I had a late night of packing before getting ready for my next adventure, the trip home by way of Idaho the next morning. Aside from Drew and I emptying out our own room and getting things organized, I assisted a few of my friends in doing so. Needless to say I went to bed in an empty lonely room around midnight. Six o’clock rolled around and soon enough I was on the road heading for Idaho. For those of you who might be new readers, my grandfather lives in Idaho and was the one who gave me the 1940 Plymouth Truck that I have…been working on. Anyways…I had his tow dolly and was using that as an excuse to come visit. This time I am hoping to stay for longer than two days though.
While I was driving onwards I was going to be passing by the town of Hastings, Nebraska. I figured I would stop on by because Drew is going to have an internship at Shade’s Classic Corner. Shade’s specializes in Corvairs, you know the rear engine air cooled vehicles of the 1960s that had a bad reputation. Chris Shade, the owner, has been interested in Corvairs his whole life and it is arguably his favorite car, having had one since high school. He started seriously working on Corvairs for a business since 2013 and just last year moved into a much bigger facility.
I walked in the door and was met with a friendly greeting, and when I mentioned Drew, they became even friendlier. Chris gave me the fifty cent tour of the place. The first main section is setup like a dealer show room, with Corvairs across both generations, 1960-1964 and 1965-1969. There are nearly all of the body styles represented in the showroom from station wagons, convertibles, and even a ramp side pickup. Off in the corner is a Yenko Stinger, the real McCoy, not a clone. For those of you who don’t know much about Stingers, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version. Don Yenko, a high performance speed specialist, was tasked with converting 100 second generation Corvairs to be race cars. You could get any of these from Stage I through Stage IV, I being milder and IV being the highest performance. These are the most desirable of the Corvairs, and definitely the most expensive today. He had this one tucked on the side that was recently purchased, but also had one on a body rotisserie that he was restoring for himself.
The fifty cent tour showed me the works in brief, from the body area to where the mechanical work is done. Out back they have 4 acres which is going to be their own Corvair boneyard in the future, as cars continually come in. There were a few there already, including the main mechanics ramp side pickup that he was working on. The mechanic, Mike, was making the ramp side pickup an extended cab, which would have looked like a GM option. He was doing so out of a Corvan and adding a back window out of a wrecked ramp side. Though it was in the rough now, I could see how things were going to be lining up…unfortunately I did not snap a picture.
After the tour I was invited to stay for pizza, it happened to be Mike’s birthday so they asked if I would join them. Them being Chris, the body guy, Mike and his wife, and another woman who worked there. I cannot remember her name, but her nickname was Izzy. They said grace before diving in and made me feel very welcome, for being a random tall guy who just walked into their shop about half an hour earlier. After talking for a while I was able to get a clearer understanding of what was happening. Chris goes out and finds vehicles and brings them back. From there the crew tries to get them in pretty good driving condition, without doing anything major and then sells them. One couple flew in from Florida bought a Corvair and proceeded to drive it back. Chris told me that made him a little nervous, because though his crew goes through to make sure they are driving fairly well, they are fifty year old cars that have probably been sitting for many years. Things can still go wrong, luckily the couple made it to Florida with no issues. After having talked with the crew for a while and getting pictures of the Stinger I decided that it was time to get back on the road, for I still had a long journey ahead of me. I do hope that Chris continues to do well. For those of you who are interested there will be a Corvair track day in Hasting’s at the racetrack on August 28th. Lynn Yenko, daughter of Don Yenko will be there premiering her new book about Yenko. If you are interested and are in the area be sure to check it out. This will be its first time, so make sure to come out and support it!
Anyways…back on the road. I continued my journey to Idaho, passing through Nebraska and
into Wyoming on I-80. Towards the end of Nebraska I was encountering some rain and the radio was broadcasting Tornado Watch’s, quarter to golf ball sized hail, and severe thunderstorms. I kept driving, trying to beat the storm. It followed me mostly into Wyoming. Luckily I passed it, eventually pulling into a Sinclair station in Rawlins. I stayed in Hotel Tundra, but was forced to try and sleep in the cab instead of stretching out in the bed (I have a years worth of gear and laundry in the bed along with the fenders for the dolly which left no room for me).
I woke up in the morning and made my way out. Beside me though were some older buildings and a GMC Truck. I did notice that this GMC truck had Hydramatic Badges on the side, but looking inside I noticed that someone had converted it to a manual at some point in its life. Somewhat of a shame, because it is unusual to find Hydramatics in the trucks. On the way out I noticed a Push-Pull Cadillac in front of the Perkins Conoco station. These always make me chuckle, especially the line on the side saying that “PERKINS ALWAYS MOVING AHEAD”.
As I passed into Utah I encountered my fair share of rain. For pretty much the whole time that I was there I had the wipers going as fast as they could. I was a bit worried at times, because I was towing this dolly behind me with no load going through Ogden on a multilane highway with lots of people. I was very happy to make it into Idaho. I met up with Louise who escorted me to a friend’s house to drop off the dolly before heading up to my Grandfather’s Lodge up in the hills behind Oakley. Boy was I ever so happy when I dropped off that dolly. I made sure to drive a little faster and to play in the mud just to celebrate.
Soon enough I made it up to the lodge. After talking for a bit I decided to make my way to the mineral hot springs for a little road de stress. I will tell you that I really needed that. After being cooped up in the truck for a while it was nice to stretch out in the hot tub and just relax. Soon after that I walked in the house to meet my great grandfather, whom I did not know that I had. I’m starting to meet more of my family that I did not know even existed. He is 92 years old and just came from Hawaii three weeks ago. According to my grandfather he was going to be put into an old folk’s home and basically asked him if he would rather live the rest of his days in Idaho with a little more zest. So they essentially kidnapped him.
I talked with him for about an hour and decided that now that I had the dolly off; I should go play on the roads for a little, so I took the Tundra out and had some fun. She was doing pretty well. She climbed a fairly good sized hill and made it to the sandstone. Then…I got stuck. I was heading over to a nice grass area to get some pictures and when I backed up I went onto the trail to a very steep section instead of the gradual area I came up. OOPS. So I had the bed of the truck flush with the ground and was not going anywhere, the wheel just kept spinning. I tried taking rocks and using them as scrapers to make flat areas to give the truck a little momentum. That helped a little, but eventually I had to climb under the truck, and jack up the truck to put some rocks under the tires to get some traction. Eventually with a combination of those I was able to get myself free. After some supper I found my quarters in the upstairs of one of the cabins and proceeded to sleep, which I very much needed.