Canyon Lake Car Club

Next meeting: February 2, 2016 5:45pm @ the Lodge

Long Haulers Ceremony

June 11 - Hot Rod Power Tour FINAL
Long Haulers' Ceremony at the
GM Proving Ground in Milford, MI (outside Detroit)
Day 14 for Chuck and Rett
"Driving it Home"
Milford, MI to Davenport, IO

Everyone was up early.  You could feel excitement in the air after a long night of reviewing the “plan of the day” for the Long Hauler’s Ceremony.     Even though the official Hot Rod Power Tour was complete the ritual and awards were not.   For each and every person who made it from Cocoa Beach to Detroit they’re rewarded with an undisclosed and secret festivity and parting gifts.   Around 2pm the day prior the General Motors booth handed out directions to this secret destination and at 4pm they began to hand out the self guided tour of the “Milford Proving Grounds”(MPG) which turns out to be General Motors giant  test facility.    There were very strict rules and even a waiver was signed.  “NO ALCOHOL or FIREARMS” was drilled in our heads; we hid the moonshine and “buy 1 one et one free artillery shell” fireworks deep in to the trunk.     Rett and I had even washed the Mustang, a well deserved cleaning needed for the annual Long Hauler photograph.   Each element festivities turn in to rumors including how they will take the final photo.    Could it be aerial?  From the top of a building or maybe they’d do individual pictures as we banked one of the 30 degree turns on the test track.   There was a stringent arrival period were as if you did not enter the facility between 8 and 9:30am then you would get in.  Additionally, we would all be “locked” in the MPG until noon.   We were told GM would conduct testing of new vehicles and effectively have us secured within the inner grounds at “black lake”.   To understand the enormous size of the facility click here :

We left at 7am, got gas and headed to the Area 51 like facility.   The guard closely monitored each car for the official Long Hauler sticker.   I felt like I was a VIP touring some secret automotive research cent.er, and we were.    The self guided tour was ignored as we sped thru the facility arriving the middle of Black Lake, a 67 acre flat surface where GM simulates various road surfaces including ice, show, and rain.    This is where we were sequestered for the next 4 hours.   The HRPT stage was set up and GM provided coffee, juice and pastries, seating areas and even a tent for inclement weather (which wasn’t needed).         The Hot Rod Power Tour souvenir shop made it’s final appearance and you’d think they were giving things away by the frenzy of $100 being thrown down.   A few presentations were given, two engines and 2011 red convertible Camaro were given away (neither of us won) and we all stood by our cars for the final pictures which was taken by a small plane which circled black lake.(picture coming soon).

After the picture all 3000 of us got in line for our parting gifts.  You could imagine the fuster cluck but surprising went quick with no injuries reported.  We gave our high-fives, fist bumps and hugs, pointed West and departed.  BUT WAIT, the best part is yet was unexpectedly still to come.

As we exited the GM staff allowed us to drive the high speed straight away, banked corner and road course.    Let’s just say Rett left his signature, we never hit a rail or grass but did test the Mustang’s full capabilities on this GM course.   We both had smiles, the type that hurt when you finally realize you’d been laughing hysterically for the last 10 miles.   Yes, we travelled on 10 miles of “proving grounds”.

We booted up the GPS (affectionately named Maggie) and hit HOME.   Maggie scratched her RAM and finally told us 35 hours and 2260 miles until you’re in Canyon Lake.  Seems like it’s all down hill from here. 





General Motor's Milford Proving Grounds fun facts

FUN FACTS ABOUT THE MILFORD PROVING GROUND

LAND AREA
RESIDENT DIVISIONS / STAFFS
NUMBER OF BUILDINGS
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
CAFETERIA
THREE LAKES ON PROPERTY
TEST ROADS
MILES DRIVEN ANNUALLY
    1 billion miles driven - September 1994
GASOLINE USED ANNUALLY
GALLONS OF ROAD STRIPING PAINT USED

