Once we got to the Expo Center, the layout for parking was different that when we ended there last year. They were parking people in a big, open, and fairly damp field. Fortunately, I along with a few other cars, spotted a strip of grass lined with shade trees right behind the sponsors' midway and parked right there. It was a perfect shady spot to watch the cars roll in and convenient for getting clocked in and picking up the Long Hauler (people like us who do the full trip) freebies. MSD gave away their collectible magnets, there were also hats, shirts and Mother's gave away bottles of waterless wash and wax spray. We probably go through a bottle by the end of the Tour.
The morning started off hot and just got hotter as it went. We quickly clocked in and got the freebies and then headed back to the shade for a brief time. For hours, the cars kept coming in. Every kind of muscle and performance car was represented. From classic Hot Rods, Camaros, Chevelles, Mustangs, Corvettes, 'Cudas, and an AMC Rebel "Machine" to the modern performance Hellcats, Camaros, Challengers, there were more than a thousand cars. There was even a 30's Cadillac and a V8 powered bar stool. In addition to the cars on the tour, the Sponsors' Midway had some amazing custom cars. There was a Cummins Diesel powered 1970 'Cuda. Roadkill had some of their builds: "General Mayhem," a Hellcat powered 1969 Charger and "Stubby Bob,"a rear engine, blown truck.
There's no way to see everything and pictures don't do justice to show the full experience.
I'm not sure what to think. It's gotta be a Torque-monster
|Small block bar stool...And I thought the go-kart powered one in Orlando was crazy.|
After lunch, my parents headed back to the hotel to escape the heat and Tara and I actually started looking forward to the rain shower that was coming our way. We waited out the rain and then headed back to the VIP parking area to catch up with Tim, Tim, Timmy, Lori, Scott who were joined by Jake (60's Chevy pickup).
Tara found a phone in the bathroom, so we brought it to the main stage to turn it in. The stage show is entertaining and I am amazed at Clarence Barnes who is literally "on" the entire trip. He has to entertain a crowd all day in whatever weather and even off stage, he has to keep the energy up. He remembers people from year to year, and has a love for the Acadian and always makes a big deal about it when he sees us walk by the stage. When we gave him the found phone, the owner's father called. Of course, Clarence answered it, put it on speaker, and was hilarious joking with the guy. Tara figures she gave Clarence 20 good minutes of material just by handing him the phone. When the girl who lost her phone finally came to get it, they were total jerks. No "thank you for keeping my phone safe" or even a "I'm the person who lost their phone can I please have it." Instead, they simply demanded "phone" and had no sense of humor whatsoever.
We stuck around for some of the giveaways. I missed winning a set of new tires because I came in 2nd place to Lori of all people in "Clarence Says." I also lost out on a set of Gibson Exhaust mufflers because my impression of a car running the 1/4 mile was nowhere near as good as the 9-10 year old kids who joined the contest. I did win a set of MSD spark plug wires and 3 T-shirts for answering some car trivia. Bruce even won a shirt because he knew what the Canadian version of the Nova was called. (Like I said, Clarence likes the Acadian).
|Clarence Says...you lose.|
When the big rain hit, Tara and I hid with three other people under their golf umbrella. We took advantage of a break in the rain and headed for the car. I had to wade through 4 inches of water to get into it. Tara waited on the pavement. I'm glad I brought 2 pairs of shoes.
|I hope this works to dry them out.|
Back at the hotel, Tara dried the Acadian and we watched the cars leaving the venue and enjoyed the cooler weather. They must have been there since our detour to the French Quarter. We made friends with some guys working on a Nova Wagon. It was then that Tara found that we managed to snag some Mardi Gras beads on the control arm. Luckily, they weren't too tangled up.
A little while later, it was time to figure out a dinner plan. Jacob agreed to drive "the family." Everywhere near the hotel was mobbed, so we planned to go back to the Cabin. That plan was obliterated when we found out it was a 1 hour wait. The Yelp app led us to a place called the Grapevine in Donaldsville. To get there, we had to cross a massive bridge over the Mississippi River. It was completely worth it. There was still a wait to get seated and the service was slow, but the food was amazing. Tara went gaga over her sautéed shrimp. If I ever end up near Donaldsville again, I'm going back!!!
It was a quiet night back at the hotel. To my disappointment, no one was doing burnouts in the road behind our hotel like last year. Our Canadian buddies were hanging out, so we invited them to run in our small group to Baytown. Tomorrow is our longest driving leg, so we decided to call it a night a little earlier than usual.
Here are some more Day 1 pictures:
|One sweet Cadillac|
|License plate says it all.|
If you are gonna be stuck in traffic, at least the cars are cool!
Bruce's Torino GT- 429 Big Block