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?