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MAA Event Coverage: North To Seattle '95

By Sam Haymart - Mustangs Across America Magazine Summer 1995


The caravan from Southern California to Seattle/Bellevue, Washington was born in late July 1994 after seeing Mustang Northwest’s annual Round-Up show and hearing from many people who wanted to attend what is likely the biggest and best Mustang show in the western U.S. The theme for us, once again, was to bring as many people and Mustangs from as far away as possible to drive up to the show. Day One: Camarillo, CA to Sacramento, CA

At 8:00 in the morning cars began to trickle into the parking lot of Scott Drake Mustang Parts in beautiful Camarillo. Just south of Ventura, this small community is apart from the congestion of Los Angeles and is close to the beach for the scenery we all love. At 8:30 the driver’s meeting was held amid the rumble of a few late arriving Mustangs. The Scott Drake crew was serving up donuts and coffee while drivers of the fifteen caravan cars prepared to depart. Here, before the drive even started new friendships and CB “handles” were already born. Rick Meredith from Fullerton, CA drove up in a Lincoln Mark VIII with FoMoCo manufacturer’s plates. He won a week’s use of any Ford product at a local car show and the fleet was out of Mustangs, so they became known as “Hot Rod Lincoln”, Long distance award winner, Mike Hedges of Bryans Road, Maryland arrived with his stunning red ‘70 Mach 1. Pete Rovero of Torrance, CA arrived with his ‘71 coupe dubbed “Green Machine” from last year’s journey, but this year he added a hood mounted canvas desert water bag to his options list.

The caravan departed north on Highway 101 to Ventura where they converged on state route 126 toward I-5 north. The 45-mile drive on S-126 was candy for those with an appetite for scenery. The winding and twisting road led through a path of pastoral sights of fruit orchards and mountains. A great place to show off California to those who had not been here before indeed. We soon wrapped our band of headlights onto I-5 near Magic Mountain for Kettleman City - our lunch stop. By now, CB chatter was keeping us entertained. “Hot Rod Lincoln” was now discovering the Mark VIII trip computer and was now broadcasting weather reports regularly. . The Ford Motor Company ‘95 Mustang pace car was stretching its muscles out on the open road with the ‘95 Ford Windstar can bringing up the rear. At Kettleman City, everyone too the opportunity to fuel up and visit the In-and-Out Burger for some high octane eats. Darrel and Monica Pinkerton of Flagstaff, AZ met up with the group trailering their yellow ‘70 428CJ convertible. The continuation of the I-5 journey to Sacramento went without event until just south of Sacramento, where the tables turned. John Skypeck’s ‘68 GT fastback ran low of fuel and the pace car stopped to assist, instructing the Windstar chase vehicle to lead the caravan the rest of the way into town and to the hotels. The comedy of errors went into full motion as the young Sean McDonaugh from NSW, Australia at the wheel of “Windstar” was cut off and sent onto the wrong freeway leading part of the caravan north and away from town. After the toured the Sacramento International Airport a few times, yet another car ran out of gas. It all sounded like a thrill ride after the fact that night at the hotel. “Hot Rod Lincoln” was constantly reminded of the local airports the rest of the way to Seattle - obviously an inside joke.

That evening, a show-n-shine and cruise-in was held at a local A&W Drive-In across the street from the hotel in Sacramento. The parking lot was packed with Mustangs from the Sacramento Area Mustang Club as well as the many out of towners. We could tell by the many new Mustangs with license plates from B.C. Canada, Ohio, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, Minnesota, and others that tomorrow was surely going to be a big day.

Day Two: Sacramento, CA to Medford, OR

In the morning on Thursday we arrived at Sacramento Mustang Parts to stage up the caravan . The parking lot and adjacent alleyways were wall-to-wall with people and cars. After a briefing on the day’s itinerary, the caravan was off. The official count of 69 cars left the staging area to enter the freeway. The drive from Sacramento to Redding, CA was pleasant as the weatherman was giving us 83 degrees, far from overheating weather. We once again passed Sacramento International Airport as the string of headlights stretched up I-5 though the northern end of the Central Valley. Redding arrived before us and was a welcome stop for those in need of fuel and food. We had earlier decided to take an unscheduled clogging of a rest area so we were a bit behind the printed schedule. The Shasta Mustang Club brought out a good size group of Mustangs to greet us at the Kmart shopping center where we converged. Taco Bell was the winner of the fast food wars today. After a nice visit with the local club we motored on to Medford.

Between Redding and Medford is a sizeable mountain range with some excellent views of Mt. Shasta. Even this late in July, a hearty snowcap adorned the dormant volcano. The scenery changed from “California Brown” to a luscious green hue of trees, mountains, and streams. We knew that if we would have overheating troubles, this is where they would happen. Sure enough, a car lost a radiator just south of the Oregon border. The chase vehicle driven by Vic Lopez or Sacramento’s Mustang Connection pulled in and a new radiator was installed in fifteen minutes. The last downhill stint into Oregon is dramatic. You come around a curve and drop immediately into the Rouge Valley floor. Aside of a few slow trucks in the right lane, our view was uninterrupted Nirvana. A few more miles and we arrived to beautiful Medford.

At the motel, members of the Rouge Valley Mustangs greeted us. They met up with us later that evening and took us on a cruise down to Ashland where we had a dinner together at Chubby’s Diner. Members of Seattle’s Mustangs Northwest Club even came down to meet us and guide us on tomorrow's drive.

