Sunday, September 30, 2012

A very cool weekend

Saturday we left the WAWA in Staffor, VA at 6AM and cruised 115 miles to Topping, VA and the 17th Annual Wings Wheels & Keels show.  The event is at Hummel Air Field and presented by Middlesex County and Friends of Hummel Airfield.  We have been trying to get to this event for a few years and something has always come up so we were determined to make it this year.  At 4 AM Saturday morning the weatherguessers were calling for 80% rain at Topping but it would be reduced to 60% after 11AM….?  Pretty bleak….but since it wasn’t raining in Stafford we decided to take a chance and make the run.  We decided to break up the trip a little by stopping in ‘Office Hall’ (I don’t make these names up!) at the intersection of Rt. 301 & Rt. 3 to meet a fellow traveler that may come down from Annapolis, MD to run with us.  We continued on to Warsaw, VA to meet with a friend of Debie’s to give some stuff to and have another pit stop.  Then proceeded on to Topping, VA.  I have to file a complaint to the mapquesterians about their maps.  While plotting the route we would take I never realized we would be going over a bridge….a very narrow and high bridge, with low guardrails, that was about 720 miles long.  I really don’t like bridges….but this one was pretty bad.  If the mapquesterians would have warned me I would have plotted another course….but they didn’t.  So as we traveled south on Rt. 3 I was noticing little things like a lot more churches along the way….the closer we got to the bridge there were churches were every block or so?  Then the ‘last chance’ store?  What is that?  Then I saw the restricted truck sign and the high wind danger lights that should be flashing like a disco ball….I’m in trouble!  But I didn’t know the extent of my problems till we rounded a corner and came out of the trees…..There it was, The bridge to infinity and beyond!   It looked like it went into the clouds….I knew I was now on the road to 'The Cloud' that my techie friends are always talking about!  Sun was reflecting off my white knuckles on the steering wheel obscuring a clear view….or was it my eyes narrowing like an Eskimo in a blizzard.  My pucker factor was going to have to be surgically removed from the seat if we ever reached land again.  But then….just as the rusty super structure of the bridge was taking shape, we drove into the clouds and I heard a noise….like a voice out of the clouds….it said in a loud angelic voice   “Hey look at that ship down there, it looks like a row boat it’s so small” and “Look at that airliner, we’re as high as it is, wow”.  Mercifully while we are negotiating the rusty steel superstructure the voice couldn’t see very far because of the clouds.  Then the voice asks “Why is the bridge so rusty?  It’s still safe isn’t it?  Do they all shake like this?  Who inspects bridges? It will still hold us ok, right?”  And my favorite, “I think I can see through the bottom of the bridge!”  I’m doomed….  If I can just hang on a few more hours it will end….one way or another.  Later we emerged from the steel part to once again be subjected to the narrow part with very low guard rails….they might help to keep a street luge from going over the side but not much else.  Out of the clouds now and I can see land….then I started thinking about all the work I had done to the truck….the idler arm, control arm bushings, ball joints, wheel bearings, rotors, sway bar bushings, steering column rebuild, steering u-joint, brake pedal….the tape was playing in my mind of how any one of those things could fail and catapult me over the very low guard rails and I see myself falling…. falling…..falling into the cold Rappahannock River.  Finally, after what seemed like a week, we are back on land again….whew.  I have to write MapQuest a nasty letter about how they must warn travelers about bridges….the little line looks so innocent laying on that blue part of the map….it should be flashing red, with warnings and maybe little electric shock going to the mouse to alert the unsuspecting traveler about “The Bridge”.  At the very least there should be icons that say “Dragons Be Here” with blood dripping arrows pointing to the bridge.  After clicking back into my normal driving attitude the Princess yells….”There it is, turn right….quick….!”  We had arrived alive and I may be able to walk upright again in a few hours after I pry my fingers off the steering wheel. 

The event looked promising for me because of the airplanes but the variety of vehicles was interesting too.  We set up camp and began to enjoy the airplanes flying and the stream of incoming vehicles.  The rain held off all day but the breeze was relentless and very cold….very very cold.  The event had some very unusual antique boats but my favorite was the hand built Viking barge.  The local squadron of the Commemorative Air Force was well represented and I spent some time at their table.  There were many vendors present, more like a craft show which was neat.