VEHICLE DYNAMICS TEST AREA
    Nicknamed "Black Lake"
OVAL TEST TRACK
CIRCULAR TEST TRACK
EAST / WEST STRAIGHTAWAY

FULL SCALE BARRIER TESTS
HYGE SLED TESTS
COMPONENT TEST LAB
Approximately 4,000 acres
25
115
4,800
Serves over 1,000 meals per day
Sloan, Mott and Pickett
Equivalent to over 132 miles of two-lane highway
15,000,000

2,464,606
16,550 gal. of white and yellow paint
35,000 lbs. of reflecting beads
67 Acres
approximately the equivalent of 59 football fields
3.8 miles
4.5 miles
3.104 miles (including loops)
1.204 miles each way (level)
600 per year
1,500 per year
4,400 tests run annually on various parts of GM vehicles



June 10 HRPT Day 7

June 10 HRPT Day 7

Rett and Chuck Day 11

Muskegon, MI to Detroit, MI

Millage today :  230

We woke up to rain, stood in the rain for the driver's meeting and left Muskegon after having a few soggy donuts.   Despite the rain, the Muskegons still gathered in yards and parking lots to watch the Power Tour parade leave their City.   Today was the shortest drive, only 230 miles.  We basically went from the West Coast of Michigan to the East.  Arriving to the Motor City was exciting not only because it's the birthplace of the automobile but it was the final destination ot eh Tour, or as Rett says "da tora".   The parking situation was fabulous compared to some of the previous venues.   The rain had stopped with scattered showers but nothing to complain about.  The vendors unwrapped their final gifts for the long haulers and handed out the swag they didn't want carry home.   The day ended with exciting news (which Rett and I had uncovered last November at SEMA) that the 2012 Hot Rod Power Tour would start in Detroit and end in Arlington, TX, home of Painless Performance Products.   They would not revile the intermediate stops but only said they have the second to last dialed in.   I'm sure we'll see speculations on Bang Shift with in 24 hours.   Directions to the Long Haulers Ceremony  were passed out and we headed to the hotel, checked in, gave the GT-H a bath and BSed with the Bang Shifters (BSers).

The slide show tells the story.

June 9 Day 6 HRPT

June 9 HRPT Day 6

Rett and Chuck Day 11

Indianapolis, IN to Muskegon, MI

Millage today :  270

We're currently on the road using the air card cruising up US 31 with some small town experiences.   Kokomo (no, not that Kokomo) rolled out the red carpet.  We grabbed brunch at Bob Even's place.   Everything on the menu looked great but we all had breakfast.   Just after Kokomo it started to rain, as expected, then came the lightening but it passed as we crossed in to Michigan.   The Hot Rod Power Tour route took us all the way up US 31 which is NOT the way to go if you're trying to get to Muskegon Beach quickly.   About the 255 mark we hit red light after red light.  At least the weather has cooled, maybe we can avoid the catastrophic car failures seen in Montgomery.   The City of Muskegon is treating the power tour like royalty.  They had a booth down in Indy advertising the HUGE party they're throwing tonight.   This is the only venue which is actually using the street of downtown compared to the other which used large parking lots.    Muskegon is located on the shore of Lake Michigan and considders it's self a major tourist hot spot. 

June 8 Day 5 of the TOUR

June 8 HRPT Day 5

Rett and Chuck Day 10

Nashville, TN to Indianapolis, IN

Millage today :  330

We decided to skip the drivers meeting in Nashville and get on the road early with plans to stop and visit a few notable hot spots on the way to Indianapolis.   We joined the Bang Shift guys at the Holiday Day Express, jumped on 65 North which runs a direct route to Indy, and headed North.  About 100 miles in to the trip we received a call from our scout Phil reporting a major crash and back up at mile marker 65.  Lead man, Mike and Donna in the convertible red Olds Cutlass, took an exit which precisely detoured the caravan around the freeway accident not to mention seeing some of the most beautiful country side yet.

