June 10th at Birmingham, AL


 

The day began with a much needede car wash for the Boxster.  Many bugs have been sacrificed for our pleasure.  After breakfast at the hotel, we were on our way.  The route took us on two lane roads for most of the trip from Chattanooga to Birmingham.  Along the way, as we were stopped at a stop light, Tom Huber, the Richmond 6 speed transmission guru, came alongside to say hello.  We followed him until he stopped for gas.  At a Burger King next door, I saw Mitch’s car.  We decided to eat lunch there with Mitch and Tom.  It was a great beginning to our day.

By the time we arrived in Birmingham around 3:00PM, it was in the 90’s with high humidity.  Very uncomfortable.  We got out Long Haul cards dated and began checking out the site called Regions Park.  It is the home of the Birmingham minor league team and is a beautiful venue.  The entry is tree lined and, being one of the only shaded areas, was a very popular place to place one’s chair to view the cars entering the site.  There were other imaginative ways of trying to keep cool as witnessed by the people who brought their own generator to power some fans. 

On a lower parking lot, RideTech was holding an autocross.  I had signed up for the autocross, but, after seeing the very short course, I decided it was not worth it to get in the long line in the hot weather.  We did watch for a bit to see how the muscle cars did.  Some did well while others did not fare as well.  I am sure they all had a great time.

We found our Austrailian friend’s Monaro sport utes and took some pictures in the daytime.  At one time, GM was going to import these models as El Camino’s.  We think they made a big mistake by not doing this as these are awesome vehicles.  According to the Aussies, if GM had brought in the 2004 GTO in exactly the same form as their Monaro was being sold, it would have sold like hotcakes here.  They have seen the GTO here and say it is so emasculated from its Aussie origins that they are not surprised it did not sell.  One little thing I noticed is that neither the GTO nor its cousing the Pontiac G8 were available with factory nav while all three of the Monaro utes had factory nav.  In this day and age, it is unbelievable that any auto company does not offer nav from the factory.  Honda even offers it in their lowest price car, the Fit!!

We have come across some Porsches on the tour beside our Boxster.  Today we saw a 914-8 from California.  The owner had installed a small block V8 into a flared 914 body.  It was quite impressive.  We have also seen a 996 and a 944 on the tour.

Rat rods abound with some of them having the look but being decidedly less ratty than others.  We also saw some F1 technology creeping into the rat rod scene….tire warmers!!

The most impressive car we saw was a 1953 Buick Special Riviera.  We talked with the owner.  He was from Birmingham and had local shops do the body, engine, chassis and interior.  It was very, very rich looking and done to the highest quality.  It was powered by a LS1 engine with no visible wiring in the engine bay.   In order to full appreciate this car, you had to stick your head into the window to inhale the leather smell.  To drive this car would be like sitting in the world’s largest baseball mitt.  Spectacular car!!

Tomorrow will bring us to the end of the tour in Mobile, Al.  On Saturday morning, there is a ceremony to honor the Long Haul drivers who have completed the entire tour from Newton, Ia to Mobile, Al.  The ceremony will be held on a battleship in the Mobile bay.  We are looking forward to the end as it has been a long, but satisfying week.  Jerry and Dave both are ready to return to our lovely wives and tell them that we love them.

Be sure to check out the latest pictures on the “2010 Power Tour” tab.

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1 Comment

  1. Well Jerry and Dav,
    Must have been fun to drive around the midwest. Cool trip! bring it home safe.
    Later Grover


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