A General Discussion forum for cars and other topics, and a great place to introduce yourself if you are new to NICO!

3,700 Mile Shakedown Road trip: 1963 Impala Wagon

Postby G.O.B. » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:07 pm


Note from Gold Digger:
The trip is complete, so this will be more of a "come look and see what we did" thread. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


Well, boys and girls, it's time to let you know what I, the ever famous G.O.B., and the wife are up to.

As I mentioned a while back, we are taking Clare to Arizona for a homecoming of sorts. We are taking her back to show her to the man who originally started this project oh so long ago. And we'll be stopping by NICO HQ so we can meet Greg and Becky face to face and I can shake his hand for those things he did for me in getting my car purchase all squared away.

While on this journey, my wife will be keeping a journal of the trip with pictures here and there. I'll try to keep updating daily, but hey, a man who drives all day is a tired man. Tired and grouchy don't work together so well. But, I'll try. that's the best I can give ya.

While it is Monday evening now, the journal entry is from Sunday.
Be sure to read the note from me at the bottom after the journal entry.

Now, without further adieu, I present to you the writings of my wife of 36 years, Sherri.


Sunday, April 15th

On the road again…..and this time we’re riding in style with Clare! After a run to Thornton’s (one of our local gas stations) to top off the tank and get ice for the cooler, a stop back by the house to get my cell phone( that I forgot), along with a final potty stop for Brandie (our black lab) and myself, we hit the road at 4:35a.m.

We are on our way to Surprise, Arizona, which is outside of Phoenix, to see Greg and Becky Childs. Greg is the friend of our son, Neal, who was good enough to take time out of his day to not only go look the car over for us, he also bought her for us and stored her at his place until we could arrange transportation. So, Clare is on her way home for a visit and so Greg can see Clare in all her restored glory. We also will try to meet up with Sam Stein – the one who originally started her rebuild. Can’t wait to see their reaction to her.

After our visit with Greg and Sam, we are going to amble our way back home via Route 66. Old car, old folks, old dog, traveling down the old Mother Road. I think it will be fun and interesting. We also plan to hit up some “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” along the way for some good grub.

We will need to keep our eyes open, as we are driving through a very large and strong storm system that stretches from Texas north into Minnesota and Wisconsin. The weather center is calling for high winds, heavy rains, hail and of course the possibility of tornados. We are hoping to get past the worst of it instead of being right smack dab in the middle.

UPDATE:

Well, it’s 8:00a.m., and we are stuck. Can you believe it?

We pulled off I55 at exit 33 to give Brandie a quick walk and when we got to the bottom of the off-ramp the car was no longer running. We have power but when we try to start her up again all it does is crank, no start. We think it may be the fuel pump since we aren’t hearing it hum.

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So, after a call to Brian (Auto Restorations in Galesburg) and Rick (Rockin Rick from Crossed Flaggs Restorations in Missouri), Mark checks fuses then crawls underneath to check the wiring to no avail. Now a call to AAA for a tow.
While Mark is on the phone arranging a tow, a car pulls up behind us. It’s Mary Delores Pogue.

She was on her way to her church when she saw us and came to offer help, invite us to her church for Sunday services and to offer a prayer for speedy repairs and our safe travels. She also wanted to let us know that her church would help with a motel, gas, even put a little towards repairs if we needed it. Thank you Lord for bringing her to us . Church Ladies Rock!

UPDATE 2:

9:20a.m. and the tow truck is here. He has suggested a hotel he knows allows pets and recommended a repair shop to take Clare to. He says the place is where he always goes, so we will go with that. I just wish it wasn’t Sunday so we wouldn’t have to wait until Monday. Now we pray that come morning the shop won’t be super busy so they can get to Clare quickly and it will be easy to find and fix the problem. Thanks to Craig from Cross Auto Body and Towing for his prompt arrival and recommendations. He was a big help.

UPDATE 3:

We are in Hamel, IL at the Innkeeper Motel and Restaurant. It’s old and well-worn, and we even have a small body of water outside our door. However, the motel is old enough we actually have a key on a fob, not a key card. Then again, our room sports a wall mounted flat-screen T.V.

We went up the hill to the Innkeeper Restaurant for a late breakfast. We also had to check out what Craig had told us about the restaurant closing early on Sundays. Breakfast was yummy, but they are only open until 2:00p.m. So, after a check with the motel’s front desk, who told us we are out of range for any other restaurants that deliver we will have to be sure we get back up the hill for something for later. Fortunately the room also comes with a small (not tiny) fridge and a microwave. Either that or we walk about a mile to another restaurant. I don’t think so! LOL.
I guess the way to look at this delay is that this is the Lord’s way of keeping us off the road and out of harm’s way. The weather here as been ok but windy. We saw on T.V. that Missouri and Iowa have both had damaging tornados, so I am thankful we are somewhere safe. (Mark says the Lord is trying to teach him patience…..I can only hope.)

Note of Special Interest: Where we broke down was only 3 miles away from the “Pink Elephant Antique Mall”. I noticed it as we went by on I55. It’s an old brick building with several large statues around it, including a pink elephant and even Paul Bunyan (sans his axe and Babe).

FINAL UPDATE:

It’s now 9:45p.m. The weather has been ok, just a bit of rain and a couple rumbles of thunder. Mark is already snoozing while he waits for me to finish this, the dog has been running in her dreams and I am ready to call it a night myself.
Good night and let’s hope for a better day tomorrow.


Just to let you all know, Clare was repaired earlier this morning. Big thanks to LRE Automotive in Edwardsville, IL. for getting her in and repaired in under an hour, as well as delivering her to the motel we stayed at last night...and for the coozy!!! I love me some coozies!!!
http://www.lreautomotive.com/

Again, THANK YOU!!!

