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.
Okay Folks, go get a road atlas, a beverage and follow along as the PPG/Street Rodder Road Tour #3 has found a route that you will want to take if you ever get the chance. All set?
Tuesday evening we stayed in Page, Arizona. Wednesday, June 21 was the first day of summer and offered more hours of light than any day of the year. We were determined to take full advantage of this unique opportunity of location and time. At 7:00 AM we gathered in the front of the hotel for our daily drivers meeting. During these meetings we go over the days' planned route and destination. Questions are answered; comments and suggestions are made. Page, Arizona is very close to the Arizona/Utah border so we headed southeast on Route 98. At this point, and for the next 3 hours, we were on the Navajo Indian Reservation, which is by far one of the prettiest places on earth. We headed north on Route 160 to Kayenta, the gateway to Monument Valley, (Route 163 travels through some of the most spectacular rock formations I have ever seen). Continuing on 163 we passed through Mexican Hat and on to Bluff. At Bluff Utah we headed north on Utah Route 191 where the landscape and scenery was breathtaking. After a quick lunch-break, we continued up the 191.
By 3 in the afternoon we reached the town of Moab, Utah and caught Route 128, which travels along the Colorado River and through the Arches National Park area. This one-hour drive is ranked one of the most beautiful routes in the nation. No argument here as we all agreed that it was absolutely amazing.
Route 128 took us to I-70 where we headed east for a party that was being thrown in our honor. Good friends Darrell and Rosalie Zip at Zipper Motors rolled out the Grand Junction red carpet as we were treated to great food and entertainment from some great Bluegrass musicians The Hallelujah Band was lead by non other than Danny Agajanian of the famous Agajanian racing family. To end our incredible day we took a sunset cruise through The Colorado Monument, which is a gorgeous 26-mile drive over the steep cliffs and vistas surrounding Grand Junction.
This was truly an amazing day on Road Tour #3. We saw some unbelievable scenery and traveled through some of the most beautiful area of our great country. The things that made it all so special was we were able to enjoy it all with great friends while traveling in our street rods. It just doesn't get much better than that!
Well, we are almost to Pueblo and the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals. Check back. You will be the first to get a full report on all the excitement.
After Monday evening in Las Vegas, the Road Tour crew was up early and ready to roll early Tuesday morning. Our destination was is Page, Arizona and we had a few places to stop along the way. As we pulled out of the Gold Coast Casino we didn't realize that our planned route would be altered later in the day by a forest fire!
Traveling north on I-15 we stopped in St George to fuel and grab a bite to eat. Our destination for the afternoon was the north rim of the Grand Canyon. From St George there were a few choices for routes to travel to the Canyon. Some folks took the southern route through Colorado City and others took the northern swing through Zion National Park. One of the things that we have stressed on all of the Road Tours is that folks are free to roam on different routes according to what they want to see out on the tour.
I chose the route through Zion since I had never been through the park. It was a great drive and the Chevy Coupe was clicking right along. From Zion I traveled south to the north rim of the Canyon. The folks that chose the southern route were already coming up from the rim. I spent about an hour at the canyon. I had seen the view from the south a number of times but the view from the north is an entirely different perspective.
By this time there were about four of us traveling together. When we reached the planned turn off for our trip to Page we were greeted by some rangers who informed us that the road was closed because of forest fires in the area. We checked the map and found another route. It was a lesson learned, luckily we had given ourselves enough time to get to Page before dark. As others in the group arrived at the hotel we all compared our days notes. Once again we all had a great day on the Road Tour.
Tomorrow is going to be the first day of summer, the longest day of the year and with what we have planned for our route, possibly the most beautiful drive of the Road Tour this summer. Check back soon, I will give you all the details.
2006 Road Tour #3
June 19, 2006
On Monday morning, 35 registered vehicles and over 50 participants met at SO-CAL Speed Shop's Pomona headquarters to head out on the PPG / STREET RODDER Road Tour #3.
Our destination for this tour is the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals in Pueblo, Colorado. SO-CAL is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year and is the official sponsor of Tour #3.
It was a real honor to have SO-CAL's founder, Alex Xydias, travel with us on the first leg of the tour to Las Vegas.
