Monday, July 26, 2010

A Weekend to Remember

Friday evening at VA BBQ, Fredericksburg, VA and it’s hot. Around here this time of year we usually have temperatures in the high 80’s maybe low 90’s once in a while but we have been stuck in a heat wave that seems to be of historic proportions. Its 99-101 degrees hot plus the humidity makes the heat index 110+! I do not ever remember it being this hot, this early, this long since ’73 when we came to Virginia. And the turnout at VA BBQ reflects that uncomfortable weather in the numbers of people that come out to play. There were 29 cars total for the evening which has to be frustrating to Wesley the President of the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club as they are the host of the cruise. Tonight the car that stuck out for me was the red ’63 Ford Falcon convertible with the 260 V-8. It was a nice clean tidy little ride. We stayed till 9:00 and gasped back home in the heat that was still mid 80’s at 9PM!

Saturday we met Steve and some of his friends on Rt. 29 then cruised to Culpeper. Tommy, from Culpeper Cruisers, had set up a new cruise at the Chick-fill-A and we wanted to check it out. The parking lot is small but the grass area, trees and berm make the location great. There are other restaurants within easy walking distance if chicken is not on your menu but the Chick-fill-A has always been acceptable to us. Chicken is a nice change from burgers and one of the core values of the parent company goes against the normal retail business paradigm that says the business should be open 7 days a week. They are not open on Sunday…. they want to allow all their employees time off to be with their families, which is a neat conflict to modern business models.

When we arrived, there were a few cars already there and we slid in the parking spaces then set up camp for an evening of conversation.
There were about 15 cars total for the night and my favorite for the evening was Arnold’s red Chevy pickup…nice and straight and very red! Most of the people left around 9PM or so but some of us stayed and talked till 10PM. We gathered up and cruised for home…I think it was just as hot at 10PM as it was at 4PM….this heat has to stop!

Sunday we began our next odyssey….a parade! We were going to Washington D. C. to be in the parade that will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. We were sent applications for this parade in January by Under The Sun Productions, Inc. After we returned the forms the selection process took 4 months before we knew if we had been accepted or not! After we were told we were in, the stress started for me. Since it is a rain or shine event we had to be there baring a personal or vehicular catastrophe. I knew the RedRat would not survive that much slow driving in a hot parade and just forget if it was a very hot day. Since the Princessmobile would survive….the Princess decided to allow me to ride with her in HER car during the parade. So I started worrying about the condition and reliability her ‘33 even more. Last week’s ignition problem with her little beast didn’t help ease my trepidation about the whole deal but we had committed to the organizers to attend and I knew we would unless we got beamed up to the mother ship. I started checking everything….over and over. We stopped using her car after last weekend just in case she crashed it or someone ran into her. It was turning me into a bundle of nerves and the heat didn’t help much either.

This parade is very special on different levels…one being that only a small number of parades are allowed in D.C. each year (I think its 4) and 2010 already had the schedule filled with parades. But someone prevailed and the parade was allowed to happen. And now Sunday was here and our little convoy to D.C. started to form up at the WAWA in Stafford, VA. Ron & Jean, gunmetal ’28 Dodge; Fred & Debie, red ’57 Dodge; Dan & Ramona, black ’55 Chevy and the Princess and I in her red ’33 Ford. We left at 8:30 for the trek north. Along the way we picked up Lou & Louise and their silver Firebird and continued up the road. Fred led us to the event and we met Tony, gunmetal ’71 Super Bee and Wyatt, silver (what else) DeLorean, during the staging of the parade. We were in the staging lanes at 9:30 and the parade would step off at 1PM….we had some time to mingle with the munchkins. We walked around and took pictures of the floats and other parade items….to include the Lone Ranger and his horse….silver! I wonder how a masked man with a gun on each hip was allowed about ½ mile from the White House? It must have been his really cool horse? The Princess and I were both taking pictures so there are some things that have seemingly too many pictures of them….like minds I guess! The floats were very well done and appropriate to the event and the parade was divided unto decade sections. Each decade section had some vehicles of that decade period….we were in the 30’s section.

There are some cooling areas that I think are part of the Metro subway ventilation system that have ground level steel grates. People could stand on them and about 70 degree air would blow out and cool you. It was neat to stand out in the sun and feel cool from the blowing air! There was a moving sea of khaki and OD green! I mean the scouts were everywhere! Most of them carried water and their leaders were herding them around the grounds trying to keep them hydrated…. the heat index was over 105! Some of the younger Cub Scouts were having a tough time staying compliant to their leaders…. we kept hearing “stay focused” being told to the marauding herds of little blue hats….grin They were excited and didn’t really understand the once in a lifetime experience they were involved in….something they will all remember.

The Boy Scouts are taught many things one of which is respect. Respect of others and themselves….and….respect of property. We witnessed more than a few times when a Scout picked up something another Scout or other visitor had accidentally dropped as trash and then they deposited it in the proper receptacle…. without being told…. they just knew to do it! One of the most striking things that happened would probably be best appreciated by car people the most. Many thousands of Scouts and other people were milling around the cars before the parade, taking pictures of the car and of their friends standing near it and that activity will always give car owners much stress…. Will they lean against the car to take a picture? Will they step on the running boards? Will they try to open the door? We hung around the Princessmobile for a while to guard it but we noticed that the Scouts were being VERY careful with her car and all the others; they went out of their way to NOT touch it! They took pictures very carefully and respectfully. The closest shade from the sun was on a bench about 80 yds away and while we sat on the bench to get some relief from the sun/heat, we watched the car…. and all the Scouts around it…. no one, not one even came close to hurting it. Respect for property…. something that is way too lacking in our society these days but these Scouts have been taught the right way…. there might be hope?

So at 12:30 we were lined up and the parade stepped off promptly at 1PM. The Princess was happy….she said she felt like she had a “looser boy” in the car with her that day!? It’s what she calls those unfortunate guys that have accumulated way too many traffic tickets and lose their drivers license. Then they have to be chauffeured around by their girl friends/wives till they get their license back…. I don’t know if I like the comparison…. The parade was fun with the Princess smiling and waving, it's what a Princess does. When people yelled "nice car" to her, she told them that the car was HERS! Read the license plate she said to them, including a cop that was being very helpful! I dutifully sat on the right side and did the “prom wave” I had been practicing for 3 months…. wrist wrist, elbow elbow…. repeat till arm goes numb!

Some people had “special” riders with them in their cars. These people were dignitaries and famous people in Scouting, Dan & Ramona, Ron & Jean, Lou & Louise, Wyatt and Tony had one! The Princess said maybe I should just walk along beside her car so she could have a “special” person too…. I told her that losers were special people too? I don’t know if she was agreeing with me or saying something bad while she was mumbling?

After the parade was over we gathered near the end of Constitution Ave. with Ron & Jean and waited for the rest of our troupe. After everyone was there we got out of town via Rt. 66W. After we cleared the beltway I felt like a large weight had been lifted from me….whew. We cruised to Fair Lakes and had a late lunch at Malibu Grille and Steakhouse. The food was great and while we were eating it rained….very hard….for about 20 min. But by the time we were ready to leave the ground was dry! We cruised home and reflected on and talked about the day’s happenings…. over the next few days/weeks we will try to remember all that happened and relate it to others. We had been part of a truly historic day! I love this hobby!

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