Activities kicked off on Saturday night at the traditional hotdog roast at the Vintage Air
It is said, "Things are bigger in Texas." This appears to be the case each year on the Vintage Air Road Tour. For the last five years, Rick Love and Jack Chisenhall of Vintage Air have put together a Road Tour that attracts the most participants of any of the eight tours in the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER summer-long schedule.
When the destination of the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals was announced last winter the registration sheets poured in. By the time the tour was ready to roll there were over 70 vehicles registered. That's an all-time high for any Road Tour of any year or destination. The Texas Road Tourians love to travel with Rick and Jack.
Festivities kicked off on Saturday evening with the traditional hotdog roast and drivers' meeting at the Vintage Air Headquarters in San Antonio. Many of the participants had traveled on previous tours and acquaintances were quickly renewed. The detailed maps and directions were passed out, along with the Road Tour goodie bags and T-shirts. There were tours given of the Vintage Air Manufacturing facilities and as the sun began to set, everyone headed for the hotel to get some rest for the week ahead.
Rick Love from Vintage Air, with Vintage Air President Jack Chisenhall (left) addressed th
Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. it was time to head out; 50 participating vehicles rolled out of Vintage Air. As planned, the other 20 would join us a little further down the highway at one of the many stops we would be making. With Rick in the lead of the hot rod version of a Texas cattle drive we started the weeklong journey under blue skies.
Our first stop was in the nearby town of Boerne. Adrenaline Rides Garage recently moved to a new facility and we were invited to stop by and have breakfast and check out the new shop. General Manager Don Sutherland and the Adrenaline Rides crew were waiting for us with doughnuts, coffee, and some great breakfast burritos. The shop specializes in high-performance race and street cars with an emphasis on chassis fabrication and suspension upgrades. They even have an in-house upholstery facility. It was a great way to start the trip.
The lunch stop was in San Angelo and everyone enjoyed some good Texas barbecue and appreciated the short break from the road. After filling our gas tanks we headed back out onto the highway. Rick always plans routes that take us off the interstates allowing all of us to enjoy a smooth drive on lesser-traveled roads, eventually ending at our destination of Midland around 4 p.m.
Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. it was time to head west. The Vintage Air Tour is always very
Arrangements were made for us to enjoy a special visit to The Petroleum Museum on Sunday afternoon. The museum traces the history of the oil industry but the real reason for our visit was to see the unique Chaparral Gallery. In 1965 race car enthusiast and designer Jim Hall revolutionized the sport of auto racing with his winged Chaparral. At the museum, the Transportation Wing allows visitors to enjoy an up-close look at many examples of the famous racing vehicles that changed the use of aerodynamics in the '60s.
At the beginning of our visit we were told that we were in store for a special treat. We were to see and hear one of the original cars run. If that wasn't enough, we were then told that the person taking the car out for a spin was Jim Hall himself. We were ecstatic. What an incredible opportunity to see the man who created these amazing vehicles get back into one and take it for a drive.
Jim Hall arrived about 5 p.m. and was extremely gracious as he greeted us and took the time to answer questions and explain the history of the company and cars that he'd developed. He then climbed into a Chevy 427 version, fired it up, and proceeded to make some laps around the front driveway of the Museum. It was an amazing Road Tour moment to see a legendary man actually behind the wheel of one of his ground-breaking vehicles. Thanks to Jim Hall and everyone who helped put this visit together.
After a drive across the back roads of west Texas we arrived at the Permian Basin Petroleu
Monday morning in Midland it was rise and shine with the daily morning drivers' meeting, conducted by Rick. It was a short drive to the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Museum located next to the Midland airport. On display at the museum are vintage combat airplanes, artifacts, and memorabilia that tell the story of America's aviation history during wartime. The displays are amazing and give visitors an in-depth look at the period in our history and situations that led up to World War II and other wars that our country was involved in over the years. One of the most popular exhibits at the CAF Museum is the section of original nose art from World War II combat airplanes. This artwork was saved from the scrapheap after the war and the folks at the museum are carefully restoring the work to its original glory. While photos are not permitted in this section, there is a great book about nose art available in the museum gift shop and online at their website. After our tour we sat as a group in one of the hangers and enjoyed a great fajita lunch. It was then time to head to Amarillo.
Our first stop on Sunday morning was at the new facility of Adrenaline Rides Garage. The f
We arrived in Amarillo by 5 p.m. and headed to the Soncy Road Body Shop. Our hosts for the evening were Bill and Mark Warrick. The food, some of which was provided by the local Albertson's supermarkets and Gladwin Pant and Supply, was ready when we arrived and the local hot rod contingent was out in full force to greet us. The skies threatened rain but after just a few sprinkles all was fine. Over the past 45 years, Bill and more recently his son, Mark, have turned out some fantastic projects and their paint and bodywork is incredible. Their tastes run from restorations to full-blown customs with street machines, street rods, and motorcycles included in the mix. The collection of automobilia and nostalgia items on display at the shop was staggering. The Road Tourians drooled at the neon signs, gas pumps and globes, pedal cars, derby racers, and everything in between. The lot outside contained some classic vintage tin and there were enough projects to last a lifetime. Bill and Mark were also kind enough to give a helping hand to some of our group who had encountered some mechanical problems along the way. It was a wonderful evening at Soncy Road Body Shop and our hats off to Bill and Mark Warrick for the fantastic get-together.
