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First Power Tour Long Haul story and Pictures

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  • First Power Tour Long Haul story and Pictures

    This was my first power tour, one of the things on my bucket list. I’ve had this Olds 442 for 31 years, but hadn’t driven it for the last 23 years. You can check out the story on the car here:!-UPDATE!

    Spent a couple months working on it getting it ready to go. I got way behind schedule, and was working on it till 2:30 am the night before my son and I had to leave Minnesota for Cocoa Beach Florida to become Power Tour Long Haulers.

    Here it is all packed and ready to go Wednesday afternoon just before we left:

    I had a 9 inch Ford rear end I was going to set up with 2.75 gears and put in before we left, but ran short of time and decided not to. But the day before we left, I was adjusting the brakes and discovered that the 12 bolt rear end that was in the car had a bad wheel bearing. So I hastily assembled the ford rear end and threw it in the car at the last minute. 100 miles into the trip I discovered gear lube running out the ends of the axles housing. Oops, forgot to put in axle seals. So I had to find some seals at a parts store and install them in the parking lot.

    We had a few electrical wiring problems on the way, but got them fixed (I brought lots of tools and supplies) and we made it to Cocoa Beach just about dark on Friday night:

    We had a really nice view of the beach from our 6th floor room at the Hilton:

    Saturday morning we got the car all cleaned up in the hotel parking lot:

    Then we went to Fish Lips and got registered for Power Tour 2011 and checked out some local scenery:

    There was a huge car show, and I snapped a few pictures of stuff I liked.

    ’59 chev 409 4 speed 6 carburator convert:

    My boy has a 37 Ford pickup project of his own, so when we saw this nice 37, I had to take his picture with it:

    Hemi Powered Hot Rod:

    Hemi powered Rolls, who would have thunk it?:

    I love GT500 converts! A bucket list item for the future, a Kodak moment today:

    After we got good and hot at the car show, we went back to the hotel and rented surf boards and hit the beach and tried to surf. That was fun, but no pictures.
    Hemi Joel
    Superhero BangShifter
    Last edited by Hemi Joel; June 24, 2011, 10:47 PM.

  • #2
    Sunday we went to the drivers meeting in the Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space center, then toured the space shuttle area of the space center:

    From there we drove to Valdosta Georgia. My gas gauge quit working on the way to Florida, and the odometer was no longer accurate with the gear swap, so we had been relying on the GPS to tell us when it was time for fuel. Well, it was turned off while we cruised Cocoa beach and toured the space center, and I under-estimated how much gas we used. Whoops, ran out of gas. I caught a ride to a gas station, paid huge $$ for a gas can, and got a ride back to the car from a local cop.

    I had been hoping to get a picture of the Olds with the ocean in the background, finally got a good opportunity in Georgia:

    At Georgia motorsports park, I had about 600 reasons not to run the car down the drag strip, like having an impossible to replace conversion u-joint that I frankenstiened together out of pieces to fit the ford rear to the olds driveshaft, tach not working accurately, 100 degree heat boiling the fuel in the carb, 44 year old rubber bushings in the rear suspension, etc. But I did it anyway. The only good thing was my .012 light, and that nothing broke. Ran short of fuel in the carb and layed down at about the 1/8 mile. probably from vapor lock
    Hemi Joel
    Superhero BangShifter
    Last edited by Hemi Joel; June 24, 2011, 11:35 PM.


    • #3
      Couldn’t wait to get back to the room and get cooled off and cleaned up, as we had the top down all day in the extreme heat and sun, and were pretty beat up by it. Veiw from the hotel room at Valdosta:

      Hemi Joel
      Superhero BangShifter
      Last edited by Hemi Joel; June 24, 2011, 11:33 PM.


      • #4
        Monday we cruised to Montgomery Alabama. Saw a little old abandoned motel along the way:

        We didn’t do much at the track in Montgomery because of the heat, only stayed there about an hour or so, then went and checked in to the hotel. Across the street was the Hank William Museum, and I am a huge Hank fan. Too bad it was after hours and closed:

        There was a party and car show in the parking lot that night, and it was a lot of fun:

        This mustang gave up:

        Tuesday we went to Nashville. We saw a few broken Power Tour car along the route each day. There was always plenty of help if it was needed:

        At Nashville there was autocross and a huge car show at LP field. We also went downtown and saw some good lod fashioned country music at Roberts bar and visited Earnest Tubbs record store, where there just happened to be Jack Green, Gene Watson, and Rhonda Vincent, shaking hands and signing autographs.
        I also got to shake hands with Elvis!

        Parking lot at the Hotel was looking good, too:

        Hemi Joel
        Superhero BangShifter
        Last edited by Hemi Joel; June 24, 2011, 11:36 PM.