About 30 miles outside Indianapolis we veered off the 65 fwy to this inconspicuous used car lot of Ray Skillman (http://www.rayskillmanclassiccars.com/).     This is not your ordinary dealer, Ray specializes in nostalgic, rare, high-end automobiles, bikes, signs or whatever catches his fancy.   Some are on consignment but most are his own cars.   Oh ya, Mr. Skillman also owns (by my rough count) a dozen other new car dealerships in the Indianapolis  metro area.   Check out the pictures in my slide show, this place will blow you away!

Arriving to “Indy” just as the mercury peaked we told (a little white lie) the parking attendant we were going to the dynometer but really we just  wanted a parking spot up front.    We jumped out of the icy AC into hot and humid muck in time to clock in and grab our garb.   We checked out the venue’s participant T-shirt and passed.   Let me explain.  At each venue there’s a “participant” shirt.  The participant shirts are “special” with a new design for each location on the TOUR and each is a different color.   Indy’s color was a very strange shade of green, maybe a puke-lime tint.  One more thing, if you buy 7 shirts you earn a 2011 Power Tour Jacket.  Now I realize that Hot Rod magazine needs to cater to every American but wow, you could have done better with the design and colors.  My theory is they received a discount on a, overstock item from the 1980’s and stitched  on the 2011 logo.

 

The day ended with a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track.  This is the same track they ran the 100th Indy 500 race on just last week.  What an honor.

By the time we checked in the Sleep Inn and freshened up (and believe me, we both needed it) it was 10pm.   We shot down to blocks to Dan and Nancy’s garage.   Quick story.  Rett and Donna met Dan and Nancy at Caddy’s (remember Caddy’s from a previous blog entry) back in October 2010 after Rett noticed Dan wearing a Baldwin Motion shirt.   It turned out they lived in Indy so of course Rett said “I’ll be in Indy next June”.     It turns out Dan has, by my standards, a VERY high-end collection of VERY unique cars.   His “garage” is located in an undisclosed location about 5 minutes from the track.   If you have a minute read this for an explanation on Baldwin Motion super cars and you’ll understand why owning 5 of these awesome autos is so prestigious.  http://www.officialbaldwinmotion.com/begin.htm

We got back to the hotel around 11pm local time.  It was a long day. 

June 7 HRPT Day 4

June 7 Day 4
Montgomery, AL to Nashville, TN
300 miles arriving LP Field home of the Titans.

STORY COMING SOON (we've been busy)

Day 9 HRPT Valdosta to Montgomery

June 6 Monday
Valdosta, GA to Montgomery, AL
250 miles

The days are becoming a little blurry because I'm falling behind in my website duties.  I've become a true co-pilot, navigator, waiter, station attendant, customer service, information booth, real-time traffic and a few others I wont mention.

This morning we met back at the South Georgia Motorpark Speedway for the drivers meeting, aimed toward Montgomery and hit launch.   Today's drive was the best yet due to the side street, small towns and winding roads through VERY rural Georgia and Alabama.   The HRPT event organizers notified a few of the small towns we'd be passing by which obviously spread like wild fire.  I'm sure we doubled if not quadrupled the population.   Residents set up watermelon stands, set their own classic cars out and welcomed us as we passed through.

The only town not ready for 3000 hot rods was Montgomery.   As all us hit the freeway exit and attempted to take the same course to the Montgomery Motor Speedway traffic congested with no control.   Cars began to pull over to the shoulder as they overheated or became vapor locked (gas line gets so hot the gas vaporises and wont flow to the engine).    Temperature peaked at 98F but it felt more like 198F with the humidity.  I felt bad for the guys breaking down for mechanical issues but it's hard not to chuckle at the guys with no air conditioning.

Once in the venue we again gathered our swag and punch in on the time clock.   If I haven't explain this, here's how it works.  You can join the power tour at any of the 7 stops or even get a one day pass.   If you register in Cocoa Beach and proceed to check in at the time clock by 6pm each day and at all seven locations then you are considered a "LONGHAULER".  Longhaulers get a special guest from Hot Rod magazine and the other major vendors.   Additionally, on Saturday (the day after the last city) there's a picture that only the longhaulers get the prestige.  Each venue is simular because the major sponsors pack up at 6pm each night and drive until they arrive at the next city were as the hot rods stay the night and leave the next morning.

