Left Coast Cruisin’ – Exploring the Scenic Pacific Coast on the Goodguys 2022 Hall of Fame Road Tour
Cruising up the California coast with the Pacific Ocean out your window, a twisty two-lane road ahead, sunshine up above, and a cool breeze flowing through your hair. It’s the quintessential road trip dream of countless car enthusiasts and automotive adventurers. And it’s a vision the Goodguys team turned into reality for dozens of members who joined us on the 2022 Hall of Fame Road Tour.
This is the year we finally broke the mold for the Hall of Fame Road Tour. After a decade of having Texas and the Lone Star Nationals as a destination, we decided to shake things up, shift the journey to midsummer, and plan a trip up the Pacific Coast. Our destination would be the 34th Griot’s Garage Pacific Northwest Nationals, one of the longest-running events on the Goodguys calendar and a favorite of those who appreciate a laid-back, low-key, old-fashioned cruisin’ event with a good-time vibe. The goal was to map out a journey and itinerary that would be just as chill as the destination event. We think we succeeded.
It was fitting, too, that this year’s tour would depart a short distance from the longtime Goodguys headquarters in Pleasanton, California. With our corporate offices officially moving from the Golden State to Texas right around the same time as the tour, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to soak in a little more California sun and fun by cruising up the Pacific coast.
Every good journey deserves a proper sendoff and we had ours at the fantastic property and collection belonging to Goodguys friend Fred Stoke. The grounds at Fred’s place are home to a vintage barn, a classic gas station, general store, and plenty of space for cars and people to spread out. It made for a wonderful evening where participants could get their credentials, catch up with each other, enjoy some delicious food, and have a drink or two. There was even live music on the live porch, and plenty of cool cars and autombilia to check out in Fred’s extensive collection. It was the perfect way to prepare for our week on the road.
Nearly 50 vehicles and a hundred people joined us for this incredible excursion – seven days of and 122 miles of exploring the California and Oregon coastlines, venturing inland into the Cascade mountains of Washington, and seeing a great variety of cool shops, fantastic collections, and beautiful stops along the way. It was a week of Cool Cars, Cool People, Good Times, and incredible sights, and an experience we’ll never forget.
UP THE COAST
This was a scenic drive right from the start, originating in Santa Rosa, California, just north of San Francisco. After a laid-back and enjoyable Thursday evening kickoff dinner and party hosted by Fred Stoke and his fantastic facility and collection, we set out on Friday morning with a quick stop at Cotati Speed Shop before making the short drive to the Castelli Ranch Collection in Healdsburg. From there we ventured north through scenic California wine country, eventually making our way to Pacific Coast Highway and driving along the coast to a night stop in Fort Bragg.
Chillin’ at Cotati
We started off our first day at nearby Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, birthplace of many award-winning rods and customs through the years and home to our esteemed Goodguys Gazette Paint Tips columnist Zane Cullen. It was cool to chat with Zane and to check out the in-progress projects at the shop, which ranged from bare-metal beauties still getting fabrication work done, to primed projects awaiting final finish and painted rides getting assembled and detailed. It’s always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at how top-quality rods get built.
Cool Scenes at Castelli Ranch
A short drive up the highway led us to Castelli Ranch, a working vineyard where owner Steve Castelli – a longtime hot rodder and racer – has also amassed an impressive collection of cars, engines, parts, memorabilia, signs, and a wide range of other cool stuff that car guys and gals can stare at and absorb for hours. Not only were the shop, storage, and museum areas impressive to experience, but the winding drive through the fields of grapevines made for a memorable sight, too!
After a morning stop at Don’s Kustoms to start our Saturday, we enjoyed two more days of coastal cruising along Highway 1, taking it slow and easy so we could soak in the scenery while also stopping at attractions like the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree, Avenue of the Giants, and Sue-Meg State Park. A night stop in Crescent City, California prepared us for some Oregon coast cruising and stops at Cape Arago State Park, Bandon Beach Loop Drive, and Oregon Dunes State Recreation Area before another overnight stop in Lincoln City, Oregon.
Kustoms for Breakfast
Day two started at Don’s Kustoms, one of those small shops that make up the backbone of our hobby and prove that you don’t need a huge facility and large staff to craft head-turning and award-winning rods, customs, and classics. Owner Don Oliver treated out travelers to donuts and coffee and let us look through his well-appointed shop, where there were a number of great-looking projects in progress. Nestled in the trees near Fort Bragg, it’s a shop where Don can ignore outside distractions and concentrate on doing top-quality work.
You can’t take a road trip along the Northern California coast without a stop at the storied Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree! Located in the town of Leggett, this carved-out Redwood has been attracting tourists since 1937 and is located in a privately owned park and grove that has been continuously operated by the Underwood family since the 1920s. We dare you to resist driving your car or truck through for a fun photo.
A Giant Experience
Driving through the Northern California forests of towering Redwood trees is a serene and humbling experience and nearly everyone on the tour took time to stop, take photos, and simply peer up at these behemoths. It’s hard to describe the size and scope of these giants – it’s simply something you should try to experience in person.
We went from towering trees to gorgeous coastal views at the optional stop at Sue-Meg State Park north of Eureka. Formerly known as Patrick’s Point, this lushly forested promontory offers spectacular Pacific Ocean views and attracts visitors from far and wide. We even encountered a wedding while we were there!
Ocean views are wonderful, but after three days of hugging the coastline, we altered our trajectory and headed inland from our overnight stop in Lincoln City, Oregon for some more terrestrial adventures. But first, we dreamed of the stars (and flight in general) at the Evergreen Air & Space Museum, followed by a visit to renowned shop Steve’s Auto Restorations in Portland before spending the night in that city. We crossed into Washington the next day, visiting Cars by Ron Wade, Jerry Logan’s private collection, and the North American Bigfoot Center before making our way up the Columbia River Gorge to the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River and an overnight stay in The Dalles.
