Thanks To All

Our grateful thanks to Mr. Jim Graven for spearheading, organizing, and executing 80’s Road Trip 2104.  Clearly everyone had a blast, and it would never have gotten off the ground if not for Jim.  It is not easy to set up a trip with this number of people and cars and places to visit, then have it go off without a hitch.  Karl, Steve, Jessi, Val and Jenn all played a role in making this venture a success, and we thank you all. IMG_5567

Team Wilen, our guides in South Dakota and the Black Hills, did an amazing job of herding cats for the most spectacular drives through an unforgettable portion of the American heartland.  A most appropriate salute to our nation was included when we visited Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments. IMG_5245IMG_5398

Steve, who put together our website, won the bet for whose car would break down first (Mustang), and captured the T-Shirt Award for Max Headroom.  All of these accomplishments and he had to tarnish his efforts by squatting over giant bison poop. DSC05364

A number of participants were singled out for special recognition during the trip.  Enduring dust, rain, sun and wind blown hair, Bob and Marita won the Iron Man Award.  Hoooah!!  On top of that, Marita was a shoe-in for the Drive it Like You Stole It Award. img_6351-0

Best Dressed Award handily goes to Jessi for rocking the 80’s hairstyles, accessories and threads, right down to the high-waisted tapered jeans.  You were rocking it girl!!  DSC05243

A very special thanks to Blues Fan Steve for being Randy’s “special date” throughout this adventure and for giving Randy the support and encouragement to drive the concours-winning Mustang on unpaved roads and cow trails. img_6365-1

The Road Trip Courage Award, with multiple clusters, went to Dave, who in the face of withering fire and continuous peer insults, bravely ordered vegetarian meals in the heart of deer, antelope and bison country. IMG_0474

In a group of self-proclaimed outstanding drivers, Trey, with his Carolina NASCAR blood, clearly stood above the rest on those two-lane mountain roads.  Whether drafting a Prius or slingshotting a Kia, Trey repeatedly demonstrated his Thunder Road driving skills by clearing a path for our convoy through the Rocky Mountains with his 3 tons of American iron. img_6350-0

The Whiplash Award for turning the most heads is a dead tie between KITT and the IROC Z.  Even the Porsche was outshined, although it had many fans and photographers.  BMW gets an honorable mention for making an angry German run it down to demand an explanation as to the German plate. IMG_5229 IMG_5412

Every great adventure can be summarized with a few words that are widely understood and unmistakenly inform the audience of the speaker’s feelings or intentions.  The phrase “We are rolling Now” indicated that Karl was in his car and moving, and laggards and stragglers without GPS or Google Map service were in serious trouble.

However, the winning and most enduring quote of the road trip goes to a girl.  Hands down, Marlene and her girlie southern accent won our Most Memorable Quote Award with never to be forgotten, “What the hail?”


Another girl assumed command of our convoy and led us on a spectacular drive to the Continental Divide, where we were treated to pristine lakes and postcard views.  Thank you Jenn!! DSC05469

We would like to give our heartfelt thanks and the Most Awesome Hosts Ever Award to Dale and Claudia for hosting us at dinner 80’s style in their beautiful home in Cheyenne, and for letting us put a huge dent in the wine cellar.  We could have stayed forever, but they ran us off claiming they had an out of town trip or some other such lie 🙂 IMG_0740


Thank you David L for seeing us off at the start in Kansas City, festooned in complete club race grid team attire. Love that.  And thank you Steve and Carolyn for meeting up with us in Sioux City for lunch, a real treat to see you guys!

Many, many thanks to all our travel companions, and thank God for our safe and fun adventure. As Steve Jones said, the trip was epic.


Day 6 Peak to Peak Byway

Today Trey and I split from the rest of the group. They went to the Continental Divide and we did a 55 mile scenic drive. There were some beautiful views along the way and some wildlife on the side of the roads also. We stopped in Nederland, which is a small railroad town. There they had an amazing carousel called The Carousel Of Happiness. The 1910 carousel frame was purchased and a resident hand carved all new animals, 50 In total, for it.
We then went to Gold Hill for a quick stop. This is a small mining town. It was the site of the first major discovery of gold during the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush. There are no paved roads to get to it and it was a VERY steep dirt road to get there. Their school is the oldest continuously operating school since 1873.






















Home! Days 7 & 8

I didn’t have much of a chance to post yesterday because we had a long run to Belleville, KS from Estes Park. The Mustang was acting up again, so while Randy waited for a tow, the Camaro and KITT headed east. Team BMW and team Top-Down (911) had left earlier that morning to get back to KC. We took our time along Hwy 34 & 36, picking up Trey & the Town Car where 34 meets 76. Shortly after that, Randy let us know he was on the road, so we connected in Norton, KS. Found a Dairy Queen, a tourist attraction and a playground to entertain ourselves as we waited.


We arrived at our destination at dusk – the geographical center of the contiguous United States near Lebanon, KS:


During this stop, Steve informed Randy parts were falling off the Mustang – later today Randy speculated it was a flashlight the shop used during the fuel pump swap, and it took a shock bolt cover out when it departed the car.

We made a high speed run in the dark to Bel Villa Steakhouse to get a late dinner before they closed.


Great restaurant if you’re in the area.

Today it was a more leisurely pace, but KITT took off on his own route, so it was just the Camaro, Mustang and Town Car – we had lunch in Manhattan:


A total of 2, 200 miles door to door in an 85 Camaro! The TPI engine returned consistent MPG in the 21-23 range regardless of what we were doing. Cruise Control was a blessing on the long, flat & straight roads these last two days to keep our group out of trouble.

Saw a lot of sites in a short amount of time with a wonderful group of friends & family – can’t wait for the next one!