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There have been a lot of hard-to-find and limited-edition Hess Toy Trucks over the years, but none have been more limited than what's just been released today. After months of teasing it online, Hess Corporation today announced that the special limited Collector's Edition Truck, commemorating Hess Corporation’s 85th anniversary, is now on sale exclusively at www.hesstoytruck.com. This Collector's Edition First Hess Truck has been designed "as an enhanced replica of the original fuel oil delivery truck used by Leon Hess when he founded the company back in 1933." While the actual numbers are never revealed, Hess promises that this one is being offered at "the most limited quantity ever for any Hess Toy Truck." I have the honor of helping to debut this ultra-limited ride, having gone hands-on right here in my office at Rock Father HQ this past weekend - check it out!

This November, Magnolia Pictures will bring to theaters a story that's a familiar one for thousands of families across America, but a tale largely unknown or ignored by much of the general public. When the trailer for The Last Race first hit my inbox, I immediately thought of a place that I've mentioned a few times in the virtual pages of The Rock Father™ Magazine in years past... the late Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Illinois. If you've ever been around short track auto racing, it's a familiar situation - racing thrives, but as development closes in on the race track, eventually the owners get squeezed out in favor of strip malls and upscale housing, often headed-up by litigious individuals and organizations that seek to eliminate the "inconvenience" of what was there before them. In the case of The Last Race, the subject is Riverhead Raceway, the last remaining auto track in Metro New York - one now surrounded, where racing takes place in the shadows of a Dick's Sporting Goods and a lumber yard. Check out the trailer below for what looks to be one of this fall's must-see documentary films.

This Rock Father™ Rides Special Feature is presented in collaboration with Chevrolet, the Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball...

Every team wants to play October baseball. Thing is, if you want to hit the field during the month of pumpkins and hayrides, September baseball is where it's at - a month that can absolutely make or break a season. As the final stretch of the five-month regular season, it's entirely possible for strong teams to collapse while traditionally bad teams can score a spot in the playoffs... weird stuff happens, and rivalries often come into play. Living in Northern Illinois, we're surrounded by rival factions. Of course, the Chicago Cubs reign supreme, but we're almost the exact distance from Wrigley Field as we are from Milwaukee's Miller Park, and now we have a year where the Cubs and Brewers are fighting for the top spot in the National League Central Division (spoiler alert: Cubs will come out on top). That means we regularly hear about a Milwaukee/Chicago rivalry, but we seldom actually see it. Why? Go to a Brewers game and experience it... Cubs fans outnumber the hometown crowd about 5-1 (some say 2-1, but it's more). In fact, Miller Park has the unwelcome nickname of "Wrigley Field North" when the Cubs are in town, but the ball club takes full advantage of that fact, jacking rates on parking and the like to take advantage of their neighbors to the south (can't say I blame them). With September baseball getting good, my wife and I recently had a "grownups night out" with a couple of friends, hitting the road to experience Wrigley North for ourselves.

Saturday, September 22 2018 01:40

Edmunds Lists New Cars To Watch Out For In 2019

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It's official: Edmunds, one of the top online resources for your car questions and more, has released its list of top 2019 car and truck models to watch out for. Considering that vehicle buyers spend roughly 59% of their time doing research online, this list is superbly helpful.

Highlighting styles like trucks and new electric vehicles, the automotive resource has predicted the top ten best vehicles on the market right now and coming soon across a number of different manufacturers. One of the cars to look out for? The comeback of the BMW 8 Series Coupe.

VTech's Go! Go! Smart Wheels have been something that my wife and I have regularly given as gifts over the past few years - some really cool vehicles and playsets that weren't quite on the scene yet when our girls were toddlers, but ones that arrived just in time for some other kids we know. Now the line is expanding again, with new sets like the Launch & Chase Police Tower, Tow & Go Garage and the Take Flight Airport. These sets can spark toddlers' imaginations and offer engaging play experiences while teaching first words, letters and more, and each features innovative SmartPoint technology. One of my favorite features is that they can all hook together for a large and immersive play environment. Check out the new sets below!

This story is brought to you in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors USA...

