There’s a fine art to traveling – my dad says "some people travel – some people move". Especially when he watches me load up my "stuff ’ for the Lipstick trip ahead. Participants this year include The President of the Corvette Club of Manitoba, Bev Dyck, Kathy Milne with her 1938 Chevy, Barb Balanyk (Babs) of Brandon, with her 1934 Ford Pickup truck and myself with my 23 Ford T-Bucket and trailer of "stuff’.
Meeting in St. Norbert we did the live deal with A Channel News and then blew town for Mpls. Staying at fellow rodders Lisa and Mac Rogers was a hoot. Mac cooked for twenty and fed six. Following his fifteen course Southern breakfast (grits and all) we ran South for our next stop with Ramblin Rodder members Sheryl and Randy Sell in Muscatine, Iowa. Another party – another sleep over and on the road again.
Jumping off interstate was a pleasure to cruise the covered bridges in Indiana. Stops include the Indianapolis Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Brickyard 400, Ruby Falls and assorted small roads.
The Indianapolis Speedway Hall of Fame Museum at the Brickyard 400. Bev Dyck got a kick out of this one – zoom zoom!
Kentucky brought different scenery; mountains and valleys with scores of barns painted black to attract the sun and dry the tobacco leaves. We did stop and snoop in one field, examining their harvest.
Pulling in to Bowling Green we hit the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant for their morning tour. Babs had never been there and was certainly impressed. Following the tour Bev was selected to start a new ZR6 Vette off the line – all smiles, this was one happy girl. Following this we were escorted by TV actor/Video Model (Allan Jackson’s Watermelon Crawl Video) Bob Breeding. Bob was cordial and a conversant in all aspects of the plant bestowing the VIP tour with a behind the scenes glimpse of the setup as we fondled and examined many parts, and pieces. Apparently many prominent folks do the plant VIP tours and our tour resulted in staff asking for our autographs – kind of funny. Guess it’s nice to have that hidden connection. We had a ride in the new ZR6, could’ve driven it had their perimeter road not been under repair. Following this a brief interview, pictures, and snaps by our cars, up at the front door, and later featured in their Vette Gazette. Kool.
The National Corvette Museum was almost next-door and Bev, having now bought half their stock of souvenirs from the shops, loaded down all our cars a little more with "stuff".
We arrived in Pigeon Forge late Wed night & were greeted by Linda and Fred Ross (SuperRod Magazine Feature of their 61 Impala Conv), friends Cindy and Don Sangster, all hosts from the 99 Lipstick Run to Wenatchee, Washington. Fun times ahead! Fred was full of his antics and jokes and Linda poured us "EVIL" drinks...EVIL, EVIL, EVIL.
The Shades of the Past 18’" Annual Car Show was held at the Smoky River Ranch nestled in Pigeon Forge, in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. The 13 member volunteer host club welcomed some 2200 cars, 200 vendors and gave away two 1932 Fords. Wow.
Friends from Cullman, Alabama, Laura and Paul Atkins flaunted their 34 Roadster, Riddler Award 2000 winner down at the Winners Circle. Paul is world renown for his custom one-of-a-kind hand crafted leather interiors. (Paul Atkins Interiors)
The swap meet was extensive and the prices on real steel were steep. It took us most of the day to search for goodies and finish up touring vendor row. Carlos Sanders from Atlanta Street Rods shared some wax samples as well as some frosty cold beverages with our gang (it was now 95 degrees), and we discussed my T-Bucket ride. Ever since I changed to Carrera shocks as he recommended, I’ve had a noticeably much smoother ride, and adjusting them is a cinch. Thankx Carlos! Reba and Boyd Hardin of Village Buffing, Kannapolis, N.C. demonstrated how their micro polish cloths work on cars and we were positively impressed.
Life just doesn’t get any better. Fairground cruising was at an optimum in the T- Bucket.
