Monday, August 18, 2014

The road or the lawn mower.....hmmmmm

Friday we settled in at VA BBQ for the weekly cruise managed by Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club.  A lot of the usual suspects rolled in along with a few new rides too.  The deep wine ’39 Chevy was perfect….it didn’t stand out till you started checking it closely.  So much attention to detail, it was just amazing.  And the orange ’37 Ford that I walked by thinking it was Special Ed’s orange ’39….they look similar with a quick glance.  I have to talk to the owner next time!  There were about 45 cars at the cruise….a nice night.  Our little cluster of friends kept talking through the awards, the 50/50 and almost all the cars leaving before we noticed we were nearly the last ones in the lot!  The weather was perfect, the company was engaging….they say ‘time fly’s when you are having fun’.  I can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend a few hours with friends and hot rods.  The Princess & I cruised home remarking what a cool hobby this is….

Saturday we launched from Stafford, VA on our 67 mile cruise to Gordonsville, VA and the Barbeque Exchange Restaurant.  Ever since our friend Bill told us about this place, we try to visit it as often as we can.   Denny & Betty left the WAWA with us and Dan & Ramona joined in on the way out of Stafford.  When we cruised past Culpeper, Fred & Debie joined with us in our quest for food.  This is always a lazy, non confrontational cruise through the rolling hills of the Virginia Countryside.  The Princess takes pictures along the way to try to give you a flavor of its grandeur….but you need to go with us sometime to absorb the full impact of what God has put here for us to enjoy. 

Cruising along is fun….until….we reach Gordonsville….and the circle of death.  In order to proceed through Gordonsville VDOT decided to install a traffic circle, or round-about!  I think these medieval devices are just a clever way for the government to subliminally train us to be more aggressive drivers.  One has only two choices once you get to the queue of the circle of death.  You can wait till someone in the whirling dervish of vehicles lets you enter the fray….but most of the time your driver’s license will expire before that happens.  Or….you can just aggressively push into the melee and hope you hit something smaller than you as you merge with the crush of metal mayhem.  Once in the swirl you have to keep uncomfortably close to the person in front of you lest any other driver dare merge in front of you.  All the while you have to keep track of where your exit is located so you can jump off the mind numbing marry-go-round without getting trapped.  This part of the exercise is very important because if you wimp out you will be sentenced to a life of driving around in circles.  This is when I usually think about that old Kingston Trio song….the one about the MTA.

So we all make it through the circle of death and into Gordonsville proper.  It’s a quaint old town with architecture from the 1800’s.  Its name came from the original postmaster, Nathaniel Gordon, who purchased the land in 1787 from a cousin of President James Madison.  He opened the post office in 1813 and the town’s name was changed from ‘Newville’ to Gordonsville at that time.  Gordonsville is also a hub of three major highways and has a railroad running through it too.  It was and is an important crossroad town for commerce as well as travelers.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The wheels keep turning....


Friday we had planned to visit the cruise in Louisa, VA….about 60 miles one way….but about two hours before we were to leave our friend Fred called me to say the cruise had been cancelled!  So I emailed and Facebooked everyone I knew so they wouldn’t go either….whew!  I don’t think we will schedule a return trip to that cruise.

So now we are mentally fired up to go somewhere with the hot rod….so since the next day would be a long road trip we decided to stay close to home.  We hadn’t visited the Fredericksburg DQ for a while so that would be on the agenda tonight!  About 22 miles later we cruised into the empty lot….way early.  That was ok because we could eat at the DQ….they have ice cream ya know….   I picked out the parking spot I wanted for an artsy photo shot later then we stumbled into the eatery to consume massive amounts of triglyceride laden comfort food.  While we were eating the crowd started filling up the lot and by the time we returned to the truck and started to set up our camp there were over 30 cars sitting….and by the time we left later in the evening there were over 60 vehicles that had rumbled to the DQ! 

This cruise attracts all kinds of interests in vehicles….from antique, hot rod, motorcycles, new classics, trucks, rat rods, traditional old school hot rods….pretty much everything.  Jeannette & Sue, the cruise managers, play cool hot rod music, give out some trophies, sell cruise T-shirts and run auctions and 50/50s for local needy families….they both work very hard to make the cruise experience a pleasant one for all and I think it shows.  The cruise is more transient than most.  By that I mean more people come in for a little while then leave to cruise somewhere else while other people come in to take their place.  Also one of the access by customers to the Dairy Queen drives through part of the cruise lot which adds some ‘busyness’ to the mix….everyone plays nice though and it’s all good.  Around 8:30 we decided to cruise home….tomorrow would be a very long day.

