Monday, December 19, 2011

Got Toys....Hmmmmmm?

Dan started planning this year’s Toys For Tots event on September 11 while we attended the Herndon show. He called it the 2nd Annual Santa’s Helpers Run….a clever pseudonym for Toys For Tots. Last year it worked out well by using the Toys For Tots drop off point inside the USMC Museum as the destination for the run. The restaurant we began the event at last year was not available this year so we decided to begin at the Bob Evans restaurant in Stafford, VA. Saturday morning around 10:30 the special vehicles started to congregate in Stafford Marketplace. We found that the Saturday staff at Bob Evans had not been alerted to our arrival and we would have to wait….this wouldn’t work. The manager of the Chili’s next door came out and admired the cars and said he would be glad to accommodate us! So all but 4 people started the day at Chili’s! Some other people were eating in Fredericksburg and would hook up with our group at 12:30 to cruise up the road.

Since our new ride came Friday evening about 7PM this would be the first time out for the Chebby. As you know I name most of my vehicles….Christine, Mr. Smoothe, RedRat, Princessmobile….but what should we name the new ride we bought on HotRodHotLine? A rodder emailed me about the articles I write for HorRodHotLine and said the truck looked like a torpedo….hmmmm. So thanks to Gary in the yonder place of the Pacific Northwest (you know who you are, grin) I have named our ’49 Chebby…. The Cruise Missile. It will be our cruiser…. large enough to haul all the support stuff we seem to need and still have room for the Princess to bring home stuff that she finds during our travels. She always manages to find something that she has been looking for all her life and can’t exist another day without it! She also said that now she didn’t have to ask Garland or Jim to haul mulch or gravel if I she needs to! hehehehe It will eventually be a missile too….that will evolve….stay tuned. We had a good mix of cruisers that joined the day’s festivities from new Camaros, Mustangs, and Challengers to a Model T and most everything in between. Dom & Patty had the Model T Christmas camouflaged, I think all that foliage messed up the aerodynamics of the Ford and it would only travel about 36 mph. And Ron & Jean had their 28 Dodge dressed up like a reindeer (during hunting season?) And to keep us on the straight and narrow, three Stafford County Sherriff’s deputies had volunteered to herd our group to the destination….they didn’t know what they were in for. Bill (one of the previously mentioned uniformed officers) had a drivers meeting with the group then formed everyone up and headed north. The group from the south arrived just in time to run with us!

I left the restaurant about a half hour before they did to get to the museum in time to set up for the video shot as the group came in. I set up by the flagpole to get the sun where I wanted it; even though it was a cloudy day I learned from last year’s event that position would be critical. So I waited….and waited….outside in the blustery cold. I think it was about minus 328 degrees. ….I think I saw little tongue prints on the flagpole…. And the frigid wind was relentlessly blowing but I found shelter behind the flag pole….yeah right. The Ford Lightning’s of Steve and his son, Stevie, were the second cruisers to park at the museum along with the red Mustang that came first. My hands were so cold from waiting about 45 min. that I couldn’t feel the camera shutter release and I didn’t press the button down all the way while taking the Lightning’s….bummer. The rest of the video worked out.

We all parked and milled around a little then Dom called us together for the ‘group’ picture….with Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus! This couple lives in our area and they ARE Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus….check the pictures. The Princess was talking with Santa about something….I think it was about his naughty list….I heard her say something that sounded like, ‘Oh that was another Princess, not her!? Then I think I heard something like…. WHATEVER, she said that she had her own jolly round man anyway? I hope she doesn’t get coal again this year….

We all moseyed inside the Museum to deposit the toys. The Toys For Tots people had to make three trips from the drop off point inside to the waiting truck outside with the toys we brought! I think Dave had to make two trips to his Goat to get all the toys in the trunk. Check out the pictures. They said we would make Christmas better for a lot of kids this year….that’s what it is about! Some of the less harmonically challenged in the group performed some impromptu Christmas caroling….like a flash mob….it was too cool. They caught me off guard and I only got to video the last song….I’ll be ready next year. Some had never been to the museum before so they toured the exhibits. I love places like this….but the USMC Museum just reeks of the history of the Corps. I think every American needs to take a walk through this place….they just might be a little more appreciative of our Country and those that have committed to defend it for us.

Some had to leave and some lingered for a while but eventually all 35 vehicles disappeared from the parking lot….another event done…. another year done….a fitting end to a great year for us and for the hobby. We are planning more cruises for next year; we hope you can find time to join us for some of the adventures.

Don't forget to check out the video at;

Merry Christmas and a better New Year
Chuck & Linda
The Slacker & The Princess

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Come ride with me....

Hmmmm that Queen song “Another one bites the dust” comes to mind as I craft this report. Some of you know that when I’m responsible for an event I rarely enjoy the event itself….I’m too focused on execution to be distracted with enjoying the deal….I just want it to go smoothly and as advertised! When an event like the third annual Over The River And Through The Woods Run is unfolding so many things can go awry…..and I have to be ready with ‘plan B, C, D, E….' The Princess and I fret over the deal for a couple months; we have run the route twice to make sure of the turns and condition of the road. We have to inspect the pit stop and make sure the ingress and egress is adequate for 10 or 60 cars. We have to contact the stops a few times after the initial contact to ‘make sure everything is still OK?’ But the payoff is the acknowledgements we get from the participants that they enjoyed their day driving around the Virginia countryside in their special cars. To me the stops are a bonus...I just like to drive….

Saturday we gathered at WAWA around 7AM to stage for the run. I want to acknowledge a couple cruisers that left the WAWA along with the usual suspects; Ron Clark cruised about 70 miles in his red Ford 5 window coupe from Richmond to Stafford to run with us….and Mac & Carolyn cruised 25 miles from Spotsylvania, VA in their red early Mustang to run with us….hard core! The red cars don’t mind traveling….is there something to that? Hmmmm…. Our little group of 6 special cars left WAWA at 7:30 and cruised the 31 miles to the event starting point, Burger King in Manassas, by the Regional Airport.

Some of the Bull Run Cruisers were already waiting for us at BK when we arrived and other cruisers started showing up quickly including Wyatt and his DeLorean….running 75 miles from Annapolis, MD! A few from Prince William Cruisers arrived and at 9AM we formed up to leave. But….but….the Princess. The Princess is so needy; she had locked herself in the bathroom stall inside BK! You know she is so not mechanically inclined. You should hear the unPrincess language she uses when the TV remote won’t do her bidding! She was wailing for help (or attention, you have to ask me!) and the other ladies that were in the restroom with her were unable to render assistance quick enough….they were all laughing too much to see clearly. They know…. So they finally released the Princess from her powder room prison and we all had to hear the recount of her misery till she got to the Princessmobile….you have no idea.

Twenty three special cars rumbled out toward Gainesville, VA….where we picked up a group of Culpeper Cruisers that cruised the rest of the way with us. We cruised on many lesser used roads to include Rt. 601, Blue Ridge Mountain Rd. This road was a favorite haunt of the Princess and I when we rode the Harley….it is on a mountain ridge and the trees are very mature which translates to a very cool (temperature wise) ride in the scorching summer heat. It is also where Mt. Weather is….a very secret Government place, now taken over by Homeland Security….shhhhh….if you stop near the gate, sometimes very unhappy people with guns start walking towards you….not a friendly place! So we just slow down and tickle the loud pedal a little and keep motoring on. We are not normally ornery like that….maybe that's why the black helicopters hover around our home? hehehehe

We arrived at Sheets gas station near Boyce, VA which was the appointed pit stop. Some other cruisers were waiting there for us to add to our group that was to travel on to White Post….they missed some very nice country cruising. After we emptied bladders and filled tanks we cruised on to the first destination of the day….White Post Restorations in, where else, White Post, VA!

The Princess and I had visited the shop in the summer to see if we could make it our fall cruise destination. The gentleman I talked to, Billy, said it was ok with him but he would leave a message for his son, Billy Ray. He said something about he would like to help us but he would be climbing down a tree stand about the time we arrived so his son would have be the one to herd us around. For those of you that live somewhere else this response might seem unusual but around here deer season is treated like a national holiday that demands near complete participation by all that know which end of a rifle the noise comes out of. I learned that many years ago. When we moved from SoCal in ’73, I was working for a home builder that was from the left coast and after Thanksgiving all of our framers and trim carpenters were gone….all of them! They would come back in a week and would not understand why we didn’t understand about deer season! The job would grind to a stop every year…. So knowing that, I fully understood Billy’s response and just asked him to please pass the message on to his son Billy Ray….which he did.

White Post Restorations is a 3rd generation family owned and operated, world renowned, premier restoration shop. They do everything for a restoration, everything! Their specialty is brake systems and they can remanufacture any system, check out the machine shop in the pictures. Billy Ray was our gracious and knowledgeable host as he led two tours; of about 30 people each, through his shop. He explained some of their processes and gave us a little history of each project they were working on. The whole shop reeked of the nostalgic history of this establishment. The newspaper articles, magazine clippings and pictures pinned to the walls, the old tools and parts displayed on the walls and shelves. This is and has been a no nonsense ‘working’ shop….the kind you would want to make a car for you! Traditional working values are in place here so you won’t be disappointed with their results. Check them out!

