We awoke in Alabama and made a quick breakfast. Once everything was packed up and oil levels were topped off, we set out for Golfport Mississippi. There were some great drives on the road down, as well as some construction. Hoover to Gulfport is about 4 and a half hours, a little longer with the construction we hit. But we didn’t get lost this time!
We did get fuel starvation on the Benz again, so we pulled in to the nearest gas station to back flush the line and fill up. We ran into the Hot Rod Bus guys and galls again, and they bought us some fried okra. Not my kind of thing, but it was cool to try it! We also helped out a guy with his Camaro. His starter solenoid went out, so Sam climbed underneath and bridged the starter to turn it over and fire it up.
There was also a cool old gas station across the road, we pulled some cars in for some pictures.
Gulfport has some great views itself, as it sits along the Gulf of Mexico. Our venue for the day, Centennial Plaza, had one entrance and one exit. That made for a heck of a wait just to get in, all of half an hour to move about a mile and get to some parking. Dad lost a return spring on his throttle, so we pulled off on a side street quick to fix that.
We definitely has some issues with cars getting hot and there was a trail of coolant along the entrance road from all the overflow. The Benz (which we’ve named Winston) did an admirable job of holding around 190F and didn’t have any issues. Once we got parked, we threw some water through the radiators to try and cool things down a bit. A picture of my dad throwing a 5 gallon bucket of water through his radiator popped up on the Mothers Facebook feed, but I can’t seem to find it now.
We headed off to get our time punch and get our magnets from a few certain vendors. Then it was time to peruse the vehicles and chat with whatever owners we ran into. There were plenty of great vehicles to look over, and I took plenty of pictures.
Someone bought a Syclone and thought “Hm, this needs more power”. They are clearly insane. For those that don’t know, the Syclone/Typhoon twins came from the factory with 280 turbocharged horses and all wheel drive. They embarrassed Ferraris off the line back in the day. These are properly mental vehicles that (like a Hellcat) just don’t make sense, but we love them anyway.
I spotted a Sith, hiding in plain sight.
The LeBaron made it’s return.
Procharger! Turbocharger? Supercharger? You decide.
I once again caught up with the Showbread guy, I really, really like the way this car was done.
You don’t find a patina like this every day:
We ran into a guy that had another Galaxie like Sams, only this one had been gone over pretty well. The guy owned a shop, and was taking the tour with his son to get him interested in cars. They even had a cool map of all the places they had gone through on the tour, though they didn’t hit the first 3 days or so. He also owned a Kaiser Manhattan that had be redone as well. With a 502 big block 🙂
We also ran into this super sweet, stretched and lowered Beetle that made the long haul. The owner made the long haul the previous year as well, I remember seeing this car in the Dells at the end of the last Power Tour.
There was this really well done custom, it was for sale but the price probably would have amazed me. That interior does look supremely comfortable though!
A few rats, with a side of cat.
And while we were in line for our magnet at one of the vendors…
Once we had seen what we could, we decided to cool off and headed across the street to the coastline. Ali and I came across a few little jellies that had washed up, and one pink jellyfish that was trying it’s best to get away from shore. There was even a stingray swimming around, but I missed that. We also got our toes nibbled on by some smaller fish that didn’t seem all that shy.
We didn’t have reservations for the night, so we decided to just head West two hours to the hotel we had booked for Friday. We reserved another night, and plopped down a little closer to our destination for the next day.
Bonus: ENGAGE HYPERDRIVE!
Since we had made the drive the previous night, it was just a short half hour jaunt up the road to our final venue, the Lamar Dixon Expo Center. We arrived just a few minutes before they opened the gates, which was kind of nice. We got to park where we wanted, and we also got to watch everyone else arrive. Unfortunately, that included some storm clouds.
But we had officially made it! We waited to get our “long haul gang” stickers until we actually made the long haul. So now was the perfect time to put them on. A quick spray down with some vendor schwag, and the window was ready for it’s final Power Tour sticker.
We got our final time stamps at 12:42, our earliest time yet, and then walked around and chatted with whoever was willing to talk. Unfortunately, the rain made sure that the grounds were pretty swampy.
Luckily, that didn’t stop a lot of nicer vehicles from showing up.
I came across this sweet matte green BelAir, the pin stripping is a nice touch.
A nice SuperBird for your eyeball pleasure.
This guy was rambling around in his track car, it sounded and looked like it belonged more on the strip than the street.
Someone showed up in a Chrysler Conquest, and did the entire long haul in it. There was also an Integra that made the long haul. That makes me happy.
We also caught up with the “2 rats and a cat” guys again, who are also from Wisconsin, and ended up chatting with them for quite a while. We swapped engine build stories, expanded my knowledge on transmissions a bit, and had a few drinks to celebrate making the long haul.
When we finally parted ways, it was about time for everyone to head out. We waited until the line thinned out a bit and then headed over to get our picture taken while rolling past the Hot Rod Power Tour buss. Once that was finished, we headed towards the hotel. It was raining again, because Louisiana.
Of course, since we were already in Louisiana, and only a few hours drive from New Orleans, we decided to head over that way and walk along Bourbon Street and see some of what the French Quarter had to offer. It had been something like 14 years since we’d been down this way, and I never got to see the French Quarter. After driving over the longest bridge ever, we arrived and were treated to all the awesome old buildings that make up the French Quarter.
Bourbon Street itself is crazy, but in a good way. The street is packed; there are all sorts of oddballs, performers, tourists like ourselves, and a million things to see and do. Since this was later at night, we decided food was the top priority. Ali and I split off from the group to do our own thing, it’s not like we’d get another chance for a nice romantic-ish dinner in New Orleans any time soon!
The guy in the vest is what sold me, so we headed in to Cornet for some grub. The prices were naturally a little high, but the food more than made up for it. I’ve always been a fan of seafood, and this was the best I’ve ever tasted, we were very satisfied with everything!
Even while dining you aren’t safe from the craziness that is Bourbon street; we had a band march past, followed by a horse drawn carriage, a firetruck, and then some police on motor cycles.
After meeting up with the group again, we watched some street performers break dance, grabbed some gifts for the family back home, and got a hand grenade. It’s supposed to be New Orleans strongest drink, but I wasn’t super impressed. On the way back to the car, we popped in to Froyo for something to cool us all off. They had a great selection, great prices, and Return of the King on the TV. I was okay with that.
Once we had cooled off, we headed for the car and hit the road back to the hotel. There was a bit of a slowdown on the super long bridge back, so we made it back around 11. We wanted to get to the Long Haul Celebration early the next day, so we turned in for the night. Getting back took two days, and we actually experienced the majority of our issues in that time. Expect to hear about it soon!