More on the diagnosis and repairs later, I hope!!!
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1963 Chevrolet Impala Station wagon with LT1 swap

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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Jesda » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:13 pm

I love the plate :yesnod
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Gold Digger » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:42 pm

Hey, pop! Hey, ma!

Good to know the ole girl is running again. Was getting a bit worried as I hadn't heard from ya on what was going on.

Hope yer having a nice time.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:03 pm

Well, boys and girls, it's time to get current. It's Monday night, I'm ready for bed, but I thought I'd fill you in (well, Sherri will) on the events of today.

I did get to stop by and see my brother, as where we stopped last night was quite close to him. You'll understand more when you read.

Good night, all.




Monday, April 16th

Good Morning! It’s 9:15 a.m. and the overnight weather stayed calm with just rain. It is still windy and overcast but the weather maps are clear so we hope to see the sun soon.

Mark called the repair shop at 8:a.m. They had just moved the car inside. Mark told them what was going on with Clare and they said they would get right to it. We wandered back up the hill for breakfast, and before we could finish they called back to tell us it was done. They found a loose wire under the hood where Mark hadn’t looked. We are grateful that it wasn’t something costly or time consuming. They brought the car to us at the hotel and we loaded up, checked out of the motel and started on our way.

A big thank you to the folks at the Innkeeper Motel and Restaurant for your great hospitality and to the crew at LRE Automotive for your fast, friendly and courteous service!

I forgot to mention yesterday that where we were stopped was only about 20 min. away from where Mark’s brother, Eric, who we lost last year, is buried. We are going to make a quick side trip to stop by there to say hello and see his marker stone. We miss you Eric!

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10:45a.m. We topped off the tank and are on our way. Hoping for an uneventful day of driving.

11:15 a.m. I just caught a glimpse of the St. Louis arch. Missouri is just a few minutes away. Just think, it only took us about a day and a half to get out of Illinois!

8:23 p.m. We have checked in to the Motel 6 in El Reno, Oklahoma, off Interstate 40. As we hoped, the sun came out and we were able to move right on down the road.

I picked up some info about all the points of interest along Oklahoma’s portion of Route 66 for our return trip. Just have to figure out what we will want to see as there are several. Depending on how much time we have, we may not be able to visit them all.

It’s now 10:00 p.m. We are full after a walk across the road to Burger King for supper and very, very weary. Since we want to get back on the road between 5-6:00 a.m. I need to call it a night, so, until tomorrow, Good Night.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby AZhitman » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:37 pm

Awesome stuff!

THIS is what the past 10 years have been about. When I took the reins of this forum a decade ago, I didn't care if it made money, didn't care if it got to be huge, and didn't care if it sported the "latest technology". All I wanted to do was connect people - and this is a perfect example of how successful that has been.

Here's hoping the Hartmans' trip inspires more of you to make epic road trips - even if it's just to enjoy the journey and meet up with people you've never met.

Godspeed to you guys on your travels - Take time to get lots of pictures and make memories... Bex and I are looking forward to meeting Mark, Sherri, Brandie and Clare. :)
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby audtatious » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:39 pm

Awesome!! ROAD TRIP!

Have fun, be safe!!
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby nissangirl74 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:21 pm

Can't wait to see you both! Just a warning, there isn't much but a REALLY long flat road between where you are and where you're headed. Be careful, see you soon!
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Jesda » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:37 pm

"8:23 p.m. We have checked in to the Motel 6 in El Reno, Oklahoma, off Interstate 40. As we hoped, the sun came out and we were able to move right on down the road."

That's the exact same one I stayed at on my way to Greg's house last fall. Avoid the Motel 6 in Gallup NM.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:03 am

Good morning, guys and gals...and I say good very cautiously.

Well, it's Wednesday morning, I am sore as hell but we're not far from NICO HQ so I just need to suck it up and git-r-done!!! We stopped in Flagstaff, AZ last night, as you'll read in Sherri's upcoming post, so we're round about 3 hours from Phoenix. Looking forward to meeting Greg and Becky.

One point I would like to make.

If you a little on the large side like me and think about buying an old Chevy, do one of two things. Either get some decently supportive seats for it, or don't drive more than a few hundred miles. My back and hips are beat to hell.


Anyway, time to add what the wife did yesterday and add some pictures along the way. By the time this gets updated and read, we'll probably be on the road heading towards Greg's place.

There are a series of photos that I took from a left to right motion, then one I took as a panorama. There are two other panorama photos that I will include, but not all the left to right ones...just one set.

Talk to you all later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

6:30 a.m. Here we go again. We’ll have to see how far we can get today. Flagstaff, we hope, not so sure about Phoenix.


We are now traveling through the territory of the Cherokee Nation. Billboard after billboard are advertising the Indian Trading Post and all the handmade crafts available. Leather, beadwork, blankets, jewelry, pottery, and other crafts are available. Wouldn’t mind picking up a piece of the pottery and Mark wants moccasins.

We noticed a large wind farm, although instead of a large cluster, they are spread out in a string on both sides of the road.

8:30 a.m. Clare just got her first rock chip in her windshield, passenger side. This happened in Texas at about mile #169. So sad.

We are now traveling through the Texas panhandle and will be watching to see how much the terrain will chance. It’s a little less green and we are beginning to see the large irrigators in the fields. And we are seeing signs warning of strong cross winds.

About mile#151 we pulled in to a rest stop. Talk about things being bigger in Texas….this set up is at least twice the size of all the others I’ve see. Nice views from here to, enjoy the photos Mark took.

