Monday, August 26, 2013

The road ahead....

Rain prevented us from going out Friday night so by Saturday we were so ready to hit the road.  Saturday at 1PM we escaped the WAWA in N. Stafford, VA and began our 68 miles cruise to Gordonsville, VA and the Barbeque Exchange restaurant.  Our good friend, Bill, had recommended the eatery so we planned a cruise to check it out.  Unfortunately, through a fault of mine, we missed Bill at the pickup point because I had a bad phone number for him so I couldn’t find out what was going on.  Another life lesson for me….make sure I have the correct phone numbers for the key people on these cruises!    We did manage to pick up Lou & Arlene after Culpeper and took Rt. 15 to our destination.

There is a saying from the great American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, which goes; “Life is about the journey, not the destination”.  That kind of thinking sticks in the craw of a person like me.  I am destination orientated; mission minded….focused on the cheese so to speak kind of person.  So when I try to take the time to notice the splendor that God has provided for us while I’m focused on “getting there” I have a behavioral conflict that is difficult to manage.  So….the Princess has agreed to take pictures while we cruise on our journeys.  She has always been able to notice the important things in life that are around us.  It’s a gift that is becoming more important to us as we round the final turn of this life.  So be sure to check out her “journey” pictures.
After we negotiated the traffic circle in Gordonsville we cruised a little further on Rt. 33 to the restaurant.  The Princess asked me “how many times could you go around the circle before the police would stop you?”….you have no idea.  The parking is not ideal for our kind of cars; it is a gravel lot that has a lot of boundaries, not well defined.  But since we arrived about 3PM we had a lot of choices of where we were going to tie up the cars and were able to find adequate parking.  The restaurant is very country casual….no shinny shoes or ties please!  The seating was at picnic tables and benches….cool.  The menu is terrific….a lot of Country Southern cooking treats to chose from.  We all tried different offerings and were pleasantly satisfied with our choices!  I had a brisket platter with hush puppies….the Princess said my hush puppies were great….I didn’t have a chance to try one before she made them disappear.   The prices are fair and the quality of the things we tried was very good, the place was neat and clean.  We’ll go back….thanks Bill!
After filling up in the restaurant we began our short cruise, through the traffic circle….again, to Ruckersville, VA and the monthly cruise at the Wal-Mart on Rt. 29.  The Princess and I attended a show in Ruckersville years ago when we had the 34 Nash sedan and her 33 coupe.  It was a nice friendly show and we had a good time even though it rained at the end and we drove all the way home with the wipers on.  Saturday was promised to be absolutely perfect weather….high 70’s; sunny, puffy clouds doting an azure sky with gentle breezes.  Sounds like a TV ad for a vacation in Bermuda.  But we were in Ruckersville, VA!
You can tell a little about where you are by the type of vehicle that shows up at a cruise.  A lot of pickups usually means you have landed in the ‘country’….y’all.  This gathering had a high number of nice pickups….but it also had many other vehicles.  I think there were five ’55 Chevys…a few nice Mopars and a higher percentage of Pro Street cars than usual.  I really liked the ’49 Merc 4 dr with the blown flathead….I have never seen one of these blown flatties on the street!  And two brown cars….the ’71 Torino and the ’64 Plymouth Fury.  The Fury also had a 426 Stage III motor which was too cool.  Although the new Hemi made its debut in ’64 it would take a few years to make it competitive unless you had factory backing.  Meanwhile the Mopar wedges were still dominating the winner’s circles on the drag strips.  This car was a good example of what it took in ’64 to be competitive with GM and Ford.  The blue ’66 Ford F-100 with the 406 motor.  The 406 FE was only available for two years before being replaced by the 427 FE….so it is an unusual piece too.

There were over 70 vehicles that visited the cruise and having a Wal-Mart next to the cruise lot offered some shopping opportunities….oh boy, sign me up for that….said no guy ever!  We lost the ladies in there for an hour or so but Arlene brought back some yummy ice cream bars, expensive but really good….grin 

We all decided to pack up and begin our 65 mile cruise home before it got dark.  Good weather, good friends….what’s not to like?  I love this hobby….


