Friday, December 18, 2015

Toys For Tots 2015


Saturday, December 12, 2015 would be the 6th running of Dan’s Toys For Tots event, the Santa’s Helpers Toy Run.  For the last four years we have begun the day at Chili’s in N. Stafford.  The manager, Derrick,  opens the restaurant early for Dan so we can have brunch and mingle a little before we cruise north.   The last two years have had a low turnout because of the weather, one year it snowed!  This year the weather was perfect, even a little warm! 

People began arriving shortly after Dan set up at 8AM….and they kept rolling in till right before we left at Noon.  This event is becoming very well known to the point that other clubs join in with us….  The Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club, Northern Virginia Mustangs, Virginia Stockers….and others I haven’t seen in a while!  This year 109 vehicles joined in with us!  We have always had a ‘Police’ escort, without the escort it would be bedlam at every intersection.  The Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club also presented a generous donation check to our group, Cruisin For Heroes, for The Fisher House Foundation!  How cool is THAT.

As soon as the Sherriff’s escort arrived, the group left Chili’s and gathered in the nearby commuter lot for the drivers meeting then they departed north, to the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, VA.  I left Chili’s early so I could setup and shoot a video of them arriving at the Museum.  Parking at the Museum was….special….but we all managed.  The night before the event Dan received an email from the Museum stating that because of heightened security concerns they would not be allowing people to bring the toys inside the museum but they would receive them in the parking lot!  This is a big change but we adapted.  I think we overwhelmed the Marine driving the Toys For Tots truck….I had a Richard Dryfuss, Jaws flashback….’you’re going to need a bigger truck’ as I watched the toys pile up!  Everyone was to bring one unwrapped toy to donate….most of the hot rodders brought bags of toys!  Going to be a bunch of happy kids in our area this year!  As it worked out they had to make a couple trips to the warehouse to empty the toys from the truck….how cool is that.  We had an absolutely amazing day….Please check out the pictures and video….and plan to join us next year! 

Unless something unusual presents itself, this will be the last blog entry for 2015….the farm truck is put away for its long winter hibernation till March 2016.  I want to thank you for following us around through this blog….it’s why we do it, for you!
I also made a website that displays our Vacation we took this May, you may want to check it out too;

The Princess & I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a fulfilling New Year.







 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Over The River And Through The Woods Run 2015


Saturday, November 28, 2015 we launched at 8AM for the 7th annual running of our Over The River And Through The Woods Run.  In years past we would begin the run at a ‘meet-up’ place that was kind of geographically centralized for the prospective participants….so some would not have to drive much further than the others….we always tried to make it fair for everyone.  We would leave as a group from the meet-up and cruise to a restoration shop.  Then from the shop we would cruise a short distance, usually less than 20 miles, to a restaurant for a late lunch.  Then we would disperse individually from there to our homes.  Last year after we left the meet-up location with about 30 cars we arrived at the restoration shop and there were about 20 more cars already there!  Since the restaurant wasn’t a buffet, this made for a very bad experience because they didn’t know the final number of 70 people that they would have to serve until about 15 min before we arrived….it was a bad deal.  So this year we had the start/meet-up location at the restoration shop then cruised to the restaurant so we would have a good number for the restaurant about 2 hours before we would arrive there.  We will only use buffet restaurants for this run in the future. 

So the people began to arrive at B & R Customs, 202 Freedom Ct., Fredericksburg, VA, before 9AM and continued to join us till right before the leave time of 10:30.  The owner of B&R, Dave Burrage, and some of his staff welcomed us all with hot coffee, donuts and cold soft drinks.  They were available to answer any questions about the services they offer and talk about some of the vehicles they were working on.  Their shop is always very clean and tidy, a sign of an organized mind.  They provide a needed service for those of us with ‘special’ rides….not every shop can or will work on the old ones as well as new ones. So many shops just cater to daily drivers and not special rides.  If you need something done to your ride you may want to consider checking out B&R’s services. 

