Welcome to Reno!

ACC’s boots are on the ground in Reno, Nevada for this year’s Hot August Nights celebration. And although we’ve only been on site for a few hours now, one thing’s already clear: car culture is still alive and well in the Silver State, even in the midst of a downpour. But we’ll get to that in a second.

ACC Associate Editor Chad Tyson and I left Portland, Oregon this morning at 9 am, heading south on I5 in a brand new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit edition – when Chad rolled up to my house, the Jeep’s odometer read only 750 miles. Read his review of the Jeep here. 

Most of the driving we did was on twisty two-lane roads that ran through small farming communities in Southern Oregon, Northern California, and into Nevada. The Jeep rolled on the miles with no drama at all, and thanks to its full host of equipment, including satellite radio and navigation, we were able to push through those 530 miles in about 10 hours with only one fuel stop and a lunch break at a sketchy pizza place in a backwoods corner of central Oregon.

The Jeep gave us no trouble at all. In fact, neither one of us was all that worn out after the trip – a function of Chrysler continuing to make their trucks handle more like cars. This Jeep doesn’t feel like a burly SUV, but it still has adjustable suspension settings and a low range transfer case that’ll take you wherever you want to go — and get you out of trouble if you get stuck there. We were both impressed with its balance of SUV utility and comfort on the highway.

We came down out of the hills into a valley right on the Nevada border at about 6 pm, right on time to see a black cloud descending on what looked like the Reno area.

Sure enough, as we rolled into town, we were caught in a thunderstorm and monsoon-like downpour – and so were about 30 hot rods, out for a cruise in downtown Reno. Most found cover wherever they could, while some just rolled up the windows and carried on. But this is the desert, and after about an hour, all traces of high water in the streets were gone, and the rods were out cruising like it never happened.

From the auctions to the drags, we’ll be everywhere this weekend, and we’ll be talking about it right here. Watch this space for more.