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cruisin 2....rain 0

Friday evening we cruised to our “home” cruise, the Q in Fredericksburg, VA.  The evening’s weather was the most comfortable this year.  Over 70 cars came out and enjoyed the evening with us.  The music playing, the friends stopping by and talking, and the cars were rumbling through the lot for 5 hours….sounds like a fun way to spend the evening to me.  I liked the double green ’55 Dodge Coronet and the rusty rat rod PU….they both looked like a lot of fun.  We kept Ron busy with his new job….delivery guy for Subway….ask the Princess….  We had an unexpected visit from Sylvia who arrived in her red MB….she said she didn’t want to bring the blue ’34 Chevy because it needed gas….and the Benz was full!  Yes she is a friend of the Princess….they think alike….you have no idea.  We stayed till the lot began thinning out then cruised home to Stafford, VA.  Do you know the Chebby truck fits in the drive through at Popeye’s?  Yup….chicken dinner for two at 9PM….yum! 

Saturday the Princess and I launched from the WAWA in Stafford and cruised 85 miles to Charlottesville, VA and the Wood Grille Buffet restaurant.  We drove out the back way from Stafford and hooked up with Rt. 29 near Bealeton, VA.  We stayed on that road till we arrived at the restaurant….no traffic all the way!  The food was a cut above typical for “buffet” food.  I lost track of how many plates of shrimp the Princess made disappear.  The crab cakes were great….and it’s a buffet!  grin!  Our waitress kept bringing us clean plates….like it was a challenge….it’s a buffet you know! hehehehe!  When she took our forks away I think she was trying to tell us that we had consumed enough buffet for the time being.  We waddled out to the truck to begin the next leg of our cruise.
We were going to end this leg of the cruise in Orange, VA and we wanted to run through Gordonsville, VA to check out a restaurant Bill recommended for a cruise in the future.  It’s called the Barbeque Exchange?  It’s a strange name but the place looked inviting.  Parking might be tight depending on how many people go with us….we’ll find out next week!  Gordonsville has one of those Highway Engineer pranks that they play on the motoring public….a traffic circle of death.  I hate traffic circles.  You have to be so aggressive when you jump in with the traffic.  You have to choose if you want to challenge a gravel truck going around the circle like he was at Daytona practicing for the 500 or a confused escapee from the local senior center driving a Family Truckster.  If you don’t decide quickly the traffic stacks up behind you like pouring coke into a glass that has crushed ice in it.  It fills up so quickly, and then runs over…it’s a mess.  I see that in the rear view mirror while I try to choose how to end my life as I enter the feeding frenzy of vehicles in the circle!  And….after you enter the melee you have to read the signs quickly, while turning & merging so you don’t end up going to Miami or Chattanooga by taking the wrong exit.  After I made 26 laps around the circle I thought I saw the exit I should take.  Those people standing on the side, holding up signs with lap numbers on them should go home and prune their pyracantha’s….they really don’t help at all.  The GPS started smoking so I knew I had to do something quickly, that’s when I pointed the truck at the next exit sign….it said Rt. 15 N.  As soon as we were going straight again I saw a road sign that confirmed we were indeed on Rt. 15 N and that Orange was just 9 miles away.  The GPS started saying nice things to us again….I need to bring a paper map next time.
We arrived early for the Orange County Cruisers, monthly cruise at the Burger King in Orange, VA.  I thought arriving early would work out well because the Princess would then have a larger number of choices where she might like to park.  So after moving to her 4th choice she was finally happy with the location….it’s like moving furniture at home.  The area started filling up and by 5PM there were about 60 cars.  About 95 cars came to the cruise by the time we left.  The OCC club kept the cruise moving along with their music and trivia door prizes as well as the club members mingling with the participants to chat and welcome them to the cruise.
This cruise always attracts cars we don’t see up north….like the little original Mini delivery.  The yellow 72 Ford Maverick that was done very nice and the big black Hudson Super Wasp was especially intimidating.  The open wheeled VW was updated with a 380 HP motor….let that sink in.  A car that probably weighs 1200-1300 pounds with 380 HP.  I do believe that has fast written all over it!  There were many cars present that we have seen before too so you need to check out the pictures to get a flavor for who attends this cruise.  About 6:30 the weather turned bad, it began to sprinkle.  So the club ended the evening’s festivities a little early….a great idea.  The Princess won a ‘Best Truck’ trophy so she was all giggly and had something shiny to look at all the way home… have no idea!  Someone said the rain was coming from the southeast so we left on Rt. 15 towards Culpeper, which ran northwest.  As soon as we were about ½ mile away from the cruise it stopped raining on us….and we didn’t get anymore till we pulled into our subdivision 58 miles later!  So the truck will be easy to get ready for next weekend, the Princess will like that.  You might want to put this third Saturday of each month cruise on you to do list.  It is a very comfortable cruise location and the trip getting there is through some scenic rural Virginia countryside.  But the best reason to visit is that the club wants you to come on down and sit a spell….sip a little tea….and talk about your ride while you both make some new friends.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Heading South