 

Day Three: Medford, OR to Seattle/Bellevue, WA

The tide has come in. Today, the last count was up to 124 cars. We spent a little longer time at our driver’s meeting this morning handling our prizes and leaflets prepared by the Seattle club for our arrival sequence. A lot of pre-planned activities were part of our schedule today in addition to the fact that we had 451 miles to go. Chuck Knerr from Medford “Rock-N-Roll” oldies radio station was on hand interviewing participants. The spirits were high as the group departed the staging lot one-by-one to enter I-5 on a day as long and tightly scheduled as this one, everyone seemed both excited and apprehensive about what was ahead. We had two scheduled rest and fuel stops and an additional stop in Vancouver for lunch.

About 30 minutes out of Medford, heard over the CB radio: “Oh, oh we have problems....turn to channel 9 if there are any injuries”. The caravan was stopped immediately until we heard what had happened. It turns out that a number of cars bunched up in traffic and someone got cut off. This caused a few cars to brake suddenly, one lost control and spun onto the shoulder. The two ABS equipped cars following were credited for saving the car - no bent fenders.

Our first fuel stop was another episode of comedy. In Oregon, you are not allowed to fuel your own car. All gas stations are full serve. Imagine what happens when 100 Mustangs pull off a lonely freeway exit where only two gas stations exist. Add to that the fact that the highway was not lonely at all. Heavy local traffic, road construction, and disabled traffic lights added to the mix. Needless to say, this 15-minute stop turned into 30 minutes. We had to direct most of the cars up the freeway to other exits. This effectively blew the caravan into many small particles that realigned in Vancouver for our lunch stop.. Penny Willis of the Mustangs Unlimited Club in Vancouver led us into town and to our stop location in her black and gold Saleen convertible. She and her club are also credited with organizing the stop as well. We were running roughly one hour late, but at this point we didn't really care. Quite a few more cars joined us here as we staged up at a “park-n-ride” lot adjacent to the freeway. We paraded on for the last leg of our journey. The warnings of heavy local traffic were true as we merged back onto I-5 toward Seattle with one more stop to make. The weather reports coming in from “Hot Rod Lincoln” were telling of cooler temperatures and overcast skies. Photo opportunities! Yes, this is the time where you can’t see the end of the caravan from anywhere in its length. A ribbon of headlights as far as the eye can see - it’s grand! We wonder what the civilians are thinking. The last stop before Seattle was the Scatter Creek rest area just outside of Olympia. The Mustangs West Club organized this courtesy stop for us, handing out goody bags and drinks to all that arrived there. We literally took over the entire truck parking area and the auto& RV section as well. More photos and videos were taken while we stretched out legs. It took twenty minutes for the caravan to filter into the rest area. The cars were counted again as we exited for the last 80-mile segment. Doug and Carol Peters of the Mustangs Northwest Club led the contingent in and through Seattle’s thick commuter traffic, north on I-405 to Bellevue. As our caravan made a grand entrance at the Bellevue Inn photographers lined the street. It took nearly thirty minutes for the group to enter the parking lot. It was reported that a number of high-fives were spotted.
Later in the evening, the local club set up a lively hospitality room at the hotel for all our participants. FREE BEER! The laughter and chuckles were heard though the mid-night hour in the halls of the Bellevue Inn.


 

Southern California: The MAA pace car photographed just after departing Camarillo, CA Southern California: "Green Machine" . Pete Rovero of Torrance, CA hangs a desert water bag from his well known Mustang. Southern California: "Green Machine" . Pete Rovero of Torrance, CA hangs a desert water bag from his well known Mustang.
Sacramento, CA: Sam Haymart talks to the lost convoy on the CB who are hopelessly touring Sacramento's International Airport ten miles away. Sacramento, CA: At A&W, the crowd sets in for a show and shine after the day's drive. Sacramento, CA: Staging area at Sacramento Mustang Parts on day two. Sacramento, CA: MAA Pace car and support can ready to leave for the trek to Medford, OR
Sacramento, CA: The cars packed into alleyways and parking lots at Sacramento Mustang Parts. Sacramento, CA: New drivers are welcomed at the registration table and purchase T-shirts for the event. Northern, CA: Mount Shasta peers up high and mighty as we pass along Interstate 5 Oregon: Tony Sousa rips along in his '65 Shelby now with a brand new engine for this event. No more need to keep a case of oil in the trunk!
Bellevue, WA : Convoy team MAA members Dusty and Mony Pinkerton from Flagstaff, AZ pose by Mustang One. Bellevue, WA : MAA participants Mr and Mrs. Wiggins of Washington show their rare 1994 Cobra "Hardtop" convertible. They only made a handdful of hardtop cars in 1994 before production was ceased. Bellevue, WA : The hardtop was so rare in fact, that the parts for it dont even show up in the Ford dealer parts manuals. Note the special eyelet for the alignment pins. Bellevue, WA : When in place the hard top looks identical to the coupe.
Bellevue, WA : Little Sidney Haymart at just five months old enjoys his first big car show and MAA event. Bellevue, WA : MAA participants from Grass Valley, CA pose by their car at the Mustangs Northwest show. Bellevue, WA : MAA participants David and Penny Willis show their new Speedster SR-351 at the Saleen pavillion. This is rumored to be the prototype Speedster first built at the hands of the Willis's and Steve Saleen. Bellevue, WA : A sweeping look across a portion of one of the largest Mustangs shows in the West
 
Bellevue, WA : The MAA HQ pavillion at the Mustangs Northwest show. Bellevue, WA : A sweeping look across a portion of one of the largest Mustangs shows in the West 1995 Mustang GT pace car photographed on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. "Mustangs and Fords" editor Jim Smart and Sam Haymart drove the car up into a crowded park illegally to pose the it for this shot. They hastily took pictures and ran for it. This is a large-file photo  
       
 
 
 

• MAA Alumni planning 2007 Caravan drive to Mustang, OK for the MCA National show in April!


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