With all the fun of the previous day in Detroit and the great time at Duggan's Pub still fresh in our minds, it was back to the business at hand. Our mission when we set out five days and four states ago was to get to the NSRA Street Rod Nationals North in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It was Thursday, and that was the day we were to arrive in K-Zoo, but we did have a few more stops along the way.
Earlier in the spring when we had announced our tour schedules for this year, I received a call from a fellow named Mike Atkins. Mike introduced himself as a street rodder who worked at a shop that builds race cars. He and some of his fellow street rodding co-workers wondered if we would like to stop by the shop where they work; Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication is located in a Detroit suburb. My first response was that we were on a pretty tight schedule at that point in our trip, but we would see if we could work it into our plans. Not really knowing what to expect, I asked Mike to send me some pictures of the shop. Well, he did and when I realized where he worked and what race cars they worked on, there was no doubt that we would make time to stop. Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication designs, develops, builds, and races the C6R Corvette, Cadillac CTS-V, and Pontiac GTO that compete and win races such as the 24 Hours of Lemans and the 24 Hours of Daytona, just to name a few. They compete and win on a regular basis.
The shop blew all of us away. I will spare you all the "eat off the floor" cliches. This was without a doubt the most professional and organized automotive build shop of any kind that I have ever had a chance to visit. The folks at Pratt & Miller greeted us, treated us to donuts and coffee, and gave us a tour of their fantastic facility. They even chose five of the Road Tour participants' vehicles and awarded them die-cast models of some of the vehicles they build. Many thanks to Mike Atkins and the folks at Pratt & Miller for raising the bar for Road Tour shop tours!
After our morning at Pratt & Miller, it was only about a two-hour drive to Kalamazoo. We stopped in Battle Creek and took a short tour at Cereal City USA operated by Kellogg's. It was a fun place to have some lunch and get a look at the cereal manufacturing process. The Road Tourians were polite, but it is hard to get excited about cornflakes after seeing million-dollar Corvette race cars.
We made it to registration in Kalamazoo by 3 p.m. and then we headed to Rutter's Rod Shop where we enjoyed another fine meal with street rod friends.
It was a great weekend at the Nationals North. The trip from Pigeon Forge was about as fun-filled as you could ask for. By the reaction of all the participants, it was a great tour. I know I sure had fun!
With one more tour to go, I know the route for Tour #6 is going to be beautiful. We will be traveling from Pomona and the NHRA Museum and heading up the Pacific Coast Highway with stops in Cambria, Monterey, Sanderson Headers, Roy Brizio's Shop, the Blackhawk Museum, and then on to the NSRA Golden State Nationals in Sacramento. Check back here and get all the news from the road as Jerry Gump and the Road Tourians "do" the Pacific Coast Highway and take one of the prettiest drives in America.
Don't forget to click on the page numbers below for previous Road Tour events.