Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CulpeperFest 2015

Every year the Chamber of Commerce in Culpeper, VA hosts and event called CulpeperFest.  It is a gathering of local businesses to show their company to other businesses in the community.  It is a way to network and debut products and/or services.  The organizers invited our group, Cruisin For Heroes, to attend last year with a few of our friends and their special rides.  We set up a Fisher House Foundation, Proud Supporter canopy to have a presence for Fisher House and Cruisin For Heroes.  We talked to many people while we handed out information about Fisher House.  It was a good day.
We were invited back this year but were asked to bring more vehicles….which is what we do!  The event doesn’t have a lot of “spectators” but this year there were over 2900 spectators that registered!  And this event is held on a Friday in the late afternoon!  Our group is invited to provide “eye candy” in the form of our special rides.  This generates interest and hopefully adds to the event.  It gives us a presence to the business people in the local community….it really is a win/win deal. 
We had met with the manager of the event over the preceding couple of months to confirm our location and mission.  The day of the event was forecasted to be very hot with a slight chance of rain and have high winds!  Not a good mix for old cars and canopies on asphalt.  The rain consisted of about 20 min of heavy mist….not bad.  But the wind….I think it was blowing 30-35 mph steady with gusts to Mach 2.1….  We had about 40 pounds of weight on the prevailing side of our canopy to contend with the wind.  It was doing ok till a steady gust blew it about a foot, with the above mentioned 40 pounds of weight plus me and my 330 pounds hanging on it!  It kinda skated on the asphalt, never actually lifted off!  We decided to loosen the lower lines on the banners so they would stop acting like a sail….that seemed to work….whew.  All of our participants spent about 4 hours interacting with the other vendors and spectators….it was a very well received display based on the comments we heard.  Sometimes our mission is just being in front of people, making them aware of Fisher House Foundation and explaining what they do for our Veterans and their families.
The event was open from 3PM to 7PM…..since we began setting up around 1PM we were ready to leave around 6PM….  There were 19 people that took time out of their day to help us promote the Fisher House Foundation by bringing their special vehicles to the event.  They did that without any coercion or expectation of reward from us….they just did it to help us support our mission to bring awareness and funding to the Fisher House Foundation.  Cruisin For Heroes has a “list” of volunteers that we call on for the events we provide.  The list is usually around 50 people so we can typically fill a 20-30 car event.  If you think you would like to help us by volunteering your time and vehicle in the future….just email me at;  You can check us out at our website;   
As we packed up some of us decided to attend the weekly cruise in Culpeper at Burger King.  There were a few local cars in place when we arrived at BK and most of us were very tired from the day.  We ate and visited for a while then cruised 40 miles to home.  A very long day but fun and productive….


Normal night at the Q....

Friday night, June 5, at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA….mostly the regular crowd but….  Bill & Debbie brought out Debbie’s little Nash Metropolitan for the first time!  Such a cool little car and I think it fits Debbie’s personality just right!  We also had a visit from an MGB powered by a small block Ford, which was done very nicely.  One of Stuart’s friends cruised in with his recently finished Jeep bush fire truck.  It was fitted with all the normal accoutrements you would expect on a bush Jeep that was in active service.  A little red “kit” car that was built to loosely resemble an MG four seater and had VW power, a sinister black early Dodge Charger, a Bernardi, two Studebakers and a handful of farm trucks rounded out the crew for the night.  As always it was a great cruise….you need to check it out when you are in Fredericksburg, VA on Friday night.


Monday, June 29, 2015

A night at the Q....

Friday the rain clouds looks bad most of the day.  The weatherguessers were forecasting the rain to stop in the afternoon….yeah right.  The Princess & I decided to make a run for Fredericksburg, VA and shake our fist at the rain clouds…..YEAH BUDDY!  It worked!  We arrived at the weekly cruise managed by Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club at the VA BBQ restaurant and it was still cloudy but it WAS clearing….and getting cooler.  Anything would be cooler from the thermo nuclear temps we have had for that last couple weeks.  Over the next four hours, the evening unfolded very comfortably with about 30 cars attending the Q Cruise.

Most of the rides were the usual suspects but a purple ’57 Chevy Nomad rumbled in and took up temporary residence a couple spots away from our farm truck.  It was a very nice example of the popular long roof.  Don brought out his beautiful red ’51 F1 pickup….just to show us what a farm truck can be if you work real hard at it….his truck is flathead powered with period correct speed equipment.  His buddy’s red/white 70’s Ford Bronco was nicely finished too.  The Conrads cruised in with their red Mazda Miata convertible but the pearl white ’32 Ford highboy was the best hot rod of the night, love the roll bar! 

