For the second year in a row, an elite group of die-hards have converged on Iaccino Fabrication and Customs' Sylmar, California, shop for the drive of their lives that will take them more than 1,800 miles from California to Mississippi for Showfest, one of the most anticipated events of the season. This year, though, the drive of their lives was dedicated to another life. Matt Eye, a former shop hand at IF Customs, was tragically killed in an auto accident earlier in the year. In his memory, Carey, Fonze, and the rest of the crew dedicated late night after late night, attempting to complete all the heavy fabrication needed to finish off Matt's '67 Chevy in order for it to cruise to Greenville with them. The four-day drive was set to take the caravan through the vast Southwest, up into cousin-lovin' country, and finally drop into the Mississippi valley.
Day 1 - Tuesday
There's No Minute Like The Last Minute
The scheduled kick-off time for the cruise was tentatively set for around 6 p.m. Fonze and the crew kept themselves busy, finishing up the wiring, tanks, and windows while they waited for a few key components for Matt's ride, namely the fuel cell and the oil pan. Just as the magic hour was beginning to creep up on the crew and production had started to slow down, David Lloyd showed up with the parts needed to put everyone back in the game. While the IF team frantically moved around the shop finishing things up, the rest of the cruise was starting to come together. Trucks began to show up in pairs, and crowds of people milled around the IF showroom waiting to get on the road. In the meantime, Carey was assessing just how much longer he and his magic shop elves would need to complete the '67. Eventually, the decision was made that Carey, Fonze, and a few others would stay behind and let the cruise shove off on its first leg, then catch up the following day somewhere in Arizona. After a quick Kodak moment, the caravan was draggin' its way out of the driveway and heading for Barstow, California, where a few more trucks would join the mix. Barstow was nothing more than a midnight blur of fill-ups, quick snacks, and handshakes before the 140-mile trek to the Needles, just outside of the California-Arizona border. The final stop of the night was into the Motel 6 for a quick nap before heading back on the road again.
Day 2 - Wednesday
Day two proved to be a never-ending test of sanity. After what looked to be a hostile takeover of McD's, the troops headed to their trucks for one of the longest legs of the trip across Arizona and through New Mexico to the New Mexico/Texas border. With only 3 miles under the belt, Dave had to pull his Ranger over on the side of the freeway for an unscheduled pit stop. Apparently, it's not a good idea to run your main power wire over the hot EGR tube. Something about melting through the wire shielding and grounding out your power source isn't a good thing. Who would've known? After a little wrenching, the convoy was back in business and heading for Flagstaff, Arizona, to pick up even more trucks. Flagstaff proved to be a much-needed break for food, a good stretch, and some bathroom breaks. A few new heads were picked up for the ride and the cruise was on like Donkey Kong. The next destination would take the caravan through several ear-popping altitude changes and drop us off in Gallop, New Mexico, for fuel. The long haul then continued through Albuquerque, past what seemed like a million mile markers, with a fuel stop and a quick drag session in Santa Rosa, nearing the edge of New Mexico. As midnight approached, the long line of steady drivers began to show signs of exhaustion. With a chirp of the Nextels came the name of our final destination. "We're stopping at too-come-query." -Chirp- "Two crumb what?" -Chirp- "To-comb-carry." -Chirp- "Tune coon what? -Chirp- "T-u-c-u-m-c-a-r-i," -Chirp- "What the hell is that?" -Chirp- "I think it's the armpit of New Mexico."
Dave flashes the international sign for "Help, I'm broken down on the side of the freeway.
"I say, I say, boy, get in the truck. We is a gonna drive!"
Day 3 - Thursday
Pit Stop at Auto Trenz
By 7 o'clock, trucks and trailers were lined up outside of the hotel under a thick sky, ready to get back on the road again. Like a bad sequel to the previous day, the D-factor kicked in and Dave had to make another pit stop. This time the charging system on the Toyota that he had commandeered decided to go south, so with the help of a few others, they stayed behind and decided to catch up with the rest of the group later. As the cruise made its way through Amarillo, Texas, word came that Carey was just outside of Albuquerque and should be able to meet up with the rest of the convoy that evening. A little after noon, everyone made a stop at Auto Trenz in Oklahoma City, where pizza, drinks, and a few repairs for the trucks were provided. After lunch, the cruise headed for Sallisaw, Oklahoma, its final destination of the day, to not only double the number of trucks, but also unwind with a drag session. Once everyone had their fill, it was back to the hotel for a few brews and to wait for Carey to show up.
Auto Trenz hosted a lunch for the cruise participants and even helped repair a few of the
Once again, the D-factor kicked in and the cruise found itself repairing Dave's stuff on t
Day - 4 Friday
Greenville Or Bust
The morning started off with good news. Carey made it into town driving Matt's truck early in the morning after driving for two days straight. The truck had made it the whole way with only minimal issues and was ready to roll through Mississippi later that night. Everyone met up and was on the road by 10 o'clock with only one thing on their minds: getting into Greenville. The long line of trucks cruised east on Interstate 40, making good time, and only had to stop once to change a flat on the lead vehicle. From there, it was on to Conway, Arkansas, to pick up even more trucks, take a quick lunch break, and then get back to the freeway thanks to a police escort. After a few hours of driving through Arkansas, the final gas stop was made in Dumas and a quick head count was made. Much to the surprise of all, more than 80 custom trucks filled up the gas station, surrounding roads and parking lots. When everyone was finished filling up, a huge line was formed and the final stretch of road began passing under each truck. News came in just as the convoy headed over the Mississippi river that Greenville had been stuck under heavy rain clouds throughout the day, but it had finally started to lighten up. All eyes turned to watch the procession of trucks as the convoy entered Greenville and turned onto Highway 82. It had taken four days and seven states to make it into Mississippi, and there wasn't a person aboard the trip that wouldn't do it again. To join next year's cruise, contact Carey or anyone else at IF Customs at (818) 837-3000, www.ifcustom.com