Saturday we would attend an event we have been planning on since last winter.  Dave & Raymond from Valley Mustangs Unlimited out of Harrisonburg, VA told me that they wanted to donate the proceeds from their 20th Annual All Ford Powered Show to Fisher House Foundation through our group, Cruisin For Heroes…!    They wanted us there to accept the donation and share about what Fisher House Foundation does for our Veterans.  One of our group members drives a red ’53 Ford Sunliner….so he decided to enter his ride too.  This is the same club that donated $1000 last year to Fisher House Foundation through our group.  It is curious that a club so far away from us understands the importance of supporting our Veterans through Fisher House but local clubs not so much….oh well. 

Lou & Arlene and the Princess & I were stressing for a week about the weather for this show date.  A week prior the weatherguessers were prognosticating massive amounts of rain for Saturday….flooding, tornados, hurricanes, sea water rising, apocalyptic end of the world stuff….typical for weatherguessers in our part of the world.  Lou & I kept close watch on four different weather sites and the Friday before made the decision, based on the aforementioned weather sites, that we would take our daily drivers because the forecast was 60% rain and rising!  Ok….we’re set.  After the Princess & I got home from the Friday cruise at DQ I checked the weather sites….the rain % was down to 20% or below!  I tried to call Lou but you know how early those retired guys go to bed so at 11PM I left him the message that we would take the hot rods tomorrow.  Early Saturday morning we connected by phone and got our trip underway.  We met Lou near Culpeper, VA on the way to Harrisonburg, VA.  Since the trip would be 105 miles for us we made a pit stop at the Sheets on Rt. 20 & Rt. 230….whew.  The route to Harrisonburg is one of the most pleasant rides we do….it is so typical of the rolling Virginia countryside….the ride is worth the effort in itself.

We rolled into the show about 10:30 and the fun began!  It was an all Ford show….we drive a Chebby truck….I see confrontation written all over this scenario.  So since I write a blog, take pictures and am published on HotRodHotLine I consider myself as a “Press” guy.  I made up a cool “PRESS” sign just in case there was trouble.  I pay the entry fee to support the charity but clearly didn’t have a horse in the race….  So, when the parking guy said “that’s not a Ford”, I announced to him, in my most authoritative voice, that I was a “Press” guy, see my sign?  He looked bewildered and asked his partner who shrugged his shoulders and grinned….  Then I bellowed “OK where do you want me to park?”  He shuffled me to another guy further into the lot….then one of the club members that know me said it’s ok….whew!  So since we were driving one of “Those” cars they put us way off in the corner….away from the real cars….grin  I felt like that kids story with the rabbit saying “whatever you do don’t send me to the briar patch”  Yeah, don’t make us park over in the corner, under a big shade tree, on the cool grass….no don’t send us there….chuckling….  The Princess quickly setup her chair and stuff to stake out this primo parking spot, giggling all the time!

This WAS a Ford show….it WAS put on by a Mustang club….it WAS hosted by a Ford dealership….so I would expect a few Mustangs would be present.  YUP….a lot of Lee Iacocca’s vision of what an American sporty car should be, were present.  I must confess that even though the Princess drives a red ’94 Mustang GT, that I bought her for our 30th wedding anniversary, I don’t know a lot about the newer ones.  All the different engines, superchargers and other mods that they can make to their rides give me confidence that the performance spirit is alive and well.  I think there was an example of every Mustang at the event except for maybe a T5.  Of the 120 cars that were registered, 94 were Mustangs.  The rest were very nice examples of the Ford marque ….except for one bow tie that snuck in! 

The judging process is a points based system….a strict go-no go deal, very objective and not subjective.  It is the only way such a diverse group of entrants could be fairly compared and judged.  It is a tedious way to judge but in the end most of the participants should feel it was a fair process.  Lou had slaved for weeks to get his ’53 show ready….it really looked pristine to me….and he got a “gold” award….cool stuff.  I thought we would get the dumb butt award for bringing a Chevy to a Ford show….I guess the chrome on the engine blinded the judges so they couldn’t mark the ballot….oh well, next time….grin

The event had a few vendors that included a Triumph motorcycle display….still running after all these years….they began in 1902!  The food vendor, Still Porkin, served up their restaurant quality fare….it really was that good.  The dealership provided restrooms were a welcome feature of the show as was the large amount of door prizes.  Not normal door prizes either….some really nice stuff! The club made another significant donation to Fisher House Foundation and on behalf of the Fisher House Foundation and Cruisin For Heroes; we sincerely thank them for their continued support of our Veterans.

