Friday, June 17, 2016

Day 7: June 17, Wichita, KS to Kansas City, KS (224.8 miles)

We knew today was going to be a hot and long day because the Long Hauler ceremony was at the end of the day instead of tomorrow morning.  So, we planned to sleep in a little.  Unfortunately, the A/C cooling tower on our side of the hotel died overnight and it was nearly 80 degrees in our hotel room by 6:00 am.  We had breakfast and left around 8:00.  The rest of our Florida crew left a bit later.

The route was another good one.  At the beginning, it was like the road was reserved for the Power Tour.  There were no other cars on it for miles. 

We wended our way along the road until we hit Power Tour induced traffic in two small towns.  These were pretty awful because it was triple digit heat.  The first one, was partially due to a long freight train that had the road blocked.  However, the major cause was a burnout box some locals created after a curve in the road that caused a huge bottleneck.  They had a hose and wet down the road.  Each car that was able, would pull up, stop, load up the motor and do a smoky burnout.  Then the next car would wait for the smoke to clear and do the same thing.  With hundreds of cars, that 10-20 seconds creates a massive traffic blockage. Many cars were pulling off the side of the road overheated. 

The second traffic jam was on the way to a stop sign.  Tara thought she found a short cut down a farm road and to another road that paralleled the one we were on.  We, my parents, Scott in the Challenger and Jacob all turned down what ended up being a dirt road.  At first, we thought it might be worth it if we got through the traffic.  Then the dirt gave way to tractor rutted gulleys.  Finally when we got the parallel road, I was never so happy to see gravel in my life.  Eventually, our shortcut took us back to the Route where we ended up 1 car in front of the car we were originally behind.  Except, we had to wait for the Corvette and the other two cars.  We ended up 25 cars further back and with extremely dirty cars.

Scott is from Kansas and is a big Mopar guy.  We passed a '71 Hemi 'Cuda and a 70 Superbird on a hill watching the Tour roll by.  Scott knew them.
Kansans love their Mopars

He told us about his buddy, Jerry, who has a great collection of Mopars and lives 6 blocks off of today's Route, so Scott arranged for Jerry to show us his cars.  When I saw the giant gold Pentastar on his garage, I knew I was in for a show.  He had an impressive collection, including a 1967 Hemi GTX, a 1968 Hemi Charger (his brother's), a Hemi Superbird (originally a 440 car), and a beautiful blue 1970 Charger R/T.  Plus the building was full of Mopar Memorabillia.

Scott knows people (Jerry's Place)

1967 Hemi GTX
Love the hood ornament

1967 440 GTX

Hemi Superbird!!

1968 Hemi Charger

After drooling over the cars, we had to grab Kansas City BBQ, so, at Scott's recommendation and with him in the lead, we went to Joe's Kansas City.  It was excellent. 
Scott knows food, too.

We next went to a car wash to remove any traces of Tara's shortcut and the bugs we hit along the way.  We hit one massive bug dead center of the windshield.  I also somehow missed a cardinal that veered into my path by a feather (that would have really been messy).

The venue was at the Kansas Speedway and we arrived around 4:00.  Our luck held up and we found another spot right up front near a shade tree.  We were close enough to hear Clarence and the folks on stage.  Tara sat and watched the cars roll in as Jacob and I went and clocked in and got our final magnets and shirts. My parents decided to hit the hotel first and then come to the venue closer to the Long Haul awards. 

You may need to zoom in to see the cars, but it was the only perspective to try and show the magnitude of the Tour.  This is only about 1/2 of the showfield.  It is endless. 

It wouldn't be Power Tour without Hollywood Howard.

Even replica Auburns are breathtaking

While we were watching the cars, the folks in an Edsel wagon a few cars down left their tent unsecured and a strong gust of wind blew it up and onto two Camaros.  I've never seen Tara run so fast.  She caught the tent before it blew into the second row of cars.  We folded the tent and I left notes for the Camaro guys (I originally thought it was their tent since it was orange and so were the Camaros).   They got back to the cars and saw the notes and exchanged information with the Edsel.

Even though the Long Hauler awards were supposed to run from 6:30-8:00, they started giving out the certificates and signs a little before 6.  We got our final swag and decided to watch the cars leave because the breeze was pretty good and it was not as bad as it had been at the last few venues (as long as we stayed under our shade.  

Once we left the venue, we had another BBQ dinner at Famous Dave's across from our hotel.  There were people in our parking lot enjoying the last night of the Tour which was reasonably cool.  Some folks from Illinois did a burnout in their stock 1970 Monte Carlo.  Since the weather was finally good, Tara and I went for a drive to look at cars at other hotels, but got distracted by a frozen custard shop.  We decided to pick up some custardy goodness and head back to our hotel.

Reminds me of the Play Doh extruder I had as a kid.

We were hanging out in the parking lot talking with Jim we had met in Crown Point a few years ago (he had a nice black Nova with an LT1).  This year he rode with a friend who had a rat rod truck with a Chevrolet LS motor built to look like an old Ford motor.  While we were outside, the heat and beer got to two guys who nearly came to blows over open exhaust cutouts.  We all thought the exhaust sounded pretty badass, but after he went upstairs, another guy took exception and told the guy's daughter to tell her dad to "shut the fucking cutouts."  Her father came back downstairs pissed that someone cussed at his daughter.  They got really hot and no one seemed to want to do anything, so I stepped in and managed to talk them both down.  It was a near thing, but it would have been bad if I hadn't stepped in.  Later, both guys came up and thanked me for getting in the middle.

Tomorrow we begin the long trek back home. I'll do my final blog post about the, hopefully uneventful return trip either Sunday or Monday.

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