After our third day of driving with no official planned stops (put plenty of opportunities to pull over and take in some sights), we started day four – and our inland excursion – with a tour at the Evergreen Air & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The museum is home to more than 150 aircraft, spacecraft, and other flight-related exhibits, including Howard Hughes’ famous Spruce Goose, plus landmark craft like the SR-71 Blackbird and Titan II space launch vehicle. Our group of gearheads was in awe of the engineering, design, and background behind these amazing flying machines.
Stoppin’ at Steve’s
We brought our focus back to hot rods and vintage cars with a stop at Steve’s Auto Restorations in Portland, where owner Steve Frisbie showed us around the shop where countless award winners have been built, including the groundbreaking “Newmad,” which was the Goodguys Custom Rod of the Year in 2001, and the 2017 Ridler Award winning “Renaissance Roadster.” From one-off rods and customs to cruise-night classics, this shop has done it all over the past several decades and continues to produce outstanding rides, including reproduction Real Steel ’33 and ’34 roadster bodies.
Day five for our cruisers began in Vancouver, Washington at the Cars by Ron Wade collection. Ron was a passionate enthusiast and the founder of Chevs of the ’40s, a parts supplier for 1937-54 Chevrolet cars and parts. He was also a prolific car collector, assembling an eclectic garage of vehicles ranging from ’30s classics, to Funny Cars, muscle machines, and modern performers like a Ford GT and a McLaren. Sadly, Ron passed away a couple of weeks before our group visited the collection. He had previously donated his collection to the Western Aeroplane and Antique Automobile Museum, which continues to maintain it for enthusiasts to enjoy.
Jerry Logan is a lifelong car enthusiast and longtime Goodguys member and supporter who has been fortunate enough to assemble a very impressive collection of cars and trucks. We’re not just talking about five or 10 cool rides – he’s got dozens in his barn! Some of them he’s commissioned, others have been purchased from other rodders and collectors. All of them are impressive, and we’re grateful to Jerry for being gracious enough to let us have a look – and to also feed us a delicious lunch!
We found Bigfoot! Well, we actually found the North American Bigfoot Center Museum, a space dedicated to displaying a wide variety of Bigfoot evidence, historical artifacts, and even a life-size sasquatch replica. We’re pretty sure there were a few more believers by the time we left!
By Land and Air
We looked to the air again after driving to Hood River, Oregon to visit the Western Aeroplane and Antique Automobile Museum. The cool thing about this collection is that it combines both vintage airplanes and vintage cars, and many of them are still flown and driven regularly. From airplanes dating back to the World War I era and more than 130 cars tracing the 20th Century history and development of the automobile, this museum in rich in history that moves you!
The next two days had us exploring a portion of the Cascade Range, starting with a visit to the National Neon Sign Museum in The Dales, and then making our way to Rocket’s Hot Rod Garage for a lunch stop and onto the quaint tourist town of Leavenworth for an overnight stay. Our final day of touring found us winding our way toward the Seattle area to make a two-for-one stop at the incredible collections of Bruce Wanta and Jon Shirley in Bellevue, and then cruise the final stretch to Tacoma for one last stop at the Griot’s Garage headquarters, where we joined the Kickoff Party for the Pacific Northwest Nationals.
After spending the night in The Dalles, Oregon, we enjoyed a local attraction on day six when we toured the National Neon Sign Museum. This facility houses one of the largest collections of neon storefront signs in the world and captures the history of our country through the lens of the advertising and signage industry. You could say it was an enlightening experience to view all these colorful, glowing creations!
A short jaunt down the highway to Outlook, Washington took us to Rocket’s Hot Rod Garage, which is another one of those small shops turning out incredibly impressive builds. Owner Riley Morris let us explore the well-appointed workspace that’s located on his property and had a couple of the shop’s builds on display outside, including the ’55 Ford wagon built for Bob Cummings that blew us away when it debuted two years ago. Riley was also cool enough to bring in a food truck so we could all enjoy some lunch before hitting the road again.
After a couple of hours of driving along scenic Highway 2 through the mountains toward Seattle, we made our way to two amazing private collections before arriving in Puyallup. We were familiar with this collection owner as he’s won Goodguys Top 12 honors in previous years. Turns out he has wide-ranging interests, and his collection reflects that with classic European cars, muscle cars, hot rods, vintage bikes, movie memorabilia, NASA artifacts, and more.
Next to the previous facility was yet another incredible collection we were invited to visit. This was Ferrari heaven, with many examples of the exotic marque, plus Porsches, Jaguars, a Cobra, and a host of other rare and desirable collectibles. There was also a vast selection of automotive memorabilia and artifacts, plus art and much more. It was sensory overload!
A Detailed Finish
From Bellevue, it was a short (but traffic-filled) drive down to Tacoma, where we rolled into the Griot’s Garage headquarters facility and joined the Kickoff Party for the Pacific Northwest Nationals. It’s a cool space that includes a Griot’s retail store, a complete detailing facility, plus a great collection of cars belonging to the Griot family that includes vintage and modern European performance machines, American muscle, classic SUVs, and other cool rides. Griot’s brought in food and beverages to make it a festive afternoon and evening – the perfect finish to our road trip, and an ideal way to kick off the Pacific Northwest Nationals weekend.
2022 Goodguys Hall of Fame Road Tour Photo Extra!
Photos by Steven Bunker & Todd Ryden