We piled in the bucket and cruised the Top 25 area, receiving Best Girls in T-Bucket. Had there been a Long Distance Award, Babs would’ve scooped it with over 1950 miles one-way. You go girl! One nice person, asking where we were from, inquired if Manitoba was one of their states – – – Grin and Wear It, Kathy, don’t say word! (stay tuned for Kathy’s upcoming article)
Heading west, Nashville was next with many exciting stops. The Opryland Hotel with a river running through the lobby; Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood, Printer Alley, Broadway pubs and deadly hot wings with frosty cold brews at the Nascar Café There you could race in the simulator car that was up on the hoist in the center Bev selected some great stuff to add to her collection back home. More "stuff’.
Kingston Springs, TN. Econo Lodge had a big welcome for us up on their billboard, prime parking and dinner waiting. We visited with hosts Betty Ann and Mike Thomas till the wee wee hours. Their deluxe White Rose Limousine Caddy was a city block long, cushy and luxurious. Nice ride.
Moving on through Memphis we toured the NSRA Editorial Offices that I write for. Sun Studios; the birthplace of Rock N Roll; is where, Elvis, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash all got their start. We walked historical Beale Street blues bars; Walker Radiator; The Peabody Hotel, for their traditional duck march, met the Duckmaster Michael; The Memphis Police Museum, Graceland and stayed with kinfolk Elizabeth and John Ross in nearby Horn Lake. Their Southern Hospitality was warm, jovial, and endless.
North through the stunning Ozarks, into Lead Hill, Arkansas, we hung a left on El Polocko Loop and were welcomed by the Master himself – Norm Grabowski. Norm is the founder of the Hot Rod Model T, TV star from 77 Sunset Strip, and was featured in Look Magazine and the cover of Life in 1954. Besides being featured in oodles of custom car, hot rod and street rod magazines, Norm is the builder of the popular Kookie I, Kookie II, the Henway (in the 70’s), and has made a name for himself with his incredible one-of-a-kind hand crafted exotic wooden skulls. Norms creations are a colossal piece of art. Norm was a generous host, giving us the tour of his 25 acre wood ranch, his shop in progress (covered bridge shop), his 5 bay workshop and where the Henway sits, the life size rocking horse, complete with billet hooves, which is anatomically correct. The living room features a miniature replica of Kookie I and his wall of fame. You may have heard lately of Norms car accident where he injured his hand; well the powers that be, have him getting better and on the mend again. Thank goodness.
Missouri has some hilly back roads, and once through Branson, we overnighted in St. Joseph – home of the Pony Express. Tom Hutter of the Buffalo Bar welcomed us and we closed the place down – seemed the right thing to do. Next day we had to repack my trailer and do some more creative-packing in Barbs truck. That’s okay, there’s still room.
Pulling in for gas in Higginsville, MO. We made a pit stop with Charlene Short of the Kleinschmidt’s Family Western Store - home of over 10,000 pairs of boots The short break out of the sun was a relief, as the temps were still climbing the 90 mark. This store was a huge mother, the size of Cabela’s. My trailer was really stuffed now. More stuff!
After Watertown, S.D. and various casino, and rest stops we returned home Sunday evening with mile wide smiles. There is no better holiday than one like this. Hot, sunny, perfect weather, great hi-ways, incredible stops, reliable hotrods, and touring with three of Canada’s finest gals. Life just doesn’t get any better.
Thanks to The Winnipeg Free Press, The Herald, The Winnipeg Sun, A Channel News and CJOB Radio. Many thanks to our generous sponsors who are proud of us and tell us that we’re putting the "RUN", back into ROD RUN: Brian Buchan of Softy’s Speed Shop, Peter Ginakes of The Pony Corral, Bill Kucheran of Minute Muffler and Rick Wilk of Star Sporting Goods.
2001 Will see us taking in the Crookston Minnesota Run, Evansville Indiana Frog Follies, and likely the Fond du Lac Wisconsin Labor Day Rod Run/corn roast. MORE "STUFF".
Liz Kitzul @Hot Rod Liz