The First Annual Nova List Gathering
The Journey to St. Louis
Part 1
(click on any image to see a larger version)

I got outta bed around 5 am, got myself ready, loaded up the car, and was about ready to hit the road at 6:10 am on a gorgeous, sunny, 55 degree morning, but in an e-mail from Craig Watson the prior night, he had said he cobbled up a rear firewall the prior day to meet NHRA requirements for when the battery is installed in the trunk.  Well there was NO WAY I was gonna get booted off the track for not having a rear firewall only to watch him run all day long, so I cut a 20"x60" sheet of 18 gauge steel from a larger piece I had in the garage.  Anyway, because of that, I didn't get out of the driveway until about 6:25 am, which was 25 minutes after my intended departure time. Not that I was surprised.  Here's my '72 Nova all loaded up and ready to go, but still parked in my driveway:

Okay, I finally left.  Here's the odometer reading as I drove away (actually about five miles into it):
If you can't read it, it says 98858.7.  Actually you need to add 100,000 miles to that figure to get the real odometer statement for my Nova.  Not bad, huh?  Not exactly an original car, but nevertheless...

Don't you just love ramp meters?  If you don't have them in your area, consider yourself lucky.  Here's me waiting in line at the ramp meter ready to get on U.S. Highway 10 to start putting some miles under me!  I live in a northern suburb of Minneapolis, so I had the joy of driving through the entire Twin Cities Metropolitan Area during rush hour.  Dang, why didn't I leave at 5am?

The Minneapolis skyline, not terribly impressive, but it's all we've got!  I'm on I-94 now:

I crossed the Mississippi River between my house and Minneapolis, but neglected to take a picture.  South of Minneapolis flows the Minnesota River.  I took the shot from the I-35W bridge over the river:

I did tons of work on my Nova in the month prior to the Gathering, and put a total of about 8 miles on my car the Tuesday before I left for St. Louis.  Needless to say I was more than a little nervous about taking a 650-mile trip alone on an untested vehicle, but things were going great.  All systems go!
The only strange thing was that my tranny temp gauge, which I had just installed, looked like it wasn't working. Hmm, maybe the ether-filled tube-thing had broken during installation. Turns out it was just running that cool!  About 110 degrees. And this was about three hours into the trip, too.  Later in the day as the ambient temperature climbed into the mid-80s, the tranny temp gauge skyrocketed all the way to 140.

Is this a town in southern Minnesota or one of those Nostradamus predictions?
Literally or Politically?

I made it to the southern border of Minnesota. Uh-oh, now entering Iowa.  Prepare for excitement!
Ummm, where is the excitement?
Nope, not there!

 Well,  the speed limits sure didn't help to make it interesting...
What's up with that?  65? Man, there's nothing in Iowa anyway, the least they could do is let you fly through it at a reasonable rate of speed!

Ohhhh, here's the excitement, a traffic jam on the Interstate in the middle of Nowhere, Iowa!
And here's the cause of the traffic jam, and one of Iowa's finest...
So why is he in the middle of the right lane waving traffic by?  Wouldn't it be better if he just sat in his car so we could all go by on both lanes?  But I'm not the professional, he is, so I'll just bow to his better judgement.  Man, between the cop and the gawkers, I was thinking I may not make it to St. Louis until Saturday! Okay, yes, I took the picture, does that make me a gawker?  Perhaps it does.

Now this is the most exciting thing that's happened in Iowa in weeks!

Could someone explain to me the need for this? Keep in mind this is still in the outskirts of Nowhere, Iowa on a 4-lane, divided Interstate highway...
No freakin' parking?  Why on earth would I want to park there?  Parking on any Interstate is illegal unless it's an emergency anyway, why post it?  I just don't get it. Iowa.

More stuff from my trip down to St. Louis on the Next Page

Gathering Links...
The Trip to St. Louis:   Page 1   Page 2   Page 3
Friday Night in St. Louis:   Page 1
Saturday:   Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5
Sunday:   Page 1   Page 2   Page 3
The Trip Home from St. Louis:   Page 1   Page 2

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