So after the tours were over and we thanked our host for spending their Saturday with us, some started to mill around and the Princess started chanting FOOD, FOOD, FOOD and I knew we had to motor on to the next stop before things turned ugly! So we woke up the beasts and 41 vehicles motored out of White Post, most went with us to the Butcher Block Buffet in Stephens City.

We have dined at Butcher Block in the past and have never been disappointed with the quality of the food or service. The manager, Craig, and his staff ensured that we had a sequestered area so we all could be together but separate from the other customers. He also arranged that we could use the neighboring Comfort Inn’s contiguous parking lot if we needed it….we did! It worked out great….and since we had visited Craig in the summer to set up the event; he gave all the cruisers a discount on the meal….what a deal. You have to try Butcher Block Buffet if you are ever near Stephens City, VA. Or make it a destination on one of your cruises. You do drive your vehicle don’t you? We cruised back home and logged 181, fun filled, wave back at the people miles for the day!

So….the event is now in the rear view mirror of The Princess & The Slacker’s memory archive….next year you really need to come out and play with us….that’s what those car keys are for….make your own memories.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Falling Leaves and doughnuts....

Saturday our small group met at WAWA in N. Stafford and cruised 31 miles to the BK in Manassas, VA to attend the Sometimes Annual, Bull Run Street Rods, Lake Anna Fall Cruise. The club manages this run when their schedule permits and this year it was a welcome diversion from the many shows that are filling up the schedule right before the white stuff starts falling from the sky. We are attending more cruises than we have in past years and that trend may continue for us. I am growing weary that most of the shows are nothing more than events to fill the need of some to have constant praise of their rides in the form of trophies. When I had the RedRat the only trophy I needed/wanted was the key to the ignition! My car is/was my trophy. Just living in a Country that allows me to enjoy this frivolous hobby makes me happy. The shows do fill a social need for me though….the Princess says I am very needy in that area….so we attend a few shows. But I really like to cruise around….taking in God’s wondrous land that he has given us to enjoy and care for. Each season has it’s splendor but fall is the best. It finalizes the hot sweaty summer and the beginning of cool weather and the gift of snow. It also adds a level of excitement when driving with the leaves on the road. Look out….is that a large leaf laying on the road or something else….like a car part or road kill or cinder block or the top of a large hole….it’s all very exciting and requires your attention. But the scenery rolling by the windows is magnificent to behold and now since I have a co-driver, I don’t miss much of the scenery unfolding outside. She is helping me slow down a little and actually see what I’m looking at. I also really don’t need a speedometer, the Princess always reminds me how fast I am going….and….I now have a redheaded cup holder too! It’s all good!

After the second stop, which was for fuel at Dickinson’s store, I got a little befuddled. I wanted to take a video of the group leaving and because of that we were the last ones out. Being last in the lineup is a good thing for us because it gives us a photo opportunity of all the cars while we cruise around. But when we left, the cruisers in front of us, turned left! In the confusion of me folding up into the Princessmobile, strapping in, double locking the door and waking up the mouse….we didn’t know that everyone else turned right! We hadn’t read the route sheet before because we were following the people in front of us. When we realized we were going the wrong way we U turned and headed up the road….those that were in front of us also turned around but didn’t keep up….you know how that Ford of Jimmy’s is. hehehe So we just cruised alone following the map taking in the countryside. Since we were falling way behind, Fred the Pathfinder called to check on us but we told them we were enroute and would be there soon. Then we got a call from Jimmy telling us he and the Olds were lost! I don’t think Jimmy actually said they were lost but he didn’t know where he was or how to get where he wanted to be! Hehehehehe We went back to find them and when we hooked up I took us all on a direct route to the next stop, Ally’s restaurant. I think Jimmy wanted to get lost….he put something under the tonneau cover of his Ranchero at Dickinson’s that looked suspiciously like a box of doughnuts….and I think he doesn’t like to share much. What happens when you’re lost stays lost!....grin When we cruised into Ally’s parking lot everyone else was there, including the Olds? It was the lunch stop so there was much conversation about the route we took to get there and why Jimmy had what looked like glazed doughnut parts in his moustache! I learned a good lesson….always take my own map & GPS and carry doughnuts….always!

After the meal & fellowship some continued the cruise around lake, some went to a local winery and some of us decided to call it a day….we cruised 46 miles home. A truly magnificent day on the road, driving around for 165 miles while giving people something to wave at….I love this hobby.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Our little band of cruisers left Stafford, VA on Saturday to attend the annual Hoppers Auto Club, Fall Halloween Auto Show in Stephens City, VA. It’s an 83 mile cruise so we decided to run up the day before the show and motel overnight so we would not be so tired the day of the show. Dan & Ramona did that last year and it seemed to work out just fine. Dan reserved rooms about ½ a block away from the event….a really cool idea. We checked in then walked to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner….then back to the motel’s front porch and a few hours of conversation while we enjoyed the cool evening.

Sunday morning, after breakfast we started to leave and found that the hot rods had developed a glacial crust on them….frost! That was weird since they all usually live inside a garage! After scraping off the frost (yeah right!), we moseyed over to the event where Dan picked out a primo spot with grass adjacent to the asphalt parking lot. That’s one of the downsides of staying in a motel, you carry a lot of support stuff that can’t be left in the car during the show….we needed a lot of extra room and Dan found it! We have attended this show three times but family conflicts prevented us from attending last year’s event. Those pesky grandchildren….I mean how many times do we have to have a birthday party for the munchkins anyway. I figure one sometime before they are 18 and that ought to do it….I know I know, Hallmark has my picture with a red slash mark across it by their cash register…. As soon as we were about set up Fred & Debie and Tony drove in….we scrunched our cars together a little closer so they could fit in with us. It’s good to see others from Stafford venture out to other events….especially these cruisers….they make the banter a lot more fun!

The Hoppers Auto Club has been around since 1959 and they do know how to run a show like an atomic clock! The registration process was a little tense for me….till I was directed to a door with the very large red sign that said “REGISTRATION”….who would have thought of a sign? I always go to the canopy near the DJ and give them my money….not here….it was way too sophisticated for me….grin And the fee was $10….when was the last time you attended a show for $10? The DJ, Fred C., took care of the announcements and music all day….always playing genre appropriate tunes. Usually the food at car shows is not….too….fancy. Some is just shy of a science project but still mostly edible. But the vendor at this show had really good food. You can always tell because so many people revisited the vendor for seconds and beyond….even the Princess went up twice!

Let’s get in my way-back machine and see what’s going on at Fontana Drag City in the early 60’s when J&M Speed Center was racing their red '62 Chevy. We could usually always find a little more horsepower but getting it on the strip was the dilemma. The rear tire selection was limited to about 7” wide recap slicks and when we found the HP it went up in smoke! So some started setting up the cars with the front up in the air….a lot up in the air. The theory was that more weight would be on the back tires when they launched the car. Some physics magic about moment arms times thrust conversion over the reticulated dingle arm would propel the car like a moon rocket!? This is where the Altered Wheel Base cars came from that morphed into Funny Cars. Anyway some racers got the bright idea that since it was the amount of weight transferring to the back tires if you had more weight to begin with it would be better. So….a station wagon or panel delivery had lots more weight over the back half of the car….hmmm So we started seeing the large, boxy race cars actually doing well. It’s rare to see one of the old wagon race cars complete with the fender well headers, straight front axle with 10 spokes, white wall cheater slicks with spun aluminum discs and the front jacked up to the nosebleed seats….but here we were treated to two of the dinosaurs that wouldn’t die! AND both of them ’57 Chevys to boot. There were many other throwbacks from our drag racing roots on display.... which is always something good to see. Another unusal car was the stock blue '64 Studebaker Daytona R2, with the Paxton blower! You have to check out the pictures.

The judging is by participant voting. This usually ends up with whoever brings the most friends wins….not here! You had to vote for your favorite 30 vehicles out of the 156 registered entrants….yes 30. That evens out the friends deal….unless you bring 30 friends….hmmmm….that could work! This event is always attended by a high percent of Mopars, so if you worship at the Pentstar you will like this event. This is another one of the 5 shows each year that we try to attend….and so should you!

Since it’s a Halloween show a lot of the entrants decorated their vehicles….which was different. Most of the time owners go apoplectic if anyone gets near their vehicle but Sunday they draped all manner of things across their rides….and gave away treats to anyone that got near their vehicle! You have to check out the pictures. The club wound up the event around 3:30….the Princess won a top 30 plaque….I hope that satisfies her till March!? It was fun watching the cars leave on Rt. 11….I always liked to tickle the loud pedal on the RedRat when I left….the Princessmobile just makes little mouse noises….chuckle The cruise back home was uneventful, the day was superb and all enjoyed running the Virginia roads…. giving people something to wave at. I love this hobby!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cookies 1, Slacker 0

Friday evening we cruised to the BK in N. Stafford and about 5 cars showed up! I think that ends the season for us….it’s just too cold to sit in the parking lot….we’ll wait for spring to start enjoying that cruise again.