This summer, some Nashville flavor came to Illinois in a pretty unique way. No, I'm not talking about that "Nashville Hot" chicken (though that's picking up steam in the north as well), but my sister's country wedding. Though she grew up in Illinois as I did, Nashville has always been in her sights, and that's where she ended up. But for her wedding, she was back up north for a barn wedding in Hebron, Illinois. What was unusually cool is where some of the decor came from... not just from City of Nashville, but from the television series. After a six season run across ABC and CMT, Nashville came to an end this summer, which meant that the time had come for the production to wrap things up with a three-day "Set Decoration Public Sale." Actor Charles Esten even shared a video preview of the event some months back, and as luck would have it, decorations that may have dressed the set when Rayna Jaymes (Connie Brtitton) and Deacon Claybourne (Esten) tied the not wound up as part of the atmosphere for a real-life wedding.

For those wondering why Ellie Sattler wasn't released during the first wave of vintage-styled Jurassic Park Pop! Vinyls from Funko, she's finally rolling in! As the latest release in the Funko Pop! Rides series, the Jurassic Park Jeep with Ellie Sattler just went up for pre-order today via my friends at Entertainment Earth. Following the release of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi Vice Admiral Holdo Pop!, I do believe that this is the second time that a character portrayed by Laura Dern has been given the vinyl treatment. 

Monday, September 10 2018 07:48

Cars Are Getting Older: Who's Buying What?

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Happy birthday, cars: many of the cars you see on the road have some of the longest lifespans ever. The average age of vehicles across different types of models and brands have significantly risen, but who's buying what?

In the 1980s, a car reportedly lasted an average of around eight years before it was sent to the scrap heap. With new innovations in technology and car designs, however, this age has reached an average of over 11 years old, a never before seen milestone.

It's been awhile since I've featured Kia in the virtual pages of Rock Father™ Rides, but today's news brings a throwback to my top picks for what to see at the Chicago Auto Show back in 2016. One of the concept vehicles that I photographed and very much enjoyed was the Telluride SUV - touted at the time as an idea of what a modern, full-sized SUV from Kia might be... but one "not intended for production." In recent weeks, however, spy photos have been traveling in the automotive circles of pre-production Telluride vehicles that were barely disguised. Now comes the semi-official debut, the first public appearance of Kia Motors America’s "largest and most refined SUV" – the all-new 2020 Telluride, and it happened during fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s New York Fashion Week show. Created by Kia’s U.S. design studio in Irvine, California, the customized Telluride that appeared on the runway drew influence from Maxwell’s inspiration for the Spring Summer 2019 collection: Texas. This special preview comes ahead of the Telluride's "official" debut at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

If you're like me and have always wanted to own a Hollywood-inspired "star car," a chance to do so is on the way. Volo Auto Museum in Illinois is clearing out their storage vault to raise money and create room for their forthcoming Punishment and Crime Museum, set to open in 2019. The auction will be held via eBay beginning on September 19, 2018. Those who visit Volo often know it to be a museum where the collection is ever-changing, and sometimes that means some surprises will come up for sale... and when they do, it's because the museum is getting ready to buy. Among the items headed to auction this September are screen-used vehicles from Furious 7, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Ant-Man & The Wasp, American Gangster, Tucker: A Man and His Dream and more, along with replica vehicles based on famous rides from Scooby-Doo, Mad Max, Knight Rider and Back to the Future.

When The Rock Daughters™ and I paid a visit to The Toy Insider's Sweet Suite in New York City this summer, we saw that the folks at Kid Trax were upping the ride-on game with new offerings like Rideamals (more on those shortly). But now they've got some fresh product rolling into retailers for the Holidays and one for the younger crowd (ages 1-3) that stands out is a whole new spin on an old favorite. In partnership with Hasbro, the Kid Trax HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPPOS 3-in-1 Activity Rider is available now, exclusively at Walmart (an affiliate). Check out a video of it in action below!

When we last heard of Oregon Trail, it was getting a rebirth of sorts thanks to a new handheld game from the folks at Basic Fun! Toys. Indeed, I played the original version on the green-and-black CRT screens of my elementary school circa 1980-something, so the new game has an appeal (I've not yet played it). But for those wishing for a more true-to-life experience with the Oregon Trail, you can now pretend you're an Oregon Trail settler who just spent six months "on the dusty, bumpy and downright grueling journey west" - and you won't even have to die of dysentery to do it! For a limited time, those in Portland, OR can snag a ride in a covered wagon courtesy of Travel Oregon and Lyft Portland. It's a rare chance to enjoy a wagon experience in the Rose City in honor of the Oregon Trail's 175th Anniversary. Check out all the details below...

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