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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MotorIoway rolls 'traveling museum' into Storm Lake

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Over 100 classic cars will be on display in downtown Storm Lake Saturday for an auto show by the participants in MotorIoway, the 11th annual 1,000-mile tour of the state.

The 500-700 blocks of Lake Avenue will be closed to allow the public to get close to the cars and to meet the drivers.

The Show and Shine is from 5-7 p.m. Saturday to kick off this year's tour, which begins Sunday.

Storm Lake is host city to the tour this year. Drivers will stay Saturday, Sunday and Monday night in the city, taking part in loop routes during the days, before heading to Okoboji and on east to Clarion Friday to complete the journey.

Along the way, they will encounter everything from Irish tenors to Australian singers, and jugglers to the secret skeleton in Jim's History Barn in Peterson.

Among those making the trip are Jim and Nona Dahl, who organize a motorcade from their home in Washington, Iowa to wherever the MotorIoway gathering city happens to be. They say they have 16 "potty breaks" planned on the way to the Storm Lake show in Nona's tulip-yellow 1951 Studebaker convertible - only of only 40-50 surviving nationwide.

With it's bullet-nose, the car is referred to as "The Cornpicker," Jim laughs. His wife and a friend dress in full '50s regalia for MotorIowa, while Jim travels in the Hummer that serves as a scout vehicle to guide the drivers into each town on the route.

The couple took part in the first year's Sesquicentennial tour, and found it so much fun that they've never wanted to stop.

"It really is a way to see Iowa. Most people don't take time to get to the side roads and the smaller communities, they spend a liftetime bypassing them. There is a lot to discover when you look for it."

MotorIoway is a "traveling museum," but to participants, it is not a car trip, but a people trip, Jim says.

"I think people find car restoration to be a little legacy that passes on to others - a piece of history that can move around. There is something about putting an old car back on the road that is all about the stability of the past," he says. "Everybody has a special memory about a particular car from their past, and these guys are very proud of them."

"Great cars were meant to drive. With MotorIowa and its support system and mechanics, you can drive them across the state and be very secure, and it is a wonderful thing to see these pieces of history doing what they were meant to do."

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