A rally of vintage cars winding down the Great River Road offers gearheads a unique opportunity: a chance to spend time with their spouses and their vehicles.
Great River Ramble organizer John Swanson and his 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Swanson and 75 other vintage car enthusiasts stopped for lunch in Winona as they traced the Great River Road.
"The fog rising off of the bluffs this morning – it was incredible," said Nancy, of Davenport, Iowa, describing her morning drive last Thursday from Hastings to Winona with her husband, Darrell.
The couple was taking part in the Great River Road Ramble, a vintage car club tour of the Upper Mississippi. Their trek honors the 75th anniversary of the Great River Road, which traces the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, giving them a chance to take in great scenery, fine art, and fine cars.
Nancy was excited to peer around the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, where the caravan of 75 old school muscle cars and roadsters — including a 1935 Ford and 1938 La Salle — stopped for lunch and culture. Darrell was excited about his 1962 Ford Galaxy.
"People think it's a bunch of car guys," said John Swanson, organizer of the MotorMemories club that leads different themed tours of the Midwest every year. "It's really a people event." He gestured to the bustling museum lobby. "There's so many great gift shops and antique stores and museums to see, and Midwesterners are so friendly." Plus, "the course is just tricky enough that it helps to have a navigator," so the spouses of car fanatics have things to do, too, he explained.
Interest in vintage cars has risen as baby boomers retire, Swanson noted. "Usually there is some personal connection to the vehicle. It's not uncommon for people to chase down their first car, a graduation present, or, maybe, grandpa's car that you always coveted." The claim to fame for Swanson's sweetheart, a 1967 Afla Romeo Duetto, was a starring role as Dustin Hoffman's vehicle in "The Graduate"