Both Stahl teams–Mary and mine and Brett and Dan’s– have the Spirit of Stahl nickname, but there is another spirit or feeling of camaradrie that is very strong among all the Great Race participants. We wouldn’t call it a “cult” or anything like that, but it’s like a big club where everyone is open and welcoming and obsessed with classic cars. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been an enthusiast for 50 years or 5 minutes, if you are interested in cars, there is always someone ready to show you, teach you and share their passion for the automobile. If you’ve ever been part of a fraternity or sorority you might have experienced something similar. Everyone we meet that has something to do with the Great Race are just kindred spirits. On Tuesday, June 25th, Mary and I had the chance to share that feeling of camaraderie with our ride along guests, Ashley and Delton Rissler.
Ashley and Delton own a sign and graphics business, Edge Signs and Graphics, located in California, Missouri. They rode with us from our lunch stop in Washington, Missouri to Cape Girardeau, also in the “Show-Me” state. Missouri had plenty of beauty to show us today, as we drove through manicured farmland that spread as far as the eye could see. This is beautiful country out here and we are enjoying every minute of the drive along this picturesque route. When Delton commented on Mary’s dynamic driving style from the back seat, I informed him of her nickname, “Two-Wheel Mary.” Mary’s excellent driving skills have gotten us around many a tight corner, not an easy feat in an almost 80 year old car (we’re driving a 1934 Ford Phaeton) that really wasn’t designed for this type of stop and go and curvy-road driving. Keep in mind that we are not on main roads or highways, but taking the “roads less-traveled” during the Great Race. All things considered it’s actually pretty amazing that the car is still rolling along as well as she is! The Great Race is truly the best of all worlds if you love cars. Not only do you get to see 100 antique cars, you get to see them driving! These types of classic cars are usually standing still in a garage or museum somewhere. It’s a thing of beauty to see them on the open road. Today driving into Cape Girardeau (this link takes you to the town’s Twitter feed where they were also posting many photos of The Great Racers coming into town) the crowds were fantastic, thousands of people along the route, it was incredible to feel the energy and excitement, horns honking and folks waving as we drove down Main Street. Awe-inspiring. We are thankful for the beautiful weather we had today–the heat is always a bit easier to take than freezing rain–and we are thankful that we are still chugging along. But most of all we are thankful to be surrounded by so many kindred “Great Race” spirits. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or you can also follow on Twitter @thegreatrace or @tedstahl. #thegreatrace