While sitting in my chair and enjoying the event we struck up a conversation with our event neighbors.  They had a well done black ’32 Ford 5 window coupe….nothing too cosmic but very nice indeed.  The couple was easy to talk to, as most Virginians are, but we were all beginning to suffer from the cold wind.  Like the rest of us the lady had dressed for warm weather to include sandals with no socks, this will be important in a minute. The lady also had Diabetes.  She was getting very uncomfortable with the cold and her husband had some shop towels that he put on her feet, it helped but her feet were still cold.  I sometimes wear compression knee high socks to give me a little more support on uneven ground, like at this event.  But I also carry a spare pair of socks to change into if the compression socks start hurting or if it gets too hot for them.  So I dug them out of the truck and gave them to the lady with the cold feet.  I thought it was an ok thing to do….wrong!  When I did that the Princess was away getting food….when she came back she noticed the lady had socks….her friend Debie (who used to be my friend too, grin) ratted me out and told the Princess “YOUR HUSBAND gave them to her!  I thought I was putting into practice some of things I learned in all those sensitivity training classes the Princess makes me attend?  I guess that’s why we mortal men will never figure out women….ever!  It may be a long quiet trip home….hehehehe  I have a CD player….chuckle!
The judging class structure was new to us; we were in American 00-1945?  The vehicles ran the gamut from a Midget race car to a new Ferrari!  I have never seen a 1951 Crosley Super Sport or a ’49 Pontiac convertible, both were present.  One of my favorites was the yellow MGB with the 215 Buick aluminum motor, which is the cleanest MGB I have ever seen.  The Dodge fire truck was very unusual and the red ’40 Ford convertible was just too nice.  And the ’40 had a unique way to exhaust the engine compartment heat from the modular motor.  But my favorite was the ’37 GMC COE wrecker, something that looks like a lot of fun.
After the award ceremony we decided to cruise to the Family diner in Fredericksburg, VA for dinner and their cruise.  After another 2 ½ hour cruise we arrived at our destination and sampled some fine family cooking.  About 15 cars arrived for the evenings cruise but we were whipped….all day in the cold, windy environment had taken its toll.  We were so tired we didn’t even visit Carl’s Ice Cream….that never happened before!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Is it Monday already?

Friday evening Dan & Ramona and the Princess & I cruised 51 miles to Colonial Beach, VA and the bi-monthly cruise at Fat Freda’s restaurant.  Dan & Ramona’s ’55 is in the car hospital getting fixed from the deer hit so they drove their new red bullet Chrysler Town & Country minivan.  When we arrived there were 8 hot rods parked so we said Hi and went inside for dinner.  As usual the food was great….especially the shrimp.  The Princess said they were the best shrimp she has had in a long while….so I guess she is now a shrimp expert too.  That would make her the Shrimp Princess….?  I think I’m going to leave that alone.  The service was fun and the prices were fair….try it when you are in Colonial Beach sometime.  When we returned to the cruise lot everyone but one other truck was gone!  The lot was being taken over by daily drivers?  Maybe it’s too late in the season to sit in chairs outside….maybe not?  So we cruised 51 uneventful miles back home….  But….since we were going to be within 200 miles of Carl’s Ice Cream the Princess said we MUST go to Carl’s….with that over the glasses, through the teeth command that cannot be ignored….so we visited Carl’s!

Saturday we met Fred & Debie at Bob Evans in Stafford, VA for breakfast.  After we provided the customary old people abuse to the waitress we left Stafford at 8AM and cruised 68 miles to a little south of Culpeper, VA and the Chrysler of Culpeper dealership.  We had decided to attend the third annual Mopar Madness show that Wade Schick’s dealership was hosting.  Tony V. and the Rappahannock Region Mopar Club was managing the show for Wade and since we had heard good things about the event in the past we decided to check it out.  I have to tell you that that I was beginning to think maybe I should drive something other than our Chebby to a Mopar only deal….visions of little Pentstar and blue Mopar emblems stuck all over our truck was giving me second thoughts.  I knew if the parking staff directed us to the back of the dealership, next to the dumpsters, we were going to be in trouble!  But since we had a few friends in the club and since we are really a Mopar friendly family (we have owned a ’72 GTX RR, ’73 Dodge PU, ’34 Nash 4dr Sedan and a ’70 Gremlin, ’94 Jeep CJ) we decided to chance it….kinda like the reverse “occupy” scenario….we would be the 1% and the Mopars would be the 99%....scary!

