Sunday, June 18, 2017

HRPT 2017- June 17: Getting Home- Bowling Green, KY to Orlando, FL (761 miles)

We stretched our final night of Power Tour as far as we possibly could and went to bed around midnight.  As a result, we didn't get the bright and early home start on which we had planned.  We said our goodbyes to our friends Ted and Lori who headed back to Texas.  Jacob stayed in Bowling Green to see the Corvette Museum and some other sights.  Our group was down to four cars Tim and Lori in their '57 Chevy, Tim and Timmy in their '57 Chevy, us in the Acadian and Ken and Bryson, who rode with us as far as Nashville before heading to Alabama to buy a motor.
Gassin' up

The drive home was relatively uneventful.  In Atlanta, we caught up to a woman driving a gold on gold 1967 Chevelle SS.  She wasn't part of the Power Tour, but it made the drive feel a little more like one.  We stopped for a late lunch and discussed whether to stop in Valdosta or plow through and get home in one shot.  We opted for the one shot.
The long and lonely road home.

Everything went smoothly until we were diverted off I-75 in High Springs.  We got off the exit, but the onramp across the way was still open.  Tara was looking for a detour when Lori saw other cars getting back on the freeway at the onramp across the way, so we went for it.  WE SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO TARA.  The police had shut down I-75 southbound a few miles down from the exit where we got off.  They just hadn't gotten around to blocking the onramp.  We sat in traffic for an hour and a half to go a few miles.

We ended up getting diverted off the highway a little further south.  Tara found a short route back to the highway that most of the diverted traffic was not taking and this time WE LISTENED TO TARA.  We shot down a very narrow two lane road that dumped us onto 441 right by the I-75 entrance ramp.  We all made our last gas and bathroom stop at a gas station before the highway and then began the final stretch home.  Tara and I rolled up to the house at 1:00 a.m. 
We have to start a new row next year.  Scott gave me a new "2016" so that I can get some more space before the 2017.

It was hard to believe ten days and over 3,300 miles had passed by so quickly. It's back to work tomorrow and the first thing I'm going to do is block off the calendar for next year's Power Tour. It's only 354 days until we leave again.  Bowling Green, KY to ???????

Friday, June 16, 2017

HRPT 2017-Day 7: June 16- Indianapolis, IN to Bowling Green, KY (276 miles)

Today's route was the longest of this tour, but also the best.  It started in the hills of Indiana, through the Hoosier National Forest and then the scenic Kentucky byway before a 50 mile stretch of highway to the venue.  Tara and I hit the road earlier than everyone else in order to ensure we had time to stop along the way.  It was a good thing we did.  Even though we left nearly an hour earlier than usual and gained an hour traveling back into the central time zone, we still didn't arrive at the venue until around 3 pm.  There was too much to see.
What a view!!
We couldn't have timed it better.  We saw a sign for Cataract Falls and detoured about a mile to check it out.  The park opened at 8 and we arrived nearly on the dot.  The falls are the largest by volume in the state of Indiana.  There was also a covered bridge that was built in 1876 and was in use until 1988 when they built the concrete bridge that is used today.
140 year old bridge
Upper Falls

Lower Falls- right by a sign that says "no fishing from rocks"

After the falls, we passed through a small town whose name escapes me.  The route took us into the roundabout that surrounds the courthouse.  We saw a cool old hotel on the backside, so we decided to go all the way around and stop for some pictures. 
We pulled up to this old building for a picture and started a trend.  A bunch of other cars followed us
Too bad we didn't have Bryson's GTO "Judge" to pose in the picture
From there, we followed the route along to West Baden Springs, Indiana where we made our next slight detour to the West Baden Springs Hotel.  The hotel is the second largest freestanding dome and was built in 1902.  It fell into disrepair at some point and underwent significant renovations.  The place was indescribably cool.  The interior has a massive domed atrium with ornate tile mosaics and paintings.  We walked through the dome and out to the garden where the mineral springs used to be back in the day (they were capped).  French Lick, Indiana, the adjacent town also had a historic hotel and we swung by it too.
We thought this was a really cool hotel...
until we saw this...

