Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge Cruise & Bruster's monthly cruise 9-24-2016

We had a cruise to the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge near Mt. Jackson, VA a couple years ago and it was very successful by all the feedback I got.  Over the ensuing months I have had a few people ask me, “when was I going to do another one?”  One person from Fredericksburg was very persistent….I won’t mention her name but she rides in a red 2006 Silverado with yellow flames….  This person plans and executes cruises for her club and I couldn’t figure out why she just didn’t plan it herself!?  But she was unrelenting….when she came around selling the 50/50 tickets at their cruise on Friday night she sometimes asked “When are we going to the covered bridge Chuck?”  I knew I had to plan another cruise…. 

The local car show/cruise calendar is very full and with the rain causing make up events to be added to the already full schedule, I was having some difficulty planning a day that would work.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, manages a monthly cruise at the Bruster’s Ice Cream shop in Culpeper, VA.  We decided to fold the covered bridge cruise in with our monthly Bruster’s cruise!  WHEW!!!!  We planned the route to begin in the more or less centralized location of Opal, VA and run West 47 miles to Luray, VA and a Liberty gas station for the pit stop.  Then we would proceed 19 more miles, over another mountain range, to Mt. Jackson and the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.  After our photo shoot at the bridge we would run 58 miles to Culpeper, VA and the Bruster’s cruise.  A very long, busy day!

At the start point in Opal we had about 32 vehicles when the launch time got close….but for some reason we only had 24 vehicles go to the bridge?  One of our group had car trouble at the main intersection near the start point and we had to play ‘how many guys does it take to push a ’55 Chevy about 100 yds, some of it up hill to the McDonalds parking lot’.  A couple of us old gimpy guys don’t push very well, so we stopped traffic on one of the most traveled secondary roads in Virginia, Rt. 29, while the gaggle of guys provided the motive power to the incapacitated Chebbie.  The owner wanted us to go ahead and leave since we were already about 20 min late, he and his wife would stay with the car till his friend (pastor) came with his trailer to retrieve the intransient hot rod.  I felt it would be ok to leave since he had help coming and there was food, drink, restroom, and A/C onsite.  We were two guys less in our group since two were at Bruster’s setting up for our arrival later….and since I was the only one that knew the route we were taking I led the group.  We said goodbye to our friends and began the journey!

For the first leg of the cruise we left McD’s and worked our way to Rt. 211 using back roads.  While traveling on Rt. 211 we went through the Shenandoah National Park and at Thornton Gap, elevation 2460’, we went under the Skyline Drive then down the other side to Luray, VA.  After the pit stop and a brief drivers meeting we launched toward New Market, VA on Rt. 211 up over another mountain where Rt. 211 ended at Rt. 11.  We turned North for a few miles to Wissler Rd. and the Meems Bottom bridge was right over the river….what a concept, a bridge over a river!

The purpose of the cruise was to travel the countryside of Virginia with our hot rods but also to take some pictures of the hot rods around the covered bridge.  Since the bridge is actually one that is actively used we could drive the vehicles through the bridge and circle around on the other side and take pictures as they leave the bridge on the sunny side….a good photo setup!  We took all the pictures we wanted and mingled around talking with friends.  After about an hour we were ready to saddle up and cruise to the food!

Since no one needed to stop at the pit stop on the way back we would be cruising nonstop to Culpeper.  We would retrace our earlier route till we reached Sperryville, VA.  Here we would leave Rt. 211 and begin running Rt. 522.  We would take Rt. 522 into the heart of Culpeper, we would utilize three traffic circles to keep the group together until we turned onto Rt. 29bus.  A few miles later after one more turn we arrived at Bruster’s….food!

The music was playing, thanks to DJ Chip, and about 20 vehicles were already parked.  We all folded in with them and began to enjoy the cruise.  Kim & Crystal ran the 50/50 for us again, I’m really glad they volunteered to do that for us.  Can you imagine how much money a couple old grumpy guys could extort from people for the 50/50?  Ladies are much better at separating guys from their money than other guys are….grinning  I had been bitten on the leg by something when I was walking in the grass taking pictures of the cars near the bridge!  My legs were beginning to swell a little so I was gimping around more than usual….but the show goes on!  Lou had arranged for State Farm Ins to be at the cruise offering to give quotes for vehicle insurance.  Something a little different but they were giving $20 to Fisher House for each quote even if you didn’t take their insurance! 
About 6PM some very dark clouds began to roll in….the hot rodders began to leave.  We called the event 30 min early incase it began to rain, it didn’t!  Jim called the 50/50 winner and announced that the Bruster’s manager’s pick was the very nice red ’39 Ford convertible.  After that most everyone vacated the lot.  Some vacated louder and with tire smoke….we may have to have a police presence next time,, hehehe  It was a very long, fun day and difficult retelling all the little things that made it memorable.  You just have to come along and make your own memories next time….