Soon it was time to begin our cruise to the food!  We left the shop and made our way to the first pit stop in Ferncliff….about 47 miles….for most of us.  Some took a little side cruise (Lou, you have to give up the hat).  I didn’t think about the restrooms at the pit stop, I just checked them for being clean and asked the owner to make sure they would be clean on the 28th….but it didn’t register that they were single bathrooms.  We had quite a line waiting to get in the men’s room.  When everyone’s bladder was empty and their gas tank full, we departed on Rt. 250W and followed it for 27 miles till we came to Charlottesville, VA and the Wood Grill Buffet.  We have used this restaurant a few times before and knew what to expect.  The Princess & I checked it out a couple weeks ago to make sure they weren’t renovating it or doing something else that would be a surprise.  We also reserved a private room for our group which was nice too.  The food quality is always excellent and the food choices are amazing.  The service can be overwhelming when 40 people show up for lunch but our waitress was on top of it and in the end most everyone wobbled out like the Willy Wonka Blueberry girl….I think they were happy.

We all said our goodbyes and trickled out of the parking lot toward home.  Some would do some shopping on the way home but most just headed for the barn.  Our 81 mile trek back to Stafford was dotted with light rain, not enough to get the road wet but just sprinkles on the windshield.  A fun day on the road….we have one more event this year then the truck will take a rest till March.  The event that we have left is Dan’s 6th Annual Santa’s Helpers, Toys For Tots cruise.  We will be cruising to the National Museum of the Marine Corps to drop off toys and so our kids/grandkids can meet Mr. & Mrs. Santa….don’t miss it!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Paws4Vets 2015


Last year in November our friend Bill E. told us about an event his daughter, Susan P., was putting on in Fredericksburg for Veterans….something about dogs.  We weren’t really too interested but because of our friendship with Bill we said we would come out and see what it was all about.  We found out that another friend, Ron L. was going to provide the music for the event!  We convinced a couple other friends to come out so at least we knew we could hang out with friends and listen to cool music….it wouldn’t be a wasted day. 

As the day unfolded we began to understand the event much better and the impact it had on individual Veterans, in this case, Walter P.   Walter is a Vietnam Vet that lives with PTSD and since he has been coupled with ‘Jackson’, his service dog, he is better able to cope with his demons.  The “Dog Walk” helps to pay back the organization, Paws4Vets that provided Jackson for Walter.  The dogs are given to the Veterans but they agree to have ‘fundraisers’ to pay back AND pay forward the many thousand dollar cost of the dogs.  The ‘fundraising’ part of the event was a small fee to walk your dog on a marked out route and the proceeds from donated ‘silent auction’ items.  We had a great time that day and after experiencing the reason for the event we decided to figure out how our group, Cruisin For Heroes, could partner with Susan to help her next year. 

Last year’s event was on November 8th….and the first of the 323 emails for this year’s event began on November 9, 2014!  We decided to see if we could partner with the local chapter of Rolling Thunder Inc, Virginia Region 3, since they are always looking for ways to directly support Veteran’s needs.  We had a meeting with their rep., Mac M., and the event began to take shape.  We had meetings with Susan, Stafford County, Vendors and other ‘car people’.  We wanted to help Susan cast a larger net to have more spectators come out and support what they are doing.  Susan decided to use Curtis Memorial Park for its location and sprawling, woodsy layout.  The biggest drawback from the event in ’14 was the time of year was very chilly….it was sunny but cold.  Susan would change that for this year by having it on October 3, 2015.

The week before the event, hurricane Joaquin made its way up the East coast and met with a storm system from the north.  The two systems would collide to produce massive quantities of rain in our area.  Some coastal flooding and many streams & rivers would rise suddenly.   The event would have to be postponed….never a good thing.  Susan met with the County to see what could be done and if they would lose the $350 deposit for the park.  The only other time the park was available for her use was….November 14….in the cooler part of the year….yup!  So we all scrambled to change the ads on the internet, newspapers, radio and flyers.  It was a massive effort but it’s what had to be done.  So Susan, Rolling Thunder, the vendors….and Cruisin For Heroes began sweating out the weather for Nov. 14th.

