The hum of the engine fills your ears and the smell of the crisp, cool air fills your body with an invigorating freshness while the sun shines down creating a color palette fit for Picasso. That’s the feeling of a good road trip.
Road trips have always been a part of American history. And while going from point A to point B is the ultimate objective, it’s the journey in between that provides a lifetime of memories. “Sometimes it’s about the journey, not the destination,” as Ryan Eversley so eloquently puts it. Ryan would know as he just finished participating in his second Hot Rod Power Tour where he joined hundreds of fellow road trippers on a journey that began in Madison, Wisconsin and ended in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As a veteran of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, this wasn’t Ryan’s first road trip. He’s spent his life on the road whether it was for a family vacation, or winding his way across North America going from race track to race track. This trip was different though. You see, Hot Rod Power Tour has forced him to find, “moments”. Moments that he had previously rushed through.
“When I was young, I just wanted to get where I was going,” he said. “Now, I’m trying to enjoy the small towns, eat at Mom and Pop restaurants, and see the sites when I’m on the road.” This is the essence of Hot Rod Power Tour. Six days of two-lane roads, local diners, fellow car enthusiasts, and some of the best scenery America has to offer. It’s the opportunity to slow down, enjoy the moment, and create lifelong memories.
When we asked Ryan to go on the Hot Rod Power Tour, we didn’t necessarily have a ride for him, so a little hitchhiking was in order. Starting out in a 525hp 2005 Pontiac GTO with model, and car enthusiast, Emily Williams, Ryan made his way from city to city. For the next five days, Ryan traded his seat in the GTO for a seat in a Lingenfelter Corvette C6.R, a seat in a Petty’s Charger, and on his last day, a seat in a 1950 Lingenfelter panel van. Oh the panel van. It is a beautifully restored vehicle but as Ryan found out, not the best thing to be driving in a torrential rain storm.
While driving into Baton Rouge on the final day, Ryan found himself in bumper to bumper traffic behind the wheel of the panel van, in one of the worst rain storms he had driven. Ryan recalled thinking, “Man, we cannot afford a fender bender. It would be super embarrassing to bring Ken’s (Lingefelter) car back with a caved-in bumper.” And did we mention the van has 1950’s windshield wiper technology - which is minimal at best - with a sub-par defroster and no AC. As he slowly made his way across the rain soaked highway, all he could think was, “The one day we were driving the oldest car we had access to, with the least amount of creature comforts…we’re driving through a tornado.” Suffice it to say, Ryan made it back safely and we’re happy to report there were no bumpers lost in the process. Ryan built a story. A story that will forever be in his memory.
For many of us, the memory of a road trip takes us back to the decade where we spent our childhood. In the back of a station wagon, playing the license plate game, eating snacks, and maybe a quick sing-along (“Vacation” anyone?). One moment Ryan recalls vividly was looking out of his hotel room window in Champagne, Illinois. In a hotel where remnants of the 1970’s still abound, Ryan looked out his window to greet the day and into a parking lot filled with classic cars. Red, blue, black and yellow, it was a moment that he describes by saying, “It looked like I had time traveled back to 1965 and you wouldn’t experience that anywhere else other than Hot Rod Power Tour.” Another moment. Another memory. This is the heart of Hot Rod Power Tour.
Whether he was participating in the Guinness World Record for Largest Group Burnout, eating ice cream, or hitching a ride, over the course of the week Ryan found himself to be an explorer. He, “Found the good in small towns and enjoyed that ‘Americana’ feeling.” So, take a cue from Ryan and take a road trip. It doesn’t have to be Hot Rod Power Tour. It could be a trip to the mountains for the weekend or maybe a drive to the beach for a day. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to look around and find those moments. Moments that are sure to make a lifetime of memories. Remember, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
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