C10 Builder's Guide

FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES!

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IDON’T NEED TO TELL YOU THAT 2020 hasn’t really gone the way I thought it might. But one thing I’ve learned in life is when one door closes, usually one or more open. My summer of ’20 was to start with a trek across middle America on Hot Rod Power Tour 2020 with my son who graduated in June, also not quite the way we had thought.

After HRPT, my son was going to head to San Luis Obispo to Accuair HQ for an internship, a great opportunit­y to figure what direction he wanted to go after high school. Well, Accuair filed for bankruptcy in April, so that didn’t quite work out either! Damn!! Door closed.

A few months go by and this rad recruitmen­t video comes out from the (or should I say “THE”) Roadster Shop! So, I sent it over to my son, and it wasn’t five minutes later, and he responded, “Dad, can I go there?” So, I reached out to Phil and Jeremy Gerber about a possible internship at the shop. They said they could make it work. Sweet! Door open!

Originally my son, Payson, and I had planned on starting the HRPT by trailering Orange Slice (My ’76 GMC) to Grand Island, Nebraska, to begin the journey there. So, we figured, why not start there and make a small road trip as we headed to the Roadster Shop.

What is in Grand Island, Nebraska? Well, not much! But there is a guy by the name of Todd Carpenter whose heart is as big as the man. You might know him as “Big Fish,” and he has a large collection of Chevy and GMC trucks that I wanted to see. I called Todd and said, “Hey I’m flying out, bringing my son, and we are making our way to Mundelein, Illinois.” He said, “Come on out! I’ve got a place and a rig for you guys.”

We jumped on the plane four days later and headed to Nebraska. Todd and his crew showed us a great time. The next stop was Des Moines, Iowa, for a quick stop over at GC Cooling, our friends

Bob and his son Preston Folkstead. Then, back in the truck and off to Hudson, Iowa. Yep, tiny little Hudson, Iowa. What’s there? Stoner Speed Shop, and Mr. Blake Stoner and his crew. My son and I were treated to Iowa cooking and some serious small-town fun.

Next stop, east to Davenport, Iowa, to visit River City Rods’ Craig Piggott and crew. We roll into Davenport and get a quick shop tour, which was actually an old Ford assembly plant, and then to Craig’s house for a River City style family BBQ. The steaks were perfect, and the beer was nice and cold.

The opportunit­ies, the experience­s, with these guys is really what it’s all about when I say, “The trucks are cool, but the PEOPLE are cooler!”

So, after Davenport, off to the Roadster Shop. Payson and I were both pretty stoked to get there and check out the place where he’d be working over the summer. Phil gave us a tour and we got to meet some of the fellas that make it all happen.

Our trip to this point was nothing but great. We were able to see some beautiful country and break bread with great people in their towns and their homes. To be honest we didn’t talk trucks all that much. We were really just in the moment, having fun.

Another facet to this entire story is that my son did not yet have a place to stay locked down in Mundelein. We were considerin­g renting a room from a guy who lived close to RS but didn’t feel quite like it was the right thing. So, while walking around and meeting some of the RS crew members, we met Cody. Cody is a North Carolina transplant who is a chassis builder and moved to Chicago to work there. Turns out he is a C10 fan, and part of the community and said, “If your son needs a place to stay, I have a room he can stay in!” So, it worked out that now we are renting a room from a fellow C10’r. How cool is that!

So, the next time you take a family trip, realize your family is bigger than you think.

Stay safe, guys and gals! Ronnie

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