Sunday, December 16, 2012

Merry Christmas....All Y'all....

Saturday morning around 10 AM people started to gather at Chili’s Restaurant in N. Stafford, VA to participate in the 3rd Annual “Santa’s Helpers Toy Run”.  Dan began planning for this year’s run during last year’s event!  He is a quiet but persistent planner.  People came from all around Virginia representing many different car clubs as well as other interested individuals.  The owners divergent vehicle interests were also well represented….from old school hot rods to new muscle cars and everything in between.  It’s about our mutual love for all things with wheels!

At 11:30 Mr. & Mrs. Santa arrived at Chili’s to mingle with the cruisers….no doubt to finalize his naughty & nice list!  Derek, the Chili’s manager, opened his store early for us and made sure everyone in his store helped us have a great beginning to our day.  Four of Stafford’s finest came to escort us to our final destination, the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, VA.  At 12:30 the Deputies marshaled us to the parking lot of Aquia Town Center then escorted the group up Highway 1 to the museum.  The cruise north was only about 7 ½ miles but some cruisers had come from as far away as Orange, VA….about 55 miles south!  On the way north we picked up another ten or so cars from Fredericksburg that were waiting on the side of the road and when we got to the museum the contingent from Prince William Cruisers in Alexandria were already parked!  WOW….the final “special” vehicle count was 77 and another 10 daily drivers were among us too.  A good turnout me thinks! 
I shot a video of the arrival at the museum and the day was picture perfect but the sun was not my friend when taking the video….I’ll get better next year….I keep saying that!  Everyone began unloading toys from their vehicles and heading inside the museum.  I think the Marines working the Toys For Tots area were not prepared for the sheer volume of toys we brought!  They were shuttling them out to the waiting 30’ truck to be taken to the distribution point later in the day.  A lot of happy kids would be the recipients of the good will of a lot of hot rodders that day….it’s what we do.  Ron and Tony led some impromptu Christmas Carol singing that added to the festivities and Mr. & Mrs. Santa were holding court for all the kids that wanted to see them.  Some of the cruisers had never visited the museum so they took advantage of this opportunity to understand some of the history of The United States Marine Corps and how they contribute to the fabric of what is America.  This museum is a must see deal anytime of the year….you have to put it on your bucket list!
I stayed outside with the vehicles to make sure all of the visitors treated them with respect….they did!  I also answered many questions some had about the vehicles.  I took pictures of all the vehicles that attended, please visit them below.
This was our last “official” event of the year so we now go into planning mode for next year.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, will be planning more cruises for 2013 so watch out for them on and .  We have these events to do some good for the charities we support but we also do them to have fun and put a happy face on our hobby for everyone we see during the year.  I also have some “winter projects” to perform on the truck….it was fairly reliable during the year, I’ll see if I can improve on that over the winter!
Please have a Merry Christmas and a pleasant New Year….we’ll be watching for you next year….we are saving a place for you to join us on our adventures!

Chuck & Linda Shotwell


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