S&H Torino Drives the USA Coast
Well, not all at once - but we still think this
is pretty cool.
In 2005, we (John and Penny Q., owners of
this Web site) drove our Limited Production 1976 "Starsky & Hutch" Ford Gran Torino from Central
Wisconsin to Woods Hole, Massachusetts on the East Coast of the USA. We took the ferry from there to Martha's
Vineyard to visit JAWS movie sites, but
left the Torino on the mainland for the day. On the way back to Wisconsin, we drove south to Washington, D.C.,
then west through the Allegheny Mountains, through West Virginia and Kentucky, and finally back home. All told,
we drove over 3,000 miles through 15 states in about 7 days, spending over 50 hours driving. We didn't have air
conditioning or cruise control
at that time, but it was a great trip!
On May 31, 2007, we got back in the Torino and headed west to visit other S&H Torino owners in California.
We drove almost 200 hours in 18 days, spending the night in 17 different places, and covering over 6,500 miles
and 16 states.
We drove through the South Dakota Badlands and Black Hills, camped at Devil's Tower, toured Yellowstone, cruised
among Giant Redwoods, drove along the Pacific Ocean, across the Golden Gate Bridge, stopped at the Grand Canyon
and the "Starman" meteor crater, moseyed on through the great state of Texas, drove on parts of Historic
Route 66 in each state that it goes through, stopped in my home town in Illinois, and then made it safely back
home to Wisconsin.
It was a fantastic trip! Every couple of days, we were able to post pictures and information here so our friends,
family, and anyone else could keep track of us. You can read those updates and see the pictures on the next three
pages. Maybe they will inspire you to take your S&H Torino on a similar trip someday!
The links in the story will take you to the web sites of the various places and sites we visited. After you read
all 3 pages about our trip, you can go back through them and and click the links to visit those sites to get more
information if you want it.
|May 31, 2007 - Day 1
We left Wisconsin at 6:00 am, and crossed
the Mississippi River into Minnesota at about 8:00 am. In Minnesota, we drove by the Hormel Foods Plant, home of
Museum (we did not stop, but we've been
there before), and a lot of green fields (yawn). We then crossed into South Dakota, and at some point stopped at
a place called "1880
Town," where we saw props from the
movie "Dances With Wolves"
including the mechanical buffalo built by Howard Berger (who I met years ago) and the real live horse who played
John Dunbar's horse, "Cisco" in the movie. He's 34 years old! We also stopped and took a picture in front
of a place called "Hutch's Motel" in Presho, SD.
In the late afternoon, we drove through South Dakota's Badlands,
an awesome display of God's creative power. We were glad we took the time to see it even though we thought we might
have been late to our campground that night. At the end of the Badlands loop road, we found ourselves at the infamous
Drug, where we got homemade ice cream and
free glasses of ice water. Finally, at 9:00 pm mountain time, we arrived at Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming where we spent the night in a cute little
cabin (instead of a tent, because of the rain) at the Devil's Tower KOA.
They did not show the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" outside (like they usually do) because of the weather,
but we watched it in our cabin on DVD!
All told, we were on the road 16 hours (including stops), and we traveled 873 miles through 4 states in one day!
The car ran great and we had a fantastic time!
Penny in front of Devil's Tower
|June 1, 2007 - Day 2
We left Devil's Tower, Wyoming, in a drizzling
rain this morning (see above) and drove through some rain off and on for the first half of the day, but our spirits
weren't dampened any. When we approached Buffalo, Wyoming, we could see the Rocky Mountains in the distance and
decided to take an extra day to drive through Yellowstone National Park.
I had previously decided not to because I thought the roads would be too steep for the car - but that wasn't the
case at all.
We took Highway 16 from Buffalo to Yellowstone and saw some of the most incredible scenery imaginable. The Bighorn
Mountains were fabulous - our elevation got as high as 9,500+ feet and we were up in territory were there was still
snow on the ground. Between the Bighorn Mountains and Yellowstone is a long patch of rolling hills and wide open
road. It was a very nice drive.
Yellowstone was a lot of fun. We saw a grizzly bear and a wolf fighting for some kind of food (from quite a distance),
and we saw hares, elk, buffalo, antelope, and a mule deer. We saw sulfur springs, a mud volcano, incredible waterfalls,
and ended the day watching Old Faithful doing its thing
right on time at 9:10 pm (it erupts many times each day).
All told, we were on the road 13 hours (including stops) today. We have traveled 1,309 miles through 4 states since
we left home! The car is running great and we are still amazed by God's creation!
(I mean the car and the geyser,
not Penny - she's not old.)
June 2, 2007 - Day 3
We left Yellowstone this morning and drove
through the Grand
Teton mountains as the sun rose - they were
absolutely stunning. We saw quite a bit of wonderful scenery all morning.
Around 2:00, we arrived in Preston, Idaho for lunch (burgers, tots, and shakes) at Big J.'s. If you've seen
the movie, "Napoleon Dynamite"
you know the place. We drove around Preston and took pictures in front of Napoleon's house, Pedro's house, the
High School, the bowling alley, and even found the playground with the infamous "wanna play me?" tetherball
pole (no ball attached).
