Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas....all ya'll....HO HO HO


Monday, December 8, 2014

Toys For Tots 2014

Saturday December 6, we cruised about 4 miles to the Chili’s Restaurant in N. Stafford, VA and the beginning of the 5th Annual Toys For Tots run.  Our friend and fellow Cruisin For Heroes member, Dan, pretty much orchestrates the whole event.  The Chili’s manager has his staff open the store early so we can start forming up around 9AM….they usually open at 11AM.  We don’t leave till about Noon so there is plenty of time to socialize and have brunch.  The Princess flits around taking pictures and checking on people to make sure they are being taken care of and are having a good time.  I usually take most of the pictures at the events we attend.  But the Princess is getting much better dealing with the technical aspects of photography to the point that she is taking much better pictures and giving us all a run for our money on the quality of her images!  Fred and Bill also chronicled the day’s activities in photographs and were joined by Yvonne at the Museum.  This year Chili’s has embraced the Toys For Tots charity full tilt as there are many more Chili’s stores that are collecting toys for the program this year.  Our Chili’s also gives 20% of the days gross to Toys For Tots!  And there is to be a special presentation to the USMC Toys For Tots program this year from Chili’s!

The weatherguessers were forecasting rain most of the day with periods of heavy rain.  But when we were ready to leave home it was dry!  And last year snow was forecasted so the only one that drove a hot rod was Dan and his black ’55 Chevy.  Dan was committed again this year so I decided to take the truck even if rain was likely to fall.  I knew the Northern Virginia Mustang club was going to join us this year and most of them would be driving their Mustangs….so we HAD to show up with something special.  In the end there was about 20 “special” cars and another 30 daily drivers.  Some other people met us at the Museum and made the day’s total near 60….I think?  It is exceedingly difficult to count them all but I think 55-60 would be close.
Dan arranges to have the Stafford County Sheriff Deputies escort us all the way to the National Museum of the Marine Corps, located in Triangle, VA., about 9 miles away.  This makes herding the vehicles much safer and enjoyable than if we tried to find our own way up Rt. 1 with a group that large.  I think the Deputies like to help us plus they get a free brunch at Chili’s thanks to the donations of the cruisers that make the trip with us.
At 11:20 it began to rain so about 11:45 the participants began to make their way to the commuter lot on Mine Rd. where we would all assemble for the trip.  Deputy Crane ran the “drivers meeting” explaining which lanes we needed to stay in and why.  Also which route we would be taking and that we should keep the distance between vehicles closed up if we can and other pertinent safety information.  Everyone listened intently and knew we would be in good hands.  After all the necessary instructions were given to us I asked Deputy Crane “were we allowed to do burn outs”….everyone laughed….I think Deputy Crane was laughing too….I think….grin.
Our cruise to the Museum was a thrill with the Sheriff’s cruisers blocking traffic so we could have safe uninterrupted passage north.  I think some of the people that were held back at intersecting roads thought they were witnessing a funeral or something.  Some just stared, some looked solemn and some waved….I wonder if people wave at a funeral procession?  Anyway it was a hoot!  Too soon the trip was over and we all parked, then carried our toys inside to the waiting Marines by the Toys For Tots display.
It seems like every year we bring more toys to the Museum….even though we have fewer cars because of the foul weather.  Could it be that some are just bringing a lot of toys?  Yup….I think that’s what is happening.  The amount of toys was overwhelming the Marines that received them.  They moved the security ropes out a little farther every few minutes as they unbagged more toys.  That’s always a good sign that the event is doing what it is supposed to do….provide toys to kids that would otherwise have a bleak Christmas.   The United States Marine Corps Reserve has managed the Toys For Tots since 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks began the program.  This time of year the Toys For Tots presence is ubiquitous around here since the Marine Corps Base Quantico (“Crossroads of the Marine Corps”) is part of our local community.
After all the toys were delivered some in our group, that had never visited the Museum before, began exploring the facility and those that were not first timers visited parts that held a special interest for them.  This museum houses the storied history of the Marine Corps displayed in real artifacts and other teaching aids.  There are a number of ever helpful Museum staff members that can assist you with your visit or you can self guide your travel around the building.  There are a few different levels and many individual rooms; you just can’t see everything adequately in one 2-3 hour visit.  If you haven’t been to this museum you need to put it on your bucket list.
Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus was in the Museum from Noon to 3PM and the ever lengthening line of munchkins waiting to talk to the jolly old round guy, stretched half way around the first floor!  The line consisted mostly of little people with their parents in tow.  Mr. & Mrs. Santa look, talk and act just like the real deal….you have to check them out when you can.  They visited with each child and talked about what the child’s parent had written on a “wish card” when they queued up.  Then as they left Santa, they put the card in a waiting mail box….to be sent on to the North Pole.  How cool is that!
After an hour or so Tony led some of our group in singing some Christmas carols, acapella!  This year he passed out lyric sheets….which is good….but some of us….senior folks couldn’t read the small print, grin  My thought about singing is that it’s better to be loud than good….  We all enjoyed the fellowship, the day, the mission.

