Monday, June 4, 2012

The best laid plans....

We had planned to visit the Exquisite Car Club cruise in Woodbridge, VA on Friday but tropical depression Beryl took care of that!  The rain stopped, as forecasted, around 3AM so the cruise to Brunetti’s restaurant in Mechanicsville, VA, near Richmond was on for Saturday.

We left the WAWA in N. Stafford around 2PM as the cruise was from 3pm to 8:30pm and it would take us a little over an hour to cruise the 67 miles.  We chose a route that is less traveled as the more direct route of Interstates would be slammed with traffic.  Rt 2 & 301 is a great road through the flat lands of rural Virginia….never much traffic and always in good condition. 
Since I make changes and upgrades every week to the Cruise Missile it’s always an adventure when we drive it out of N. Stafford.  Everything was going fine till we were about 40 miles from home.  Then the Princess started to whine….”How come it’s raining on my side of the windshield?  The weatherguessers said it wouldn’t rain….AND WHY DON’T YOU HAVE ANY RAIN ON YOUR SIDE OF THE WINDSHIELD?”  Hmmmm?  It all happened so fast….she did in fact have liquid on her side of the windshield….it was green coolant!  I pulled over at the first opportunity to see where the coolant was coming from.  After much blotting of coolant and avoiding the running, engine mounted fan we discovered the leak was between the thermostat housing and the intake manifold.  It is O ring sealed and the O ring must have a defect and the coolant was spraying out toward the fan which was blowing it back on the passenger side firewall and hood….the hood has louvers so the coolant was blowing through the louvers onto the Princess side of the windshield….she is just so special.  It was SO UNFAIR that it went on her side and not mine….!  It also went down the side of the truck and Jim said it went on his Vette behind us!  Last weekend we had driven many miles and didn’t have any problems so I took my tool bag out for this trip….big mistake!  But since we were traveling with friends as soon as I said ‘does anyone have a 9/16 wrench or socket?  I got two immediate responses from Tony & Dan….so I tightened up the housing bolts just a little, the leak stopped and we proceeded on to Brunetti’s.  I also have to check out the radiator cap pressure….it might be over pressuring the system….something else to do this week.
We had dined at Brunetti’s a few times before after Chuck & Cindy turned us on to the restaurant and cruise years ago.  Brunetti’s food is as I have written before, better than great!  It’s worth the trip just to eat there….  And Ramona always tries to turn our cruises toward Brunetti’s or Capt. Georges whenever she thinks she has enough power to sway our decision.  Jim & Linda had not eaten at Brunetti’s but were anxious to check it out after all the good things we had said about it….  Andrew likes Italian food and was likewise anticipating the dinner at Brunetti’s.  Tony is an Italian food aficionado and had not eaten at Brunetti’s but had heard us brag about it for years.  It was to be the high point of the week for all of us.  The anticipation was thick as real Italian pasta sauce.
We cruised into the parking lot and there were only 5-6 cars?  Fay-Ray, the tune misters, was not set up?  The ‘primo’ parking spaces were available?  So we all parked, opened up the cars and started to make our way to Brunetti’s for the much awaited dinner….  They were closed for renovations!  They would be open in two days!  I stood in disbelief….reading and re-reading the closed sign.  I thought if I read it again it would change?  WOW….it was like a gut punch….almost took my breath away!  I was so disappointed on many levels.  Not the least was….we were all hungry!  We looked around to see where else we could eat.  A local cruiser recommended a ‘nice’ restaurant about a quarter mile away in the mall across the street.  The street was Rt. 301….a six lane, extremely busy, divided highway with a 45 mph speed limit….I think he wanted to lower the population a little by sending us over there?  When he saw we weren’t going to fall for that he said there was a pizza place the other direction.  It was a Stevie B’s pizza off in the distance across Atlee Rd.  Could an old person really walk that far?  Some more of the local cruisers recommended it so we trekked across Atlee Rd. and settled in for a pizza dinner in a kid infested “happy” restaurant/kids game place….whoopee!  I guess it was alright but I just ate enough to fill the hungry hole and sat back while I waited for the others to be done.  It was kind of like ordering a new Challenger SRT10….waiting months for it….going to the dealership to pick it up and your salesman gives you the keys to a Prius….yeah it’s a car, kinda cool….but not the same….
So back at the cruise the lot was filling up….evidently the ‘yellow’ memo got circulated in time….I never saw so many yellow cars at one cruise!  There were about 75 cars at the event, most parked and stayed awhile but some just cruised through.  I liked the yellow and white ’58 Chevy wagon and the red and white ’55 Nomad was neat as a pin.  The ’67 AMC Rebel SST is a seldom seen car….it looks a little like the early Plymouth Road Runners from a distance.  The yellow ’62 Corvair was a cool glimpse of our go fast heritage. 

We gathered up our stuff around 7:30 and cruised back home.  This is a popular well attended cruise that you should check out when you are in Mechanicsville, VA on Saturday night….just call ahead about your dinner plans!

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