After a fun evening at the car show that we created in Fort Davis it was time to continue on our journey to the LA Roadster's Fathers Day show in Pomona, California. Before we headed out of town we had a brief history lesson at the Fort Davis historical site. It was very interesting as we learned the part hat Fort Davis played in the history of the West. We also came across a real rattle snake on the grounds of the Fort. The Park Rangers quickly located the audibly irritated snake.
From Fort Davis we trekked across the border of Texas and New Mexico and made a lunch stop in Pecos, Texas. From there were traveled along the flat plains of New Mexico toward Roswell, the town made famous in 1947 by the reputed crash of a UFO. We arrived in Roswell about 3:30 and made a stop at the UFO Museum. It was very interesting hour spent at the museum learning about the event that put Roswell on the map with an incident that occurred over 50 years ago.
After our UFO lesson we checked into our hotel. Street Rodder publisher Tim Foss had flown into Albuquerque and made the two hour drive to Roswell to join the Vintage Air Tour. As I waited for Tim to arrive I took a drive outside of town and spent some time checking out a huge auto salvage yard that included cars dating back to the 1940's. The yard was closed but I was able to get a good look at the gems through a cyclone fence. I did notice that the entire fenced in area was guarded by a fairly harmless looking herd of sheep. A brief rainstorm had just rolled through the area and created a rainbow over the Coupe.
Tuesday morning's drive across New Mexico was beautiful as we started to get into the hilly countryside of western New Mexico. Our lunch stop for the day was in Socorro, New Mexico. Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan was traveling with us again this year, this time in a very clean full fendered 1932 5 window coupe. While we were eating lunch Jimmie got a call from his pal car builder Lee Pratt. Lee had a tip for us....make sure you stop at Pie Town for dessert. Not just a restaurant, Pie Town is actually a real town. Situated on the Continental Divide Pie Town is famous for one thing...yup, PIES. The only restaurant in town, the Daily Pie diner had some pretty fantastic pies. We all enjoyed the dessert break and we soon on our way. Apparently we should have paid as much attention to our gas tanks as we had our sweet tooths. About 40 miles down the road, the Publisher of Street Rodder Magazine and yours truly, a veteran of twelve years and 375,000 miles in a street rod ran out of gas!!!!!!!! With Jack and Landis Chisenhall in front of us and Ron Ceridono and Tom Medley behind us we had plenty of help but no gas to put in our tank. With Ron documenting the entire incident for an upcoming issue of Street Rodder, we waiting and laughed about our plight. Then came our knight in shining armor. A carnival repair truck pulled up..really! I do not make this stuff up. We were saved by a carnival repair truck. Two gallons of gas and a few dollars later the two Chrome Plated Carnies from Street Rodder Magazine were back on their way. It was a priceless Road tour moments.
Before we arrived in Winslow, Arizona for the evening some of us took a side trip through the beautiful Petrified Forest and a portion of the Painted Desert. We finally checked into the beautifully restored La Posada Hotel in Winslow about 7PM. It had been a classic day on the Vintage Air Road Tour. The story of Pie Town and the petroleum management problem will be one of the great ones.
Check back as the Vintage Air Tour makes a stop at the Grand Canyon and travel on to Laughlin, Nevada as we make our way to the Fathers Day Roadster Show in Pomona.
I had just two days of turn around time after the Advanced Plating Tour ended in York. The Vintage Air Tour was set to head out on Sunday morning and Jack Chisenhall and Rick Love had a kick-off hot dog roast planned for everyone on Saturday evening. From my home in Youngstown Ohio Vinatge Air's headquarters in San Antonio is a mere two day drive. That would be just be too easy. I looked at a schedule of events and realized that I could catch The Hot Rod Power Tour in Memphis,Tenn on Thursday and roll with them into their final destination of Little Rock, Arkansas. What the heck, that sounded like fun.
I left Youngstown on Wednesday afternoon. Mark Kirby from Motor City Flatheads and Shadow Rods built the beautiful blown flathead motor in this years coupe. He wanted to give it a quick once over after the first two tours so he got it Sunday evening and with Phil Goller from Gollars Hot Rods in Defiance, Ohio gave it a tune up and made some adjustments. Mark met me with the Coupe on Weds evening and I drove to my pal Wade Hughes home in Cincinnati for the evening. Wades is the master of the Ohio Hot Rod Flames and a good friend.
Thursday's drive to Memphis was flawless and I arrived at the Memphis Motorsport Park by mid-afternoon. The Power Tour was at full tilt and in its fourth day. I parked in the Timberwolf exhibit and spent the afternoon seeing many old friends from Road Tours past. Check out Timberwolf's website at WWW.TWSPEEDSOP.Com to see how you can win this years Tour Coupe. Friday morning I stopped with a few folks at Vernon Walker's home in West Memphis, Arkansas. Walker Radiator and the NSRA keep Vernon busy during the day but his real passion is collecting neon signs and automobilia of all kinds. He has most of his treasures on display and it was a great two hours enjoying his fantastic collection. It is not everyone who has a restored 1962 Texaco gas station in their back yard.