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As we were approaching Groom, Texas we could see a very large white cross in the distance. Once there, as we went by, I could see that there were smaller wood crosses circling the base of the large one. When I mentioned it to Mark, he remembered he saw it on-line, but couldn’t remember much about it. Have to make it a stop on the way back.


Amarillo, Texas. “The World Famous Big Texas Steak Ranch” is a good spot for all you big steak fans. They advertise a 72oz. steak…Free. Bet you have to eat it all or you pay. Shudder to think what that might cost. Better go hungry for a couple days if you want to give it a try. Or, maybe you could swing by “ Fuzzy Butt Liquor “ and pick up a six pack. Fuzzy Butt? LOL


Getting close to the edge of Texas and the terrain is changing. Not as green, not much plant life besides some kind of evergreen and we’re seeing large rock outcroppings….buttes, mesas, plateaus? Not sure what to call them. Maybe the beginning of the Rockies foothills? Anyway, they’re kinda cool.


We made a gas stop in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and found out that Clare can even serve as a bird feeder. How? By catching bugs with her bumper so little birds can hop up and pick them off. First time I’ve seen anything like that.


Coming across more severe cross wind signs. So far no problems with that, but apparently it can get so bad that they close the road. We have seen a sign that says that I40 is closed when the lights (big yellow ones on the sign) are flashing, and we have to exit at the next ramp and take another road, which we suspect is old Route 66.


At about 5:30 we crossed into Arizona. May stop and check out The Petrified Forest, Or maybe the Grand Canyon National Park. How about the Painted Desert. Going to be hard to decide.


We made another gas stop just up the road from the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark and both the guys working there give Rick Carpenter a double thumbs up for Clare. Way to go Rick! Clare just keeps piling up the admirers everywhere she goes.


6:60 p.m. We are finally in Flagstaff after a long day on the road. Stiff, sore, hungry and tired. So, we will settle in to the Days Inn, call out for pizza and get some sleep. Will shoot for a 7-8a.m. start in the morning. Nitey-night!
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby AZhitman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:19 am

Mark, Sherri, Brandie and Clare are HERE!

Having a great time... it's 2:17 am, and we're exhausted... but "catching up" with new friends, just like you've known them for decades, is a blast.

Clare is GORGEOUS. Such a change from the heap I picked up 4 years ago and shipped off to Illinois. The interior is making me jealous, the old vinyl-and-brocade upholstery of the 60's is something I never really appreciated until recently.

I'm sure the G.O.B. will update everyone in a few hours, but we're all signing off for the night - I'm delirious from lack of rest....
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:54 am

Well, after 3.5 days of driving, we arrived yesterday afternoon in Surprise, Arizona. I don't have much to say. Had a rough night sleeping, so thought I'd post this up.

Greg and Becky have been unbelievably good to us. I new Neal liked this place (NICO), and now I know why. It's not just about the cars. It's about the friendships. The camaraderie. The joy of just being an enthusiast.

So, Sherri typed up her entry last night after our dinner and I saved it, so I'll just post it up along with the pictures and let her do the talking.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

7:15 a.m. The day has dawned sunny and clear if a bit chilly and windy. We are on our way to Phoenix via Sedona, per Greg’s suggestion.

I would like to take a moment to apologize for the last two entries. Journaling does not come easy, but I wanted to do a better job of it than I have the last 2 days. Short nights and long days tend to make me a bit brain dead and I just couldn’t think of anything to say. I think I will do better today as I got a good night’s sleep and the big push to get to Phoenix is over so we can take a big breath and enjoy the drive.


The road to Sedona is a decent 2-lane that runs through the mountains. Very winding roads and beautiful views. Breathtaking! (Especially the drop offs at the side of the road) I am lousy with a camera and since Mark can’t drive and shoot, I told him I would drive back so he can get some photos, no good places to stop.

I spoke too soon. We found the Slide Rock State Park so we made a stop there and it was a good place for photos. Hope you enjoy them.

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A park ranger came and welcomed us (and took a good look at Clare…another fan). We wandered back in a short ways to find a restroom and found the Frank Pendley Homestead house. I found out that back in 1902 (or 1907 I don’t remember which) he found this spot while on a fishing trip.

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The problem with the spot was getting water to it. By 1910 he had figured out a way to do it, applied for a claim through the Homestead Act and built a cabin. To get the water in for irrigation he tunneled through 90 feet of sheer rock wall. Imagine!

He married in 1912, sired 9 children and tended to an orchard that contained 11 different varieties of apples along with several other fruits and vegetables.

The family continued working it until 1985 when they sold it and it became part of the state park.



9:00 a.m. We have found Sedona. Founded in1902 (wonder if Frank Pendley was from there?), elevation 4000 ft., it is nestled in among the mountains and stretches out for several miles. It is a very pretty city. I could easily spend a couple of days exploring (and shopping).

Sedona is a bike friendly community and there is a bike lane all the way through. Don’t think I would get too far unless it was all downhill. LOL Another interesting feature of Sedona is that as you are going through (on the state route at least), instead of intersections with lights they have “roundabouts” Seems to keep the traffic flowing quite well.

Before we reached the city limits we found another scenic overview. Photo op! And we took it. Spectacular! Don’t you agree?

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Kudos to Greg for recommending this route. Talk about the scenic route. It was that and more. Thanks Greg!



11:00 a.m. Phoenix city limits. Big temperature difference. Sure glad we got the car’s windows tinted, especially since we don’t have air conditioning.

First stop will be in Tempe. That’s where Ciadella Interiors is located. This is where Clare’s new “clothes” came from.



11:30 We have arrived at Ciadella. We are here to meet Gina, who was Mark’s contact. After meeting her she couldn’t wait to go out and see Clare, and her father, Pete, who also wanted to see it, beat her out of the door. A few other guys from the shop also came out, and they all thought she looked great. Gina was really impressed with the headliner.