Some say that in Virginia if you don’t like the weather one day….just wait 24 hours and it will change….there is some validity in that.  The weather during the week leading up to the 14th was unseasonably warm but on the 12th the temps started dropping….and dropping.  The 14th would be sunny but cold.  The cool weather would be dealt with by the participants but the needed spectators would stay away.  Attendance by spectators was optional, it was mandatory for us!  Brrrrrrrrrrrr…..

The day broke with the sun rays filtering through the trees, as advertised but with no wind.  It wasn’t too bad if one could be in the sun.  Otherwise it was very cold.  Then about 10Am the wind began….which made the chill factor a minus 263 degrees.  All the vendors set up and the people with dogs began to trickle in to the event.  The Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club came out with a large group of its members to support the event.  Some other ‘car’ friends braved the bone chilling weather to join with us too.  Then the Rolling Thunder motorcycles rumbled in.  The Princess & I rode for over 40 years and know how much fun it is riding in very cold temps….with a 60 mph chill factor! These guys & gals could have stayed home and been nice and cozy….but it’s not in their nature to abandon a fellow Veteran.  Thank You….Rolling Thunder riders, for supporting the event!

The ‘theme’ of this year’s event was 50’s Rock-N-Roll….and some, like Bill & Jo-Ann, would really fit the part….to include driving a ’57 Chevy!  Some of the dog owners would dress the dogs in 50’s attire; you have to check the pictures out.  Elvis (aka Curly Cue the clown) joined us to keep the event rolling and led the dancing later in the day.  Ron L. donated his time and equipment to DJ the music all day long….even though he should have stayed in bed and nurse his sniffles.  The vendor that was selling coffee was very busy and they soon would be feeding the participants too. 

One of the things we suggested to Susan was to have more things in the silent auction that were not just dog related this year.  I think it worked!  Some of the people bought stuff they really didn’t need….but wanted anyway.  I think Bill B. needs to bring his trailer the next time we have one of these events…..Debbie accepted the challenge to ‘win it all’….?  I never knew that auctions were supposed to be a challenge….silly me….  I overheard a biker couple talking about an auction item, something about it wouldn’t fit in the saddle bags….I interrupted and said we could deliver it for them.  By the look on HIS face I don’t think I’ll get a Christmas card from them this year….  Arlene finally found the perfect, just right thing that she absolutely needed….it was so big that Ron L. had to haul it away for Lou….check the pictures.

As the day’s events unfolded it came time for the testimonies of the Veterans that have service dogs….their stories are heart wrenching and victorious at the same time.  These very special people need & deserve our support.  They dutifully put on the cloth of our Country and did our bidding to protect the American way….it’s our turn to protect and support them any way, any time we can. 

After the testimonies Susan had some presentations recognizing those that helped with the event.  Then Mac gave Susan a check for $500 for Paws4Vets from Rolling Thunder Inc, Virginia Chapter 3….how cool is that!?  Then they had the contest for the best 50’s dog costumes….that was fun too.  Then it was time for the 50/50 drawing followed by the silent auction winners.

Except for the low spectator turn out because of the cold weather I think the event was a success.  Next year I hope Susan plans the event for June or July….  Be sure to check the pictures, there are over 200 but it captures the character of the event….try to join us next year….you won’t regret it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Visiting a very special place for Veterans Day 2015