Friday the Princess and I visited VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA for the weekly cruise managed by the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club.  There were about 60 cars that visited during the evening.  The most interesting one was the gold 71 GTX with the Hemi cross ram.  Hemi’s are always cool and gnarly….this one was no exception….and a little noisy too….did I say that?  grin The host of the event, Virginia BBQ, had the manager’s son pick his favorite vehicle….he picked the Princesses truck….so she now has another pig trophy….  Hey Dan she now has 5 pig trophies….you better get that old 55 out so you can catch up….hehehehe   We stayed till the end and had an uneventful cruise home in the cool, dry air.

Saturday we cruised 107 miles to Chester, VA and the special Iron Bridge Sports Park cruise.  This cruise is usually held on Friday evenings but the manager, Larry Boyd, put a Saturday cruise together so we joined in.  The Sports Park always attracts some nice cars so we knew it would be fun.  The facility has great restrooms and really good food….in fact the Ruben I had was the best I ever ate….and I have put away a few of them in my 69 years on this orb.  Larry and his crew were, as always, very helpful and accommodating to the cruisers.  The welcome we got was more like an old friendship being rekindled that a guy telling us where to park.  Larry has always been a good representative of our hobby.
We set up near one of the parking lot edges so we could be on the grass….they have white sand, like Florida instead of dirt….different.  After we ate and went back to our chairs an old friend and her husband from the area came by and talked a spell.  I met this friend online through an old school group.  Yes, I actually attended a school.  The school was in Newfoundland, Canada and the time frame was 1956-58!  Our parents were both stationed at Pepperrell AFB in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I never actually met her at that time as we were transitioning out of the base and her family was coming in….but we had some mutual friends.  Anyway we connected in 1997 I think via email with the whole school group.  We met face to face at the craft show at RIR in December called the Bizarre Bazaar.  We have been emailing and Face booking each other for a while and Jeannie & the Princess regularly communicate via email.  So it was fun to catch up with Jeannie & Carl while we were attending the event.
I think about 120 vehicles visited the cruise which normally has 200+.  I guess the forcasted rain kept some away….not us….we have wipers now!  Tom and some of his rowdy friends brought some Pro Street cars which always livens up the group.  And the Munster car at the entrance is a nice touch.  There was a nice mix of old and newer cars….I think Larry keeps the vehicles at 1976 or under.  I have mixed feelings about that but it works for Larry and this cruise.  I think my favorite of the afternoon was the silver, flamed ’52 Chevy 2dr…..I really like that car.
We left about 7PM to try to get as close to home as we could before dark….we ran I95 all the way back….what a hoot….that truck is a nice road car and likes to cruise at 60-70 mph.  The end of another great day driving around giving people something to wave at!  Is this a great hobby or what?

Monday, August 5, 2013

"Sunday Sunday Sunday"

