The Grapevine welcomed us, miles spent ascending and descending. We wrapped it up with the trailer giving us a special dance which won't soon be forgotten. A scant few miles more and we would be at the hotel, unpack and ready to eat. I never quite understood the big deal about Milt's until a few years ago when I finally ate there. I blame them for my addiction to Coors Banquets. After having a few, it was enough to unscrew me. I thought about the trailer and wondered if I gave that 8 inch drop one more try, what it may do. I did the ritualistic unbolting of the ball (not to be confused with my unscrewing at Milt's), made sure it was all tight and hooked everything back up to the truck and headed to the room to get some shut eye. If you've never stayed at the Vagabond, you may be at a loss for grasping the allure. It's a magical place. Our first year, we encountered these flying insects that could carry a small dog away. I called the front desk t complain and they quickly dispatched the porter to our room. He handed me a can of bug spray and told me to spray under the beds real good. Then handed me a towel and said to cover the base of the door so they don't squeeze in. It's also a place where, my friend described, "a depository of rent assistance for the housing challenged". Our room this year was on the ground level , where the hood rats would gather with their children,( on a school night mind you ,at 11 pm) , to have shouting matches and chant their mating calls. No more Vag Life for me, Pete. Something along the lines of no bugs and a higher class of indigents for me next time.
The next morning, rise and shine, hit Milt's for breakfast and off to the track. I've been going since 2010 and this is the first year I have been more than spectator... of which I am a lousy example. It's been almost 18 years since I last shown a car. Divorce, business and whatever else has kept me from doing it. Everyone kept pushing me to bring it out. I was genuinely surprised at the attention it received. There is something about bare metal that is sexy. It's like a scantily clad stranger, tempting and teasing. I was truly excited pulling onto the grounds Thursday morning. This was the next chapter starting for me. I picked up my credentials at the will call tent and walking back to the truck, Pete Eastwood waves, I go over and say hello. Okay, now, let's step back a second here. I hope if he reads this, he isn't embarrassed, or thinks I'm some sort of flake. But, at 55, I grew up during what some called the golden age of this hobby. For a Midwestern kid, reading about these guys doing all the cool stuff was about the extent of my involvement. So, when I get to meet a good number of them, it's a thrill. I met him a couple years ago, occasionally talking to him here and through the social media we've communicated. The last decade of my life has been full of a lot of this. Researching these things leads you down a lot of roads. If you show these folks you are sincere and are trying to preserve a part of their lives, or just interested in their accomplishments, they take you a little more serious than the normal drooler. Pete is a friendly guy and it was pretty cool to me to form a friendship... so sue me for getting a little jazzed. Once Ted Tine pointed me in the direction of a worthy spot to park, it was game on. We unloaded the box, pulled out the Hippo and started assembling the body panels, bolting on pieces, bought and borrowed and had to scavenge some things. It wasn't complete, but that Corey Conyers hammered body was getting all the attention. Friday had us meeting up with Andi Humenik to get the zoomies and boy did they ever complete the look.
It was bitchin to see the stance and imagine them spitting fire. I think we put about 10 miles on the shoe soles each day. It was pleasant weather and the crowds were a little lighter , but it made for a great weekend.
Spence and I at the CHRR
The high point for me, was Saturday. Several weeks ago, our publisher sends me a message that a guy named Gary Messenger wanted to get in touch with me, regarding Hippo. When I called him, he had some mind blowing information. I knew Gary's name from the Future Flash nostalgia funny car. We talked about the Hippo, all the what’s, whys and where’s. What he told me next was the coolest part of the story... the Poindexter part of Hippo and Poindexter, was his brother in law John Poindexter. After a few more phone calls, Gary told me he was bringing Mr.Poindexter to the Reunion. Saturday, around 11 am up walks Gary with the man. He looked the car over, told me some of his history and what he remembered of the car. This was the first time he had seen the car since 1973 when he sold it to a racer in Arizona. I asked him to sign the cowl, which he did. As an aside, he also told me the grand marshal of the event, Kelly Brown was also one the drivers of the car. Later, I found him at the autograph tent and had him sign it as well. One of the ladies that was with Mr. Poindexter, told my wife he was excited to come see the car and it was all he talked about for a couple weeks. His smile at the sight of part of his past , was worth everything we had to sacrifice to get there. Before we knew it, The evening was starting to set in and I had to break down the pit and load the car for the 1800 mile drive home. What a 10 days it was.
Gary Messenger, myself and John Poindexter - Mr. Poindenter signing the cowl
Me and Mr. Poindexter
I have to thank a few people for enhancing the experience this year.
Troy Glenn for his hospitality and offer to all he had.
Roger Lee for his very generous early "Christmas present"
Bob Higginson for the loan of the injector.
Don Prieto for his help with Higginson's situation... The name Don is applicable!
Jim Maher of Good Vibrations for helping get the fasteners I needed for the blower snout
Brendan Murry for digging in his boxes of goodies
Greg Reagan and Ralph Rieter for taking some great shots
Andi and "Far Out" Humenik for the zoomie delivery and the good vibes they provide.
I know I am leaving some one out and if you were there, know I appreciate your presence.