Larry & Jan Rollow's
Dallas to Nova Scotia in a '57 Chevy?
YOU BET .. AND BACK!
WHAT A TRIP! WHAT A STORY!
Last fall my wife and I went on a tour in Portugal. The first night we met a couple at the welcome dinner, Duff and Judi, from Nova Scotia and really hit it off with them. During the weeklong tour we spent good deal of time with them talking about Canada, the US and of course, cars. Naturally, I had to tell them about my ’57 Chevy and ’51 Studebaker that I had just got running. During one of our conversations, they invited us up to Nova Scotia to visit them and thought it would be cool if we drove in one of my cars. We said, only partially, joking we hoped they were serious, because they just might find us knocking on their door! The week ended too soon and we said goodbye to our new friends and headed home.
A month or so later, I was at a car show with some of my Street Rodder friends and the subject came up about going to the NSRA 50th anniversary National Show in Louisville, KY, ( August 2-4) which was to be a really big deal. They asked me if Jan and I wanted to go. I said I would have to look at the calendar and talk it over with Jan. We were interested so I went ahead and made reservations in Louisville and sent in my registration for the show, even though our plans were not firm yet. Then the idea hit us we could, instead of coming back to Dallas, we could continue up to Nova Scotia and see our friends. We emailed them and found out that would work for them as long as we could get there by the 9th or 10th as they were leaving on a trip in late August. So we started looking at routes to Nova Scotia.
I have to admit, my first plan was to drive my Studebaker even though it was not really a proven vehicle. But as we got closer to our departure date the Stude developed an issue I was not able to fix before departure time. So I changed the oil and filter aired up the tires and generally checked over my ’57 in preparation for the trip. I purchased my 1957 Chevy in 1987 from a co-worker. It was in pretty rough shape but it did run. It was a 210, 2-door sedan; with a 265 and 3-speed manual transmission. After a few fits and starts it got a full body off resto-mod. It now has a 327 with a Holley sequential EFI, 700R4 transmission and 8.5 ten bolt rear end. It has Bucket seats, Am-FM cassette and CD player, air conditioning and even cruise control. I have also done a lot of work to the suspension to improve the handling, along with 4-wheel disc brakes. Paint is 1985 Camaro blue. It is a really good road car and has been on many vintage car road tours including two Power Tours. Since we got home, I have to admit it was a good thing we took the ‘57. The Studebaker continued to have some teething problems that would have been difficult to resolve on the road.
We left home on August first and met up with our friends for the trip to Louisville. We made it into a two day drive stopping in Jackson, TN for the night. We arrived in Louisville around noon on the August 2nd, got our credentials, and headed over to the fairgrounds for the show. Lots of cars, as we heard later, they had 12,760 cars in attendance.
After a much needed restful night in the hotel the men, 4 in our little group, met up in the morning to go over to the show. We found parking places together and found a shady place to put our chairs and coolers. We spent most of the morning walking the fairgrounds looking at, what else, cars! Our wives decided to come to the show later as our hotels were in either walking distance or had shuttles for transportation. The NSRA, (National Street Rod Association) used to allow only cars 1948 and older, but that changed some years ago to allowing cars that are 30 years old or older. So, my ‘57 qualified. In fact TriFives were represented in pretty large numbers in Louisville.
The vendor area is immense with all the major hot rod parts purveyors present along with lots of smaller vendors, all inside a huge air conditioned building. There were a lot of handpicked cars also on display inside this building…mine didn’t make it! I walked over 14,000 steps that day looking at cars and vendors. Sunday morning we went over to the show a little later as we knew some folks had left so parking would not be as bad as Saturday. I should add the weather was pretty good, no rain plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 80’s. Sunday afternoon they had an awards ceremony and drawings in the arena on the fair grounds. None of us won anything…oh well!
After a nice dinner that night, we all returned to our hotel rooms to pack up for Monday’s departure. All of our friends headed back to Dallas while Jan and I headed northeast our destination being Dayton, OH to visit the US Air Force museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. We got there in the early afternoon and enjoyed seeing it. We both had been there before about 30 years ago, lots of improvements since then. I am a retired pilot so I always enjoy looking at airplanes. Next morning we headed towards Niagara Falls. Jan had been there when in high school but I never had seen them. We opted to stay on the Canada side as our hotel overlooked the Canadian, or Horseshoe Falls. The ’57 created a stir as we drove in to the hotel porte cochere. All the bellman and passersby came up to have a look, I have to admit I do enjoy that! The next day we took a boat ride up to the falls. They are quite impressive. The PA announcer on the boat told us that more water goes over Niagara Falls than all other falls in the world combined. Hard to believe, but they claim it is true.