 The club runs the event like a German railroad….everything happens when it should and how it should.  They all work together to make the participants experience a very positive one.  Something the participants will remember….and come back again next year!  What a concept!  If you drive a blue oval you need to put this event on your calendar for next year….you will not be disappointed.  If you don’t drive a blue oval….you have a year to fix that! 

After the awards were given out we said our thank yous to the club members and cruised to Ciro’s Italian Eatery near Elkton, VA.  Lou & Arlene and the Princess & I have visited this restaurant before and always try to stop in when we are in the neighborhood.  The food is superb, the wait staff is impeccable and we get to dine on the veranda overlooking the beautiful Virginia countryside.   Too soon the day was ending as we cruised 85 miles back to Stafford.  What a day….I love this hobby.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Goodbye DJ Ron....Hello RV Ron

Friday afternoon Bill B. and the Princess & I left N. Stafford, VA at 2:30 to begin our 75 mile cruise to Ashland, VA and the weekly Chick-fil-a cruise.  We chose a longer route that took about 1:45 hours because Friday traffic on I-95 or Rt. 1 is so hateful and the ride in the countryside is a welcome change to the hustle & bustle of suburban life in N. Stafford.  This is the first time we attended this cruise in 2014….something has always “come up”….like rain.  I had repaired my coolant leak during the week (loose head bolt) and this would be a make or break test of my feeble attempt at wrenching….grin  Most of you know I was a Buick mechanic in the early/mid 60’s and did this kind of stuff every day plus I also worked on a race car for fun on the weekends!  But that was a lot of years ago….my body doesn’t like to twist and strain like it did then.  Sometimes it takes a day to recover from working on the truck but I still thank God for giving me the skill and knowledge to keep on using my tools.  When something works it is so cool to have done it yourself.  When it doesn’t work out so well….there’s always the Princess to blame!  Hehehehhe  So Friday would also be a test run, which for one thing means no music on the trip so I can listen to the motor and pay attention to what it is telling me.  That’s OK with the Princess….she likes to talk anyway….ya think?  So we had a great time all the way to the cruise while enjoying the flatlands of the Virginia Tidewater and listening to the truck growl down the road.
When we arrived at the cruise the lot was ½ full already!  Our “favorite” spot was taken so we had to park by an island….which the Princess was not thrilled with.  She rolled with the decision but said ‘whatever’ way too many times….it might be a special cruise tonight.  As soon as we settled in everyone headed to the restaurant for dinner and potty break.  The cruise provides a coupon for discounted food at Chick-fil-a….which is a great idea and no doubt helps draw some people to the event.  We were about 15 min early for the “official” start of the cruise food discount program to begin.  So….in my most intimidating, old guy that doesn’t give a hoot demeanor I asked the 19 year old waiting on us….”I know we’re early but I want the cruise in discount, what do you have to do to make that happen?”  He instructed me to see the gentleman behind me at the condiment table….as I turned around a silver haired gent was walking toward me with the coupons in his outstretched hands!  And Done!  I thanked him and turned around to order….so nice when the establishment “wants” you there.  The three of us ate and talked in the A/C for a while but then wandered back to the cruise lot and set up our chairs.  By then the lot was almost full!
FreRay Music provides the background sounds and announcements….they always do a good job keeping the natives happy.  The lot comfortably will hold about 110 cars.  The adjacent bank came over and announced that cars could park in their lot too tonight!  And some people were parking in the grocery store lot outside of the roped off area….I think there were about 140-150 cars that came through that night.  Most stayed but some cruised in, parked for a short while then cruised out only to have new people come in and take their spot….it was a crazy night!  This cruise is very comfortable and cozy and there is always someone that comes around to welcome you.  Small groups form and talk the night away….so very cool.  It’s a major commitment to the gasoline gods for us to make the trip to and back for this cruise but if you try it, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
