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On the Road Again

In March of this year, my roadster buddy, Blaine Clark from Gold Hill, Oregon, and I embarked on a two-week adventure in my BMW Z4 M. The goal was twofold: visit as many Presidential Libraries as we could and rendezvous with fellow Z roadster owners at a planned weekend gathering in the Texas Hill Country. All this had to be completed within the time allowed by our respective spouses.

There are a total of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. We mapped out a route that would stop at six libraries starting with Nixon’s in Yorba Linda, California, and ending at Truman’s in Independence, Missouri.

After our first stop at the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, we then met with the group of 53 enthusiasts with their 31 roadsters in Kerrville, Texas, for a weekend of driving and socializing in the hill country. The weather cooperated on Saturday, but a tornado warning dampened our spirits a little on Sunday.

It was a fun weekend of renewing old friendships and reminiscing about “Homecoming,” the annual gathering of Z owners at the BMW assembly plant in Greenville, South Carolina, held from 1997 to 2008. It was always a full weekend of competition on obstacle courses, time trials, driving school and organized trips on the surrounding roads.

One popular road is known as the Dragon. This internationally-famous destination for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts is located along a stretch of two-lane road known since 1981 as “The Dragon” or the “Tail of the Dragon.” The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to have 318 curves.

Our next library stop was the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, located on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas, and then we traveled on to the George Bush (41) Presidential Library and Museum at College Station. They have the same model plane displayed that he flew in WWII. The next challenge we encountered was rush hour traffic through Dallas after visiting the George W. Bush (43) Presidential Library and Museum at SMU. Don’t plan to visit his library until they finish the interstate reconstruction unless you want to spend extra hours parked on the freeway!

The farthest east we traveled was to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum located at his boyhood home in Abilene, Kansas. Eisenhower’s parents raised six boys in a very small farmhouse. The murals in the entry are quite spectacular.

The last library stop was for Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence Missouri. As a youngster, I had the opportunity to see him in a motorcade. He was on his way to give the commencement speech at the University of California at Berkeley.

With our goals complete it was time to put the pedal to the metal and head for home. We logged more than 5,000 miles in 13 days, toured six presidential libraries, and had a great weekend in Texas with fellow roadster friends. For more pictures and plenty of tongue-in-cheek commentary, visit our trip’s Facebook page.