Pictures here;

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Over The River And Through The Woods Run 2014

Saturday, Nov 29, 2014, a small group of cruisers left the N. Stafford, Eustace Rd. WAWA to begin the first leg of the 6th Annual, ‘Over The River And Through The Woods Run’.  We would meet others at the WAWA in South Point, VA and leave there precisely 10AM for our 47 mile trek to Oilville, VA.  About 20 cruisers rolled south on Hwy. 1 to the old Arcadia Store where we turned onto Arcadia Rd. and made our way to Chilesburg where we would meet up with 5 more cars.  Winding our way south on the lesser traveled Virginia country roads through Beaverdam, VA and a few more little wide places in the road.  The road was enchanting and the scenery was amazing.  This is why we take the “back roads” whenever we can….it is just adds so much more to the day’s adventures.  When we arrived at the intersection of Rt. 250 and Oilville Rd., we made our only pit stop at the BP station.  Three of our group had stopped way back near Arcadia Rd. to assist Richard and his radiator belt problem on his ’60 Corvair….so while they caught up with us we all waited in the parking lot of the BP and adjacent car wash.

As soon as we were all together we started the last 6 miles to Page Custom Rods & Restorations, which was the destination of the day.  When we arrived we found another group of 15 cruisers already in the parking lot of the shop.  We drove around and finally parked on the access road to the shop….  I knew some were going to meet us at the shop….I just didn’t know how many would be there or what time they would arrive. 
The owner of Page Custom was one of the friendly staff that showed us around their shop.  They do really magnificent work….and they do just about anything from adding an upgrade to complete, frame off restoration or custom hot rod.  It’s always better to see how a shop operates when they “showcase” the projects that are under construction AND the completed ones.  You can tell a lot when the car is apart and going together.  Mr. Page & Rusty graciously showed us around and answered any questions we had….they were impeccable hosts.  They have a painter named Bobby that is renowned by most that know what a great paint job is supposed to be….really top notch.  Some of the shops we have visited over the years had a “snobby” persona….not at Page….they are “car guys” that are happy to serve your needs.  If you have anything you need done to your ride that you can’t handle….just check out Page and see what they can do for you.
Since the other group of cruisers arrived before us, they had done their visiting of the shop and were milling around in the parking lot.  Some left for the next stop at the restaurant before we got the whole group together.  We cut our visit a little short so we could all cruise to the restaurant as a group.  I had called the restaurant twice with the increasing number of cruisers that would be visiting for lunch.  My Mom once told me that if you can’t say anything nice about someone….don‘t say anything at all.  So….all I’m going to say is that I had to wait 2 hours for a glass of water at the restaurant….that’s all I’m going to say about the lunch.
Our group cruises a lot….if you have read my blog you know that.  Most of the times I lead because I know where we are going and I think most expect me to be in front.  But….sometimes I ask others to pick up the front of the pack so I can enjoy the trip too.  As any of you that travel over the roads know, sometimes the GPS or maps take you somewhere you weren’t expecting….  You get lost, or as my Marine Corps friends say “temporarily bewildered, never lost”.  We usually manage through the process and always have another “story” to tell that adds to the humor of our group.  I always wanted to have a sort of traveling award for the leader that gets us lost.  So the Princess and I made a certificate up and bought a coonskin cap and presto the “Boone & Magellan Broken Compass Award” was born!  Since our excursion to Ft. Belvoir recently, to present a donation check to the Fisher House on base, went a little awry when Fred & Lou led the pack, we decided to make Fred the first recipient of the BMBCA.  At the restaurant we presented Fred with the award and with the charge that he must take it wherever he cruises….and prominently display it for others to see, and ask about it.  He was further charged to protect the coonskin cap from his puppies so they don’t use it for a chew toy.  Fred good naturedly accepted the award and began his lobbying for Lou to lead soon!?  Fred will keep the award until the next “leader” has an ‘opps’ moment, then he can award it to the new confused leader….fun, ever heard of it?  After the presentation some of the cruisers began leaving the restaurant and by the time we ate there were only 8 of us left!  So we began the return to our homes via a different route from the one we used to get here.  We always try to change the look of the scenery on the way home.  It was a good day to cruise and be with our friends while checking out a primo shop….next year you have to join us.  It’s always the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

With a little help from our friends.....