We decided to head home around 8PM and took a more direct route on Rt. 1 till we got to Masaponax when we jumped on I-95 for the remaining 17 miles home….at 70-75 mph… would indeed be a good test for the truck!
Saturday I crawled under the truck and peeked under the hood to see if all the parts we left with on Friday were still attached and nothing was leaking on the garage floor….it was all good….whew  The Princess & I made our way to the WAWA start point and waited for whoever was going to run with us to the Brandy Station VFD show….a 33 mile jaunt.  We left promptly at 7AM with Bob in his orange Camaro, Bill & Jo-Ann in their brown ’57 Chevy, Denny in his Gatsby and the Princess & I in our old Chevy truck.  When we cruised through Bealeton we picked up Bill and his silver/black Valiant.  As we turned into the show entrance, Fred & Debie in their red/white ’57 Dodge and Lou & Arlene in their very red ’53 Ford Sunliner zipped in front of us….we were all there!  We began setting up camp at DJ Ron’s direction….let the fun begin!
We had attended this show a few years ago but have missed it the last two years because of rain and other commitments but we wanted to attend this year to say thanks to our friend, Ron Lacasse, for his 25 year stint as a DJ.  Ron DJ’s many of the shows we attend as well as other events….his commitment to this job have left him tied up most weekends.  He purchased a wondrous RV that is large enough to hide 38, 1964 Buick Electra 225’s inside and still have room for the RiverDancers to perform.  But because he was committed to DJaying most weekends he hasn’t been able to utilize it like he had envisioned when he retired.  And….he now has a partner to share his wanderlust with, in the charming Donna.  Ron & Donna act like two people that have know each other for much longer than the three months they have been seeing each other….  This could be the one Ron….don’t mess it up!  Chuckling….
Lou & Arlene had a scrumptious chocolate cake made for Ron just for the occasion.  The Princess and I made a collage of pictures I had taken of Ron DJaying from about 2006 to the present.  The Princess and I had as many people at the show that knew Ron, sign the back if the plaque.  AND the Princess made a pair of lounging bloomers for Ron.  He saw someone wearing a pair at another car show and remarked how comfortable they looked….for a trip to Wal-Mart!  So the Princess put her busy little fingers to work making Ron his very own, special pair of Wal-Mart loungers!  The Lucas’s had a plaque made for Ron that was Camaro intensive…..everyone also signed it for Ron.  The DQ group had a nice card that they all signed for Ron.  Another of Ron’s friends had a very cool trophy made to memorialize his retirement from DJaying.  A lot of emotion and fun….to say thanks to a very special friend.  His music will be missed but his presence on cruises and other events will make up for it.  If he & Donna are ever in town once he gets his land yacht motoring….we’ll see….
The event had 172 registered participants, the most ever for this deal.  There were some very nice representations of the hobby in Bill’s red ’37 Ford Slant back and Gary’s orange ’31 Chevy 5 window.  There were many other quality cars and a good mix of new and old.  The Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club won the club participation trophy.  And many other clubs were represented on the field.  The food was typical “car show” fare and the restroom facilities were porta potties.  They were clean and well stocked and even included a hand washing station in each of them!  The weather began cloudy and felt like rain but by midday the sun took over and it was a deep blue sky and puffy white cloud day, just perfect.  It began to get hot in the afternoon but it was still OK for the end of July.  The awards were given out at 3PM and shortly after we all motored uneventfully home.  Be sure to check out the pictures….it was a hoot!
      Thanks for the memories Ron….Thanks for the tunes….Thanks for being you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Location, Location, Location

We had planned to visit the cruise in King William, VA on Friday but no one chose to join us on the 73 mile hike to the cruise, so we opted to visit the closest cruise instead….VA BBQ.  The cruise had about 45 cars attend and as usual some we have never seen.  The orange ’35 Plymouth Sedan with the Slant 6 engine was superbly done.  And a dark red ’55 Chevy Nomad came in with the maroon Pro Street Maverick that made way too much noise…..grin Special Ed & Carolyn cruised in with their eye popping orange ’39 Ford and Bill & Debbie showed up with their ever popular ’23 Model T racer.  It was, as always, an enjoyable evening with cars & friends….