While everyone was looking Clare over, Mark mentioned to them about the small shortage of carpet, just for their information, so they would know for any future orders they may get for similar cars. Next thing we know, here comes one of the guys with a small piece of matching carpet to fill in with….at no charge.

Once the look-see was over, and a drink of water for Brandie, Gina took us for a tour of the shop. They have a good set up and have filled it with dedicated and talented employees that work together like a family. They are all friendly and they didn’t mind when Mark asked if he could take their pictures. Mark even got a Ciadella hat. An hour later we were on our way again. Thank you to the whole crew. Ciadella rocks!

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12:30 We have arrived in Surprise. It’s a few hours before Greg and Becky get home from work so we are going to see if we can find their house. We knew that the Garmin GPS may not be quite right and sure enough it was a little off. Once it had us turn down a dead end road, Mark got on his phone and that got us where we needed to be. Garmin at least got us in the immediate area.

Once we knew where they were at, we went out and gassed up the car, found a McDonalds so I could get a bite to eat, then wandered over to a Wal-Mart as we needed to pick up a few things. Then we found a shady spot to wait for Greg to get home.


4:45 After a stop to get the ice we forgot, we arrived back at Greg and Becky’s place. It was great to finally meet them. We were instantly and very warmly welcomed to their home. Brandie, too.

After a quick tour through the house, Mark and I went with Greg to see his car collection. He’s got some really cool little Datsuns that he has, or is in the process of restoring. They look great and I think they would be a blast to drive.

Becky put together a quick and easy (and very tasty) meal. They are both off work tomorrow, so tonight we will all just sit back, relax and enjoy some good conversation. Tomorrow, they are going to show us around and we will give the keys to Greg and let him drive Clare.

Greg was so excited about how good she looks, now I’m curious to see what he thinks of the way she handles compared to when he test drove it for us 3 years ago. Should be a fun day.

On that note, I think I will call it a day.
Good night all.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby AZhitman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:55 pm

What a day... Got up early to take advantage of the cool morning air and helped Mark give Clare a bath - BIG difference from washing a Datsun... there's a LOT of sheetmetal that makes up '63 Impala wagon!

She turned out so well - the attention to detail is really impressive, and the best part is she's a DRIVER. No over-restoration, just a simple and detailed refreshing to bring her back to her original 1963 appearance.

I'm about to go for a drive - Time to go blast through Sun City and wake up some old folks. :)
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Jesda » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:11 pm

:dblthumb:
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Ozzie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:18 pm

I have to come back and go on another road trip one day.
(Although, my ride (an Altima Hybrid) wasn't anywhere near as cool as yours Mark)

If only I could find a super affordable way to get Ruby sent to the US......
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Daboybk » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:29 pm

Cool story here. It shows togetherness on this site.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:31 am

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWN!!!

This ole boy is tired. It's been a good trip, but I'm not used to doing this many days on a not-so-padded bench seat in an almost 50 year old car. But, I am enjoying myself, as is the wife.

I would like to send out a huge THANK YOU to Greg and Becky. Had a great couple of days.

AZhitman wrote:What a day... Got up early to take advantage of the cool morning air and helped Mark give Clare a bath - BIG difference from washing a Datsun... there's a LOT of sheetmetal that makes up '63 Impala wagon!

She turned out so well - the attention to detail is really impressive, and the best part is she's a DRIVER. No over-restoration, just a simple and detailed refreshing to bring her back to her original 1963 appearance.

I'm about to go for a drive - Time to go blast through Sun City and wake up some old folks. :)


And I am glad you like Clare. And, I'm also happy that when you took the reins, you didn't hold back. You're right. She's a driver. So, drive her!!!

Now, I also would like to apologize for not getting updates to you the last couple of days. No reasons for not doing it besides, I just didn't do it. Again...apologies.

Now, since I haven't done anything the last few days, I am just going to do three consecutive posts, one right after the other. Hope you don't mind.

Hope you are all doing well.

Time to let Sherri take over here and let her fingers do the talking.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:32 am

Thursday, April 20, 2012

Mornin’ all! Even tho Becky was off work today, she still had to go to school, so we are going to kick back with Greg.
After a bite for breakfast Greg and Mark went out to clean the bugs (Sorry birds!) and road grime off of Clare. Didn’t take long before she was looking good again.

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Forgot to tell you yesterday……Even though I know that Phoenix is a very popular place for retirees, I was taken by surprise when I saw an elderly gentleman and his golf clubs driving down the city streets in a golf cart. Hilarious! Then, to top it off, a little while later we saw the same gentleman pull into a gas station to fill ‘er up. I’m sure it is a common sight here, but it still cracks me up. Kinda like the guys back home who putter around on their riding lawnmowers. Didn’t know those carts could go fast enough to be on city streets. Too funny!

After Becky got home they took us out to see the University Of Phoenix Stadium, which is the home of the Arizona Cardinals. This place is HUGE! (Remember where you park! LOL) The coolest thing about it is that the field was built on railroad tracks and they roll it out in the sun on nice days to help the grass grow. As a matter of fact it happened to be out today. How cool is that? It also sports a retractable dome that they open for games on cool fall days.

Once we had driven around the stadium, Greg pulled over so we could get a photo and that’s when Mark realized he had forgotten his camera. What????? He never does that. Fortunately, Greg and Becky came to the rescue and took a couple shots.

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Here's Mark and I standing in front the huge number 1.

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Next we went to the Westgate City Center for supper. After a little look around at the shops and restaurants we decided on the Yard House. We started out with an Onion Ring Tower for all to share. I had the New York Steak with Green Beans and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, along with a cup of French Onion Soup. Mark got the Street Tacos with Carnitas, Becky had the fish and chips with a side salad and Greg went with the Blackened Swordfish Street Tacos. All the food was fabulous! I will definitely go back if I’m ever in Phoenix again.