The cry from yesteryear….that blared out on every radio station within 50 miles of any drag strip in the Country.  And I think the radio volume was just a little louder during the commercial, the beckoning cry was not to be ignored.   The call was made to convince you to invade your local drag strip on Sunday.  For me it was Lions, Fontana, Irwindale, Riverside or OCIR.  I had to go every weekend!  Out on the left coast during the 60’s it was easy….there was at least four strips within 50 miles of our home.  We would either be racing or spectating….but you HAD to be by a 1/4 mile strip of asphalt on Sunday! 
Sunday we met Pat and his Hemi Cuda at the WAWA in N. Stafford and cruised the 50 miles to Colonial Beach, VA and the 60 Years of Cars and Stars event at Colonial Beach Dragway.  When we cruised through Fredericksburg we picked up 5 more cars and had a real mob heading to the strip.  Since I’m originally a left coast guy I really don’t know much about the right coast strips.  I have to admit that since we moved here in ’73 I had only attended two drag strips till this weekend; Once in Virginia Motorsports Park and twice at Summerduck.  And….we had driven by the Colonial Beach track many times on our way to or from Colonial Beach but never drove up the gravel road by the entrance sign to see what was there.  Honestly the gravel road was a turn off.  I thought that if this was the entrance to the strip it must be a real pit!  Recently I learned that Gary Gore was putting the deal together on Sunday and since we had been satisfied with our dealings with Gary in the past we decided to give it a whirl.   
Anyway….Sunday changed our opinion of the strip….The place is great!  Good bleachers with more than adequate restrooms.  Real drag strip food, I missed that!  Good sound systems and helpful track personnel.  There was easy access to the pits and the staging lanes.  A neat touch was running shuttle golf carts with covered people trailers from the outlying parking into near the pit area….they really wanted you there!  The parking staff was very helpful directing us through the maze of race cars in the pit area on the way to the show ground.  We set up the car and attached our three canopies to three other canopies already set up….it worked out just fine.  We could hear the announcements easily, the permanent restrooms were just a little walk away, the food concession was right by the entrance to the pits.  We could see everything going on and were treated to a whiff of tire smoke occasionally….unlocked some memories for me!  The only thing missing was the eye watering, sinus clearing burning nitro!  Although while I was trolling the pits I did get a nose full of it when the Lyndwood Welding Special FED fired up….love it when those 92’s are turning nitro/alky into noise and torque….nice!
While in the pits taking pictures I noticed an old friend, Al Loy.  He was competing in the nostalgia stock races.  His black ’62 Chevy is just too cool.  With 409 power and 4 spd changer the car just sits right….like a real super stock racer back in the day.  He was racing a Pontiac Catalina with 421 Tri power and I’m sure a bunch of Mopars….the Mopars always out number everything.  Robert was going to see how his black ’60 Ford would run with his tweaked 460 motor but since he was running his street tires most of the torque went up in tire smoke!  Next time bring some slicks Robert…..grin.  There were many other race cars in the staging lanes that I don’t know anything about….I’m familiar with Gassers, Altereds, Stockers and Diggers.  Frank’s Whooppee Car was there along with many other gnarly historic rides from the past.  A few old gassers including one of Stone Woods & Cook’s A/GS cars, three S&S Racing Team cars and a Big John Mazmanian Willys.  One of the coolest was the recreation of Joe Pirrone’s 33 Willys, Boss Hydro….done by his son Rocky.  And the Jolly Dolly….we have a friend that has a street rod that looks just like the Jolly Dolly.  He says he raced against Dolly back in the day.
There were about 200 show cars registered and most were over the top examples of our hobby and I think most were driven, not trailered which is always encouraging to me.  Trailers are for race cars or boats….hot rods need to be driven.  I liked the orange Anglia with the blown SBC, these little cars are bad enough to drive as a racer but on the street they are evil.  And the white ’32 Ford PU with the Boss 429 shoe horned in it.  But what is interesting is the engineering it took to put the cooling radiator in the bed of the truck!  The most unusual ride was the raw ’61 Caddy custom with, I’m told, a Cummins diesel engine….a diesel!  I think that’s off the rail strange.  The best of show was won, very deservedly, by Richard with his red ’60 Chevy PU.  I have been taking pictures of his truck for 8 years now.  In the beginning it had SBC power and a little chrome….now it has 409 power and enough chrome to plate a whole ’58 Buick!  You have to check the pictures and get a flavor for the quality of all the cars that motored to the strip on “Sunday Sunday Sunday”.
The Princess met DJ Ron’s very special friend while they were visiting in the little tent village we set up. She definitely adds a lot of class to that old Camaro Ron drives….grin The Princess told me she is a nice lady and we are glad Ron has found someone to share the adventures while they cruise in his land yacht.  The Princess brought home a shiny trophy she won for her truck….so she will be so happy for a while….you have no idea. 
Soon after the awards were presented we folded up camp.  After stumbling all over the grounds and taking pictures while chatting with fellow hot rodders all day, my legs were beginning to say to me ‘Ok big bald bearded one….enough abuse for today already’….I knew it was time to go.  So we didn’t stay for the racing….next time maybe?  So….where does the event manager go in the heat of the afternoon when the show is over?  A nice quiet room with A/C….talking with friends….eating a sammich sipping on a nice cool one….?  Well that guy Gary was out in the heat, at the exit thanking everyone for coming to the event and wishing them a safe trip home!  He was really glad we came….”Sunday Sunday Sunday"