There were drag race fun runs again in Montgomery but after taking the HRPT route, stopping for lunch , gas etc. Rett decided not to make any runs.  We packed it up early to run back tot he hotel, wash up and get downtown for the band, car show and dinner.


 

Day 2 Cocoa Beach to Valdosta, GA

June 5 - Sunday

Day 2 of the Hot Rod Power Tour

Kennedy Space Center Tour

Cocoa Beach, FL to Valdosta, GA

We woke up to a beautiful beach sunrise and headed over to the Kennedy Space Center(KSC) for the "behind the fence" tour and Hot Rod Power Tour (HRPT) drivers meeting.   We had 2 hours to look around the KSC before the VIPs give their speeches about space and the HRPT.   I spent most my time in the gift shop and grabbing a bite to eat.   We had a few minutes to play with the rocket ships before Freiburger gathered everyone (about 1000) for a kick off meeting.   It was a great speech including a congressman, shuttle astronaut and the COO of the KSC.  Very motivational including the past, current and future of the space program.  As you know the highly sucessful shuttle program is coming to an end with the Endeavour landing last week after it's last mission and the Atlantis is on the pad staged for it's last launch on July 8.   You could feel the excitement around the space center as the country celebrates the US's space program.   It was a real honor seeing the Atlantis pointing toward space for the last time.

 

We than did the tour of the space center which is typically done by civilians in a NASA tour bus for $65 but for us, nothing but the best.  The COO said for the first time since 9/11 he was allowing civilian cars “bhind the fence”.  It was a extraordinary  drive which looped the main shuttle and rocket staging area with a nice view out to the shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad.

After the tour we exited the KSC, turned right, pointed the car Noth and punched it arriving in Voldosta at the South Georgia Motorsports Park.   We walked the venue, grabbed our swag, got our credintials stamped and set up the folding chairs at the stage.

I haven’t said much about the heat and humidity but you can imagine it’s nothing like California.   We hit 97F and clear, no shade and no place to rest with AC.    Everyone is constantly wet.   (yes Tracy, I’m drinking plenty of water).

At the Motorsports Park Rett took the option to race, got through tech inspection and did about 8 runs.   I was able to do a ride along for his first run and my first drag run ever.   

We finished the day back at the Days Inn.    

June 4 Saturday Day 1

June 4 Saturday
Day 1 - Cocoa Beach

Since we registered Friday we weren't in a hurry to get over to the venue before they opened the gates so we caught extra zzzzzzs.   After a very crowded Days Inn breakfast we followed the other 3000 hot rods to Power Tour's main event.   On the way over Justin called to ask Rett for a ride up to Orlando to pick up a part (drive shaft slide out yoke).   We set up the chairs at the main stage (only way to guarantee a seat for the 5pm stage show) and Rett found Justin and they headed to the parts store.   I hung with Phil for a few and then broke off to collect all the goodies and scope out the sponsors.

Rett returned and we got our credentials stamped to prove in fact we were in Cocoa Beach.  While perusing the show we bumped in to Adrian at the Painless Performance booth and Rett chatted about the quilt Terry made.  I snapped a picture of Ms. Painless and Adrian.   Tomorrow and for the rest of the tour Terry and the Bang Shift gang will be selling raffle tickets for the GIANT car carzy quilt with proceeds going to Cancer Research.  Stop in and buy some raffle tickets.  $1 each

While getting our badges stamped at the Yearone booth we saw a picture of Chip with a progeria kid and starting talking to the  folks about progeria.   It turns out the CEO, Keven, wants to do a mini non formal power tour-ish event down the West Coast.   We suggested he consider travelling through our area and maybe we can help out with proceeds going to progeria.   Keven seemed excited about the possibilities so we'll see what happens.

Around 5:30 we finally sat down and waiting for the "games" to begin.   The Hot Rod guys had various sponsors and VIPs talk and throw parting gifts to the warn out spectoatos.   We ran in to Christi and Vic and had a chat.   Christi thanked the Canyon Lakers for coming out to the Torrance show last month.  We also invited her to our show on October 1 and said we contact her with an invite.   Christi, Vic and Mom Nancy have attended al 17 Hot Rod Power Tours!

