Monday, August 31, 2009

Going South

Thursday and the weather-guessers were calling for rain Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday! Hurricane Danny was threatening the right coast with untold amounts of rain. We had to drive less than 2 hrs to reach Richmond, VA and the 5th NSRA Richmond Nationals being held there that weekend. We met at 6AM Friday morning and left on our trek south. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel in Ashland, VA for breakfast since there was no rain.. ..yet! After breakfast we motored to the host hotel in west Richmond and our troubles began. In their infinite wisdom VDOT has chosen to not correctly repair the short road from I95 to I64W to Broad St in Richmond. This road is worse than horrible.. ..It is an example of how not to repair roads. We have been going to Richmond for five years and this 4 mile stretch of road is the worst in America. Every year something goes wrong with our cars after we use that road, one year Dan’s steering column shook loose another year the Princesses electronics shut down and she couldn’t open her doors, roll up her windows or open her trunk. One year my ’34 Nash shook so bad the hood got out of alignment so bad it was never the same after that, not to mention the paint that was chipped in the process. This year the Princesses car lost the electronics again.. ..We drive over 7000 miles a year with no problem till we get on this road.. ..It’s like the Bermuda Triangle or something! On the way from the host hotel to the event everything shook back to working and remained so the rest of the weekend! I bounced so high that I now have a dent in the top of my head right where the little button is on the top of my hat! We will never go on that road again, next year we will have a better plan.

After registering at the host hotel we arrived at the event about 10Am and set up camp near where we were last year only this year we were on gravel. Next year we need to get there earlier to get on the grass! All afternoon we were getting reports from family back home in Stafford about how hard it was raining there.. ..No rain where we were yet! We left about 3:30 for the Hampton Inn in Mechanicsville, VA. It was starting to rain just a little. After we unloaded at the motel and ate at Outback it started to seriously rain! We decided not to go to the cruise that night.

Saturday we arrived at the event early and since we left our canopies overnight at our parking spots we were almost set up. It was sunny and hot.. ..Hot.. ..Hot all day long. I think it was about 300 degrees around 2PM. Saturday is the most attended day of the 4 day event and there was much cruising around in golf carts and cars at the event. When we attend weekend shows the Princess and I usually bring “emergency” money in case we see something at the event we want to buy and the vendor doesn’t take plastic. This year the Princess bought a very expensive doodad at Women’s World and had to use her “special” money! But she also saw that I had won a super prize and knew I wouldn’t hear the number being called out so she picked it up for me.. ..Actually when she got back to the camp she gave me my prize before telling me about the expensive doodad.. ..Those Princesses are so tricky, hehehehe Then Dan, in his never ending quest to make his engine & wheels shine a little more, bought some “new and much more wonderful” billet shiner upper for his ’55.. ..So I had to buy some to keep up with him, thanks a lot Dan.. ..I really like to rub on my engine and wheels.. ..Oh yeah.. ..If this keeps up I’ll end up with arms like the California Governor! As always there are really great cars in attendance, please check out the pictures on and video at We decided to leave the event around 4PM and go back to the Hampton to chill out a little before going to the Brunetti’s cruise in Mechanicsville, VA that evening.

The cruise was great, the food at Brunetti’s was good but they were very busy and we had to wait a little to get a table. I took some pictures but by the time we came out from the restaurant it was dark and I don’t take good pictures in the dark so we sat and enjoyed each other’s company for a few hours then went back to our hotel for the evening.

