Day 3 The day began looking out across the white sands of New Mexico as we approached the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo. The full story of man's "race for space" all the way back to the 17th century is told inside this museum. Early unmanned missions to trips with dogs, monkeys, and eventually human flights are documented with artifacts and photographs. After a few hours there, the hot rods rumbled along without a problem into Big Springs, Texas. The charm of these cities that have not been forced to modernize themselves to death is a real treat. The small towns are home to lots of interesting buildings and even more interesting people.
Day 4 Our fourth day began crossing the big state of Texas for a visit to Painless Wiring. The mission of the day was for the Mooneyes tour to meet up with the Vintage Air tour out of San Antonio. After a trip through the Painless Wiring facility to see where the looms in so many hot rods are born, and being treated to some lunch, both tours headed out together as one, with Vintage Air's Rick Love leading the way toward McAlester, Oklahoma, for the night stop. After a few days on the road, we came to the conclusion that there's no shortage of '50s-era GM pickups. Seemed as if every farm and field housed at least one in various stages of decomposition.
Day 5 We woke up with dark skies and some heavy rain this morning (only really bad weather of the whole trip), but luckily it cleared after about a half hour on the road. We paid a visit to the USS Batfish WWII submarine and memorial, fittingly patriotic for the first stop on the Fourth of July. It's a shock to see a huge submarine sitting on a well-groomed grass field (it's the most land-locked sub on display), but inside this excellently preserved submarine you really get the feel for what it was like for so many Navy officers and crewmen to spend months in the ocean waters around the world. After a look around and some reflection, we were back in the cars pressing on until dinner, which was hosted by Wolfert's Tool & Machine in St. James, Missouri. Jack Chisenhall's reputation must have preceded him because, in addition to some chicken, they also had gallons of ice cream (Jack even left some for the rest of us). The local Lion's Club carnival was the last stop of the night for those on the tour who wanted to brave the funnel cake line and some Fourth of July fireworks.
Day 6 The day after our country's birthday continued on a patriotic theme with a trip to the St. Louis Gateway Arch. This historic piece of architecture is much more than a shiny piece of metal in the sky; it's a true symbol of American ingenuity and determination. A brief tour of the surrounding area, thanks to some unexpected closed off-ramps, provided a glimpse at some interesting old-although somewhat rundown-buildings. We acted like tourists and rode to the top of the arch like sardines crammed in a can for a bird's eye view of St. Louis. After we had our fill, we finished the day with a tour of Air Ride Technologies impressive facility and some of the best food of the trip. Thanks, Bret!
Day 7 We met up with the Heidt's leg at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. After lunch in the same caf racing legends have eaten in for decades, our rapidly growing group toured the Indy museum for an opportunity to soak up some of motorsports' greatest machines and accomplishments. So many advancements used in our daily transportation were developed in the racers that have roared around the "Brickyard."