It's an annual event, and this year was the 22nd time it occurred. The Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, is the largest Mopar-only happening in the country. A few years ago, the brains behind Mopar Muscle magazine thought it would be a great idea if we could start from different parts of the country and "caravan" groups of enthusiasts to the Mopar Nationals, ending the tours at Columbus' infamous Brice Road.

We quickly learned that you guys also thought it was a good idea, and the caravans have become a yearly tradition ever since. This year, we had to drop a couple legs from the trip due to a lack of manpower, but in the end the meeting at Brice Road was just as large-if not larger-as in previous years.

Although the gathering at Brice Road is an event unto itself, the caravans are the foundation for the real fun. Meeting everybody, driving on the interstate with a line of Mopars, and the spirited activities once we all get to the nightly layovers are the things everybody looks forward to in early August. The trips are sometimes long, but when the engines turn off on Brice Road, the tired and weary drivers forget all about that.

The Mopar Nationals have begun!

Keystone Caravan
Fairfield, New Jersey, to Columbus, Ohio, is a long haul. The two-day excursion was piloted through the vast countryside of the Northeast, and few problems were encountered. We met lots of great people along the way. Some folks even contacted us at the beginning of the tour to offer their services, if needed, when we reached their part of the country. If you can, join one of the caravans next year. Even though this was my first trip with the Keystone bunch, I had the feeling these folks were like a family. They all knew each other, and one lady even brought brownies for everybody. I definitely want to do this tour again.

Hallowed Ground
The launching point for the Detroit-Columbus cruise was, for the third year running, the Walter P. Chrysler museum. Located within the DaimlerChrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the museum is the perfect mental and physical staging point for a caravan to the Mopar Nationals. Participants are treated to a discount, and about an hour is set aside for the group to explore the various aspects of Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, and Jeep history through a variety of restored and preserved Mopar products. After our tour time, museum floor manager Sabrina expertly directed our crew around the museum entrance for a photo op.

Tennessee, Ho!
The Memphis leg of the Return to Brice Road caravan launched from Competition Cams-exactly one week before the 25th Anniversary of the death of Elvis. So, Memphis was shakin' and groovin', getting ready for the big event, expecting more people than were gladly welcomed. I met tech superstar Steve Dulcich at the airport and we made quick time to Comp Cams to pick up the true King of Rock 'n' Roll-the Hot Rod Hemi Ram!

David Hakim of Chrysler's performance division had put together a beast to be reckoned with. Yes, we quickly became big boys with big toys. Driving in traffic, the passenger in the car beside us pulled out his camera and snapped a shot. Another driver gave us the thumbs-up. Someone at every service station between Memphis and Columbus asked us to pop the hood to see the 528 Hemi engine. It was great! And as for driver Dulcich-I knew that any time a straight patch of road opened up before us, I needed to hang on and pray my seatbelt was fastened because the G-forces were coming my way.