My apprehension was soon proved unfounded….we were parked behind the owner of the dealership’s cars!  WOW!  We were welcomed and after we paid to support the charities I put a “Press” card in the windshield and all was OK….  I wonder if we would have received the same warm welcome at an all Ford event….?  Hmmmmm?  It is neat that “Mopar” also includes the AMC & Willys nameplate as I think that adds to the rich heritage of the Mopar history.
The event had much to see and do in addition to checking out all the cool Mopar cars.  Bruster’s Ice Cream, Snowie shaved ice and Maria’s Digital Photique provided something else to investigate.  The JROTC provided the Color Guard and roamed the premises talking about what they do in JROTC.  There was also a contingent of soap box racers that was very impressive, check out the zebra painted one!  The commitment of these young people and their parents is refreshing in today’s often too busy lifestyle.  One of the charities, Hospice of the Rapidan, had a table set up and answered questions about their contributions to the community.  The other charity was The U. S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment.  The club had many T-Shirts for sale and the door prizes were the best I have seen at many a car show!  The goodie bag was complete and enclosed in a neat fabric, reusable little tote bag….with a Dodge nameplate on it, that is NOT going to end up in a trash can!  Gary provided the music and announcements.  His play list was great and easy to listen to.  His announcements and trivia questions were worked in nicely….I think he has done that before, hehehe!  The registration people from the club made that part of the event painless and quick….except for that old, almost retired guy….grin!  Tony and a friend collected money for the charity for the time they would wear the Bruster’s “Scoops” costume….I don’t think you could pay me enough to do that….hehehehehe!
The competitor’s field was varied and heavily represented in the post mid 60’s group.  The early years were not present in equal numbers.  Fred & Debie’s ’57 was one of the few early cars.  There were a lot of 60’s & 70’s Dodge & Plymouth examples as well as the “new” cars….but early 60’s and before were not well represented.  I have seen many examples of vehicles of that time frame around our area but they stayed away?  I hope that changes in the future or else this will be a “late” model Mopar event instead of a Mopar event.  That said I did like the new cars and especially the blue over silver SRT Challenger with the chrome and blue chrome wheels….THAT one can park in my garage anytime!  I also liked the red ’67 Barracuda with the slant 6 engine….so many V-8’s, the 6 cyl is a welcome choice.  The green ’67 Duster with a ring gear that must have been as big as his tires was nice too….I think it idled at 28,000 rpm….too radical for me….did I say that?  I think my favorite was Mr. Major’s yellow Charger R/T….I have always liked that car.
The weatherguessers said we were to receive severe weather to include hail in the late afternoon….  About 2PM the clouds started rolling around us, some were very dark!  So the award ceremony was begun a little early so we could escape the oncoming deluge.  One of the neat things about this event is the participation of the dealership owner, Wade.  He was involved all day, mingling in the crowd and taking part in of some of the closing ceremony.  I have attended many dealership hosted events and seldom ever see the owner much less have him so accessible to the attendees.  That level of hands on support is truly rare….Thanks Mr. Schick!
One of the things I to do is take a video of the participant vehicles as they leave an event.  This event would be perfect….there was only one way out, they would have to get into the loud pedal a little to merge on the relentless traffic on Rt. 29 so I would be able to video them under power a little.  But when I positioned myself I noticed the crown of the road….if anyone got out of shape they would be on a trajectory right where I was standing!  So….I hid behind the dealership sign….and….since I was hidden some of the drivers might not try to “show boat” for the camera….a good plan me thinks.  As it turned out all the participants were mature enough not to embarrass themselves and I got a few good clips of their leaving….nice.   A great end to a very enjoyable day mingling with Mopar people!  Fun….ever heard of it?
