I was thrilled that the Goodguys 23rd Southwest Nationals was still happening.
To get The 55 ready for the road-trip I plugged my Optima Digital 400 charger/maintainer into my Optima Yellow-Top battery.
Not only does it keep the battery charged, it also maintains the battery so it operates at peak performance.
Yeah – I know the engine is dirty – it’s a driver.
From my Pop’s place in Evergreen I took the Lariat Loop Scenic Byway to CO-73 towards Conifer.
At Conifer I got onto 285 and headed past the still closed hot dog stand in Bailey, towards Fairplay.
On the other side of Kenosha Pass we got out of the trees and the scenery opened up to reveal Colorado in all of its glory covered in a blanket of white snow.
At Fairplay I turned off onto Highway 9 for a quick little detour to Alma.
It’s the highest incorporated city in the United States – 10,578 above sea level.
When I was a kid we used to drive thru Alma on our way up to go skiing.
Every time we drove thru town, we had a contest to see how many people we saw versus how many dogs we saw.
The dogs won almost every time.
Honestly – I can only remember one time when we saw more people than dogs in Alma.
But this time driving thru Alma I didn’t see a soul.
I returned to Fairplay and got back on 285 headed towards Poncha Springs.
At Poncha Springs I made a right and got on Highway-50 to Gunnison.
As a kid we used to go skiing at Monarch every so often, so I had driven up Monarch Pass before, but I didn’t realize Highway-50 was gonna take me straight up and over it.
At 11,312 feet above sea level it’s not the highest pass we’ve been over, but it’s still an impressive big mountain pass.
A mile or so before the summit there’s a passing lane.
After being behind slower traffic for what seemed like an eternity I was finally able to let The 55 eat.
I hit the throttle and opened it up.
I love the look of shock and surprise from other driver’s when I shoot past them in a 65 year-old station-wagon.
Especially when its going up a steep, high-mountain pass.
The only regret I have is that I got up so much speed I sailed right past the summit and didn’t get a picture…
There’s always next time right?
On the other side of Gunnison I spotted the Long Holiday Motel sign.
I love that Sputnik on top.
We got back on Highway-50, part of the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway and drove right by the Blue Mesa Reservoir.
Look at those mountains in the distance covered in snow.
Just beyond Blue Mesa Reservoir is CO-92 / Blue Mesa Drive.
CO-92 is one of my favorite roads.
It winds in and out of the east side of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Both the drive and the scenery are phenomenal.
I restrained myself and didn’t hop on CO-92 this time.
Instead we continued on Highway-50 to Cimarron.
And the Cimarron Post Office.
From Cimarron we drove thru Montrose and got onto CO-550 – the Million Dollar Highway – the San Juan Scenic Byway – another All American Road.
We made it down into Ridgeway and made a right onto CO-62.
I had read about this place, I know it’s private property, and I’m not a celebrity stalker, but 5 miles down the road is Ralph Lauren’s Double RL Ranch.
The Double RL Ranch is where they do a lot of the ad campaigns for his clothing labels.
On my way to the Ranch I’m soaking up the incredible views, enjoying the drive and I’m imagining the real estate agent trying to sell this ranch to a fashion icon when all of sudden we drove around this bend in the road to reveal “the view.”
A barrage of snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see.
Look at those mountains!!
I stayed on CO-62 until I turned off onto CO-145 thru Sawpit and onto Telluride.
In all my years living in Colorado I had never been to Telluride.
Historic Downtown Telluride is like stepping back in time with all the historic buildings lining Main Street.
Telluride is supposedly where Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank.
The building he robbed is still there but I couldn’t get any pictures in because the road was too slippery.
The buildings are all arranged so Main Street doesn’t get any sun to melt the snow.
So the snow stays and melts and freezes and becomes ice.
The 55 isn’t so good on the ice but we made it out of there in one piece.
We took CO-145 south over Lizard Head Pass – 10,222 ft. – thru Rico, Stoner, Dolores and finally Cortez where I spend the night again with friends Dick & Karyn.
When I awoke the next morning it was 27 degrees outside.
After talking cars for awhile with Dick & Karyn I decided to get back out on the road.
But not before breakfast.
The Burger Boy Drive-In opens at 7am for all your breakfast needs.
I was lucky enough to have my order taken by the owner herself who told me that the Burger Boy has been there since 1959.
She and her husband Adrian Gonzales are the 4th owners of Burger Boy and they’re doing a great job.
I got my double jalapeño-burger to-go and we were off.
Highway 160 dips into New Mexico, goes right past the Four Corners into Arizona and onto Teec Nos Pos.
At Teec Nos Pos we got on Utah highway 160 westbound.
This is beautiful country but you’d better be confident in your vehicle because there’s no cell phone reception.
And if you break down you’d better come prepared because there’s a whole lot of nothing out there and you’re either walking for miles or waiting awhile.
But the scenery is spectacular.
When I got to highway 191 I made a left and went south towards Round Rock through the Navajo Indian Reservation.
We were surrounded by the beautiful red rocks of Arizona and moving along at a good pace when I saw some tire marks on the road up ahead.
