Sunday, June 23, 2013

Kodak Cruise

Friday, Tony & Janice joined the Princess and me on our cruise to Ashland, VA and the weekly Chick-fil-a cruise.  This cruise keeps getting bigger each time we visit, this Friday there were over 130 cars in the dedicated lot and some in adjoining lots.  We arrived a little early and unintentionally took the DJ’s spot….won’t do that again!  FreRay Sounds always plays the music for this cruise and a welcome bonus is that they have a great play list to listen to.

It was the first time Tony & Janice had visited the cruise and I think they enjoyed the volume and quality of the vehicles.  Chick-fil-a gives all the drivers a discount on their food, which is a nice perk since we had cruised 62 miles to get there from home.  I was enjoying the fellowship and the time slipped away from me before I started taking pictures.  That seems to be happening to me more lately….I have to think about how to spend my time at the events.
I really liked the red/cream ’52 Chevy woodie from Hawaii….the visor and other custom touches made the car stand out for me.  I also liked the way loud black, open wheel ’32 Ford Sedan Delivery with the blown BBC….and zoomies.  Zoomies always make the car for me….grin!  We left around 8PM as we had a 1 ½ hour cruise back to Stafford, VA….the night was cool… was a very nice cruise home.
Saturday the Princess and I met Bill & Linda, Fred & Debie, Dan & Ramona and Jim & Linda at the WAWA in Stafford, VA and launched on our first ‘Kodak Cruise’.
I am always soliciting new places to cruise and earlier this year, someone had mentioned a Calendar Cruise where we go to scenic places and take pictures of our cars and use them for a calendar.  I thought about the concept and liked it!  But our cruise would be to scenic places but the pictures could be used for anything, including a calendar.   Lucky for us Virginia has many scenic places to visit and we experienced most of them while we were riding the Harley.  Unluckily for us it was going to be difficult choosing where to go but I eventually decided on Skyline Drive.  It is a Nationally known drive that many have used to experience our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  Now our mountains are not like the Rockies out west, the highest elevation on the Drive is only 3680 feet….but the beauty they share is just as breathtaking as driving Yellowstone. 
We left Stafford and cruised 56 miles to Rediviva, VA and our pit stop.  After filling the tanks and emptying the bladders we were joined by Nick, Bill & Linda’s Grandson, for our adventure of the day.  I wanted to make sure everyone had full tanks because fuel on Skyline Drive would be scarce and pricey.  We all saddled up and cruised 11 miles to the Thornton Gap Entrance Station to Skyline Drive.  The youngsters (under 62) had to pay $15 to go on the drive for 6 days….us old folks got to pay $10 for a lifetime National Park pass….what a deal!
We took the south route and within a few minutes we came to our first of many ‘turn outs’ on the Drive.  These turn outs are made for Kodak moments….if the weather is nice, the views are magnificent.  We had Chamber of Commerce postcard weather….blue skies, white puffy clouds, moderate temperature of high 70’s and just a little breeze….it couldn’t get any better!  You need to check out the photos I took to get a flavor of what we did for the next 3 hours or so….it was fun.
On one of the stops there was a large pile of rocks….which are meant to be climbed on and have your picture taken….right.  Someone said watch out for snakes but the Princess said they were going to be making a lot of girl noises so that would scare the snakes away….I didn’t want to tell her that snakes don’t have ears…..that would open up a whole other place that I didn’t want to go.  In one of Fred’s videos he took of them climbing around you can hear the Princess in the background saying….”Look, look at these big rocks in the wall, they have shinny stuff in them, I want a rock with shinny stuff”….it really doesn’t take much.  I was waiting for something like ‘what do you mean I can’t take any rocks, we have a truck’.   Lucky for me something else shinny caught her attention and the rocks were forgotten….usually if I can outlast her for a couple minutes the focus changes….grin
We cruised and stopped for pictures for the next 33 miles till we came to Swift Run Gap Entrance where we left the Drive.  We traveled East on Rt. 33 for 15 miles to Ruckersville and the Blue Ridge CafĂ© for our late lunch.  After we ate we decided to attend the weekly cruise at the BK in Manassas, VA….it was on the way home….kinda.
So we cruised 65 miles to the BK and arrived about 4:30 to a parking lot that was about ½ full already!  This is an active cruise and some people cruise in, stay for a while, then cruise somewhere else.  So it’s impossible to accurately determine how many vehicles visit on any given evening.  My guess is that about 200-230 every week.  This Saturday must have been Hot Tub night….the big rowdy motor, big tire people brought their rides in for us to view….some very nice cars.  The white Barracuda and the red Nova were two of the many examples….as was Tom’s maroon Camaro.  This is a video I took of them arriving;    I had the opportunity to put a real live person with another one of my “Electronic” friends on Facebook, I met Jim and his very nice red Dodge.  Jim told me of a Mustang that was at the cruise and that I needed to make sure to see it.  It was a blue 66 Shelby Mustang GT convertible.  The car’s owner, Rich, is the original owner and it is one of 16 cars made like that!  The only things that are new on the car are the battery, tires and carburetor and 7000 miles!  WOW….
Most of our group ate some ice cream then it had been a very long day so we cruised 35 miles home.  At home the Princess and I had to get the day’s bugs and dirt off the truck so we could attend the PWC, Good Ol Days event the next day.  We work in the show so we do not enter our truck but we like to park it with the club cars and a bug splattered dirty truck just won’t do….grin   But….it rained Sunday morning till about 11 am….so we didn’t get to take the truck out again anyway!  So it rests….waiting for next weekend’s adventures.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