Saturday we met with Ron and cruised 37 miles to Bowling Green, VA and their 17th Annual Harvest Festival, Car & Truck Show. This was to be the 6th time we have attended the event and we have always enjoyed ourselves. The event draws participants from Maryland and Virginia so the mix of vehicles is always diverse. This year there were about 170 cars registered and of those about 160 were very high quality cars. And most of the entrants drove their vehicles from home….not many trailers except for the few race cars! There were too many very nice cars to pick from and I’m sure the judges had their hands full trying to decide which ones were the best! There were 8 ’55 Chevys that ranged from bone stock to highly modified….I liked the black over red one the best! Then the red ‘32 Ford stake body PU and the red flip front early 50’s Ford PU was perfect. And the red ’33 Ford highboy tub with the rumble seat….how many of those have you seen around? There were two ’54 Chevys….a near bone stock black & white and a custom two tone green one….you choose! I also liked the blue ’34 Ford PU and Mr. O’Neale’s ’30 Sedan Delivery. I don’t usually comment on the Best of Show winners but the green ’69 Plymouth Road Runner seems to be running the board at shows around here! If the owner wasn’t such a nice guy I would say it’s getting monotonous….but this car is the best example of a ’69 RR I have seen, check it out. The event also had a display of antique farm tractors and stationary engines that always attracts a lot of attention. I could give almost all the cars a shout out but you have to check out the pictures of the event and decide for yourself.

This is a “Town” event….the Main Street is secured for show vehicles and all kinds of vendors, especially food vendors. Like cookies, crab cakes, cookies, cotton candy, cookies, BBQ, cookies, curly fries, cookies, Oriental food, cookies, kettle corn and the Church Ladies were selling homemade pies, cakes, candy and believe it or not cookies too! Everyone within 50 miles knows this event is like a carnival without the rides! A lot of spectators walk through the display, sometimes it’s shoulder to shoulder! Which makes it difficult to get clear, sun in the correct position, people free pictures of each vehicle….I had to wait a while at each vehicle for a clear shot….it took me about 4 hrs to take the pictures of 170 vehicles! Way too long….but that is what these kinds of events are….it’s all good.

The event is run with the precision of an English subway (tube) and everything happens on time….which is good for those that want to move on after the show is over. I don’t attend the award ceremonies but the Princess usually does….but this time she was sitting in her “Princess” chair enjoying a homemade peach pie and missed the award announcement while she was munching out! Luckily Ron was near the award ceremony and he picked up the Princesses top 21 award! Thanks Ron….there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth if she ever found out she missed a trophy….you have no idea!

We packed up and headed for the last cruise of the year in Orange, VA at the BK on Rt. 15. It was 65 miles of scenic Virginia country roads to take in but along the way I started feeling a little queasy…. It couldn’t be the 73 oatmeal cookies I ate at Bowling Green…..could it? The closer we got to Orange the sicker I became. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I knew it wouldn’t’ end well! So when we arrived we sat awhile in the Princessmobile but my condition was going downhill….I told DJ Ron we had to go home. I knew the Orange County Cruisers had planned a great evening of games for all….I really wanted to stay for the event. A lot of people were dressing up themselves and their rides in their Halloween best….it was going to be a night to remember but we decided it was better if we leave. So we cruised 58 miles home…. It was a wimpy end for a great day driving Mrs. Daisy around in the Princessmobile.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hot Wire Man and other Heros....

Friday evening we met some friends at the Burger King in N. Stafford, VA for the weekly cruise. We had 16 special cars show up and a number of spectators walking through the mix asking questions about the cars. The Princess and I left about 8:30 because we had a long day in the morning….very long.

Saturday Andrew met us at our home and our two cars began the trek to the Culpeper Regional Airport’s, 12th annual AirFest….in the dark, 5:40AM Along the way we met Dan & Ramona then we all cruised on….in the dark….in the fog….in deer mating season….did I mention it was dark & foggy? The headlights on the Princessmobile are 10” ’34 Ford Commercial units. They are larger than the standard 7” headlights but they don’t throw much of a beam….they are really bright but the brightness ends about 25’ in front of the car. When I drove the RedRat the headlights were like laser beams and since she always followed me I never worried about the headlights on her car….now I need to worry! The country roads we travel don’t always have centerlines ….or ….sidelines. So when it’s dark and foggy I almost have to drive by feel letting the bumpiness of the car as it goes off the edge of the road tell me to turn left a little….not a friendly feeling. We started seeing dead deer carcasses on the side of the road too, about 438 of them. But we have to preserver on to the event; we are in charge so we can’t let a little thing like not being able to see the road slow us down!? And besides dodging the deer is like playing a video game….except for the Princess screaming things like “where are the hunters when you need them?” and “Bambi had it coming”. Then she muttered something about why the deer didn’t use their crossings, the yellow signs with the running deer silhouette, that way we would know where to watch out for them? I need my own car! About the time we were half way to the event another group left N. Stafford for the same destination….in the dark, fog, deer mating season and all that previously detailed excitement. That group was led by Fred and assisted by Ron. They put the original Ford Model T between them so the group was paced to the speed of the Model T. Like anyone could go fast in the dark, fog, deer mating season and it was cold for an open car too!

Our group arrived at the airport before sunup and Matt’s sinister black 38 Pontiac was already waiting in the parking lot! We worked out some details of the display while we waited for the rest of the thundering herds to descend upon us. Andrew would be out on Beverly Ford Rd. to sort out the display vehicles from the spectator vehicles then direct the display vehicles to me in the parking lot. I would explain to the owners how we wanted them parked then direct them to Dan who was in the display field. Dan would park the vehicles to get the most exposure for the vehicles and at the same time ensure there was adequate distance between vehicles so the spectators could maneuver without impacting the display vehicles. He wanted to also have enough room for those that may want to erect a canopy. This year we had a treat for the spectators in Ron’s Alcohol dragster. This vehicle was very popular with the spectators all day! Soon the rest of the display group started rolling in and we ran around, waving our arms and somehow got everyone in their place by 8:30….whew. Some of the ladies huddled under Fred & Debie’s canopy most of the day….talking and laughing to the point that Fred had to leave the area before his head exploded….with that many ladies all talking at the same time it gets real scary….and I think they have mastered talking while they breathe? It’s like 5 chain saws running at the same time! It’s nonstop….it’s amazing….it’s other worldly….us mere men do not stand a chance.

Our display is meant to be an addition to the total day’s event and not to be a distraction from the airshow. The participants are picked so we have a diverse group of vehicles to show the spectators and that the owners enjoy talking about their vehicles. We feel that aviation and automobile interests are intertwined and can be enjoyed together….so the airport has allowed us to set up this display for three years now! We also use this event for Prince William Cruisers to present Ray & Terry with the donations they have collected during the year for Wounded Warrior Project. This year the Cruisers gave Ray & Terry a check for $5100! There was also another $600 collected for WWP at the event….what a day for WWP!

The day was perfect, weather wise, and program unfolded with mechanical certainty. Tanya, the Airport manager, and her staff made the day seem to roll along perfectly. The vendors were varied and numerous. The restroom facilities were first rate for an event like this. And the flying was superb!

I am a recovering pilot wannabe and washed myself out after 9 hrs. of flight time a long long time ago. My Dad was a fighter pilot in the big war and was intent on helping me follow in his flying shoes…. So when I was 16 he said it was time I quit talking about it and start learning how to fly….so my short introduction to the majestic discipline of flying started. Since I was an Air Force brat, he was going to teach me at the aero club at Minot AFB where he was stationed. He was one of the instructors in the aero club and had a gazillion hours in a lot of different airplanes, (P-51, F-80, F-84, F-86 to name a few). So after many hrs. of ground school, at home, it was time to learn how to be a birdman. It was winter and the airplane we used was a Cesena 140. We had to have two Herman Nelson heaters to go flying, one to heat up the engine and one to heat up the cockpit! And I had to prop the engine to start it….on PSP….in the snow & ice….yeah flying was going to be fun!? So off we went but I soon discovered that I couldn’t keep from looking at the ground as we flew around, it was so interesting to me to investigate the different perspective of our earthbound environs. Dad had to keep telling me to watch out for other airplanes and watch the horizon and the gauges and our location over the ground and too many other things more important than looking at the wondrous landscape unfolding under me. I wasn’t a good student…. This was in 1960 and I guess not much was really understood about Clear Air Turbulence…. The runway we used was the active runway for the base….which had B-52G’s and F-106’s using the same runway. I guess they are great generators of CAT? After I had about 9hrs of instruction my Dad was nudging me to think about soloing soon. I was set up for landing and we were on final, about 100’ in the air and all of a sudden the airplane shook and jumped around and when the disturbance was over the airplane was pointing almost perpendicular to the runway and we were still losing altitude. My Dad kicked the little 140 around and landed….I was frozen….I got out and told him that was enough for me…..and I have been a ground grabber ever since. I still love airplanes but I have no interest in flying them myself but I do have a great appreciation and respect for those that embrace all the nuances of flight, they are truly masters of their realm.

