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.