Wednesday was the eleventh day of the eleventh month….in America that means it’s Veteran’s Day.  A friend had told me about a Vietnam War Museum somewhere near Ruckersville, VA a few months ago and I filed it as something to check out over the winter.  Then last month at our AirFest event a gentleman talked with Lou about the Vietnam War Museum that he volunteered at and that we should check it out.  Lou is a Vietnam Veteran and put together a private cruise to the Museum on Veterans Day.  Lou & Arlene, Fred, David and the Princess & I met up at the Reva Fire & Rescue from 4 different directions.  Then Lou led the motley little crew south on Rt. 29 as we tried to find our way to the Vietnam War Foundation Museum.  www.vietnamwarfoundation.org 

Lou is a firm; no make that devoted, advocate of the GPS technology.  We had a little….diversion….from the route to the museum.  But hey, it was a very nice day to be driving aimlessly around the spectacular Virginia countryside.  It really was fun for me.  I usually lead our cruises but today I was just following David’s awesome blue Mustang, who was following Fred’s red/white ’57 Dodge, who was following Lou’s red ’53 Ford Sunliner, who was following Helga….that lives in Lou’s GPS.  Lou explained how something had happened to his GPS….how Helga was getting him back for not updating her software on a regular schedule….how sunspots effect the GPS satellites….how the clouds were articulating the signal and bending it because of the coriolis effect north of the equator….or something like that….  He finally admitted it was an operator programming error….?  So now Lou is the keeper of the “Boone & Magellan Broken Compass Award” and the “Daniel Boone Hat” for leading us astray….until the next leader leads us off course.

When we turned off the hard road onto the single lane, nicely maintained gravel road we still hadn’t seen anything resembling a museum, much less one with armored vehicles, helicopters and airplanes!  After cruising a little further we finally made a left turn and tucked in near the trees was the unmistakable outline of an Army Huey helicopter!  Then I saw an Air Force O-2 Skymaster (The Duck) on the left of the road and poking out from the trees behind the Huey was the nose of a C-47 Gooney Bird….it turned out to be an AC-47, a much feared gunship of the era.  The museum volunteers swarmed our cars to help us park then welcomed us to their special place.

This museum is a treasure trove of artifacts from the Vietnam War….but it’s so much more.  The volunteers breathe life into the inanimate objects of that war.  They tell the stories both personal and general of the war that took so many Americans from us.  They tell the story from getting off the bus at the draft center, then to boot camp, then to being in country.  They share the sad stories and the funny ones.  The harrowing near death experiences to the surreal unexplainable encounters with the horrors of mortal combat.  The volunteers share and educate from the perspective of ones that were there, not ones that read a book about it.  They also keep a sharp eye out for people that know they want to visit but can’t.  They help them with their demons in a constructive way that transcends a loose fellowship to a brotherhood. 

One of the Volunteers is a Mr. Shotwell….yeah, Shotwell….I saw him but was unable to meet him before he left….next time.  Well Mr. Shotwell is a master model maker, painter, restorer, archivist, researcher….most of the “built” items in the museum has felt his hand on them.  The murals on the walls were done by him.  The armaments that were incomplete were made complete by him.  Check out the rockets in the pod on the wing of the O-2!  We were able to meet the curator/owner, Craig, for a brief conversation right before we left….but Bob was our host/guide for the day.  Bob was patient with the ones that didn’t know anything about the items displayed and was also able to explain them in depth for some of us that wanted more information than usual.  But his patience and kindness with us was the best….  Pretty much everyone in our great Country has been touched by that time in our history and this is a place that will make the books come alive. 

This museum is only open to the public a few times a year; you should contact them for their schedule.  The museum is a “hands on” deal, they encourage the visitors to touch and sit in/on many of the vehicles.  They encourage schools to schedule field trips to their museum to better understand a very important part of our history.  We are going to corroborate with them on an event next year….stay tuned! 

This is the link to their website; http://www.vietnamwarfoundation.org/

This is their Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/Vietnam-War-Foundation-137470479662673/?fref=ts

These are the pictures we took of our visit; https://www.flickr.com/photos/53063560@N05/albums/72157661080967462

After our visit to the museum we gathered up and began our cruise to….FOOD.  The Princess & Arlene like to visit Ciro’s Italian restaurant if we are within….50 miles of Elkton, VA….so we ended the day with a great Italian meal.  Our cruise back to our respective homes was uneventful and pleasant….I love this job/hobby!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A day in the park....