The flying demonstrations of the day were perfect and the formation flying was very impressive. But most of the spectators, including us, were waiting for Art Nall and his flight demonstration in the only civilian owned Harrier in the world! If you have never seen a Harrier fly you are truly missing something in your life. The first time I saw a Harrier was in the early ‘60s at Edwards AFB. It was called the P-1127 Kestrel then and was being tested to see if it would fit our Country’s needs. The announcer told everyone that off in the distance was the new VTOL airplane being tested at Edwards and that it was going to give us a demonstration of its flying prowess to include a vertical takeoff. It was a hot day in the desert and the little airplane whistled and moaned then bounced from one wheel to another but couldn’t get airborne! It made a lot of noise and black smoke but just taxied around a while then went back into a hanger…. But now the little screamer is a proven piece of battle hardware that in the capable hands of its pilots is a force to be reckoned with. And this is the only time anyone gets to see one outside of a Military airshow….it’s a real treat. After the Harrier flew the crowd started to leave….a fitting end of a really great day at the airport.

We all broke camp and started to cruise to N. Stafford but one of our group had a little problem firing up his ride….but have no fear….hot wire man is here! It took one guy to figure out how to start it, one guy to corroborate the fix, one guy to donate the wire and the rest of us walking around looking serious with deeply furrowed brow and pointing authoritatively to the engine compartment while we muttered things like….12v, 7 1/16, terminal end, ballast resistor, flooded, linkage lockage, secondary wire and other phrases better left out of a family dissertation. But the beast finally relinquished its stubborn grip on silence and roared to life….so with one of hot rodding’s little annoyances behind us we all jumped in our cars to leave only to find out another vehicle was being stubborn….but hot wire man to the rescue again and that one was fixed too….THEN we really did begin our cruise back home.

When we arrived at Bruster’s in N. Stafford the year end “Blow Out” show was in progress so we parked out on the outer perimeter parking area then walked to Sam’s Restaurant for dinner. We met with Steve & Sally from the Prince William Cruisers who joined our group to share a meal. We all enjoyed each other’s company while time marched on and by the time we got back to the show it was almost over! Oh well….another fun filled day with friends and hot rods….what’s not to like?

Be sure to check out the pictures and video at;

Monday, October 3, 2011

Here comes winter

Friday we cruised to BK in N. Stafford and enjoyed a pleasant evening with friends. There were about 12 cars in the parking lot when we went inside to grab a burger. This year the seasons around here changed from summer to fall on September 23rd at 5:05AM EDT then to winter on September 23rd at 7:15AM EDT. It now gets in the high 40’s when the sun goes down. That makes sitting outside in lawn chairs not really relaxing and fun but rather a test of controlling your trembling body parts while you try to talk normally. Your hand gets so cold that when someone gives you a cup of coffee you don’t know it’s burning your hand until you start asking if someone is barbequing close by! So….the Princess informed me that unless the temperature was more to her liking, she would not need her chair taken out of the coupe for a while!? I told her to be careful because she would have a lot of trouble getting up and down from the curb….I thought it was funny….apparently the correct comment was that I would find a heated chair for her….and the beat goes on….

Saturday I got up and checked the weather outside at 5:00 AM….a little cool but no rain….so I began getting everything ready to go to the tenth annual Christ Episcopal Church show in Spotsylvania, VA. At 6:15 the driveway was wet! The weatherguessers were showing rain around us and more coming from the south west. So I called the cruisers that expressed an interest in going with us at the Friday night cruise and we decided to wait till 9 AM to cruise to the event. The ground might still be wet but the show was still “on” so we would see how the morning unfolded.

Ron met us at WAWA and we all cruised the 35 miles to the event. We parked on asphalt and set up for the day. There were about 75 cars in attendance which is less than previous years… doubt because of the rain. But there were still some nice cars that did venture out. An unusual vehicle was the red ’58 GMC coe….not many of these around. The yellow ’56 Chevy pickup was a nice ride too. Almost all the rest are vehicles were ones that we see at most shows and cruises so no surprises to write about.

When I have written about this show in the past I always mention the raucous cannon firing. The noise is very loud and never at any consistent interval….and it is rarely announced when it will be fired. So to say that it startles everyone within a mile or so is being way too kind. I guess I have gotten a little numb to the concussion it makes as it really wasn’t bothering me like it has done before. But I decided to wander around and find out what was making everyone jumpy. The noise came from a Civil War re-enactment group that had set up a Confederate “camp” next to the show. They had a ‘Mountain’ cannon that they shot, without a projectile, every so often….the man I talked to said they shot it at regular intervals but I don’t think so. I was going to enlighten him about what “regular intervals” meant to the rest of the world but then thought better of my emotional response….after all he did have a bigger gun! And off in the distance four of his friends were coming back to their camp! So I told him to have a nice day and strolled back to the safety of the cars….

This show is a collaborative endeavor in that the Prince William Cruisers assist with part of the workforce behind the scenes. Roger guides the church members that assist. They have quilt raffles, food sales, vendor items and generally make the execution of this show very seamless. The judging was done quickly and they began giving the awards out a little early. Since this is the last show the church is putting on….it made it special just to be there. We packed up and cruised back to N. Stafford and home. We were going to attend the Bruster’s cruise after the show but the cold had taken a toll on us….we would need the warmth of our fireplace and much rest for the next day. We are to leave at O dark thirty for PA to visit our youngest daughter and her family, and then return home the same day!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A good day for the troops

As I have written before, Friday afternoon/evening traffic around here is tedious at best and becoming impassable as a norm. We had always tried to work our way to Fredericksburg and the cruise at VA BBQ. Sometimes we would have to go over 22 miles to get to the cruise that was 15 miles away! We have enjoyed that cruise for 7 years and encourage anyone living south of Stafford to continue patronizing that cruise. The host club, Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club, does a lot of good for the surrounding community through the various charities they support. They usually have at least 50 cars every Friday night and sometimes it climbs to 90+.

But for us we will be supporting the cruise at Burger King in N. Stafford, VA. This cruise began sometime earlier this year by Jim & Garland. They have fewer than 10 cars attending most of the time although last Friday there was 16 vehicles and 2 very old Triumph motorcycles! The event is low key, laid back and very friendly. No music or trophies….just socializing with people of like interests. There are some spectators that wander through the cruise and we get to share our hobby with them. And the food at BK is more to my liking. The personality of the cruise is like a flashback….some people cruise in and stay and some cruise in, walk around and talk a while then they leave to cruise somewhere else! That’s the way cruising was back in the day….I know….I was there! I think this can grow into something cool for N. Stafford. There are about 35 parking spaces so if you are interested try to get there early….around 4PM.

Saturday we were planning on cruising to Mechanicsville, VA and the weekly cruise at Brunetti’s….but there was that wet stuff falling out of the sky at the destination so we opted to attend the cruise at Bruster’s in N. Stafford. I think the turnout was at Bruster’s because of the rain that was all around but not here. There were about 30 cars in attendance and the one I liked the best is Bill’s ’23 Ford Model T Speedster. Now there is a contradiction in terms….Model T & Speedster! The car is very cool and looks like a blast to ride/drive….I know the puppies seem to think so! I don’t remember seeing the red & black late model Mustang before, it’s a distinctive look that is not to be ignored. Then one of Stafford’s finest cruised through with their new Dodge Charger….some said he came from the Mopar show in Culpeper where he won a trophy for the most effective use of external lighting!? OH YEAH those flashing blue lights will get your attention …. don’t ask me how I know. I have been working on the Princessmobile II, her red ’94 Mustang GT, and when we attend shows or cruises that are close to home we take both cars….something about doubling her odds for a trophy with two cars!? HUH? The car is OK but it is a 5’ car….it is showing its age as a daily driver for 17 years and 80K miles. But it is a good representative of the evolution to the “new” body style Mustang from the Fox body. The evening was cold but we endured till 8:30….the Princess gets so animated when she starts whining about things….like the cold. I have found after 46 years of marriage it is always much better and quieter to just do what she wants….you have no idea.

Sunday, Dan & Ramona and the Princess & I cruised to Occoquan, VA and the Prince William Cruisers show at the Occoquan Regional Park. This is the second show that PWC put on this year at this venue and the proceeds are to go to Wounded Warrior Project. The four of us like to ‘work’ the show….the Princess & Ramona sell T-Shirts, Dan collects money at the entrance and I help with registration. We feel that our time is well spent for WWP.

This venue always attracts a varied mix of the vehicles and we were not let down on Sunday with the 140 vehicles that registered. This year’s ‘Best of Show’ was also my favorite pick….the orange ’53 Ford PU….it truly was the pick of the litter! I also liked the silver ’70 Ford PU and the ’62 “Old Reliable” clone….imagine 30-35 of these nasty SS & FX cars growling around the pits….nirvana! But the coolest car of the day was Lou & Arlene’s red ’53 Ford ragtop. They came to the show fashionably late and drove right in front of the band & registration booth….what an entrance! They power parked in the front row and set up their display. We all liked their previous ride but this one is over the top! It so looks like them….sometimes the vehicle just fits the owners and this combo nails it….