It’s been a long time since I have such a wonderful meal. Great food, great friends, and perfect weather for eating outside on their patio.
After our meal we wandered it bit more through the complex and found that there was a Harley Show going on. There were Harleys of every shape and size, old and new. Even though the area seemed to be packed full, there was a continuing stream of more bikes coming in.

We headed back to the house with the intention of taking Clare out to get ice cream, but we were all so full, with no room for dessert, we just went out for a little evening drive. Mark handed Greg the keys, we piled in, along with their son Dar, and away we went. Greg just loved driving Clare, and Dar, who is not a fan of wagons, thought Clare was pretty cool.

I can’t speak for Greg about how it was to drive her after her restoration, and hope he will tell you on this blog. Becky enjoyed it too and said it brought back memories of riding with her mom.

Greg, we are glad you had so much fun with Clare. You more than deserved a chance to take her out on the road again. We wouldn’t have her if it weren’t for you! You’re the best.

Time to call it a night. We will start on our way back in the morning.
Good Night.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:33 am

Friday, April 21, 2012

At 9:25 a.m. we left for Albuquerque, New Mexico. We really enjoyed our stay and wished we could have stayed a little longer. Greg and Becky were gracious hosts and we were very comfortable. When they say make yourself at home, they really mean it. We would like to come back some day and hope that they will come to Illinois in 2014 and join us for the big cook-out we will have when Neal and the kids will be here from Japan. I just wish we had a house large enough to be able to have them stay with us too. One guest room just won’t quite work. We want Greg and Becky to know that our home is always open . We look forward to seeing them again. You guys are the best!!!! (P.S. Thanks again for supper!)

We wanted to stop and see the Painted Desert on our way back, but, not realizing that it is part of the Petrified Forest National Park we almost missed it. As it was, we had to turn around and go back 8 miles.

It was 2:45 when we pulled into their little gas station to fill up before we went into the park as we didn’t know how far it would be to go through it all. (We found some Rt. 66 souvenirs too!) When we entered the park and got a map we found out that to see it all it would take a little more than an hour so we just did the Painted Desert part. It started just inside of the park and ran for 6 miles, ending where Rt. 66 went through. Very Awesome! We’ll have to come back some day and see the Petrified Forest.

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Back in New Mexico around 4:00 p.m... Not too much later, Mother Nature put out a call. We found a place to stop and I went hustling right in while Mark waited for his turn in the car with Brandie.
When I came back, Mark pointed out two men who were approaching all the customers asking for money. Those guys really had us on edge, so we locked Clare and Brandie up tight and went in. I kept an eye on the car while I waited for Mark. Once we got back out there I took care of Brandie and freshened up our drinks.

Just as I finished, we were approached by a man who introduced himself as Jimmy. He told us he was leaving with a friend when he spotted Clare and made her turn around and come back so he could get a closer look at her.

While Mark was telling Jimmy Clare’s story he very slowly and gently reached out and touched her. He was just in awe of her. That was the best reaction to Clare we’ve seen. He couldn’t wait to go tell his friends about her. When we left, Jimmy was grinning ear to ear so Mark made sure he could hear us go down the road. (Glad there weren’t any cops around!)

After that worry about the panhandlers, Jimmy brought the good back into the day. Thanks Jimmy! We were glad to have met you!

At 8:30 p.m. we were 13 miles out of Albuquerque when we topped the rise of a long upgrade and saw the lights of the city twinkling below us. WOW! We were still high enough that looking down on it was simply breathtaking! It even sent a chill.

While working our way down to the city limits we got to see the lights several times and each time was as good as the first. Spectacular! A city never looks as good during the day as it does at night from a high perspective.

About 2o minutes after getting into Albuquerque, we pulled into the Red Roof Inn. We unloaded, ordered delivery for supper and called it a good day over all. Looking forward to tomorrow and finding out what else is out there to see.

Think I will take Brandie for a last walk, put on my jammies (Mark is already snoring), and get some sleep. Hope you enjoy the Painted Desert as much as we did.
Night all!
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:36 am

Saturday, April 21, 2012

9:00 a.m. Let’s hit the road.

And, I'm sorry, but there were no photos taken for this entry. Wasn't really much to see.

A couple hours out, after putting up with our growling tummies for a while, we decided to stop for a bite to eat. We decided to try the café at Clines Corner Travelers Center. The billboards kept telling us it was the place to stop. It wasn’t as large as I thought it might be, but, the breakfast was good, the service fast and friendly, and there was a nice gift shop (of course we had to get a few things!). As an extra added bonus, while we were inside, several tiny hitchhikers made themselves comfortable inside Clare (gnats I think). LOL

At 2:00 p.m., since we hadn’t seen any places of interest so far, and considering these two old folks were pretty beat after a long day yesterday and short night last night, we found a Days Inn, pulled in and crashed for a couple hours.

When we got up from our nap we decided to walk across the street and eat at K-Bob’s Steakhouse. With steak and potato for me, Quesadillas for Mark, and a finish of cobbler for us both, we waddled back across to the hotel. Too good!

The best part was when Mark decided to take a little side trip. Just at the edge of the hotel lot, he decided to cut between their two signs and tripped over the electrical conduit. He almost danced himself out of it but couldn’t quite do it and down he went. Scared the $#@# out of me! Fortunately, all he got out of it was two small scrapes on his hands (only one of which needed a band-aid) and a little road rash on his knee. Could have been so much worse. Gotta give him credit….he got up laughing. Now that is over and he’s ok, I can’t stop chuckling about it. To have had a camera!

