-This great story was sent to me by Chris Kiernan. Thank you, Chris! -
On May 14th 2021 four Ford Model A’s set out on a 600+ mile road trip to central Utah. After a small gathering at Keiler’s Kustoms to get the day started the 1931 21 stud Flathead powered roadster owned by Jay Keele, 1930 Banger powered coupe owned by Jason Rollins, 1928 Olds Rocket J2 powered phaeton owned by Trevor Townsend and 1929 Cadillac powered tub owned by Chris Kiernan hopped on highway US 89 and headed south. The starting leg took them onto US 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon which is one of the most dangerous but equally beautiful roads in Utah. The group’s first stop was in Helper Utah, this great little town is going through a revitalization of its historic main street and it was great to see it firsthand. The group was given a tour of a few of the key properties that started the updates including a motorcycle museum and an auto shop with a couple gasser Corvettes. On the way out of town there is a Conoco gas station that is a great place to take some car photos and it’s also an Air BnB if you wanted to stay there.
Sherald’s Frosty Freeze is a must stop location on Main Street in Price if you are passing through. These guys make it a point to stop for and frequently go out of their way to eat a hamburger while seeing new places in their hot rods. After an amazing lunch and a couple photos with the neon signed burger joint in the background it was time to get back on the road. With the banger powered coupe being the slowest he opted to take up the rear and didn’t want to hold back the group. The roadster, phaeton and tub decided to stop some 50 miles down the road and wait for the coupe to catch back up before getting onto I-70 but after waiting a bit they called to find out he was on the side of the road a few miles back battling a carburetor problem. A couple of the guys were going to take the phaeton back up to help when it decided it didn’t want to start, just part of the fun of driving 90+ year old cars to the middle of nowhere. They got both problems sorted out, everyone back together and got back on the road to Goblin Valley State Park. Goblin Valley is one of those places that you need a little time to hike around to really enjoy but they didn’t have time since there was still 75 miles to go and they were running out of daylight. On the road and chasing daylight they drove through a scenic part of UT24 in the dark and completely missed the scenery so one day they will need to go back and see it again. This rowdy group of cars pulled into the Rim Rock Inn in Torrey and a few of the guests peered out of their rooms with scowls to see what all the commotion was. The guys had just enough time to grab dinner at the Rim Rock Restaurant before calling it a night.
Day 2 got underway with a drive down Scenic Drive Road in Capital Reef National Park. This two-lane road with minimal pull offs seemed like the perfect place to start troubleshooting why the roadster wasn’t running right. Many of the people passing by would slow down or stop and ask if there was a car show somewhere? The roadster’s troubles were narrowed down to an electrical problem and the closest auto parts store was a Napa in the next town over. They left the roadster and ran to the Napa that had already closed for the day but the owner was more than happy to open up and charge a premium for parts. Back at the roadster, repairs were completed and it was onto Scenic Byway 12. This road is one of the most scenic roads that you could drive in America so it’s that much better with a group of friends in hot rods. There is a bit of elevation change and the guys were greeted with some cooler temperatures and some snow flurries along the way. The tub lost its license plate but the guys behind him saw it and stopped to grab it. There were a few stops for some photos along the way, because you can never take enough photos in amazing places like that. Running out of daylight the group arrived at Rainbow Point overlook in Bryce Canyon National Park just in time to see the sunset. In what now seems like it might happen every day the group takes all day to drive a couple hundred miles and gets to the last restaurant that is open just in time to grab dinner. Again, like Deja vu making their neighbors peer out of their rooms as the cars were parked.
Day 3 started with some parking lot maintenance on the Cadillac powered tub, it had been consuming the most gas due to some carburetor problems and running rich so they cleaned the spark plugs because they were fouled. The guys enjoyed some breakfast and started on the trek back home. They got onto US 89 which is a very enjoyable drive through this part of the state with just enough curves and scenery to keep you in awe of the surrounding natural beauty but also engaged in driving. The drive north was mostly uneventful, about half way back home the group stopped for one last group photo and to say their goodbyes as they went their separate ways from approximately where they started. The coupe and tub had to continue north while the others went east and west, and they were caught in a downpour which always raises the excitement level in an open car. Everyone made it home safe and sound, some just a bit wetter than others.
While this story talked about cars it’s really about the people driving those cars and the friendships we make along the way. As one of these guys says “get busy living or get busy dying”. So get your friends together and go for a drive. This event was the first year of what has now become an annual thing and has grown but there will always be a certain nostalgia for the first one.