and this.
Inside the dome- the picture doesn't give the true scale of the place
 Tara found our lunch spot, a place called the Pour Haus in Tell City, Indiana, but thought it was too far off the route to stop.  Then, by happenstance, she missed a turn and we were practically at the place, so we stopped.  I'm glad we did. The food was incredibly good.   Better than the food were the people in Tell City.   When we pulled up it was only street parking.  A guy in a Jeep Cherokee told us to hold on and he'd move his car so we could park under a tree.  In the restaurant, we met Diane who had lived in the area for 37 years.  She was sitting at the table next to us asked if we were part of the Hot Rod Tour.  Wegot to talking about cars and the farm truck she and her husband own and how her son skipped out on work to take his 1960s original patinaed station wagon to the route and watch the Tour roll by.  She asked to take a picture with us.  We were surprised when the waitress told us we had no bill.  Diane surreptitiously paid it for us and welcomed us to her town. 
Great food

Great Parking

Great people.  Thanks again Diane!
We left the Pour Haus and didn't get to the end of the block before I saw this cool building with vintage gas pumps and bright red garage doors.  We stopped and took some pictures with the Acadian in front of it.  I later got a text from Diane who told us that the building was the body shop where her son works.
Diane's son's shop

Here's what the place looked like before the renovation
The bridge across the Ohio was under construction and reduced to a single lane for both directions.  It created a pretty bad traffic jam between the Power Tour cars and the folks just going about their day.  Tara used the traffic app on her phone to find a detour that took us along the river, under the bridge and with two left turns, we jumped to the front of the line.  Tara's second shortcut wasn't as good.  We detoured off the route in Fordsville to see what might be there and when the answer was "not much", Tara suggested I turn right and go around the block.  The road got us where we needed to be, but the intersection was such a steep hill that I felt like I was sitting in the space shuttle on the launch pad.  It was also a blind intersection that required Tara to keep telling me when it was clear to the right so that I could watch the gap in the trees to my left for oncoming traffic.  I also had to use both feet and both pedals to keep the car from rolling backward.

The Kentucky Scenic Byway was exactly that and is my favorite type of Power Tour road.  It's a two-lane road with lush trees on both sides and lots of curves and hills.  Curvy roads in a car that was not designed to carve them is actually loads of fun.  It's far more exciting taking a 45 mph curve at 55-60 in the Acadian than the same curve at the same speed in the Corvette.  It's not that I wouldn't mind being able to rip down the road in the Vette, but I'd have to go much faster to have the same excitement.
1969 Road Runner Convertible and 1969 GTX

Today's venue was an Airport which they shut down for the day.  The biggest problem with that type of venue is that there is no shade.  However, our good parking karma held and we found a spot right between the Pilot Transport and Comp Cams display trailers behind the midway.  The trucks provided all the shade needed to make it almost comfortable.  For the last time, I clocked in at the main stage and collected the final magnets. 
Our best spot yet

In a pinch, trucks provide great shade
At the end of the Tour, they give the Long Haulers certificates, metal signs and other such stuff.   There's always a long line and this year was no exception.  Tara and I took our time watching the cars leave and the crowd thin out before getting in line.
It's official:  7 cities, 7 states, 7 years in a row.
Tara, Jacob, Ken, Bryson and I had dinner at 440 Main in the historic downtown area. To Tara's dismay it was named for the address and not the MoPar motor displacement.  The food was excellent and the executive chef and part-owner, Danny was great and welcoming. It was a good way to end the trip.

After dinner we went back to the convention center across the street and it was madness.  Not only is the Power Tour in town, but the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion starts tomorrow and there are tons of cars in town for that.  The roadway between our hotel and the convention center became a burnout zone.  One guy ran a full-on  dragster down the road.  Eventually, the Police came in and shut it down.
Hot Rod Power Tour meets NHRA Hot Rod Reunion

Tara cleaning the car, again.

