DAY 1 and 2: Captain, I Think There's a Problem
DAY 3: Pizza and Mozzarella Sticks
DAY 4: Final Destination
With gas prices at an all-time high, the Mini Truckin' staff decided to test the limits of our credit cards and go on an 1,800-mile trudge across the country. Why would we do this? For a show. Not just for any show, though, but for what has consistently been one of the best shows in the country: Assorted Miniatures' Showfest in Greenville, Mississippi.
Not wanting to drive alone, who better to join up with than the crew at Iaccino Fabrication or IF Customs in Sylmar, California? For the past two years, IF has put together a cruise, and this year was no exception, with the Cruise to Showfest 2005. The cruise is dedicated to Matt Eye, an employee who passed away before the first cruise was initiated.
As a meeting point, Barstow, California, seemed to be the best bet. Barstow is where all the freeways meet up between all the prospective participants. This couldn't have been a better choice in stops, as we had to pick up Mike Alexander's project S-10. It was being dropped off for final finish work and paint at Hill's Hot Rods in Lubbock, Texas. KRZ Customs, Painter's Shack, Lowlife Video, No Regrets, Severed Ties, Forbidden Fantasy, and Freaks of Nature were all in the rabble. The journey got off to a slow start, as one vehicle had an electrical problem and IF hadn't left its cave. With 20 or so people waiting to leave, we were advised to carry on in hopes that they would catch up.
The first night we ended up stopping in Bumfum, Arizona, where IF said they would be early the next morning. Low and behold, right as we woke up, the release of air and sound of dragging was heard throughout the complex. IF Customs was there in full force. Only problem was, the truck with the electrical problem turned around and went back home. Losing a component of the cruise required us to patch up our gap, so we picked up the guys from Domination the Video. With the IF guys having zero sleep under their belt, away we rode. All day we drove through blistering heat until we arrived in Tucumcari, New Mexico (pronounced "tuck-em-cari" ).
This year's group of misfits.
The farther we drove, the less life was evident. We were trampling on the home of rocks and dirt. A beyond-cheesy video system and a convoy of humorous truckers, photographers, and video journalists made the drive fly by. Being split up a hair was unlucky for one of the cruisers, as he was the only vehicle caught in a violent hailstorm. For the third year in a row, the crew at Auto Trendz in Oklahoma City opened their doors and fed the lot of us. With the Pepsi machine cracked open and pizza at the ready, we were geared up to go a few more hours.
Since year one, a cruise has been set up in Salisaw, Oklahoma. As always, there were enthusiasts anxiously waiting at the O'Reilly Auto Parts downtown. There was cruising, dragging, mingling, and even the molestation of a church sign. After the cruise, we proceeded back to our hotel and did what mini-truckers do best: have a good time. In a strange series of events, some of the local Arby's ladies were pursued. One thing led to another and an Arby's uniform was traded for, then away to work Cracker from IF went. Not only did Cracker get to make his own mozzarella sticks, he had help from management. Next stop: Conway.
It was then onto Conway, Arkansas, home of the infamous Wal-Mart that we take over once a year. This is the last meeting spot for anyone who wants to get on the last leg of our slog. It was refreshing to see so many new faces in the crowd. Everyone gassed up, automotively, as well as physically, and away to Greenville we rode.
On the final stretch, some of the east-to-west cruise merged with us in a carefully planned union thought out by the IF guys. Now rolling with 40 to 50 vehicles through po-dunk towns, you could only feel excitement. As we crossed the bridge over the Mississippi River, you could smell the mini-truckin' mecca. A few more minutes and we arrived at the Greenville welcome sign. We stopped everyone for a huge photo-op and then let them be, to party it up in the accepting town of Greenville, Mississippi. A huge thanks goes out to the crew at IF Customs for organizing what was once again a successful trip.