Monday, May 17, 2010

Wow....what a weekend!

For the last few weeks I have been a little stressed because the guy that built the RedRat was going to visit us with his wife Anne and another couple, Sam & Carol. Those of you that have grown kids will understand a little better what I was going through….especially if you had girls. You spend 18 years of your life working on doing the best for your kids and taking care of them, listening to their sorrows and their triumphs and then you give them to someone else to take care of and the other “kid” says he will take care of her!? Oh yeah? Riiight! So off they go and for a while you don’t know how well or bad he is taking care of one of the most valuable things in your life. Don had spent 5 years of his life crafting the RedRat then enjoyed it for another 10 years….then I came along and took it away from him. I knew I took some of his life with me in that car. I never thought much about it till Don emailed me a few months ago and told me they were going to plan a road trip to Virginia sometime this summer! Whoa…. Now some of you also know about not selling your cars to people that live near you….that way you never see what they are doing to the car you were so attached to, good or bad, mostly bad! So now the builder of the RedRat was coming to Virginia….to see his kid after being gone for 3 years!? I thought since Don lived in Michigan and we live in Virginia he would never actually see the RedRat again….oooooooooh nooooooo When we finalized a date for their visit I started to stress a little and began to think about what I have done to his kid/car! Hmmmmmm mirrors, breather, floor skid mat, rear end, shifter handle…. Hmmmm, they should be ok? The closer the date came the higher my stress level went….I started driving the RedRat very cautiously….I thought maybe I should email Don and explain that the Princess had contracted a communicable disease….like Ebola or something and he shouldn’t come down because we couldn’t meet them. I couldn’t sleep very well Friday night….kind of like the night before Christmas when I was a kid. Oh well it’s too late now, they’re on the way.

Our three cars arrived at the All American Street Rod car show in Gainesville, VA around 7AM….to make sure we got a good spot for 5 cars. We unpacked and set up the canopies and I waited for the Dad to come and visit his kid! The fact that he brought one of his friends also caused a little trepidation for me….then I remembered that they brought their wives so it couldn’t get to rowdy if he/they were upset with the Rat. They finally got to the event and parked….they got out and we shook hands and talked for about….18 seconds then Don & Sam swarmed over the RedRat…. pointing…. nodding…. looking at it very closely with that stern, all knowing look….then I thought I saw a little smirk on Sam’s face! Hmmmm maybe…. Then they both smiled and seemed to agree that I had indeed taken care of their kid OK. Whew….now I just had to refrain from patting their kid on the behind while they were looking and I would be ok…. So no raucous demonstrations of speed & power for 2 days! I can do that? Did I say that? We’ll see….
Don’s copper ‘34 Chevy sedan was nicer than the RedRat….it has A/C and leather seats! It also has many nice details like the engine breathing system, the tail lights and many others, you have to look close! And Sam’s very red ’49 Chevy….It looks and sounds like it would have in the 50’s or very early 60’s. The car looks like a very comfortable road car and since I learned to drive in a '52 Chevy, it brings back many memories…. and what’s not to like about a smooth very red car with the right stance? Who knows what kind of car the hood vents came from? A clue, it doesn’t start with a B. Ya gotta love the sound of the open lakers too….check out the video at The show was on asphalt with some of the spaces having grass behind the curb to sit on, a nice deal. The bathrooms were very well covered with some porta potties in the parking lot and the indoor facilities at the host business. There were a few vendors and a killer DJ. The weather was perfect….no really it was perfect except for the wind. The wind was blowing 20-25 mph but gusting up to a million mph when it blew over a couple canopies that were not secured adequately. Three cars were damaged; one black ’67 Nova was very seriously damaged. This is always a danger one has to consider when erecting a canopy around cars; you are responsible for what the canopy does.