When we were told that Chaparral founder and racing icon Jim Hall was joining us that afte
Tuesday morning we stopped at a field that has become a legend in our hobby. Just west of Amarillo, 10 Cadillacs are buried nose first in the ground and have become a mecca for car buffs around the world. There are no signs and no explanation at the Cadillac Ranch. It is left up to the visitor to decide who, what, and why. It was a fun stop and veteran Road Tourians Ann and Chuck Shepler thought ahead and made up a stencil of the Road Tour logo. They painted it on; it was the perfect place for the Vintage Air group to sign in. After our brief visit at the Cadillac Ranch we headed toward our evening destination of Durango, Colorado. The 475-mile drive took us from the flat plains of west Texas to the mountains of Colorado. It was a spectacular afternoon trip.
On Monday morning we visited the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Midland. This volunteer
On Wednesday we enjoyed one of the most anticipated days of the entire week. We boarded the narrow gauge railroad and made the three-hour trip up the mountain to the old mining town of Silverton. Words cannot describe the scenery as we were pulled along behind a coal-fired steam locomotive. After lunch and some shopping in Silverton it was another three-hour ride back down to Durango. Definitely put the Durango to Silverton Train Ride on your "must do" list.
Wednesday evening we were guests of honor at a local park car show. Tom Nadzak and members of both the Olde Tymes Car Club and the Durango Old Car Club really rolled out the red carpet for the evening, complete with burgers on the grill for everyone. Thanks for all your hospitality folks.
After meeting the group and giving us some background on the history of the Chaparral Comp
On Thursday it was time for the Vintage Air Tour to get to Pueblo and the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals. There was just a small hill to climb first. From Durango it is an 8-mile climb on Colorado Route 160 to reach the summit of the Continental Divide. At about 10,000 feet it is a great view and the air is thin and crisp. It was time for one last group photo, then an 8-mile trip down the hill. Our destination for lunch was the town of Alamosa, Colorado. We had been invited to be guests of honor by the local rodders in Alomosa and the Early Iron Car Club. We gathered at the local Wal-Mart parking lot and received a police escort to the park for our great barbecue lunch. It was another case of great hospitality from local rodders. Thanks to everyone in Alamosa for rolling out the red carpet.
It was about a two-hour drive from Alamosa to Pueblo. Along the way we got a lesson in how Colorado paves some of their roads. About five miles of chip and tar that was very fresh gave everyone some anxious moments and some extensive clean up later. Alan Johnson and the '09 Ridler Award winner, Doug Cooper, joined us for the trip on Thursday. They were driving the NSRA '10 Giveaway Roadster and were having a great time enjoying the scenery.
We arrived at check-in for the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals at the convention center in downtown Pueblo about 4 p.m. It was quite a sight as the Vintage Air Road Tour pulled in with about 60 vehicles.
It was a great weekend in Pueblo and an exciting week on the Vintage Air Road Tour. Many thanks to Rick Love and the folks at Vintage Air for all the work that went into the planning of the Tour. Everyone had a fantastic time and once again friendships were made that will last a lifetime.
For more information on the Road Tours, watch the Road Tour section of www.streetrodderweb.com or call the Road Tour Hotline at (800) 664-1362. Come along for the drive and you will have the time of your life.
Inside the huge facilities at the Commemorative Air Force Museum we were able to see comba
It was an afternoon drive to Amarillo and Soncy Road Body Shop. When we arrived the food w
Just down the road from Soncy Road Body Shop is the famous Cadillac Ranch. This field, wit
We spent all day Wednesday enjoying a trip on the narrow gauge railroad that runs from Dur
Bill Warrick (right) started in the body shop business 45 years ago. Mark, Bill's son (lef
It was a long day's drive of almost 500 miles as we made our way across Texas, New Mexico,
Wednesday evening we were special guests at a picnic in Durango. Some of the local car clu
Thursday morning, with trail boss Rick Love in the lead, we headed out from Durango on our
Between the town of Alamosa and our destination of Pueblo was the continental divide on Co
The AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour hospitality tent was a popular gathering spot all weeke
It was a great weekend at the Rocky Mountain Nationals plus. Both spectator and participan
We had one more stop to make on Thursday at noon. The Early Iron Car Club of Alamosa invit
Traveling with us on Thursday was Alan Johnson and '09 Ridler winner Doug Cooper. They wer
STREET RODDER's associate publisher, John Barkley, and his wife, Bonnie, got in the '52 Ch
The Fernando Hernandez family of Laredo, TX, spent the week on the Vintage Air Road Tour i