The food was better at the park and the employees were more cheerful and helpful than previous visits but the bathrooms still have water all over the floor….all the time! The Prince William Cruisers raised $5,160 for Wounded Warrior Project! $5,100 to help our returning warriors. This is the reason we support this club and their efforts.... There are two shows a year at this venue and are both put on by Prince William Cruisers….you need to try to attend one or both, you won’t be disappointed. Check out the video;

Monday, September 12, 2011

Catching Up

Friday, August 19th, a few of us gathered for the cruise to Ashland, VA. Dale, Fred and the Princess & I left WAWA and picked up Bill & Linda on Rt. 2 in Fredericksburg then proceeded to Bowling Green and Rt.207. The weatherguessers had forecasted that we might get some rain..And the sky looked ominous but we were still dry after traveling about 25 miles. When we were on Rt. 207, running toward Rt. 1, we ran into some minor sprinkles, nothing to get excited about but by the time we reached Rt. 1 and turned south for Ashland it started to rain….a lot! Dale drives a MG/VW and is when it rains he gets very wet. He turned around and headed back north, we slowed down….tried to come to a decision about the rain but pressed on for a mile or so. Then the rain started coming down like the monsoons in Arizona! We made a hasty U turn and when we got about 2 miles north the rain stopped….and we met Dale coming south, looking for us! We all decided that to venture south that night would be a really dumb thing to do….so….we decided to do what any self respecting hot rodder would do….we started looking for somewhere to eat! Food always makes the soggy shoes feel a little better…I read that on the internet so it must be true! So we found a really nice Mexican restaurant called The Mexican Restaurant in Cosner’s Corner, VA and ate enough Mexican food to last all weekend….yeah I feel drier now….burp.

So after dinner we all said our goodbyes and each headed home in a little different direction. Fred was following us all the way up I 95. I decelerated for the Rt. 610 off ramp and when I got back on the throttle I heard a loud explosion…really loud, and we were going under an overpass and it seemed to get lighter outside? As we went around the off ramp the car was constantly shuddering and popping? I nursed it around on Rt 610 then to the Target parking lot, popping out the exhaust and shuddering all the way. Each time it popped fire would shoot out the side pipes! Fred, who was following us, said the fire shot out a few feet each side….that must have been something to see! I remember a long, long time ago in a place far far away (Newport Beach, Ca) I would be driving a little English Ford with the near stock 4cyl motor. I had a ‘special’ exhaust system with four zoomies out the passenger side in front of the rear wheels. And if I got over 25-30 mph and turned off the ignition key, coasted a little, then turned the key back on….KABOOM. And fire would shoot out the pipes about 2-3 feet….sometimes setting fire to the acuminated debris by the curb! That sturdy little motor accepted the abuse for a while but eventually it would cost me many quarts of oil to make the trip to the beach and back!

Back to the Target parking lot….Fred and I were trying to determine what was going wrong with the Princessmobile but nothing looked out of place. I had trouble with the HEI module before and thought that might be the problem, but there were a few miles between the parts, my tools and where we were now. And I was still wet, full of Mexican food that was rapidly aerosolizing and tired…So for the first time in 7 years and 35,000 miles I called AAA. Yeah we were going home on a roll back tonight. This is why I like to run with friends, Fred stayed with us through the ordeal and let the Princess ride with him to our home as I rode in the Eddie’s Repair roll back.

I worked on the car for a week, changing the module, cap, rotor, plugs, cleaned the carb, fuel filter, tested the ignition switch and the problem still persisted. A few years ago the Princess had won an MSD billet distributor at the Richmond NSRA event but I didn’t want to use it since the stock HEI unit was working just fine. But now, after all the troubleshooting I had done proved to be hopeless, I decided to change out the old unit with the new unit. So after I changed the unit Dan came over to help me index the distributor and the car now runs better than it did before! A side note that the “new” unit had a bad vacuum can and we had to use the ‘old’ can on the ‘new’ unit….it works just fine!

The next few weeks were tedious for us….The RedRat was taken to Canada, we had an earthquake, hurricane Irene paid us a visit and is seemed to rain almost every weekend but we did venture out a couple times to the Burger King in N. Stafford. We have decided to support the cruise every Friday night we are in town. It is a lot closer to us and the traffic is a breeze to get there. We have about 10-12 cars showing up and we have taken a page out of the PWC Glory Days Friday cruise in that we are setting up our chairs in a circle in one of the parking places. If/when the cruise gets bigger we may have to do something else but for now this works. We have also been attending the Bruster’s cruise more on Saturday evening….but we need to “fix” the meal options in the future and the parking lot lights are not being turned on….it gets really dark….maybe some small bonfires to illuminate the parking lot would work?

Fast forward to Sunday, September 11, 2011. The weather guessers said late afternoon showers….when I opened the garage at 5:15AM the ground was still wet from overnight showers! But we launched anyway and met Jim at WAWA then headed out the back way from Stafford to Herndon, VA and the 10th annual Classic Car Show sponsored by AARP. Along the way we met Dan & Ramona who took the lead to the event since they both attended Herndon HS a long long time ago and knew their way around up in yuppieville….grin

We had attended this event a couple years ago and had decided then that if we were ever going to attend the event again, we would have to park on the street and not in one of the lots. But to ensure that location we would have to get there very early….7AM early after cruising for about an hour from Stafford! After a little friendly persuasion from Dan, the gatekeeper let us park where we wanted to park. We set up and got ready to enjoy a day in the sun.

This event is in the “Town” area of Herndon and the vehicles are parked on the street and in lots all around the area. It is a spectator intense event which means a lot of “non-car” people mingle around and ask questions about your vehicle, we like that concept much better than a car people only event. It is sponsored by Wiygul Automotive Clinic and managed & sponsored by the Dulles Area Chapter of AARP. AARP does a great job with the event. This year they had some roller derby ladies that took the food orders and delivered it to us at the cars! Kinda cool! The Chorus of the Old Dominion was strolling around singing at some of the cars and the beneficiary of the event, GMU School of Nursing, provided blood pressure and sugar level testing. Music was provided by Retro Sounds and there was a group of Swing Dancers giving us demonstrations of their craft.

Since it was the anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, the event was stopped at 10AM to reflect on and commemorate the date. They had first responders on stage and the Color Guard. They invited Veterans and active duty members of our Military to join the First Responders and one of our group, Jim, joined with the group. There is usually someone in our group that has served our Country….we must never take their service for granted and always acknowledge their service to a grateful Nation. They are the ones that keep the wolves from our door. The ceremony was ended with a long moment of silence while taps was played….very reflective.

The event cranked up again with the music, dancers, roller girls, strolling singers and a hula hoop girl. This girl did things with the hula hoop, while keeping time with the music that was playing, which defied physics….at least MY physics. We ran into many old friends from our past sojourn through this hot rod adventure we are living that we don’t see often enough. The Porta Potties were kept clean and for the more sensitive among us (I don’t know who that would be?) you could go to the Dairy Queen and use their restroom facilities, we always bought something from them anyway.

And we saw many very nice vehicles. One of the early Mustang’s radiator hose blew off as soon as he got parked, see the pictures, but he went on to win an award in the end! There was a 1989 Chrysler TC Maserati…the owner said it was one of three produced in that color! Then I saw a ’57 Merc with factory installed ’58 headlight group, very unusual. The antique Kenworth from the Smoky and the Bandits movie took up a large part of one lot but it was very special and fit in just fine. Then Tim and his friend brought some vintage Army Jeeps to share with us, complete with machine guns! The red ’59 Caddy was long enough to be in two zip codes at the same time and the white ’57 bathtub Porsche was just squeaky clean and tidy. But of the 114 vehicles attending the event, I liked the red & white ’60 Corvette the best….the Princess says she would like one like that….so now she has a hot rod, Mustang GT and she wants a Vette….but Hey, I have my KIA. Is there something wrong with that picture? Like I said those Princesses are very high maintenance, you have no idea….grin

The roller girls and the Swing dancers all seemed to flock around Jim’s PU….is it the color of the truck? Or is it the owner? I’ll let you decide…. We had a great day and will return next year….this is one of the top 3 “must attend” shows around here….if you want to have a day enjoying your vehicle with hundreds of other people you have to put this show on your event calendar.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Deep Breath

I have been remiss with my story writing….I am distracted.

This blog is not meant to have a political overtone….but…. While this administration has been trying to destroy our Country, it has also been steadily draining our personal resources as well as my motivation to keep going. When I loaded the RedRat on the transport bound for Canada a couple weeks ago it pushed me over the edge. Doing most anything with a hot rod is now a chore. I really have to force myself to endure what has been such a blessing to us for the last 7 years. I am not trolling for sympathy or advice….I just wanted you to know where I’m currently at.

I should be up to my new normal in a couple weeks....

Thanks, chuck

Thursday, August 18, 2011

To infinity and beyond....or was that Maine and beyond....