Sunday, some of the members of Cruisin For Heroes gathered at the BK in Manassas, VA to cruise to the Northern Virginia Mustang Club’s annual picnic in Sterling, VA.  We met some of the Bull Run Street Rods members that were meeting up for their cruise to Graves Mt. 


The picnic was held at the amazing Algonkian Regional Park that overlooks the Potomac River.  The NVMC invited us, in part, to present us with a $500 check for The Fisher House Foundation!  This is what we do in our group, raise awareness and dollars for Fisher House Foundation.  It was a day of hanging out with friendly, like minded people, eating awesome food cooked by ‘Blue Smoke Barbeque’ and enjoying the amazing scenery….  It was a little cool but the fireplace at the pavilion worked just fine.  Thank you guys and gals of Northern Virginia Mustang Club for hosting the picnic and for your generous donation to Fisher House Foundation….it will make a difference.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Playing in Fredericksburg Virginia....


Friday we made the last visit of the year to VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA….it’s just getting too cold to sit outside in a folding chair.  Most of the ‘regulars’ came out to play but the turnout was a little thin.  I really like the ’71 Ranchero….and Bobby’s ’52 Ford pickup was just perfect.  It’s interesting how many hot rods don’t have a heater….I can do without A/C but must have a heater.  The temp dropped with the sun going down and before it got dark most of us were on the road home.  Denny had to make a little detour on the way home….it’s amazing how slow that car of his fills with gas….and he doesn’t have a heater and the windows don’t roll up!  Hard core!  This cruise is closed till March or April of 2016….see ya then!

Saturday we cruised to Fredericksburg, VA and the Pep Boys ‘the last show of the season’ deal.  The show is hosted by the local Pep Boys store and is free!  It is aptly managed by the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club….they really know how to make a show fun. 

When we arrived there were about 30 cars already parked but they kept coming in till there was about 70!  That was phenomenal considering that the only advertising was just the last month and through flyers on Facebook!  If this show is advertised better next year they will need more parking spaces.  The venue is a little tricky getting into but some of the spaces back up to grassed areas, which is nice to set up camp on.  The store has restrooms they let us use, which is always a welcome option.  There are a few food choices close by and as always Wes was selling hot dogs….they are good hot dogs and they get cheaper the closer it gets to the end of the show….hehehehee  Just incase your ambilanted dingle arm needs replacing in your ride….I’m sure the folks in Pep Boys has one in stock!   They are very helpful and knowledgeable when it comes to vehicles.

The club played great music all day….the announcements were at a minimum so the music was king!  Pep Boys provided a bunch of trophies (free, remember) and the club ran a 50/50 for their charity.  The club provides a Christmas for many local families….families that would be forgotten but for the generosity of the local ‘car’ people and the dedicated work of the club.  The 50/50 was won by a gentleman that drove the white ’62 Chevy convertible, almost $160….he gave it back to the club to use for their charity work!  I love this hobby and the people in it!

The event attracted all kinds of vehicles….from rat rods to original antiques like the black Packard….hot rods of every stripe….new Chargers, Challengers, Camaros and Mustangs…..Nadine brought her custom VW, Bubbleicious to the event, always a crowd pleaser.  AND….there were even a few cool trucks, like Jimmy & Annie’s GMC…..and that old black farm truck!  This event would be the last big show around here; it was well received and appreciated by all the folks that attended.  Please check out the pictures at; https://www.flickr.com/photos/53063560@N05/albums/72157660203743070

We have three more events we are involved with this year, Paws4Vets-11-14-2015, Over The River And Through The Woods Run-11-28-2015 and the Toys For Tots-12-12-2015.  Come out with us before you put your special ride away for the winter….