Saturday we left early for our 3 mile trip to Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in N. Stafford, VA.  We arrived before the show staff got there….so naturally we went to the wrong parking area.  The Princess started freaking out….inquiring “was I sure this was the right Saturday, was this the right church, and is this the right parking lot”!  Comments made to assuage my own concern.  Then Denny & Betty drove up and parked next to us….and he joined in with the Princess….they were getting a little unhinged and I started doubting if we were at the correct place/day/time myself.  When we saw one of the staff arrive across the street we decided they were going to use the preferred area under the trees for the show location.  Whew!  In real estate the three most important things to sell a home is location, location and location.  That’s the way I feel about this show….the location on the grass makes this show. We had assisted Brent with the show a few years ago and always liked the grassy area with the low trees instead of the asphalt parking lot.   It’s a good show on the pavement but it’s a memorable one on the grass!  The participants are allowed to gather where they want to and space their vehicles the way they want to….it’s just perfect.  Since we were early we were able to secure the tree we liked best, and then set up our ‘camp’ to enjoy the beautiful chamber of commerce weather as the show unfolded.  The restroom facilities were porta potties….ok but just ok.  The food was very tasty and fairly priced no problems here!  The judging was done by “professionals” and they used a ‘point system’?  Most of the trophies were the usual local car show fare….but three of the “best of” trophies were very special hand built pieces.  Once the staff got set up they ran the event like a machine with the award ceremony beginning at 2PM and the show was complete on time at 3PM….what a concept!

The show has taken a hiatus since 2010 but now they are very much back!  This year the show was sponsored by Showcase Auto Body & Restoration in Fredericksburg and assisted by folks in the church.  The recipient of the $3000 donation from the show proceeds was S.E.R.V.E.  It was refreshing to have the receiver of the funds actually on site.  The only negative thing I thought about the show was the marketing….the people that manage the show need to get the event in front of people earlier and more precise.  It’s on the internet with two different dates.  I had some people e-mail me that they thought it was on the 26th….which was the rain date but the ad didn’t say that!  I feel that with proper advertising, to include reaching out to clubs, this could be a 200+ car event.

Ninety two cars attended the event and the mix was perfect.  Antiques, hot rods, customs, newer classics and muscle cars were all present….every type was represented.  There were also some cars in the mix that were new to us….big shows will bring out the ‘special’ cars.  I liked the green ’46 Chevy the best, but Arnold’s purple ’57 Chevy is definitely best of show quality.  I also liked the gold ’66 GTO and the black/silver original Mini was just too cool.  I think the spectator’s choice would have been Bill & Debbie’s beige ’23 Model T racer.  Bill allowed people to sit in it while he fired up the 4 cyl flathead.  The grin meter always spins out of control….for everyone!  Bill was sitting with us under the (our) tree when a gaggle of spectators walked near his car.  It looked to be three generations of one family.  Bill whispered to me “I bet that old guy knows what the three pedals do on the T”….!  Bill jumped up (as well as any of us old people can “jump”) and hobbled over to his car….I could tell the conversation was getting personal when the Grandpa got up in the car….you just had to be there.  And then Denny & Betty’s Gatsby is a real crowd magnet….you have to see this deal.  It generated much conversation and interest with ‘car’ people as well as spectators.  I think it has mufflers the size of a tanker truck….Denny needs to fix that, grin 

I guess the Princess and I are getting old….when we started the second installment of our hot rod adventure in ’04 we typically attended two events a day, sometimes three!  But now we are usually worn out with one.  We began our long trek home (3 miles) when the crowd thinned out….we had to get ready for tomorrow.

Sunday we met six other intrepid over the road cruisers at the WAWA in South Point, VA to begin the 2nd Annual Summer Screech.  This is an opportunity to eat at Capt. Georges, in Williamsburg, VA, that is thinly disguised as a cruise.  A few of us like to drive our cars rather than always sitting at shows or cruises.  So we make any excuse to fire up the hot rod and get on the road.  Having a renowned dining establishment to be the destination of our ride is just a coincidence.  Right! 

The cruise is a little over 100 miles….one way.  We stop about half way between the two ends for fuel and bladder relief.  The route is a lightly used way to get from Northern Virginia to the Tidewater Area of Virginia.  Most people opt for the Interstates but we like to use the flatlands of the Tidewater area near the Rappahannock River, York River and Chesapeake Bay.  The roadways are great, little traffic, enough fuel/restroom stops to take away that stress and a few small bridges to add to the interest.  The farmer’s corn is head high and almost ready to harvest soon I think.  It’s just a pleasant ride in the country….and did I mention there is food at the end? 