Then it was on to Albany, NY just for the night after a fairly long driving day. Our next stop was a resort in New Brunswick, Canada. It is located on a point of land near the Bay of Fundy. It turned out to be a very nice place and we were treated quite nicely; the ’57 again created a bit of a stir with the employees and guests. Our goal for Friday was to get to St John, New Brunswick to take the ferry across to Digby, Nova Scotia. We were told when we made the reservation we needed to be there approximately 1 ½ hours before the ferry set sail. We made that comfortably and got in line. Once again the ’57 attracted a lot of attention and some folks telling us about a car that they had or still owned; it was all good. The ferry ride was smooth and 2 ½ hours later we arrived in Digby Nova Scotia. As we drove off the ferry there were our friends waiting for us. They had us follow them to where the 45th annual Digby Scallop Days festival was going on. Needless to say fishing is a big part of life in Nova Scotia. Digby is not a large place but there were lots of vendors lining the main street as well as many restaurants. After looking around we had dinner and followed them to their house which is located in Bear River, near Digby. It was fun renewing our friendship with them. As a part of the Scallop Days, there is a classic car show on Sunday. This gave us Saturday to get a tour of the area; we visited his business which could be another whole story. Duff owns a plastic welding company, very interesting. That afternoon, Duff helped me clean up the ’57 to get ready for the show.
We arrived at the Show and Shine at 9AM, got registered and parked. 100 cars showed up for the show, most were from the local area along with a few from New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Our ’57 was the only car from the US. There were only two other Tri Fives, a nice ‘56 sedan and a very nice ’57 2- door hardtop. The other ’57 won first in his class but our ’57 got the Public’s (we call it peoples) choice. The people we at the show could not believe we had driven it all the way up there. The Scallop Days Queen and her two ladies in waiting awarded our trophy to us. We were very pleased and proud to get that award. All the folks that were showing cars or spectators could have not been nicer to us-a great experience all around.
We spent a total of 8 days visiting our friends in Nova Scotia and had a really great time and appreciate all that they did for us. We enjoyed lots of lobster, scallops and haddock with them and their wonderful golden retriever, Sam. Once again we had to make a reservation for the ferry back to St John, New Brunswick. Since there is really only one boat making the trips, there are two departure times per day from either side of the bay. We opted for the afternoon time which got us in St John in the late afternoon. We found a nearby Marriott hotel and spent the night. The bellman was especially nice in letting us park in a special area which was covered and had good security.
We left the next morning for Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park, arriving there at dinner time. My wife Jan wanted to see Acadia Park; I had driven through there probably 25 years ago so I was happy to see it again. Jan had made a reservation to take a boat ride around Bar Harbor and the park but due to morning fog it was canceled. They booked us on a later boat but it was a different tour. It turned out well though as there was a naturalist on board who gave a very good tour of what we saw as well as some of the history of the park and surrounding area. The next day we drove through the park and tried to visit all the places that were noteworthy. Jan loves to garden and they have a natural garden in the park that has lots of different species and was very well cared for. I even enjoyed it! That evening we went to a lumberjack show or more accurately a lumberjill show. It is put on by a woman named Timber Tina. Tina has been doing this for many years and is very skilled, and all of them put on a very enjoyable show.
For the next couple of days we took mostly back roads to see New England. We drove through Kennebunkport, MA among a lot of other places. The ’57 got plenty of thumbs ups as we drove along through the coastal towns. Lots of beautiful countryside to see and fun roads to drive made it an enjoyable time. As we started to head west, we decided to stop in Hartford, CT. We found another Marriott hotel near a college. This time as we pulled in to check in, it seemed like the whole front desk staff came out to greet us including the general manager as well as some hotel guests. As I have said previously, I do get a kick out of this. But the car is the star. My car is nice but I have to admit there are many cars nicer than mine. I guess the thing is that most of the folks looking are not concours judges so they don’t notice the flaws and road chips. In Hartford, we contacted my daughter who now lives in Columbia, MO, as we wanted to find out her work schedule so we could visit her and her husband when she wasn’t working. We found out that if we used the interstate highway instead of back roads, we could get there while she was off work. She is a RN and works nights in the ICU so has to sleep during the day.
We arrived Friday afternoon in Columbia. Both my daughter and her husband attended The University of Missouri at Columbia and it is her husband’s home town. This prompted a move in June from Waco, Texas to Columbia. We had a nice visit with them but it ended all too soon. The next stop was my wife’s nephew who lives in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Again, we took back roads to his home. That area had suffered heavy rains and flooding and we could see the result. The water came right up to the road and it stretched as far as you could see in some areas. Actually we met them at a restaurant in Saint Joseph as her nephew and his wife were returning from a Rodeo. Jeff and his wife Amy are active participants in rodeo; Jeff does team roping and she does barrel racing. They have a spread out side of Saint Joseph where they keep their horses and train them. We had a very good visit with them for two days, seeing his business which is selling nutritional supplements for horses, and is doing well.
We left them to go to Newton, KS to visit my cousins. Another two days of a really good visit and then time to head for home. The drive from Newton is about 7-8 hours depending on how many stops one makes. We tend to stop a lot to stretch and for gas and other breaks. During this last drive, I reflected on how well the car had run and the fact that in over 5400 miles I only needed to add one quart of oil and never opened my tool box once. We have had trips in the past where we did not have such luck. However each time we ran into a problem I was able to get back on the road and the car never failed to get us home. It was a special trip - special places and special people! And for me a special car to be able to own, fix up and drive.
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