Monday, December 12, 2016

Santa's Helpers Run (AKA Toys For Tots Run) 12-3-2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016….we met at the Chili’s in N. Stafford to begin the 7th annual ‘Santa’s Helpers Toy run’….Dan has figured out this Toys For Tots run every year for seven years….  He arranges the toy collection at various business, settles the brunch at Chili’s with the corporate manager, Derek and the local store manager, then secures a commitment from the Stafford County Sherriff’s office to provide an escort from Chili’s to the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, VA.  I think Dan is getting good at this as he laughs at the stress it causes him!

Chili’s opened at 8AM and provided free coffee for the early arrivers….then about 9:30 the folks begin trickling in.  The “social” time before we leave to go north at Noon is the last time some of us will see each other till the Spring.  Socializing, something the Princess excels at and is the talent of choice for the moment.  She works the crowd like she’s giving away someone else’s $100 bills!  I stay outside to welcome the folks as they arrive while keeping a watchful eye on the special rides as I take pictures of the event.  Dan mingles inside mostly to make sure everyone is enjoying their time while he keeps an eye on the clock so we stay on schedule.  Dan also invites the Deputies inside for a meal as a thank you for the service they provide us. We think everyone should always thank any Law Enforcement folks you see for their service to our communities….they are very special people.  Local car clubs like the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club, Virginia Stockers, Northern Virginia Mustang Club and 610 Cruisers support this event but each year we have “new” folks join us too.  This year we had about 65 vehicles in the crowd ….we all had a lot of fun while we did something good for others.  The weather was nippy & windy but sunny….it was an awesome day. 

This year the Museum allowed us to bring the toys into the Museum unlike last year when we had to drop them off in the parking lot.  It was much better this year.  Some of the folks stayed to take in the quality and mixture of the displays in the museum and others said Merry Christmas to each other and left. 

This will be the last scheduled entry to the blog till the Spring of 2017.  We hope you enjoyed the weekly tales of our hot rod adventures in Virginia….we are planning more for next year!  The Princess & I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a special New Year….

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Over The River And Through The Woods Run 2016

The Beach boys (Dallas, Corey & Eli Beach) joined the Princess & I as we left the WAWA in N. Stafford, VA to cruise 27 miles south on I-95 to Thornburg, VA.  We were going to participate in the 8th annual Over The River And Through The Woods Run that began at the Dominion Raceway.  It was partly cloudy, very windy and cool….but at least it wasn’t snowing or raining!  The breeze made the chill factor about minus 274 degrees….yup….

The folks began arriving at 8AM and continued dribbling in till about 9AM….at which time the host of the Raceway, Edwin Perdue, showed us around the world class facility. Inside is an awesome restaurant and gift shop, it was closed for our visit but normally open for scheduled events. The building has a large observation deck that most of the raceway can be viewed from.  It has a very challenging 2 mile road course, and a 3/10ths oval track for the NASCAR cars.  The IHRA sanctioned, 1/8 mile drag strip has all the modern bells & whistles one would expect at a facility like this. This facility has great access from I-95 or Rt. 1….it should be a must attend venue when the season begins in the spring.  They also host private events for clubs and other groups….give them a call if you are planning an outing and want something truly different.

Edwin drove the big ol’ silver Dodge pace truck and led most of the folks around the road track for a couple laps.  Then he led everyone around the big oval and stopped at the start/finish line for a photo op.  Now THAT was a hoot!

At 10:30 our 29 vehicles began the 70 mile cruise to Charlottesville, VA where we would have lunch at the Wood Grille Buffet.  We have used this restaurant for a few years now and have always been delighted with the service and quality of food offerings they have….this year was no exception!  If you leave hungry….you really must not like to eat.  We have some vegetarians, diabetics, gluten intolerant folks and they all found something they could eat!  They also have the best white chocolate cookies I’ve tasted in a very long time. After grazing for a couple hours it was time to leave.  We all left at our own time and direction….it was a good day….again!