As we started to leave Debie and the Princess started whining about food, the Princess said she wanted a hamburger….so….our little group decided to visit the Bull Run Street Rods cruise at the BK in Manassas, VA….since it was on the way?  And now the weatherguessers were saying the storm would go north of us….and we believed them like we always do….because they are always right….right? 
We cruised in to BK and the lot was only about ¼ full!  This place is always jumping on Saturday but today not so much?  It must have been the weatherguessers again, scaring people away from doing what they really want to do by making them believe they would have more fun sitting inside their homes looking through the newest Jeggs or Summit catalogs while it rained outside….hmmm.  So….no rain here!
Dennis & Paul along with some of the other “regulars” were there and the sinister black/white ’54 Chevy car came in.  That car is really cool.  There was a gaggle of little “pulling tractors”.  I never knew they existed!  More about that in the future.  There were a few more cars that rolled in but we decided to call it a day….the Princess and I forgot to apply sunscreen and both looked like ripe tomatoes!  So we cruised 32 miles back home….I love this hobby!
Sunday we left Stafford and cruised 31 miles to Alexandria, VA and the Hayfield HS show.   We attended the first one a few years ago but have been unable to join them since then because of scheduling complications.  But this year we have been looking forward to being there to help the HS Auto Shop raise funds for their project car.  They are putting together a kit car and have it rolling now.
The event is in a shopping mall parking lot but still is a nice venue.  One of the benefits having it there is that spectators come through the field of cars and ask questions.  The Princess and I like that kind of thing….we usually prefer to interact with spectators than talk in cliques away from spectators.  John T. is the teacher from the school that organizes the event and with the assistance of his band of students and Steve from PWC the event runs very well.  The door prizes at this event are a welcome change from the bundle of shop rags….they give out gasoline cards.  And they have “Special” door prizes for the ladies, a gift card for 8 one hour sessions at a local ladies fitness center.  The Princess won a door prize….she always hoots and hollers and shows everyone within 28 miles of her whenever she wins anything.  But when she got back to the truck with her “prize” she wasn’t very cheery?  She got one of the “special” fitness prizes!  Now the Princess thinks that her fitness program consists of keeping me on the straight and narrow by constantly informing me of the error of my ways.  She gets that bus driver scowl and pointy finger going real good!  She said that it was very inconsiderate giving HER something about fitness!  Luckily John T. was walking nearby and overheard the whining.  He quickly stepped in and told her he would fix that….he took her fitness gift card and returned with a Shell gift card for $25.  Whew…. thanks John…..that could have turned ugly!  Chuckle
The car entries are varied from a couple stock Model A’s to very new Mustangs.  I liked the white ’53 Corvette with the stock 6 cyl engine!  When I compare Big A’s blue Vette to the white ’53, the evolution of the mark is just amazing!  I messed up with my camera and didn’t get a clean picture of the best of show vehicle.  I usually don’t care which vehicle is chosen for best of show but this time it was a vehicle I would have picked….the black 40 something Dodge farm truck is just perfect.  I have photographed it before and will dig up another photograph to put with this set of pictures. 
We had a great day interacting with spectators and friends but it was time to make the trip home.  We cruised back home and after we put the truck away we started getting calls from friends that wanted to go out and eat dinner.  I won’t go into too much detail….but….we may not be allowed to return to the Chili’s in Stafford. grin