Capt. Georges is a Primo eating establishment….to call it a buffet is doing it a great injustice.  It is, indeed, a buffet but not like any you have experienced before.  The seafood includes just about anything that swims or crawls in the water.  But….chicken in many forms, roast beef, ham and vegetables that look/taste like they came from the local farmers market that morning can be had if your palette won’t tolerate seafood.  The salad bar is also very complete….although I don’t know why anyone would pay for a seafood buffet then eat salad?  It must be a yuppie thing.  Then the dessert bar….to die for!  Baklava, carrot cake, all kinds of other cakes, pies, cobblers, cookies and other sweet things that will peg your glucose meter real good!  Since we had a large group we were seated in a ‘special’ room away from the main dining room, which was a nice touch.  The wait staff is always very attentive and efficient.  This place rocks!  But….the Princess has accepted the challenge to help rid the ocean of those nasty snow crabs.  She says she knows it is a burden but it’s one she can handle, knowing she is doing her part.  I stopped counting her trips to the snow crab leg bar….I think those guys on Dangerous Catch TV have a picture of the Princess in their wheelhouse to remind them why they are on the water risking their lives….the Princess must eat!

We all ate too much….I think the ‘all you can eat’ is actually a challenge!  We want to get our money’s worth ($27 per person) so we eat more than we normally would….a buffet will do that to a person.  We poured ourselves in our rides….maxed the tilt up and cruised home.  It was a really neat way to spend the day on the byways of Virginia….I love this hobby.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In the Country....

Friday we chose our meandering traffic free route to cruise our way to Fredericksburg, VA and the weekly cruise at VA BBQ.  The lot was slowly filling up….no doubt the heat was keeping many at home in the A/C.  But by 6PM the lot was almost full with many regulars but also some interesting visitors too.  Our granddaughter, Haley, is visiting us during the summer and since the truck can only sit two people....the Princess had to drive her Rio red '94 Mustang GT.  The two 1969 Mercury Cyclones were very special.  One in white with Dan Gurney blue interior, the other also white but with the Cale Yarborough red interior!  It is rare to see one of these cars but both showed up tonight!  Denny & Betty cruised in with their Gatsby….glad he finally has it on the road, it’s such an interesting vehicle, he even won a trophy for it later that evening.  Two restored Korean War era Army jeeps took up position near the end of a line and allowed spectators to sit in them for pictures!  A spotless black ’63 Falcon took a spot in front of the restaurant to be noticed easier next to the very red ’56 T-Bird….grin  Our small group formed up behind the truck and visited the evening away.  When the sun dropped below the tree line the temp dropped about 10 degrees with it….a very welcome occurrence.  The awards were given out around 8:30 and the winner of the 50/50 was drawn shortly after that.  Most of you know we don’t really care to compete for trophies at local events.  The larger deals out of town are a different matter.  We do, however, like to compete in some 50/50’s.  This night the 50/50 money was for a local little guy with some major medical issues.  In fact some of the people that attended came specifically to help little two year old Nathan….some even came without their hot rod!  Although the winner can do whatever they want with their winnings, I feel that when it’s for a specific need like this, the right thing to do is give your part of the 50/50 back to support the need.  The winner kept the money and drove off in a vehicle that didn’t reflect “need”!  I think that is the sad part of our hobby that some people can be so self centered that they don’t always see the bigger picture….I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Saturday Denny & Betty, Bill and the Princess & I began our journey to visit the monthly cruise in Locust Grove, VA.  We have been to that cruise a few times and the route is getting monotonous so we decided to be adventurous and let the GPS guide our way.  Some say electronic devices are not alive, I don’t believe that.  I know the GPS’s have an evil, devious heart that some would say is humorous….I would say malevolent.  As we twisted and turned our way towards Locust Grove the roads got narrower.  Then the shoulders disappeared along with the edge stripes.  When the centerline disappeared I think I heard the GPS make chuckling noises!  I got to the point that I was checking the fuel gauge to make sure I had enough fuel to backtrack if it got worse.  The Princess was calling out all the beautiful scenery along the way but I was trying to avoid head on accidents with the jacked up, screaming pickups from hell we met in the turns.  At one point I’m sure I heard banjo music from the GPS….  We finally popped out on Rt. 3 near Lake of the Woods and got our bearings back….whew!  I shut down the GPS for the remaining 7 miles and I think the off button gave me a shock?  It will remain at home next time….although it was an adventure….grin

