The 2018 G.T. 350 Tour -- 22 Vintage Shelbys in the Adirondack Mountains


lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
51
Centreville, Delaware
Okay, my previous couple of posts notwithstanding, one does not always have to drive a Cobra… there are other cool Fords in which you can have lots of fun! I enjoy organizing a not-for-profit Shelby G.T. 350 driving tour each fall. The Tour takes place in a different location each year. In order to keep the size of the Tour manageable, participation is limited to 1965-1970 G.T. 350s.

When planning the Tour, I, of course, look for great roads, but I also attempt to select a week that will coincide with the peak colors of the fall foliage season. The problem, is that the planning stage of the Tour takes place nearly a year in advance of the fall foliage season, so attempting to select the week when fall colors will peak is less than an exact science. I was very lucky this year… the foliage colors peaked during the G.T. 350 Tour!

The 2018 G.T. 350 Tour was based out of the historic Sagamore Resort which is set on the western shore of Lake George in New York’s Adirondack region. We all congregated at the Sagamore on October 8. The 43 Tour participants traveled in from California, Texas, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Delaware, Connecticut, and Alberta, Canada.

After enjoying a relaxing welcome banquet, and our first night at the Sagamore, 22 vintage G.T. 350s headed off into the Adirondack Mountains early on Tuesday morning. Beginning the driving portion of the Tour on a Tuesday was a strategic move, as Monday was Columbus Day. The Adirondack region is always jammed with foliage-viewing tourists over the Columbus Day weekend.

We encountered very little traffic as we wound our way north along the western shores of Lake George and Lake Champlain. After crossing the Lake Champlain Bridge, we entered Vermont and made our first fuel stop. While we were refueling, I made the mistake of leaving my ’65 G.T. 350 unattended for about 90 seconds, which, apparently, was more than enough time for a couple of our southern California Tour participants to customize my Shelby with “Student Driver” placards!

After the fuel stop, we made our way to the quaint town of Waterbury, VT where it was unseasonably warm. The very mild temperatures allowed for an unexpected outdoor lunch. Following lunch, we made our way across town to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory where a tour of the ice cream factory had been arranged for the G.T. 350 Tour participants. The afternoon temperature was well north of 80 degrees F, so the ice cream factory tour turned out to be a rather prescient idea.

We left Waterbury in our rearview mirrors and made our way south along a ridgeline that provided us with some spectacular views across the Lake Champlain Valley.

While I was doing reconnaissance for the 2018 Tour last winter, I stumbled across an amazing shop that lovingly restores antique wooden speedboats… The Tumblehome Boat Shop in Warrensburg, NY. The owners, Reuben and Cynde Smith, could not have been more accommodating in hosting the Tour group during the morning of Day 2 of the Tour!

Once the group parked our Shelbys, Reuben and Cynde welcomed us into their pristine facility and explained the unique challenges associated with restoring boats that can be a century old. Unbeknownst to me, the Smiths had arranged for a videographer to record the G.T. 350s at Tumblehome. The drone footage is rather stunning. There is a link to the video below.

To show our appreciation to the Smiths for their incomparable hospitality, Dave Wagner and I handed the keys to our ’65 G.T. 350s over to Cynde and Reuben. I can report that the Smiths were thrilled to have the opportunity to drive the two raucous vintage Shelbys!

Following the Tumblehome Boat Shop visit, we snaked our way through some amazing fall colors going toward Tupper Lake, NY. After lunching in Tupper Lake, we were treated to even more perfect fall colors while cursing along toward Saranac Lake and onto Lake Placid. Upon arriving back at the Sagamore Resort, we broke out the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the parking lot and milled about the G.T. 350s while reminiscing about the day’s drive.

Unfortunately, the rains came with Day 3 of the Tour. As luck would have it, though, the better part of Day 3 was spent indoors at the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop in Greenfield Center, NY and at Jim Taylor’s amazing car collection in Gloversville, NY. For those who don’t know, Rolling Bones builds some of the most sought after hot rods on the planet. If you want one of their rods, however, you better not be in a big hurry… the waiting list is six years long!

Jim Taylor’s collection is legendary, and, the cool thing about Jim, is that he drives pretty much everything in his collection! Jim, who has been on loads of driving tours the world over, told us many fascinating stories of his exploits with the cars in his extensive collection. Jim also made certain that the group was well fed!

