Sunday, July 29, 2012

Prucellville madness....again!

Our little group of three intrepid cruisers left Stafford at noon for the 66 mile cruise to Purcellville, VA and the 10th annual Summer Thunder cruise.  The cruise is hosted by the Western Loudoun Community Volunteers, a nonprofit group of….volunteers…. (what else?) that raise money for local charities.  One of the charities is C. S. Monroe Technology’s Automotive Program, a nice fit for vehicle enthusiasts!   This is a ‘cruise’ not a show, no trophies, no entry fee, no hassle or stress!  They play music, have good food vendors as well as a race car or two on hand.  The restrooms are clean and well stocked; some are permanent inside of buildings!  The parking is all over one end of a community park, mostly on grass but some asphalt parking spaces too.  They ask for a donation to register for the door prizes….we were parked in the outland area by one of the baseball diamonds and could not hear the announcements for the door prizes but it was so hot it didn’t matter to me.  This is one of those shows that feel comfortable for me….I like it!

The weatherguessers were covering their bets….sunny & hot with a “chance” of violent thunderstorms!  So….it’s going to be a nice day….but….it might rain and blow hard enough to float us clear to the Chesapeake Bay!  I am really growing weary of the rain and hot weather….but I have to be glad we are getting some rain when I think of much of our Country is suffering from drought.  So when we were on Aden Rd. near the one lane wooden RR bridge it started to rain.  Not a nice gentle rain but drops that were so big five of them covered our windshield!  And it rained till we got on Rt. 66 near Gainesville, VA.  On a positive note I got to try out the new wipers on the truck and do another water leak test….fun.  The rest of the trip was mostly uneventful….even with those two traffic circles on Rt. 15. 
This is a late or early starting event, depending on your perspective….it ‘officially’ begins at 2PM and runs to 7PM.  When we arrived around 1:30 there were over a 100 vehicles already parked!  The last few times we have attended this event we arrived around 10AM….I think we will go back to arriving a little earlier.  After we parked I had to clean the truck from the above mentioned unscheduled rain mishap.  I think I am discovering a flaw in our family ‘TEAM’ system.  I would keep the vehicles roadworthy and the Princess would clean/dust the cars when we arrived at an event, two cars!  Now she won’t help with the truck?  It’s actually easier than the cars but she muttered something about ‘she only does red cars’….hmmmm  Maybe I need to find a painter?  Anyway after setting up camp and I finished cleaning all the road spray and water spots off of a black truck, in the atomic blast from the sun….I was thoroughly pooped.  I sat under our canopy a while to recoup and noticed the vehicles continuing to arrive.  A lot of vehicles we know but some that are new to us.  We kept asking people how they made it through the rain….rain? What rain? 
I liked the dark green ’68 AMC AMX and the 70 something silver & copper Nova….it sounded real nice too!  There was an intimidating dark maroon ‘50 Buick sitting under a tree, a retro display!  There were about 200 vehicles in attendance with about half 1970 and newer.  I was just too worn out by the heat and didn’t take pictures of everything early enough….oh well there is always next year.

On the way home I made one of those ‘Oh Nooooo Mr. Bill’ turns and had to be rescued by Jim & Linda in the blue Vette with the GPS (I hate it when that happens)….  We had an uneventful cruise to Stafford till we started running over wet roads….from the rain…..that no one else had to run in….I think it’s the weatherguessers revenge!  The good news now is that I don’t have to clean anything under the truck….just the shinny part and under the hood, whew!

Be sure to check out the images at;

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Running with the rain....

Friday afternoon we made our way 16 miles North to Woodbridge, VA and the Prince William Cruisers weekly cruise near the Glory Days restaurant.  We usually try to attend this cruise a couple times a year because we like to interact with the people that attend it….it is always good banter and fellowship.  They set up a loose circle of folding chairs between a couple hot rods to keep the conversation close and it continues all evening.  We arrived first and the others cruised in as the evening unfolded.  The number of vehicles attending this cruise has never been overwhelming but they are always interesting.  Tonight a seldom seen car, an Opel GT from the late 60’s, cruised in….it was nearly stock but a neat comment on automotive design of the period and beyond….  And another Chevy AD (Advance Design) pickup, almost black too!  A tall T coupe then a pair of red Model A Sedans arrived. And lastly a black original Model A pickup snuck in with the brown Ford Sedan….very cool.  But as I said this cruise is all about the social interaction….and it goes on into the night….past “cruise time”.  If you like to talk or listen instead of power cruisin then you should visit this cruise.

