Tuesday, January 1, 2013

--A Winter Road Trip to the Great White North--

It was the end of the year in 2012 and I was bored. I had agreed to buy some engines from a friend in Minnesota and had been to busy with the holidays to get them home. And finally I decided a road trip north was in order for me. Road trips are fun and make for mini adventures to stave off the boredom of our everyday routines. I especially like to travel the Midwest. But this time of year? Not normal behavior......but nevertheless I called up my two trusty sidekicks Cuzzin Deke and Ron to see what they thought of the idea. My plan was to leave late Friday night after working my real job and then drive all night thru the cold darkness. I really thought they would turn me down but to my surprise they both said "let's go" and just like that....we were off. First, I stopped by to get Ron about 9 pm....
And then Cuzzin Deke who only lives a few blocks from Ron...
Then it was just a simple matter of driving north and east all night. I drove the entire way with a couple of short naps along the way. The roads were mostly clear but the landscape was snow covered all the way there. First stop was Worthington, MN in the SW part of that state at 6 am or so and we stopped at a Perkins Restaurant for some hot coffee and a good breakfast.
Then we drove along the lake shore drive where ice fishermen were already at their stations.

 Soon we arrived at my pal Mark B's nice country acreage and it was cold and frosty at about 4 degrees with a steady North wind.
Mark was recovering from the flu and not feeling up to par so we hurriedly got my new engines loaded and tied down. There were two 1950's Chevy 261's and one 1950's GMC military 302 six cylinder engine. Mark's brand new Bobcat was great for loading them...

After loading we continued onward for another 3.5 hours towards the Twin Cities of MN and along the way we would see scenes of winter sports that we don't see back home on the plains of Kansas. 
and arrived at a Famous Dave's BBQ place to meet my pal Mark M. for lunch. Our friend John S. also met us there and we had fun catching up since our last time together in July. John had been on vacation in Italy and had stories to tell about that as well.
After our meal Mark M decided we should have some dessert to "keep our strength up" and we all ordered the bread pudding that he and John recommended and it was great stuff with a tasty caramel rum sauce. Here is Mark with his...
and Minnesota funny man John S with our pretty waitress Jen...
By now we were starting to feel less hungry and drove the 5-6 miles to Mark's place to see his collection of all things cool...
I didn't take many photos this time as I have been there before a couple of times but let's just say it is fantastic with cars inside the house and so forth like that...

We were getting tired and it was nice to sit in his lounge area in a loft above his garage to talk and listen to his stories....
And we also looked in his workshop area where he is restoring an old radical kustom magazine feature car that started out as a 1940 Ford coupe. I think it is called Les Popo or something like that.

And then we unloaded an old vintage midget racing kart that I had brought to trade my pal Paul Z from Wausau, WI for an engine to be picked up by me at a later date. 
By now it was getting late in the day and time for some bed rest so we headed for a nearby motel and bid our host goodbye. Thank you Mark for buying us lunch and letting me store the kart at your place until Paul can come to get it. His son David is very excited to get this new toy home soon.
After a good night's sleep we left the Twin City area of Mn and headed south on a very cold Sunday morning. 
This time we headed along I-35 towards Des Moines, IA and stopped at one of my favorite eating places called the Machine Shed for a good Sunday dinner. We all ordered chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes and it was good.
I rode all the way home in my GMC suv in the backseat this time and let my co-pilots drive me home and this gave me time to relax and play on my ipad along the way. 
After a couple of hours we arrived in Omaha, NE where I wanted to take time to visit my pal Dick W. who is a talented artist and car builder and we found it to be warm and cozy inside his heated garage shop. This is Dick...
And this is the nice low mileage 54 Chevy he is turning into a kustom show car...

Like me, Dick is a fan of inline six Chevy and GMC engines and owns several of them. He even stuffed a huge GMC 302 into the engine bay of this car...
And along with dual carbs, dual exhaust and a newer T-5 manual tranny....it has changed the performance significantly. 
After a few minutes our buddy Rob Lee arrived to see us. He lives nearby to Dick and is a fellow car club member of the South Omaha Turds.
Both of these guys are the real deal old fashioned low budget hot rod builders who know how to use a hammer, torch, welder, and some old used sheet metal salvaged from other cars to mold it into their own version of hot rods. The maroon Hot Rod Lincoln roadster is Rob's and the black "Hoodlum" roadster is Dick's and was mostly built from old car hoods and is a masterpiece of design and engineering. And both cars are for sale as they move on to other projects they are building...