We didn't win anything today but will within the next six.   We headed back to the hotel, showered and I ran accross the street to a tourest trap for some after sun lotion.  10 hours in the 90F direct sun beats the hell out of you.    Jumped in, gassed up and headed to Cobra's (Bruce) place out in Sanford, about 60 miles and $300 in tolls away.   Bruce threw a great party.   The BBQ chicken and ribs were the best meal we've had on the entire trip.   We had to move our bar when the bon fire lit up but it didn't stop us from enjoying good company, tasty guitar playing and off the hook burn outs.

Back home by midnight we packed, checked maps, reset the GPS and crashed.   Good night.

 

June 3 - Cocoa Beach pre-tour

June 3 Friday
Cocoa Beach Florida.   Pre-Pre-Tour kick off parties

We had no reason to set an alarm and slept in until 7am.   Started laundry and cleaned up the condo.   We were on the road by 10am with about a 2 and half hour drive to Cocoa Beach.   Calls started rolling in to Rett's cell phone has Bang Shifter's began to arrive to Cocoa.   We drove straight to the Days Inn on Atlanta next to the Cocoa pier but as Rett jumped out of the car he busted his cell phone in two.   We unloaded the car in to the room and headed to Best Buy to pick up a new phone (still with no texting or email) and I picked up a new 55-300mm for the new Nikon SLR digital.

We were still back by 3pm and over at registration by 4pm.   The energy level was high, all types of cars, trucks and bikes strutted by as spectators stared.   We spent nearly three hours checking out the rows of cars and meeting all the great people from the Bang Shift forum.

Back at the hotel we walked to the pier and took at seat at the first pub as the band started their gig.   The band was awesome, the food and drinks complimented the scenery and beach setting.   I had the best meal yet.

The sun set and we split back to the car and set course for the cruise which was either a bomb or we were in the wrong city.   We ended up BSing with friends here and there stopping at the Holiday and Comfort Inn.   Did you know smoking is still legal in bars?   Did you know there's no helmet law in Florida?   Wild and crazy stuff.  I'll bet it's okay to talk on a cell phone while driving.... these guys are dare devels.

Tomorrow is the Pre-party, cruise, show and vendor area.   Cocoa Beach is expecting 3500 cars and revenue of $1.5 million over these 3 days.   I haven't seen any sign this will happen so I've very excited and expecting an influx of autos over night.

June 2 Day 5 Madeira Beach

June 2 Thursday
Madeira Beach at Rett and Donna's Condo
1 day until the Hot Rod Power Tour begins

To be honest this will be a VERY short entry because I want to get to bed early and be rested for the BIG day.

Both are alarms rang at 6am, thank god.   It was the first time using my iPhone alarm and I don't think Rett uses an alarm when here in Madeira Beach (it's near sacrilegious).   We headed over to Autoway Ford for our 7am appointment to have the alternator switched.   We met Dorian who explained "there's a process" and we politely explained "BUT WE ARE ON THE HOT ROD POWER TOUR!!!!".    Dorian won and the 'Stang was pulled in behind a bunch of other sleepy eye Ford owners waiting to get processed and off to work.    The service writer explained it would be about an hour and a half just to diagnose the sickness.   We had a blast checking out all the 2011s, sitting in them, adjusting the seats like they were ours, pushing all the buttons, reading the literature, etc.   After seeing every new and used car twice, drinking their free coffee (if you want to call it that) we finally took a seat in the waiting room.   It had only been one hour and Dorian walked in and said "Rett, I've got good news and bad.   The good is that we already have the new alternator in your car, the bad is that the new one is BAD and we can't get another one until tomorrow".  Rett and I looked at each other with shock and desire to kill something.  Rett's face turned red and the pressure in my head increased by 100 psi.   Just as Rett was about to point his finger and yell something he would want to forget for the rest of his life, Dorian said "Just kidding, here's your keys, you're good to o, fully covered under warranty, you gentleman have a safe trip".    After hysterical laughter and congratulating Dorian on his "gotcha" we praised Autoway Ford of Clearwater Florida and left... all they saw was tail lights.