River Madness....

Friday evening found us at our default cruise location, VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA.  We consider this our “home” Friday cruise….we attend other cruises on Friday but always come back to the “Q” on most Fridays.  The weather was picture perfect and about 50 vehicles came out.
I am on Facebook more than I should be, maintaining our ‘No Class Cruisers’ page;  And in the process I ‘meet’ new people that share our passion for special cars.  The cruises and events we attend allow us to put a live person with the electronic being we have been communicating with….  The ‘electronic people’ are a whole other deal….read the book; ‘Alone Together’ by Sherry Turkle….we are ‘there’!  Anyway a few weeks ago I met Bill and his very cool brown ’57 Chevy and Friday I got to meet his friend Jo-Ann.  I have also been ‘talking’ to a yellow Camaro owner, Kandy, and Friday we got to meet her too….neat deal!
We were treated to Hoppy’s over the top red/white ’55 Ford glass top, Crown Vic…..this car has to have every available factory option for a 1955 Ford!  And….and….Hoppy brought his matching red/white ’55 Ford golf cart….just too cool!  Mark’s drop dead gorgeous orange ’73 Camaro looks like the paint is at least 18 feet deep….I think he knows something about paint…..grin.  The thing that made me laugh was the juxtaposition of the super low, suede black, 30’s traditional hot rod sedan that was parked on the handicapped spot….just makes me giggle every time I look at the picture.  Then there was the vehicle that was at the top of the “I don’t think so” list….the Boss Hog that is powered by the 502 BBC with Nitrous….I don’t even want to think about twisting the tail of that scoot.  Soon after I completed taking all my pictures we saddled up and cruised home….
Saturday six vehicles launched from the WAWA at 7AM and cruised 20 miles to Fredericksburg where we picked up Bill and his Valiant.  We all cruised the remaining 45 miles to Tappahannock, VA and the 11th Annual RivahFest.
We had attended this event two years ago and enjoyed the day there.  But it is scheduled the same weekend as the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, KY….since we cannot attend both events every year, we alternate and this year Tappahannock won!  The event is sponsored by the Tappahannock-Essex Chamber of Commerce and is a “typical” town supported event.  There were over 70 vendor booths with crafts and antiques for every taste.  And food vendors fit for a Princess….she says that her favorite, the crab cake sandwiches, must be getting popular because the waiting line was about 60 miles long….she had to discover some new munchies….so she found a hamburger….at a nautical riverside event that specializes in seafood….a hamburger?  I also found crab racing, drag racing style, which was fun.  It must have been an ‘old’ guy that made the sign for the crab racing; it was a front engine car, not a modern rear engine one….interesting.
And of course there was a car show, what’s not to like?  About 125 vehicles attended the deal and varied from original antiques, muscle cars, off road vehicles, a tractor, a fire truck, a few snarling pro streets and a whole bunch of hot rods!  I liked the way kool orange ’56 Merc, the green with real flames ’33 Ford coupe, the cream/champagne ’70 Chrysler 300 Hurst and Kirk’s always intimidating orange/purple ’67 Chevy PU.  Wyatt brought his silver (what else?) DeLorean to wow the crowd.  He sets it up like it’s from “Back To The Future" complete with a stuffed Einstein and the flux capacitor.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  There was even a yellow ’72 AMC Gremlin, we seldom see them at events.  Maybe there is a reason for that?  There was a nice dark green ’69 Camaro with the cross ram intake….I could never get those carbs to run right!  The most unusual vehicle was the black ’06 Holden UTE….you have to check it out!
Since we arrived early we got some primo parking spots….most of us.  We were under some trees that lined the grass field and would be in the shade till about 3pm, which was when we were going to be leaving.  When we came in Dan & Ramona was the last of our convoy and had to park in the sun.  Wyatt knows that the Princess and Ramona like to talk during the day so he gave up his parking spot, in the shade, to Dan.  Dan reciprocated by erecting his canopy for Wyatt and Dennis so they would have some shade too.  After the switch Wyatt realized he was parked about 20 feet from a generator that was running continually and producing about 6 million decibels of ear bleeding mind numbing noise for 6 hours….I think he lost his voice from yelling answers to questions about his car over the generator noise all day.   The Princess asked why Wyatt didn’t turn on his flux capacitor and make the noise stop?….you have no idea.  And Wyatt traveled about 120 miles from Annapolis, MD to the event….I think we ‘owe’ Wyatt.
We also got to meet a young aspiring artist by the name of Jackson.  He is 13 years old and does pencil drawings of cars that are really good….he just kneels down on the ground and draws!  No special easel of other equipment….just a pencil, some paper and talent!
About 3PM the sun started to get on the Princesses parts so she began the whining to leave….so we all packed up and cruised home.  Some of us visited the weekly cruise at Family Diner when we got to Fredericksburg and visited with some other hot rodders there.  We found out that Bill won best of show at RivahFest with his red ’51 Ford panel…..a good end to a great day playing with our hot rods and enjoying old friends and meeting new ones.  I love this hobby.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rembering Heroes....

