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

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