Cruisin For Heroes has put this event on for the last 7 years….and each of those 7 years it has been pretty much my deal….sometimes I have some help from other members of the group but the Princess and I do most of the planning, checking the route, setting up the stops and restaurants along with the advertising and other logistical things.  As I get longer in the tooth I would like to have others in our group step up and take over most the things I do.  Earlier this year I asked one of our new CFH members, Jimmy K., if he would want to run the cruise this year….to include the planning and execution.  Like I did, Jimmy wisely enlisted the assistance of his wife Annie….they are like two peas in the same pod….like the Princess & I.  They did the contacting, planning, research, advertising, trouble shooting, route verification….the whole deal….  I’m sure they had more than a little stress with some parts of the event….but they MADE IT HAPPEN.  I personally want to thank them BOTH for stepping up and making this year’s event unforgettable for so many folks….  And I finally got to just follow along….I think I could learn to like this….

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NAPA Grand Opening 11-16-2017

Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, had negotiated with the owners of the new NAPA store on Rt. 17 to provide a classic car display of 7 vehicles on November 16, 2017, a Wednesday.  We were to be eye candy for the customers during the Grand Opening of the new store.  The owners made a substantial donation to The Fisher House Foundation for our services that day.  This is exactly what we do, as our mission statement…. states!  We were to be onsite from 9AM to 2PM with the owners of the vehicles to camp out near their rides so they can answer questions about their particular vehicle. 

We have a list of 60 special vehicles that the owners have committed to support our mission for Fisher House if they are available.  When we have a display negotiated, we chose the volunteers from that list that we think will best meet the needs of each display.  We have enough volunteers to chose from, so that people do not feel pressured to always agree to participate with us….they know we have a big list of volunteers to call on.  I was having a conversation with one of the volunteers, thanking him for coming out and supporting our mission.  He shared with me that he didn’t always have time to make a donation to a charity, so his presence at our events was his way of supporting a charity without sending money.  I had never thought about what we do in those terms but it does make sense.

The day was a little nippy in the morning but the sky was deep blue with white puffy clouds….perfect.  About Noon the owners and some Stafford County officials assembled and made the event official with the ribbon cutting ceremony.  How cool is THAT.  NAPA started cooking hot dogs & BBQ for everyone….and the Princess said they were very good, defiantly up to Princess standards.  The store was drawing names for really cool door prizes but the best thing was the 50% discount on anything in their store!  I bought enough Mobil 1 oil to last me a year for my daily driver, the Princesses Mustang and the farm truck!  Some windshield washer fluid and various other things rounded out my purchases….all at 50% off!!!!

Around 2PM we thanked everyone for coming out and supporting us then we all dispersed.  I usually take the Princess somewhere to eat after an event….but she said the BBQ was real good….I MEAN REAL GOOD.  I didn’t want to question her further about how many sandwiches she had….but she said she was still full and didn’t want to go anywhere for dinner…..yet….

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Greenfield Senior Living display 11-11-2016