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Three Day Blur....

Friday we cruised to Fredericksburg, VA and the weekly cruise at VA BBQ.  Soon after we got parked and set up our chairs, I spotted Donnie walking around and we began talking about ‘back in the day’ stuff.  He is a very interesting guy….I may have to write something about him someday.  I guess we were standing/talking for a couple hours….because when we parted I collapsed in my chair and stayed there till we left!  So….no pictures that night!

Saturday we left Stafford, VA around 7AM and drove to Dulles Airport near Chantilly, VA.  One of our friends, Tony V., had suggested that we go with him on an Honor Flight welcome sometime.  It sounded like a neat idea so Saturday was the day we were scheduled to go.  We arrived around 8:20 and the flight was delayed till about 11AM….so we waited and talked with the other 120-130 people that had gathered to honor some of our Veterans.  When the Veterans began coming through the gate with their handlers it all came in focus.   They were not aware that we would be there to welcome them….some were in kind of a shock when we started clapping, shouting, holding up signs, waving American flags and walking up to them to shake their hands and thank them for their service and call to duty….it was a truly memorable experience.  There were young children as well as old people thanking them.  Please check out the pictures that one of our group, Lou R., took.  The Veterans were wearing the blue windbreakers, their helpers/handlers were wearing red and the Honor Flight group wore yellow.  The bikers wore black leather and the Princess and I wore red/white and blue! grin 
 There was one lady, a Navy Veteran, in the Veteran’s group but the rest were men.  All in various states of health….some had walkers some canes and some in wheelchairs but about half walked on their own!  We are losing about a thousand of these Heroes a day and this little gesture of thanks is something everyone can participate in.  The Honor Flight website explains it much better than I can so please visit their site at  After the Heroes visited the restrooms they loaded into the 5 waiting tour busses.  After they were secure they left for D.C. escorted by a group of American Legion bike riders!  WOW….  What a day….something I will always treasure.  We need to do that again….soon.    
On the way home Tony recommended we catch lunch at Santini’s near Chantilly, VA….a good decision!  So….a Greek was recommending an Italian Deli….this may not end well.  Happily we found that the food was great and unlike most Deli’s this one had more than ample room to sit and tables with chairs capable of supporting my svelte self.  Most Deli’s use chairs that would collapse if you put a Sears catalog on the seat….the ones at Santini’s could be used for safety stands under our truck!  I know not many of you think of such things but if you have ever picked yourself up from the floor after performing a failing stress test on a chair you would understand.  I recommend Santini’s when you are in the neighborhood.
Saturday evening we cruised to Fredericksburg, VA and the Family Diner cruise.  Even though I was still a little full from our visit to Santini’s earlier, the Princess said we must eat…. You ever see a picture of little birds in a nest when the adult bird brings the food….the little chicks screech with their mouths open….chirping, feed me feed me.  So we ate….again….within 4 hours….I felt like a tick that had been hanging on someone for a week….burp.  As I have said before the food is great at Family Diner and I really enjoy eating there….but for the first time I can remember I had to take food home in a doggie box….I hate that.  ‘They’ say that women always take food home but rarely eat it later.  Men, however, rarely take food home but always eat it later…. I think I can buy into that conclusion…. warmed up french fries at midnight are ok!  The Colonial Beach Cruisers paid a visit and there were about 20 cars before the night ended.  This is a very relaxed cruise….just friends talking about cars, life and anything else that comes up….even politics!  The night started getting a little chilly around 9PM so we cruised home and got the truck ready to the next day.  The Princess whined till I turned on the valve for the heater….heat!?  I guess fall is right around the corner.
Sunday we cruised 22 miles to Occoquan, VA and the Prince William Cruisers fall benefit car show.  As in years past their charity is Wounded Warrior Project.  This year they presented Wounded Warrior Project with a check for $7,177….not bad for a local car club!  Dan & Ramona and the Princess & I always enjoy helping them with their shows.  The Princess and Ramona sell T-Shirts, Dan helps Dave with checking in this year’s 185 participants and I help Jo and Roger with registration.  This show usually attracts a lot of participants with varied vehicles and this year did not disappoint.  Steve is able to make sure the show runs with Swiss watch precision due to the adept assistance from an army of club members.  Their working harmony is conspicuous and very few are left standing around long after Steve sees them.  I just wish Steve could bring more clip boards…..grin  Sally and her helpers sold more 50/50 tickets than I can remember, almost $1300....WOW!
The quality of vehicles is astounding and the ‘Best of Show’ was a work of art.  It’s not something I would drive but it was something to marvel at….the result of many craftsmen’s skill and effort.  There was a red ’71 Plymouth RoadRunner that made the Princesses blood pressure rise a little.  And I’m glad Bill & Lisa brought out their red ’37 Ford Slant back….the little travel trailer really sets it off!  But my favorite was the little yellow & white Nash Metropolitan….we see it occasionally and it is always an attraction.  While I was taking the photograph I overheard someone ask the owner, a lady, how much she would take for the car.  With no hesitation she said $100,000!  I guess that was just easier than saying it’s not for sale….chuckle…. 
After the award ceremony we had an uneventful cruise home….then another feeding stop at Hibachi Grille in Stafford….a very busy weekend….  Just wait till next weekend….we are going to “Occupy” a Mopar show, just wait till you see what I do to a New York Trooper cruiser….it may be on the evening news….or not?  We’ll see….hehehehe