The quality of most the cars was on par with a National event…. what we call “high dollar”…. much power, much chrome/billet and knock out paint. I think there were over 85 cars registered which is a good turnout of these kinds of cars. The judges had their hands full picking the winners but I think it was done fairly and efficiently. The Princess won an award so life will be good in Stafford this week! I liked the black ’37 Chevy humpy the best, I have seen the car once at BK and it is very straight and has an intimidating look & sound….a car that would be welcome in my garage! I also liked the red BBC T-Bucket. This was a fun show and an opportunity to see some very nice cars and bikes….oh yeah the bikes, you have to check out the pictures….the bikes were also first class. I like the psydelic one and the one that was styled like a ’95 1200 Sportster I had, the black and silver….neat!

We packed up and I led six cars to the cruise in Orange, VA at the Burger King on Highway 15. The cruise to get there was through 55 miles of Virginia countryside and is always a treat. The cruise is held every third Saturday during the season and DJ Ron takes care of the music and always provides a fun ambiance. The personality of this cruise is always a little different, tonight it seemed to be all about horsepower. I think there were 20 pro-streets growling around the parking lot. The red Caddy that’s long enough to be in two time zones at the same time was there as well as the “Shortcut High” school bus. The red blown ’70 AMC Javelin was unique and the yellow Maverick was easy to look at.

Right before dusk Sam started getting a little….distant. Don had warned me about Sam’s affliction with butter pecan ice cream but I thought he was exaggerating…. Sam and Carol disappeared for about half an hour then re-appeared walking down the grass toward our chairs with some grocery bags in hand….he had two half gallons of ice cream….he bought dishes, spoons, dipper and ice cream! Sam made sure we all had some before he began to devour most of one of the containers of butter pecan! I think that’s an addiction I could support….hmmmmm So after Sam’s ice cream was gone his shaking and mumbling stopped….it was the same Sam as earlier….WOW….spooky. The manager of the Burger King at the cruise picked Don’s ’34 for the monthly “car” award so now Don could go back to MI with two trophies….did I mention that he got one at the show too? Now the Princess was beginning to whine a little….she didn’t get two….I knew we had to leave so she would get that out of her system. So we all cruised back to our homes/motels….the weather was cooler and the return ride was just as much fun as the earlier one getting there. But the bugs….the bugs were terrible at night, I have never seen so many bugs on our cars when we got home and checked them out in the garage light. The Princess will have her work cut out for her in the morning! Hehehehe That’s our deal, she keeps them shiny and I keep them noisy.

Sunday we cruised to the Cracker Barrel in Dumfries, VA then after breakfast we cruised to the Hundred Car Pile Up show in Woodbridge, VA. This show is put on by the Prince William Cruisers and is at a boat marina restaurant, the Water’s Edge. It’s a nice restaurant and the parking lot is asphalt. After the canopy accident yesterday we didn’t want to erect a canopy on the pavement so we sat in the sun, not a fun thing. The restroom facilities were good and the music was the best. The song mix was dead on, a little of everything but constant….Ramona says he played songs she actually remembered!?

As advertised there were over a hundred cars registered so the event was a success. I liked the green ’66 T-5 Mustang; it’s very unique and nicely done. I also liked the silver & black ’34 Chevy 4dr sedan restorod and the red ’48 Chevy Fleetline. As with anything the PW Cruisers is involved with it’s a pleasure to attend one of their events, everything runs like clockwork and everything happens like it’s supposed to. They just need to find someone with a little more enthusiasm to sell the 50/50 tickets, grin Check out Sally in one of the pics with the tickets! And she does all that with a broken suspension that’s on the mend. What else can you ask for? The Princess also got a trophy so now she is happy; she and Don got two each for the weekend. Congrats Steve and the PW Cruisers on another job well done!

Don & Anne and Sam & Carol had to get ahead of their trip back to Michigan so they left early. We said out goodbyes and wished them a safe journey and they cruised out with that noisy red Chevy leading the adventure. That’s what hot rodding should be about….friendships that endure the test of geographic separation and the respect of other’s interests. Driving from Allen Park, Michigan to Virginia just to hang out for a couple days with kindred spirits is a special thing…. I love this hobby!

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