The Princess and I were sitting around, like old people do, and I asked the Princess where she would like to go for a vacation this year….she said “I want to see a lighthouse”….huh…. A lighthouse? Yes, I never saw one and I want to do that, she said. So I started planning a lighthouse vacation. The following is a brief outline of our weeks adventures….please take the time to look at the pictures we took along the way. But be warned, it will be like looking at “family movies”….you may get bored….just take it in sessions, there are 551 pictures! A lot….we both like to take pictures, most are “documentary” but some are artsy fartsy. The link is;

I had wanted to visit Maine for years since I thought it should be similar to Newfoundland where I had good memories of living there for a while in the 50’s. After some preliminary planning we decided to visit AAA in Fredericksburg to take advantage of their travel planning expertise. We were in luck because Ben Bell was available to assist us. He made some good suggestions about the route we wanted to take. Then he made the reservations and got the best prices for the accommodations. We had some surprises the last time we used AAA in ’07 but this time everything worked out as advertised, Thanks Ben. After we locked in how we were going to get there I decided to check out what was going on around there when we were there…. The annual Lobster Fest was going to start that Wednesday! WOW! Now the Princess really likes to eat the little crawly sea creatures like crabs & lobster. So this was going to be a great week for eating….burp! I didn’t believe it but by Friday I was tired of eating lobster….really.

We launched Monday, August 1, at 0430 and headed to the Cracker Barrel in Winchester, VA. We then drove via the “northern route” and the Tappan/Zee bridge to Strubridge, MA for overnight. The next day we left for Rockport, ME and The Country Inn on Rt. 1. We stayed here for three days and it was a great place to come home to each night. The staff was helpful, the rooms were perfect and the breakfast was just what we wanted.

We arrived on Tuesday around 2PM and had time to check in, unload then do some local exploring. We tried some of the local fare at the Elm Street Grille for dinner. We had Lobster (what else?) and Maine baked potato. I didn’t know Maine was famous for potatoes? The other two nights we had dinner at The Offshore Restaurant, very good food and fun waitresses. We also “found” one of the local ice cream establishments, Dorman’s Dairy-Dream on Rt. 1 in Thomaston.

Wednesday we struck out to visit some lighthouses and the first one was Owl’s head lighthouse. This was a fun place….a long walk but very rewarding with the scenery. Check the pictures. After we took in this we drove to the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum. Many interesting things there and 80% of the vehicles run including the airplanes! Have you ever seen a 4dr MG or a Model T snowmobile? Check out the pictures.

We left the museum and decided to try a lobster roll at Miller’s Lobster Co for lunch. This place sells lobster to area seafood houses and has a snack area near their wharf, the food was great! Check the pictures please.

The next lighthouse was the Marshall Point Lighthouse. It too was a neat experience, the water is so clear….almost mesmerizing. There was a gentleman inside the home that could answer any questions about the lighthouse and Maine in general. And the lighthouse is famous….remember Forrest Gump? I did and we had to watch the movie again when we got back…. We made our way back to the Offshore Restaurant for dinner then went back to the room for the evening….to plan for the next day.

Thursday we left for Rockland and the annual Lobster festival but first we stopped in at the Maine Lighthouse Museum, it was right outside the entrance to Lobster festival. After cruising the museum we finally entered the Lobster festival….it was a hoot. Like a carnival only nicer. They had crafters, artists, fish vendors, cheese vendors and many other kinds of things to eat. The Princess bought a lobster hat!? Huh….? And walked around the rest of the day with it on….about 10 steps behind me….I do have some standards! Grin After we left the festival we tried to visit one last lighthouse, the Rockland Breakwater lighthouse. But the path out to it was way too long and dangerous looking so we opted to take some pictures instead.

Friday we left in the fog and drove to our room for the night in Newark, DE….a nice stay at the Country Inn & Suites with dinner at Michaels Bar & Grille….great food and just across the street.

Saturday we cranked up the KIA and headed to Richmond….yes Richmond. We wanted to attend the KIA Soul gathering at Pearson KIA in Richmond. This is the first long trip we have taken with the Soul and have found it to be comfortable and fun to make an over the road trek with.

When we arrived at the dealership there were already 7 of the little beasts parked and a few more came later. The dealership was a great host feeding us burgers & hot dogs then mingling with us to talk about our experience with the Soul. I think the service manager, Bobby, drew the short straw because he was the cook….on a very hot day….thanks Bobby! They also acquired a 40’ blow up hamster! Check the pictures.
They also had a 2012 Soul so we could check out what was changed on the new model. We wandered around and checked out the modifications some had made to their Souls and one had made a bigger than life hamster costume….check it out! Since this gathering was an internet based exercise the attendees came from all over….NJ, DE, MD, VA, NY were all represented. It was a hoot and we hope to attend more in the future.

We finally got back home Saturday in the rain….home….our castle in Stafford. It’s always good to be back.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cranking back up!

We got back from our Maine vacation last week and finally got the hot rod out this weekend. Going anywhere around here on Friday night is problematic at best….But we met some cruisers in Stafford and snaked around the back roads to Dale City, VA and the Prince William Cruisers weekly cruise near Glory Days. When we arrived there were already some cars parked and the ubiquitous ring of folding chairs near Steve’s ’40 Ford. We unpacked our gear and set up with the group. But before we got settled in Steve started whining about when were we going to eat….so….we trekked to Glory Days and got reacquainted with their menu for the evening. When we rejoined the talking group another 15 cars had come to visit. This cruise is always fun for us because we enjoy the conversation and conversationalists! We stayed till after 11PM….we totally lost track of time catching up with the others….a very pleasant evening.

The black ’66 Chevy Impala with the big block was so very squeaky clean and Bill’s orange Willys is always fun to look over, yeah it’s got a HEMI. Jimmy’s blue ’71 Ranchero is the nastiest sounding Ford around….and it is no stranger to massive amounts of torque either. This is a nice friendly cruise on the back side of Potomac Mills in Dale City, VA so if you are near there on Friday night….stop in and say hey….they always have room for another new friend.

As I said earlier, we just got back from our vacation and were anxious to get back into playing with the hot rod. So Saturday we met some cruisers from Stafford at Bob Evans for breakfast then cruised 22 miles to Spotsylvania and the annual show put on by the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club. I never considered checking with the weatherguesser….maybe I should have!? As we were leaving Bob Evans, the rain started….just a little….then when we got on I95 it poured. I figured that we couldn’t get any wetter so we pressed on south. The rain stopped before we got to Fredericksburg so maybe the day was going to unfold well….maybe not.

We have attended this show for a few years and it always is a show that we recommend. I think they had about 150 cars in attendance this year which is about 35 more than last year! WOW….they must be doing something right!? They always have a lot of vendors and this year I think they had about 13. Of course that meant the Princess had a lot of choices to get rid of some of that nasty old money she totes around in her bag that’s the size of Vermont. I had to remind her that since we were both riding in the Princessmobile now, she had to keep her treasure purchases to a minimum. She said that if she wanted something she would just have the vendor UPS it to our home….I’m doomed!

This show always attracts a lot of VW’s because of Pop & Sue’s Baja Bug and I think there were 8 of the little wheezers present. There were some cars we had not seen before like the slammed, peach ’61 big block Chevy and the very cool pearl ’65 Riv….I always like these cars. There were 3 little Cobras among the cars which is unusual for a show of this size. The little white and yellow Metro was very nicely done as was the two tone green ’50 Chevy coupe. There were many “regular” cars that didn’t attend….I guess we know who watches the weather channel!

But the coolest deal at the show was the blue ’54 Chevy PU that belonged to Terri and her husband. It was given to Terri by her dad as a graduation gift and has since been driven all over the Country by Terri & her husband….he is a Marine and travels a little….grin. It was Terri’s 54th birthday on the 13th so they brought their ’54 Chevy and had a birthday party at the show….check out the cake….very cool! That’s what makes this hobby fun and interesting.

Coach did the DJ/announcer deal when the live band, Rt. 66, wasn’t playing. This group plays at most of the shows put on by Prince William Cruisers and they also play other places around Northern Virginia. They are the best….I’m going to shoot some video of them at their next gig during the show in Occoquan on 9-18-2011. Some people come just to watch them and don’t know that cars are here too!

It sprinkled a little right after we got there then cleared up….but around1PM it started to rain….and rain….like Ramona said it was coming down in Biblical proportions! I think there was 459 people huddled under two leaking 8’ canopies. Its funny how many people will come over to talk when the rain starts….chuckle. So we waited for the rain to slow down then broke camp and ran for home. We usually don’t leave a show early but we thought it best to get going before the “real” rain started. Of course when we got 10 miles from the show it stopped. We don’t know how the awards went but the judges had their hands full with the rain. This is a nice show and the proceeds go to needy families in the area….which in our present economy is something that I’m sure is way underfunded.

Be sure to check out the pictures;

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Full Saturday

Friday evening we met at WAWA and cruised 50 miles to Colonial Beach, VA and the bi monthly cruise hosted by Colonial Beach Cruisers. We have attended this cruise a few times and always had a good experience but Friday was a little different. We arrived around 6PM and parked among the cars already there. Fat Freda’s restaurant is part of the cruise and as always we had dinner there. In the past the food and service was great but Friday the service was very poor. We waited about 1 ½ hrs to get our food! We waited so long for everyone in our group to eat that when we came out of the restaurant it was too dark to photograph the cars! The restaurant sold us our food for ½ off….but it can’t replace a missed opportunity to photograph the cars of Colonial Beach! We had brought a couple new cruisers with us and I don’t think they will be back. And I think we will eat before we get to the cruise next time.