A last-minute change became necessary for our Day 3 dinner. After learning that the G.T. 350 Tour was in his neck of the woods, Racemark International founder, Bob Bailey, invited the entire group of us to dine with him at the private Lake George Club. In order to give credit where credit is due, the dinner invitation resulted from Bruce Meyer being on the Tour. Bob and Bruce are long-time buddies. It was a sensational evening – even though the G.T. 350 Tour had to rescind its traditional “jeans and sneakers” dress code for the evening!

A surprise event had been planned for Day 4 of the Tour. Special arrangements had been made with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation so that the G.T. 350 Tour could have access to the summit of Prospect Mountain. The mountain is situated at the southern end of Lake George and, on a clear day, the view from the summit is 100 miles across the lake and into Vermont.

Cars are not permitted to summit the mountain, but, after some interesting negotiations with NYDEC, I was able to get special permission for the vintage G.T. 350s to park at the summit of the mountain. The 22 G.T. 350s drove through a wonderland of vibrant fall color as we made our way up the six-mile-long road that winds around the mountain to the summit. Upon arriving at the summit, we enjoyed a superb catered breakfast and some stunning views. A talented guitarist provided the background music during our Prospect Mountain summit visit.

We departed Prospect Mountain and made our way down to Bennington, VT where the folks at Hemmings Motor News were kind enough to host the G.T. 350 Tour. After a lunch in Bennington, we drove through some of the most scenic parts of the Hudson Valley on our way back to the Sagamore Resort.

Arriving back in Bolton Landing, we all gathered in the Sagamore’s lakeside restaurant for a banquet to cap off yet another great day of driving in our Shelbys.

With the arrival of Saturday morning we said our goodbyes and loaded the G.T. 350s into the trailers for the long trip home.

All the best,
Lee Cross

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ucjqTqL7302EPmPJHnTwMjH_o16EHHkh

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Gene Cassone

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Dec 3, 2005
674
way upstate NY
Great drive and photos! Wish I knew ahead of time, I am sure you passed my house on the western shore of lake Champlain. Would have loved to see all these great and historic cars! Glad you enjoyed your visit to the “north country!”
 

Howard

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Apr 26, 2007
971
Florida/North Jersey
Great tour, great story, well told.
 

lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
51
Centreville, Delaware
Great drive and photos! Wish I knew ahead of time, I am sure you passed my house on the western shore of lake Champlain. Would have loved to see all these great and historic cars! Glad you enjoyed your visit to the “north country!”
I am surprised that you didn't hear us, Gene! Our routes took us both north and south out of the Sagamore, so we definitely past your place at least once.
 

DakotaGT

GT Owner
Mark II Lifetime
Dec 9, 2012
1,252
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Lee, your posts are absolutely stellar. Thank you so much for taking the time to put them together. How cool. Love that "student driver" sign, lol!
 

lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
51
Centreville, Delaware
Lee, your posts are absolutely stellar. Thank you so much for taking the time to put them together. How cool. Love that "student driver" sign, lol!
It is a TON of work to put one of these tours together, Clint, posting about it is easy. The G.T. 350 Tour is a very fun group! If you look at the photos, you can probably figure out who the two "Student Driver" conspirators are... they are a couple of nuts!
 

twobjshelbys

GT Owner
Jul 26, 2010
4,920
Las Vegas, NV
Great adventure! Do you do this kind of thing with any others besides Cobras and G.T. 350s?
 

lc2006

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Nov 10, 2011
51
Centreville, Delaware
Great adventure! Do you do this kind of thing with any others besides Cobras and G.T. 350s?
Tony, I have participated in six driving tours this year. I was a participant in five of the tours and the organizer of one of them. Four of the tours were Cobra-only tours, the fifth was the G.T. 350 Tour, the sixth, which was an event honoring Peter Brock, allowed any classic or exotic car. Given that the tours took place on the east coast, in Alaska, southern California, Napa, and the pacific northwest, it didn't leave much time to tour with anything other than a Cobra or Shelby. No complaints here, though!
 

GTED

GT Owner
Apr 4, 2006
770
Great write up and fantastic pictures. Thank you for sharing your experience! Best read of the day for me!
Cheers,

Ed
 

Austinj427

Active member
Feb 12, 2018
35
Colorado
That looks like a blast.