I could have sat there all day in this shop and listen to the stories  these two guys were sharing. It was fun. And along about this time, Dick's pretty wife Tess came out with a apple crisp dessert hot from the oven for us to eat....and it was great.

Thank you for hosting us on this Sunday afternoon and we wanted to stay longer. Next time I will come when it is warmer outside I hope.
 Sadly we left and continued toward Lincoln, NE where we stopped at Cracker Barrel to have coffee and a dish of ice cream with car friends Tom B and his good looking birthday girl wife Donita and it was good to see them and hear about his new farm shed to house his cars, trucks, and tractor collections...
I wanted to stay longer but realized we were still some 4 hours from home and it was getting late. We got back on the long road and somehow managed to arrive some 48 hours after we had left. The next day was New Year's Eve which was a work day for me followed by a party here at the Flats. 
I guess it was alot to do on one weekend but I can say it was worth it for me. Thank you to my pals Ron and Deke for going with me and thank you to our hosts along the way. I love road trips anytime of the year !
As always....thank you to my followers of this blog for riding along with me on the never ending quest to see what is around the next bend in the road.


  1. can 't believe that you are corrupting those two young men who rode with you

  2. LOL at Eugene. Great blog Paul, your adventures sure pack in a lot of stuff!!

  3. Paul, great thread as always.
    I wish you would have taken a photo of your SUV with that race car on or in it and the 3 road warriors. So many AWESOME cars at Mark M's house.
    I wish you would have gotten a photo of the rest of that yellow 57 chevy attached to that right front fender chrome fender ring :)
    You are a brave soul hauling 3 engines in that radio flyer trailer over icy Minnesota roads, I admire your sand.
    Dick and Rob's work and cars speak for themselves, simply the best.
    Glad to see you all got home safely.

    To paraphrase Genesis 1,
    Paul looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morning

    Happy New Year
    Bill Bearden

  4. I saw on a thread where you expressed interest in a 3 door Ford truck in a small town in Kansas and had pictures of it. I'm pretty sure this is the same truck now for sale.


    If you have any questions, you can email me at wgworthy@gmail.com


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  6. RE: Clown Car
    I grew up in Port Lavaca, TX where my family was very involved with horses and rodeo. Bo Bland and his Bucking Ford was a regular at our local rodeo and although he was a so-so bull fighter, the kids went crazy for his act. The Bucking Ford Model T had original equipment engine/running gear and that's where I learned the distinctive sound of a Model T engine. It was bright shiny red with white "Bo Bland", etc logo'd on the sides, and everything on it had a finished look. He or someone really put their heart into that car. As part of the act, the front wheels were rigged to fall flat to the side like they had fallen off, but when he took off, the front end would rare up and the wheels would lock back in place. At one point during the act he would finally get 'er started after cranking the hand crank and going through his spiel for a while, step up onto the driver's seat, pull the steering wheel off, stick it on a small finial on top of the windshield post, give it a spin, then step into the back seat and using a throttle and independent steering brakes mounted there would take off doing a wheelie and several doughnuts at the same time and then the motor would quit again, slamming the front end down with both fr wheels layed out flat, and the rear section where he was sitting was hinged at the bottom and would drop like a bucket loader and dump him out the back. There were some dachshunds that were part of the act also. As a kid in a small town this was quite an event. I even have a promo postcard with him, the car, and the dachshunds. Back about 10 years ago I found that card and decided to call the phone number listed to see what had happened to the car and although the area code AND prefix had changed, the number still went to the same house. Evidently it was his parent's house and his nephew lives there now. The nephew didn't seem to be real forthcoming and said he didn't know what had happened to the car, although I think a person with some time on their hands could find it. Anyway, with the nephew not being real open about things I left it at that, but got the impression that Bo (His christian name is Jayc (not a typo)) was kind of the black sheep of the family. Later, I ran across Bo's obituary. Bo commited suicide in 1976. After bringing so much excitement and smiles to so many children.
    Post Script- I asked my wife if she could dig out the postcard and scan it to me (I'm in Afghanistan right now) so if she finds it I can send you the .jpg if you'd like. Also, I don't think his rear axle was quite as far forward.

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