Saturday Ron C., Andrew R., and the Princess & I met at the WAWA then departed at 7AM for Gloucester, VA and the Middle Peninsula Classic Cruisers, Blast From the Past Car Show.  Gloucester is 109 miles from the WAWA so it would be a long cruise to the event using Rt. 17 most of the way.  But it is a pleasant cruise through Virginia’s lowlands near the Chesapeake Bay and environs.  It is a very low stress cruise, mostly through flat rural farm country with the corn and soy beans growing near the road.  The cruise takes us through towns like Tappahannock, Saluda, Ark, Jamaica, Oakley, Ozeana, Dunnsville, Caret, Chance, Loretto, Iraville, Return, Olive and Etta.  Had we gone a few miles further we would have gone through Ordinary and Short Lane.  I’m not making these up!  
The weatherguessers had been forecasting rain for the day….20% to 50%.  It was supposed to be OK in Gloucester but raining in Stafford….yeah right.  It was an uneventful cruise to the event….weather-wise.  The large puffy clouds all around but no rain….OK so far!
When we arrived at the event it had about half of the cars that would make up the days contestants already in place.  We muscled our way to a spot with a tree strip in back so we could erect our canopy….the Princess must have her shade!  An overheated, over sweated, sunburned Princess is not a pretty sight nor is she very pleasant company….there would be a riff in the Force if she doesn’t have shade!   I don’t think the angry guy with the red flag wanted us to park by the trees but he finally gave up but then made us park a little too close together!  Whew that was stressful.  We set up the canopy and all the rest of our support gear.  How did we get all that stuff in our coupes?  It seems like each time I open the cover on the truck there is more stuff in there?  The Princess says “I don’t know what that stuff is or where it came from, not mine”?
There were about 80-85 vehicles in the event that ranged from cars that still had that ‘new car’ smell to Hot Rods from the 30’s and everything in between.  We had seen only a few before….like our friend Bing’s nice ’55 Chevy.  Bing is another one of HotRodHotLine’s intrepid reporters….be sure to check out his pictures too.  One person that visited our canopy was a man with his two sons that were taking in the show.  During the conversation answering his question of what Cruisin For Heroes was, he shared with us what Wounded Warrior Project meant to him….a personal deal….makes me happy that we can give back something to our Veterans.
The way too bright green ’67 Plymouth Barracuda was perfect…the detail was impeccable.  I liked the brown AMC AMX….another seldom seen car!  The blue & white Hillman wagon with the SB Chevy gets better every time I see it.  The graphically green 60’s Ford Econoline was a forehead slapping throwback for me….but the most memory intensive ride for me was the red ’69 VW flip front.  That turbo charged, over 300HP air cooled beast was one of the coolest rides at the event….what a nostalgia deal that was for me!  One of the other road beast’s that caught my solid attention was the yellow Model A pickup, with the massively blown Chevy big block and blue light attracting exhaust system.  I bet that one will set off car alarms….hehehehhe  The orange ’56 Merc custom was exquisitely executed….like something out of a Rod & Custom magazine from the 60’s. 

The weatherguessers were running for cover as the nice white puffy, picturesque clouds began turning into dark grey apocalyptical masses of lightning filled trouble….heading our way!  The host club began the award ceremony a little early so we could disperse before the impending deluge was upon us!  As some of you know when we had two cars I never had mine judged at shows….I care not about awards, I’m just thankful that God has provided us with the means to enjoy this hobby.  But since we now have downsized to one vehicle….and the Princess is always with me….the truck has to be in the contest.  The whining is incessant if she thinks she “missed a trophy”!?   So….HER truck won a couple trophies….best paint & best truck!  There will be happiness and tranquility in the Shotwell hovel till next time! 
So our little convoy ran back to Stafford….it started to rain about ½ mile from the show!  And it really rained….not Biblical proportions but intense enough to slow down….grin  It rained for about 30 miles then quit till we got close to Fredericksburg then rained again for a short while.  It was our first time driving the truck in the rain and we found it had no leaks and it was a lot less intense to handle than the RedRat was.  The truck has two little wipers that work just fine thank you….grin

We arrived at the ongoing cruise at Home Depot in N. Stafford and found a moving van was taking up half of the parking spaces!  Bummer  So we parked the truck in the cruise lot and walked to Hibachi Grille to meet others for dinner….it was a very, very long, tedious walk after our already long day.  I think the walk was about 184 miles long….won’t do that again soon.  When we came back to the cruise it was raining and everyone was gone!  The truck looked very lonely in the parking lot….all by itself….won’t do that again either!  We cruised back home and dried the truck to be ready for our next adventure….I love this hobby.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July 2012

 Our little group of intrepid cruisers left the WAWA in Stafford, VA at 5:30 AM, in the morning, 19 minutes after sunrise….it was early!  The Princess had been up since 3:30AM….doing Princess Stuff? What is up with that? If it takes me longer than 5 min. from eyes open to ignition key turning….call 911 because my hair blower has electrocuted me!  I’m just saying….