Then we drove for six weeks on the longest, loneliest,
most desolate road on the planet. Okay, maybe it was only a couple of hours, but if you ever get the chance to
drive highway 30 through Utah, don't do it! Stay on Interstate 80 - the scenery there is fantastic.
All told, we were on the road 14 hours (including stops) today. We have traveled 1,932 miles through 7 states since
we left home! Sunday we drive to Sacramento, have lunch with an old friend at In and Out Burger, then end up in
the redwood forests north of Leggett, California!
Penny and John in front of the Grand Tetons.
(The Torino is holding the camera. Honestly!)
|June 3, 2007 - Day 4
We left Battle Mountain, Nevada this morning
at 6:00 am (a good mistake - we didn't know we were in the pacific time zone) and took a very, very nice long cruise
to Sacramento, California. It was a beautiful day and we drove the whole way with the windows up, the air
conditioning on, and the Audiovox CCS100 Cruise Control handling the car. There were mountains all around us but
we drove on mostly flat, smooth highway (Interstate 80) until we got to the Lake Tahoe area where we were back
in some mountains (but small compared to what we've been through already).
We stopped in Sacramento right on schedule at noon, for lunch at "In and Out Burger" with an old friend from Wisconsin named Kyle Drefcinski. Kyle
moved to Sacramento in 2001 and it was great to spend a little time with him again!
Even through the hottest time of day (2-4 pm) and
through more mountains, the car ran great and the A/C kept the temp inside bearable until we got to Leggett, California
and drove right into a tree ...
Chandelier Tree, Leggett, CA
... then out the other side! After purchasing some
stuff at the gift
shop, we headed north through the Avenue
of the Giants - a winding, rolling, beautiful two-lane blacktop drive right through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home of the biggest trees in the country. It was phenomenal!
Remember the planet Endor where the Ewoks lived in the movie, "Return of the Jedi?" That's where we were (seriously, those scenes were
filmed around here).
We were on the road 15 hours (including stops) today.
We've driven 2,529 miles from our driveway to the hotel where I wrote this (in Rio Dell). We've seen so many incredible
things, we can hardly believe it's really happening. We're thankful beyond words for the car running so well, our
health and safety, and the opportunity to experience all of this. As we sang in the car this morning, "Our
God is an Awesome God."
Avenue of the Giants
Old Hwy. 101
Humboldt Redwoods State Park
You can't even see the tops!
|June 4, 2007 - Day 5
After a quick jaunt down Highway 101 back
to Leggett where we drove through the tree yesterday (see above), we got on Highway 1 at its northernmost point
at about 8 am. The next hour was incredibly fun driving up and down hills and around hairpins turns through redwood
forests (at about 30 mph average). At 9:00 am, we saw a corner coming up that had no trees behind it, and when
we reached it - there was the Pacific Ocean greeting us, about 2,619 miles from home. It was a beautiful site!
We have now officially driven this car Coast
I can't explain how much fun driving the rest of the day was. If you've never driven down Highway 1, make it a
point to do it someday. You've got hills on your left, cliffs and ocean on your right, and almost constant hills
and twists and turns all day (with just a few miles here and there where the road leaves the coast and goes through
nice hilly areas and farmland).
When you get to Mendocino, stop and have the best burger you'll ever eat at "Mendo Burger" behind the Mendo bakery. Try the bleu cheese, but believe me
a single is enough burger for you!
We drove about 30 mph all day, and stopped dozens and dozens of times to take photos and video of the ocean, and
to walk on beaches (all of which are a long walk from the road along this section of Highway 1). We saw a whale
at one stop, and also saw deer, squirrels, horses, a jackrabbit the size of a dog, and cows (several of which were
in or on the edge of the road) throughout the day.
At about 7:00 pm, we realized we could reach San Francisco's outskirts and find a hotel with Internet access if
we hurried, so we did. We drove as fast as 55 for the first time all day, but it was okay to rush because that
stretch of the highway was mostly through farmland. Just as it got dark and we were real close to Frisco, though,
we got into some very heavy fog - and then the driving got real slow (severe twists and turns again) but REALLY
exciting! Our GPS
told us there was a pretty steep drop on our right side, but we couldn't see it!
John in front of the Pacific Ocean
Monday morning, June 4
Somewhere on Highway 1,
north of San Francisco
|We've driven approximately 2,892 miles in 5 days through
8 states. We've been to elevations as high as 9,500 feet and as low as 50 feet below sea level (don't ask me how
that works, but that's what the GPS
said). We've seen the South Dakota Badlands, Wall Drug, Devil's Tower, Yellowstone, Old Faithful, the Grand Tetons,
the Continental Divide, Napoleon Dynamite's House, Salt Lake Deserts, Giant Redwoods, and the Pacific Ocean - and
we've got about 13 more days of this coming! This trip has been an incredible blessing so far.
Page 2 - Driving Down the California Coast
(including our S&H Torino Owners Reunion
& Hutch" Torino Home
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