Monday, August 2, 2010

The long and noisy road....

Friday evening we found our way to Glory Days in Woodbridge, VA and the weekly cruise hosted by Prince William Cruisers. There were about 20 cars that came out and the nicest one was the dark green ’55 Chevy post…I had see that car at a show a year ago but not since. Bill’s Willys is always a crowd pleaser with the Hemi! We stayed till 11PM talking with friends and when we left the Princesses battery was dead….it’s not her fault that the key was on ACC, she kept whining! She said they shouldn’t make a lock that the key can be removed and still be on ACC. Steve called his son that lived nearby and brought jumper cables and we drove it home on the alternator. I took the Optima battery to Advance Auto the next morning and replaced it with a better, side post only Optima….we’ll see if this one lasts 3 ½ years like the old one.

Saturday we gathered up everyone at the WAWA in Stafford, VA and cruised 76 miles Purcellville, VA and the Summer Thunder Cruise-in. This event has been going on for many years and it never disappoints. Last year we left around 4PM because of the rain that was coming down in Biblical proportions. This year the weather looked much better. There was a glitch in the start time of the event on the website I always consult to plan my activities….so I thought it started at 9AM and the day before I found out it started at 2PM! It’s too late to change the start time so we left Stafford at 7:30. Did we arrive too early? Does a Pete Jackson gear drive make a lot of noise? On the plus side we could pick anywhere in the event to park! So we parked by the entrance to the ball diamond, near the fence. We had a great view and began to settle in….then the vendors started arriving and began parking on the other side of the fence….there went our view and they effectively blocked the breeze too….oh well so much for planning!? Since we were starting early we had planned another cruise for the evening in Stafford, so we were planning on leaving Purcellville at 3PM. But now they were starting at 2PM. Needless to say that while we were leaving many others were just arriving. You can see in the pictures that the field was not full but I’m told that by 5PM parking was scarce! Next year we will be there around Noon and plan to stay till the end!

This event is billed as a cruise….no trophies, no competition….my kind of event! The event has a good mix of new vs old cars. I would guess that when we left it was about 70% pre 1970 vehicles. There were so many cars that I started taking group photos instead of individual ones. I liked the orange ’57 Chevy post and the black & fuchsia ’57 Chevy sedan delivery. I also liked the black ’54 Buick Skylark. But the most impressive car there was the Stone, Woods and Cook Swindler II. This car was run by SWC in the early 60’s as a B/GS then in ’62 they put in a bigger Olds motor and moved up to A/GS and began running under 10 seconds. The same year saw Doug Cook debut the Swindler A which was also an Olds powered ride but built much lighter….it’s said it was 1000 lbs lighter! It took the team a while to get it dialed in but when they did they made the Swindler II move back to B/GS (more weight) and ran the Swindler A in A/GS. It kept the team busy! Remember that this was a time when the cars were not paid to race….they got paid ONLY if they won and then they got $100-$300 for a win. And the cars were in the “Gas” classes….they had working headlights, taillights, wipers, windows, doors, passenger seats, complete interiors, generating systems, mufflers and very restrictive engine setback and height rules. They could have been driven on the street! The big guys; SWC, K.S. Pittman, Big John M and the like would sometimes get a pass on some of the rules but we had to have all that stuff or we couldn’t run! This was a class that hot rodders and spectators could relate to because it was like something they could drive on the street, it was a very popular class of racers. But it died out in the early 70’s when the late model bodied gas classes began to blur with the emerging funny cars….and the funnies made piles more money than a gasser. Anyway the car at the event brought back many memories….

When we left at 3PM I decided to take a less traveled route back home and went on Rt. 601 by Mr. Weather. This is a super secret government installation that is used for emergencies or something….did I say that? Now I have to watch out for the black helicopters.... They have a lot of very sophisticated gear at the gate to check you out and the guards are not your generic gate guards but very unhappy looking people carrying M4’s. We drove by and waved….grin Then on back to Stafford and the Cruise in progress at Bruster’s Ice Cream. We parked separated from the people already there so we would not infect the ambiance of the cruise. The attendance seemed a little off as they only had about 50 cars for the night. The usual suspects were there but the car that caught my attention was the yellow ‘68 Camaro with the hot rodded 6 cyl motor! The Clifford Research parts make the motor bark just a little better. I had a ’70 AMC Gremlin that I hot rodded the inline 6 the same way….it’s never a V-8 but a 6 cyl you can respect….nice car! And another very black Camaro with nice flames and a motor taller than the roof! I bet the State Troopers love him. Hehehe Someone said their weatherberry showed a bad storm cell moving toward Stafford so we packed up and cruised home.

Sunday we again gathered at the WAWA in Stafford, VA and then began the 114 mile cruise to Capt. Georges Seafood Restaurant in Williamsburg, VA. It’s a nice cruise on back roads and we leave the Interstates for the vacationers. The uneventful trip took about 2 ½ hours and when we arrived I don’t think I could hear, the RedRat is very noisy. The food was as I remembered, which is very good and plentiful. And thankfully the service is still impeccable. We waited for Dan to eat way too much food then we began our trek home. We stopped about half way home for fuel and a potty break. A few miles after we left the pit stop, the Princessmobile began to run rough? She kept whining, I didn’t do anything, not me! Anyway we all got around the front of the car with the motor running and the consensus was it was not real bad broke and that we should be able to drive it home. I gave the Princess the option of driving the RedRat and I would drive her car but she said she would rather drive her broken car than put up with the RedRat!? I think she is way too picky and I told her she is way too hard on her equipment…. She said she may have to get a better mechanic because the one she has can’t keep her car running more than a week at a time? She also said some things I can’t find on my keyboard. We got back OK and I checked out her car…. #4 intake spring broken! I know what I’ll be doing this week….I didn’t want to do yard work anyway….hehehehe Another fun filled weekend driving 500 miles on Virginia roads.

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