Monday June 4, 2001
Eastbound And Down Loaded Up And Trucking
Destination
Tuscon, Arizona
Mileage
465

Our Trek broke smartly from the gate, as all the participants and their steeds met as scheduled atop the parking structure adjacent to the empire's headquarters in the shadow of the California Angles' stadium; the Big Ed. Our first day of travel was slated to be the longest, so we passed out the radios, slithered our nine-vehicle caravan out of the structure and snaked onto the East 91 freeway. Our first stop was Coachella for a quick bite. The Vortech Integra would not start and the fuel pump was identified as the culprit. Before the Vortech 2 got too serious, the intrepid Michael Graham remembered the alarm had sounded. A button push on the key fob later we were on the road. The miles rolled up and we were soon in Phoenix for our first photo op-MTX. The audio company had set-up an impromptu car show/barbecue. There was some mean bass thumpin' going down and engine swap gurus Hasport was on hand with a number of its engine-transplanted Hondas. Group A/ROH Wheels also had a nice layout of custom aluminum. After a nice visit, the troop motored onto I-10 and our first layover in Tuscon.

Tuesday June 5, 2001
Damn It's Hot; But It's A Warm Heat
Destination
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Mileage
341

Ultra Performance, a high-profile mail order company based in the Tuscon/Phoenix area, suggested a nice hotel for us and were scheduled to have breakfast with us and see the caravan off. Ultra's Jeff Furrier missed breakfast, but was there as we once again aimed the snake east.

Prior to breaching the state line into New Mexico, we came upon Texas Valley, Arizona. As whacked out as the name is, it pales in comparison with the dreaded Thing? of Texas Valley. The Thing? is part mummy, part monster-one of those rare oddities that escaped the clutches of Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The carnival sideshow attraction only costs a buck to see and we highly suggest the experience...err, but not too soon after lunch. I made a big move on the souvenirs while Grambo put on his own fashion show, complete with stuffed cock and sombrero. He bought the hat but denies buying the feather-filled rooster. I know it didn't get back to the shelves...maybe this explains why he would disappear from time to time...it was a long week. A crowning moment of the trip was when we tie-wrapped a set of steer horns to the Xterra. The Xterra was the lead vehicle when we pulled into a venue and if you're heading into a hostile environment, best lead with pointed skull cartilage. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, the wagon train paused to upload some data for the web coverage of the road trip, then it was on to I-70 and our layover in Alamogordo. As we approached Alamogordo, which is just east of the White Sands Missile Range, we caught a glimspe of a F-117 Stealth Fighter pulling some heavy Gs-talk about high-tech performance. My digestive system was at Defcon 5; we ate dinner after 9 p.m. for the second night in a row.