Well, for tomorrow, there are several points of interest we want to check out. There’s Groom, Texas (you remember I mentioned it a few days ago) that I can’t wait to see, along with a couple Rt. 66 museums, trading posts (gotta have more souvenirs) and a place called Pop’s that has a 50’s style diner and brags about the 500 ice cold bottles of soda. Can there really be that many varieties? That one should be fun.
Better close for now as I’m sure there will be plenty to report tomorrow along with lots of pics. Stay tuned…….
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby nissangirl74 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:31 pm

Glad to see you two are enjoying the rest of your trip. :) I sure am glad you decided to stay with us and we will see you in 2014 for Neal's reunion. Can't wait for more updates! :wavey:
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:57 am

To all of NICO. I understand that discussions of a religious nature are not allowed. I have some pictures that were taken in Groom, TX. that are of that theme, and I am by no means trying to instill my or my wife's beliefs on to you. Just some pictures some of you may be interested in seeing.

These are not intended to offend anyone who is not of Christian faith, or no faith at all. If you feel you may be offended by the following pictures, I suggest maybe you skip this post.

I may be a G.O.B., but I am not without compassion and I would not want anyone to view something they may be offended by. I apologize in advance for any problems this may cause.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Its 9:00 a.m. and time to get a move on.

During our gas stop before heading out, Mark spotted a Buick Grand National on the other side of the pump from us. Looked to be in really good shape. The driver liked Clare too so he and Mark had a nice little chat, there was a little mutual admiration going on there.

Mark wanted to clean the glass but the station was busy so he moved out of the way and a state trooper pulled in to Clare’s spot. He came right over to see the car and when Mark told him about her the trooper said something like “Ah, that’s the car I heard yesterday!”

Come to find out, the state’s patrol cars used to have the same motor as Clare so he recognized her sound. Didn’t seem worried about how loud she can be when Mark apologized for it either. He just took a good look and went on his way. It still amazes me how much attention Clare attracts.

Since today is Sunday, and because of the distance we have to travel we will have to miss one of the two museums on our route. We will go as far as Clinton, Oklahoma, today, stay the night, and go to the one there in the morning.
In the meantime, we still have the stop in Groom, Texas, to see about the large cross we spotted on the way out to Arizona.

At 12:40 we arrived in Groom and saw what the cross is all about. We will let the photos speak for themselves, if you are so inclined to view them.

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There are old, two-lane roads that run parallel to I40 that are rarely used, so imagine our surprise when we notice three little convertibles parked under some trees on the south side. As we went by, Mark realized that they were 3000 Series Healy’s! There’s another one you don’t see every day. Then, about 20 miles further down, we see three more headed west…going to meet the others? Be my guess. Maybe a car show is nearby.

Clare’s magnetism continues on. One stop the owner of a 2011 Impala took a picture of the two cars….quite the comparison shot! Then, another at our next stop (although this one was very chatty). Admirers are everywhere! And she deserves it!

We made it to Clinton at 4:30, checked in to a Ramada, and then went down to Sonic for supper. Saw that the Route 66 Museum is just a couple blocks up from the motel. We will go as soon as they open in the morning.
Then, as we move on we will look for one of the trading posts I saw (don’t remember exactly where) and we want to get as far as Arcadia so we can go to “Pop’s” for supper and a soda.


Looking forward to tomorrow, so, until we meet again…
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Gold Digger » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:02 am

Mornin, pop!!!

Good to know you're both doing well and enjoying yourself.

I wanted to ask you the other day and forgot. Did you get the Route 66 sticker I brought back for you on the car?
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby AZhitman » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:44 am

G.O.B. wrote:Clare’s magnetism continues on. One stop the owner of a 2011 Impala took a picture of the two cars….quite the comparison shot!


:dblthumb: SO cool! I love pics like that, the ones that show a certain model or nameplate in various stages throughout history.

A quick little blurb on driving the '63 - This car was set up VERY well. For a car that's the size of an older Suburban, it actually handles! Totally flat and neutral going around corners. Obviously, I wasn't about to push it to over/understeer, but I'm sure the wide tires would give ample warning long before the big body started to get squirrely.

The LT1 looks (and sounds) right at home in the engine bay... it's almost weird, how Mark and the guys have blended old and new into something that doesn't really LOOK modified at all.

I couldn't resist the urge to romp on it a few times, and the LT1 sounds WAY sexy at full-boogie. That's a lot of car to get moving, yet it feels effortless. Thank goodness they had the forethought to upgrade to full power disc brakes! :)

My favorite part of the car, though, is the interior. The folks at Ciadella (here in AZ) do some spectacular work, and the combination of light blue vinyl and the brocade cloth just screams 60's cool.

Clare's got me motivated to get cracking on finishing up a couple more of our projects! :)
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Gold Digger » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:04 am

Just a quick heads up.

The folks made it to Joplin and are headed towards STL with Troy, IL as a final stop for the night. They got in late and didn't get a chance to post up for the day, but hopefully, they'll have something later.

JESDA!!! Read your FB mail and get back to me A.S.A.P.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:58 am

Well, gang. It's about 8:30am in the booming metropolis of Galesburg, IL. We got back home yesterday and took care of a few things before retiring to do absolutely nothing for a day or 4 before I have to go back to work.

Now, just to let you know, this post and the next post will be coverage for Monday and Tuesday. The final day's coverage has not been typed up yet, and the wife is still asleep. She was a trooper throughout the whole trip. I really appreciate her time and effort into posting up these journal entries for you to read. I hope you have enjoyed them.

Greg, thanks for the props on the ole girl. I'm sure she enjoyed you stretching her legs.