Quick side note:  Rett and I would like to honor Autoway Ford by dedicating Day 1 of the Hot Rod Power to the service center specifically Dorian and Jasmine.  THANK YOU !

We grabbed some lunch, stopped by Target and Walgreens to pick up the essentials including q-tips and Rum.  Quick pit stop back to the Condo and then over to Sunset Beach for lunch and cocktails with  Debbie (Rett's real estate ageant).   We planted ourselves at Caddy's, an open air joint with a live band at lunch on a Thursday!   Come one California, learn something by this example.

Once again back at the Condo we people watched and cleaned up for dinner.   We met friend and Bang Shift Forum Freek Ed "66furyIII" and family at Quaker Steak and Lube.    It would take be too long to write about this place so check out the pictures.

Got back a little later then planned, threw on our jacuzzi suites, made a drink and headed to the pool deck.

Time for some shut eye, BIG DAY TOMORROW.



June 1 Thursday

June 1 Thursday

Day 4 of "gettin' there" on our pre-tour tour.

Woke up at O'dark thirty and grabbed some breakfast but this time it was continental and guarded by the night shift all-n-one attendant Sam.   We jumped in the Mustang, turned the key and listened to the new battery immediately crank over all 8 cylinders.   First things first as we headed East continuing on the 10 fwy toward Florida.   I began calling Ford dealerships near Rett's condo in Madeira Beach.    After sweet talking various service writers up and down the East coast of Florida we made a 7am appointment at Autoway Ford of St. Petersburg about 8 miles from the condo.    The drive started and ended with soaring tree lined highways even as we transitioned from the 10 freeway on to the 75 South.   One big difference on this leg of the drive was the huge quantity of highway patrol, all colors ,all makes, all models.   It was so bad Rett switched on his billion dollar cop detector with stereophonic indicators.

We stopped for gas in a nice little Louisiana town and grabbed gas and a couple truck stop hot dogs.   About an hour early we were burping hot dog regretting ever spending the buck fifty.

We also took a detour at Mobile to check out the paddle wheel consinos and the final stop of the 2010 power tour. (the Long Hauler picture was taken on the Alabama – see picture)

We drove by the interchange that would have taken us up to Valdosta as we envisioned next week.   Vadosta Georgia is our first stop after we leave Cocoa Beach.   We continued down the 75 passing other vacation spots feeling like “we’re home with only 100miles to Rett and Donna’s pad in Madeira Beach.   I thought of my vacation a few backs with Tracy and Alyssa as I passed the exit to Orlando knowing we’re only one hour from Orlando.  Maybe next year girls.

We made it to the condo around 7:30pm with an hour before sunset.   I was reading FUN FACTS about Florida to Rett and discovered that Clearwater (5 minutes from the Condo) only has 6 days of rain a year.   We hit one of them.  It rained just enough to raise the humidity to 178% and make the Shelby’s slick black paint look patina.

Rett gave me the tour of the building and as we arrived to the 11th floor, opened the door to the condo not only did we ARRIVE but both knew we’d made it to our first real distination.    We rolled up the storm shutters to reveal the aqua blue water and white sands as the sun tried to set near thru the passing rain clouds.

We made a stiff drink and hit the hey.   I’m not sure where the Vincent’s found this pull out couch but it near heavenly.  Alarms are set for 6am (that 3am Cali time) so we can be one time for the alternator swap.

