Monday, November 30, 2009

Over the River and Through the Woods Run

Saturday morning and the weather was as the weather guessers had predicted….Gorgeous! It would be a grand day to participate in the ‘Over the River and Through the Woods Run’ of 2009! Five cars met at the WAWA in Stafford, VA and proceeded to the assembly point to join up with the rest of the cruisers. Along the way we picked up another car then continued to the beginning location near Warrenton, VA. At the starting point we topped off our fuel tanks and waited for the rest of the cars to arrive. Eight more cars were there by 10AM which made 13 special cars rolling on the beginning of the cruise. We traveled on Rt. 17 till we got on Rt. 66, the ‘mother road’. We cruised Rt. 66 for 22 miles and it gave a lot of people a chance to see cars that they might otherwise never get to see. Since we cruise between 55 and 60 mph a lot of cars passed us. I actually estimate about 400 cars/trucks passed us….some honked….some gave us thumbs up….some took our picture….most just smiled. This is the reason we drive road cars….to share our hobby with others while we enjoy the thrill of driving a special car. We had a nice mix of special cars from the red ’29 Ford sedan to the blue ’08 Vette and most of the other decades between.

When we left Rt. 66 on Rt. 522, I must have been listening to the voices from the mother ship or maybe it was the Princess yelling at me over the walkie talkie to turn or wait or speed up or slow down or look out and I took a wrong turn looking for Rt. 55! We ended up going about 12 miles out of our way. When I realized I was lost I did the unmanly thing of stopping and asking for directions (it’s those darned sensitivity classes). Fortunately we had two cars that knew where we were! Ted and Jim had their cosmic atomic powered GPS machines running and gave me new guidance. So after much ridicule about my navigation capabilities we gathered up and off we went, again. We had also picked up another car that met us while I was trying to get un-lost! Later on in the day I spoke with some cruisers that thought the “lost” stop was a planned stop and they liked getting out and walking around a while! Naturally I agreed and explained about the importance of planning, navigation and taking the needs of people in consideration when setting up a run like this and was glad that some voiced their appreciation of my hard work….grin As we were finding our way back to the planned route we picked up four more cars on Rt. 55 making a total 17 cars cruising down the road. Finally we got to our first “planned” stop, Wardensville, WV. Some of us that have mileage challenged cars (gas guzzlers) have to fuel up about every 100 miles, so Jimmy and his blue ’71 Rancheroo and I eagerly waited for a vacant spot at the fuel pumps! After all the bladders were emptied and fuel tanks filled we cruised through some of the town till we got to Trout Run Rd. and began the…. interesting…. part of the cruise. This is a road the Princess and I had run a few times long ago while we were on the Harley….it is a great road for bikes. But the road is narrow and there is no center line or side lines and for some areas there is no shoulder or guard rails! And it is a typical mountain road with many switchbacks and tight turns that those of us with chopped tops have fun navigating! I guess the best way for you to experience the deal is to put down your sun visor and crank up your seat as high as you can then drive on twisty roads….it does take some getting used to! And some of the cars were…. large like Dan’s black ’55 Chevy and Fred’s red/white ’57 Dodge so when they met oncoming traffic there was not a whole lot of room to pass! Anyway it was 40 miles of very precise driving and a lot of great scenery. We worked our way down to Edinburg, VA and then back up over another mountain to Luray, VA and Sonny’s restaurant for lunch/dinner. I called ahead and Sonny had the tables set up for us and they coped with the number of people eating…I think it was 26! I think everyone enjoyed the food which didn’t surprise me! Sonny loaned me a piece of split wood so I could use it for a wheel chock! Real hot rods don’t need emergency brakes!

After we all ate too much some started to leave….some had other commitments that afternoon so they had to leave early. We all pretty much said our good-bys in the parking lot and left in small groups or alone. Our Stafford group continued on over the last mountain to Sperryville then on to Culpeper where we picked up Rt. 29 then Rt. 17 and back to Stafford. It was a 237 mile trip for us but some others, like Wyatt with his DeLorean who is from Annapolis, MD, traveled much farther. Except for Fred demonstrating how quick Mopar’s can be fixed….everyone had a trouble free cruise which is a testament to something? Good mechanics? Or only American cars? Or Dan's steam powered billet & chrome dilemma detector that he carries in his '55? Maybe the Earth/Moon/Mars alignment? HEHEHEHE Whatever it was, it worked! Be sure to check out the pictures

