Grand Circle Tours


One of the highlights of the tour year for Ye Olde Car Club during the 60's and 70's was a Grand Circle Tour.  The tours always took place in June shortly after school let out for the summer.  The timing was to accommodate families with kids (and a lot of kids went on the tours) and two families who had members working for the school district.


A typical agenda for a Grand Circle Tour was to gather (usually at Cork’s house) on a Saturday morning.  From there we would set out for a (nominally) 1000 mile, 9 day tour.  Each tour followed a preplanned route and Cork would organize the tour each year.  There were plenty of rest stops along the way and often stops for road side repairs.  At each stop the kids would run off restlessness and then regroup in the various cars for the next lap.  Typically the younger kids would fight for a spot in Cork’s screen side, which normally had a chalk board on its side which changed its message daily, but often sported “Alaska or Bust”.  This was to impress the people who passed us.


Every year was a new adventure and went over a new route.  Unfortunately, written chronicles of those adventures are nearly non existent and exist only in the fading memories of the tour participants.  The one documented tour was the 1967 tour to Wenatchee, Kelona, and Grand Coulee Dam.  That was written up in a 1967 article in The Restorer and is available.  Some of the tours and their destinations are listed below:


l           ?          ?

ll          1967    Wenatchee-Kelona-Grand Coulee Dam

lll         1968    White Pass-Pacific Ocean-Portland

lV        1969    Stevens Pass-Victoria-Chinook Pass

V         1970    Davenport-Ainsworth Hot Springs-Coeur D’Alene

Vl        ?          ?

Vll       ?          ?

Vlll      1974    Boise-Sun Valley-Missoula


I hesitate to list the people on the tours since I might miss some, but there were usually 5-10 families.  Cars ranged in age from the teens to the 30’s with a 1935 Plymouth being the newest.  Makes included Ford, Overland, Dodge, Cadillac, Pierce Arrow, Chevrolet, and Plymouth.


21 March 2009

Jim Vetrano

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