We drove up to Moab, Utah last weekend, and spent two nights to attend their annual, last weekend in April, Hot Rod and Custom Car Show. I was asked before we left why you would drive 400 miles to go to a car show when they have them everywhere. There wasn’t an answer I could give that would make much analytical sense to them or probably even me – lol. Most people aren’t car people. It’s just an affliction like lots of other afflictions that result in strange behavior sometimes. Crazy or not we had been anticipating the trip since winter.
In 1995 we lived in Grand Junction, CO, a medium size town in Western Colorado, where we lived for 23 years and raised our family. On Saturday, the last weekend in April that year, my good friend Dave Sherrill and I decided to ride our Harley Davidsons down to Moab, UT to get a cheeseburger for lunch. It was a nice Spring day – Spring fever was strong – and although 105 miles might seem like a long way to go for a cheeseburger for lunch it made perfect sense to us that day. When we arrived in town we began seeing quite a few hot rods and 60’s muscle cars. We asked the waitress who served our cheeseburgers, and she said there was a car show in town that Saturday and that we should go to the town park where they were on display. After lunch we walked the three blocks to the park and were amazed to see 300 custom hot rods and muscle car era GTOs, Road Runners, Camaros, Challengers and on and on displayed row by row on the grass of the large town park. We found out that this was the third year the show had been held, and that it was turning into kind of a big deal. The next year we brought Darlene and Sharon with us on the back of the Harleys – rode down on Friday afternoon and after some searching found motel rooms for two nights. A tradition was begun and for 12 years in a row we spent the last weekend In April in Moab, UT in what became an event that now draws up to 700 custom cars each year for the Saturday in the park and for Friday and Saturday cruise nights up and down the long Moab Main Street. We learned to make our motel reservations in October each year to get a motel of our choice. Our move to South Carolina interrupted those yearly visits, but 2017 marks their renewal.
Last November we called our favorite Virginian Motel in Moab and reserved the next to last room they had for the weekend. Road trips are one of our favorite things so loading into the Crossfire and taking off Friday morning for the 400 miles was a task anticipated rather than dreaded. We arrived in Moab about 3:30 and headed out to a new restaurant for us to split a cheeseburger and a wedge salad.
Being crazy about cars has been a life-long affliction. My brother is equally afflicted and we both blame out father who was likewise a little car crazy. For me it started with a used 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury, 2 door hardtop with a 360 V8 and Torque-Flite transmission. I had graduated from high school the year before purchase and started college and Spring 1967 gave me my first car all my own. The list of new and used cars since then goes on and on – it includes a 64 Plymouth 426 Wedge convertible, a Camaro, a Mustang SVT Cobra, a 240Z, 2 different Taurus SHOs, 2 old Porsches, an old Austin Healey Sprite, a Crossfire, pickups, Jeeps and 4 Harley Davidsons. I made a list a couple years back of 20 brand new cars in the 50 years since turning 19 years old plus an array of used cars. You’re right – it’s been worse than an affliction. Walking row after row of special cars in a park on the Saturday of the last weekend in April is a reminder of a lifetime of thinking about the next car and poring over car magazines and planning and dreaming about cars. The event is free to the public. The show takes over the town each year – there’s a high that you sense everywhere – car people being around a bunch of car people – with their cars taking center stage.
Our son, Matthew, daughter, Jessica and her husband, Joe and grandchildren, Ashley, Bella, Sierra, Marissa, with boyfriend Mandon, and Noah were in Moab with us. It was a great weekend for family. We got breakfast at the world-famous Moab Diner Saturday morning – Darlene and I shared the Sweetwater Skillet – home fried potatoes, chorizo sausage, 2 eggs, melted cheese, all mixed together and smothered with green chile – yum. Lunch was at our long-time favorite Pasta Jays where they have my favorite ravioli of anywhere.
Moab is one of the premier red rock, off road bicycle and all-terrain vehicle tourist destinations in the world. Both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks main entrances are just a few miles outside of town. The La Sal mountains are to the East and the Colorado River flows through red sandstone canyons from the East and joins the Green River in the Canyonlands northeast of town. The La Sal’s were still capped with a lot of snow this weekend. I got up at dawn Saturday morning and drove the winding road up through the river canyon 25 miles to the Fisher Towers rock formation. The stretch of road is one of my favorites. It is a Utah designated Scenic By-Way. It is twisty and narrow and rises and falls and at 6:15 AM there are no other cars or bicycles. The Crossfire feels at home on it at speeds greater than I have nerve for. I had hoped to get pictures of the red rocks in the canyon in the morning light, but low rain clouds and morning mist made the light all wrong for photos. No pictures, but it was a great drive before breakfast.
Will we plan to go back for next year – probably . Will it make sense to drive 400 miles for a car show when they have them everywhere? Probably not – but I’ll try to come up with a logical reason.