Road Trip to Ruidoso

Even though the first Road Trip was credited to Bertha Benz (wife of Karl Benz, who we all know invented the gasoline-powered car), the Road Trip is truly an American Icon given in part to Route 66, American movies, and our own road trip memories. Just the idea of the road trip conjures images of Wyatt and Billy, Otter, Boon & Flounder, Clark ogling “The girl in the red Ferrari”,  or your own college shenanigans.

The last week of 2011,  I took off from Dallas to Ruidoso, New Mexico on my own road trip. As usual, I think getting there is half the fun.   My version of roadgeeking involves spotting interesting vehicles and driving through random towns along the way.  I won’t bore everyone with the number of Wagoneers or FJ-40′s I saw in fields, but here are a few pictures of my trip.

My choice of vehicle for this trip is the 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser. Gas pours through this truck like it’s free, but the four wheel drive and scooter hauling capabilities make up for it.

It's 5:00 AM and take-off time. The truck is equipped with a scooter hauler in case I find a Lambretta in the middle of nowhere.


Barn-find Willys Jeep on a Trailer.


BNSF Line and Wind Turbines.

I pulled over to snap a shot of an old tractor in a small town, and much to my suprise was a mid-1950′s “handle-bar” scooter leaning against the barn.  It’s an Italian made Vespascooter that was sold by Sears under the Allstate brand. Just, fyi, I was able to contact the owner after a little sleuthing.

Very weathered and mising some parts, but still an interesting barn-find.


Many Allstates have surfaced in rural communities. Farmers and ranchers bought them right out of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalogue.

Piaggio is the parent company of the iconic Vespa motor scooter.

Texas license plate from 1964. Apparently the last year it was registered.

I continued west and stopped to hunt for  fossil specimens just south of U.S. 84. I’d heard this area was a good place to find Cretaceous area Pelecypods and Echinoids.

Here are the cleaned examples of the oyster fossils I found. I believe these fall under the genus, Texigrypheae:

BNSF Railway Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD pickup equiped with high-rail system.

I hit some snow in far West Texas as I crossed into Eastern New Mexico. I saw an interesting antique rideable train and had to sneak some photos. As soon as I hear back from my train experts I’ll post up what this thing is.

Yes, the golf cart is a Harley-Davidson.

These shots were taken through the fence of a great junkyard in Roswell, New Mexico. Thanks to my cousin, Bryan Wofford, for giving me the tip about this place.

After driving almost 600 miles I get into the mountains outside Ruidoso. I don’t recommend taking pictures through the windshield while driving on twisty mountain roads. I really don’t recommend photos that include borring Chevy Cavaliers either.

A few days later I coasted the entire way home. Thanks for reading. -Grant




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Moped Madness

     Well, I never thought I’d say I own a moped. Sure, people call my antique Lambretta and Vespa motor scooters mopeds all the time, but I’m talking about the real deal. Actual pedals and a motor mounted to what originally was a bicycle frame. Hence moped, meaning motor and pedals.

I know all the moped jokes too, but I can’t pass up anything with a motor and orange paint.  This little French gem had been tucked away in a Lake Highlands, Dallas garage for years.  I knew the paint was going to be perfect once I scrubbed off the 30 years of garage dirt.  I was thrilled it cleaned up as well as it did with four hours of detailing. Even more pleased when it fired up, ok putted to life, with some fresh gas.  It’s an excellent original condition Motobecane 50V Mobylette, built in 1977.

Motobecane used to dominate the French motorcycle and bicycle industry back in it’s day. Fourteen million Mobylettes of some model were made from 1948 to 1985. Sales decreased for decades as cars were more accessible to Europeans and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1981. Yamaha purchased the company and formed it into MBK in 1984. MBKis still selling re-badged Yamaha scooters (not mopeds) today.

It even has the original tire pump and tool kit.

Everyone  I’ve spoken too in the last couple of days has a childhood story of building sweet ramps for their mopeds.

782 slow miles were covered by the original owners as they cruised around California.

Moped discussion reminded me of Hollywood Holt’s famous moped song:

There was even a Ducati moped cruising the Tour d’Elegance and sitting pretty on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach last year:

If you have an itch for an old Italian, French, or Austrian moped, give Lester a call at Austin Mopeds or call Kyle at Kyles Scooter Shop in Dallas.

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Cadillac Ciel Concept Unveiling

I attended the world premier of the Cadillac Ciel at Clint Eastwood’s Tehama Golf Club on Aug 18, 2011. First new automobile (be it a concept) I’ve ever seen by Cadillac that was breathtaking. Very stylish throwback to the old days of convertible Cadillacs, complete with four suicide doors. There was some lively dinner conversation after the unveiling whether the Ciel will ever be a production car or not. I had a great time talking to automobile photographer Ryland Scott too. Cadillac hosted an excellent event.

I’ll apologize for the poor pictures. I’m sure I was the only person to forget the camera for a concept car release. I was able to snap these photos with my phone and managed to get them on the Facebook before MotorTrend, NY Times Wheels Blog ,and the Wall Street Journal could get the Ciel on their sites. Click on their links to see their articles.

It was a mob scene when the media folks from around the world were allowed to get close and ask questions.

Thank You, Cadillac, for the invitation as well creating something new and exciting.

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61st Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance


Motorists once again flocked to Monterey and Carmel, California for this year’s Auto Week and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last August.

It was truly amazing to see cars of this caliber drive the Tour d’elegance on Thursday and then spit-shined on the 18th hole of Pebble Beach on Sunday. Auto Week has to be one of the only places in the world where a brand new Ferrari is quite borring compared to a real Shelby Cobra or Bugatti Veyron that’s parked next to it on the street.  Here are some of my favorite photos:

1960 Plymouth XNR Ghia Roadster Concept on the Tour d'Elegance.

The back side of the Plymouth Concept from the Concours. It won the Gran Turismo trophy.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL on a MB Transporter


The obligatory shot of Mr. Leno.

UPDATE: The person standing in my frame is the photographer from Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine. There is a similar shot published in the December 2011 issue and can be seen here with the rest of their slideshow of the Concours.

The shot courtesy of Hemmings:


I walked around all day with a goofy grin.

Unrestored 1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 328.

1963 Jaguar Lightweight E-Type

1937 Talbot-Lago T150-SS Figoni & Falaschi Coupe

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Mayfair Special

1923 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia Lavocat et Marsaud

Twenty-two of the 36 Ferrari GTO's produced were on display.

A 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne owned by Peter and Merle Mullin of Los Angeles, California won Best of Show.

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