Sunday morning – up relatively early, and reasonably bright. The mechanical cousin is fascinated by the concept of daily sun this early in the year (he lives in England, remember), so headed for the pool for a pre-breakfast swim. Once organized, we headed down to the stadium for breakfast, driver’s meeting, last minute windscreen polish, photo opportunity and eventual cry of “ladies & gentlemen, start your engines!!!”
America holds a number of things dear, including sport. So I feel it’s important at this point to take a slight detour and reassure any readers that, despite the photographic evidence they may see to the contrary, no baseball fields are injured in pursuit of automotive enjoyment. The cars are indeed set up around the outfield, but we reverse very slowly onto the running track before exiting at a sedate pace; promise!
We had enough time to check out the car park (always worth a wander at these kind of events), and sure enough; there were a number of local vintage car owners who had come in their own fabulous vehicles to wave us all off. My personal favourite was the Triumph owners club, as they consisted mostly of T2’s & T4’s; both models that are quite rare over here.
Morning route, Phoenix to Salome. Initially reminiscent of our first day last year, we started out on the freeway and watched a number of the big cars cruise past us thanks to their more powerful engines. Despite her lack of horsepower, The Egg was unfazed and soon found a happy rythmn that still kept us moving at a more than acceptable pace. Once we reached Wickenburg, it started to feel as is the open roads were beckoning. Less traffic, smaller roads and a greater variety of desert scenery began to appear. More noticeable, was the change in that scenery, as it seemed that with every twenty miles we passed another colour or variety in the rock formations. For a relatively small state, AZ really is beautiful…and, with the sign we spotted as we drove through the town called Hope, clearly with a sense of humour ; about some things at least.
Lunchstop at Buckaroos in Salome and, although we’d passed a number of cars that seemed to be having problems, the overall number of running vehicles was still in the 95%. The Egg had certainly found her stride – oil pressure consistent, as was the temperature – and I think she rather begrudged us opting for food and a rest stop over the option to just keep driving.
Phase two – Salome to Laughlin. By the time we reached our final destination this evening, we’d travelled through three states (Arizona, California and Nevada) and seemed to have experienced at least as many ecosystems. No matter what the terrain, The Egg maintained her equilibrium. Better still; when my mechanical cousin took the wheel, he remembered which side of the road to drive on, even when we had it to ourselves!!
From Parker to Needles we enjoyed great stretches of undulating roads, gentle curves, perfect temperatures (nothing more than mid 80’s) and vast desert scenery. America is a big country, and one I would love to see much more of. Best news, if today is anything to go by, so would The Egg!
We came into Laughlin in the late afternoon, hitting the last stretch with a number of other cars. The combined sound of our engines as we all pulled into the car park really was an impromptu symphony; that seemed to be appreciated by the other hotel guests.
As we all compared stories, most were positive; and even those who hadn’t been too lucky still seemed to be smiling (an unavoidable side effect of this event). Most unfortunate award of the day went to a couple in their Allard. Cruising happily at 80mph, they encountered a vortex created by a large semi coming towards them. The leather straps on the hood were no match and unable to stop it from being ripped off by the wind. Fortunately both passengers were wearing helmets, which kissed the hood as it sailed over them to land on the road behind. Remarkably unaffected by the entire experience, the driver kept calm and in control – able to bring the car back to the end point and hopefully able to join us for the rest of the trip.
Yet another sunny day in California as the mechanical cousin and I set off to Burbank Airport. One quick hop, skip and jump later thanks to the ever-happy Southwest crew and we arrived in Phoenix, ready to finally start our really big adventure.
Arriving at Tempe stadium, we found The Egg already placed on the field, sitting proudly between a Citroen SM & Lotus Seven. The number of entrants this year is considerably higher, and includes another broad collection of automotive highlights. We wandered the field, taking in some unique and unusual combinations of marques, curves and pedigrees. If automotive porn exists, we’d certainly stumbled on it.
This year’s rally number is 64. Not what I’d initially expected, but an excellent vintage and in retrospect a perfect selection…our new (get) lucky number. We signed in, asked a very nice man to apply number and name decals, and proceeded to meet some of the other entrants. For me, it was a fun reunion with a few people I met last year, as well as a combination of excited first timers and returning attendees. Without question, there is a school reunion vibe about this event…but of the best kind. We were all in the same class, with the same kooky interests; and are happy to share those same aspects again even though we’re all considerably older!
Cocktails and dinner at the Phoenix art museum, with a chance to explore their latest exhibits. It’s a relatively new museum, only opened in the mid sixties – but they have an impressive collection of contemporary art; definitely worth visiting if you find yourself in the city.