Monday, September 27, 2010

Meteorological misfortunes

Saturday morning we met at Bob Evans for breakfast then cruised to the Zoan Baptist Church show in Fredericksburg, VA. This is the fourth annual deal for the church and their major sponsor, Big Foot Speed & Custom. The show always has a nice mix of new and old vehicles and Saturday they had 76 vehicles registered and a few that didn’t! The event has always been attendee centric….they want the entrants to have a good time, what a concept! They have crafty things for sale that the Princess says she needed. They sold tickets for a cake walk? And she “won” a large box of homemade brownies and another one with white chocolate chip & nut cookies. The Princess brought me the container of cookies….she is always looking out for me….making sure I consume the correct nourishment ….cookies are one of the 7 major food groups….right? The only thing was that my cookie container was broke, all the cookies just leaked out before I got home! The Princess says I’m not being truthful about where the cookies went….I think that little short curly blonde person told on me, he was giving me a real slow look over, I don’t think I trust him! There was also good food for sale and clean restrooms. The show would have been perfect except for the heat….the weather guessers said it was going to be 85 degrees….I think we set another heat record, I think I could hear the grass crackle as it was going from green to dried out brown! Yes it was a 6 bottles of water and two bottles of Gatorade day!

The organizers gave out the awards then we packed up and headed for the cruise at Bruster’s in N. Stafford. We decided to eat at a nearby restaurant after we arrived so by the time we got back to the cars it was dark! It looked like it was going to be a normal evening at Bruster’s with about 50-60 cars coming and going. The Princess and I passed out some flyers then left. The heat had drained us and we needed to be up early Sunday to help at a show up north….

Sunday we got up at 5Am and started to get ready for the day….I loaded the hot rods with all the Wounded Warrior Project stuff and drinks and ice and a little table and way too much stuff for two coupes to carry then went inside to consult my weather sites. We knew it was forcasted to rain on Sunday but the timing was a mystery. As I tried to get a consensus from the different sites it became clear to me that the rain was going to go around us and not be a problem till 5PM or so. So about 6:30 Ramona called me to check on which vehicles we were going to take to the show and I said….The hot rods of course! After the conversation I thought maybe I should check outside….it was raining so hard it was running down the driveway! So much for the weather guesser’s prognostication! I switched all the stuff into my truck and we headed out with our mule! We were to help with registration at the PWC show in Occoquan, VA. The show was to benefit Wounded Warrior Project so we were going to be there one way or the other! You can check out the pictures and see us standing around, under the canopies, watching the rain run off the edge of the canopy…. Steve, the show organizer and decision maker, was struggling with what to do. Some people started lining up at the entrance with show cars….in the rain. Some people had come from 155 miles away! Around10 AM it started looking like we may get a reprieve from the rain so Steve didn’t want to call the show….we waited…. We started registering cars and they were setting up their deal….in the rain. At noon Steve decided to call the show….we had 34 cars registered….this show usually has 200+. He had a rain date for the following Sunday so he gave all the participants the choice of coming back next Sunday and get free admission with their registration or if they couldn’t come back they could get a Top 50 trophy, about half took the trophies!

Having put on a few deals myself I know what a frustrating thing it is to call a show after you start it….it never works very well and some people are always unhappy with the outcome. The venue owners are disappointed because they didn’t get the income they were expecting for that day. The sponsors didn’t get the exposure they wanted, the food vendors had to take the food they bought back somewhere! Where does that food go? The other vendors spent money to be there and didn’t have any customers. The participants cleaned and polished for this show and got rained on. The club mustered their members, with their many and varied conflicting personal schedules, to be there and help manage the event. They still had to go through most of their work, setting up tents, setting out the door prizes and trophies….but they didn’t get to complete the cycle. I think that all things considered, Steve made the correct and fair decision for as many of the entities as possible. So next Sunday we go back to Occoquan Park to do it again and see what happens! Oh yeah….around 1:30 the sky cleared and the sun came out….for the rest of the day! Go figure!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cooler is better

Friday evening and the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club orchestrates their weekly cruise event at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, Virginia. About half of the cars were regulars but the other half was new to us. The deep maroon ’63 Vette with the 502 was real nice and the light blue ’50 Chevy was special too. There were 65-70 cars that gave the event a crowded feel….which was a good thing! While stumbling around taking pictures I got to meet Brad, the owner of the black Willys B/G pick up, Willard…. He is making a statement with his ride, check it out when you can. I am seeing the National trend of more suede painted cars at shows and cruises and they were well represented Friday night at the BBQ. The ’54 Ford with the flames is a great representation of that discipline as was the radical black & silver pick up. Tooties white ’57 Olds added to the nostalgic feel of the event too.

