As the Bradleys took off in hot pursuit of fuel, the roadside discussion returned to why the coupe hadn't made it to the next gas stop. About the time the verdict was reached that the Deuce wasn't level last time it was filled-so even though the gauge read full, the tank was down just enough to make a difference-our rescuer showed up. But it wasn't any of our tour mates, rather the driver of a tool-and-welder-laden carnival repair truck pulling a caramel apple, candy, and cold drink trailer who stopped to help us out. The congenial carny drained a couple gallons of gas from the truck's tank into a container and we were soon on our way. Good thing, too, because what we didn't know was that the Jacksons had used their extra fuel, as they had run out as well. Needless to say, every gas tank was filled to the brim when we all met at the next station-particularly those who opted to take the 35-mile side trip through the Petrified Forest National Park.

Our evening stop was just off Route 66 at the historic Las Posada, the last great railroad hotel, in Winslow, Arizona. As it had played host to the likes of Bob Hope, John Wayne, "Hopalong" Cassidy, and others, the rooms were each named after a particular guest. Regrettably, unlike some hotel chains' advertising campaigns, I can tell you that staying in the Albert Einstein room has no noticeable effect.

At about this point in the trip, Medley and I began talking about how well things had gone for us up to that point-we both should have known better. After stopping to take photos of some of the cars passing by, I slipped behind the wheel of the coupe and hit the starter. When the small-block Chevy roared to life, it did just that ... it roared. The flange of the driver-side exhaust manifold had broken off and the engine was belching fire and fumes from what was left of a ram horn. While the rest of the group headed off to take the scenic Grand Canyon loop, we limped into Flagstaff, Arizona, in search of a sympathetic muffler shop. As luck would have it, we found Junior Sandoval's Muffler Magic. With Junior's street rod parked out front, and a customer's on the rack, we knew we were in the right spot.

As Travis Devening brazed the manifold together, we made another discovery: The vibration damper had just about worn a hole in the lower radiator hose. Of course none of the local parts houses had a hose that even resembled what we needed, so we improvised once more. Junior bent up a piece of tubing and we used two short sections of hose to connect to the water pump and radiator. With the coupe as good as new, and Medley's favorite tape of Louie Prima and Keely Smith cranked up, we caught up with the rest of the group as they were pulling into the night stop in Laughlin, Nevada, at the Aquarius Hotel. Along with everything else the casino had to offer, they provided us with roped-off covered parking.

On day five, we rolled through the desert across the border into California. As he had during most of the trip, Medley signed posters, T-shirts, old copies of Hot Rod magazine, and just about anything put before him at the lunch stop. A true legend in the hobby, at 87 years young, Medley is tough to keep up with. His enthusiasm has never waned, he has more energy than most people half his age, and everyone pays attention when he talks about hot rod history because he knows how it all came to be; after all, he experienced most of it firsthand.

After lunch we pulled off in Monrovia to check out Steve Metz's Staging Lane Productions; among other things, Steve is the maker of those cool desktop Muscle Machines. Virtually across the street is Mosher's Performance, a shop that specializes in Mopar wedge and Hemi cars. The place was packed with mind-blowing musclecars.

Although we had made it, the West Coast tour wasn't over yet. Friday morning the gang stopped at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, then that afternoon we were off to the SO-CAL Speed Shop open house in Pomona. As if we hadn't had enough, the rest of the weekend was spent at the L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap Meet, where the club provided a special parking area for Road Tour participants.

As in years past, Jack Chisenhall, Rick Love, and the entire Vintage Air crew went out of their way to make their leg of the tour memorable for all the participants and we're looking forward to next year already. At this point, about all we can say is that the destination will be different in 2008, but we can guarantee getting there will be loads of fun, as always.

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