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Thursday, May 7
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Thursday, May 14
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Saturday, May 16

Power Tour 2007
Monday, May 11
Morrison, CO to NW Kansas VoTech School, Goodland, KS

“The Torch is Passed”

Somewhere in Denver, it’s 4:40 am, not the 7:00 am Ken predicted. I’m wide-awake with anticipation for the transfer of power. Ken flies out today, and I take over as rolling scribe for the 1998 version of the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour. While my ramblings may not be as precise as Ken’s, I’m convinced I’m much funnier (just look at us, and make your own decision) and my stories are full of insight as only a true salesman could make them. You want boring? – Read some gardening magazine. You want humor? – Read the Congressional Record. You want fun that comes from lots of middle aged fat guys driving cross-country? – Read on!

In years past I would have already been outside, washing, waxing and detailing the ride — either SLEPE, our Ultra Cool ’63 Nova SS convertible, or the Way Cool Mothers® Vortech Mustang (there Ken, I did sneak the Way Cool Mothers® Vortech Mustang in this story). However, this year things are different. As Ken started doing in LA, and I inherit here Denver, we get right seat only to Gary Turnau, wrencher extraordinaire. Gary put SLEPE together, and this year it’s his ’67 Olds 442 W-30 — ultra straight, ultra cool, ultra red, and featured in May’s Popular Hotrodding. The locals will be soooo jealous. (Way Cool Mothers® Vortech Mustang! There Ken, I did it again.)

While I don’t know if I can handle the right seat all the way, my feet never touching the accelerator, brake, or clutch (what kind of car DOESN’T have a clutch pedal?), the thought of being in a car with actual room for people, clothes and great Mothers® products to give away sounds like fun. After three years of being cramped, this spacious “not your father’s Oldsmobile” is a welcome change. Having someone else drive, however painful to my ego, will allow me to do the photo stuff without steering with knees while focusing. All in all, it’s not a bad deal.

Ken’s up, Gary’s up, and I’m bursting with pride as we prepare for the ceremony. Gary takes the rental car to Pep Boys to pick up a spare carburetor gasket as Ken and I review the demands of my upcoming assignment. Sounds easy — I take pictures with the super slick new Olympus D600L digital camera, download them to my new Power PC Macintosh notebook, process ’em in Adobe Photoshop, and write a story about traveling across country in a cool hot rod.

All at 70 miles per hour.

What could be easier?

With great fanfare, we position the 442 and rental car under the hotel entryway. While Gary busies himself warming the 442 to Denver’s chilly morning air, we enlist the aid of another hotel guest to record for all the world to see the transfer of our version of the Magna Carta — a Rand McNally map of the United States. It’s our doctrine, the guiding light in this sojourn across purple mountains, fruited plains, and the pothole infested streets of metro Detroit.

Transfer of power accomplished, Ken fires the Dodge Stratus rental car (purple, how did I manage that?) and heads for Denver’s baggage eating airport. At least he’ll be home for part of Mother’s Day — for the fourth year in a row I’ll be miles away from my wonderful wife and children. Oh well, what’s a month or two on the couch — it’s a small price to pay for bringing the world the story of our travels.

Gary clutches the 442, and we hit I-70 east, headed for the Northwest Kansas Votech School, the spot where SLEPE failed us 2 years ago. It’ll be a homecoming of sorts. Goodland, Kansas is one of the truly great towns of the Power Tour. Every year it appears every resident turns out for the stop.

The school opens its doors, shop, lifts and toolboxes to the Tour members, allowing them to accomplish anything from an oil change or tire balance to serious wrenching on engine innards.

The folks from Holley take the opportunity to put their brand new rod up on a lift and check all the suspension bolts before the 440 plus mile trek to Kansas City tomorrow.

While Gary replaces the clutch return spring on the 442,

I raid the Auto Custom Carpets trailer for more product to stock the trunk. Due to some oversight, there are Tour dudes and dudettes actually using other brands of car care products. This is not acceptable. Soon, if I have my way, everyone will be bright and shiny (okay, well maybe their cars will be shiny, but I guarantee the folks will be brighter for having used Mothers®).

My buddy Jeff Moses, owner of ACC, drove that hot GTO Judge last year. This year, Jeff and friends built two cars — a Fox body Mustang and a Camaro.

Both are done to standards even us picky folks at Mothers® would approve of, and look to be serious highway runners. I do notice, however, Jeff has prepared for the bad drivers out there, outfitting both with 6 point cages and 4 point harnesses. I’m sure somewhere in both are fire suppression systems as well. Jeff likes ’em safe. And fast.

Oh yeah, looks like they have great carpeting and floor mats, too.