The only shady spot in the lot is usually occupied by early cruisers….and one that almost always attends is the drop dead gorgeous black ’67 Chevelle owned by Butch and his wife….the couple always park their chairs under the shade of the tree.  The tree….has been butchered by the power company over the years so it won’t interfere with the lines and cause power outages.  So the tree’s tortured and grotesque shape tries to keep living but part of it has given up and died.  A little group of cruisers had gathered behind our truck and we were about  10 spaces away from Butch’s Chevelle….and the tree.  There was a rare lull in the group’s conversation and I heard a “whoop/thump” from the direction of the tree.  When I looked I saw a dead tree branch that had dropped and was laying close to Butch!  It was about 3” dia and about 6 foot long!  I walked over to see if he was ok and to see how close the branch came to him, about 4’ away….and where it came from…..and if there were going to be more falling soon.  I feel like a deer, I have stood under that tree many many times and never looked up!  The branch that fell is part of a massive 12” branch that is mostly rotten….whew.  If the deadwood isn’t trimmed out by the next time we attend the cruise, I need to remember to warn cruisers that choose that parking area to be wary of falling tree parts.

Don with his ’51 F1 and his Bronco buddy each won a famous “VA BBQ Pig Trophy”.  The new trophies are….not like the old ones.  The new ones are gender natural….ask Rick about that.  Around 9PM or so we decided to break camp and had an uneventful cruise home….  I love this hobby….


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bumble Bees and RivahFest

Friday, June 19, we cruised to Fredericksburg, VA and the weekly cruise at VA BBQ hosted by the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club.  We had two of our granddaughters visit us for the week and we were ready to do some “car” stuff!  We arrived around 4:30 and it was not cooling down yet and the weatherguessers were forecasting rain later in the evening….which would bring cooler weather….yaaaa.  I think the temps went from 164 degrees to 156 degrees, brrrrrrrrr.  Some cars were already parked on the lot and soon others began cruising in.  Kandy brought her cool yellow Bumble Bee Camaro….and was in Bumble Bee Transformer costume for the kids….wow!  You have to check the pictures….  A very kool  SG rose ’35 Ford 2dr sedan joined us with his friend in a yellow C cab replica with a SBF sporting tractor pulling exhaust stacks!  It was a very different sound.  The rest of the 40 or so attendees were the regular crowd….  We stayed till about 8PM when the clouds started rolling in from the NE….really black clouds!  They were rolling like the “Nothing” from the movie “The Never Ending Story”  We would have to drive straight toward them to get home….but we were hopeful we would beat the deluge that was approaching.  We were cruising down the road near our subdivision when it let loose….rain in Biblical proportions….a real trash floater!  We only had about another ¼ mile to go and with no one in front of us to throw up road spray it was going to be OK.  After we garaged the farm truck we cleaned/dried it down and were ready for tomorrow.  Whew….

Saturday we left the N. Stafford WAWA promptly at 6:40 and began our 67 mile cruise to Tappahannock, VA and the 13th Annual Antique Car & Hot-Rod Show.  Bill & Jo-Ann (’57 Chevy), Dan & Romana (’55 Chevy) and the Princess & I with our Chevy farm truck left the WAWA.  When we went through Massaponax we picked up Fred & Debie (’57 Dodge) then a few miles further we picked up Bill (23 Model T Speedster)….Denny would join us later at the event with his Gatsby.
The car display is part of the annual RivahFest event.  It’s a community deal with vendors and crafters of all kinds set up on the main street through Tappahannock.  The food vendors usually keep us busy and if you get bored you must be in a coma….there are so many other things to do.  The “car” part of the event is free….the organizers feel that our rides add to the experience of the spectators at the event and they don’t feel right about charging us a fee to help them with their event!  What a concept!  Actually it’s what we do at our annual AirFest in October in Culpeper….stay tuned.  That concept is part of the reason they always attract over 100 special vehicles.  They do have the local chapter of the AACA “judge” the cars and give the winners a special dash plaque and certificate!  The Princess got 2nd place in the “Antique car over 25 years old”….with her side of our farm truck….my side had bird droppings on it from the trees.  I should bring my Model 12 next time maybe….hehehehe  I think Bill Bell got an award for best Model T, decorated with an old guy dressed up like he stepped out of the 20’s.  Or maybe he got it for the best use of a Model T wheel….you have to check the pictures!
One of the neat things about traveling away from home is that you sometimes get to re-acquaint with  friends.  Social media keeps us connected….but electronically.  These chance meetings with friends we have on social media rekindles friendships….such was the case at this event.  We met our friend, Nadine, at a show in Montross, VA a few years ago and have been keeping in touch on Facebook almost daily but haven’t had any face time since that first meeting.  Nadine brought her very cool VW, Bubblelicious, to the event and we had a nice time catching up.  I get to actually ‘see’ Robbie about two or three times a year even though we “talk” on Facebook almost daily….he stopped by to chat a while too.  I like these kinds of interaction when they happen….part of our great hobby.  Our lives may be very diverse but our hobby brings us together….just too cool.  There were many other friends we stopped and visited with during our adventures of the day….
One of the perks of arriving early at this event is that you pretty much get to pick you parking spot.  So all the grumbling about the early start the week before (and actually the morning of the event too) was quelled when we set up under the row of trees on the large grass field.  In my opinion it is the best spot in the event….everyone else commented about how nice it was later in the day when the temp went over ½ million degrees!  Maybe not so much grumbling next year about the start time…..grinning  When we left Stafford the weatherguessers were pontificating about when the slow moving massive storm would reach our area.  It had lightning, hail, massive rain and tornados with it….we really didn’t want to be dealing with it so far from home.  The best guess….yes guess….was that it would arrive somewhere between 3PM and 8PM.  With this in mind we left the event at 1PM and cruised home.  It was an uneventful, although stressful, hour and a half on the road….always searching the sky for a tell tale boiling cloud formation.  The much anticipated storm arrived in Stafford about 8PM….whew.  We had tornado warnings in Stafford which is a rarity….so I did exactly what the warnings said to do….run outside and look for the tornado!  Yup, that’s what I did….good thing we don’t live in Oklahoma….hehehehee  In the end we had a lot of rain, some wind….pretty much a ‘normal’ thunderstorm around here.  It was a very hot and long day for us, I don’t know how many more days like that we have left in us….we’ll see.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A new cruise in town....