I was also introduced to Steve, from Homes for our Troops by Tony the owner of VA BBQ. I think Steve & I can work together on some projects in the future. Please remember our Troops that are doing our Country’s bidding and especially the ones that don’t come back whole. They all deserve our respect and thanks but some of them need our help. One of the ways this can happen is to support groups like Wounded Warrior Project and Homes for our Troops.
We cruised home in the cool evening air….the RedRat likes cold air….it was a good trip….grin!

Saturday we met Fred at WAWA in Stafford, VA and the three of us took off on our 87 mile cruise to Winchester, VA and the 3rd Annual Cruise-in For a CURE event at the Backseat Bar & Grille. This is the first time we have attended this event and we were pleasantly surprised. The event is run by Valley Cruisers of Winchester and as most of their events do it ran flawlessly….they had us out on time and I heard no grumbling about anything! The Food at Backseat grille is very tasty and fairly priced. They have clean restrooms and the staff is helpful. The Valley Cruisers provided the music and DJ for the event. The event had many activities to keep the participants as busy as they wanted, it was a good time. The event is part of the Relay For Life of the American Cancer Society….a good thing to support. There were many very nice cars but the one I liked best was the black ’56 Ford post with the 427 FE motor. When this car rumbled in with its staccato exhaust note I thought someone had unloaded an alcohol funny car or something like that….it was not to be ignored! It even had cheater slicks! The orange ’51 Ford was way cool too, Ford in a Ford….nice. The Princess “won” a Barbie doll in the Chinese auction….I think it only cost $20 worth of tickets…. But it was so special….and it was a “Princess” Barbie!? O…K…. that makes it better!? I know one of the granddaughters will like it.

After the event we cruised about 12 miles to McCoy’s Ice Cream in Stephens City, VA, to attend the cruise there. We waited till about 5:30 and no other cars showed up? So much for that….we returned to Stafford and the cruise at Bruster’s. The cruise was way too busy for us and the parking lot was overflowing so we stayed an hour then left for home….a great day.

Sunday the Princess and I cruised 60 miles to Sperryville, VA and hooked up with Steve and friends. We then cruised 23 more miles over the mountain to Luray, VA and the Susan G Komen, 3 Day walk for the Cure, car show. The event was held in the Tractor Supply Company’s parking lot in Luray. The event was organized by Betty Topley with the assistance of her husband and daughter plus J.B. at Tractor Supply. Rob Vollten, a local D.J., provided the music and announcements. Tony’s Body Shop, in Culpeper, provided the awards and Chris Hetzer helped where needed. The event was Betty’s first try at putting an event together and we think it worked out great! She may be planning another for next year….stay tuned….she will want you to be part of the event.

There were about 70 cars at the event and many very nice examples of what hot rodding is all about. The coolest one was the Ford shoebox of Tommy’s. The orange flake smoothie was definitely a hit with everyone to the point it won “Best of Show”…. Caddy taillights, wide whites and lakers….what’s not to like? Shoot I was looking for some cigarettes to roll up in my shirt sleeve, I wish I had hair to comb in a DA….oh well….I guess I’m almost a smoothie too, like my friend Lee in AZ! Grin

Most of you know that I don’t compete in the shows anymore because I don’t want to compromise my objectiveness when I report on the events. I also don’t want the distraction of competition to ruin the day for me so I always put a sticker on my registration in the windshield that says “DO NOT JUDGE”. I pay to support the cause for the event but I just don’t want to play. While we were packing up to cruise to Sonny’s, a couple of ladies came over to me with a prayer ribbon….to give to me. They said that they liked my car the best but since it said do not judge it they didn’t know what to do….They were the ladies that participated in the walk for the cure so they were going to give me the award anyway! I have received many awards in my life but this is one of the best….all the bling bling trophies will be gone someday but I’ll treasure this one always ….thanks.

