Friday, October 21, 2016

Spotsylvania, VA Brooks Benefit show 10-16-2016

Sunday we attended a benefit show in Fredericksburg, VA, that was a benefit show for a local man that died in a motorcycle accident.  He also was very active in the local “car” scene.  His untimely death left a worrisome burden on his wife and family.  The show would help with that a little. 

The show was hosted at the Moose Lodge in Fredericksburg and managed by some old friends Bruce W., Paul & Sharon K.  The Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club supported the event by not only attending but by helping with DJ Chip and Kim & Crystal extorting $$ through the 50/50….  After DJ Chip arrived the tunes got much better.
The event attracted over 70 vehicles….cars, trucks and motorcycles.  They ranged from road vehicles to ones that should have come in a trailer.  Please check the pictures to get a flavor for what came to visit. 
The day was perfect, weather-wise…. sunny, mild with just a whisper of a breeze. It was a good day to get out with our hot rods and gather to do something good for a local family….I love this hobby.


Manassas, VA BK Cruise 10-15-2016

We usually visit the Burger King cruise in Manassas, VA near the airport, 4-5 times a year but hadn’t found the time so far this year….we would fix that on Saturday.  The cruise is right off a major east/west highway in this area, Rt. 28.  Ingress & egress is dicey at times with the constant flow of traffic on Rt. 28….so one must be a little creative when planning to visit the cruise.  The cruise can have over 100 vehicles attend with some people staying for an hour or so then moving on to another local cruise.  Some stay till night but it’s a very transient cruise.  There is some construction going on in the parking lot which contributes to the very dusty environment….not a good thing for special rides.  One of the things I don’t care for is the sun angle….the lines of vehicles are north/south….as the sun begins to be low in the west it makes taking acceptable pictures a real chore.  And if you wait till the sun is low enough to be able to capture the images….people begin leaving!  So I usually only get about half the vehicles that are actually on the lot…..even then some of them are from the rear ¼ instead of head on.

I did get a fair capture of Nick’s purple Fairlane….such a pretty car….and I hear it’s just a little quick too!  Nick owns/runs the best and most used website to find out what is going on around our area with the hot rods….he has most of the shows and cruises listed on his website.  He updates it daily….it’s the ‘go to’ site to help decide what to do on the weekend with your hot rod. 
The cruise has just about every type of ride….from new to old, fast and slow, stock and near race car….even a Tuner or two will visit occasionally.  This is a year around cruise, every Saturday afternoon/evening.  When it gets too cold to sit outside then the folks go inside BK to fellowship….you need to check it out if you are in the area.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fredericksburg, VA....VA BBQ 10-14-2016

Friday evening at the “Q” was just a little nippy, Fall is indeed right around the corner!  The usual suspects visited but we also had a visit from the “Bumble Bee”.  Kandy drives her yellow Bumble Bee Camaro and dresses up in a Bumble Bee transformer costume….she interacts with the kids, of all ages, and makes some special memories for some very lucky visitors to the “Q”.  We also had Joel G. visit with his very special Shriner’s parade truck….they do so much good for kids.  We were also visited by Bill E. and Jo Ann in Bill’s brown ’57 Chevy that has been absent so long from the local events.
The cruise wound down about 8PM….it is getting cooler.  I’ts interesting that after we left a herd of cars came from the other cruise in town….they must have shut down about the same time!