Friday we were dealing with the remnants of hurricane Andrea so we kept the truck in the garage.  Then we received a notice that the show we were going to attend on Sunday had been cancelled….because of the hurricane.  That event is on a grass field and unless your vehicle had a 30” lift kit it probably would not make it from one end to the other when it's wet.  So this weekend’s adventures would hang on the event planned for Saturday.

Saturday the Princess and I met Tony & Janice and Bill & Teri at the 7/11 in Stafford, VA  and cruised to Dulles Airport to participate in the Honor Flight welcoming party.  We met Lou & Arlene at the airport as they come from a different direction.  Honor Flight provides transport, free of charge, to WWII veterans so they can visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.  We participated last year in one welcoming ceremony and it was very emotional at the same time making us so glad we are part of this experiment called the U.S.A.  Check out the website and see if you can participate sometime….you will not regret it.
So….most of ‘our’ group of Veterans came from Wisconsin and I’m sure D.C. is a culture shock for them anyway.  The Veterans are not told of the welcoming party awaiting them on the other side of the terminal doors when they arrive from their trip.  Saturday there were about 300 people waving flags, holding up ‘Thank You’ signs hooting and hollering.  There was a group of Civil Air Patrol Cadets that stood at attention and saluted all the incoming Veterans.  Most of the welcoming group offered a hand of friendship and thanks to all the Veterans as they moved through the crush of people.  Some got hugs and embraces from the welcoming group and all were honored in any way we could.   All the Veterans had a ‘handler’ that stayed with them all the time from beginning of the originating flight to the Memorials in D.C then back to their home airport.  Some of the Veterans were in wheel chairs but about half walked on their own.  There were many poignant moments of interaction with these examples of the Greatest Generation.  Small children would wade into the procession and thank the Veterans….women hugged and whispered in their ear as they thanked them.  The applause was relentless for almost 1 ½ hours.  There were three lady Veterans in this group, last year there was only one!  Remember these very special groups of people are in their late 80’s and 90’s! 
They all finally made it to their awaiting busses to be transported to D.C.  As they were loading a small boy dressed in a Sailor suit, up on top of a Jersey wall with a sign saying “Thank You” was waving to them.  His Mom said that she had been bringing him to the welcome event since he was 5 months old….so he could thank the ‘Special People’.  When they were safely aboard the five busses, their motorcycle escort, made up of younger Veterans, led them downtown to Washington D. C. and a day of exploring “Their Memorial”.
One of the Veterans, a double Purple Heart recipient, was fighting cancer and the thought of coming to D.C. to visit “His” memorial from a grateful Nation was keeping him going the last year or so.  On the way to the originating airport in Wisconsin he fell asleep and answered his last call to Duty….  His remains will be brought to Arlington National Cemetery on the next Honor Flight from his area….  These Heroes will soon not be among us anymore and the fabric of what makes us Americans will be less because of their departure.
I cannot adequately convey the emotion of this exchange with the Veterans so please visit the two links below and see for yourself.  One is video the other has stills of the event….  If you want to experience this blessing just contact  and see how you can help….you won’t be sorry.  Just do it soon.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Over the mountians....

