I've mentioned on the podcast a few times that I would like to start including listener/reader stories. Here is a fantastic one that was sent to me by Brian Schaub, Vanillagreaze on Instagram. I've followed Brian for quite a while and couldn't help but notice that he and his group of friends are very serious about hot rods, and specifically about driving the HELL out of them. These aren't scenesters posing for Instagram photos for clout, they are die-hard hot rodders that are out there racking up thousands of miles on their cars every year, the way it should be, and having a great time doing it. I fucking love it, and I love that I can include one of their stories on this site. If you have a great story you want to have told here and read on The Iron and Steele Podcast please email me at: Jake@ironandsteele.com
Most of our Hot Rod group lives in the Phoenix metro area, but spread out, so we usually meet at a gas station that’s pretty much on the way to wherever we’re heading. We planned a trip to Laughlin for Rachels Birthday, we made said plans in early March. The weather was in the 70’s and warming up. We thought all the winter storms were over with for the year... Boy we were Wrong!
The forecast called for possible light showers and clearing through the morning, we already booked our rooms in Laughlin, so we were going no matter what... How bad could it be?
We avoided any real rain on our way up to Prescott Valley to meet up with Rachel and Andrew, it even looked like things were clearing up and we could see blue sky through the clouds. It was much colder at that elevation, but we expected that for the most part, what we did not expect was what came next.
Just as we passed Paulden, this is a small pass that leads to a vast sea of Juniper trees, that’s when we first encounter the “Light Snow”. It wasn’t long before the fluffy little flakes turned into real snow, then began to gather on our windshields. As the miles went by, the snow began to completely freeze over and obscure our view of the road.
Photo courtesy of @hotrod_rsb
Rick and I drive roadsters with no tops, which worked in our advantage because we could see over our ice-covered windshields. The others were not as fortunate, they were forced to clear the glass with their hands or even stick their heads out of their windows to see the road. We were heading North on 89A, just trying to make it to the next stop, which was Ash Fork. We stopped to get gas and regroup, not sure what to think of the somewhat unexpected snowstorm we had just driven right into.
Thinking we had seen the worst of it, we pulled on to the 40 West towards our next stop in Seligman. The weather became more intense as we began driving directly into the storm. Visibility worsened as the Big Rigs kicked up a slushy frozen slurry at us. Fortunately, we were only on the 40 for a little bit before we got off on Old Route 66 with far less traffic. We were able to take our time drive at a relatively safe pace, although I'm not sure if there is a "safe" pace for driving an open wheel roadster with bias ply tires in a snowstorm!
At one point, the ice would freeze over our windshields, then become so heavy that the ice sheet would slide off and clear our view for a moment, then start the cycle all over again.
We arrived in Seligman to grab lunch at the Roadkill Café. The warm and cozy lodge style restaurant was extremely appreciated as we were really starting to get cold at that point. After all, we hadn't really prepared for this kind of weather: I was wearing jeans, a hoody and a Dickies jacket!
Photo courtesy of @hotrod_rsb
Lunch was tasty and we took our time warming up inside as the storm appeared to be moving on. The clutch linkage in Rachels Model T coupe had broken just as we pulled in for lunch, so Her and Andrew went in search of a suitable repair material at the local hardware store while the rest of us searched for shower squeegees and other household items to help keep our windshields clear on the rest of our trip.
The owner of the Roadkill Café was nice enough to call the snowplow drivers and make sure the road had been cleared and was safe for us to proceed. Andrew and Rachel were able to MacGuyver the clutch linkage and we got back on the road. We were literally driving directly into the storm, we found out later on that ADOT had closed the 40 East of Ash Fork for nearly 12 hours. I couldn’t imagine what we would have done if we were stuck in our Hot Rods in the snow for that long!
As the day wore on, it wasn’t long before the snow began to melt and make for a slick and messy drive. We pulled over at the Hackberry General Store, a neat little Route 66 trinket shop popular with European motorcyclists. They have several old cars on display and a garage area with some flatheads, old shop equipment, and of course... antique signage, great for Photo-Ops!
By this time the storm had begun to pass, but it was still rather cold. The wood stove in the general store felt nice as we chatted about the crazy day we'd had so far.
The next stop was Giganitcus Headicus, you guested it... a giant head! Well, a Giant Easter Island-style head at an old motor lodge just East of Kingman. It was now late afternoon and we pushed on towards Laughlin.
As we made our descent into the Colorado River valley, the clouds began to clear, and the temperature began to climb. Earlier in the day we had pushed our way through a freezing snowstorm and now we had blue skies and 70 degrees, what journey!
Weather and Season definitely play a role in our routes and overall timeframes. For instance, summertime is hot in the valley, so we typically head to higher elevations to avoid the heat and stay there until the sun goes down and things cool off. Sometimes it just doesn’t cool down and you’ve got to just go for it to get home. During the winter, we tend to stay in the valley, but not always.
Photo courtesy of @hotrod_rsb