The NHRA Wally Parks Museum Road Tour continued Tuesday in Reno as temperatures dipped to the 30's. The roadster bunch was bundled up as we set out south on Route 395 past Carson City. At Minden some folks continued south on Route 395 deciding to cross into the Yosemite National Park area via Tioga Pass. At almost 10,000 feet, there is always a chance that snow will close the road. It had been dry for two days and the pass was open. Many of us chose Route 88 which crosses into California on Kit Carson Pass at about 8,000 feet.
Both routes were beautiful. Those of us that took Route 88 proceeded south on Route 49 which at one time was known as the Chain of Gold Highway. After crossing the mountains on Route 88, Route 49 is a very winding road that heads to the Yosemite National Park area. The scenery is beautiful but the drive involves some steep climbs that take some time and concentration. Once entering the park it is actually another 18 miles to Yosemite Village on the canyon floor. The view of face El Capitan is incredible from the bottom and commands respect for all of those climbers who have scaled its face. Even in October the park is still very busy. We made a brief stop in the Village and then headed out of the park on Route 140 toward our stop for the evening in Mariposa.
Wednesday we rolled out of Mariposa after our 8AM driver's meeting and everyone enjoyed the beautiful one hour drive into the Merced area. We had been invited by Greg Swanson to visit his home in nearby Atwater and see his collection of vehicles. He even volunteered to have lunch for us. It was an offer we couldn't refuse. Greg has a great collection of vehicles that include street rods, some early trucks, Indian motorcycles and a fantastic group of Mo-Par Hemis. One of the Mop-Pars currently under construction is powered by a Hemi motor built by Guru Dick Landy just prior to his passing. Also in Greg's collection is a 1923 Model T Roadster that is equipped with some very early speed equipment. Lunch was served in Greg and Lynette's back yard and we all enjoyed their wonderful hospitality. It is always very special when car folks open their homes and collections to the Road Tour.
After lunch it was time to continue south toward our destination of the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion. Our stop for Wednesday afternoon was in Fresno for a visit to Lawson Motorsports, and the private car collection and shop of John Lawson. John is a successful business man in the trucking industry and has a passion for 1932 Fords. His collection includes 28 1932 Fords that are all absolutely stunning. To see the quality of his vehicles on display in one area literally takes your breath away. Mixed in with the 32's are a number of '33-'34 Fords and a '40 or two in to the group. The cars we saw were a part of John collection of 65 vehicles. The best part was the fact that every vehicle was ready to be started on a moments notice and driven to where every John decided to head. Later this year John is opening a huge museum in Fresno so folks can enjoy his vehicles and see how passionate he is for our hobby.
It was another great day on the NHRA Wally Parks Museum Road Tour. The collections we saw were fantastic and the folks that shared them with us were just as great. Thanks to all. We are close to our destination of Bakersfield. We will stop for a visit at the Wheel Vintique facility in Fresno on Thursday morning and then check out Dick Baskin's upholstery shop and collection of early auto parts also in Fresno. Then we will arrive in Bakersfield later in the day. Check back here and I will keep you updated on our travels.