The trip was a smokin' hot journey across I-15 as the temperature hit 106 degrees when we stopped for lunch in Baker, California. The 13-mile-long climb after Baker pushed most of the cars to their boiling point, but fortunately not beyond, as no one experienced any overheating problems. That is not to say the trip was trouble-free; our group had one flat tire and one wiring problem, but everyone fortunately made it to Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas SO-CAL Speed Shop is a state-of-the-art facility with a beautiful showroom stocked with all the latest street rod and custom parts and accessories. Behind the store is a service facility called Hot Rod Central where some of the Road Tour participants were able to have their cars checked over for any minor issues.
There were almost 50 vehicles that showed up for the get-together. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing Vegas style, as a few of the Road Tourians (yet another new term) tried their hand at games of chance. The first gas stop tomorrow will reveal of who won, who lost, and who has to borrow gas money in order to continue on the rest of the tour. Viva Las Vegas!!
Next up we will head north on I-15 and then off the interstate to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We will spend tomorrow evening in gorgeous Page, Arizona, near Lake Powell. We have lots of beautiful scenery ahead of us, so check back here often, and I'll be sure to send some pictures back home. Jerry Dixey
I have been very fortunate over the last decade to attend hundreds of street rod events and car shows around the country. Since 1996 I have attended 110 consecutive NSRA events and enjoyed every one. I have been lucky enough to get to all the major indoor shows from Cobo Hall in Detroit to the 50th Grand National Roadster Show a few years ago. For one reason or another I have never been to the L.A. Roadsters' Father's Day Show. My schedule usually had me somewhere in the Midwest.
I just spent the weekend in Pomona at the Roadster Show and I will never miss another one. There is a certain type of energy at this event like no other that comes from combining over 800 roadsters with folks from all over the country who have made the trip to see what the buzz is all about. In short, it is the place to be on Father's Day.
After our road trip from San Antonio, the group on Tour #2 had a full weekend of activities. Friday morning we took a tour of the NHRA Museum and their fantastic collection of vehicles and memorabilia. From there we made the short trip to a great Mexican restaurant just down the street from the headquarters of SO-CAL Speed Shop. By mid-afternoon the streets in front of and around SO-CAL's facilities were packed with folks attending their famed open house before the Roadster Show.
Things were rolling at the Pomona Fairplex by early Saturday morning. The L.A. Roadsters set aside a special parking area for all of us on the Road Tour and we spent the day checking out all there was to see and do. On Saturday night some of our group went to Irwindale Speedway for a night of circle track racing. Sunday it was back out at the fairgrounds for another day of Father's Day fun.
It was a great week on the road capped by a great weekend in L.A. Friendships were made and everybody enjoyed more than a few laughs. My thanks go out to Rick Love, George Packard, Jack Chisenhall, and all the folks at Vintage Air. Their hard work and attention to detail made the week go very smoothly.
For some folks, Sunday was a day to head back home. For others it was the halfway point of two weeks of Road Tour fun. Tomorrow morning about 40 of us head out on Road Tour #3. Our destination is Pueblo, Colorado and the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals. Our trip will take us to Las Vegas, Lake Powell, Monument Valley, Grand Junction, and across the Rocky Mountains to Colorado.
Stay tuned to the 2006 Street Rodder Road Tour blog for the latest updates. As they say, what happens in Vegas goes right on the Internet!!
June 16, 2006
Whenever I'm in Southern California, I can't help but wonder if the weather is always this nice. After 10 years of coming out here on a regular basis and never seeing bad weather, I guess it is this beautiful all the time. Sunshine, blue skies, and temps in the low 80s greeted the Road Tour crew on Thursday morning as we began our first full day in L.A.
After our daily drivers meeting, we headed out for the trip to Wilshire Boulevard and the Petersen Automotive Museum. From the Primedia offices in Placentia, this trip could take anywhere from one hour to three days depending on the time of day and traffic. We left Placentia at 9 a.m. and, amazingly enough, we drove straight in without any traffic jams or snarled traffic. It must be the luck of the Road Tour.
