Friday, July 27, 2012

LEG ONE OF THE 2012 ROAD RASH TOUR (And Selected Bonus Coverage)

It’s the call of the wide open road. I must obey. Last week it took me to Vancouver, Washington to shoot photos for the new top secret CarTech book project. The camera gear was loaded into the Bi-Polar Bear and the tank was filled. Thanks to Doctor Lockjaw providing me use of his hoist, the annoying exhaust leak was repaired the day before lift-off, and I enjoyed easy listening nirvana (a smooth exhaust note) during the 600ish mile round trip. That’s important, since the Delco radio was thrown out in the name of weight savings (Dead weight, too – the squawk box couldn’t pull in a signal and couldn’t reproduce it when it did catch a wave). I blasted north, stopping only to soak up local color at gas stations and rest areas. Upon arrival in Vancouver (apparently, the most hot rods per capita in America), I hit the ground stumbling and didn’t take a break until the return trip, three days later. As always, this journey was more of an adventure than anticipated. Special thanks to my pal Paul "House" Gilbert and family, who sheltered and fed me! Here’s the only images I'm allowed to show you...

I spent most of my time flushing out prey in shops and garages. This is Chip Starr's place, outside of Scappoose, Oregon. This Model A roadster runs a flatty V-8 under the louvered aluminum tonneau. 

Salt legend Bruce Geisler, wrenching on his banger powered Model A in his Vancouver, Washington garage. Yes, I'm saving the good shots for print.

After a great day in Bruce's shop, we hopped into his daily driver and picked up infamous automotive scribe Don Pennington.  My understanding was they were giving me a ride to my host's home. They explained that this was actually a kidnapping and we made tracks to a Slo-Poks (drag) club meeting for dinner. This was overflow parking, on the neighbor's lawn. They forced me to take these photos, then blindfolded me again.

               Some of the early arrivals at Mike's house, also in Vancouver. He spared no expense on a great spread for about 100 (burp)!

  First thing the very next morning, I was kidnapped again! I shot this while captive in Mark Brislawn's T roadster, at speed. He drove me to an undisclosed location where I was again forced to take photographs that I can't show here. You know, I could get used to this abduction stuff.

 Risking possible physical harm, I snuck a shot of my abductor's getaway car - banger powered and plenty frisky. We apparently outran at least one Police car en route to this locale.

Once locked inside of Briz' sprawling compound, the blindfold was finally removed, to reveal my host, "House", acting surprised to see me alive. He turned out to be the instigator behind both heinous crimes. I should've known! It's almost always the person you believe you can trust...

 While toiling the day away in Briz' shop, he fed me a local gruel they call "Hamburger". I caught him driving his hot rod Franklin to a nearby vendor to procure one for me. I ate it. Hunger and exhaustion had severely effected my judgement. I finally lost consciousness shortly afterward and woke up the next day at House's house, grateful to be alive, but experiencing stomach cramps and severe delirium.  

This week, the latest (September) issue of Hot Rod Deluxe came out. I’ve been sweating like a worn main seal, stressing over a tech story I did for this issue that was fraught with problems from the get-go. As usual, Dave Wallace (“The Racer’s Friend”) pulled off the impossible and made me look semi-lucid. Thanks again, Chief! My coverage of the Viva Las Vegas event is also in this issue. There’s only room to run X amount of photos in any given issue, so here’s some exclusive bonus shots, just for you...

Wouldn't you know it. One of the first people I ran into in Vegas was a homie. Dave Lyon (from Hood River, Oregon) drove his '35 Dodge pickup down and only lost a few hubcaps. These things are finally getting their due. I've accrued some seat time in this Pentastar commercial, originally sold at the Hood River Dodge dealership. Other than the '41 Willys front bumper, the tin is gennie.

The magazine coverage lauds Brian Belcher's  freshman effort and mentions the '55 Pontiac 287" engine, but doesn't really show it. Here ya go, Poncho fans.

Jack Warren and Andy Supple's Willys coupe (built in 1960 and still racing) has been running this injected Olds from day one. Best numbers so far are 8.27 at 138 MPH.

  Why should the Fords get all the attention? GM models take the treatment just as well, if planned thoughtfully, as this Chevy proves.

                             Customs basically rule the roost at Viva, in styles from trad to rad. 
Top to bottom: Dave Redlig's '59 Buick (which drove from Vancouver, BC); Unknown Chevy (from Gambino's shop?); Steve & Terry Galvan's '37 Chevy delivery, which was wrecked and cut into two pieces when Steve got it. It's better now. The Galvans cruised the 250" Chevy six from Moss Lake, California. Steve declares, "It drives like a new Cadillac!"

As mentioned in the HRD story, the music (if not the photography) was all Grade A Choice. Top to bottom: Hot Rod Trio, Buzz Campbell, and Duane Eddy. Oh yeah, The Ventures and over 60 other bands also played Viva.

Things are finally falling together to get my little independent publishing company up and running. At this stage, it’s a mocked-up roller, but still needs plumbed and wired, so to speak. Here’s a teaser peek at one of the top secret titles that you’ll be able to hold in your hands relatively soon (as in relative to the formation of the universe). It’s a document of my hitch hiking trip around the U.S. in 2009, when I visited every race track I came across (effortless when I was a teen, but quite different now). When it’s ready to hit the shelves, you’ll hear about it here first…

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: This summer’s nationwide heat wave is shriveling the whole country into a U.S.-shaped dried prune. Believing I’m still 17 (based mostly on maturity level), I laughed at the UV rays and imagined them bouncing off of me like so many rubber chickens (Sheepish admission: I thought Melanoma was an exotic fruit). But after five hours on the freeway in my A/C and interior-delete special, I succumbed to heat stroke and my homecoming party was held in the ER of the local hospital. I thought I was having a heart attack. It turns out that dehydration is just as deadly. I could have died. Don’t be like Stoopid Scotty. Protect yourself from the sun and stay wet inside. You know, just like at Bonneville, or any race. We have to do it every day now. It’s good practice for the races. You guys keep an eye on each other, okay?