This past Spring a few of us were hanging around Pinkee's Rod Shop in Windsor, Colorado, discussing a pending trip to the Goodguy's West Coast Nationals. Someone wondered out loud about taking the quaint old US highway 50 across Nevada rather than swinging north to the hustle and bustle of I-80. Can't be all bad, just the part of the trip through scenic Utah might be worth it. Still, there were some concerns. Since few of us had ever traveled that route, what were the pros and cons? More thought was given, maps and the Internet consulted, and a trip plan devised. Overall the trip was to include Deuce Day in Calistoga, some Hot Rod Week shop tours, a little fun time for a couple of days in the South Lake Tahoe region, and Goodguy's West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, all in a leisurely fashion. When this tour was mentioned to others, enough hands went up that the decision was made to plot the course. Should be fun.
Thursday, August 16
Colorado rodders, eight cars in all, (four from the Fort Collins/Windsor area, and four from metro Denver) were planning on meeting in west Denver then head west. What a diverse group this was; two '32 coupes, a Model A coupe, '47 Plymouth, '55 Chevy, '36 Roadster, '29 roadster, and a '40 Panel truck. A last minute thrash to finish Alan Cape's Flying A Motorsports Model A out of Pinkee's Rod Shop delayed the start until early afternoon. A few all-nighters were necessary, attaching parts right up until the time Eric jumped in, fired it up and headed out. Three of us left from the north, the fourth was on a trip to Idaho and would meet up with us later. One of our Denver metro group needed to wait for his wife to get off work, and would catch up to by that evening. Still in western Colorado, we were surprised when they suddenly passed us. Seems she got off a little early. Goal for the day was to make Green River, Utah. It got dark before we arrived, and my headlights seemed to be pointing straight down, so I just made sure that I was close enough to the taillights in front of me to keep it on the road. Happily we all made it with no issues.
Friday, August 17
Best Western hotels were on our list for a few of the nights and we had a pleasant surprise at this one in Green River. Best hotel breakfast ever with the chef and his crew serving pancakes, omelets, you name it, made to order, all for the price of a tip. Gotta remember to stop there the next time. Solving a hot running engine, retrieving keys from a locked car, and a suspension adjustment on another, and we were ready to head west. One of the more scenic trips is to head west on I-70/US 50 through Utah. Magnificent rock formations. Plans were to take old US 50 through Nevada by exiting at Salina, Utah, soon a quick few miles heading south on I-15 and there we were, two lane black top. Civilization was starting to thin out. A trip guide showing gas stops made sure that we topped off at each wide spot in the road. Eureka, Nevada, a quaint little historic town was our stop for the night in what appeared to be the only hotel in town. Our eighth member met us there. The evening meal was an adventure. Seems that most of the local eateries had closed for a wedding, (this really is a small town!) leaving one over burdened restaurant (took two hours for some to get their meal). A few of us heard about a pizza joint up the street and headed out in a light rain to get what turned out to be the best food deal of the evening.
Saturday, August 18
Topped off our tanks at a quaint old station next to the hotel, then we were on our way across US 50 once again. The reputation as "The Loneliest Highway in America" was born out as we would travel for long periods of time without seeing another vehicle. The few towns on this stretch were just close enough for fuel stops for those of us with small tanks. The good news was, there were no eighteen wheelers on this stretch, and for Nevada, the scenery was interesting. On through South Lake Tahoe, down scenic US 50 on the California side, (an especially great drive for the roadster guys) we made our night stop in Rancho Cordova in time to clean up the cars for tomorrow's activities.
Sunday, August 19
Up early in the morning for two of us with '32s, heading on to Calistoga for Deuce Day. The others would follow a little later. Turns out a "shortcut" they opted for lasted twice as long as it should have, getting lost along the way. The two of us who left early took the planned route up through Napa valley on Hwy 29. Of the two roads that go to Calistoga, I'd recommend this as the more scenic. Had never seen that many thirty twos in one place before! Almost every body style from 1932 was represented. Nice fairgrounds with plenty of grass parking for "friends." A number of neat little places for refreshment and food in down town Calistoga. Known for their spas, we stayed in one just walking distance from the main street. One couple in our group liked the spa so well, they decided to stay there a couple of more days and meet us later in Pleasanton.