Getting there Day 3 - San Antonio to Gulfport

May 31 Tuesday

San Antonio to Gulfport, MS via Houston and New Orleans

We departed after another free and delicious hotel breakfast this time feasting on a sausage and egg biscuit and couldn't pass on the mini strawberry yogurt over some raisin bran.   Once on the road  we were surprised at the first signs of civilization indicated by the HOUSTON billboards along the freeway(it had been a long drive with NOTHING to see).  The scenery turned from brown and flat to green and rolling.   Once within the Houston city boundaries we jumped on the 610 North loop to bypass the downtown morning rush hour, jumped back on the 10 and headed East but not after passing thru Jacinto Port (where I've visited many times for work).   We continued in to Louisiana and grabbed some gas in Lafayette.   We decided to fill our own tanks and stopped at Subway.  The line was out the door so I ran to "Agave Tamales" which turned out to be not related to the Agave plant or Mexican tamale but instead consisted of ground beef the size of pencil lead in a small uncooked 6 inch roll of corn meal the size of your thumb.   The smallest order was 6 which at home would have fed a whole family but here was an appetizer.   I found a "Tamale Supreme" special which consisted of three "tamales", "cheddar" and "queso" (which was nacho cheese out of a can).    I ran back to Subway and split a roasted chicken foot long with Rett.

If you're ever down here, you know, in the Deep South, stop by Bourbon St, for a few hours minimum.  If you plan on partying then give yourself 2 days.  One day to party and one to recover.

We made it from NO-LA (that's local talk for New Orleans Louisiana) to Gulfport, MS where we are staying tonight.   We fueled up before negotiating a room at the Days Inn on hwy 49 just off the 10.    We're a day ahead of schedule but that was expected when there too highly attentive and strategic (or as Tracy would say "anal retentive") guys traveling together.

We continued East on the 10 (again) ending up in Gulfport around 8pm but not after stopping in New Orleans.    We found a parking spot and headed toward the load jazz music grabbing a frozen concoction as we turned on to Bourbon Street.   I had to question the bartender about the specific alcohol type used because being a past participant in the Las Vegas tumbling margaritas dispenser and knowing well and good they're made with wine or bottom-of-the barrel Walmart tequila.  So let me warn you, in "Norlins" they are made with the real stuff.  After a few tastings I went with the deep-red frozen “Vampire's Blood” which was mostly Bacardi 151 and vodka with a splash of red die, strawberry flavoring and VERY high fructose corn syrup.   I could sense the 151 after passing just twelve strip clubs (about 20 feet).   Still early in the day, the party people were flocking toward their favorite jazz club.   We continued down Bourbon and past the church to the swelling Mississippi river.  We met "World Famous Pete" who rambled on about nothing and then asked for money, a young lady who ticketed us for "not having fun", gave us a hat and asked for money and then, a lady we'll just call "Jane" who asked what we were doing tonight and again, asked us for money.   I had my wallet in my front pocket and acted like I lost it as I gave her the "no money" motion toward my back pocket.  We took a picture and went on our way.   Now if you don't believe me, check out the pictures, it's all there.

Rett’s outside with the AAA guy watching his battery get replaced.   Rett's optima was DOA after pulling in to the parking spot here at the Days Inn in .   Better here then in the middle of the Power Tour. After listening to the drivers life story we also learned the 'stangs alternator blew a diode causing the battery to lose more then it's gaining.   We've made an apt. for 7am Thursday at the St. Petersburg Ford dealer to replace the alternator under warranty.   We'll lose about 4 hours but we're still a day a head of schedule.   We'd make the Bandit jealous.

Getting there Day 2 - Lordsburg to San Antonio

Monday May 30
Our 5:00am Memorial Day morning wakeup came early.   I skipped shaving to enjoy a wonderful FREE warm breakfast; English muffin, Mexican omlet and a fresh waffle and than remembered our day will consists of 12 hours of sitting... I may have made the wrong choice.   

We were on the road by 6am headed East continuing on the 10 fwy, through El Paso, over the Rio Grande.   Stopped at Sonic for lunch and now pulling in to San Antonio East side.   We first stopped at the Red Roof Inn on the East side because they advertised $50 / night. The parking lot was empty accept a few used hypodermic needs and tumble weeds.  The Red Roof Inn saw our red taillights as we jumped back on the 10 and headed East, fast.   We stopped about 30 miles South of Canyon Lake (TX) in Saquin and stayed at a La Quinta.   Ate and Watabuger washed down by a rum and diet coke and watched the news specifically for the weather. 