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Wild and Crazy Weekend

Friday evening we cruised to the Family Diner in Fredericksburg, VA for dinner with friends then off to the weekly cruise of the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club at VA BBQ.  We didn’t arrive at the cruise till around 7pm and most of the parking spots were taken!  The truck is long and it doesn’t turn tightly real well….so we parked in the travel lanes of the lot till something opened up.  There were around 60 vehicles and most were the usual suspects.  One of the new ones that caught my attention was the red Chevy Blazer Sport, 2 dr.  It is one of the finest examples of a car like that I have seen.  I also liked the yellow ’55 Chevy Pickup….I have seen it before but it really does stand out for more than its color!

Saturday our group cruised 16 miles to the Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia.  They were having their first car show in a lot of years and we wanted to support their efforts.  I always like to be on base.  Being an Air Force brat I have lived on a few bases in my early years and I feel comfortable there. There is a complex entry procedure but when you get over that it is a neat place to spend your day.  Their contact person, Joey S., made the process very smooth.  They had a great food vendor, The Clubs at Quantico, who had done this before!  The food was superior, prices were fair and the service & attitude was impeccable….great job. The Porta potties were clean and well placed which was much appreciated by all.  Some of our group ventured into Quantico Town and the S & G restaurant for breakfast….a great idea from Ken B. the night before at VA BBQ and seconded by Ron C.!  The event was used to raise money for the Quantico Auto Hobby Skills Center….  I spent many hours in various Air Force base auto shops in my early years beginning at Minot AFB, ND.  With what little we pay our Warriors this is a much needed and deserved perk for them.
The day was warm but not hot but with a robust breeze all day.  We were planning on being able to set up our canopy on grass or gravel where we could properly secure it but we were parked on asphalt.  If the wind was going to be a problem we had to be able to secure our canopy so it wouldn’t be flying around the parking lot, bumping off the cars in the show!  So….what to do….  Since we now drive a hot rod with a spare wheel/tire I decided that would anchor one leg of the canopy.  Since I need to be prepared to repair things that may go awry with the truck I have been carrying a tool bag that weighs about 648 lbs!  That should fix another leg.  Fred and Ron dug out some tool boxes and other things that took care of another leg and the last one was secured with Lou’s cooler!  We laugh at wind now….grin! 
As we were setting under the canopy an Air Force C-17 flew over on final approach a couple times….really cool to see!  There were about 170 vehicles at the show….a lot for a new show….  We’ll see how it does next year.  There were many newer vehicles, about 2/3 were built after 1980 and the judging was done by participant voting for the different categories.  We liked the natural yellow ’55 Ford Pickup; we see this hot rod on the roads a lot….it’s good to drive them cars!  And Joe’s orange 66/67 Nova is always a welcome sight at a show.  You have to check out the pictures to see the many other vehicles that attended.  A neat show that we will try to attend again next year….so should you!  We didn’t try to go to the Family Diner cruise in Fredericksburg after the show because of the rain that was on the way….it arrived about an hour after we got home.
Sunday we left Stafford at 6AM and cruised 38 miles and met up with Lou & Arlene in Gainesville, VA then continued our cruise for 22 more miles to Herndon, VA and the 11th Annual Herndon Classic Car Show sponsored by the Dulles Area Chapter of AARP.  This is one of the most fun shows we do all year.  When we arrived at 7:23 there were already 15 cars parked!  Two were in “our” parking spots!  What to do….?  The staff member was trying to make us park down the street but we really didn’t want to go there.  So we decided to park across the street from “our” parking spaces….I could tell the staff guy was not happy with our decision but he helped us get lined up like he wanted and left us.  I put on events myself and I know the value of parking people where YOU want them to be….but sometimes you have to considered letting people park where THEY want to park to keep happy campers.  If we hadn’t been able to park where we wanted it would have made the day much less enjoyable for us.  So….where we ended up turned out to be better than our previous place and it will now be our new parking place for next year….I think we will be there by 6:30 next time!
The event has something going on all day along with the vehicle show.  The 50’s dancers were a hoot and the strolling Dominion Singers were great. Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern had ladies from the NOVA Roller Derby Team dressed in 50’s attire, on roller skates taking food orders.  Then they would bring them back to where ever you were sitting!  Kinda cool!  There were a couple other vendors and the Dairy Queen was open for business too.  Wiygul Automotive Clinic was the major sponsor. 

