Friday, June 9, 2017

HRPT 2017- June 7-9: Getting There- Orlando, FL to Kansas City, MO (1,246 Miles)

After what felt like an eternity, it was time to head out for the 2017 Power Tour.  At first, I wasn't thrilled when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.  I'd say we woke up "bright and early", but there was nothing "bright" about the weather.  We didn't reach dry land until around Macon, GA.  We have made the Florida to wherever, drive enough times, that I could practically predict our gas stops.  The plan was to meet up with our friends Bobby and Sarah in Alpharetta for dinner before continuing on to our hotel in Chattanooga.  Since we had some time to kill before dinner, Tara wanted to wash the car. Only, Alpharetta doesn't have those pressure washer car washes.  The place we stopped had a tunnel, but instead of machines, there was an army of people at different stations who washed, rinsed, and then dried the car.  Tara was nervous, but secretly, I know she enjoyed not having to clean it herself.  After dinner, I continued on the few extra hours to the hotel, while Tara "rested her eyes"in the passenger seat.
Nothing like driving a 50 year old car in torrential rain.
Speedy hand-wash- I had to stop Tara from trying to "help."

Thursday's weather was the opposite of Wednesday and was practically perfect.  It was cool for most of the day.  The drive through the Tennessee mountains is a really nice one.  Early along, we spotted one of those brown roadside attraction signs for "Russell Cave national monument."  We figured: "what the heck" and jumped off the highway to check it out.  We crossed the line into Alabama (one state I didn't expect to go through this year). We missed the park entrance and drove down a two lane farm road that got rougher and narrower as we went. I know those cows have never seen an Acadian.   Once we got to the park, we watched the 7 minute video about all of the prehistoric people who used the cave as a home.  We hiked the boardwalk down to the cave and then went down the nature trail.  It was an unexpected side excursion. 

If only they made an extendable pole to mount the phone for these kind of pictures

Then it was back on track to get to Kansas City.  Tara lamented that we hadn't seen any Power Tour cars.  We then passed a '56 Chevy and a new Mustang on the side of the road.  I said there's some, and as we passed, we realized it was our friends Kym and Fred with a flat tire.  Fortunately, the Mustang was another friend from Orlando, who just happened to pass by.  We were in the left lane and by the time we realized it was Fred and Kym, we were well down the road, plus they looked like they had everything under control. 

We stopped for lunch and an apple dumpling at Honeybakers in Marion, IL.  We found the place on the way home last year and made sure to make it a lunch stop on the way back out.  You really should find some reason to go through Madison just to try the place.

Finally, having crossed 5 different rivers named for states (Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri), we arrived at our destination: Kansas City, KANSAS.  We had to go back to Kansas because we still had a room night credit from a snafu with last year's hotel bookings.  That added an extra 40 minutes to a grueling 10 driving hour day.

Today, we slept in a little.  While we slept, the hotel sprinklers undid all of the good cleaning that the car got in Alpharetta.  Tara cleaned the car for what will be one of hundreds of times.  Then we went to the Overland Park Arboretum.  I'm not a big flowers and trees guy, but it was really an impressive place.  We then met Mark McKee, CEO of Ace Café, for lunch at Joe's Kansas City (closely related to Oklahoma Joe's which Ace is bringing to Orlando- Fall 2017). 

I call this one "My friend Claude."

Tara and Mark McKee at Joe's- Coming soon to an Orlando near you.

Then it was on to pick up our credentials at Arrowhead Stadium.  When we pulled into the parking lot, we ran into a group of buddies from Power Tours past.  We spent some time hanging with them under a shade tree, then got registered.  Tara complained about the "regular" car that went out of its way to park next to the Acadian.  (that "regular car" was a twin turbo AMG Mercedes).  Turns out, it was owned by our friend Jake who knew it would drive Tara nuts if he parked next to her.  We caught up with the rest of our usual crew- Tim and Lori, Tim and Timmy, Jacob, and Ken and Bryson at the registration tent.  It was then when the second tire casualty in our group appeared- Jacob found a screw in his tire- he drove all the way from Orlando with it.

A little early for game day.

Jacob's screwed tire

We all then went to a mini show hosted by Laid Back Garage at "Chux Trux."  They had just laid new blacktop and if you stood in one place too long, you began to sink.  It was the hottest part of the day.  We didn't stay long. 
Laid Back at Chux Trux

which of these things is not like the others?
We followed the local Kansas contingent of our group (Scott and James) back to the hotel where we took advantage of the free happy hour and the cooler weather in the parking lot.  We ran into Mike with the two orange Camaros that got hit with the tent at the end of last year's tour.  Both cars were fixed and gorgeous.  Tomorrow is the official Power Tour kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium.

Anything this yellow ought to have the word Taxi on it!
Car show in the parking lot!

Changing an exhaust manifold gasket in the parking lot at dusk.
Here are some more pictures from today:

'56 Chevy Sedan and Wagon

Yeah, It's got a HEMI!

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