Sunday we arrived at the event around 8:30 and parked near the exit by the winners display area on the bricks. We endured the heat through the awards ceremony and Steve showed us a better way back home.. ..No more I95 next year! The event was much better this year.. ..The new food vendors were a welcome addition to the food that is served at the permanent facility. The restrooms were cleaned and in good shape all day this year. The Women’s World was in full swing and much appreciated by all, not just women! The vendors were busy and well represented. There were a lot of paid spectators this year; they paid $14 a head to see our cars.. ..I saw the advertisements on the hotel TV Friday and Saturday night, I guess it helped!? Dan passed out nearly a 1000 Richmond NSRA flyers at shows we attend. I understand that there were 869 registered attendees this year, up 6 from last year. I also understand that attendance at all the NSRA events across our great Country have been down this year! There is a show that has been in conflict with the Richmond NSRA show for 4 years, it’s the show in New Market we attended last week. This year both shows were scheduled so people could attend both shows. This is the way it should be done from a fairness perspective but the attendance at Richmond this year shows it should be scheduled this way to improve attendance at both shows. Many people from the New Market area attended the Richmond event for the first time this year! One car from New Market was on the bricks in the winner’s area! NSRA needs to consider this for next year so the two shows do not conflict. Both benefit! It should be a no brainer! Do you hear me NSRA?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Over the mountians

New Market, VA…Heritage Days is a three day community event with local crafter and food vendors that also has a hot rod extravaganza for us car people! This is the 21st year it has been managed by the Valley Cruisers of Harrisonburg, VA. The event begins on Friday with a cruise in at the Bar-B-Q Ranch on Rt. 11 in Harrisonburg. There were over 150 cars scattered around the restaurant and anywhere else you could park a car and still walk to the restaurant. We arrived late so we parked on a grassed hill behind the restaurant. We got to meet Buddy and see his new hot rod school bus he was driving, check out the pictures. The food was good but the place was very crowded, this will be a good place to visit when there are a normal amount of customers. It rained while we were eating and I wondered if we were going to get to see the cars sliding down the hill into the restaurant! Right before sundown we wiped off the rain and left. I took some artsy fartsy pictures of the RedRat’s shadow on our way to the motel. But before we shut down for the night we had to sample the ice cream at the little shop on Rt. 211. I took some pictures of the sunset and was reminded of the old adage; Red sky at night, sailors sky in the morning sailor take warning. The red sunset ended our first day and I knew the weather-guessers would be wrong about all the rain they forcasted for tomorrow! On the way back to the Motel I saw a blown open wheel coupe in front of me in traffic, I tried to work up to it but got caught at a light, I saw “I’m your huckleberry” on the trunk lid! I thought about it all night, I knew I would see it again.

Saturday morning began by wiping down the cars from the rain (that’s twice now) during the night then headed for the Southern Kitchen restaurant for breakfast and the all day cruise at the same location. After breakfast we set up camp behind the cars and by noon it started to rain.. ..and it rained for three hours! The parade went on at 1PM regardless of the rain, see the video. I was beginning to get a flavor for the type of cars we were seeing. These are “drivers”, they are meant to be driven in hot, cold, rain and I’m told even snow! The cars are very nice and would do well at most shows but these are primarily used on the road and not in trailers. The variety of vehicles was stunning as was the level of quality and craftsmanship reflected in the vehicles but then if you have to depend on your ride to get you home it has to be good! Right? The stroller for big kids was a nice touch! About 3PM the rain stopped and the show was over? I think the weather manager got that backwards? We went back to the Motel and did what retired people have to do at least once a day.. .. ..take a nap! Hehehe Whenever we are near Luray or New Market and its lunch or dinner time we like to stop at Sonny’s restaurant on Rt. 211 so after our nap we took off for Sonny’s. After dinner we headed back to New Market and checked out the PreShow Party & Dinner in progress at the Rescue Squad building. All the food at the party was part of your registration fee; it was like a free buffet! So.. .. ..When you eat too much and have that stuffed sleepy feeling what do you do? You sing karaoke of course! There were many singers crooning for us from two little sisters singing Gospel to a guy that sang Kenny Roger’s “Lady” like Kenny.. ..Very good. And a lot of others in-between! The sun went down and we wanted to get back to the Motel and put the cars to bed so we left the party.. ..still in progress! I’m told that when the karaoke was over they played bingo most of the night!

