On October 9th, Shawn Tarleton, Steave Freeman, and I departed from Shawn’s house enroute to the 6-pack event in Oxford Mississippi hosted by our former president and member at large Ashford Little. Ashford took up the helm of organizing the A-team for this year’s 6-pack event so we knew that it would be worth attending and it is a rare event that the 6-pack Trials are held this far south. With that in mind we disembarked for the 4.5 hour drive to Oxford..oh but first there was getting to Shawn’s house….ah yes Atlanta traffic.
Wading through the nightmare that is GA 400, I arrived at Shawn’s house about 30 minutes later than intended. As it was it took me over an hour to reach Shawn’s. Steave had not yet made it either so Shawn and I took the opportunity for some last minute tweakage to our cars before heading on. I discovered in Shawn’s driveway that my exhaust was hanging a bit off kilter at the back. A little closer inspection revealed that I had torn the rubber exhaust hanger and the lot was resting on the inside of the frame. Thinking that this wasn’t going to make the trip very well I opted for a little shade tree engineering. Shawn had a length of stainless steel wire which I used to tie up the exhaust. It wasn’t visible from the back but it certainly didn’t instill a lot of confidence looking at it from below. All in all the worries were for naught with regards to the exhaust which made the trip just fine.
Steave arrived about 30 minutes after I did and not wanting to burn any more daylight we were quickly on the road. Next stop Birmingham, Alabama. The drive to Birmingham was pretty uneventful. All of us were trying to get an idea of how fast we all wanted to drive and I in particular was assessing my car’s road worthiness. I haven’t done a great deal to the TR6 since pulling it from storage in Missouri, the entire story which can be found in the member’s corner, and already on this drive I had uncovered the gremlin with the exhaust hanger. Perhaps more worrisome was the clutch release bearing situation, which frankly needs to be replaced, but given the state of my Lotus project I have been reluctant to tear into. I’m of the thought that nobody should have 2 LBC’s disassembled at any given time. The odds of the garage sinking into the morass of ‘abandon all hope all ye who enter’ increases substantially when that happens. So I rolled the dice to see if the bearing would last the trip…so far so good.
Pulling into Birmingham we stopped for a refuel. Over the years, I have developed a habit of checking my oil at every fill up, so I took the opportunity to do that. A line formed at the restroom, but we were soon back on the road a little lighter in the bladder and loaded with fuel. We ticked off mile after mile and found ourselves in Tupelo, Mississippi. There we ran into another 6-pack member Lou Mijares. Lou joined up with us for the final stretch into Oxford. It was, of course, time for the TR6 to start acting up. As you may recall if you have read my story of bringing the car back from Missouri, the 6 has been suffering an odd vapor lock issue. If you travel for any length of time in my car, say 300+ miles and you stop for fuel, it is pretty much a given that the car will vapor lock within a mile of leaving the gas station. And so it was. Being at the tale of the line, I watched as the leaders disappeared over the horizon as I feathered the throttle up the shoulder of the highway in hopes that it would straighten out. After a minute or so of this the car opened up and was again purring down the highway. I did get a call from Shawn not long after it straightened out and I was soon able to catch up to them waiting on the side of the road for me. It wasn’t long after that we rolled into Oxford. We had arrived.
The Inn at Ole Miss is quite a nice location. Tucked in amongst the campus at Ole Miss it was in close proximity to pretty much everything. We attended a reception at The Depot which is a small building I presume leased out for special events. I ran into fellow GTA club members Martin and Kay Wilson at The Depot and we shared some stories about our drives to Oxford and our expectations for the show.
I spent some time in the hospitality suite that had been set up to welcome new arrivals and offer refreshments and snacks throughout the event. This would become the hub for most of the activities. As it was a long day of driving I crashed out early for the evening.
Club member Jim Orr was part of the A-team assembled by Ashford to assist with the organization of the 6-pack event. Jim was heavily involved with producing the regalia and other products offered at the event.
The secondary place of action for the event was simply the hotel parking lot. You would have been surprised at the amount of ad-hoc meetings and parties that spontaneously formed around the cars which, after all, were the center of attention for the event.
The following day we took a drive to the Yalobusha Brewing Company in Water Valley, Mississippi. This is the ONLY brewery in Mississippi, a fact not lost on our brewery tour coordinator, founder and owner. As we rolled into Water Valley we lined up along Main Street which made for quite a nice sight. The drive in wasn’t too bad either coming down the backroads of Mississippi. The drive was only about 30 miles so it was a nice stretch after the previous days marathon.
Following the brewery tour we spied a quaint little restaurant at the end of Main Street. The Crawdad Hole was open for business. Thinking we may catch some local cuisine and soak up some of our beer samplings, we made a bee line for the restaurant.
As it turned out…there were no crawdads available at the Crawdad House…they are out of season. Well, that’s what you get when you ‘ain’t from around here’. So we all dined on some local tater chips. Humor however was not lacking.
Martin is a valued customer.
So is Shawn
That evening we all road the shuttle bus into downtown Oxford for some fine dining. The bulk of the group I was with went to Proud Larry’s for dinner.
Proud Larry’s is just off the square in downtown Oxford. They specialize in an eclectic menu and music.
As I can be a bit of a loner, I opted to walk a mile, explore some of the square and eventually ended up at a spot that the locals recommended that was off the beaten path. The Snack Bar, according to their website marries ‘French Bistro with North Mississippi Cafe resulting in the Bubba Brasserie cuisine’. I had a dish that consisted of baked shrimp over a casserole of corn and spices with a side of green beans. It was a culinary delight. Perhaps even more delightful was the couple that I was seated next to. You see the Snack Bar’s central seating is a large bar, and while it’s not white glove service the ambiance is certainly upscale. Seated next to a retired couple for the duration of the meal was a great experience as they regaled tales of their own lives in Southern Mississippi and their adventures in retiring to Oxford where their kids had long ago moved to. Oxford is a very nice place and I could see why someone would want to retire there.
The following day was the big event. The Concours d’Elegance. Unfortunately, it rained. Or fortunately, it rained, depending on how much ‘patina’ your car is sporting. In my case, this was a plus. There were some truly fine examples of the Triumph marque present and I think if you are a TR6/250 owner you owe it to yourself to attend one of these events. Our very own club member Martin Wilson took home a first place in the People’s Choice awards.
Eventually the skies cleared and I went into town for a bite to eat. I found my way to a place called Square Pizza. I figure how can one come to a college town and not sample the local pizza?
The event concluded with a banquet at The Powerhouse. The Powerhouse is what it sounds like, an old powerstation converted into a facility that is leased by the Arts Council of Yoknapatawpha. The catered meal consisted of Fried/Baked chicken, Fish, and Hush puppies with sides.
The banquet included a a guest speaker, Dr. Robert Khayat who gave a motivational speech to the assembly on how to work as a team to achieve a common goal and how breakdowns in communication can result in a poor result, whether in business or in football. You can find more on Dr. Khayat here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Khayat
The journey home was exciting only in that my release bearing was ever worsening and we drove through two or three torrential downpours. Steave lost his windshield wiper somewhere along I-20 and I gingerly clutched my way home. I did end up on the side of the road again on GA 400 due to closed lanes at Northridge. At 5:00 on a Sunday, yep GA 400 gridlocked as usual. The good news, as I sat on the side of the road with vapor locked carbs, I finally spied the source of my issues. My fuel line was resting on the heater pipe… By the time I arrived home, the clutch bearing was howling and so was my back. Maybe there’s an Iron Butt award in my future? Nah…