        • #5
          Wednesday morning we hit the road real early, wanting to get to Indy at a decent time.
          On the freeway in Nashville, we got hit by a semi truck! It tried to change lanes into the lane we were in, but I couldn’t move over because there was another semi on the other side of us. We were getting sandwiched in between two semis! I jammed on the brakes hard, and while I was slowing down to escape, we were so close to the tires of the trucks on both sides, I expected to see the sparks flying and crunching metal any second. Just as we were about to clear the back of the offending truck, the rear bumper of the trailer hit the right front corner of the Olds, but not too hard. When it was safe again, I passed the semi and tried to pull him over, but he wouldn’t stop. So I figured I better pull over, call the cops to report a hit and run, and inspect the damage. There was so much debris on the shoulder, I really didn’t want to pull over for fear of puncturing a tire, but figured I had to. To my great surprise, I did not see any damage on the car! So I figured he must have glanced off the side of the bumper. How lucky we were to be alive, and now even with no damage to the car. We said a prayer of thanks and hit the road without calling the cops.

          An hour or so later, we saw a sign announcing Abe Lincolns birthplace, and although it was off the route we decided to go for it. It was a nice set up, with a museum and a huge monument building set up around what was once thought to be Honest Abes birth cabin.

          While were taking pictures, I noticed that the right rear tire was going flat. It had a chunck of metal in it, undoubtedly from the shoulder of the road in Nashville. I didn’t bring a spare tire, but I did bring a tire repair kit and a compressor, and was able to fix the tire and continue on to Indy. I also noticed then that the right front wheel lip molding was dented. So that is what the semi trailer had hit. Oh well, it is a lot easier to repair stainless trim than paint.

          Since we were now behind schedule, we decided to stick to the freeway the rest of the way to Indy. It is a good thing we did, and the GPS guided us in on a different route than the Power Tour, because we avoided a 2 hour traffic jam that a lot of guy got snarled up in. At Indy there was a gigantic car show in the infield of the race track. We were pretty hot from a full day of top down driving in the extreme heat wave, so we decided to hit the air conditioned speedway museum to cool off.

          There was a bunch of historic indy cars:

          Cam was pretending to text while driving one. Gotta like a kid who can make fun of his own generation!

          Then we got to drive around the track, one lap. That was really cool!

          My buddy Terry had joined the Tour in Nashville, but by Indy, the twin electric fans in his big block, 4 speed Chevelle had both burned out. I ran to a parts store and bought a new fan and we fixed it in the hotel Parking lot.

          The hotel at Indy was downtown. Here is a view of the parking lot in the morning:

          Was this “Project X” in the parking lot?


          • #6
            Thursday on the way from Indy to Muskegon, we went off the route again to tour the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum. What an awesome place!

            A Duesenberg V-16, developed during WWI for fighter Aircraft. I want one!

            One of my favorite Duesenbergs, a rare long wheelbase, disappearing top, Murphy convertible coupe.

            At Muskegon, the whole town was turned into a giant car show. A GM future-liner was on display:

            We were also entertained by the one way signs, definitely a Kodak moment!

            Well, I’m out of time for now. To be continued……


            • #7
              Great post.
              Longhauler 2009,2011
              Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans


              • #8
                Thanks for sharing, that was fun!!!
                200WINS HRPT Long Haul 2008, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Bettendorf, WI Dells, 15 Champaign, Madison, 16 OK City, Wichita, KC, 17 KC, Newton


                • #9
                  Great story Joel. Sorry I didn't get to meet you somewhere during the week.
                  I R Bob
                  You can't drink all day unless you start in the morning!
                  2007 LH, 2008 LH, 2009 LH, 2010 LH, 2011 LH, 2012 DNF/BLOW'D UP, 2013 LH, 2014 LH


                  • #10
                    Great story.I all so kept a journal of my first PT in 08 .
                    HRPT '08 LH, '09 Days 6 & 7, '10 LH


                    • #11
                      Great job.........and you did it in style.......see you next year............
                      That steely eyed look I had behind the wheel was me trying see..........


                      • #12
                        cool story and nice pics! I recall seeing your car along the way, maybe a few times even. This was our second PT and we are hooked! Maybe see you next year!
                        Married to Tara, that makes me the TARA-fied 1!


                        • #13
                          I'm glad you like it, it is really fun to go thru the pictures and remember the trip, even though it wasn't that long ago.

                          Heres a couple more pics from Lincolns birthpalce farm:

                          The old cabin:

                          There was a bear skin on the bed in the museum. We had fun asking the dead serious ranger chicks about it. "somebody has been sleeping in my bed and she's still here! It's Mama bear, skin her out!" Or maybe it was Yogi who got caught trying to steal another pikinik basket, there was a lot of rangers around! :o

                          Here is a shot from the hotel parking lot in Muskegon, lots of guys were out there cleanig up their rides after the rain earlier in the day:

                          I will get back to this some evening when I have more time to load some more pictures and finish writing the story. THere is a lot more to tell!


                          • #14
                            Great thread! How did your son like the trip?
                            2006 HRPT LH
                            2007 HRPT LH
                            2011 Valdosta Stop


                            • #15
                              Very nice pictorial Joel. Very sharp looking Olds also
                              Williamston, MI (Ohio too)
                              Long Haul 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011 2012,2013,2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019