Sunday we dried off the cars again (three times now), packed up, checked out of the Motel and filled up the fuel tanks then headed to Rebel Park and the 21st Annual Rod Run to the Park. We were parked in a good location so we set up camp and prepared to enjoy the day. This “show” is very different as there is no judging or awards! No competition! No grumbling over the judging! Just displaying your car and enjoying each other’s company.. ..What a deal! The Princess said she was going to “buy” her award and took a bucket full of tickets for the silent auction, it worked! There will be happiness in Stafford for another week! Dan and the Princess were fighting over a red-white-blue basket but neither one won it, the Princess said that was ok because it had one of those nasty piggies in it and she really didn’t want it but she didn’t want Dan to win it? There were many car clubs represented at the event including VA Stockers, Stafford Classics, Custom Cruisers of NOVA and many more including the host club Valley Cruisers. Good food was available and they had games going on for the kids and adults! Elvis made an appearance and did a respectable karaoke of the King. As is my privilege I always pick one or two cars that light me up. This event had four cars that I would like to park in my garage! The first was Jack’s ’36 Lincoln Zephyr 4dr.. ..This car was unique and as nicely done as any I have seen and you can drive in comfort and elegance knowing when you arrive there will not be another car like yours there. Then Nancy’s red ’34 Studebaker 4dr.. ..This was a unique piece too and reminds me of the ’34 Nash 4dr I had. Then the ’33 Ford 3wc, the Huckleberry car! This is so rowdy looking and the “I’m your huckleberry” sign on the back fits the personality of this car just right.. ..and I bet it IS a huckleberry.. ..hehehehe The last one is the black ’30-31 Ford PU. My cousin, Doug, got me interested in hot rods in the mid 50’s.. ..We were visiting his family in Ohio one summer and he was running a ’30-31 Ford PU in the B/G class. He took me to 3 drag races and that started me on a long downhill slide into hot rods and fast cars in general, thanks a lot Doug! hehe Anyway I know I wouldn’t fit into the little black PU I saw Sunday but it might be just the incentive I need to lose some of my ballast.. ..The Princess says I just need to eat more tofu and bean sprouts and less oatmeal cookies and it will be alright?! It’s not possible to sustain life without oatmeal cookies?
There were 222 registered cars in the show and I took pictures of them all! I shoot at a very high resolution and if you want larger images of them please contact me at Double J Sound was spinning the tunes and doing the announcements at all four events; he provides the backdrop that makes the event’s feel right! We had a great time, the people made us feel welcome, especially Buddy. You have to check out his school bus when you see it. This was a fun event and we will check it out again next year!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To infinity and beyond!

Friday evening at Virginia BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA. This weekly cruise always draws new cars that don’t show up at local shows.. ..People just bringing out their cars to share with other people. There is a core of 30-40 cars that usually show up but there is always something new! This week we saw a home built green Crosley tow truck, the owner will talk about Crosleys till the cows come home, ask him about the “Tin engine” Crosley made. The pearl ’63 Chevy Impala with the brass knuckle shotgun intake scoop was unique and nicely done. The red ’54 Ford with the modular motor was special too. About 70 cars made the cruise special and it closed around 9PM.

Saturday we met Dan & Ramona, Ron and Andrew at Cracker Barrel in Central Park for breakfast then on to the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club’s (FC&MCC) annual show.. ..This year it was be held at Chancellor Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, VA. This club always puts on a well run show with an emphasis on recognizing their club members efforts in the process. Some clubs recognize special members at club meetings but this one does it in a public venue, at a car show! This year they recognized Pop (Harold Wilson) for his contributions to their club and the general car culture in the area. Pop attends most of the cruises and shows around here, you can check my pictures on webshots and his blue Baja Bug is in most of them, he’s everywhere!. He and his bride, Sue, work tirelessly making all feel welcome at their events and he is an important cog in the wheel of the machine that is FC&MCC. Congrats POP!

