The Dynamat Road Tour is rolling on towards Bonneville and Speed Weeks. After our visit at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee on Tuesday we spent the evening at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino near Red Wing, Minnesota. There was a hard rain most of the night but the skies had cleared by Wednesday morning. Some street rodders came down from the Twin Cities to greet us on Wednesday morning as we headed out for our destination of the small Minnesota town of Northfield. This pretty little town was thrust into the history books back in 1876 when Jessie James, his brother Frank and the Younger gang came to rob the bank. The townsfolk of Northfield would have no part of that and they foiled the robbery attempt in a battle that is legend to this day.
The drive to Northfield was beautiful and we visited the bank where the robbery attempt occurred. We were also given a brief history lesson about the events surrounding the incident. By 11a.m. it was time for the Road Tourians to make their get away and headed out for a lunch stop in Mankato, Minnesota. I learned about Culvers Restaurants on a Road Tour to Back to the 50's a few years ago and thought that some burgers and their famous cement mixer milkshakes would be the perfect nourishment for the afternoon. We were greeted at Culvers by a contingent of street rodders from the Mankato area. There was also a reporter on hand from the local newspaper. It was a brief stop in Mankato but between the good food and the great welcome it was worth the effort.
Wednesday afternoon's destination was the town of Brandon, South Dakota. We had been invited by car enthusiast Larry Olson and his wife Carol to stop by and see their fantastic collection of vehicles and they even offered to feed us. That sealed the deal and we all arrived at Larry's beautiful facility by 5 p.m. Larry's taste in cars ranges from traditional high end street rods to potent muscle cars with some exotics included in the mix. The BBQ was great and the hospitality was genuine. Also on hand and helping with our visit was Kevin Bowman and the crew from Bowman's Real Hot Rods shop which is just around the corner from Larry's facility. Kevin and his craftsmen are responsible for many of Larry's beautiful hot rods and there are more in progress at Bowman's Real Hot Rods that will soon be added to Larry's stable. The Bowman Bunch went out of their way to help some of the Road Tourians who had some car issues and made sure that everyone and everything was in good shop before we left for our hotel. Many thanks to Larry and Carol Olson and everyone at Bowman's Real Hot Rods for making it a great evening in Brandon, South Dakota.
Thursday morning we were up and rolling again. Just down the highway from Brandon is Sioux Falls and the facility of Dakota Digital. We have used Dakota Digital gauges on some of our previous Road Tour cars. Next year we are excited to have Dakota Digital on board with the just announced VHX line of gauges that mates digital technology with a tradition look. The VHX Dakota gauges will be right at home in our 1955 Chevy Road Tour car for 2011. Sales Manager Scott Johnson greeted us at Dakota Digital and we broke into two groups for a real behind the scenes look at the work and detail that goes into the gauges and tail light assemblies. It was a very interesting morning at Dakota Digital. Owner and President Ross Ortman will be joining us on Friday at Larry Ruth's rod shop in Spearfish during our visit. Ross and many of the Dakota Digital staff are in the Black Hills area promoting the companies motorcycle products during Bike Week.
From Sioux Falls it was a short drive to Mitchell, South Dakota and the world famous Corn Palace. Built over 100 years ago this huge auditorium is decorated on the outside and inside with corn takes on a very striking look as murals of corn are added and changed each year. It is unusual to say the least. We also took time to grab a bite to eat in Mitchell before continuing west to our evening destination of Pierre, South Dakota. Because of the huge crowds in the Black Hills for Bike Week we decided that we would stay in Pierre on Thursday evening, visit Spearfish and Spearfish Street Rods Friday afternoon and continue on to Douglas, Wyoming for Friday evening which would take us out of the Black Hills crowding.
A few weeks ago I had received a phone call from a gentleman named Dan Adams. Don told me that he had about 50 vehicles ranging from classics of the 50's and 60's to street rods and old drag cars. He wondered if we would like to stop by while we were in Pierre. I did not have any specific plans so it sounded interesting. When we arrived at Dan's place just outside of Pierre we found three building filled with some real treasures. Dan has been collecting for about 30 years and the cars and trucks were really in decent condition. Dan said that most were in operating order and at some point in the future he was going to have an auction. It was a fun way to spend a few hours in Pierre. We also got a chance to drive over Oahe Dam, the second largest earthen dam in the United States. It was then time to rest. It had been a long day.
Friday will be interesting with our visit to the Black Hills, Spearfish Street Rods, Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. We are getting close to our destination of Bonneville and the Salt Flats. Stay tuned for all the updates right here.