It wasn't that great of a picture day.  There were three basic things we saw; rocks, bushes and dirt.   We did how ever completed the operational test on the speed rating of the 'stangs tires.



Here's an example of what the various locations of the Power Tour will look like:


"Getting there" - San Diego to Lordsburg, NM

Rett and I packed the car, kissed the girls and were on the road by 7am….IN THE RAIN. We hit rain all the way to the AZ boarder and immediately hit 45 miles of sand storm but when the end of the world ended it was beautiful. We landed in Casa Grande, grabbed gas and lunch and joined up with Dannie and Barry. We jumped back on the 10 fwy headed East and decided to detour to Tombstone, ya, that Tombstone.

Day 1 San Diego to Lordsburg, NM Pictures

During our 611 mile trip we racked up the following stats: average 61mph (fairly good considering rain and sand storm, stopping for lunch and gas plus the back roads to Tombstone), 23 mpg and used 26.8 gal of gas.


The pictures tell the rest of the story.

Sunday San Diego to Lordsburg, NM

Monday Lordsburg, NM to San Antonio, TX

Tuesday San Antonio, TX to New Orleans, LA

Wednesday New Orleans to Tampa (Rett and Donnas’ condo)

MORE TO COME.   Wake up call in for 5am (5.5 hours from now)

24 hour count down

Friday May 27 21:00

I'm packed and ready....wait, did I put my razor in my bag? a screw it, who needs to shave anyway.

Joe, Rett and I spent a few minutes setting of the Car Club Fiesta Days booth over at the Lodge but mostly BS'd about tomorrow and the Power Tour.

Saturday May 28 is the Canyon Lake Summer KICK OFF party, otherwise known as Fiesta Days. Our car club is providing 14 convertibles for our dignitaries and 10 cars for the Car Club entry complete with two Earleywine girls carrying the banner. The parade last from 9 to 10 ending at the Lodge where the entire City's set up camp for the Memorial Day weekend. We'll be hanging out at the Car Club booth from 10 to 4pm when we're quickly tear down the EZ-up, drop the truck at my house and head down to Rett and Donnas' for the night. We'll most likely pass out shortly after walking thru the door and then wake up early like's it's Christmas morning.

http://s1218.photobucket.com/albums/dd412/chuckcasey/Fiesta%20Days%202011/?albumview=slideshow

Fiesta Days 2011 Pictures : http://s1218.photobucket.com/albums/dd412/chuckcasey/Fiesta%20Days%202011/

Sunday morning is when we depart on the quest. I spoke to Dennis in Houston today who says "It's hot and dry, people here are praying for a monsoon". Dennis went on to say that "weather" hasn't come as low as the 10 fwy yet this season meaning that we have a clear path to Florida. I heard a rumor Texas has not speed limit, is that true? Just in case I withdrew another $300 for bribe money in case we get pulled over.

Stay tuned because we are moments away from the POWER TOUR 

9 days and counting

May 20 22:00

Nine days until we leave on the HRPT.   I dialed in the last bit of the electonics and even started packing.  Packing for 16 days will be tough. 

Some of you have been asking if I'm taking the Falcon, well the Falcon is not a long hauler.  We're taking Rett's 2006 Shelby Mustang GT-H.   The H stands for Hertz, as in rental cars.   Back in 1966 Shelby converted some stock mustangs to GT350s (pluls a little) and sent them to Hertz so people could "rent a racer".  Remember, back in 1966 the Pony car was brand new, a new concept.   People started renting these hipo rod rods and racing them on the weekends.  Some even swapped the Shelby 289 engine for their stock engine.   Hertz started placing lockwire from the shock tower over to the engine block as a tell-tail of an engine swap.   For the 40th aniversary Shelby decided to make a commemerative GT-H in the classed gold on black.  Only 500 were produced which even included the same lockwire as the 1966s.

Back in December Rett and I visited Vegas and the Shelby American factory.  We also did SEMA for 3 days and even ran into the management of BangShift.