Friday night we cruised to VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA to hang out with some of our friends and meet some new ones….the new ones never showed up! Grin

JV brought his T-Bucket out for the first time this year and Ron got his ’28 Dodge back on the road for the second time.  Ron had changed his Dodge from a Molet to a Mopar over the winter….out with the SBC and in with a 360 Magnum!  Nice….  Another nice Chevy AD Pickup, this time a ’52, cruised in and a very cool grey VW coupe….I hope I see this one again, I need to get some details about it.  I had seen the red/white International crew cab before….but it’s still too nice to ignore.  Too soon the fun was over for us and we all cruised uneventfully home up Rt.1.
Saturday, Jim & Linda – red ’13 Vette, Fred & Debie – red/white ‘57 Dodge and the Princess & I in our black ’49 Chebby PU gathered at the WAWA in Stafford, VA and began our 98 mile lunch cruise to New Market, VA.  We cruised through Warrenton, Sperryville then over the first mountain, under Skyline Drive….then down the mountain near Luray Caverns at the Liberty gas station for our scheduled pit stop.  We then continued over the second mountain to New Market, VA and the Southern Kitchen restaurant on Rt. 11.
We had dined at this restaurant a few years ago during a 3 day car show and remembered the food to be excellent.  We were not disappointed on Saturday….the food was terrific, priced reasonably and the service was quick and attentive.   What more could you ask for a meal on the road?  After we all consumed too much food we wobbled into our rides and embarked on the return leg of our cruise.  Back over two mountains then pausing in Culpeper for the last scheduled pit stop.  After that we cruised on to Fredericksburg, VA and the Family Diner’s weekly cruise. 
This cruise is in danger of running dry for lack of participation….the club that was managing it is not showing up.  So….if something doesn’t happen soon it will fade away….which is a shame.  It’s a great location plus the host business, Family Diner, is enthusiastically supporting the cruise.  The owners want this cruise to succeed to the point that they give cruisers a 10% discount on their food and have a free drawing for a $20 diner card and a T-shirt.  It will never be a large cruise but it’s very comfortable and friendly.  We arrived a little early from our road cruise and set up our camp under a tree to begin discussing how the day was unfolding.  After a few minutes, Debora and a waitress from the Diner, walked over with large styrofoam glasses of ice & water for all present!  Like I said, they want the cruise to work! 
As soon as Dan & Ramona caught up with us we all had dinner at the diner!  Fred didn’t have his half-a-cow hamburger this time!  Most of us were going to eat “light & right”?  My stomach was still trying to digest the Ruben I had 6 hours earlier so I wasn’t too interested in pigging out.  Shrimp and crab salad on toasted sourdough was going to be my daily contribution to clean living/eating.  The sourdough bread neutralizes all the congealed animal fat in the 14 ½ pounds of French fries that I ordered with the rabbit food salad.  As long as you eat the food with your little finger up in the air most of the calories don’t count….I read that on Al Gore’s amazing internet, it has to be true….
We all waddled back to our car camp and finished the evening….then cruised home to end another weekend driving around the Virginia countryside enjoying some of what God has given us to be stewards of and to enjoy….I love this hobby!