The Petersen Museum is an incredible place to visit. Museum "head guy" Dick Messer gave us the royal treatment with an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at some of the amazing collection of vehicles. The emphasis is on hot rod history and heritage, and it was great to see some of the early cars and stories of the pioneers who made our hobby what it is today. One of the current exhibits features Chip Foose and some of his incredible work. To see so many of Chip's cars in one place really gives you an idea of the impact this all-around good guy has had on our hobby over the last decade. Anyone who has an interest in street rods, customs cars, and special-interest vehicles needs to get to the Petersen Automotive Museum at least once.
We said our goodbyes in L.A. and headed out of town by 2 p.m. The rule in Los Angeles is: Get where you want to be by 3 p.m. 'cuz you're not going very far between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. We wanted to get to our hotel in Claremont because we had such a great offer for the evening: an invitation to the drive-in Thursday evening to see the new movie "Cars." It was the perfect ending to another perfect day on the Road Tour.
Stay tuned. There's only one more day until the start of the whole reason we made this trip--the L.A. Roadster Show starts on Saturday.
June 15, 2006
It has been a wild four days since we left San Antonio, Texas, but we have finally arrived in L.A. as promised, so I guess that would make this the Promised Land! On Tuesday morning we left Willcox, Arizona, and traveled to the Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson. We spent about two hours at the museum and most of us took the guided tour of the hundreds of planes and memorabilia. It was very educational and informative.
From there it was off to our lunch stop at the very new and very cool Hi Speed Customs shop in the historic old section of Tucson. John Sewell Sr., John Jr., Anthony Ribeau, and Paul Martinez have done a fantastic job of setting up a shop that includes vehicle and parts sales, a service and paint area, and even a motorcycle chopper shop. Everyone was impressed, so check it out if you are in the area.
From Hi Speed in Tucson we made the two-hour drive to Phoenix. Rick Love from Vintage Air led us on a cruise through the mountain and desert areas between the cities. It was very hot, but everyone made it to SO-CAL Phoenix, our host for the evening. Frank and Mary Streff and their crew greeted us with food and beverages and a tour of their facility--a great place with lots of vintage Ford parts.
Rush hour was done by the time we departed SO-CAL, and we made it across Phoenix with ease. We stayed Tuesday evening in Peoria, Arizona, on the west side of Phoenix. Ray and Karen Doe greeted us at RB's Obsolete in the morning with the biggest stack of Krispy Kreme donuts I have ever seen. There we added about eight new travelers to our merry band, including Ray Doe himself.
We lunched in Blythe on the California/Arizona border, and then we headed past Palm Springs and into Corona, the home of Barry's Speed Shop and the filming location for the TLC show "Wrecks to Riches", and the incredible metal masters, Marcel DeLey and his sons, Luc and Marc. What an incredible shop they have! The project bodies they are fabricating at their facility, Marcel's Custom Metal Shaping, blew everyone away.
We spent last night in Placentia, next to our Primedia offices, and today it is on to the Petersen Automotive Museum and then the SO-CAL open house in Pomona. Saturday and Sunday will be spent at the L.A. show at the Pomona Fairplex. The fun never stops on the Road Tour!!
The PPG/STREET RODDER Road Tour has been rolling for two days and we are having a blast! Over 45 vehicles rolled out of Vintage Air in San Antonio early Sunday morning. Our morning took us through San Antonio and west on Route 90. After a gas stop along the way, we arrived in Del Rio, on the U.S.-Mexico border. Your reporter took a wrong turn and I found myself in a line that was headed toward the Del Rio International Bridge over the Rio Grande River. I quickly realized that I was about to take the Road Tour to another level and decided this was not the year for that move. I got out of line and turned around. I still beat the crowd to the Sirloin Stockade and narrowly avoided an international incident.
After a very healthy lunch, we all continued our trek up the border on Route 90. The educational stop for the day was the site of the court of Judge Roy Bean, the only law west of the Pecos for many years in the 1800s. It was a nice display of an interesting combination of pool hall, tavern, and courthouse. After about 30 minutes of touristing (I think I just made up a word), we headed toward our destination of Fort Davis, Texas. The evening was also very educational as we spent about two hours at the McDonald Observatory looking at the planets and a very full moon.
Monday morning some folks checked out the restored fort in town and others spent time doing some repairs to their vehicles. After a beautiful 35-mile drive on Route 118, we reached the first interstate highway of our trip. I-10 was our route to our lunch stop at MSD in El Paso. The folks at MSD really rolled out the welcome mat with some great barbecue and very interesting tours of their facilities. Thanks to everyone at MSD for a great lunch break.