Saturday we met at WAWA then cruised 14 miles to Fredericksburg, VA and Big Daddy Leather’s shop. This motorcycle accessory and biker meeting place is well known around these parts. The store is about ¼ mile from the MOST well know ice cream joint on the planet….Carl’s Ice Cream….but that ‘s a story for another time.

Today we were to participate in the first annual Dawgs for Paws poker run. The Lost Dawgs MC group had set up a poker run primarily for motorcycles but Mike, one of the insiders, had invited hot rodders to join in with the bikers. I liked the concept of riding with kindred spirits again….we sold our last Harley in ’05 after riding for 44 years….so the sound of shifters clunking and the squeak of leather was nothing new to us. I have always said that most bikers are a very intimidating bunch by design and that persona is nurtured by the bikers for the benefit of those not in the “group”. But if you bother to get to know most of them you will find that they are normal people doing something they are very passionate about. The Lost Dawgs MC is no exception. I know some in our group expressed a little apprehension when I floated the idea about running with a group of “bikers” on a poker run. But after spending an afternoon with a great bunch of kindred souls I think their mind has changed. We love our cars like they love their bikes and we all face the same hazards and uncertainties on the road. And we certainly enjoy the same freedom to run. Like I said, Kindred Spirits. And another reason I like to associate with bikers is that most of them have done their time in service to our Country and they are usually very Patriotic and their love of Country is conspicuous.

So our group decided that since Jim & Linda had the GPS we would ask them to lead us on our adventure for the day. The run was about 80 miles, start to finish, which was a nice length. Since the run was to benifit the regional SPCA shelters it made a lot of sense to make the run stops at one of the shelters! What a concept!? The first one was in Caroline County and was open so we could see/hear some of the dogs they had. The second one was in Fredericksburg and was nice new looking building but it was closed so we didn’t get to see any puppies. The third one was in Stafford but the shelter road was impassable for us so we never saw the shelter. The run ended up at Barefoot’s Seafood restaurant in Fredericksburg. The club had stop workers that were very helpful and informative to talk to….you could tell that they were well prepared for the participants. We checked in at the last stop early, around 1PM, so we ate while we waited for the winners to be announced around 3PM. They ran a 50/50 and various silent auctions. They gave out many door prizes….I was hoping I would win one of the bike helmets….so I could use it when I was the rider in the Princessmobile….I didn’t say that! They had music while we waited and free snack bar….have you ever eaten alligator sausage? It’s not bad, no bones but the gator teeth get stuck under my denture! grin One of the highpoints that made the afternoon much more fun was the Emcee….Mike Omeara from the Kirk and Mike Morning Show on 105.9. The guy is a hoot….I didn’t know it was him or I would have asked him to autograph Dan’s Speedo or something….

The club ran a well organized event and in the end they were able to donate $4,451 to the Fredericksburg SPCA shelter….a pretty good day by anyone’s standards! They had 74 vehicles (cars & bikes) with 97 registered participants….not bad for the first time! Of that 74 vehicles only 5 “special” vehicles….5! Not a very good showing for the hot rod community around here….when this event comes around again next year be sure to put it on your calendar, you won’t be disappointed.

After the main part of the event was over for us we cruised 39 miles to Orange, VA and the Orange County Cruisers monthly cruise event at the Burger King on Rt. 15. We have been attending the event for a few years now and it is always a fun and interesting event. DJ Ron keeps the music hopping and the event moving along all night. Yes Ron, I knew it was Marty Robbins singing White Sports Coat….I have most of his tunes on my mp3 player! I’m old remember?

This night the cars kept coming in….it’s difficult to tell exactly how many cars attend because some stay for an hour or so then leave. I think there were about 260 cars by the time we left at 8:30, not a bad night!? Sometimes this cruise has a lot full of pro streets but tonight that was not to be the case….just mostly road cars came to visit. It seemed like the Barracuda owners go the memo, I counted 7 of the little Plymouths. There was a line of 4 traditionally hot rodded 30’s Ford pickups that was very cool; I have seen them grow to 4 during the last 3 years. A white ’55 Chevy Cameo came and parked in the line to add some rarity to the night. But the star was the ’64 Olds Jetfire with the very intricate paint…some of the details hearken back to the ‘60s design schemes but the rest is refreshingly new….kinda new & old at the same time! The choice of the Jetfire is unusual as it was only built for a few years before morphing into the Delmont…. a very interesting car.

About 8:30 we pulled the plug on the cruise and motored home. It was a cool evening and the Princess let me drive! Whoopee….

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Batman Returns....kinda

Saturday our small group left the WAWA in N. Stafford and cruised 32 miles to the Burger King on Rt. 28 in Manassas VA. The Bull Run Street Rods Club has managed a weekly cruise at this location for a lot of years. Years ago this cruise started at Jerry’s Pizza on the corner of Rt. 28 & Manassas Dr. in Manassas Park. Then they moved to Chubby’s restaurant on Rt. 234 across from Prince William Hospital. From there they moved to the present location right off the end of the Manassas Regional Airport’s runway! We have cruised all the locations but years ago it was with our Harley. This cruise always attracts a large crowd and in that crowd we usually find a rarely seen vehicle. This afternoon was to be a real surprise.

We were all sitting behind our cars with the umbrellas blocking the sun, it was hot. The sun was beginning to set so the umbrellas were down low, which meant we couldn’t see the cars as they came into the cruise. We were talking and almost oblivious to the vehicle traffic coming in when the ground shook! It was the black Model A sedan with the killer, 540 inch blown Rat motor. That car is a piece of work and about the neatest, meanest car around. It was almost 5PM and since we were going to leave around 5:30 I decided to get up and take some pictures of the noisy beast! But….when I got out in front of our cars I noticed a crowd gathered around something but it wasn’t the noisy beast? Something had attracted people so thick that I couldn’t see the vehicle. Holy flashback Batman whatever could it be?

The Batmobile! I had seen this car about 4 years ago at a cruise in Centerville, VA….I just noticed it as it was leaving! But now….in all it’s tricky Batmanness here it was again. Robin must have cloaked the owner, I waited a while to talk to him/her and no one knew where they went!? So I just fought my way close enough to take a lot of pictures and had to be satisfied with that. WOW, you have to check out the pics. Then wandering around the lot, I came across a traditionally hot rodded ’40 Ford PU….with a blown flathead! It had a lot of soldered copper in the engine compartment….and a very kool cutout setup. There was a green ’49 MGTC, very sophisticated in a snobbish sort of way. This cruise attracts a lot of blower cars and they started coming in as we were leaving, I guess as the weather got a little cooler they came out on the prowl. Just as we left a neat flat head Harley showed up…. another seldom seen vehicle!

We had picked up a new cruiser, Aaron & his daughter, with a black ’69 Chevy PU at WAWA when we left Stafford earlier in the day. The truck belongs to his buddy, who asked him to drive it around a little before he got back, from Afghanistan. Aaron’s wife, Anita, and their other daughter met him at the cruise in Manassas, then they followed us back to Stafford and the cruise at Bruster’s. We parked the cars way out in the end of the lot and walked to Sam’s Pizza for dinner….when we came back we were surrounded by other cruisers and their cars, and a very large dog! This cruise usually gets 70-90 cars. It’s not like some cruises in that they play music and give out trophies. The winners are picked by the other participants voting…. We stayed till the bitter end to watch the awards then wrapped up the evening. This is a friendly, dependable cruise that should not be missed when you are in N. Stafford, VA on any Saturday evening from April to October.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Birthday for the USA....

Friday evening our small group; Ron & Jean, Fred, the Princess & I left Stafford, VA and cruised to Fredericksburg to meet up with Bill, another cruiser. We all motored our way the 68 miles to Central Garage in King William, VA and the weekly cruise at the King William High School. We have never attended this cruise and our friend, Larry talked us into checking it out….a good decision.

It was a nice cruise through the rural Virginia countryside to the HS and when we arrived the cruise was in process. I counted 82 cars in the lot with a high percentage of Mopars….why? Maybe it didn’t help that we brought three with us! The only cars we had seen before was Chuck & Cindy’s Chevelles and Bob’s Ford 5w….the rest were new to us! That’s one of the reasons we like to go to out of the way cruises….different cars and people. A car you don’t see much was the red ’60 Edsel but a really rare car was the red ’60 Ford Starliner, with the SB Chevy motor! I had to do a double take then scratch my head….why? I guess that’s what makes hot rodding so neat….everyone has a different idea on what they like to drive….choices. There was also a tricked out blue Chevy Van….Far Out! A couple of copper Corvettes and a very slick dune buggy. But the car that was the best in the lot for me was the black ’34 Ford Sedan, with 5.0 Ford power….a very nice ride.

