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; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvmzuJuczgU

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 topless....so 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