The show ended up with around 150 registered cars.. ..WOW! The cars ran the gamut of types from race cars to antiques to customs to road cars. The Stafford Classics club won the club participation with 42 members present! And the orange ’56 Merc deservedly won best of show. I think there were 9 VW’s in attendance which is more bugs in one show than I’ve seen since we left California in ’73! I used to race one of those cantankerous beasts on the left coast and it was special to see all those air cooled, people’s cars.. ..especially the red truck. The candy red ’51 Ford PU was there along with the champagne & orange ’54 Ford PU. Richard’s red ’60 Chevy PU won best engine and The Princess won a trophy too.. ..So there will be happiness in Stafford this week. One of the reasons I like this show is that’s it’s attended by very few trailered cars, a real drive in show! The food was from VA BBQ and there were other vendors present too. The bathrooms were nice but far away from the show? We arrived early enough to get the few parking spaces with grass in back; the rest was on the asphalt parking lot.

We packed up our support equipment and a few of us headed to Orange, VA and the monthly cruise at the Burger King on Rt. 15. This cruise is always a surprise from the cars that come out, this time was no exception. Our group got separated in Orange and I was waiting in a parking lot for the group to catch up and I noticed all the trailers unloading their cars.. ..This was going to be a special cruise! Sure enough of the 150+ cars in attendance there were about 25 that don’t see many road miles.. ..Cam2, slick shod cars that might be street legal, rumbling around, intimidating all that dared look at them! There was a small group of Tuners with their Hondas & Toyotas. But the majority was hot rods & muscle cars.. ..A great mix of cars. I was too tired from the heat so I didn’t take pictures of all the cars. We left the cruise around 8PM and started the 50 mile trip home.

All went well till we got near home on Rt. 1.. ..There is a nice piece of road that is three lanes wide.. ..and straight.. ..and level.. ..and I was first in line at the red light.. ..and I was thinking about those race/street cars I saw at Orange.. ..and my ankle is well enough to try some faster shifting. The RedRat growled and went straight, the transmission shifted like a knife in hot butter.. was like a dream.. ..until I saw the blue lights in my mirror! I always say to be very careful if you are going to act stupid at night because you can’t tell what kind of cars are behind the headlights! I broke my own rule and had a nice conversation with one of Stafford’s finest! I don’t know if he couldn’t believe that old car could go that fast or if it was my charming personality but after a mostly one sided conversation with him he gave me my license back and told me not to do that again! The Princess said that he knew I was an old fart without a job and didn’t have the money to pay a fine and they would have to keep me in jail and with the County budget shortfall it would be cheaper to just let me go! The Queen couldn’t believe they didn’t arrest me or shoot me in the knee or something! I think I will behave better especially when I’m near Stafford! We’ll see.. .. ..

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gone Fishin....

I won't update the blog till Wedensday this week....I'll be in PA fishing! I have uploaded the pictures from the weekend at;

A lot happened....including some flashing blue lights! More on Wedensday!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finally a dry weekend.

Friday evening and surprise surprise.. rain! So off to Fredericksburg, VA and the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club’s weekly cruise at Virginia BBQ. This cruise will always have 50 cars each week but sometimes it grows to 70-80 cars, tonight was one of the overflow nights! The host club, Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club, provides music and a few trophies, one club pick, one spectator’s pick and one VA BBQ manager’s pick. The cruise has great access since it’s right on Rt. 1 and River Rd. Another thing I like is that there is always a lot of spectator traffic as I like to share my hobby with others that ask especially non-car people!

Tonight we got to see Ed’s orange ’37 on the road again after some major motor work, now it sounds like a hot rod again. He also got a new license plate that is real... ..special! Carolyn said it means spoiled.. ..but I think it just means.. ..special! I liked the light blue ’59 Plymouth, they are seldom seen around here then Fred & Debie brought another Mopar, their red/white ’57 Dodge. Paul brought his noisy ’34 and Marla showed up with her red ’55 Chevy PU, nice ride Marla! Please check out the other cars in the pictures to get a flavor for the diversity of the cars that attend. This is always a pleasant no stress cruise so if you are in Fredericksburg on any Friday night you need to check it out even if you don’t bring your “special” car to the deal.. ..You will enjoy it!