The quality of the vehicles is really top notch at this show and since the weather was superb many very nice cars came out.  There was a nice yellow ’55 Chevy post and a couple ’57 Chevys too.  Jason’s orange 50 something Caddie wowed everyone and the candy red Merc lead sled was present to collect his trophy.  I met a man I had not seen since the late 70’s when I was with Ryland Homes….he was working for one of our plumbing contractors and I recognized him almost instantly….good connection after all these years….I’m sure I will see Mike again at another event.  His black ‘55/’56 Ford post was nicely done and….it had a 6 cyl motor!  It even had speed equipment of the period and nice ceramic coated headers….a very nice build!  I also liked the green ’34 Ford sedan, the nicest I’ve seen.  Lou & Arlene took the theme of the show to new heights by dressing like something right out of Happy Days!  And their red ’53 Ford convertible just added to the scene…. 
We really enjoyed the day….good weather….good food….good friends….I love this hobby!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The long and winding road....

Friday evening we cruised to Family Diner in Fredericksburg, VA for dinner then cruised another mile to VA BBQ and the weekly cruise in progress.  It was a normal night with about 55 cars cruising through the lot.  This time I remembered my camera and documented the evening.  Kim had one of the little people helping her with the 50/50….boy you don’t want to mess with him…just buy some tickets and no one gets hurt!  Grin Most of the cruisers were regulars and I liked the flat black early Chevy PU, Midnight Speed Shop….very Kool.  And Joe brought his bronze GTO out again to embarrass us chrome polishers…..chuckle  And a very nice black/purple ’55 Chevy….  It was still hot in the evening as we cruised home to the comfort of our air conditioned hovel.

