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Report: 2011 Pigeon Forge Spring Rod Run

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by Brian Medford  More from Author

Not your normal kind of rod run...

When you think of a "rod run" the first thought that pops to mind is wall-to-wall '34 Fords with big and littles, crazy paint jobs, and old guys with lawn chairs. Well the last part is only partly right, there were people of all ages with lawn chairs. This year's Spring Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee was on of the most eclectic mix of vehicles you could imagine. We're talking hot rods, rat rods, muscle cars, mini trucks, monster trucks, motorcycles, trikes, pony cars, late models, and even a few imports buzzing away down the main drag. The common denominator though was that the owners all had a love for all things loud, fast and cool.

I chose to "man up" and drive my '75 Plymouth Duster from my home in Atlanta. Google Maps gave me an estimate of four hours driving time, but I don't think it could have taken into account the "quirks" of my car. A semi-functional gas gauge meant I stopped for gas probably more times than I needed, but when you don't know where the next gas station is you get a little paranoid. The slant-6 purred along nicely and propelled me along at a solid 70 mph when speed limits permitted. I can't complain, the little car got me there and back without a lick of drama. The only downside was that somebody decided they needed my passenger side drip rail molding more than I did and liberated the sliver of trim from my car sometime during the weekend. Just remember folks, car karma is not to be trifled with. And if anyone has a passenger side drip rail molding for a Duster, I'm in the market.

One thing I noticed this year was the ridiculous number of cars for sale. I stumbled upon this show a few years ago and told myself I would come back someday. The number of cars I saw for sale back then was pretty low. Not this year. It seemed that for every 100 cars with a "for sale" sign scrawled on the windshield there was a single car parked just to be shown off. Horse trading was the order of the day with deals being brokered in every parking lot along the strip. I watched many a perspective buyer try to lowball a seller, only to walk away empty handed. Prices were actually fairly decent and I was tempted by a few cars myself. I heard the same story over and over, lots of lookers but nobody with cash.

The main event though was the cruising. The entire length of Pigeon Forge was turned into one giant cruise-in. Every parking lot, grass spot, and driveway along the 3 mile stretch became one continuous car show. You could walk along and see the cars, or hop in your car and idle down the strip. People staked out their own little patches of ground with folding chairs and watched the cruisers pass on by. The weather cooperated for the mostly with the exception of a good soaking on Saturday morning. Wind was the main problem with huge gusts blowing down the strip and toppling some trees on the outlying roads. Luckily no cars were damaged and the show didn't seem to slow down one bit.

If you find yourself looking for a unique car show experience, there is nothing quite like it. If you missed the Spring Rod Run, don't fret because there is also a Fall Rod Run September 15-19. I might have to check my calendar...

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