Anyway, before I blow much more hot air out and deflate myself, I'll let Sherri's words speak for themselves and the pictures.

Enjoy!!!


Monday, April 24, 2012

At 10:00 we arrived at the Rt. 66 Museum here in Clinton, OK, after a stop at the car wash that was next door.

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We met a couple outside the museum, from Oregon, who were traveling through on their motorcycle. They thought we were riding in style! (We have to agree!) Of course Mark told them all about her (Clare) and they mentioned that they have an old Desoto. Wish I could remember what they look like. Anyway, we enjoyed visiting with them and hope they have a safe trip.


Once inside, we found out that they have been re-doing the exhibits so they gave us a discount on the admission. When it’s all done it will be more interactive and kid-friendly. There was still plenty to see and we found a lot of information. Loved all the old photos from back in the day. My favorites are the ones with the trooper with his Indian motorcycle and the 20cent gal. sign.

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As we were paying for our souvenirs the lady offered us a free tour guide book that covers the Oklahoma portion of Rt. 66 and I wish we would have had it sooner as it shows the portions of the road that are still open. At least the museum was on the route!


We headed out for “Pops” at 11:00 a.m. It’s just outside Oklahoma City so we had a bit of a drive. We made a quick stop at the Cherokee Trading Post, where I got my piece of pottery. We met another admirer as we were leaving. As he is a paint and body guy, he really appreciated Clare.


We got to “Pops” at 2:00 p.m.

Although it’s not an original landmark, it has become quite the place to stop and see. Built in 2007, right on Rt.66, it has brought the dwindling number of tourists back up in droves. The 66 ft. high pop bottle lights up at night in a sequence to look like it is filling up. Wish we could see it at night. It has a gas station, 50’s style diner, a decent selection of “Pops” memorabilia and over 500 different flavors of soda pop. So cool! The burger and fries were really good too!

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Don't I look just so thrilled? Hehehe!!

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The section of Rt. 66 that “Pops” is located on is drivable, so, we were finally able to cruise down the “Mother Road”. It was fun to see the more rural side of Oklahoma. The ruins of an old gas station, old towns, farms and even a few cows standing “belly deep” in a big water hole. It was a 16 mile stretch that was mostly set at 55mph, with the last few miles at 65mph. Clare just loved it!

Alas, it was over too soon and we were back on the turnpike.

We spotted a trailer hauling a first generation Bronco that looked to have been built for rock climbing or maybe trail riding. It sported a beefed up suspension and had rear steering. It made Mark’s day as he has always loved the old Broncos.

Going through Tulsa we got another thumbs up from a Harley rider. I really should have started keeping track of all the thumbs up, waves, horn honks, etc. that Clare gets. I bet it would be close to 100 by now, if not more.

We made Joplin, Missouri at 7:00 p.m. and decided to call it a day. We found a Motel 6, called out for pizza, and used the laundry facilities. Tomorrow we’re St. Louis bound, and hope to finally get to a Triple D joint while there.
Time to “re-fuel” ourselves. ‘Night.
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:34 am

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hello, again! It’s time to head out again.

Its 8:30am and we are on our way to Troy, Illinois, located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. Since Jesda lives in the area, Neal is going to contact him to see if he is available to meet up with us later today.

Our drive today was uneventful. A sunny day with a lot of beautiful scenery. Missouri is a pretty state. Very green and lush.

Brandie looks a bit inqusitive...

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A stop in Missouri.

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We made it to Troy at 2:30 and found the Red Roof Inn. Mark went in to check-in while I used the facilities. Of course, Clare attracted their attention.

The desk clerk and the manager came out to look her over. The desk clerk took a couple photos, and then went back inside. Mark and the manager continued to talk cars while I took Brandie for a walk.

Much to my surprise, here comes the desk clerk with directions to the two Triple D. restaurants I was interested in. She had heard me mention them and looked them up for me. How nice! Thank you!

A little later as we were finishing up the check-in, Jesda calls. He was free and agreed to meet us at the hotel later this afternoon. We got settled in and then relaxed for a bit while waiting for Jesda.

He arrived here about 6:00 p.m. After he thoroughly checked out Clare and took several pictures, Mark gave him the keys and he took her for a short drive.

We came back to the hotel, closed and locked up Jesda’s car and took off again (with Jesda still driving) to find the Triple D place, “Iron Barley”.

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The St. Louis Gateway Arch

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The “Iron Barley Eating Establishment” is in a small brick building just a couple blocks off the highway. There is a bar area with a few 2-seat tables with additional 4-seat tables in an adjoining room.

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The décor is what I think is called eclectic. Old brick and wood walls, cast iron pan wall sconces, even framed posters of “The Three Stooges” in the bathroom. It is warm and welcoming, with a staff that is friendly and accommodating. Usually, if I walk into an unknown place like that I feel uncomfortable and out of place, but not here.

The menu is small but still had an interesting and plentiful variety of options.

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Their drinks menu included many wines, bourbons, specialty mixed drinks and over 20 selections of draft beer.

Mark’s salmon, Jesda’s chili and open-faced roast beef and my tenderloin medallions were served quickly and steaming hot. Wonderful! Yummies in my tummy! We will definitely be back if given the chance. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

A short drive back to the hotel and it was time to say good night to our new friend.

It was a real pleasure to meet you Jesda, and look forward to seeing you again. You helped to make our first Triple D. adventure a great success too! Glad you could join us.

Its 9:30pm. Tomorrow, we head to Springfield, and with luck, another Triple D. joint.
So, until then
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:56 am

Mornin, kids.

Well, I finally have a bit of time to sit down and finish this up. Sherri will say her bit, then I will post a follow up that I want to include at the end.

Thanks for sticking with us the past week and a half.

