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By Lisa Chaffin
Johnson City "Iron Resurrection" Mini Tour
I’ll just start off by saying that you never know what you are going to get when you sign up for a tour with the Chaffins!!
We started our tour at the “triangle” in Dripping Springs. The folks setting up for market day were probably pretty surprised when we filled the parking lot with 20 or so cars and over 40 people to enjoy some donuts, coffee and lively visiting under the oaks. After a few tour route instructions and a birthday song for Juan Barraza (happy birthday Juan)…and waiting for the Peters to arrive (jab, jab J), we set off on our tour a few minutes behind schedule at 9:37am.
We took a leisurely cruise through the Hill Country passing under tree canopies, searching for signs of wildflowers (there were a few) and enjoying the roller coaster roadway from Dripping Springs to Johnson City. We briefly got on Hwy 281 before turning towards Johnson City. We made a brief stop in front of LBJ’s boyhood home to make sure everyone made it through the lights and turns before continuing on to Miller Creek Loop.
Miller Creek Loop wound us back south through open range, bouncing over cattle guards and twisting along narrow roads. It was fun to have to stop for some cattle crossing our path and it was great to look back through the valley and see our long line of cars winding their way along the road. We came out along Miller Creek, which looked pretty dry, before heading south on Hwy 281 for a brief time in order to turn on Hwy 290 east.
We travelled on Hwy 290 for about 9 miles and this is where things got interesting. In the original tour planning, I had followed a “maps” program to the location I thought was Martin Bros. Customs shop. I had run the route twice to be sure I knew where to turn off and both times I followed the map program. So after a fun departure off of Hwy 290, we all lined up on the old Hwy 290 in front of a fabrication shop that was NOT Martin Bros. Customs shop. It was a chance for us to stretch our legs, grab some snacks and for me to make a phone call wondering why Amanda Martin wasn’t there to greet us. Chaffin tour planning strikes again!! Amanda sent me the correct address which I again plugged into the maps program on my phone.
We got everyone back across Hwy 290 heading west and thanks to the maps program telling us to turn right (instead of left), we all took a lovely tour of the quarry just across the street from Martin Bros. Customs. We did the parade wave at each other as I turned our long line of cars around in the quarry (I’m sure the employees had a wonder about what was going on), got us back on 290 and on to Martin Bros Lane.
Amanda Martin was there to greet us. We all gathered in the office part of the shop to learn a little about Martin Bros. Customs and their Velocity show called “Iron Resurrection”. She instructed us that we could not take photos of the cars since they were a part of their upcoming season and then she turned us loose in the shop. To our benefit, they were actually filming that day so the guys were in the shop working.
The shop is 6,000 square feet full of fabulous tools and projects. It was fun to see the different stages of the cars they were working on…a Bel Air, a Mercury and a Nova. Mike Zabonik was custom fitting a metal piece for the Mercury but took time out to talk with our group about the different builds going on in the shop while Amanda Martin chatted with another part of our group. I think several people in our group gave Amanda Martin some tips on where to find some new project cars for future shows. Overall, it was a great visit with some really fine people who love cars like we do.
After about an hour, it was time to head back towards Dripping Springs for lunch at Railroad BBQ. Before we left the parking lot, Joe Martin and Mike Zabonik wanted to check out the engine in our 1930 Lincoln (thanks to some urging from Tim Stuart). This was a great photo op and fun to see them really interested in the other cars on our tour.
We took the scenic route along Onion Creek back into Dripping Springs and then descended upon Railroad BBQ for a fantastic lunch. This was the official end of the tour and many of our group went on to enjoy the rest of their day from there.
A dozen or so people opted to follow us back to our garage for a glimpse at what we have in our shop and we enjoyed answering questions and telling stories about the cars and items stored there. We always enjoy opening our doors and hanging out with other car enthusiasts. By 3:45pm we had our cars tucked back into their spaces and the doors pulled down, satisfied with a great day of touring and spending time with some wonderful friends.
Thanks to all who attended and for being gracious about the unexpected detours!
Until next time.