Sunday, June 12, 2016

Day 2: June 12- Gonzales, LA to Baytown (Houston), TX (268.4 miles)

Before leaving Gonzales, we had to address the floppy driver's side mirror on the Acadian.  Nothing a little Gorilla Tape can't fix... Tour on!!

With the mirror sorted out, we hit the road for the first leg of the tour. We started out running with with the Canadians we met earlier with the 1968 Caprice Wagon and 1969 Firebird Convertible.  The weather was a little overcast, which helped keep the heat down.

The route started on I-10 for 70 miles.  We then split off onto a secondary road that pretty much paralleled the highway.  We hit one patch of construction traffic that took 15 minutes to go 6 blocks.  The Canadians started running hot, so they peeled away and went back down the highway.  Of course, we could have avoided it any time we wanted by turning down a parallel street, but the traffic was completely Power Tour cars, so we sat with it for a while before cutting over and speeding back along the way.

Louisiana is an interesting state.  Instead of the traditional power tour scenery of cornfields and farmhouses, we passed numerous crawfish farms and rice paddies.   The first day is always one of the best because it's a weekend and there are lots of local folks sitting alongside the road waving and watching the Power Tour cars come through.  It was particularly true in Rayne, LA (the frog capital of the World.) In addition to specators, the streets of Rayne were lined with frog statues.  Each business seemed to have their own unique statue.
Rayne: Frog Capital of the World

We made our lunch stop at Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles, LA. It got great reviews on Yelp.  When we pulled up to the parking lot, we were the only ones there.  Tara started to have reservations about it, but we went in anyhow. Good thing we did too. The dining room was big and open and we were greeted by a sweet Cajun woman who sat us at our table.  The food was great.  Since I don't eat shellfish or catfish, I was limited to chicken fingers (they were some of the best I have ever had).  My mom ordered cheese fries with crawfish etouffee and sour cream on top.  My dad and Jacob had fried shrimp and Tara, who couldn't make up her mind ordered a variety of small Cajun items.  She had gator bites which were basically like fried crabcakes, but with gator meat, a pistolete (fried roll stuffed with crawfish etouffee), and a boudin ball (rice, crawfish and veggies fried).  When she mentioned to the sweet Cajun woman that the gator was a bit spicy, the lady laughed and asked where Tara was from.   My mom said Ohio and it seemed that was all the explanation needed.  The woman told Tara: "Honey, we Cajuns put peppa in everythin." 

The "Large" Fish platter at Steamboat Bill's

The next part of the route took us toward a huge old bridge that had to be a 70 degree incline.  Fortunately, that one was being refurbished and we took the new bridge. The new bridge was just as high, but the slope seemed much more manageable. 

Welcome to Texas!!!

We hit a bit of rain going through the beginning of Texas, but Overall, it only took us a few hours and one fuel stop to make it to the Royal Purple Raceway, our Venue in Baytown.  When we got there, I met up with my friend Steve who drove a rental car over from Austin and is going to ride the route with us in the Acadian.  He's a die hard car guy, but misjudged the distance from the rental car dropoff to the dragstrip.  HE WALKED 5 MILES. 

John Jones raced his new Challenger.  I bet he wanted to have his Hemi Super Stocker

We got clocked in and picked up our magnets.  Tara was thirsty, so I thought I'd buy her a soda.  They had souvenir cups that were shaped like pit crew gas cans, so of course I bought that so she would have to drink out of it.  I think I heard her eyes roll when I handed it to her.


There were more cars today than yesterday.  Everywhere we looked there was another parking lot or field packed full of cars.  I saw a souped up Chevy Monza to match up with the Ford Pinto from yesterday.  There's no shortage of crazy cars that end up on Tour. Diesel rat rods seem to be very in vogue.  The "what was he thinking/smoking when he built that?" award has to go to the yellow roofless pickup truck with a blown hemi motor stuffed in the rear. 

"Yeah, It's got a Hemi."

Wile E. Coyote isn't going to catch this Road Runner

Diesel rat rod, with teeth

We weren't at the venue long before the weather got ominous.  I wasn't able to hit the dragstrip due to the weather.  Our friends Kyle (Nissan Skyline R33) and Don (Mustang Cobra Terminator) caught up with us. My parents headed for the hotel, but we stuck it out long enough to get pinned down by a torrential downpour.  We hunkered down in the concession pavilion.

The whole group of us, including Rick and Lisa from Tampa (75 Dart Sport) had dinner at the Pipeline Grill which was really good.  It was next to the Washabeeria, which is exactly what it sounds like, a laundromat that serves beer.

After dinner, the clouds broke and it was a beautiful night.  We stopped for gas at BUC-EEs which is chain of monstrous gas station/food stores.  Picture a WaWa on steroids.  Everything's bigger in Texas.  We spent the rest of the night walking the nearby hotel parking lots and checking out the cars.

Tomorrow we head to Austin.

Here are some more pictures from Day 2:

If it's hers, then what's he drive?

Who doesn't love a '71 'Cuda?

'57 Ambulance.  The sign on the window said "Vacancy"

Panoz Esperante
A Miata I'd actually wouldn't mid being seen driving.

 Cadillac 472 front engine VW???

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