Wednesday, April 26, 2012

Its 9:00a.m. and while on our way to fill up before hitting the road, Mark noticed that the volts were running a little high. He put in a call to Brian and he said we would be alright if we keep as much electrical running as we can and to keep an eye on it. So, we gassed up and started on our way to Springfield, Illinois.

10:30a.m. So far, so good. We made it to Springfield and found an O’Reilly’s on our way to our next Triple D. place. Mark pulled in and asked them to test the alternator, which was over charging. We will just continue to keep an eye on it.

We found Charlie Parker’s (click me!!!) right around the block from the O’Reilly’s.

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If we had looked when we pulled into their lot we would have seen the restaurant.
(700 W. North St. Springfield, IL 62704 PH. 217-241-2104)

Charlie Parker’s is located in an old Quonset hut. It will seat a little over 90 people. It sports a little neon, lots of old ad signs, records and album covers all over the walls.

(Gee, thanks, Mark!)
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As we were going in we noticed several people leaving and heading to a bus that was on the far side of the lot. Once inside, we found a table and promptly received a warm welcome and menus. Looking around you wouldn’t have known that they had just finished with the large bus group as all the wait staff was calmly going about their usual business of cleaning, replenishing and providing good customer service.

Our waitress came right over, we asked for her recommendations (which we took), and we had our food before we knew it.

Mark's

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Mine

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The owner even came over to our table after Mark had asked if it was ok to put his place in our on-line journal.
(See the hyperlink some paragraphs up.)

We enjoyed our meal and it was a kick looking around at all the old memorabilia. It probably hasn’t changed much over the years yet it doesn’t feel dated or kitschy. It’s the place to go for good food, good service and great atmosphere. We’re glad to have found it and since it’s so close to home, we will definitely be back.

A little after noon we headed out on our last leg home. We continued watching the volt meter but experienced no further trouble.

We made it home at 2:30p.m., unloaded the car and vegged-out while we waited to hear back from Brian so we could drop Clare off with him to get her problem checked out. Hopefully it will be a quick and easy fix.
We have had a wonderful vacation, but we’re glad to be home. I think Brandie is too! She was so excited to see Lorraine again (our neighbor who looked after our cat, Beetles) and I’m sure she is happy to be away from all the rock in Arizona and New Mexico-they hurt her tender toes!

Everyone we encountered on our road trip was great. From the gas station attendants, hotel clerks, and waitresses, to all the people who admired Clare and wanted to learn all about her (which Mark was all too happy to tell).

All in all we had a lot of fun. Saw a lot of beautiful scenery, visited some interesting landmarks and, made 3 new friends!

We hope to go west again someday to visit the things we missed (like the Petrified Forest) and go all the way into California where Rt. 66 ends. Rt. 66 begins in Chicago so we can take a long weekend to go up to see its origin. And, of course, check out any Triple D.s we happen to find along the way!

We hope you all have enjoyed following along on our journey. Maybe this has inspired you to go out on your own adventure. If so, we’d love to tag along with you!

Mark and Sherri Hartman and Brandie too!
April 2012
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby G.O.B. » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:24 am

Well Girls & Boys,

I just want to say a few things about this trip we all have taken; first of all in my mind I asked my folks, Sherri’s folks one of my son's best friends, Andy Reagan and my best friend Mike West to join us on this adventure.

My parents as my moral compass. My wife's parents to remind me that I am not the only one I have depending on me and that there are other people I may need to depend on. Andy Reagan for his never ending sense of adventure. And Mike West as inspiration for never settling for anything less than what I wanted done with my car.

You see I believe that as long as you talk about and remember those that have passed, then they are not dead, they are just waiting elsewhere for us to get to them.

As most of you know this journey first started for me back in February 2009 when I found a 1963 Impala Wagon very much like the one my father bought new when I was seven years old. In April of 2009 my Dad passed, not knowing of the car. So I had the car restored as close to stock as I could, but with the newer touches that had been done to her already.

At this point we were calling her “SS Going Broke” because of the money I was putting in her, the size of her and being white it seemed to me that Titanic was “unsinkable” but…

So we ran with that name until Rick called and said it was time to come to Macon and get her. After seeing her, Casper was first brought up, but she has always been a grand ol’ lady. So with the “C” still in mind and wanting to honor my Parents, “Clare” my mother’s middle name, was chosen.

And to honor them, my wife and I thought a trip home for Clare was the thing to do. Home to Surprise, AZ to let the man that got to see and drive her first, get his hands and eyes on her again. For if not for Greg, I never would have met Clare or had the chance to meet all the people that we met on this trip.

It was because of a friend of my son, Neal, that Sherri and I along with our girl Brandie met so many nice people.

We had fun, saw some beautiful country and got to give Clare one hell of a shake down. Not many would take a freshly restored car cross country straight out of the shop. Just goes to show you the trust I have in both "Rockin" Rick Carpenter and Brian Price, two different shops, but the same mindset; The job has to be right before it goes out the door. My Thanks to both of You.

And my thanks to all of you that went on our trip with us, from the beginning with the rebuild thread all the way through this one. It's been a great three years. We hope you've enjoyed it as much as we did.

All our best and I hope to meet more of you down on the byways sometime soon.
Mark (G.O.B.) Hartman
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby AZhitman » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:10 pm

Good, good stuff.

As I've always said, this isn't about the cars, it's about the people. The cars (and the website) are just tools to help us connect people, from all corners of the globe...

...and that's what matters most of all.
AZhitman
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Re: And away we go!!! Road trip ON!!!

Postby Jesda » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:58 am

Driving that beast was an absolute JOY! It was a genuine pleasure meeting both of you, and thanks for dinner!!

Call me again if you ever come through STL.

Jesda
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