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2014 VTR Convention In Dobson, North Carolina

Rick Middleton and Bill Derksen
23 photos in the slide show

It took two years of prodding for Bill to convince me that this trip was a good idea. Iím glad he did, even though I had concerns about my car breaking down 3000 kms from home ÖÖ. Luckily it didnít. Billís car ran flawlessly the entire time and although mine had a couple of hiccups along the way, Iím proud of the olí girl.

We started the trip, at Grasswood Esso early on a Saturday morning. We arrived in Valley City, ND Saturday evening after a trouble free day of driving and unwound at the Wagon Wheel pub talking college football with the locals while enjoying the best burger Iíve had in a long time. On Sunday, under cloudless skies, we continued our drive east (I-94) and south (Hwy 39) to Wenona, Illinois. Monday while traveling on I-74 my car started to misbehave so Bill led us off the highway to a parking lot where, suspecting a plugged carb jet, he dismantled and cleaned out the four barrel carb. †This helped and we continued on. An incident like this will cause you to question your sanity for taking a 34 year old car so far from home. In case the carb was going to continue being a problem I called Woody at the Wedge Shop and asked them to bring a 600 Holley carb to the convention.

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We fought our way through midday traffic in Indianapolis only to find ourselves parked on I-74 in Cincinnati. After a quick conversation on our 2-way radios, and with my rising engine temperature, we decided to get off the interstate and hope for the best. The best is exactly what we got. I highly recommend driving along Hwy 52 between Cincinnati and Huntington. The route follows the Ohio River through many small towns and scenic country. It was along this stretch of road, in the town of Ripley, where we stopped at the Yum Yum Dairy Bar for supper (not my kind of bar Ė no booze). While stopped, Bill asked if Iíve been riding the brake, my answer had Bill under the dash fixing the brake pedal switch. At the end of a long day we crossed the Ohio River to spend the night in Ashland, Ky. big mistake. †Following a restful night in our 8th floor room with great city scape views, I found my convertible top had been slashed. The thieves had made off with a pack of gum and a ball cap. I knew I had packed that roll of black duct tape for a reason. A final push along I-64 and I-77 took us over the Appalachians into Dobson, NC.

It was like a reunion for Bill at our host hotel, the Hampton Inn, and he began introducing me to people from all over the continent. The most important introduction for me was to David, Bob and Fran who are from the Ottawa area. Bill has a problem with my melodious sleep and not only did he not want to share a room but he shipped me off to an entirely different hotel Ė in a different city! †Luckily my roomie was to be David while Bob and Fran had the neighbouring room. I like to think I was a good fit with their group. Maybe itís a Canadian thing, but I definitely enjoyed attending the various events with them.

Because of our different home bases, different interests, as well as Billís duties of chaperoning the honoured guest (Harris Mann, designer of ďthe shape of things to comeĒ) I lost touch with him through much of the week. While Bill competed in events such as the Fun Rally (with Harris Mann as navigator) and autocross, I took in NHRA drag racing in Charlotte and visited the RCR and Hendrickís Nascar museums. It was on the return from Charlotte that the car began to hop and buck but I made it back to the hotel where the problem was diagnosed as a partially plugged fuel filter and repaired. Oh well, no harm having a Holley carb as a spare. Bill and I did meet up at fun rallies, dinner drives, social functions and of course the show. My favourite activity was, of course, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and other roads of the Appalachians. The guy who determines posted limits in NC must be a car guy, 55 mph limits on twisty roads with no shoulders. You donít have to break the law to have a lot of fun and with breathtaking overlooks into the valleys of the Appalachians stopping is also a good idea.

The Concours and Participants car shows took place at Shelton Vineyards, a beautiful location that well suited the display of shiny Triumphs. The quality and standard of the cars was very high, even in the participants show. My car was parked between a pristine TR8 which in previous years has won the concours event and ďBAD 8Ē a 5 litre TR8 coupe owed by Woody of The Wedge Shop. Vehicles of note were a glorious Italia and three Gloria Southern Cross.

The convention wound up with an awards banquet at the host hotel Saturday evening, and awards were plentiful. Our ďCanadianĒ table, along with a few of our US brethren for spice, did very well at collecting awards. I thought I might have a shot at longest drive to the event but some dude drove 11,000 miles, throughout the summer, in a TR3 with his wife to attend.† Bill got an award for third place at the Participants Show in the TR8 category and first in class in the autocross. My new buddy David Huddleson took third place in the TR8 category of the Concours Show with a score of 383 out a possible 400 points, which earned him a gold certificate. Davidís car is a beautiful 1980 TR8 with 7000 kms on the odometer, which he drove to the show and plans to keep on driving. I rode in Davidís car as navigator - ha Ė in the fun rally and now Iím spoiled for life.

Sunday morning saw Bill and I back on the road headed for home. We arrived after three days of driving and the cars were flawless. We did take a slightly longer route home to visit the International Falls hoping to see a natural wonder but unfortunately the falls were dammed in 1905 to power a paper mill Ė who knew?

The trip, a total of 7500 Km., was well worth the drive, even though the time spent on the interstates was taxing. Iím sure to attend another VTR function in the future. VTR 2015 is slated to be held at Fontana, WI, August 11-15th