Our destination for the evening was Willcox, Arizona, and we all arrived by 6 p.m. It has been a great two days on the tour, and we still have many miles to go before we arrive in Los Angeles. Next up are Tucson, Phoenix, and lots of fun stops. Check back--I'll keep you posted on our progress. Jerry
It's time for the 2006 PPG/Street Rodder Road Tour #2 to head west. We are staged in San Antonio, Texas and ready to go with our sights set on Los Angeles, California and the famed LA Roadster Show. With 63 vehicles and passengers signed up for this Tour, and it is going to be lots of fun. The kickoff party took place last night at Vintage Air as everyone received their credentials and Rick Love went over some of the particulars of what to expect on the drive during the coming week. He has done an incredible job of planning the week's activities.
I flew into Austin, TX yesterday and picked up the Rod Tour car at Fat Lucky's Upholstery Shop in Austin. Owner Sean Johnstun and David Mandujano did a fantastic job on the interior of the Outlaw bodied coupe so I'll now be riding in more comfort.
Mark Gustafson had picked me up at the airport and I drove to San Antonio with Mark's Dad, Bill in his '32 Roadster. Tony Adsley and Dave Grayson drove in Tony's '32, and guitarist Jimmie Vaughn brought along his '35 Ford coupe.
We have a great group of folks making the drive with us to LA, and more are scheduled to join up along the way. Some of the names that you may recognize are Jim "Jake" Jacobs in his '29 Delivery and legend Tex Smith will be riding along with Street Rodder Tech editor Ron Ceridono in the 2005 Road Tour car.
I'm really looking forward to getting started as this is obviously going to be one of the best Road Tours ever. We're going to strap in and have a great time.
Well, it's 5:30 AM on Sunday morning in San Antonio and I have a few folks to meet up with and take a little cruise.
Keep checking back. I'll keep you posted.
June 6 2006
PPG/Street Rodder Road Tours #2 and #3 are rapidly approaching. With great memories of Tour #1 still fresh in my mind, it's time to turn my attention to the next business at hand.
Sponsored by Vintage Air and put together with much work by Rick Love of Vintage Air, Tour #2 is turning into a huge event. As of this morning we have 62 cars registered to travel with us from San Antonio to the L.A. Roadsters' famous Father's Day Show in Pomona!!! We will be making stops at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas, the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, and lots of street rod shops along the way to Los Angeles.
We have some street rod notables traveling along for the ride, including Tex Smith and Jim Jacobs (the original "Jake" in Pete and Jake's). It should be a blast!
I just checked the forecast for Phoenix; it's going to be 112 degrees on Tuesday when we pass through. WOW!
From the Father's Day Show, we set out Monday morning on the SO-CAL Speed Shop-sponsored Tour #3. SO-CAL is celebrating their 60th anniversary and we are going to have founder Alex Xydias with us on the first leg as we travel from L.A. to Las Vegas. This tour is going to be a beautiful trip as we travel to Page, Arizona, Monument Valley, Grand Junction, and onto Pueblo and the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals. As of today we have 32 cars registered. Stay tuned into Streetrodderweb.com for all the details and updates.
I am including a few of my favorite pictures from Tour #1. I especially like the one of me in the barber chair at Advanced Plating. Boy, those things are sure uncomfortable.
Check back often, as I'll keep you posted on the progress of all the tours, and maybe you will decide to join us on some of the ones we have planned for later this summer. Jerry
The second half of Road Tour #1 proved to be as exciting as the first half. We even managed to learn a few things along the way.
We got an early start for our Wednesday morning in Nashville. It was a short drive to Advanced Plating, the official sponsor for Tour #1. Owner Steve Tracey greeted us in their beautiful retail showroom. After a quick look at a few of Steve's vehicles (including the very shiny "Chromezilla" '32 Ford roadster) the tour and education began.
We were given an in-depth look at the chrome plating process by the best in the business. Lasting just over an hour, the tour followed parts from the time they are received at Advanced Plating until they are very shiny and on their way back to the customer. What happens in between is part inventory control, part restoration, and requires an awful lot of hard work and the knowledge of a chemical engineer! From the look of the chrome-plated parts at the end of this process, its safe to say the folks at Advanced Plating know what they are doing.
