It was somewhere between Springfield and St. Louis, Missouri, when it all started to make sense. The hotel rooms, blistering asphalt, greasy food, and sunburn all faded away on a curvy stretch of highway in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Steering the '90 Corvette convertible through the esses, something that required little effort, at highway speeds on a perfect summer day made the whole trip worthwhile.
Thousands of others enjoyed their own moments of revelation on the 2004 Hot Rod Power Tour. Total participation was 3,706 vehicles, with 2,251 Long Haulers traversing America's breadbasket from Arlington, Texas; to Tulsa, Oklahoma; Springfield, Missouri; St. Louis; Davenport, Iowa; Chicago; and Green Bay, Wisconsin. In all, more than 50,000 people participated as drivers, riders, and spectators.
Corvettes of all generations were on hand, as well as some from no known generation. Wild customs ran side by side with stock-restored cars and well-cared-for late-models.
Each morning of driving was followed by a car show, at which enthusiasts could meet face-to-face with big-name vendors, test their mettle on the dyno, admire their compatriots' rides, or just sit and relax.
The world's largest traveling car show continues to grow, and it isn't too early to begin making preparations for 2005. Next year might be your moment.