After the show a bunch of us cruised another 5 miles west to Sonny’s Place on the side of Waterfall Mountain and had dinner. The food at Sonny’s is always great and the portions are really large….I mean way too much for a normal human to finish, but I tried….grin The staff is attentive and helpful plus the Lady of the cafĂ© always makes sure we are well taken care of when stop by…. If you are near Luray or New Market I highly recommend this eatery….yes it has the Slacker’s seal of approval! hehehe

We cruised back to Stafford and I guess I was reflecting on how the day unfolded, while listening to 502 inches of GM’s best, turning gasoline into music….and almost ran out of fuel! OPPS….a quick stop on the outskirts of Culpeper for gas then continue on home….living a dream….I love this hobby….

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cool weekend

Friday evening at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA and most of the 70 or so cars were regulars….except for the copper ’65 Cyclone pro-street. I don’t know what is going on but I have seen a number of these cars recently, they are getting very popular. We had been going to other cruises on Friday night during the summer and had not attended this one for a couple of months….we feel comfortable here and Wes makes sure everything always runs well. I’m glad the weather is getting cooler….the RedRat runs so much better with cool air.

Saturday we left the WAWA in Stafford, VA and cruised 50 miles to the Reva FD south of Culpeper, VA. This is a nice show with great food cooked inside the building and permanent clean restroom facilities. DJ Ron and Anita keep the music and announcements going and is one of the factors that help us decide which show to attend. The day was brilliantly clear & crisp which added to the enjoyment of the event but it reminded me of the same day 9 years ago. We arrived a little late but found that Lou had saved some parking spots so we could all sit together.

I think there were 90 cars registered which is less than last year but still a good number. We got to see the results of Jim playing deer tag on the way to the event….sorry about your Olds Jim but the important thing is that you are OK….whew! I liked Sam’s gold Merc and the purple shoebox the best for the day. But the red ’56 T-Bird was impeccable and would be allowed to park in my garage anytime! The show was let out around 2PM and some of us cruised to Lou & Arlene’s for lunch….the potatoe salad is to die for!

After our picnic we cruised to Forster’s Grille in S. Stafford, VA and the monthly cruise there that is hosted by VA Stockers. The cruise was in progress and not many cars showed up by the time we left. I don’t know why this cruise won’t attract many consistent cruisers….the venue is good, the cruisers are pleasant and the food & restaurant is good but for some reason this cruise never took off. It will probably not return next year. We were going to cruise to Bruster’s but the Princess was waaaay to tired, she said we needed to get home and get ready for the show in Herndon the next day. It rained during the night and into the morning….no Herndon show!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cruisers 1--Earl 0

Friday we worked our way south to Ashland, VA….since it was the beginning of the 4 day, Labor Day weekend we had to use the less traveled roads which was actually nicer but does go a few miles out of our way. We were also counting on the weather guessers being correct on hurricane Earl’s track and except for some wind it would miss us altogether. The cruise is at the Chick-fil-A across from Virginia Center Commons Mall on Rt. 1 in Ashland and is hosted by the Weekend Cruisers and Fre-Ray Sounds. If you don’t like to talk to people or walk around and look at cars but just want to sit and listen to the music….you will be happy at the cruise! But if you like to look at cars and talk to friendly people it will be an evening you will remember.

The cars came out and in the end there were about 80 of them sharing the event with us….which is a good number of cars to see at any cruise. There were representations of hi-riders, lo-riders, antique, hot rod, pro-street, muscle car, rat rod and a funny little 3 wheeler. I liked the little yellow MGB with the 215ci nailhead. Yes a Buick nailhead first made in 1961 and was all aluminum and a beast to keep together at the time. I was a Buick mechanic at Helgeson Buick in Riverside, CA from ’62-’66 and saw a few of those little motors. Oldsmobile had one too at the same time but I think it had different heads. Noted cam grinder, Chet Herbert, built a twice motored rail that I saw run at Fontana once with the little aluminum motors in it….I think it was injected. Land Rover is now putting the nearly 50 year old Buick motors in their new cars!?

They say that ugly is in the eye of the beholder but I think I saw it sitting on three wheels that night….a tri-wheeled deal that looked like it had a BMW motorcycle motor for power….you decide! And speaking of ugly….the rat rod pick up was….very….special too. I love the console! On the other end of the ugly/pretty scale was the yellow pro-street Camaro, the Red ’58 Cameo PU, the stately grey ’48 Packard, the blue ’66 Impala with some neat, seldom seen options and the mauve ’34 Ford….but my favorite was the grey ’67 Olds 442 post….a really nice car. About 8:30 or so, Jean started to whine about stopping at Carl’s ice cream in Fredericksburg on the way home….and that they closed at 11PM….and would we have enough time to make it there….and she really wanted some ice cream….so we packed up and headed for Carl’s to end the evening. Since traffic had thinned out we decided to take I95 back to Carl’s, it was to be much faster….big mistake….the road was bumpy enough to shake loose parts of the car! During the day you can see the bad spots and usually have enough time to avoid them….but at night you just hit them, the RedRat was bouncing around I was almost changing lanes during the bouncing….I will avoid I95 in the future till they get it fixed. We made it to Carl’s in time so Jean was happy….and the Princess was happy….life is good now because of some chilled, congealed milk fat…how weird is that?