Sunday we met at Bob Evans in Stafford, VA for breakfast then five cars cruised to Colonial Beach, VA to attend the picnic at Jims Antique Motor Co. We got started a little late because of the food fight in Bob Evans and on the way to Colonial Beach one of the Chevy parts Fred had on his Barracuda decided to leave and he & Jim had to make some roadside adjustments so we could continue.

When JV bounced this idea off me months ago I thought it would be OK but I wasn’t really excited about it. JV is a little ‘out there’ since he stopped smoking (what do you expect from a guy that drives a hot rod with no doors) and I had not worked with him in the past so I really didn’t know how this would go. He did the coordinating with his club in Colonial Beach and I just wrote a couple emails! JV, Jim Still and the Colonial Beach Cruisers put the whole deal on and it turned out to be a great day to be at the beach! All we had to do was show up? They provided lunch and a friendly and inclusive atmosphere to enjoy the day. The Colonial Beach Cruisers are the friendliest bunch of car people we have met, except for that girl in the back of John’s ‘57! They always make us feel like we are part of them.. ..maybe it’s just because the Princess whines a lot and it’s easier to be nice to her so she will just smile and be quiet.. ..I didn’t say that! Or maybe it’s just my sensitive and caring personality? Grin The casual life style of the beach helps too; it’s like being on vacation.. ..You just have to watch out for the golf carts, grin! JV reserved the parking area in front of Jim’s museum for the people from Stafford, boy did we feel ‘special’.

Jim opened up his ’54 Ford museum for us as it is normally not open to the public. Think about it, a museum dedicated to the 1954 Ford, the year Ford came out with their first OHV V-8 motor. Oldsmobile and Cadillac started the OHV race in ’49 and Lincoln introduced their first OHV V-8 in ’52 and Ford got into the race in ’54, a year before Chevy! The vehicles ranged from a Vicky to sedan delivery and everything in between. Jim had 13 of his restored cars inside and two others in process. He has way too many waiting outside to be done! He has a yellow ’54 Ford golf cart.. ..with a V-8 in the front! I love the simplicity of the floor pedals.. ..go-stop, kind of like the way I drive the RedRat. hehehe. All the memorabilia is for ’54 Fords too, much of it NOS! Jim built the building to be like a 50’s new car dealership, I think he nailed that too. I wondered around and talked to people while I took pictures, had some lunch and settled down behind the RedRat to enjoy the rest of the day. After seeing me chilling out JV decided to move the activity of the day up.. ..Whoopee! He was orchestrating a blind driving competition.. ..Huh? This I have to see! I posted a video of the deal on U-tube, it was a real hoot. The idea was to start on a line, blindfolded, and drive to the other line and stop before crossing over it. Sounds simple.. ..Yeah right! JV demonstrated how to do it but others were just waiting for someone else to go. JV asked the Princess to compete and she said she would wait.. ..until.. ..JV said there would be trophies for the winner. The Princess got up and in a blur she woke up her coupe and headed for the start line. I hope no one was trampled between her and her coupe.. ..She was on a mission to get a trophy! Her first try ended with her running over a cone! She said the blindfold hurt her head and she thinks someone moved the cone and the crowd was too noisy and it was too hot for her to be comfortable and she couldn’t concentrate and and and.. .. JV or Jim then announced that if you went past the finish line you could try again. But the Princess went out the sideline and she whined that it was unfair and a Princess should have special rules and her track should have been wider and and and. So one of the guys gave in and let her try again. See what I deal with all the time???? On her second try she stayed on the track and stopped before the finish line but she was way long and she didn’t win! She told me to invent one of those blue teeth thingies with a laser rangefinder so she could win next time. She said I had plenty of time on my hands since I polished her trophies last week and don’t have to do that for another week! Are we there yet? Hehehe We stayed a while longer but it was really getting hot so we packed up and ran for home. We had a small group of people (five cars) from Stafford and I’m sorry that those that missed the cruise to Colonial Beach missed something special, maybe next time?

