Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln”. New Mexico; the “Land of Enchantment”. And Colorado is “Colorful”. But Idaho is one of the few states that herald a type of produce on their license plates which proudly read, “Famous Potatoes”!
Last weekend the state was also the setting for the Northwest Motorfest; Idaho’s largest car show. It’s held on the grounds of the Idaho Expo in Boise, and you don’t have to be there long before you learn that it’s pronounced, Boic-e, not Boyz-e; thank you very much!
In addition to the typical car show stuff, this event also had numerous side attractions; things like holeshot and burnout contests.
I’m not sure, but I think the meteorological term for the cloud that is rising from behind this Chev is cumulorubberus.
It also had things more specific to the Northwest, like V8 chainsaw demonstrations. Now, that’s just crazy!
Throw in the Wall of Death and rock crawling demos, and this was a veritable three-ring circus.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Idaho since I lived at the other end of the state up in Moscow for nearly 5 years and went to grad school at the University of Idaho. Go Vandals! And I’m always looking for an excuse to get back out there.
The most recent show we shot was the Star City Motor Madness in Roanoke, Virginia. The origin of the name of the event became obvious as soon as we hit town. Looming over the city atop Mill Mountain is the largest illuminated man-made star in the world. It’s almost 90 feet tall and kinda hard to miss.
It was commissioned in 1949 by the city’s Merchant’s Association to kick off the Christmas shopping season and shortly thereafter Roanoke was nicknamed “The Star City of the South”. It’s a really nice town and the view of it from Mill Mountain is pretty cool.
This was the 9th year for the event, and it is held right downtown on Jefferson Street which is one of the main streets. It was originally created as a fundraiser to build a permanent automotive exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, and to date they have raised over a quarter of a million dollars. Currently the stars of this museum are a pair of massive steam locomotives, the Norfolk and Western Class A-1218 and the streamlined Class J-611; the most modern steam locomotives ever built.
Last week we went up to the land of float planes and moose for the Midnight Sun Cruise-In which was held in Fairbanks, Alaska. And let me tell ya, that’s a long haul from E’ville, Indiana.
It was three airplanes and about 16 hours total travel time before we finally got to the Bear Lodge; our base of operations for the next few days.
I had built an extra day into the schedule for a change to recover from the inevitable jet lag. The car show itself wasn’t till Saturday, and although there was an organized cruise to a salmon bake Friday evening, we basically had Friday to kill. Since this event was being hosted by the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, I figured walk-thru would be a good way to spend the morning.
Fairbanks really isn’t a very big town, about 40,000 people, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the museum, but I could not have been more wrong. This place absolutely blew me away. The museum was the vision of owner Tim Cerny and his wife Barb. The collection has several one-of-one and only-one-left cars as well as several Alaska-specific vehicles (which were extremely weird).
This past weekend was Torquefest in Farley, Iowa. This is a traditional hot rod show that was being held at a dirt track speedway. It was the first year for this event, and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about that fact. Actually, in the history of MCC, I have never shot a first year event. I prefer to wait till they’re a little farther along the learning curve. However the promoter, John Wells, is a good guy and it was being held for a good cause. I also wanted to try to help this event get established because ultimately I’d like to see these traditional hot rod shows dotted all across the US so that there’s one within driving distance of anyone that would want to attend one.
Farley’s a bit of an outpost tho, and there really wasn’t a good place to fly into so we decided to make it a road trip. It was going to be about 500 miles from E’ville to Farley, and there were supposed to be some pre-event festivities starting at 5:00 pm Friday so Ben & I got on the road mid morning in hopes of getting to the church on time.
It was pretty smooth (and flat) sailing most of the way thru central Illinois until we got up to Rockford and turned west at which point we were faced with a wall of black clouds which was frequently illuminated by bolts of lightning raining down all around us.
And speaking of rain, it wasn’t long before it started to do that in earnest, and continued till we were about 20 miles outside of Farley (which had received somewhere between two and three inches). We were running a bit behind schedule, but it didn’t matter because the planned cruise to the farm where Field of Dreams had been filmed was wisely cancelled. Fortunately tho, the weather forecast for the next day was nearly perfect, and I was just keeping my fingers crossed that the cars that did show up for this event wouldn’t sink out of sight in the showfield.