Anyway, we cruised for 37 miles and arrived in Culpeper, VA for the 13th annual, Fourth of July Car & Bike show.  We have attended this show the last few years and it is always a fun time….except for the heat.  Most of the day is spent hiding from the sun and detecting a breeze.  We had all sorts of cooling aids…. large straw hats, massive quintiles of water and Gatorade, bandanas with crystals that when soaked in water swell up and then cool as they evaporate (I think mine was steaming when I wore it!?), little bottles of water with fans and misters built in to them, hand fans, sun screen and some things Steve wanted to do that I can’t explain.  But it was still hot….the weatherguessers said it was about 100 degrees with 700% humidity.  I think they lied! 
This event is one that we look forward to attending each year.  It is on one of the main streets in the historic town of Culpeper, VA.  There are always nice cars that we have not seen before and we get to connect with friends and spend the day catching up and sweating.  The show organizers always have a car they showcase….last year it was the air cooled VW….this year it was the early Ford Mustang.  There were some very nice examples of Lee Iacocca’s vision of the American Muscle car present at the show.  I liked the yellow ’69 Fastback.  Last year there were 220 cars registered, which was a record.  This year it was down to around 170….must have been the heat and or the effects of the massive storm that went through our area just 6 days prior to the show….some still don’t have power!
The show was a good representation of cruise in show cars in our part of Virginia.  They ranged from the orange Chrysler custom to the many Wheezers (VW) to Bill’s Model T race car.  I liked the yellow/red Checker with the injected Chevy big block!  Frank’s traditional hot rod (I refuse to call it a rat rod, it’s too nice!) was a crowd pleaser as was the red & white Wheezer with the Coke trailer.  The purple ’57 Merc was just too cool and I liked the “other” black ’49 Chevy PU!  My favorite was the green 1950 HHR….Please check out the pictures to share in the day we had in Culpeper, VA on the Fourth of July….Don’t miss it next year!
After the event a few of us cruised to Lou & Arlene’s place for a cook out….but we stayed inside….it was hot hot hot don’t ya know!  On the way back it must have still been hot because the first leader (with the state of the art GPS, in an air conditioned, comfortable ’08 Vette) led us thru a U turn in the confusion of getting Ron to an air pump….then the Cruise Missile had to U turn when I blew past our turn on 17!  I think it was the heat affecting the electronics and brain cells….that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
The pictures are hiding at;

Monday, July 2, 2012

Uh Oh Derecho....

Fred cruised with the Princess and me to Ashland and the Chick-fil-a cruise held every Friday evening.  This cruise is sponsored by the Chick-fil-a that is owned by Howe Rice.  They graciously provide a food discount for all owners and one passenger of vehicles that attend the cruise.  The food is great and Diane helps make the dining experience so much better.  Patronizing this sponsor is an easy thing to do….and in July they will start selling their peach milk shakes.  You cannot resist….you will be assimilated…..try one!
The heat was oppressive and the attendance reflected that….only about 15 vehicles showed up by the time we left around 8:30.  When we left we cruised north for home and the closer we got to Stafford the more lightning we saw.  As we turned off I-95 onto Garrisonville Rd. the sky just lit up….it was awesome and frightening at the same time.  It was much more than normal heat lightning….something violent was coming our way.  We got the truck in the garage and I was getting the bugs off of it and unloading the cooler when the wind started howling…. I closed one of the garage doors and looked around the back of the garage and the lightning and wind was rapidly approaching!  It got darker and nosier even though it was already night time, about 10 PM.  Then the rain & wind started pummeling the trees….stripping leaves and acorns off.  I closed the garage up and went inside….a few minutes later the power went off….and would not come back on for 8 hours!  We have two oak trees and the acorns coming off sounded like hail when it hit our skylight and aluminum window awnings.  The neighbors would tell us later that one of our trees in the front yard was blowing over from side to side; they knew it would be broken off or ripped out of the ground!  Neither happened fortunately for us but the devastation was massive in the area and state.  The Governor has issued a “State of Emergency” and three days later the power is still off in many places!  The storm was called a Derecho storm, like a horizontal tornado….I never heard of anything like that.  The next day, Saturday, the power was off at many food places and gasoline dispensing stores.  And by Sunday the gas stations that had power and were open were running out of gasoline!  Long lines like the gas extortion of the 70’s were replaying in my mind as I waited in a line for 45 min to buy 5 gallons of gas for our generator.  The weather guessers were saying we might be visited by storms again each night for a few days!
Sunday we had planned an event in Amissville, VA for the last six months and we had to try to follow through.  Those of us that had power cranked up and cruised to the event at Narmada Winery.  We had planned a vehicle display to complement the weekend event at the Winery that day.  We had invited 20 vehicles but many were calling to cancel because they were dealing with the effects of the storm.  Six vehicles showed up and we made the best of it for our charity, Fisher House.  The heat was too much for one couple so they left for home and their A/ move!   THE Princess and the ‘other’ Princess started sampling the wine slushies inside the winery…. she said it was nice inside and she wanted to stay longer! An Irish/Cherokee is not easily negotiated with when slushied to the max.  She said the wine was just like her truck, purple.  It’s a good thing she had a driver….
It was stiflingly hot but we set up and started interacting with the spectators and in the process collected $100 in donations for Fisher House.  But more importantly we raised awareness to the concerns of our warriors.  It’s what we do!  We decided to call the event early….Did I mention that it was really hot.  We presented one of the owners of the Winery with an appreciation plaque and packed up for home.  Given the effects of the storm it was extraordinary that anyone could get out….trees were down everywhere and people without power numbered above 100K.  But we pressed on and followed through with what we could….it’s what we do!
Be sure to check out the rest of the pictures at;