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

VA BBQ Fredericksburg, VA 9-23-2016

Friday we visited the weekly cruise at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA to see exactly who would come out on a near perfect weather day.  A lot of the cruisers were infrequent visitors and some we saw that afternoon for the first time!  But most were the usual suspects. 

The dk blue ’64 Malibu was very impressive and just recently completed.  The orange ’69 VW bug was amazing….so “stock” looking but it was running a turbo charged built little wheezer motor….all the plumbing was tucked neatly under the hood, very nice.  The orange/red ‘60s’ MB was different with the GM V-6 power.  My favorite of the evening was the orange ’36 Plymouth sedan with the “Tower of Power”, slant 6 engine….it’s very refreshing to see more use of the inline motors the last few years.  They don’t make as much HP but their ‘cool’ factor is higher than most ‘normal’ V-8 engines.  And this one has been massaged a little too!

The club announced the 50/50 winner and the trophy winners for the night then we all went our separate ways home.  One of the winners was Dave B. and his drop dead gorgeous, hurt your eyes green ’37 Chevy Sedan!  The car is amazing….you have to check it out when you see it.  And….Dave is the owner/operator of B&R Customs in Fredericksburg, VA.  Since I do most of my own work/repairs on our vehicles, I rarely use or recommend a shop.  But I have had Dave do some work on our farm truck that I’m getting too old to do and I am very happy with the outcome.  Dave and his staff know the attachment we hot rodders have to our rides and treats them accordingly.  The truck came back with no “new” mystery scratches or dings. The truck now handles better than it has since we bought it in 2011.  So….if you need some work on your hot rod that you can’t do or don’t want to do….check out B&R Customs in the Burg.  It was a good cruise but it was just a little nippy on the way home….I may need to dust off the snow shovel soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bruster's of Culpeper, VA monthly cruise 8-27-2016

Saturday was our 5th Bruster’s cruise in Culpeper, VA.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, manages a cruise with the help of our friends in the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club, on the 4th Saturday of each month.

This month we had about 43 special vehicles visit the Bruster’s lot….about half were first time visitors….which means the word is getting out about the cruise.  Some say it’s the prime location right between Rt. 29 & Rt. 29 Business….others say it’s the awesome 50/50 ladies from the FC&MCC that extort money from the hapless cruisers….others say it the world renowned DJ Chip, that fly’s in just to spin the tunes for us….others say it’s the ice cream Bruster’s has AND the Nathan’s hot dogs.  The Princess says it’s because everyone wants to see if the old crippled guys can last all day walking around in the thermonuclear heat, parking cars, answering questions and talking about Fisher House before someone has to call 911 to have them removed from the asphalt!  I think the Princess is analyzing the deal from the comfort of INSIDE Bruster’s….talking and eating ice cream….can you say AIR CONDITIONED?  But….We did it; we were all standing at the end of the day….a little crooked but still on our feet!  I have only taken most of Sunday to recover from the blistering heat and 5 hours on my feet….whew!
Oscar & Cyndi’s visit was a pleasant surprise for the Princess & I and I got to meet fellow picture taker and Facebook admin; Steve….it was a good day.  As I said above about half the rides were new to the cruise.  I enjoyed seeing the “Hot Rods”….some would say Rat Rods….a couple blurred the lines a little between Rat Rod & Hot Rod….but they all are way cool.    Bob paid us a visit with his cool SSR ( and an in your face, red & white, 4WD International crew cab pickup….I have seen a few of these painted dark blue with yellow stenciling all over them on Air Force Bases I have visited.  My favorite was the red/silver Pro Street VW….that is one air cooled beast.
About 8PM Jim announced the 50/50 winner followed shortly by the Bruster’s Manager’s choice for the month, the ’58 Chevy 4dr.  We had a lot of Fisher House traffic and gave away some FH brochures….which means we were able to enlighten some people about what they do for our Veterans.  A good productive day for everyone….


Fredericksburg, VA VA BBQ Cruise 8-26-2016

Friday we attend the VA BBQ cruise in Fredericksburg, VA.  The event is our “home cruise”….we like to be there most Friday evenings.  The people are friendly, the cars are diverse, the lot is easy access for hot rods.  Now if the club could just get the weather to cooperate!  This summer has been a hot one and the weatherguessers say we have another month of the above average heat.  Yaaaaaa!