From Advanced Plating, Steve lead the group to one of his plating customers: Gibson Guitars in Nashville. Hot cars and hot guitar licks have always gone hand in hand. We were all amazed at the craftsmanship that goes into the manufacturing of a Gibson electric guitar. We followed the process from the time that the exotic woods from around the world arrived at the plant until the time that these hand crafted masterpieces are shipped out to musicians across the globe.
Both Nashville tours really showed that pride, quality and craftsmanship are still alive in America today.
By noon we were headed west on I-40 to Jackson, Tennessee. Our ranks had grown to sixteen vehicles and we had an invitation from street rod builder and collector George Poteet to come to his farm in Holly Springs, Mississippi for some dinner and to take a look at his incredible collection of vehicles. What an evening!
We started out with a tour of a beautiful Southern mansion that is maintained by the Holly Springs Garden Club. We were treated to a very interesting lecture about the history of cotton in the South. George's good friend, William Bearden has written a book on the subject and held everyone's attention as he discussed the crop that built the South. It was then on to an "off the beaten path" restaurant where we were served the best hamburgers I've ever tasted. Then it was on to George's farm for homemade ice cream and a look at his unbelievable collection of street rods and collector cars.
A gracious host and genuine Southern gentleman, George shared stories of his cars and their history with all in attendance.
When we arrived at our hotel in Holly Springs for the evening, it was hard to grasp all of the incredible things that we had seen and learned in that single day of Road Tour #1.Thursday morning we made the thirty-minute drive to Memphis where we enjoyed breakfast at one of Elvis' favorite restaurants. We made a brief stop at Sun Records then drove down the famous Beale Street section of Memphis. From there we headed across Arkansas, made a stop in Hardy and toured the automotive museum. One more stop for lunch at Hillbilly Junction, then it was on to the NSRA Mid-America Nationals in Springfield.
It was a great week on the 2006 PPG Street Rodder Road Tour #1. Many friendships were formed and everyone who came along for the ride said that they would love to do it again. They will have their chance, since there are five more Tours on this summer's schedule. Our next stop is San Antonio, Texas as Jack Chisenhall and Rick Love from Vintage Air help lead a group of over fifty vehicles as we head to Los Angeles for the famous Father's Day Roadster Show.
Check back here for more updates from the 2006 PPG/Street Rodder Road Tour #2...
The 2006 PPG/STREET RODDER Road Tour marks not only the second decade of the Road Tour series, but also a new format. For the last 10 years I have traveled around the United States solo, attending National Street Rod Association events and reporting on my adventures in the pages of STREET RODDER magazine. This year we decided it would be fun to invite the readers to travel along in their own vehicles and experience the fun of long-distance cruising firsthand.
Like any new concept, we were not sure what to expect with both the response and the results. It has turned out great so far, with the first tour just past the halfway point, and the response and the results have been very positive.
We attended the Cruisin' Ocean City event in Ocean City, Maryland, and headed west on Sunday afternoon with 14 cars and 17 participants. Our stop for Sunday night was Virginia Beach and the Norfolk, Virginia, shop of Flatlanders Hot Rods. Alan Thornton and 25 local rodders where on hand to greet us.
Monday morning our journey continued to Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a fun day as we were able to take a few laps around Lowes Motor Speedway in our own vehicles. We then lined the cars up at the start/ finish line for an incredible photo opportunity. Brent and the folks at Fatman Fabrications were our hosts Monday evening and we were treated to a good old-fashion barbeque.
Tuesday was a 400-mile day with our designation being Nashville, Tennessee, where Johnny and Linda Fruend greeted us at their Hunters Custom shop.
Wednesday we are touring the Advanced Plating facility and the Gibson Guitar factory in Nashville, and then we head to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where street rod builder and collector George Poteet has invited us for an evening at his farm. Everyone is excited to see George's fantastic collection of vehicles.
We are well into Tour #1 of our new Road Tour series. It will be an exciting day today, and tomorrow we roll into Springfield, Missouri, to our destination of the NSRA Mid-America Nationals.
Check back here and get current updates and info on Road Tour 2006. With five more tours scheduled, there is plenty of time to join in the fun.