Except for the few times we will just drive around Stafford to give old people a bad name we are pretty much done cruising for the season. I need to get the cars ready for next year so they may be apart till February or so…. We attended 68 “car” events (shows & cruises) this year which is some kind of record for us….I don’t know if we will do that again next year, we’ll see. We enjoyed meeting new friends and deepening old relationships during the year. Also unless something extraordinary happens I won’t have any more blog entries till February/March.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and an enjoyable and productive winter….hope to see you on the road next year.
Chuck the Slacker & Linda the Princess

Monday, November 16, 2009

Foster's finale

Ida….ida rather be driving the hot rod around than sitting home watching it rain! Hurricane Ida was dumping copious amounts of rain on us for four days! Saturday we wanted to go to the last Foster’s Cruise in Stafford, VA but the roads were still wet from the above mentioned rain. The cruise started around noon and by 1PM the roads were dry enough to take the hot rods out. But the Princess had escaped to a local craft show and had not returned yet. She was performing one of our green contribution processes…. she buys stuff at craft shows and either gives it away or puts it somewhere in the house until she gets tired of it or can’t remember why she bought it and I get to sell it on eBay or at a yard sale! I think it’s called recycling? Anyway I got a terse call from Steve who was at the cruise asking “WHERE WERE WE!?” He said about 20 cars were there and we said we would be there at noon and WHERE WERE WE?….I tried to explain about the puddles in the road and that the Princess was not here but I didn’t get a lot of sympathy from Steve….I knew I had to get to Foster’s….with or without the Princess. I cleared out the driveway, warmed up the hot rods and located the Princess….she would be home in a few minutes.

When we arrived there were still around 20 cars there and through the afternoon some left and others came by….about 30 cars total. I’m glad Jerry brought out his hunting Willys, you have to ask him! The black ’37 Ford dirt track car was interesting, I have seen it at a couple shows this year. The black ’37 PU was way cool with it’s 6x2 intake! The nice red ’29 Ford sedan was interesting in that it runs a V-6! Not a bad idea considering the price of fuel nowadays! Of course I don’t have that problem since I drive a hybrid….burns gasoline & rubber….I call it my ecofastmover, hehehehe There were many car clubs represented at the small gathering which helped the communication between clubs….if nothing else it reestablishes old friendships….always a good thing. Most of us had something to eat at Foster’s and came back outside to network. The Princess got stuck inside….talking ‘bus’ talk with Ramona and another friend, Mary Ann. Since she would stay inside talking for days I decided to liven things up a little so I fired up the RedRat and chugged out of the lot, past the dining room of Foster’s so the Princess could see me leaving! She gets so uptight about a little humor when it’s directed at her!? I think she was saying things that Princesses should not say? Anyway she told everyone in the lot what she thought of my feeble attempt at humor! I promised to take her to one of her favorite restaurants the next day to patch things up….She is such a pushover for food!

So Sunday we cruised to the Crabby Oyster near Dahlgren, VA for lunch with Dan & Ramona. The restaurant is clean the service is attentive and humorous, in a good way….grin. The food is always good and we recommend it if you want a no frills honest seafood dinner for around $50 for two. On the way back to Stafford the RedRat headed to Fredericksburg and Carl’s Ice Cream….A great ending to a mostly gorgeous weekend!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The last show of the kidding....I think....

We had four cars in our caravan to the show at Hayfield HS in Alexandria, VA on Sunday….Fred, Debie & Granddaughter in their ’57 Dodge, Dan & Ramona in their ’55 Chevy and the Princess and I with our coupes. We like to support shows that have a purpose that we think is important enough to spend our dollars and time on….this is one of those things. AUTO SHOP! Most of us gear heads have spent time in auto shop when we were younger. Right after we invented the wheel we invented something to put it on and then we had to make it go faster….and here we are! I have good memories of my auto shop days and the discipline that I came away with because of that experience. I think that even if one doesn’t make that occupation a life’s career, it never hurts to know more about the conveyance most of us will have to deal with the rest of our life!?