I thought nothing of them until we hit the dip before the tire marks and almost caught air as the dip threw us out towards the tire marks.
The road went from smooth to wavy like a roller coaster in an instant.
It was so uneven I could barely do the speed limit without bottoming out the suspension over all the dips in the road.
It’s roads like these that literally force you to slow down, take a look around and enjoy the ride.
At Burnside we hopped on AZ-15 and continued on thru the rolling red desert.
We went south on AZ-77 / Navajo Service Road 6 and took that all the way to Interstate 40.
We got off at Holbrook , AZ and found old Route 66.
This part of Route 66 is also designated an All-American Road.
The Holbrook Inn sign has seen better days.
I love finding cool random spots and this abandoned muffler shop is one of the gems.
Right next door is Wigwam Village #6.
It was built in 1950 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
There’s only three Wigwam Villages left in the US – one in Kentucky, one outside of LA and this one.
Holbrook is another example of a once thriving town that’s now almost forgotten.
It’s a very cool glimpse into the past.
From Holbrook we got on AZ-377 south to AZ-277 to Heber.
At Heber we took the Payson-Heber Highway / AZ-260 west to Young-Heber Road / AZ-288 – the From the Desert to Tall Pines Scenic Road or – the Globe-Young Scenic Byway.
Call it whatever you want – but go out there and drive it for yourself – it’s a great driving road.
I made a left on AZ-188 / Apache Trail and into Roosevelt – named for President Roosevelt – who… back in 1911 gave approval for the reservoir – which is now Teddy Roosevelt Lake – to supply water to the growing population of the Phoenix area.
Just after Roosevelt I made a left onto AZ-88 – the Apache Trail Historic Road.
It’s another great drive with beautiful scenery.
We made it into Mesa right about Miller Time.
Thant’s when I found the Buckhorn Baths Motel sign.
The Buckhorn Baths Motel has been closed for years, but the sign is pure gold.
There’s natural mineral hot springs on the property that supposedly had medicinal properties.
The motel is in complete disrepair and I read that the city of Mesa purchased the property.
I’m hoping they get behind the restoration of this place and bring it back to its former glory.
The next morning I got up early and headed into Scottsdale for some mid-century gold.
The Scottsdale Palms Apartments.
And right up the road – the White Gates House.
Built in 1954 by Alfred Beadle.
I love that mid-century modern architecture – it’s so clean and simple.
The house is a complete disaster inside.
I drove across town to get the glory of the Courtesy Chevrolet sign.
Then onto the Bowlero Christown.
A fantastic almost batwing building design.
From batwings to starbursts I drove back to Mesa and the Hiway Host Motel sign.
Right down the road is the Starlite Motel.
I wanna see this sign all lit up at night.
The diving girl lights up in sequence so it looks like she’s diving into the pool.
Down the road in Casa Grande I found the Boots & Saddle Motel.
I almost stopped in Cotton’s Wonder Bar for a lovely beverage but I kept on driving.
Until I spotted this random gem.
I love how simple and symmetrical it is.
Speaking of simple and symmetrical.
You never know what you’re gonna see so you’ve gotta keep your eyes open.
As I was heading back to the hotel I gotta text from Wilwood Mike asking: “Where you at?”
I made a detour and went over to the Wilwood display at the Goodguys venue in West World.
And I’m glad I did!!
We had been talking about Wilwood 6-Piston Front Calipers – #120-13428-N & 120-13429-N and Brake Pads for The 55 for awhile.
Mike told me the 6-piston calipers have more clamping force that the 4-piston calipers I had on the car.
The 6-piston calipers also hold a bigger brake pad that’ll last longer than than the smaller 4-piston brake pads so I won’t go thru brake pads so fast.
They use the same mounting dimensions and attach to the same bracket on the 12.19 inch rotor so it’s a straight forward upgrade.
And they look super cool!!
It’s a win-win-win – I was all in!!
Hit up Wilwood Brakes if you’re in the market for a brake upgrade.
They’re the best!!
We were in Scottsdale for the Goodguys Southwest Nationals and the “Duel in the Desert” Autocross finale where 32 cars go head to head to determine the Autocrosser of the Year.
Scott Fraser won for the third year in a row driving Bruce Cambern’s Cobra CSX3170.
Yeah – a real Shelby Cobra – not a kit-car.
Not a tribute-car.
Not a continuation-car.
A real-deal Shelby Cobra getting autocrossed.
It is a sensory overload to watch Scott wheel that thing around the track.
The sound of its engine and the smell of the race-fuel is intoxicating.
It was the final show of the year.
One of the only shows of the year.
And it was awesome!
I got to see a lot of my car-family and I got to drive my car and see some amazing sights.
I almost forgot – as I was leaving the venue on Saturday night I got into a fender bender.
It could’ve been worse.
We made it back to LA and The 55 is now getting some love.
It’s also getting some upgrades too.
I’ll let you know what those are when I get it back.
Until then stay healthy and safe.
And please be kind to others.
I hope to see you out on the road.
I was thrilled that the Goodguys 23rd Southwest Nationals was still happening.