2019 G.T. 350 Tour -- The Ozark Mountains


lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
110
Centreville, Delaware
Well, I never thought that I would allow the annual G.T. 350 Tour grow beyond 20 vintage G.T. 350s/40 participants. It is a nonprofit tour, and I have no desire for it to become some gargantuan event, as with some other superb driving tours, that allow nearly 100 cars and 200 people to participate. The G.T. 350 Tour is a very casual and unpretentious event, and I aim to keep it that way.

It is a ton of work to put the Tour together, but, owing to its small size, we have a blast running around a different part of the country each fall in our G.T. 350s.

The 2019 G.T. 350 Tour was based out of Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, MO, although nearly every mile of our four days of driving took place on the stunning Ozark Mountain roads of northwestern Arkansas.

There were 25 vintage G.T. 350s and 50 people, from across the US and Canada, participating in the 2019 G.T. 350 Tour. To keep things manageable, I decided to split the group in half and then send one group off about 20 minutes in advance of the second group each morning. Although I had my doubts about this type of a format, it seemed to work fairly well. This does require, however, that the route books -- the books that list the daily driving routes -- must be dead-on accurate; otherwise there would be Shelbys aimlessly roaming throughout the Ozarks!

We had a bit of fog at elevation, on day 1, as we snaked our way along a mountain ridge and down into Jasper, AR. Luckily, the sun eventually burned the fog off and our drive back to Ridgedale was superb.

I always attempt to find a few interesting stops along our Tour routes in order to break things up a bit. On the morning of day 2 of the Tour, we stopped for a tour of the Ranger Boat manufacturing plant in Flippin, AR. It was fascinating to see how the Ranger folks create the razzle-dazzle finishes that their boats have become known for. Unfortunately, photos were prohibited inside of the Ranger Boat plant.

Day 2 was followed by a “down day” on Wednesday, which allowed the Tour participants to enjoy the extensive facilities and activities that are available at Big Cedar Lodge.

For driving day 3 -- October 31 -- quite a few in the group donned some seriously creative Halloween costumes! (Note: This Halloween thing was NOT my idea, however, some of the G.T. 350 Tour “regulars” are genuine nut cases!)

We had a rather raucous dinner on Halloween evening. Awards were bestowed upon those wearing the most creative (or embarrassing?) costumes!

On Friday, our final day of driving, we drove quite a few curvy back roads on our way to Eureka Springs, AR. Following lunch in Eureka Springs, we drove the G.T. 350s across a few high Ozark Mountain ridges before heading down into Boxley Valley, along the Buffalo National River basin, and then back to Ridgedale where the 2019 G.T. 350 Tour concluded with our farewell banquet.

Here is a link to the photos:


Cheers,
Lee Cross
 

twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
5,222
Las Vegas, NV
Wow, Cobras and GT350s too? Do you do other events like this? I agree with the amount of planning it must take!
 

lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
110
Centreville, Delaware
Wow, Cobras and GT350s too? Do you do other events like this? I agree with the amount of planning it must take!
No way do I organize any other events like this one!!! I organize just one tour per year -- The G.T. 350 Tour. The G.T. 350 Tour provides me with more than enough logistical nightmares to last for the entire year!

My good friends, Drew & Janet Serb -- along with their daughter Emily Serb Lambert -- organize the Cobra 1000. A couple of other good friends, Peter DeSilva and Mary Murray, organize the biennial CSX Tour -- the next one will be coming up during 2020.

All of us participate in each other's tours; and I very strongly suspect that we quite thoroughly enjoy being nothing more than participants during each other's tours!
 

twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
5,222
Las Vegas, NV
No way do I organize any other events like this one!!! I organize just one tour per year -- The G.T. 350 Tour. The G.T. 350 Tour provides me with more than enough logistical nightmares to last for the entire year!

My good friends, Drew & Janet Serb -- along with their daughter Emily Serb Lambert -- organize the Cobra 1000. A couple of other good friends, Peter DeSilva and Mary Murray, organize the biennial CSX Tour -- the next one will be coming up during 2020.

All of us participate in each other's tours; and I very strongly suspect that we quite thoroughly enjoy being nothing more than participants during each other's tours!
As the permit holder and organizer of three private Grand Canyon rafting trips, trust me, I know the luxury of being just a boater on a friend's permit. I started 18 months in advance of put in date. It got to be a job at about t-11 to t-6 while daily details like menus etc are worked out. Then collecting money etc goes on. Private party trips the others seem to think they have some input on things like menus. Commercial trips you get on a boat and the guides do all the lifting (not just the heavy lifting). Not being trip leader didn't get me fully off the hook since only a couple of us had the experience of how the boats were packed etc, so the burden shifted from before the trip to during the trip. I'd still do one more trip though :)
 

Flatrod

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 29, 2008
151
Anchorage, Alaska
Lee, Looks like another great tour! When are you going to drag them all up here? The Blue 66 with the American's is a dead ringer for my first 66! Had to look hard at it, but my old car went to NZ.
 

lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
110
Centreville, Delaware
Lee, Looks like another great tour! When are you going to drag them all up here? The Blue 66 with the American's is a dead ringer for my first 66! Had to look hard at it, but my old car went to NZ.
Hi, Dennis. I hope that all is well in Alaska! The 2019 Tour was probably the best one yet... Arkansas roads are out of this world! I don't know when the G.T. 350s will get up north, but I have heard some rumblings about Cobras again in 2021. I am sure that a lot of it will have to do with whether Dr.s Karpik and Rice are ready for another tour in their home state! One thing is for sure, though, there will be a lot more than four Cobras next time! There were an awful lot of people who were sorry that they didn't make that trip!
Cheers,
Lee
 

Flatrod

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Jan 29, 2008
151
Anchorage, Alaska
The more the better! You guys are welcome to use my place again if needed.
 

GTJack

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Oct 1, 2006
1,674
Saddlebrooke, MO
Wish I had known about this. I live just north of Branson and have been to many of the spots shown in your pics. Would have loved to see all the GT350s. Still had my GT500 when you hosted your tour.
 

lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
110
Centreville, Delaware
Wish I had known about this. I live just north of Branson and have been to many of the spots shown in your pics. Would have loved to see all the GT350s. Still had my GT500 when you hosted your tour.
My apologies, Jack. It would have been nice to meet-up with you while we were all out in MO/AR.

While the location/date of each G.T. 350 Tour is not necessarily secret, I do not go out of my way to make this information widely known. Unfortunately, these cars can, frequently enough, be targeted by car thieves. As a matter of fact, I acquired my '65 G.T. 350 from the car's original owner, so I am lucky enough to have one-owner car. In addition to being a one owner car (before me), however, my '65 is also a recovered theft. It was stolen from a SAAC event! Luckily, the car was recovered -- just before it was parted-out -- and returned to its original owner.
Cheers,
Lee