I think there were 70-75 cars in attendance, some came for a while then left but most stayed for the whole event. The weather was perfect if not a little warm….but OK. The venue was good in that there were many food choices and indoor restrooms available within easy walking distance. It was in a shopping center parking lot so many people visited the cars that were not “car people”. This is a good thing because we get to share our hobby with people that do not know about it or do not understand it….this is always good. But with that brings an activity that is always present but this kind of setting exacerbates it….People/kids that do not respect others property. We had to ‘guard’ the cars all day from kids trying to jump on the running boards or wheels of the cars or trying to open the doors. Someone got through our vigil and scratched Fred & Debie’s Dodge pretty bad, it will have to be repainted because it went down to the primer!

The event had many nice cars but I liked the silver ’46 MG TC and Steve & Sallie’s orange Mustang. I have known Steve for a few years and have heard him talking about his Mustang but never saw it till Sunday! I am partial to the ’69-’70 Mustang and theirs is one of the nicest I have seen. I also liked the black ’32 traditional highboy with the zoomies and the three early Broncos. Wyatt was there with his crowd pleasing DeLorean and Ray brought his very red HHR to share. It was a great day to be able to drive the hot rods and share our passion with others….even though the Princess didn’t win anything. Of course I’ll have to take her shopping shopping this week to blunt the trauma of her not wining anything….I think there will be more shoes in the closet by Friday! hehehe

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Living a Dream

The Princess and I decided to take advantage of the glorious day Tuesday and drive to Stephens City, VA for lunch. It’s a 160 mile round trip from Stafford through the Virginia country side. We like to travel the Interstates as much as the lesser roads so we used I-66 & I-81 to get to our destination. We think it is actually safer on the interstates and usually the roads are in better condition. We also like to drive our coupes to give others a chance to see part of what makes us Americans…. The independence of Hot rods are an important part of the fabric of our American heritage and it gives us pleasure sharing that experience with all that see or talk to us while we travel. Hot Rodding speaks to the ingenuity and effectiveness of the American spirit….A never ending quest to make things better or different is fundamental in Hot Rodding. This difference is also about going against the grain a little or in today’s vernacular, thinking out of the box. An individualistic spirit like Hot Rodding is difficult for some to understand and we like to explain it every chance we get, even if that just means a friendly smile and wave to a passing motorist on I-66! We like to shock the non-car people by showing them we are not knuckle dragging mouth breathers but nice folks that are not afraid of being a little different. I’ll get off my soapbox now!

The trip was uneventful and the experience at Butcher Block Buffet was good. The food was normal for a southern “country” buffet, tasty and honest. The restaurant was clean and the service was attentive and cheerful. When we parked the hot rods I noticed a car carrier next to the restaurant….it had an “old” car on it. Upon closer examination I discovered it was a ’34 Nash! I used to own a ’34 Nash resto-rod! Mine was a large 4dr but this one was the lower priced Lafayette model, a lot of subtle differences and dimensionally smaller from mine but still a very rare car! It was from NJ going south….I waited a while for the driver to return so I could ask about the car but he/she never came back.
If anyone would like to receive email notices of our upcoming adventures please let me know at we plan on driving the hot rods all winter, weather permitting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No really....It's the last show of the year!

Friday evening and rain is threatening….but we go to VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA anyway! This “rain” thing is getting to be a real pain, it’s difficult to plan anything with the hot rods. And since my atomic powered chair heater is running out of fuel I think the season is winding down for us this year. Old & Cold don't mix!

We arrived and parked near the building with T-Bucket John, he had his witch/wench with him which was OK since Sat is Halloween! Most of us put out candy for the kids/adults and settled in for a few hours….in the cold….Tell me why do we do this again? There were about 20 cars total for the evening….some came, set up and realized how cold it was and packed up and went home. Some of us stayed till about 8:30….Why?

There was a black ’63 Ford Galaxie that I had not seen before that was very nice. Two new Camaros showed up, I like the yellow one, and a new orange Challenger! And the pug pirate was way cool…. please check out the pictures.

We cruised home and the traffic was horrendous on Rt. 1 going south, we were going north so we were OK but the southbound traffic was backed up 3+ miles! The RedRat is a “hot rod” which, I was told by the builder Don, is the reason it doesn’t have a heater! Makes sense….but after the motor is warmed up a little there is enough radiant heat from the 502 that gets inside to keep me warm! In fact I have to crack the window a little to let some of the heat out! I don’t need no steenken heater….the Rat will provide! I love that car!