We came, we saw… we drove the crap out of our cars.
The trip to this year’s Goodguys Columbus Nationals was out of this world. It was the first ‘vacation’ (albeit working) that my better (much) half, Jenn, and I had taken in a very long time. It is a good thing she is into cars, because we saw a seemingly endless supply of them.
The first leg of the trip was a convoy consisting of myself and Jenn towing the ‘70 Chevelle “Heavy Metal” and Steve and Jenn Keffeler hauling their prize, the ‘62 Vette called “$umday”. We first headed to Nashville, Tennessee to have the car filmed on the popular Saturday cable automotive show, Powerblock TV. Along the way, we found all the rain that had managed to avoid visiting the Houston area.
Once in Nashville, we went to the secretive RTM Studios, in Franklin, Tennessee. There the ‘62 Vette was filmed for Powerblock TV. Courtney Hanson lent her charm, and looks, to the car as it spent about 4 hours in their studio. The show is scheduled to air August 29th/30th on the Spike network, so be sure to tune in.
The 4 shows RTM films there: Trucks TV, Extreme 4X4, Horsepower TV and Musclecar, each have their own fully equipped ‘shops’ within which each show is filmed. The host(s) actually do the work on the vehicles, which is impressive to me, as they are not just talent for the cameras.
While we were there, we met the executives from Royal Purple, a Houston-based high performance oil company. It is a small world! They found out we had used their power steering fluid in the ‘Vette, and the ‘70 Chevelle, and asked Steve if they could use the ‘Vette in a testimonial commercial. We finally relented and said ”Yes” (like we were going to say no!). They filmed the car, and ‘His Purpleness’, Steve, the next morning in the outer parking lot. All in all, a great trip with doors opened again.
While in Nashville, we did dinner with Kevin Tetz and his lovely wife Judy. He writes and hosts the ‘”Trucks TV” show and is how the doors have been opened for us at RTM. Thanks again, Kevin. We also did some cheesy, tourist stuff and spent an evening on Music Row. What a very cool, and nostalgic, place. We had good company, cold beer and great music. I’d do it again.
The next day, it was on to Ohio, but not before a couple stops along the way. We first stopped at the National Corvette Museum (who knew we had one?), which was to me, quite a disappointment. We wanted to tour the Corvette plant, but GM was in the midst of their bankruptcy and had it shut down for the summer. After that, it was off the beaten path to Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky. I have always been fascinated by caverns, and this one was no let down. I have to wonder what it must have been like to be the first person to venture down in and explore these natural wonders. I think I’d be brave enough, but who knows? Would you?
After a night in Louisville, KY, we were off to Columbus, finally! We met up with our third couple, Mac and Shelly Bernd, at the hotel. They had arrived a few days earlier, and set up their trailer at the hotel. They are one of only two trailers that are allowed to open up and host people. It is always interesting to see who shows up to hang out and share in food and drinks in the afternoons. The parking lot is the scene of a ‘cruise’ every evening and the view at their trailer is second to none. All the cars cruise right past as we relax and enjoy the view.
The actual Goodguys event, held at the Fairgrounds, about 5 miles away, is just awesome. I have never seen such a collection of unbelievable cars/trucks/whatever in my life. The ‘Pro Pick’ area, as well as where the “Street Machine of the Year” and “Street Rod of the Year” are gathered, must be seen to be appreciated. The amount, and caliber, of cars is phenomenal.
All of the “Street Machine of the Year” candidates must complete 3 sessions on an autocross course. We had entered the Chevelle, and the ‘Vette, and both ready to run. Steve bested the Chevelle, by about 4 seconds, but either way, driving the Chevelle to its fullest was just a blast. It had never been driven to this extent, so it was quite a test.
Each session consisted of two laps around the course. By the third session, I had pushed the Chevelle pretty hard. It never blinked and did a great job. Steve, in the Vette, was really able to straighten out the curves and have a blast doing it. He even, unknown to himself at the time, took an extra lap on his second session! He went around 3 laps instead of two, lost in the fun! We had a great time teasing him, but I can’t say that i blame him.
Despite the cars, people, fun, filming and travelling, I think the most memorable time for me will be watching Richard and Jean Tapia get in their Chevelle, “Heavy Metal”, and drive around the show. They have never driven the car, especially as a pair, so this was a special moment for me, at least. They have allowed us to use this car to open many doors for my company, and family, that would probably not have been opened otherwise. They didn’t drive it far, or fast , or for very long, but, to see them leave in it for a 30 minute cruise was the ‘cherry’ on the top of our ‘ice cream sundae’ trip.
I’ve rambled on enough, so take care all. Stay tuned for an update on the airing of the the ‘62 Vette’s film debut on Powerblock TV.
Randy / Painthouse