Jean and the Princess started whining about dinner? Yeah they are high maintenance; we have to feed them now and then. So we asked Chuck & Linda if there was a good eatery close by and they directed us to a Vinny’s about a block away….a great choice. The food was good and the service was fun….our waitress was just as ornery as me and we had a good back and forth all during the meal….fun, ever heard of it? So after the meal we cruised home and put the Princessmobile in the garage about 11:30….it was a long day!

Since I have the RedRat up for sale the Princess and I are sharing her ’33 now. We both drove it years ago but we have had our own cars for the last six years and getting used to one car again is tedious and fun at the same time. We have taken a queue from one of our friends with the blue Vette that cruises with us in that I drive to the event and the Princess drives home….I think it will work? The Princess was a little under the weather Friday so I drove both ways this time. Her car is so different from the RedRat but in some ways better….it has A/C and is much quieter, we don’t have to yell at each other to be heard when we are both in the car! And I can hear her much better….I think that’s a good thing?

Monday, the Fourth of July, we met Fred & Debie at the WAWA in Stafford, VA and cruised 37 miles to the ice cream store in Bealeton then we hooked up with Steve & Sally, Dennis, Tommy and Jimmy & Cindy to cruise to Culpeper, VA and the Renaissance Fourth of July celebration. This is the 12th annual event and we have attended the last two. This event is hosted by the town of Culpeper and is a really big event around here.

This year there was 220 cars registered which was a record. The featured vehicle this year was the air cooled VW….which is near and dear to my heart. I had a ’57 bug that I raced in D/A when we first got married in ‘65. I never won anything but it was a fun car to race….that translates to cheap to race! grin There was a high quality and much varied collection of the little wheezers including the one on a lazy susan that I shot a quick video clip of….a very good representation of the “Peoples Car”. There was a Drum & Fife Corps that marched up Davis St. that I shot a short clip of too.

There was a nice collection of motorcycles but I liked the Honda CB750 the best….we bought a new one in 1970 when we lived in Riverside, CA and it was very fast for the time….I think the only stock bike that was faster was the Kawasaki 3cyl 500, that two wheeler was a rocket.

The cars varied from the black ’29 Lincoln original to the near new red, white and blue Corvette. The little red Angila was a killer as was the pink ’59 T-Bird. Donnie’s orange ’62 Chevy wagon had the best graphics in my opinion…. he is a local pinstriper…. ya think!? The red’ 61 Chevy PU with the Cadillac motor was special along with Jim’s black ’31 Ford Delivery. There was a whole bunch of blower cars/trucks and a soap box derby race car….truly something for everyone to enjoy. When I take photos at a car show or cruise I usually take like a documentary deal. I try to take the very best photo I can given the sun conditions and the way the vehicle sets and the position of the crowd or owners. I will wait for as long as five minutes or so to have the people move on so I can get a clear shot…. but…. sometimes the owner will lean against his/her vehicle and will not move away from it. And sometime the crowd will not leave the car quick enough so I can get a shot before the next wave of people get in the picture. This is what happened in Culpeper. The crowd was so massive and the “Best of Show” winner always had a crowd around it. The green ’69 RoadRunner deserved a better photo but I couldn’t get it! Fortunately the car is a regular around here and it can be seen in other shows I have photographed. Please take the time to look at the pictures there were many very nice representations of the car culture in our corner of the world.

The weather was in and out sunny and very hot….we were glad when it was over. It was a show not to be missed next year! Did I mention that the Princessmobile has A/C?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Riding around in my automobile....

Friday evening Fred and the Princess & I cruised 62 miles to the Chick-fil-A cruise in Ashland, VA. The cruise is well attended but the bulk of the cars came in a little late because of the heat. The neat black AH 3000 with the small block Chevy was very nicely done and the Hennesy Camaro was intimidating, it looked like it was all business! But the coolest thing I saw was the senior couple playing cards out in front of their ’54 Chevy. I mean they got a table and chairs out (her chair was a rocker!) and sat there playing cards for a few hours while FayRay cranked out the music. Very folksy! One of the organizer hot rodders was wearing a T-shirt that said “WHAT HAPPENS IN THE PARKING LOT STAYS IN THE PARKING LOT!” Too funny! Chick-fil-A gives all the drivers a free sandwich ticket so when our small group from Stafford got hungry we used them for yard bird sandwiches. The Princess and the hostess (another redhead) started talking Princess stuff, like how hard it was to keep us lesser minions in line and other things like that so Fred & I knew it was time to get back in the parking lot! Like Forest’s Mama said,” when someone is hitting you with a stick you need to move your head somewhere else!” This is a very nice cruise, laid back, friendly and easy access right off Rt. 1 in Ashland, VA. Come out and visit when you can….just drive your special car and bring your table, chairs & cards and sit a spell….

Saturday there were a few car deals going on but we decided to stay home. The Princess was going to try and kill some of the plants we bought during the week, did I say that? I really mean that she was going to improve our landscaping around the Shotwell abode….grin And since I didn’t want to help her because the sound of the screaming rhododendrons make me cry, I decided to finish detailing the RedRat’s underneath. I want to get it as perfect as possible before I list it for sale at the end of the month. So after working on it all week, I wanted to check it out to make sure that after all that rubbing everything still worked like it should…. hehehehe So after the Princess hid all the tortured little green bodies in the big plastic trash can, we decided to take both cars out for a little spin to Bruster’s in North Stafford.

This cruise is managed by a small group of dedicated local car enthusiasts that provide an outlet for those of us in the car culture around here. We usually park the cars in the cruise lot then walk across the street to Sam’s Pizza and see how badly we can stretch our stomachs with food….what fun!? Tonight the “we” included Jim & Linda….since Linda is recovering from shoulder surgery and had the use of only one arm….the entertainment level of the meal went up a couple notches. grin The attendance is usually anywhere from 40 to 90 vehicles with a good mix of old and new vehicles. There is always something different that shows up. Tonight there was a white ’39 Olds custom coupe….a very nice build. A very purple ’39 Ford 2dr cruised in and the very much modified black ’38 Pontiac 4dr came by again….this car is so unusual, you have to talk to the owner about the build! Then right near the end of the cruse a black & white ’54 Chevy lead sled came sneaking in….very quiet and very cooool, check out the pictures. We all cruised home very gently when we say some of Stafford’s finest cruising the adjoining streets….like sharks circling around a herd of seals.

Sunday Dan and the Princess & I cruised 24 miles to Occoquan, VA and the Occoquan Regional Park to help work in the Prince William Cruisers, Good Ol’ Days show. This show is one of the “must attend” shows around these parts. It has always attracted a varied mix of vehicles in the four years we have attended and this year was no exception. The club had put up all the tents the day before and when they started to arrive around 7AM they rapidly set up for business because there were 5 cars in line that early!

It is difficult to get a perfect count on the attendees but I think there were 213 registered with 30 more that paid but didn’t register and at least two that didn’t pay or register! By any count it was a good day for all! This show has the potential for 400 vehicles, maybe next year.

The types of vehicles ranged from original antiques, traditional hot rods, rat rods, lowriders, race cars, street rods, muscle cars and trucks. In fact my favorite vehicle was the orange Ford ‘85 F-150. There was a primer grey ‘48 Fiat Topolino sedan delivery, the only one I have ever seen. One rarely sees a Fiat Topolino with fenders; they are usually sitting on multi thousand HP fire breathing fuel motors going very fast. In the 60’s they were fodder for the only real drag racing class…. AA/FA ….a man’s hot rod! ARRRGGH If you have never seen and felt an Awful Awful run, you are missing one of life’s memorable experiences. Donnie brought out his blue ’57 Chevy with the matching travel trailer and Craig displayed his orange, mouse motored Camaro race car that can hold his own at a show or a race track. I also liked the original pink ’62 Studebaker Gran Turismo coupe. A group of lowriders joined the event and added another very complicated discipline to the day’s collection. The paint work on some of these vehicles is very complicated and difficult to execute to the high level that some of the cars exhibited. I thought the most appropriate license plate was on a blue, old Toyota Land Cruiser that was restored….it read “YEN PIT”! I also liked the restored C&P Telephone service truck and the gunmetal grey ’64 Buick Riviera. Do you know that the ’63-’65 Riviera is the only car I know of that has removable door skins? Don’t ask me how I know. There were many other very nice examples of hot rodding in Virginia that made up the collection of vehicles for the day. And another thing I see more is whole families are attending the events....not just the guys or gals but kids too. You can't start too young to appreciate the car culture!

The music group, Route 66, played all day….they are the best group I have heard at a car show for a long time and they play at this show every year. You might consider attending the event just to hear them! The 50/50 was over a thousand dollars so the winner took home a good chunk of change! I think most of the attendees enjoyed the day….some money was made for the clubs charities and the weather was gorgeous all day. If you missed this show you will have another chance to attend an event at this venue on September 18, 2011. The show in September is dedicated to Wounded Warrior Project so try to attend if you can. And just remember if you don’t come out and play in September we will talk about you! grin

The links below are for a movie of most of the entrants leaving and my still pictures….enjoy!