Not to be outdone, a collection of beautiful Mopars graced the Midwestern highways with us: Bobby Coln brought his '55 Windsor from Savannah, Tennessee. Jessie Fillingame's '69 'Cuda 440 stormed in from Beaumont, Texas. From Elizabethtown, Illinois, came Eric Livingston's classic '56 Plymouth station wagon (you don't see enough of those). John Mills drove his '71 Super Bee from Maple Grove, Minnesota. Missouri's Timothy Ross added a dimension with his 2000 Dodge Ram 3500. And as we cruised through Terre Haute, Indiana, two more enthusiasts joined the rolling car show: Larry Mauer in his '96 Viper and Ed Miller in his 2000 Prowler. We were quite a sight.

Many more hit the open road with us once we arrived at The Paddock, which threw quite a party for this car-crazed crowd. With a full lunch, Mopars throughout the parking lot, and parts available inside, The Paddock was the perfect gathering point before the homestretch to Columbus.

The usual breakdowns and pit stops expected among a car convoy such as ours were minimal. An alternator belt was the most serious offender. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing-pure Mopar mania for two days of bliss.

Our mix was eclectic: Veterans whose gray hair still fluttered in the open-window breeze of highway driving, young guns excited to be part of something with so much history, couples with speed in their blood and burnouts in their bones, and sons and daughters finally understanding the lure of the Mopar lifestyle.

It was quite a trip. And I'm not exaggerating to say that most participants said the caravan was as good as, if not the best part of, the whole Nats experience. I agree. Not to diminish the show, but nothing beats joining fellow enthusiasts for a two-day-long Sunday drive under blue skies and red sunsets, turning heads, and living the Mopar dream.

Elvis-shake, rattle, and roll, baby!

Oh, Hotlanta!
Forget all the misconceptions about the South. A trip through, around, and out of Atlanta will prove to you that laid-back is far from reality.

If you want to dispel any of those Deliverance myths you've conjured up, all you need to do is join the Year One crew from Tucker, Georgia, and travel the distance to Columbus on some of America's most scenic and driveable interstates.

For the fifth consecutive time, our launch host from Atlanta was Year One. With detailed driving directions, we easily made the trek from the east suburbs of Atlanta north through Chattanooga to Knoxville and on to Sevierville, Tennessee, home of Floyd Garrett's Muscle Car Museum.

After an overnight stay, we bee-lined from northeastern Tennessee through Kentucky, around Cincinnati, and onto Brice Road.