From a budget standpoint, many participants told me that they planned to spend between $1,000-$1,500 to complete the Long Haul, with gas and lodging being the major expenses. Many reduce their expenses by sharing a ride, doubling up in modestly priced motel rooms and enjoying free breakfasts, and cooking on a portable grill. Pre-registration for the 2010 Long Haul was $70, and there are always other incidental expenses, but most Long Haulers will tell you this is some of the best money they have ever spent. And many do the tour every year. Some participants, because of work constraints, joined along the way for two or three days, and then returned home; this is a common practice. Those completing the entire Power Tour Route get an award certifying them as a member of the Long Haul Gang.

Next year's Power Tour will apparently end in Detroit, with the starting location and stops along the way remaining to be worked out. The complete route is generally announced sometime in January so if you intend to make the run, you need to secure your motel rooms early. The official site for information about the Power Tour can be found at www.hotrod.com. Another good site for useful information is the unofficial HRPT forum at www.bangshift.com/forums. At these sites, you can get good information about what to expect, local knowledge about best places to stay, and suggestions for what equipment to take.

Running the Power Tour in a custom classic truck is, to my mind, the best way to do the Long Haul. You have room to carry everything you need, including a fullsize cooler, not the dinky things that the muscle car guys are stuck with trying to jam into their trunk with their tool box and suitcase. And people in the Midwest and South love custom classic trucks!

My '58 Fleetside longbed completed the tour without any serious issues, but then I built her for cruising; she is powered by a 5.3L Vortec/4L60E with a 3.25 Currie Ford 9-inch rear. She stayed cool and I averaged a bit over 20 mpg for the whole effort, and 24 mpg on open highways. If you are considering participating in next year's PT, you need to appreciate that afternoon temperatures can really spike in the Midwest and South, so a well functioning air-conditioning system is important. The hurried, knuckle busting effort that I did to get my A/C unit installed right before I left was well worth the effort.