Friday the Power Tour headed to Little Rock for the wrap up of their week on the road. Early Saturday morning I set my sites on San Antonio, Texas and the kick-off to the Vintage Air Road Tour to the LA Roadster's Father's Day Show in Pomona California. We had 30 cars filled with participants on this Tour and the route that Rick Love planned would take us through some of the pettiest parts of the Southwest.
Saturday evening we all gathered at Vintage Air for a cook-out and get together. There were a number of folks from last years Vintage Air Tour to The Roadsters Show and there were quite a few new faces too. Traveling with us this year was the legendary Tom Medley of Stroker McGurk fame. Tom was riding with Street Rodder staffer Ron Ceridono in Tom's vintage Ford sedan.
It was rise and shine on Sunday morning as we rolled out of Vintage Air. The weather was great and we were headed West. After a lunch stop in Del Rio, Texas we made a brief stop in Langley, Texas at the sight of the original court room and pool hall of Judge Roy Bean the only law West of the Pecos for quite a few years. It was then on to our stop for the night in Fort Davis, Texas. The local folks had planned a car show to raise money for charity and we were the center of attention all evening.
The first day of the Vintage Air Tour to the LA Roadster's Show was a blast. Check back here as we continue to roll West and we invade the UFO capital of the World, Roswell, New Mexico.
The Street Rodder\PPG Advanced Plating Tour continued on Tuesday morning as we were up early. First on the schedule was a visit to the shop of our Tour sponsor Advanced Plating in Nashville, Tennessee. We were given a full tour of their facility. The first thing you notice at their plant is that it is not your normal chrome plating facility. The Advanced Plating facility is incredibly clean and organized. Owner Steve Tracy's philosophy is that you cannot do quality plating in a dirty environment. Anyone who has seen any of their work realizes that Advanced does quality plating. Also on display in their showroom is their line of chrome plated products including grilles, manifolds and valve covers. All their products include a full dose of their high quality chrome.
After our tour at Advanced we had no time to rest as we had an invitation for lunch at Lokar Products in Knoxville, about 3 hours east on I-40. As usual owners Debbie and Skip Wall and Lokar President Rick Craze really rolled out the Road Tour red carpet for us. A catered BBQ lunch was just what the Road weary Road Tourians needed. On top of great food, Debbie put together goodie bags for all of us which included a Lokar hat and umbrella. Lokar is the only company whose products have been used on every Road Tour car built since the program began in 1996. After a tour of their manufacturing facility it was again time to keep moving with our next destination was Charlotte, North Carolina.
Our Tour guide for the evening in Charlotte was good friend Brent Vandervort, founder and President of Fatman Fabrication. We had stopped at the Fatman facility last year on the Road Tour and this year Brent had volunteered to get us a behind the scenes look at two of the coolest car-related places in the Charlotte area. The Tuesday evening stop is not open to the public but Brent made the visit possible. Dennis Carpenter Reproductions is a well known name in the restoration and street rod hobby. Known for their high quality Ford reproduction parts, the company has expanded into Cushman scooter parts and also tractor parts. What we were able to get a tour of that evening was a museum style collection of cars, trucks, Cushman scooters, motorcycles and automobilia that has been accumulated by the company over the years. It is unbelievable collection. We were guided through the displays by long time Dennis Carpenter employee and museum curator Roy Howard.
Wednesday morning Brent was again our guide as we visited the Hendrick Motorsport complex just around the corner from Lowes Motor Speedway. Bob Hice gave us a personal guided tour through the amazing Hendrick facility. We spent some time spent in the museum area where Daytona winning cars of past years are on display. We then visited the chassis shop where fabrication begins on all of the race cars. From there it was on to the building where the work is done on Jeff Gordon's and Jimmy Johnson's race cars. It was fantastic to get such an up close and personal tour of the Hendrick facility. Many thanks to Brent Vandervort from Fatman for putting together such a great evening and morning in Charlotte.
Wednesday evening was spent in Charlottesville, Virginia. We enjoyed a group dinner at Cheeseburgers in Paradise which was great fun for all of us. Thursday morning and we still had two more stops before we arrived in York at the NSRA Nationals East. Our first stop was at the home of author Ken Gross. Ken has written for all the major automotive magazines. His subject matter is wide ranging but by his own admission his love is with hot rods. His collection of early flathead manfolds has to be one of the largest anywhere. His '32 Ford roadster was chosen as one of the 75 honored at the Grand National Roadster Show this past January. Ken was also director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. It was a very enjoyable morning with one of the most interesting people in our hobby.
Our final stop on our Advanced Plating Tour was at the Gettysburg Memorial. It was a fitting end to our week. What began on Memorial Day wrapped up at the site of an event that decided the destiny of our nation. It was a very emotional afternoon at the Memorial and Cemetery.
We rolled into the headquarters hotel in York about 3PM on Thursday afternoon. We definitely had a full week on Road Tour. Watch for the complete article in an upcoming issue of Street Rodder. Check back here as we head for San Antonio next week with a quick visit with the folks on the Hot Rod Power Tour. Then it is on to the LA Roadster's Fathers Day Show on the Vintage Air Tour.
Hope to see you on the Road Tour