Saturday we were supposed to begin getting the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.  There was severe weather coming in all around us.  We left for the Family Diner and the cruise there at 4PM….no rain yet.  The weatherguessers were saying 70% chance of rain….not for us?!  Ron has a theory that we have a ‘cone of dryness’ around us most of the time that keeps up from getting the rain where we are.  After we parked and ate the rain was going around us in the North and South!  Really weird.  This cruise is new to us and they had about 12 cars for the evening and I think the attendance was hurt by the forecasted rain storms….that didn’t materialize for us.  Stuart brought out his Cobra and Frank was driving his old school, Suburban.  A couple VW’s and a nice blue ’32 Ford Highboy parked in the lot too.  The cruise is like the one a couple years ago at Foster’s.  No music to have to talk over and move away from….just talking about things and enjoying each other’s company.  And with Carl’s Ice Cream so close there is really nothing else the cruise needs!  If it gets bigger then lighting may be an issue….maybe not?  We cruised home on dry pavement to the sounds of War’s song, Low Rider, assaulting my ears….too cool!
Sunday and the weatherguessers said 70% rain most anytime of the day!  But when we got up the driveway was dry so off we went!  We met some friends at WAWA so we had a little convoy going to Colonial Beach, VA and the 4th annual picnic at Jim Still’s 1954 Ford Museum.  We were not able to attend last year’s event but the preceding two years were a hoot, and this year was no exception!  Ron’s ‘Cone of Dryness’ came into play most of the day again….bad weather all around us but it was like the parting of the Red Sea as the storm cells moved away from us. 
The main draw of this event is the games JV and Jim dream up.  This year the lifter toss, the piston throw, pushrod drop, flywheel spin, nut pileup are all fun…. but…. the blind driving contest is the best.  Think about it; you begin at the start line and idle about 100 feet to the finish line….blindfolded!  It sounds easy but it really isn’t.  You can watch the video and see how some did with this deal….especially the guy on the bike!  When you balance on something most of us need a real good visual cue to stay upright.  So on the bike you were judging time and distance AND balance!  I would not try that.  And check out Jim when he used his ’54 Ford golf cart, he was going so fast I didn’t think he could stop till he got to the Chesapeake Bay!  The Princess didn’t want to make her debut driving the truck at this event which was probably a good decision given her penchant of running over the cones with her car.  With the big steel bumpers on the truck she could just mow down anything in her way!  Most people had a go at the blind driving and seemed to enjoy it. 
The event is held at Jim Still’s 1954 Ford Museum….you have to walk around and take in all the artifacts of that bygone time.  The wall murals, the gas pumps, the engines and all the little memorabilia that is everywhere….you just have to spend some time thinking about what you are seeing.  Jim has 15 or so Fords restored with another 30 to do!  The club always feeds everyone well and just asks for a donation to keep the event going.  It was a hot day and those that didn’t know  Ron’s ‘Cone of Dryness’ was in Colonial Beach that day probably stayed away because of the rain.  The rain was literally all around us again but we were dry.  About 3PM after the awards were given out for the games most of the out-of-towners started to leave.  It started to sprinkle, just a little, hardly getting the ground wet, not enough to use the wipers on the truck.  As we left, Ron’s Cone of Dryness followed us all the way back home….whew
Monday, Labor Day 2012, we assembled at the WAWA around 5AM to cruise 35 miles to Clifton, VA and the 13th Annual Clifton car show that is managed by Custom Cruisers of Northern Virginia and co-hosted by the Lions Club.  This event raises a lot of dollars for their charities and they usually have 250-300 vehicles.  This year they had 182 entrants, no doubt due to the weather.  
We belonged to the club years ago and had worked the show a couple times but never participated in it.  It was always conflicting with another show we would support….but this year our calendar cleared up and so off to Clifton we would cruise.  As soon as Fred arrived at the WAWA, so did the rain!  Since the vehicles were wet, we decided to go ahead and make the run north.  It had been so long since I traveled ‘up there’ I asked Fred to lead us through the back roads of Prince William County.   It rained lightly off and on almost all the way to the event, in the dark, in the fog.  But we finally arrived at 6AM which is when Steve said we needed to be there to get a good parking spot.  It was good advice because not many other people were there when we arrived….except Steve.  As we came down the hill into Clifton the rain stopped, Ron must have turned on the Cone of Dryness again!  And we didn’t have any more rain all day….in fact the sun came out and it was a great car show day after all.  The weatherguessers had said another 70% chance of precipitation day….not here!  The Cone of Dryness had failed us in Stafford but was in play all day in Clifton!
This show has a very diverse group of vehicles that attend and the rock climber/desert runner was a cool thing to see.  The owner was very enthusiastic about his sport too.  The black Ford Model A sedan with the two, two barrel carbs was period correct and the neat thing about it was that it was built in Canada!  They used the Robertson screws, they have a square recess instead of the common one used in the USA….I didn’t know that.  When we lived in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the mid 50’s I remember my day bought a set of screwdrivers that were for square headed fasteners….cool connection.  Paul’s yellow ’32 5w coupe is always easy to look at and its sound has the proper attitude!  This event also brings out some very nice vehicles….too nice to adequately judge fairly.  This may be why the club has gone to a participant judging process….it really is easier for the club and most of the time it’s the only fair way to go. 
I also liked the red ’71 Ford Torino with the Boss 429 transplanted into it!  The candy red way low Merc with enough bling bling to be seen from the space station was just too kool.  But my favorite was the orange ’65 Cobra Daytona; it was the best example of that car I have seen.
The Custom Cruisers work like a Swiss watch and the show just clicked off as planned.  Jim was also cruising throughout the crowd in a golf cart to make sure everything was unfolding the way they wanted.  Like other mature car clubs in the area they make a difficult and complicated event look easy!  They gave $25 Sunoco gas gift cards for the top 20 awards….a nice deal.  They also had some specialty trophies like best back seat and Ladies choice? 
As this event usually does, it got very crowded as the day wound down, see the pictures.  It took me a long time to get a clear shot of some of the vehicles, the people just wouldn’t move on….grin  And Fred & Ron enjoyed the show under the shade of a Crape Myrtle in the church’s front yard….no doubt getting some relief from the sun.  Yes….sun….the Cone of Dryness was at work again….I was getting phone calls from Stafford telling me how much rain they were getting and the sun was shining where we were!  And so ended a very busy weekend for us….  But we found out that a good friend’s Mom passed away Sunday….it seems that the longer in the tooth I get the more visits we are making to say our last good buys to someone.  But Mom’s are special….I remember my Mom’s passing a couple years ago….they are so special.