Saturday, May 2, we decided to attended a new start up cruise in Fredericksburg, VA at the Pep Boys Auto Parts & Service.  This is managed by the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club….the same club that manages the Friday night cruise at VA BBQ.  This cruise is held once a month the first Saturday of each month; if it is successful maybe next year the club will have more Saturdays…..  This cruise fills a need of the car community around here, the closest other Saturday cruise, for us, is in Manassas about 29 miles away.  We were unable to make the inaugural cruise last month so this would be our first visit.

The parking lot will have room for about 80 cars and with the 60 that cruised in Saturday it filled up nicely.  The mix of vehicles varied from a stone stock ’51 Plymouth to a gaggle of big tire, Pro Street rockets and most everything in between.  New cars, old cars….fast cars, slow car….stock cars, streetable race cars….cars, motorcycles and yes even farm trucks are all welcome!  There are a few food choices close by and a WAWA for fuel. The cruise location is next to Rt. 3, a major East/West roadway with Rt. 1 & I95 within walking distance….it really is centrally located.  Ingress/egress is a little dicey with the speed bumps and major pot holes.  But once in the Pep Boys lot everything works just fine.  About half the lot backs up to a grassed area which is great for canopies….plus I always prefer to park my lawn chair on grass instead of asphalt.  This time the club had a novel 50/50….as usual the winner receives half of the value of the tickets sold in cash.  But a neat twist this month was that after the winner was drawn they drew another ticket….for second place!?  A person donated a really cool desk light made from engine parts; piston and connecting rod….really cool piece.  So….the Princess won it!  We are trying to downsize our life....I have been selling stuff on eBay, Craig’s List, online yard sales, and other places….and she brings home more….stuff.  The Princess was all squealy about her new acquisition; she likes to win anything….it’s what Princesses do.  So we now have a new addition in the hoarder room but there will be peace in the Shotwell hovel for awhile.  As I have often remarked, all cruises have a distinct personality….this one feels very warm & comfortable to us, like an old friend….we will be in attendance often.
Sunday we cruised 29 miles to the 34th annual Bull Run Street Rods Rod Run (show)….the 34th….do you get the idea this is a popular event? Do you think the club knows how to run a show?  There is no down side to attending this event and if you have a special ride, I recommend it.  This event is usually open to older vehicles only but this year they opened it to all years!  I personally like this idea, I like all kinds of rides.  I couldn’t count the cars adequately but I took pictures of about 130….I know there was more in attendance.  This is the second “big” show around here so people will bring out their new finished projects for all to see, variety is the norm for this event.   The weather was perfect and the fellowship was intense.  These large shows usually allow us to catch up with old friends we don’t see much during the year.  After we set up camp the Princess and a few other ladies invaded the host restaurant, Burger King, and didn’t return for a couple hours.  I was busy taking my pictures and Lou was talking to people about Fisher House Foundation and Cruisin For Heroes….we always get more done when a couple of us attend events together.
After the awards were given out and the event was officially concluded….Lou & Arlene, David and the Princess & I decided that we needed to cruise to Culpeper for ice cream…..a perfect ending to a perfect day…..I love this hobby.