Saturday, October 15, 2016

AirFest 2016

For about a year we have been planning our involvement in the annual Culpeper Regional Airport air show called AirFest.  The airport allows us to display special vehicles for the 7,000-8,000 spectators that come to attend the free event.  This is our 8th year to provide a display at the event.  We do it to share our hobby with the spectators and we do it to provide access to information about the charity we support, The Fisher House Foundation.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes has events all year to support Fisher House and other Veteran centric groups….like Paws4Vets. 
This year we were going to showcase race cars with their stock/original cousins….so people could see how the original cars morphed into the race cars.  We also invited Rolling Thunder, VA 3 to participate with us as well as Paws4Vets.  We had a USAAF display that was going to set up next to our Fisher House canopy.  We invited the clown troupe LUV-N-LAFFS to welcome the spectators as they arrived and do face paintings for the kids.  We invited Kandy and her Bumble Bee transformer Camaro to also welcome and interact with the spectators.  We had invited State Farm Insurance to set up a canopy to see if there was an opportunity for them to connect with the spectators, so they could consider sponsoring us next year.  We had invited our stalwart, current sponsor, Chrysler of Culpeper, to display some new cars.  We had commitments from 48 people to bring their special vehicles to the event.  We had sent 335 emails throughout the year to bring us to the day of the event….October 8, 2016.  This was to be our biggest & best event of the last 8 years!  Then Matthew started heading toward us.
Even 5 days after the event the folks in NC have not seen the extent of Mathew’s wrath, the water is still rising and people are drowning.  The loss of life has been heavy and the number will probably rise more as the water recedes.  All the damage is still not comprehended….it is truly a disaster.  Our thoughts and prayers for those affected continue each day….so sad….
Saturday morning at 4:30 we launched for the event.  It was misty and the weather radar showed rain everywhere that would stay all day.  We took our daily driver; the farm truck would stay dry in the garage.  We stopped at our local WAWA to pick up the three large boxes of coffee, cups and the other associated stuff for coffee drinkers.  We met Dan, one of our Cruisin For Heroes members, at the Southern States gas station to give him the event access passes that he would have to hand out to the participants as they came to the event. We arrived in the dark to find Lou already onsite with the Chrysler of Culpeper set up of 4 new cars in their designated spot.  Soon the rest of Cruisin For Heroes crew arrived and we all began setting up for the day….in the rain.  We erected Bob’s 10x20 canopy first as it would be the “hospitality” canopy….where the coffee and donuts that Lou brought would be kept.  The Princess would be in charge of assisting people with the coffee & donuts….in the rain.
Soon the twilight came and with it Rolling Thunder, State Farm, LUV-N-LAFFS clown troupe….that would be all that braved the rainy gloomy day.  We set up the Fisher House canopy then waited….in the rain.
David brought his very cool blue new Mustang then Bill came in with his new find. a 1984 Buick Grand National.  Joe braved the rain and drove his ’46 Chevy Pickup to the event.  Andrew brought his daily driver, the dark blue new Camaro.  And Dan brought his black ’55 Chevy.  That was the extent of the 48 special vehicles that was scheduled to attend!
Each year I design the graphics for the appreciation plaque we give all the attendees….this year it showcased the B-25 “Panchito” and Andrew’s blue ’68 Camaro.  Andrew is one of our group that has been helping with AirFest since we started in 2009.  His Camaro is the result of a family effort of Andrew, his Dad & Uncle pooling their skill and time to produce the awesome example of Chevrolet’s first “Muscle Car”.
So….around 9:15 we sat/stood under the Fisher House canopy, in the rain, and eagerly awaited the much anticipated first school bus that would bring the flood (pun intended) of spectators to the event.  We positioned our display next to the only access gate to the event.  We waited….in the rain  Finally we saw the yellow creeper splashing toward us through the rain….it was heading to the disembarkation spot in the parking lot, next to the State Farm canopy.  We were getting a little giddy thinking about all our preparation over the last year….this was the payoff!  The bus lurched to a bouncing stop….the bifold door slowly opened….the first person came down the stairs and stepped in a puddle of water as he walked to higher ground.  He looked a little uneasy; we were ALL staring at the bus and him.  We waited for the rest of the spectators to make their way off the bus….we waited….and waited….in the rain.  He was the first, middle and last of the occupants of the bus, beside the driver.  This was going to be a long….wet day.  As the day progressed more spectators would brave the rain and ride a bus from one of the parking lots of the two local High Schools to the event.  But even though each bus would hold 45 people there was never more than 12-14 people getting off any bus the rest of the time we were onsite.
Two airplanes took off to test the flying conditions but the “airshow” would be brief for the day.  Some of the exhibitions would go forward, like the R/C airplane flying but for the most part is was an abbreviated event. 
The clown troupe was very busy but the rest of us were just standing under our respective canopies watching the spectators making their way to the ramp and what was left of the event.  As the adrenalin began to subside we started to notice that we were wet…..not just a little wet but fall in the lake wet!  Then we noticed that we were also cold….and that the feeling in our feet was gone.  We began to realize how miserable we were….and if we were, so was the rest of the folks that were standing in the rain.
I called Tanya, the airport manager, and informed her that we were calling it a day….  The spectators were running past us to the event then running back to the waiting busses….in the rain.  Very few were looking at any of the 5 special vehicles that were sitting….in the rain.  Few were stopping at any of the display canopies except for the clowns….  It was time for us to leave.
Everyone pitched in to help take down the display….Dan even helped dispose of the left over donuts!  And another rainy day at AirFest was done.  It rained all day the first time we set up a display in 2009 and has rained three other times since then.  Something to think about….perhaps.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Chrysler of Culpeper-Rappahannock Mopar 10-2-2016

We got rained out Friday & Saturday….it has been an amazing year, and now we have maybe two hurricane’s coming at us!  So Sunday was going to be our day to play with hot rods!

This is the fourth year we have attended the Chrysler of Culpeper, Rappahannock Mopar Club, annual show.  We like the Mopars so we support the event….and for the last two years the club has given Fisher House Foundation a sizeable donation.  So a couple of our group members from, Cruisin For Heroes, set up a booth for Fisher House and enjoyed the event as it unfolded.  Last year is was bone chilling cold….this year it began overcast and drizzly but the moisture quickly stopped and by 1PM the sun was peeking through the fluffy clouds.  The rain from the last week had left pools of water on the display lot….so some of the folks from the Mopar club helped move the water off the lot….be sure to check the pictures!  It was a retired Military team effort….one guy each from the Navy, Air Force & Marine Corps.

This event is enthusiastically hosted by the Chrysler dealership and especially the owner, Wade Schick.  Wade is also an avid Mopar collector who displays some of his collection on show day!  The event usually attracts 100-150 cars but because of the wet morning it was about 65 entrants on Sunday.

It is at a dealership so one would expect to see a lot of “new” cars….and there was that.  But there was also some very nice pre 1980 rides too….the orange ’69 Dart, total restoration was the best I have seen.  And I really liked the black ’63 Fury with the 426 Stage 3 Wedge was over the top for me!  Then there was a green/white Jeep COE/Forward Control that came in on a trailer that was better than brand new.  The white ’61 Chrysler 300 with the long cross ram intake manifold was an unusual piece too.  The many ‘new’ Challengers, Chargers and others were very impressive too….it just underlines the notion that maybe the American auto industry is still feeding the hunger we have for performance….and Mopar is on the cutting edge of that charge!

Also present at the event was our Culpeper cruise host, Bruster’s Ice Cream, selling….ice cream and Nathan’s hot dogs!  There was also a BBQ vendor that folks were happy about.  DJ Gary was sharing his great playlist and keeping us updated with needed announcements.  The club AND the dealership run this show like a Swiss watch and right on queue the awards were given out and the event was done.  Folks began leaving and we folded up our stuff then cruised to dinner with friends. Another good day for Fisher House and Cruisin For Heroes. 


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.