Monday, October 19, 2015

Chrysler of Culpeper all Mopar event....


Sunday the Princess & I headed to Culpeper, VA to attend the 6th Annual Mopar show hosted by Wade Schick’s Chrysler of Culpeper dealership.  The event had been rained out twice so when the weatherguessers said no chance of perception for this weekend, we all breathed a sigh of relief….  But it would be a little chilly….hmmmm  We launched at 7AM from the WAWA in N. Stafford and 44 miles later we arrived at the dealership.  The Rappahannock Region Mopar Club manages the event with the able assistance of Wade and his staff at the dealership.  This year the Mopar club only had 5 of it’s members managing the event but those 5 acted like there were 20 members running around getting stuff done!  Having been in a club years ago that put on events at an auto dealership, I know the work involved in moving so many vehicles off the lot for the event, then back on again when it’s over.  Having an event at a dealership has the advantage of great restrooms, shelter from the elements (rain, cold, wind, heat), better vendor spaces and vehicle centric problem solving.  Wade supports this event and others in the community..like a responsible, influential member of the community should.  Even though we don’t drive a Mopar we always try to attend this event when our schedule allows.  This year they would be giving part of the events proceeds to Fisher House Foundation so we wanted to represent them and Cruisin For Heroes at the event.

There were a few vendors that would brave the cold & wind to attend….one of them was the local Bruster’s Ice Cream store.  They have partnered with Cruisin For Heroes in the past and are going to support a monthly cruise in 2016 for Fisher House Foundation.  Sunday they would dress up an unsuspecting employee in the “Scoops” costume and extort money from all the show goers for the two charities represented at the event.  In the end they collected $250 to be split between Fisher House Foundation and Hospice of the Piedmont.  WOW….!

We set up our FH info area at the corner of the covered ‘porch’ of the building, we thought it would get the most exposure….it did.  But it also put us in the path of the 379 mph wind that was howling most of the day.  And you do know about ‘chill factor’ right?  The temp was about 43 degrees so with the wind it made the ‘chill factor’ close to absolute zero!  I thought it might be a little chilly so I dressed appropriately, even wearing long pants.  Something I usually don’t start till January.  But with that much wind blowing it was just numbing cold….

There were about 79 Mopars in attendance and one Chevy farm truck (not registered).  They ranged from a 1948 Chrysler to a near new Challenger that still had that ‘new car’ smell.  It would have been more interesting if more ‘older’ cars attended….but….I love the 60’s-70’s Mopar Muscle cars and the new Muscle cars too!  My favorite was the white ’63 Dodge 440 with a 426 Wedge….just too gnarly for me!  I knew it was special when the owner woke up the old wedge then backed off his trailer.  I tried to get a video of it while he parked but the staccato of the exhaust pulses overwhelmed my camera mic and it just sounds loud.  I remember when these puppies would roam the drag strip pits in SoCal.  To see/hear/feel a bunch of these Mopars and a few 409/427 Chevys; all growling and lurching around in the pits is something one never forgets.  It was like a bull fight; they would snort & bark back and forth at each other….like sumo wrestlers throwing salt.  Anyway, that was my favorite of the day.  Another thing that made my day a little warmer was the amount of Plumb Crazy cars in attendance, I can’t remember seeing that many at a Mopar event before. 

The Mopar club tallied up the judge’s findings and announced the winners while handing out the plaques.  Of course they were all winners; just look at what they drove to the event….except for the farm truck.  Fred, the Princess and some other willing hands helped us fold up and pack away our display.  We really were happy the event was over because I was numb throughout.  My fingers were so numb, I had trouble fumbling for the ignition key to start the truck.  At least the old farm truck has a heater, unlike someone that I will not mention, that drives a red/white ’57 Dodge, that makes it a point to roll up his windows in the summer heat to remind us that he has A/C….hehehehehe  Next year you need to check out this event….if you own a Mopar you will enjoy it.  If you don’t….you have a year to fix that….