That's about $500 worth of tires on the pavement
The burnout police (literally)

Here are some other pictures from today:

Lingenfelter tuned Supercharged Corvette

1970 440 Six Barrel 'Cuda

1970 AAR "Tribute"

Thursday, June 15, 2017

HRPT 2017-Day 6: June 15- St. Louis, MO to Indianapolis, IN (234.7 miles)

After a short stretch of highway, today's route took us down historic Route 40 through a bunch of small towns in Indiana.  The route was really pretty and the weather was perfect.  A rainstorm blew through overnight and beat down the heat for most of the day.  We picked up Jacob at a gas station by the dragstrip and hit the road.
Coming through!!
We went through Brownstown where a local farmer on the route built some incredible car fountains in his front yard.  He said he had just finished it two weeks ago.He had no idea the Power Tour was coming through and that he was an instant roadside attraction.  He offered anyone who wanted to pull their cars in the yard to get them in the pictures.  Tara wants to come back in a week when the zinnias in the bed of the old truck bloom.

There was a side benefit to everyone stopping, or at least slowing down to look at the flowers.  It provided a prime opportunity for burnouts and we saw at least two good ones before we headed down the road.

Further down Route 40 was Casey, Illinois.  Tara saw traffic backing up and had a shortcut planned to get around it.  Unlike last year's shortcut, this one did not involve dirt roads.  She didn't mention that Casey was famous for making "world's largest" objects and that several of them were on her shortcut.  We turned off the route and about 10 cars who were not with us blindly followed her.  They were glad that they did.  We passed the world's largest pencil and stopped in front of the world's largest wind chime and world's largest rocking chair.

I don't want to be here when the world's largest granny gets back
World's largest wind chime

One big ass No. 2
More big stuff in the works- largest gavel and baseball bat
We all got back in the cars and headed down the Route to Terra Haute, Indiana.  Lori found our lunch stop at a place called Fifi's Lunch Box.  It may have been the best of the lunch stops on the Tour.  As an appetizer, they had fried hash brown casserole balls that were really good.  The BBBLT's were loaded with bacon (hence the 3 B's).  Jacob got their signature burger which is served between two square glazed donuts.
Brazil, Indian
Cool old courthouse

"Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases..." (actually, it's just a diner)
We got to the venue, Lucas Oil Raceway, around 4 pm because we forgot to account for our return to the eastern time zone.  Jacob found a great pair of parking spots up front by where everyone had to pass by to get to the midway.  This was the first venue without any shade whatsoever.  At first, it was fine because it was still cool and cloudy, but it didn't take long for the sun to come out and start cooking.  I may have looked goofy. but those blue cooling towel thingies fell pretty good draped over your head on a hot day (especially if it has been soaking in a cooler full of ice water all day).

The '56 Nomad next to us was really tricked out

Very Sheik (yes, I meant to spell it that way)
Ken and Bryson didn't run with us because they got "display" parking for their Magnacharged GTO in front of the Magnuson supercharger vendor tent on the midway.
Bryson displaying his car- Ken just drives it for him
Jacob and I did the daily rounds and bought our T-shirts while Tara cleaned the car.  Since the midway was on the back side of the dragstrip, we took the opportunity to watch a few cars rip down the strip.

The crowd eased up around 6, but there were still a ton of cars to see, so Tara and I got in the car, hit the A/C and did some drive-by car viewing before heading to our hotel and dinner. Tara still had leftovers from Fifi's.  The rest of us ordered Chinese delivery to the hotel (it's not a chain, so it's within the rules).
Super Cobra Jet

Pontiac Star Chief

The license plate is "1 ONR"

1967 Stingray 427
I can't believe how fast this week has gone.  Tomorrow is the last day and our longest route.  Tara wants to be sure we have time to stop and check out the scenery, so even with the extra hour we gain back on the way to Bowling Green, we are leaving earlier than ever.