Greg Songer of Fort Worth, Texas, decided he needed a mid-summer break from the Texas heat
Wednesday was the kickoff for the Year One Caravan. Last year, I had taken the run from Memphis, which hooks up with the Atlanta caravan near Cincinnati, so I had a taste of the way Year One does things. Pat Staton and the crew at Year One have a lock on making this event work, and the Year One caravan only gets bigger and better, since lessons from the previous runs are incorporated into making the next year's event work even more smoothly. For me, once I grabbed my first cup of coffee at the Year One welcome marquee, it was cruise control all the way to Columbus. The word must be out with Mopar fans in the region, as the turnout was great, with nearly twenty cars. From checking-in the cars and running the drivers meetings to providing breakfast and staging the cars for the cruise, everything was so well scienced-out, I had nothing to do but enjoy the scene and shoot photos.
Our Year One-organized police escort led us out of Atlanta and towards our first destination, Mopar Performance shop and engine builders Hensley Racing in Knoxville, Tennessee. There we browsed the Mopar goods in the front showroom and were treated to a tour of Hensley's well-equipped, Mopar-only machine shop.
After our overnight stop, our next destination was Floyd Garret's Muscle Car Museum in Sevierville Tennessee. Floyd was on hand to greet the Caravaners and granted free admission into the display area of the finest collections of American muscle to be found anywhere. Definitely worth the stop.
From Floyd's, the cruise participants (now swelling in ranks with even more cars), lined up for the advance on Columbus. At Garrett's, we hooked up with long time Mopar Muscle contributor and new staffer Geoff Stunkard. Geoff is an ace lensman, having cut his teeth on the life of a drag racing photographer. With Geoff on board for the rest of the journey, I was just about out of a job with Pat Staton running the cruise and Geoff taking over with photographic duties. Nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the rest of the ride. -Steve Dulcich
Memphis To Columbus David Connelly of Waldo, Arkansas, won our prize for shortest distanc
It was only fitting that the leg of the tour I was on would start at Floyd Garrett's Muscle Car Museum. As many of you might guess from my stories, my roots are deeply in the kingdom of nitromethane, where there's nothing but Hemi engines. Due to the hectic nature of drag racing, the Mopar Nationals had usually fallen on weekends when I was busy with quicker pursuits, so this would be my first time to Brice Road.
By mid-morning, we were underway with Tom O'Toole's StarCoach-built PT Cruiser at the lead as the caravan headed toward I-40 and then I-75. Now on the move, it was time to run some film through the cameras. With Steve Dulcich in the shotgun seat, Pat Staton from Year One more than willingly took our borrowed Toyo Tires Dakota quad-cab up into the...er, upper limits of the speedometer...while I leaned out the rear window and began hitting the motor drive. The problem was that the caravan, moving from 65 mph on up, had spread out over 4 or 5 miles, so Pat had his work cut out as we made our way to the front of the line, not to mention my backseat-driving yells to slow down or speed up. Actually, the back seat of the truck was comfortable enough, but with most of my upper body hanging out the window and a death grip on the Nikon, I had little time to enjoy it (or the truck's custom DVD movie system).
Pre-scheduled fuel stops came every 150 miles or so, and we had only one incident where a car had problems; luckily, another caravan member, whose normally-trailered car was on the road this day, was able to pick up the wavering beast and catch us by the next gas stop.
From the start at Year One, the Atlanta caravan drew a large crowd and plenty of Mopar mac
Year One generated these cool window decals for the participants, and they were in great d
We were greeted inside Comp Cams by Ethel Pigram and Wayne Williams, who took our group of
John Walker and Brent Hasselhof joined us in Bowling Green at Holley with John's '98 Dakot
Atlanta/Sevierville To Columbus: Staged and ready for the two day cruise, Year One's Pat
First stop: Mopar specialists Hensley Racing in Knoxville, Tennessee. Participants checked