I've said before, this bunch had really bonded.
After the awards, it was time for me to head east toward my home in Ohio. Traveling with me for the trek across I-70 was Road Tour veteran Brian Bell. Brian is the only person to travel on all three of the Road Tours this summer, and his '36 Auburn Boattail Speedster gets everyone's attention on the highway.
Things got a bit dicey at about 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, just east of Colorado Springs, as about 3 inches of pea-sized hail fell from the black clouds above. There was no damage to our cars, but it was a scary moment. The rest of the trip went fine and I arrived home on Tuesday evening.
You can read the complete Rocky Mountain event coverage in STREET RODDER magazine and check back here regularly as we keep you updated on Tours #4, 5, and 6. There are many miles to go this season and I would sure enjoy the company, so think about joining us on any or all of the remaining PPG / STREET RODDER Road Tours for 2006.