This event is managed by the Good Times Cruisers of Locust Grove and supported by the many businesses in the shopping center.  We always look forward to attending this event and dining at Mama’s Pizza.  The food is good but the waitress makes the deal for us!  About 50 rides attended and represented a varied mix of vehicles.  The Princess won a door prize, a dozen cup cakes….think about that.  The red ’53 MG TD was nicely done and the black ’39 Rolls Phantom (all aluminum body, engine, trans) is always nice to see.  There was an original 1931 Buick and a stunning example of graphic painting on a ‘66 Chevelle.  A new Caddy, a T-Bucket, a jacked up Blazer, a drop dead gorgeous ’37 Chevy PU, a red Corvair convertible, Bob’s yellow SSR, a couple of Chevy AD pickups and a ‘56 Caddy rat rod… much variety….it’s all there.  Even Dan’s yellow Jeep snuck in.  As I said there is usually an eclectic mix of vehicles to see at this cruise.  You need to put it on your calendar, the second Saturday of every month.

We packed up and headed home before dark….our old eyes work better with sunlight.  I lead till we had gone about 3 miles on I95 when I guess Denny & Betty wanted to stretch the legs on the Gatsby.  He passed us with a thunderous roar so we followed them the rest of the way to Stafford, at about 70mph…

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Fourth of July 2014

Friday we were to provide a Fisher House Foundation presence at the annual Culpeper car show.  We had to leave at 5AM to make the show.  At 5AM, three weather sites were showing rain between me and Culpeper and it was coming from the SW.  It looked like it would linger till 9-10 which was too late for us to make the trip.  Hurricane Arthur was moving off the coast and it looked like it wouldn’t impact us, but you never know.  So we cancelled going to the event.  Of course the event went forward and by 9AM the sun came out the day was perfect!  Low humidity, gentle breeze, couldn’t ask for better weather.  And they had the largest number of cars at this event to date.  The rain has been a problem for us this year and I really didn’t think many spectators would come out….I was wrong. 

The Princess & Debie got together Friday morning and visited the Fredericksburg Heritage Festival to do some crafty shopping.  Later Fred & I met up with them in Fredericksburg and walked around a little.  Brent’s car display was filled up nicely and Tony had his Fisher House display working.  In fact Tony took in $150 by the end of the day and gave out a number of FH brochures as well….a good day in Burg!

Saturday Jim & Linda, Denny & Betty and the Princess & I left the WAWA then drove to the weekly cruise at the BK in Manassas.  Along the way Dan & Ramona joined in with us.  As we were parking at the BK Bill pulled in beside us with his ’57.  He said Jo-Ann was out clowning around somewhere and wouldn’t be joining us that evening!  It had been raining during the week and a large mud hole had formed in the area we like to park up on the grass berm.  So we parked on either side of the puddle and set up Bill’s canopy between the cars since the space couldn’t be used for cars because of the mud hole.  We had a great time talking, eating ice cream and much so that I didn’t take any pictures!  Time flies when you are having fun I guess! 

About 7:30 we broke camp and began our cruise home to Stafford, we like to be off the road by dark since I am having difficulty seeing with oncoming headlights on narrow country roads.  On the way each cruiser peeled off on their individual streets but the Princess & I decided to pay a visit to the local Popeye’s for some chicken so we kept running into Stafford.  We cruised by the BK near Popeye’s and noticed the weekly 610 Cruisers, cruise was doing just fine….the lot looked full of cars.  Choices….

Monday, June 30, 2014

There once was a man in Hood, VA....

Friday the Princess and I took part in a very special event….  One of America’s Sons, Marine SSGT David H. Stewart, was killed in Afghanistan on June 20, 2014 and he was being returned to us….  He was escorted from Dover, DE to Stafford, VA by over 100 motorcycle riders.  All along the 200 mile route people came out to pay their last respects to a HERO, a Father, a Husband….  He will be missed but never forgotten.  These men & women have chosen to put on the uniform of America and keep the wolf outside the door.  They do this every day, 24/7….some come back whole….some do not.  They all come back changed.  Please take the opportunity to thank a Veteran for their service every chance you get….they deserve our respect and support.

