Day 12: June 30, 2013
Anniversary Eve Parade

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Phase 1 Staging took place not far from the hotel at Central Community College. Cars were to depart in order of age. There were definitely some "herding cats" moments but, in the end, the string of cars was fairly well organized. My slot was between Don Reifsnyder's 1962 Corvette and Art Ackerman's 1963 Chevy II. We rolled through some small towns on the way to Kearney. Towns here are spaced about ten or twelve miles apart and the next "Nebraska skyscraper" becomes visible almost as soon as you leave each one. We pulled into Cabela's at the edge of Kearney for Phase 2 Staging and to await a more precise launch time.

The Classic Car Collection shares the lot with Cabela's and tour members were given free admission. We had about forty-five minutes which was enough for an only slightly rushed pass through the collection. Cars I've pictured include a 1909 International Harvester Auto Wagon, all three years of the Ford Skyliner retractable hardtop, and a pair of Crosleys.

The Valiant had been in the tenth position on the run from Grand Island but left Cabela's in twelfth due to the inserting of the 1948 Tucker and this 1913 Stevens Duryea. There was another difference, too. While walking around the area, I noticed a dark spot under the Valiant and traced it to a leaking fuel pump. I consulted a couple of other drivers and the consensus was that it probably wouldn't catch fire although the car's mobility might be in jeopardy. No sense pulling out now.

The next step was a drive-by meeting with the west tour which had been doing the same as us on the other side of Kearney. Keeping the sometimes rough idling Valiant running and waving to the other drivers kept me busy then, during a left turn after the east-west meeting, the right rear wheel cover took off on its own. I pulled over and a spectator came running with it just as I got out of the car. The wheel cover went into the back seat and I went into medium speed passing mode to regain the right slot. When we went into another long pause, I was back behind the Corvette with John Peters' '59 Cadillac quite visible just ahead.

I shut the car off while we waited and was quite relieved when it started right up. I tapped the car into neutral a few time so I could keep the engine revs up a bit but the Valiant did not let me down as we cruised down the spectator lined street. Ka-chow!

ADDENDUM: Aug 26, 2013 - There is a fleeting glimpse of the Valiant in a USA Today video. A screen capture from the video is here.

We went directly to a side street where the cars were parked with tails to curb in a sort of car show arrangement. I sure don't consider the Valiant a show car but I was sure happy to see it sitting there after a 2500 mile run and a very satisfying parade. I grabbed a picture of Henry Joy's Packard which, although on a trailer, had actually led our group along the parade route. Some twenty or thirty minutes after parking, I made it back to the parade route to see cars still going under the big flag. A few people had recognized me and called out during the parade. One of them was Cece Otto who I now found performing on the sidewalk. I'll see her perform at least one more time before leaving Kearney.

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