In the middle of October Fred, one of our members of Cruisin For Heroes, got a lead that a Senior center in Fredericksburg, VA was looking for someone to provide some classic cars for their residents to interact with on Veterans Day.  Fred gave the lead to Lou then Lou & I set up a hasty meeting with the managers of the Greenfield Senior Living facility on October 19th.  We met with the managers, Gerry & Caroline, to work out the details that included a donation to The Fisher House Foundation.  Time was short as we only had 23 days to put a meaningful display field together so we both began to strategize on the people we would invite.
Cruisin For Heroes has been providing displays like this for 8 years so we knew what we had to do.  Usually the people that contract with us for the display will tell us what kind of vehicles they would like but sometimes they just leave it to us to pick the ones from our volunteer list that we think would be appropriate. Given the nature of the people we were doing this for, we kept the vehicles to 1960 or older.  The one exception was Ron’s orange ’69 Camaro but the rest of the field ranged from Bill & Debbie’s 1923 Ford Speedster to Bill’s ’57 Chevy.  We wanted vehicles that the residents of the home could relate to, something that would hopefully rekindle a fond memory. 
The event would be on Veteran’s Day which was a Friday this year and getting volunteers to commit for an event on a weekday is usually problematic.  This would not be as difficult because some would have the day off anyway.  We ended up with a field of 16 very special rides AND the very special people that brought them out.  Since our events usually call for us to stay near our vehicles to interact with folks that have questions about our rides….we have to be selective about who we invite.  Some have very nice vehicles but are not too social….for this event we had to strike a balance that leaned toward the owners being social.  I think we hit it!
I roamed around taking pictures of the residents interacting with the owners and the rides.  I usually focus on the vehicles, not the spectators….this was different….this time the residents would be the focus.  I listened to the comments and stories as I moved around like the one resident that was present on the USS Missouri battleship during the signing of the surrender of Japan that ended WWII.  There were a lot of folks and each one had a story to share.  It was a little chilly but sunny….I guess you could describe the weather as crisp.  The residents wandered around and enjoyed the vehicles till about 3:30 then they retreated to the warmth of their home.  We had a check presentation with the folks from Greenfield then everyone dispersed shortly after.  It was an awesome afternoon with some very special folks that make up the fabric of America….I’m so glad we were able to bring a little of the past back for a few people that Friday.
Be sure to check this link for the pictures….some are very special.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

FC&MCC Pep Boys show 10-29-2016

Saturday the 29th began chilly but clear….the weatherguessers had forecasted a nice sunny day!  And….it looked like we were on track to prove them right!  The last show of the year for Pep Boys in Fredericksburg, VA kicked off as the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club began to set up their kit.  We would have DJ Chip making music, Wes’s hot dogs on the grille, Pep Boys trophies and the Poodle Skirt ladies extorting money for the 50/50….it would be a fun day with the 1950’s themed event.  We had some dressed up with “Pink Ladies” jackets and bobby socks and black/white saddle shoes! 

There were about 70 vehicles that visited from stock/original cars to race cars on the street, a very diverse mix.  Kandy was in her “Bumble Bee” transformer costume and interacting with the kids like she always does….But later in the day, I noticed she must have been bored as she was swinging on a signpost….like a pole dancer and dancing with Rick!  Bill E. and a strange woman approached us, all dressed up like they just came from a sock hop, we wondered where Jo Ann was?  We soon realized the woman was Jo Ann….we didn’t recognize her as a “Pink Lady”….  Mike and his Anglia parked next to us and when the Virginia Stockers came rolling in they filled out the rest of the line in our part of the lot.  Stuart brought his factory race 2016 Mustang GT 350 and Warren was showing off the new injection on his blue Nova.  April & Ret decorated their little white car and wondered around the event dressed for Halloween, taking pictures.  The two Princesses (Arlene & Linda) were dominating the local conversation with the help of Annie….no human could get a word in their discussion till they quit talking….and they never did!  Be sure to check the pictures….
The event broke up after the awards were handed out, around 3:30….it was a totally enjoyable day spent with friends….I love this hobby….

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Culpeper, VA Cruisin For Heroes last Bruster's cruise of the year 10-22-2016

Saturday the 22nd was the last cruise of the year for Cruisin For Heroes and Bruster’s Ice Cream in Culpeper.  The wind was blowing about 386 MPH….and it was COLD….very cold….  Everyone tried but it was just too uncomfortable to keep the event going….it was called close early….about 5:30.  We gave a special award to DJ Chip for all his work keeping the tunes going at our cruises….he is the BEST….  We also gave a token of our appreciation to Rick & Kim with the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club for their tireless support of our cruises this year, the cruise would not have be as well received had they not supported us with their presence and advise.  Kim, Crystal and Denise did the 50/50 for us all year….it is the reason the cruise was so successful for the money they collected for Fisher House.  We also presented a token of our appreciation to Mike & Melissa, the owners of Bruster’s….without their enthusiastic welcoming support the cruise would fail.  Everything just worked together throughout the year….  We will be back next year….watch for announcements..