About 45 special rides visited but the lot still had some empty spaces.  Most of the visitors were the usual suspects but Mr. & Mrs. O’Neil brought out their beautiful ’31 Ford Sedan Delivery to share with us.  They have a couple other nice original rides we see occasionally.
We were busy talking with Rickey & Diane and didn’t notice everyone was gone….I guess the Princess had a lot to say….  This cruise usually stops on Halloween so try to stop in this year….or you will have to wait till next April to watch Rick line dance….


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

4th Annual Summer Screech 8-14-2016

Sunday we ran the Cruisin For Heroes, 4th Annual Summer Screech to Williamsburg, VA.  This is a lazy, easy cruise of about 200 miles out and back.  We only travel the back roads of Virginia but unlike the twisty mountain roads this is the flatlands area of Virginia that runs near the Rappahannock River most of the way then follows the York River to near the Chesapeake Bay.  Our destination is always Capt. George’s Seafood Restaurant.  It is THE premier seafood buffet….period!  We cruise on Sunday because we get a discount on the price and can reserve part of a room for our group. 

We usually have 15 or so cars of people that make the journey but the oppressive heat kept most home this year.  We had four hot rods show up and since it was a rain or shine event some came in their daily drivers!  It was interesting that the four hot rods were all Fords….I’m not sure what that means….grinning Since the Princess recently had extensive surgery and was still recuperating she wanted us to take our daily driver too, it has A/C….!  And we were both trying to recover from the heat drain from the day before.
The cruise was uneventful down and back….the food was exceptional as usual….the day was perfect although very hot.  Driving around the Virginia highways, eating at exceptional restaurants….it’s living a dream.  I love this hobby….



FC&MCC 14th annual show, 8-13-2016

Saturday we were going to attend the 14th Annual Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club show….it’s always a hoot and we like to support our favorite Car Club.  They work at collecting money all year from their 50/50 at the weekly cruise and the proceeds from their annual show.  They use the money to support local needy families especially around Christmas time.  They have always had a positive impact on the lives of many people in and around Fredericksburg, VA.  In addition to supporting something good….the show is the premier event of its kind south of the Occoquan River.

The club knows how to manage the show so it unfolds like a German railroad.  They always have a gaggle of quality vendors to keep the crowd occupied when they aren’t ogling the rides.  And they have a DJ…..  Calling Chip a ‘DJ’ is like calling the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground!  Chip has taken the pulse of the kind of music we all like….and he actually plays it with few announcements breaking up the sounds.  Without a good DJ an event stutters and coughs along….but Chip keeps everything rolling smoothly.
The weatherguessers said it was going to be hot….this is the first time this year that they hit it right.  The temp was 98 degrees with a 472% humidity reading….making the heat index around 10830 degrees centigrade.  Thermonuclear stuff for sure.  I think I saw some people’s unprotected skin begin to sag….like the ending of Indiana Jones!  The Princess does NOT LIKE the heat….not even a little.  She stayed under the canopy most of the day holding court with anyone that ventured into her realm.  The two of us drank nine, 20oz bottles of water and three, G2 Gatorades.  It may have not been enough.
The quality of the entrants and the diversity of the rides are always over the top.  I think there were about 100 cars registered, which was down from previous years.  No doubt some thought better of sitting outside in the heat trying to drink in as much water as they were sweating out.  I liked the brown ’56 Pontiac the best but there were others that were some of our area’s best examples of hot rodding.  A lot of trucks are showing up at shows & cruises lately….18 trucks and a fire truck attended this show!  I think it’s a good thing. 
The heat began to get oppressive around 1PM and the club mercifully ended the human barbeque when they called the Chinese Auction winners early.  Then the trophies were awarded and the 50/50 winner drawn.  That was when we all dispersed like water on a freshly waxed hood. 

We had wanted to attend the Locust Grove cruise after the show….but….after enduring the asphalt softening heat all day; we decided to go toward the A/C instead.
If you have attended this show before you know it’s a must do show for the year….if you haven’t attended, you need to fix that next year.


VA BBQ 8-12-2016 Fredericksburg, VA

Friday we invaded Fredericksburg, VA and the weekly cruise hosted by FC&MCC at VA BBQ.  The temp was above 95 with the heat index somewhere around 103.  Few people came out before the sun went down, no doubt because of the heat.  But eventually there were about 25 hearty souls that braved the heat.  A couple rides were new to the cruise….like the green ’50 Chevy PU and the red/silver ’55 Chevy convertible.  And Ken visited with his white El Camino….we haven’t seen him for over a year! 

The club gave out the trophies and everyone motored home….we had to get ready for tomorrow….in the heat.  The weatherguessers were forecasting a heat index of 110….