Bridge the Gap

Bridge the Gap

In the summer of 2019, I teamed up with my friend Michael Starr for a road trip to the H.A.M.B. Drags in his 1939 Ford. It’s an adventure that I’ve written about several times—both digitally and in print—but I find myself thinking back to it more and more as of late. Maybe it was the rain? Or the fact that neither of us knew what we were doing? I’m not sure. I do know one thing: it was the start of an exciting new chapter in the world of hot rodding (for me).

Back when I was planning the trip, I penciled in a series of landmarks that we needed to hit. We were rolling from St. Louis to Joplin, and we hoped to take a whole lot of Route 66. I remember staying up late studying Google Maps the night before. The Wagon Wheel Motel. The Devil’s Elbow Bridge. The swap meet in Springfield. Everything was locked in and ready to go.

Not long after getting on the road, we saw rain on the horizon. The clouds grew darker as we wandered the grounds of the Wagon Wheel. It ended up being a a very rainy ride, but we made the most of it.

When we arrived in Springfield, both Michael and I realized something: amidst the chaos, we completely missed Devil’s Elbow. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I still think a photo of the car at a 3/4 front angle with the headlights on would have made for the perfect opening shot…


Earlier this week, I was sifting through the H.A.M.B. when I stumbled upon Primered Forever’s thread about another historic bridge on the Mother Road. He got the shot, and I’m glad he shared it with us.

Joey Ukrop

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