After traveling so much last weekend we decided to stay closer to home this weekend so Saturday we attended the local cruise at Bruster’s ice cream in Stafford, VA. We got there about 5PM and there were 10 cars there already. About 90 cars arrived during the cruise which included 24+ Mustangs! There was a good mix of the Mustangs from 1964 to 2011….I liked the red ’72 GT350. Everything else was pretty much the usual suspects except for the New York State Police cruiser….the ’74 cruiser is the same type of car used in the Blues Brothers movie! We cruised the 1.4 miles home….whew….those long trips are taking a toll….grin

Sunday we met at the WAWA in Stafford, VA to begin our cruise to Colonial Beach, VA and the Colonial Beach Cruisers & Jim Still 1954 Ford Museum, annual picnic. We were really cranked up to go this year because we had so much fun last year at the event and it was so hot last year and this Sunday was to be perfect, weather wise. We were going to leave a little early to make sure our slowest car could keep up….it was a very original 1919 Model T with a supposed top speed of 42mph! We took the scenic route to Colonial Beach as I thought since it was less traveled there would be fewer people upset because of the slow speed we were traveling….but then the speed limit was 45mph most of the way so no one should really get upset and it would be a fun trip. Watching the T in the rear view mirror reminded me when I drove a stock ’57 VW and every hill was a challenge….we would try to make it up Rt.60 from Riverside, CA to Sunnymead without shifting down. I could see the T slowing on every hill but for the most part he kept up OK. It was fun driving the 50 miles with such an important piece of history accompanying us.

There were about 15 cars already parked when we arrived so we chose the yard next to Jim’s, Potomac Alternator & Starter building, it was on grass and right across from the museum. As I have written before the hospitality of this group is great….they always greet us and make us feel comfortable….they really are glad we are there! Jim’s 1954 Ford museum is not a public enterprise, in fact he rarely opens it up for public visiting….but once a year he and the Colonial Beach Cruisers throw a picnic at the museum so anyone that wants to have a fun day can visit and experience the collection of cars and memorabilia.

The Cruisers set up all the food & drinks and provide some games to test our skills…or embarrass us….I’m not sure….grin. Jim & JV dreamed up and built the games of skill for all to enjoy but I know the Princess would have some opinions about their motivation even though she appeared to be enjoying the contests. The pushrod drop was monitored by a crusty guy that didn’t give the Princess any slack, she whined anyway! The flywheel wheel was run by the famous Von Paulie….the lug nut stack was troublesome for the Princess because they were not using Princess Time? The lifter lob and piston throw was fun too but she said the buckets were way too far for a Princess to reach! But the event everyone was waiting for was the blind driving contest. You started at one end of the field at a line between two cones and drove to the other end of the field where another line was between two cones. Whoever went the closest to the second line without crossing it was the winner….you could try twice. Oh yeah….you were blindfolded at the start! It really is more difficult than it seems….some had trouble staying between the cones….I won’t mention who she was but she drives a red ’33 coupe and she was so mad the second time she tried because people had to run for their life while she ran over the cone! I think everyone had a great time again this year which is a testament to the planning and hard work of all involved in putting this event on. We look forward to next year….maybe they will have some Princess friendly games to do….like sitting or waving? If you would like to share some time with a good group of car nuts you should attend next year….If you are a Ford person you should attend next year so you can see anything you may want to see about a 1954 Ford….

We thanked Jim & JV for another outstanding event then left for Fredericksburg, VA….and Carl’s ice cream….again. This happens every time Jean goes with us although I didn’t hear much complaining about having to go for ice cream again from the others! I think a pattern is emerging here….I’ll have to study this phenomenon; it may take a lot of research. On the way back the Model T actually exceeded its aerodynamic design load and started to shed upholstery parts when it reached 51mph….you have to ask him! We throttled back and continued on with no further incidents….hehehehe