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GPS, iPhone, Ice Cream and a Spoiler

The Aero Car display at the Bristol spring race was a good time. Some of the group continued on to Seiverville for activities on Saturday while others chose to stay in Bristol and display the cars again on Sunday prior to the NASCAR race. Those of us who stayed over were left with an open day with no activities planned on Saturday. Katrina and I decided we needed to exercise our 1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Cale Yarborough car a little. We thought it would be a great opportunity to see some beautiful TN back roads on a sunny spring day and also get some ice cream! It was nearly 80 degrees out and we were in spring fever mode.

Back home Dairy Queen is our first choice for a collector car ride to get ice cream. I pulled out my “smart” iPhone and looked for a nearby DQ. The nearest DQ was over 10 miles away which wasn’t that far but the “Ice Cream Store” showed up on the list and it was half the distance. Since there was a lot of Bristol race traffic in the area we decided the Ice Cream Store was for us plus it sounded like a nice quaint old school ice cream shop.

We plotted a route to the Ice Cream Store on the iPhone GPS and off we went. Just getting out of the Bristol Speedway camping area proved to be a challenge. The Highway patrol and track officials were already setting up special one-way traffic patterns to get attendees into the track on Sunday morning as fast as possible and that was the opposite direction of our intended path. GPS systems do not know when local officials decide to close streets and redirect traffic the opposite direction.

After wondering all over the camp grounds and Bristol back roads we finally got the car, the GPS and ourselves all headed in the same direction. We were enjoying our cruise and then the “smart” phone told us to make a right turn followed by a quick left turn. No problem; no problem even when we did this a few more times and the roads kept getting smaller and smaller. We now knew the Ice Cream Store was not closer than the DQ! We were going deeper and deeper into residential areas; certainly not where an ice cream store should be located.

Suddenly we were back to a highway and all seemed to have corrected itself again. Although the area was far from economically vibrant we were confident that the cool refreshing ice cream was but minutes away. About this time we saw some fire and smoke blowing across the road and “the smart GPS lady in the box” told us to turn NOW. We did, right into the smoke cloud. As we passed through I happened to spot a road sign that said “No Outlet”. That is a fancy term for Dead End, Your Screwed! In the distance we saw some rather tall flames. They were coming from a pile of leaves and other yard waste but it certainly had to be on some fireman’s watch list….I hope.

I may not be a marketing genius but I do know that no one in their right mind would put up a quaint little ice cream store at the end of a dead end residential street in the poorest part of town they could find. Curiosity had the best of us by this time so we continued on down the very narrow and winding country street. The smoke cleared and our quest was over, or was it? It did not look likely that we were getting any ice cream very soon. There in front of us was a rather neglected house with about a dozen even more neglected white panel trucks parked all around it. We had indeed found the Ice Cream Store…it was the home to a bunch of street driven, music playing, bell dinging, oil dripping, slow moving ice cream trucks that make dirty little children run for blocks to buy a 4 month old half melted popcycle!

We sat there and laughed for a while and then decided to see how smart our “lady in the box” could be. Could she find us a Sonic? They have great malts! I did a search, accepted the nearest results and the smart iPhone lady in a box directed us in a similar path down the dead end street and back through the smoke. We went through someone’s backyard around a swing set, made a couple of completely legal and one illegal “U” turns, passed through an abandoned industrial park and then, suddenly there was a traffic signal.

We made a left turn at the signal, spotted the Sonic and sped to our destination. It was a fun excursion but reminded us not to take directions from an unknown voice from a smart phone who is likely not all that smart. Next time we will just go to the DQ!


Some of my first and strongest memories from my childhood relate to cars. I still remember when things happened based on what car I was driving at the time. I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I was a Corvette fanatic for years but then re-discovered vintage American Muscle. My wife, Katrina, and I decided we wanted to focus on unique and rare muscle cars. After a lot of research we fell in love with the Ford Blue Oval Aero Cars. These were only built in 1969 and and aerodynamics became an important part of winning races. The only purpose of these limited production cars was to win NASCAR races using the Boss 429 and 427 power plants complimented with a special, wind cheating, aerodynamic body. The Ford Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II are terrific and historic cars. This site is devoted to these car and their owners past and present. We provide an Online Registry for recording the long term history and ownership of every remaining Talladega, Spoiler and Spoiler II.

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