Last year, the CCT staff took part in the vintage and new truck cruise from Southern California to Las Vegas. This year, however, we left SoCal early with Truckin's Senior Technical Editor Bob Ryder, who towed the show trailer using a Ford F-250 equipped with a Triton V-10 6.8l powerplant. If we provided you with a blow-by-blow of our towing adventures and our challenges with inclement weather, equipment rental companies, and show setup, you'd appreciate the hard work of producing a cruise and a show 'n' shine. But, you'd probably prefer reading about and viewing photos of the 2004 Truckin' Nationals -- we hear you.

This was the second time our sister publication Truckin' produced the cruise and show in Las Vegas. The chant at Dealer's Sport Truck, the first cruise stop, in Los Alamitos, California, was "No rain! No rain! No rain!" Perhaps chanting worked, as cruise participants made their way to the gambling mecca relatively unscathed. Along the route, ATS (Auto and Truck Specialties) in Cerritos, California, was the second tour stop. In the hopes of accumulating a winning hand, cruisers collected their next poker card at ATS, took a tour of the facility, and tried their luck at another raffle. In Corona, California, aFe (Advanced Flow Engineering) hosted lucky tour stop number three. Still more prizes were raffled, and another poker card was dealt to all poker players -- with the exception of Primedia employees, because after all, this was an honest poker game. The climax of the cruisers' day was the Wally Parks NHRA Museum in Pomona, California. One of the cruise's and show's title sponsors, J.C. Whitney, sponsored the NHRA stop. In addition to the usual poker dealing and raffling, participants were treated to a mouth-watering BBQ and a self-guided tour of the museum that honors drag racing and the cool history of hot rodding. About a 1/2-hour before the first custom-cruising show trucks arrived, the skies of Las Vegas cleared. Road-weary travelers were revived with the anticipation of collecting their fifth and final poker card and the potential of having the winning hand. The inviting and exciting rain cleansed the neon-drenched Vegas skyline. Perhaps this had something to do with participants getting a second wind, or it could have been the promise of dining with and meeting other cruise and show participants at the AIM Industries-sponsored fifth and final destination stop. On show Saturday, rain came early but stopped about an hour before festivities were scheduled to begin. Mother Nature was indeed kind to us, as we were rain free for the entire weekend.