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|Dodge Challenger Dream Drive: Day 2|
|Written by Richard Truesdell|
|Wednesday, 23 April 2008 09:10|
530 Miles: Beaver, Utah, to Lakewood, Colorado
The day started off at sunrise in Beaver, Utah, with Lakewood, Colorado more than 500 miles east. While my co-driver slept in, I toured the main drag in Beaver, looking for suitable photo locations, encountering what might very well be the world's smallest liquor store and a classic style motor court, with garages that had apparently been converted to apartments.
Once on the road we headed north on I-15 to I-70 east. A major transcontinental route, I-70 ends in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, but is actually a few miles south of Cove Fort, which is the next exit on I-15 north to Salt Lake City. (I wonder if, in the original plan for the Interstate Highway System, there was every any thought of taking I-70 all the way to the Pacific Ocean?)
As we headed east on I-70 we took a detour into the town of Richfield, to see if there was an opportunity to log onto the Internet to check if the day one's posts were up and running here and on cardomain.com. Before getting back on I-70 we spied a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealership and doubled back to give them a look at our Challenger.
Classic Motors, situated on Main Street, is a "classic" small-town dealership -- not some multi-brand auto mall. We met Sales Manager Shawn Pollock who showed us the dealership's 1969 Dodge Daytona Charger and 1969 Plymouth Road Runner; he was gracious enough to take the Road Runner out of the showroom for photos with the Challenger. While the visit put us 30 minutes behind schedule, it was time well spent.
I-70 across Utah and Colorado seemed almost endless. One stretch of I-70 between Salina and Green River was especially noteworthy; there are absolutely no services for 110 miles, nada, zero. If you think you will need food or fuel, you better watch the signs and be sure you're stocked up. As we were shopping for road food (Hostess SnoBalls and Arizona Ice Tea for me, Doritos and NOS for Heath), we heard on the radio that oil was trading for $120 a barrel, which started a long discussion on how this news impacts the future of such cars as the Challenger SRT8, and even Chevy's upcoming Camaro. We bet Dodge is really happy that a V-6 version of the Challenger is on the way this fall and wonder whether a hybrid version can be far behind?
In Grand Junction we topped off the tank, secure in the knowledge that we had enough fuel to reach our destination in Lakewood, 250 miles away. With just one more stop planned for a photo at the Eisenhower tunnel on I-70, we figured we would arrive in Lakewood around 5:45 pm, about 45 minutes later than our original schedule.
When we arrived at the Best Western Denver Southwest in Lakewood, Holly Graves was already there with his brother's 1970 Challenger Hemi R/T, as well as Brian Wilson who trailered it in from Reno. (Due to previous obligations, Buzz Graves, the owner of the 1970 Challenger, will be joining us on Thursday in Salt Lake City). Also joining us was Stacey and Robert Ediger, who came up from Colorado Springs with Stacey's Panther Pink (FM3) 1970 Plymouth Duster.
Because we were already scheduled to shoot both of the two Challengers for the July issue of Musclecar Enthusiast (due on newsstands in less than 30 days), we took off for Bandimere Raceway in nearby Morrison, in the hope of using their expansive parking lot to get some of the needed shots. Unfortunately, the gate was locked but that didn't stop us from taking advantage of the warm, rich colors of Tuesday's twilight, to get a family portrait of all three cars. (Visit the Desktop Wallpaper Section of the AT Image Gallery for a downloadable image of both Challengers and the Duster. You must register and log in to view/download the full-size images.