Monday, August 3, 2009

How hot was it?

Saturday, a few intrepid cruisers met at Mike’s Diner in Stafford, VA for breakfast and then on to the show at Brandy Station, VA. We had missed that show the last 4 years because of rain or other commitments so we were eager to attend this year!

The show is on grass and part of the 3 day Brandy Station VFD annual fair. The show is managed by the Culpeper Cruisers and whenever they are involved with a show you know it will be done correctly! DJ Ron was the MC & DJ and did his customary exceptional job, no surprises here. The restrooms were porta-potties.. ..but they were freshly cleaned and had hand sanitizer in the units and there were enough of them so that the Princess tells me they were still fine at the end of the day! The food was great with BBQ, hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, funnel cakes and lemonade.. ..typical county fair fare. Andrew also had some health food, I think it was a corn dog? The Princess made me eat bean sprouts, snap peas and jicama slices.. ..Oh yeah I feel healthier! The only thing the Cruisers couldn’t fix was the heat.. ..The day was gorgeous but it was hot, there was a gentle breeze but it was still hot! Did I mention it was hot?

They had over 150 cars registered with most of them from the 70’s and back but there were some new ones like the new blue Mustang GT500 that the owner picked up in NC and drove it to the show, he also won the longest distance award! The candy red ’52 Ford PU deservedly won best of show and John’s ’39 Ford Vicky with the shotgun motor has a way of stopping the heartbeat! But my pick of the day was the cream colored ’50 Chevy 2dr of Mr. Newman. The car was done so you could tell something different was there but it didn’t shout at you.. felt like an old friend, I love it. Henry brought his new Harley and joined in the fun too. The Prince William Cruisers came with a group of cars as did the Custom Cruisers of NOVA. I’m sure many other clubs were represented but except for the host club those two had the most members present. We got to see Arnolds new purple ’57 Chevy rag top.. ..It’s as nice as anything Arnold drives but I like his ’64 the best! I had a conversation with Steve and Jimmy about the valve cover races at A1 Speed shop. They didn’t know about that so I showed them the racers we had, the two GM racers. I told them it was too bad that there weren’t any blue oval racers that challenged the Princesses Chevy racer.. ..too bad. I got some funny looks from Steve and Jimmy was talking out loud how to beat a Chevy.. ..we’ll see? Hehehehe The awards were given out and the Princess got a top trophy.. ..There will be happiness in Stafford this week! Except for the heat it was a near perfect day spent with friends and cars.. ..It’s like living a dream.

We packed up and headed for A1 Speed Shop and the cruise that evening. As usual when we go to A1, we ate at Steamers across the street. Dan joined us for dinner as he attended another show in Dumfries, VA. The show was mostly a PT Cruiser show with an “open” show in addition (two deals)!? Dan wanted to attend to see what was going on and to support their charity, Fischer House. He told us the show was small, less than 20 cars, but fun. I hope the organizers plan a little differently for their next event as I think there are many that would support their efforts if they made a few changes. When we got back to A1 the valve cover race track was up so I made a few adjustment runs with my new racer. I wanted to test an idea not necessarily be competitive.. ..yeah right. My racer was slow so more work is needed this month. The Princesses racer, that won last month, couldn’t keep up with the Rebel Flyer this month. Dave had converted the Flyer from a 4 wheel racer to a 3 wheel racer! She switched lanes, whined, stomped her feet and frowned but nothing helped.. ..she lost. So I found out how fleeting the effects of her trophy win earlier in the day was going to be. I got the mean bus driver eye squint look and the scud buster laser pointy finger pointed at me with the instructions that the Princess doesn’t like to lose.. ..She didn’t have to tell me that! So I have to invent some cosmic gravity powered diamond smooth wheel bearings for her racer.. ..grin Andrew won the people’s choice award at A1 and we packed up and called it a day. We were ready to go on the cruise Sunday.. ..but surprise.. rained!