Tuesday, June 16, 2015



Hightailing it toward adventure. Headlights on the horizon. In your lane. For better or worse, you are about to meet someone that you would not meet if you had stayed home. This is where reality lives. Open yourself to it and see what happens next.  (Photo courtesy of Dale Bush)

I can romanticize a steaming heap of dog shit. A gift and a curse. So it's no surprise that I've romanticized the road since I was old enough to pee on one. But there's no need to romanticize something as intrinsically romantic as the wide open road. Exhibit A: The above photo was taken by my friend Dale, through the windshield of his car. The image speaks vividly for itself, but I couldn't resist tossing in my two cent caption. That's the curse. The gift: The road always delivers us to places unexpected and wondrous.

Last time on SGE, I droned on about driving cross-country in my Model A. To this point, every mile I've driven in my own hot rods has been local. Regional, at best. Twitchy cam specs, short gears and high compression can be limiting. But now the pieces are falling into place for a hair blower that I can conceivably wheel across the United States. In a recent brainstorming session with my long-time pal Nurse Newman, we debated the ultimate affordable solo road trip (which could be a vacation, or a permanent nomadic existence). Newman's hypothetical great escape revolved around a motor-home, National Parks, and occasional fine dining. I also yearned to visit America's natural wonders (just different ones than Newman's picks), but both fantasies proved unrealistic, given the realities of our time and budget constraints. Still...

Nurse Newman and I, back when we were young romantics. Today, we're old romantics, considering chucking it all for a life lived on the fringe. Are we stepping toward ultimate freedom, or setting ourselves up for certain disaster? There's only one way to find out. (Shellski shot)

First, I would head East, to Bonneville: The last bastion of virgin hot rodding (barely). No fancy hotel room for me though. I'll strap my sleeping bag to the cowl and roll it out on the ground when I can drive no more. I can't afford to enter the Model A in Speed Week, but always enjoy crewing for my friends there.

Continuing East, my next stop would be at Mike Nicholas' Dirt Drags in Colorado. If I don't snap an axle key, I think the A-bone might be competitive here. These images are fresh from last weekend's inaugural event. (Photos courtesy of Hot Rod Hillclimb)

Then, the longest leg, to the Race of Gentlemen, on the Jersey shore. My plan is to take on all comers, win Top Eliminator, then go visit Motormouth Ray and the Sorchiks. (Tim Sutton photo courtesy of Drivingline.com)

While in Joisey, I want a photo souvenir just like Clayton Paddison's. But my version will feature a cartoon-sized trophy, with Paddison's name on the list of people I beat to get the win. That's right, I'm calling you out, Paddison! See you on the sand in 2016. Unless you're yellah... (Note: That was my only experiment with trash talking. I regret the poor judgement, and apologize to Clayton Paddison, whoever he is. I was out of line.) (Photo stolen from interweb. Photographer unknown)

The only event planned for the return trip to the west coast is Mike Nicholas' Hot Rod Hillclimb, in Colorado. I'll pop in, beg a shower and a sandwich from Mr. Nick, win the race, and continue home. (Photo courtesy of Hot Rod Hillclimb)

Back in reality, Nurse Newman and I finalized our plans over a fancy-schmantzy dinner at an expensive restaurant. Newman's idea, so she was buying, of course:

"So Newman, how would you finance your new nomadic lifestyle?"

 "Well Gosson, I've worked hard all my life, saved my money, and bought a house. It's kinda scary, but I just might sell it to buy a motorhome and fund a gypsy lifestyle. I'll be getting a pension pretty soon, too. What's your great plan?"

"Hmmm. I dunno...."

"That's your plan?"

"Well, there would probably be a lot of dumpster diving and gas siphoning involved. I guess I could knock over some gas stations and convenient stores, if things got really tight. I have friends across the country who might help me out with food and shelter. I don't want to overthink it - this is supposed to be an adventure, right?"

"You don't have to worry about overthinking anything, Gosson. Just remember, if you get in a spot, I'll be out of cellphone range. Good luck to you."

"Thanks, Newman. Right back atcha!" (Shellski shots)



These guys live the life. If/when I grow up, I wanna be a squirrel. Again. Okay, I'd like to remain a squirrel. Forever. Beats workin'.

The tool kit I've been secretly accumulating for the emancipating day that I permanently hit the road. Note to future tool thieves: Don't bother looking for this Craftsman bag. The tools will be cleverly hidden in a different container. Ha! I tricked you! (Scotty shot)


Some of you may recall Shawn O'Brien's '59 Chevy from this book cover. Shawn and family recently sold the family home, swapped a somewhat fresher 327 into the '59, and hit the road for a 22-states-in- seven-weeks family vacation. The O'Briens have agreed to make SGE the unofficial home page for this adventure. Stay tuned.

If this out take from the O'Briens' last trip is any indication, this is gonna be good... (Photos courtesy of Shawn O'Brien)