Today’s first leg of the 17th annual Hot Rod Power Tour was a special one indeed, involving men of mettle, overcoming impossible challenges and forging ahead in the face of adversity. And that was just our dinner at Sonny’s BBQ. We also went to the Kennedy Space Center!
That’s right, the John F. Kennedy Space Center, where the Space Shuttle is launched. Here are our Marketeers and Sellers of Mothers, Shane, Forrest and Ken on site at Kennedy. Dare I say these guys have a Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn and Ed Harris Right Stuff-iness about them.
I would have said that until I saw scenes like this. Question: How many Mothers does it take to clean a windshield? Answer: Zero. Bob Bondurant will do it. More on this later.
The real heroes of the day were David Freiburger, Editor-In-Chief of Hot Rod magazine, and the entire Hot Rod Power Tour staff who hooked up the Power Tourists with a private tour of the Space Center. What a tremendous honor. And as the lone Middle Easterner of the group I was just glad to not be detained by Homeland Security.
Yes, that is an astronaut. A true gosh darn American hero addressing the assembled Power Tour masses. He was in the very first class of Space Shuttle crews and I am acutely aware that he is more man than I will ever be. And you know what, I’m fine with that. I wouldn’t want me up in space either.
But I do believe that Forrest does have the right stuff. He just might have a little too much of it to be contained by this suit. Don’t worry, Forrest, it just means that there’s more of you to love.
While we waited for what seemed like the entire Power Tour procession to lead out of the Space Center before us, I decided to the absolute bare minimum and shoot pictures from the air-conditioned confines of our Thrifty Suburban.
Some of our fellow Power Tourists heard that Bob Bondurant would be leading the procession. Forrest enlightened them by hitting the key fob panic button from the back of our Thrifty Suburban. And you wonder where I get my work ethic from?
We know Florida’s helmet laws are rather lax, but this is ridiculous.
This is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where the Space Shuttles live. The final launch will be on July 8 at 11:40am. If you haven’t been you owe it to yourself to come see it in person as it will be the end of an era.
This is one of two crawler-transporters (nicknamed Hans and Franz) used to transport spacecraft like the Space Shuttles from the VAB along the crawlerway to Launch Complex 39. These crawlers were designed and built by Rockwell International at a cost of $14 million each. They weigh 6,000,000 lbs each with eight tracks, two on each corner, each one made up of 57 shoes weighing 1,984 lbs each! The crawlers have 16 traction motors powered by four 1,341 hp generators driven by two 2,750 hp Alco diesel engines. The crawler’s tanks hold 5,000 gallons of diesel burned at a rate of 125.7 gallons per minute at a maximum loaded speed of 1 mph. FYI, I did NOT Wiki this, I just know this sort of stuff off the top of my head.
After the amazing time at Kennedy it was time to set out for what we came out to do Tour. We embarked on our 262 mile drive to South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cecil, GA.
In addition to our Thrifty Suburban we had this new Camaro on loan from some legendary school of high performance driving, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
Some of our Mothers wanted to make sure our company had the proper representation on The Power Tour. And there it is!
We think, Bob, er Forrest was screaming something about how he is definitely NOT Bob Bondurant. Well then, Bob, er Forrest, why would sign your door like that?
For some reason the pump at the gas station in Daytona Beach where we filled up did not print receipts so Shane asked me to take this picture for proof. He also wanted me to tell Amy in accounting that the total for the fuel was $349.76. Gas prices these days, eh? On a completely unrelated note, Shane, remember you promised to split that thing with me from that thing we did. Okay, we’ll just talk later.
We see what the problem is here. The fourth wheel is in the bed instead of the right front where it belongs. Crazy kids with their three wheel action.
It appears the South Georgia Motorsports Park is home to a drag strip and Power Tour participants were able to run the 1320.
This little SLK even ran sixes! Maybe sixteens. Does that make a big difference? You’ll have to forgive me as I don’t live my life a quarter-mile at a time.
You know who is good on a strip? Our Fearless Leader, Jim who took our cool Mothers ’67 El Camino out for a pass.
And less than 12 seconds later this happened. We heard this was the second fastest time of the day behind a slick-shod racer. Not bad at all for a show car. Viva, Camino!
I’m not sure but Jim is either showing us his time slip or putting in his drink order ahead before we sat down for dinner at Sonny’s BBQ pit.
The GM Motor Medics have become a staple on the Hot Rod Power Tour. They have a complete set of tools and spares and they will fix any car on the Tour free of charge regardless of make or model. Yes, Forrest, even PT Cruisers.
Here are some Power Tourists making use of the GM Motor Medics’ generous hospitality. When I asked if they can come to my place in Southern California to help me change my oil they looked at me like I was stupid. Why do I always get these sort of looks from people?
This looks like a 1949 Mercury with a Vortech blower. We heard from our bestest buddy Mark from Color-Rite that it belongs to Ted Dzus. Yes, that Ted Dzus of the Dzus fastener empire. Love your fasteners and your car, Ted!
This 1949 Nash Airflyte has some serious soul and an Empire State of Mind. But if I may make one slight suggestion I would recommend some California Gold Carnau, no. Maybe some of our Mothers Chrome Poli, erm. Back-to-Black? On second thought, forget I said anything.
Here comes da Judge. More specifically, Matt Layman’s 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge from Akron, IN with a stroked 400 and B&M TH 300 trans.
Leonard and Linda Decker’s 1932 Ford pick ‘em up has a 2.2 Liter inline four diesel. We like their math: Diesel + Duece = Deucel. But then, do you carry the two or just the pair of truck nutz?
On the 2009 Power Tour this little plugless wonder that could covered 4,500 miles through 21 states in 14 days consuming 98 gallons of fuel with a 46 MPG average at a cost of $252.43. Oil burners, eh!
I’m not sure what’s more perplexing, the tubbed rear end or the complete absence of even one single Grateful Dead sticker.
Leo and Luise Leopold are rocking this groovy Pontiac Grand Prix which is bone stock and immaculately preserved. This car makes me want to grow out my sideburns, smoke a pipe and put on a turtleneck and a mohair jacket.
Rick and Lisa Spain are the original owners of this clean Dodge Dart with a 318 engine.
At the end of the day the stage was packed as usual.
And then I saw why. Our pal Uncle Joe Sebergandio was giving away one of our cool Mothers Detail Buckets. But Joe was only the opening act.
Because our own Bob Bond, er, Forrest the un-Official Meteorologist of The Hot Rod Power Tour took to the stage to give one of his infamous weather forecasts. Apparently it’s going to be hot tomorrow. Humid even. Who’d have thunk it.
Forrest also awarded another one of our cool Mothers Detail Buckets to Hughey Bellue of Semour, MO.
And that concluded another remarkable day on the 2011 Hot Rod Power Tour. Tomorrow we’ll be Touring for 248 action-packed miles (at least I think we will be because I’ll be sleeping) from Cecil, GA to Montgomery, AL, which, according to Forrest is the birthplace of civil rights. I’ll take his word for it.
I also owe Forrest my everlasting gratitude as I’m two-for-two with fast hotel Internet access via the plush confines of the Courtyard by Marriott.
But before we slept we went big at Sonny’s BBQ. And by big, I mean we dared eat at a place known for its BBQ’d pork that was actually out of BBQ’d pork. But at least our waitress Sarah had a purty mouth.