The NSRA Street Rod Nationals plus is the premier event on the NSRA schedule each summer. Held in Louisville, Kentucky at the huge Kentucky State Fairgrounds the Nats draw street rod fans from across the country. Some folks come from as far as Southern California. That happens to be the exact place that we decided to start the Intercity Lines Road Tour to the Nationals. Intercity Lines is the official car carrier of the AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour and while the Road Tour program is about driving our rods, we realize that there is a need at some point to get vehicles transported. When that time arrives then we want the best care available for our vehicles. That's where Intercity Lines comes in. They care about what they carry and it has shown each time that we have used them. They have also worked out a special pricing structure for folks who are participating in the Road Tour program. Many rodders may not have time to drive each way on a tour and Intercity can help you get your car home after a long trip.
The Intercity Lines Tour to the Nationals was set to be the longest Tour of the 2010 season as we stated in Chatsworth, California at California Car Covers and would end over 2000 miles later at Louisville. The folks at California Car Covers have just introduced their new Golden Shine line of car care products and are the Official Car Care Company of the Road Tour series. Jim DeFrank Sr and sons Tony and Jim Jr. and their staff were all on hand Friday morning as we set out on the long road to the Nats. Coffee and donuts for all and some great goodie bags that contained Golden Shine products that would come in handing on our trip.
At 8 a.m. it was time to roll out with our destination for Friday evening being Flagstaff, Arizona about 500 miles to the east. All went well as we crossed the Mojave Desert between Barstow and Needles. It was hot but we were all doing fine. Gassing and going as needed we cleared Kingman and then things got very, very wet. It the mountains between Kingman and Flagstaff the rain got so heavy that many folks were forced to pull off the road and wait out the storm. While the rain put us behind schedule, we managed to arrive in Flagstaff wet and weary but in good shape considering the conditions. We arrived late to our evening get together with the Route 66 Car Club of Flagstaff at their weekly Friday night cruise at the Galaxy Diner. President John Fajardo and members of the club were out in force despite the downpours of earlier in the day. The Galaxy Diner opened in 1958 and in the 90's it had a facelift and was redone in true 50's style. It was a fun evening with some great car people.
Saturday morning we were rolling east after our driver's meeting. Our first stop was the famous Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. These cement teepee style structures have been seen on postcards and in every Route 66 book ever published. We lined the cars up and took some great pictures. Just twenty miles from Holbrook is the Petrified National Forest. It is a 22 mile drive through some beautiful landscape and we got a chance to see some amazing petrified logs.
After passing through Gallup, New Mexico the rains hit us again. This time they didn't last so long. We arrived at Mild to Wild Classics in Albuquerque right on time. Waiting to greet us was owner Tony Kos, Tony Jr and the entire Mild to Wild crew. There were also about 75 cars and lots of local rodders. Eric had the hot dogs on the grill and we had a great evening. Some folks had come to town earlier in the day from Amarillo to greet us. Their four very nice street rods were damaged in a chain reaction crash on a surface street. While all the cars were dented, no one was hurt. Tony arranged to get the cars flat bedded back to Mild to Wild and helped the owners arrange to get their cars home. Tony and the Mild to Wild staff are great folks and all of their hard work and help was appreciated by everyone that Saturday.
Sunday morning we made the climb out of the Albuquerque valley and on to Moriarity, New Mexico. I was excited to take the Road Tourians to see the collection of Archie Lewis. Archie has been collecting cars and parts for the last 60 years and his horde of vintage tin is amazing. He and Beth were again gracious hosts as we enjoyed coffee and donuts and got a chance to wander through the huge collection of early cars and parts. It is a mind boggling mass of pieces and parts and always a fun stop on our tours.
We had been invited to be guests in the town of Tucumcari, New Mexico for lunch and a visit. Tucumcari is a classic Route 66 town that is filled with buildings and memories of the time when the Mother Road went right through the city. We were met at the west entrance of the town by the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief and five or six police cars and fire trucks. We made quite an entrance as we were escorted through town and on to the Tucumcari History Museum. At the museum we were served a great BBQ lunch and got a chance to see the facility and meet some of the local folks. Tucumcari is a great small town that is proud of its place in Route 66 history. The Road Tour will be back to explore more of Tucumcari on future Tours.
It was time to press on eastward. We had to make a stop in Amarillo to see the Cadillac Ranch and say hello to Bill and Mark Warrick at Soncy Road Body Shop. We had stopped about a month ago and were again amazed at their incredible collection of automobilia and nostalgia items. They were also gracious enough to give some of our group a hand with car problems that had cropped up. Thanks again Bill and Mark for what has become a regular stop on our Road Tours crossing Texas.
Our destination for Sunday evening was the town of Shamrock, Texas. Another Route 66 town, the folks of Shamrock have restored the old 1936 Conoco gas station and adjoining diner and we were able to get some great picture as the neon came on and the sun went down. It was a great way to end a great day.
Next up on the Intercity Tour is a visit to Darryl Starbirds Rod and Custom Hall of Fame and Museum, a stop at Odd Rods, Comp Cams and then on to the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. Check back here for all of our updates and we hope you can join us on a future AMSOIL/ Street Rodder Road Tour.