As some of you know there are two cruises in Fredericksburg this year. Both cruises are run by friends and we have been trying to support both of them.   Last Friday we visited the DQ cruise and I was overtired from working in the yard all day.  I just walked around like a zombie and don’t remember anything about the visit.  This Friday I wanted to have a meaningful visit, take some pictures….just enjoy ourselves with friends.  We arrived around 5PM and moseyed inside the DQ to get a reprieve from the heat and sample some of the food.  When we came back out we set up the chairs & umbrellas.  We visited with friends for about 15 min….and it started to rain!  Just a random sprinkle at first but within a few minutes it was like standing on the deck of the Maid of the Mist under Niagara Falls.  We packed up our sopping wet chairs and umbrellas into what was rapidly becoming a flooded pick up bed.  I put on the wipers and we began our trek home in the deluge.  At least we had a roof over our heads….Bill & Debbie drove their Model T race car….no top, no wipers….hmmmmm  We stopped for fuel at the WAWA on Rt.1 near Harrison Road, then continue going North in the rain.  But before we passed VA BBQ, about 4 ½ miles from DQ, the rain had stopped!  It was dry the rest of the way home!  Amazing times! 

Since the truck had received copious amounts of road spray/slime and then dried on the surface, we had to wash it as soon as we made it to our driveway.  Then take everything out of the bed and put on the fans….because someone….forgot to lock the bed cover down to make it seal watertight!  And the Princess reminded me who that “someone” was….she said she could make a checklist for me of what to do if it rains….if that would help….you have no idea.

Over the last few years when we cruise South we have been passing a little museum tucked away in the rolling hills of Virginia a few miles North of Standardsville, but we never stopped.  Sunday we were going to rectify that as we began our adventure from the WAWA in Stafford at 7:30.  We picked up Dan & Ramona along the way to our start point in Opal, VA, about 27 miles away.  We launched from there at 9AM with 3 more cruisers and stopped in Brandy Station, about 10 miles away, to pick up Lou & Arlene.  We cruised 27 miles to the Sheets gas station in Madison, VA and picked up one more car.  We had been alerted that the restroom facilities at the museum may not accommodate a lot of people so we made more pit stops than usual on the way there. 

As I said before, we have passed the Roaring Twenties Car Museum many times but to be honest I never noticed it till late last year when we attended the Crosswalk cruise in Harrisonburg.  Actually the Princess noticed it….one of those “Hey, look at that!” while I was negotiating a narrow double curve road, trying to keep all the parts of the truck together and on my side of the road.  Then it’s “that looks like a cute little museum, why aren’t’ there cars in the parking lot, is it closed, I wonder if they have special hours, should we call them or go back and look at it, I wonder if they have a website, how far is it from Standardsville, have you ever heard of it”….my ears started to bleed about then….  Over the winter Lou mentioned that it might be a good cruise destination and Andrew said their Camaro Club had visited it too and enjoyed it.  So in the spring Lou & I made an onsite visit to check it out and see if it would be suitable for a Cruisin For Heroes cruise.  It was!  We explained to Martha, the owner, that one of the reasons we cruise is to raise awareness of Fisher House Foundation.  So since we were doing the cruise for charity she agreed to waive the customary fee of $10 per person.  Shortly after that visit, I made arrangements with Martha to visit with a small group of car enthusiasts’ in the summer. 

The museum is a showplace for a lifetime of collecting things by John Dudly.  Sewing machines, chain saws, mowers, tractors, gas pumps, all sorts of little knick knacks….and….of course cars and most anything connected with cars.  The display is a little cramped but the items are well preserved and in great condition.  The collection of stationary engines and old outboard boat motors is impressive.  But the cars….An air cooled 1925 Franklin, the Grey Dort from Canada, a 20’s Cleveland, A Surlesmobile of 1945, Nash, Dodge, Whippet, Reo, Ford and too many more to write about….just be sure to check out the pictures.  One cannot see everything in one short visit….you must spend some time immersing yourself in these artifacts.  Say hello to Martha and tell her you read about it here.

When the group was ready to move on we all saddled up and cruised 24 miles to the Wood Grille Buffet in Charlottesville, VA.  Even though we arrived at a busy time, the restaurant arranged some tables to ensure we could all sit together.  Planning is everything!  We have dined here before and if you go away hungry it’s your fault….they have everything you can imagine and it’s a cut above normal “buffet” food.

Too soon we were all ready to cruise home.  We had made some new friends and seen & experienced things that we would park in our memories for a long time.  We began our 80 mile cruise back home with the others; they all ran with us till “their” road turned off.  For the Princess & I, this is what we want to do with the remaining time God lets us have our hot rod.  Shows and cruises have their place but cruising over the road on day trips, experiencing something new, meeting new old friends, sharing our passion with others….that’s what it’s all about for us.  I love this hobby.