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Day 1 of the 2015 Hot Rod Power Tour is finally here. Who’s ready for some hot rods, highways and sunshine? So what if Forrest forecasted heavy showers, what does he know? Apparently Forrest knows quite a lot. He got a little artsy fartsy with this shot prompting me to ask if this shows the tension between man and the elements and the harmonious incongruity of it all. “No,” Forrest deadpanned, “just the beading properties of our Mothers Polish.” I’m all for the product benefit, but I was just hoping to see more of the artistic side of the man, perhaps complete with a French beret and a turtleneck. I for one, think Forrest would look quite fetching in such an ensemble. This was Forrest’s view from the co-pilot’s spot of the 3dCarbon Mustang for most of the day. We split up our coverage today, mainly because Shane and I were feeling like rebels in our Commando 9000 rental Yukon XL. We also wanted to include Forrest’s deeply moving photography since it elevates the artistic sensibilities of our blog, much like how a vase of fresh flowers adds to the intimacy of an otherwise cold and impersonal warehouse space. Does this not make sense to you? Well, try riding in close quarters as Shane sings boy band ballads for 270 miles and let me know if you make sense, okay? One Republic sing-a-longs notwithstanding, today was a long one, going 269.5 miles from the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin to Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. I do hope you appreciate that Forrest risked life and limb and utilized every ounce of his Frogger skills to get this shot for your viewing pleasure. Remember, Forrest, sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug. I think Team Forrest got the better end of the deal today. Not only did he not need to justify his distaste for acapella, but Forrest also got his eyes kicked in the balls by all of the radness at Rad Rides by Troy. It’s only fitting that our ’59 Sedan Delivery visited the place of its rebirth today. Troy and his crew are incapable of creating anything less than pure perfection. Just look at this ’32 roadster. This is Chicayne, a 1962 Chevy Biscayne with a twin turbo 406ci Dart Iron Eagle engine built for Glen Grozich of Billet Specialties. Years later it still looks amazing. What’s everyone looking at? Oh. This. The plate is rather telling, wouldn’t you agree? The handwriting on this cylindrical chunk of billet reads, “40 Olds wheel kit. Some assembly required.” Well, it appears Troy’s boys have skills and jokes. Meanwhile back onboard the Commando 9000 rental Yukon XL, Shane had the inspiring idea to visit Starbuck’s today. Not “a Starbuck’s," but "all Starbuck's" from Madison to Champaign. At least I got to indulge myself with an Emperor’s Clouds and Mist Green Tea or two. I’m not sure why I had that craving. I blame the boy bands. Today’s Tour route was long, but worth every boy band-accompanied mile. This is Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I’m sure Forrest would think me remiss if I didn’t mention that in 1837, early settlers in the village of Geneva constructed a mill race to harness the power of the White River, the only outlet from Geneva Lake. Soon flour and saw mills and factories were constructed and in 1897 electricity was generated by the Lake Geneva Water & Light Company in what is now the Geneva Lake Museum of History. The confluence of water and the railroad made this location the hub of commercial development in the area. And this is both the beginning and end of Forrest’s facts for the day. I was really bummed to learn that Roger E. Mosley wasn’t driving the Island Hoppers van on Tour. At our gas stop (and post-Buck’s potty break for Shane) we were pleased to run into Hot Rod Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, David Kennedy and even more pleased to meet Emily Williams Reeves. She’s a model (obvi, whereas Shane and David are clearly not) and this is her GTO. I’d like to request a trade from Team Shane to Team Emily please. Why no, third gen Camaro, I don’t think that blower makes your butt look big. Nova SS rocking a carbon fiber hood in a pleasing mix of apple pie and sticky rice. Mmmm, who else wants some pie? On the road we spotted our favorite band of merry death cheetahs, our friends from The HOONIGANS. This is most definitely not their ride of choice and we’re hoping to catch their infamous Napalm Nova and Tri-Five by Fire Chevy on the road in the coming days. Today's mid-route stop was at Heidts. Perfect timing, since my ears were starting to bleed from One Republic exposure. Heidts bolt-in suspension solutions are built to handle high horsepower applications. Take a look at what we found in the lot at Heidts. God bless America. After 269.5 miles and far too much harmonizing, we finally made it to Parkland College. Where I finally got a chance to see our official 2015 Power Tour shirt. This year, our Big Rig is the star and if you look closely you might even be able to see our own Trucker John behind the wheel. Here’s our own Trucker John with Jonathan Stone and our ride-to-die Big Rig crew. These guys are the true unsung heroes of our Mothers Polish presence on The Tour and they work non-stop to give everyone the best possible experience. From left to right we have: John Schaffer, Fernando Campos, Adrian Ussery, Tyrone Canterino, David Kidd, Willie Snead, Jonathan Stone and Andrew Campos. Here’s to you, guys! Apparently the required uniform of the Roadkill Nation is a ball cap and shades. Here’s Freiburger and Finnegan getting mobbed by their fawning fans. I know I promised only one Forrest factoid per day but this is too good not to share. Apparently Chester, Illinois is the home of Popeye the Sailor. And shiver my timbers, there he is. So glad to see the Moo Mobile made it safely to Champaign. You never know when a cowtastrophe might strike. See what I did there? Thank you, folks, I’ll be here all week. Our friends at Rad Rides displayed Mark and Ellen Willman’s ’51 Chevy truck. We also spotted another Rad Rides creation out in one of the Parkland College lots. Probox is a Pro Street ’60 Impala with an injected 383. Twin-turbo Corvette with short and simple exhaust works for us. Mopar or no car. Somewhere, way over in the slow lane, a Prius owner is casting an indignant stare. This is Grant Hodgson’s 1973 Ford XC Falcon. He shipped it up here from Perth, Western Australia in 2005, where it hasn’t moved more than 20 miles. That is, until now. Grant plans on long haulin’ this one all the way to Baton Rouge. Good on ya, mate! This is Kevin Laframboise’s ’68 VW. He bought it stock and in July of ‘94 he dropped in a two-bolt block. He’s gone as fast as 10.80 @ 130 mph and he just swapped out the rear bias ply meats for these M+H radials. This allowed him to drive down from Detroit in a slightly less sketchy manner. Other than that change, the car has remained the same since ’94. Kevin’s long hauling in his bug with a crew of friends as a tribute to their fathers who passed away (thus the purple ribbon on the antenna). I think the dads would be damn proud right about now. Jim Albert and his wife came from St. Charles, Missouri in this 1960 Rambler American Super wagon. This one was so very clean. This Miata owner gets it with 5.0 Liters of Cobra-swapped fun. Yet another misunderstood misfit, the Pacer. Okay, Forrest, I included it, are you happy now? I want to close out our Day 1 coverage with a shot of Daystar Products’ Jeep FC 170 with a 345ci late-model Hemi. This rig stole the show at SEMA last year wearing tracks, but they threw on some Interco SSR 35s for the Tour. And that’s a good thing, since we’ve been getting dumped on with showers and even tornado warnings! Day 2 tomorrow, will find us going 190.4 miles to Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to construct a tornado proof pillow fort in my bed.