Yesterday I got this tale started describing how we found ourselves on the Hot Rod Power Tour with a car full of kids while driving a hot rod that doesn't fit the traditional deuce coupe mold. Today I will take you a long on the first actual touring day of the Power Tour. We traveled from Charlotte to Shelby, NC, Chimney Rock, NC, Ashville, NC and onto Knoxville, TN through the course of the day.
Just the normal lunch crowd in Hot Springs.
The run started early, with a dash to the hotel breakfast bar for DIY waffles, juice and all the muffins the kids could keep down. after that it was time to pile into the Evo and hit the road. after some advise from the old hands at the hotel we opted to skip the driver's meeting at the speedway in place of a few more restful minutes for the kids. At first I was nervous about this as I am an follow rules type of guy. Combine that with the fact that we had to follow old school turn by turn directions and not the soothing tones of Ms. Google Maps and I had my concerns. They were totally unfounded. We jumped on the freeway and were immediately in a line of fellow tour travelers.
Traveling with a tour like this, with something like 1500 cars, is like swimming in a school of fish. When one turns everyone turns. You don't want to be the lead fish and you don't want to be the fish at the back. We were comfortably in the middle and knew we were on the right track when we passed the official tour bus.
The roads were drove were fantastic between Shelby and Hot Springs and down through the mountains. Perfect roads for the Evo. Tight, cambered and climbing. Great fun. Unfortunately, they are not the best roads for Chevelles rolling on Micky Thompson drag radials. That combo, and the huge number of cars, meant it was slow going. On the plus side, the pace meant that neither one of the kids got car sick in the back seat while daddy was playing up front.
We stopped in Hot Springs, NC, around 1230 for lunch. The small vacation town was already teaming with Power Tour participants. We found a table at an outdoor restaurant and was immediately told that they weren't notified that there was going to be this huge mass of people coming through and that they were understaffed, running low on milkshake makings and only had fries as sides. No worries for us as we weren't in a huge hurry. We talked, played games with the kids and generally watched the rolling car show stream by. What blows my mind is we were there for over an hour and 20 minutes and the cars never stopped rolling by. One amazing, rare, loud machine after another.
Something here isn't like the others.
The rest of the drive went uneventfully except for hitting a nasty traffic backup outside of Knoxville. That took an hour to get through and burned through time that would have otherwise have been spent at the show. What impressed me about the drive was seeing the locals lining the roads watching the cars go by. Old folks, families and teens. Everyone was out. It speaks to the passion for cars that people still have when you get out of the cities.
I think the show in Knoxville had a different feel than Charlotte. More families, more grass and it seemed more folks talking with one another. We haven't spent much time in the vendor area or by the stage as the kids aren't interested, but it looks interesting. We did give my son a camera to use for the day and he has discovered badges. I think he took a picture of the badging of every car we paused by. More power to him.
Next we run from Knoxville to Charleston, WV. I will let you know how that went tomorrow.
The boy and his new found obsession...badges.
Lots of patina on display.
Na na na na, nah...Batman!
The dude was invited to try it out. He liked it.
The world needs more of this!