After filling the 442’s trunk, I travel the rows of cars, looking for cool rides which may have escaped Ken’s eagle eyes the past couple days. In short order I find the ultimate 1962 Bel Air, an original dual quad bench seat — no radio, no heater.

409 Chevy. With its black California plates, it looks to be the coolest Beach Boys listening, Big Boys eating, Friday night cruising, toy ever. If it were only red.

Oh well.

To keep the crowd involved, Top Hat John, emcee and car trivia expert, works up on the stage. He’s riding in the Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (creator of RatFink, that anti-establishment cartoon of the ’60s) designed Motel 6 bus.

Top Hat asks trivia questions of the level I can’t even begin to guess (like, “Who made the highest horsepower car of 1958, what model was it, how many cubic inches did it displace, and how many horsepower did it make?”). Outta my league.

Since I can’t answer any of Top Hat’s questions, I go back to the garage to see who’s working on what. In a sense of Deja Vu, I spy an ultra clean red Charger up on the exact same lift SLEPE was on two years ago.

The Charger has transmission problems. I hope they have better luck than we did.

With Rod Sterling’s Twilight Zone theme music playing in my head, at this very moment up walks Mr. Purvis, instructor for the automotive program. He gently informs me our story of SLEPE’s demise here several years ago was not well received by the students. I apologize, and promise to rework the choice of words, as we really did appreciate all their efforts. I can only guess the sun beating down on our heads removed some of our tactful brain cells.

Jim Savas, Petersen Publishing big wig and Hot Rod Magazine Publisher, scrounges up a lift for his newly built ’57 Chevy. Sporting a killer two tone silver paint, it receives a going over to make sure everything is in proper order. Standing underneath its massive chrome front bumper, I get the exact same view road kill would as the ’57 thunders cross country.

Rumors start to fly of rain, hail, and tornadoes heading our way. Even the local youngsters pick the fastest way into the building to protect themselves from the weather.

The 442 remains inside, safe from possible harm.

Oblivious to any possible bad weather, the fastest vehicle in Goodland at the moment makes another run; laying down an ET which puts him in select company.

This angel of mercy helps keep our fellow Tour dudes on the road.

I decide to call the office to let the world know we’re still alive. Picking up my trusty digital PCS phone, I find it refuses to work in Goodland. For five months I’ve carried this phone with me wherever I go. In digital markets, it works great. Anywhere else, it’s a glorified paperweight. I thought by purchasing the dual band phone, which converts to regular cellular whenever digital wasn’t available, it would keep me in touch. What a joke. Only once has it worked in a non-digital market, and that was just two weeks ago. After five months of calling, looking for technical assistance, I called two weeks ago and asked to speak to someone about a complaint. They told me they don’t take complaints over the phone, I must send a letter to a PO box, as customer service has an UNLISTED number! Guess that’s how they tell can brag about not receiving many complaints.

I’m now desperate for a phone that works. There’s one pay phone in the school, and a line like at a Rolling Stones concert. Finally I get to the front of the line and call the office. After handling the world’s problems, I call my digital phone company. The cheerful computer voice tells me there’s a six minute wait.

20 minutes, and with a line of folks waiting to use the phone behind me, I hang up. Some customer service. Some great phone. Some attitude. Think I’ll remember that when it’s time to pay the bill.

The weather passes with just a few raindrops, and the crowd thins out to head for the local hotels. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast on the reservations, so we’re relegated to the next nearest town, Colby, Kansas. 36 miles, one time zone, and a good steak restaurant away.

We’re full of optimism as we prepare for the longest day of the Tour — 444 miles across Kansas. Even our intrepid Power Tour good luck charm, Jack, can’t help but smile as we prepare to leave the great plains for the midwest.

Kansas City, here we come. Look out world, we’re on the loose. Too bad I can’t call anyone and tell them we’re coming, since my digital PCS phone won’t work.

Story and photos by,

Forrest Tosie
Mothers® Polishes•Waxes•Cleaners

1998 Cruise Night Schedule

Thursday, May 7
Pomona Fairplex, Pomona, CA

Friday, May 8
Fairplex, Mesquite, NV

Saturday, May 9
Intermountain Events Center,
Grand Junction, CO

Sunday, May 10
Bandimere Speedway,
Morrison, CO

Monday, May 11
NW Kansas VoTech School,
Goodland, KS

Turesday, May 12
Station Casino, Kansas City, MO

Wednesday, May 13
St. Louis, MO

Thursday, May 14
State Fairgrounds,
Indianapolis, IN

Friday, May 15
Tinley Park, Chicago, IL

Saturday, May 16
Downtown, Mount Clemens, MI

Sunday, May 17th
Mount Clemens, MI

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