On October 6th this year I received a forwarded email from our friend, Fred Fann, which is the President of the Car Club Council of Central Virginia.  It was a message from Judy Popov, the Marketing Manager for Welburn Management, inquiring about a “car show” for a Grand Opening of a local McDonald’s in Spotsylvania, VA.  After a couple messages back and forth, our group, Cruisin For Heroes, agreed to assist Judy with her request.  We were to provide 12 vehicles to be displayed in the McDonald parking lot.  We were to share the lot with two Spotsylvania Sherriff vehicles that were to be used to “stuff a cruiser” with food for local needy families and a couple very large pieces of rescue equipment from the Chancellor Volunteer Fire & Rescue.  For providing these vehicles for a 5 hour display the Welburn Management Company would make a $500 donation to Fisher House Foundation.  

Since we only had 54 days to put the display together….we had to move quickly.  We had to ensure that our display grid would include only spectator friendly vehicles with friendly, outgoing owners.  The weather is always a consideration and since it would be in late November it could be cold and/or wet!  After considering our choices of vehicles/owners we decided to invite Ken & Carmen Billings with their 55 Chevy BelAir, Bill & Debbie Bell with their ’23 Model T Speedster, Rick & Kim Sinclair with their ’03 Chevy Silverado, Bill Errera & JoAnn Meneloas with their ’57 Chevy BelAir, Bill & Linda Barnes with their ’65 Plymouth Valiant, Denny & Betty Raymond and their ’34 Gatsby, Duane & Valerie Mitchell and their ’67 Mustang, Ron Lacasse & Donna Aker with their ’69 Camaro.  Then with Lou & Arlene and their ’53 Ford Sunliner, Dan & Ramona Crane with their ’55 Chevy, Fred & Debie Davis with their ’57 Dodge and the Princess & I with our ’49 Chevy truck, this would provide the rest of the 12 vehicles for the display.
After a hiccupping start in Stafford the group began to arrive at the site from all directions of the compass.  There were a couple abandoned vehicles in the parking lot that had to be removed but everyone finally got settled in for a cold day at McDonald’s.  The cloudless sky allowed the sun to shine brilliantly belying the fact that the air temp was about -258 degrees with a 40 kt wind making the chill factor about absolute zero!  We all took turns going inside the warm restaurant for coffee and burgers….then back outside to interact with the spectators that milled among the vehicles throughout the day.  The cold made it difficult to do my normal impersonation of a flightless bird….running around waving my arms and making noise.  I tried to keep my hands in my pockets if I could and keep the talking to a minimum so I wouldn’t frostbite my vocal cords….grin  Everyone persevered and I’m told that they all enjoyed the day out with their hot rod.  The fact that we earned $500 for Fisher House Foundation was not lost on anyone either, it was another good day for our Veterans and the other organizations the Welburn Group shared with!
Judy was managing the event like a Swiss watch with the official ribbon cutting ceremony beginning at 11AM that included the big check presentations.  Mr. & Mrs. Welburn and their family all participated in the Grand Opening ceremony….it was a family affair.  The Spotsylvania County Sherriff’s Office, Chancellor Fire & Rescue, Fisher House Foundation, Spotsylvania County Public Schools all received presentation checks.  The National Wildlife Federation presented Mrs. Welburn with the “Certified Wildlife Habitat” certificate & plaque and our group, Cruisin For Heroes, presented Judy with a plaque of appreciation for working with us to serve our Veterans through Fisher House Foundation.
Ronald McDonald was energetically cruising through the crowds stopping at the different activity stations, doing magic tricks and other feats of wonder to the amazement of all.  Sparky and SafteyPup, the Fire & Rescue mascots, also mingled inside and outside with the crowds while they posed for pictures.  They had a face painter working tirelessly with her magic paint while the DJ kept the mood very upbeat. 
It was a great day for McDonald’s AND the local community.  This restaurant was built to be a certified eco-friendly establishment and is managed by sensitive friendly people willing to give back to the community while they serve it too.  Stop by and check it out….I think you will be impressed.

Ft. Belvoir Fisher House

Thursday, Nov 20, 2014…..we had an appointment at Fr. Belvoir, VA.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, wanted to visit the Fisher House that was across the street from the sprawling Base hospital at Ft. Belvoir.  Since it was a weekday not all of our members could make it so Lou & Arlene, Fred, the Princess & I were to represent CFH for the day.  After three changes of convoy leaders (only three vehicles) we finally arrived a little late….but we had a good impromptu tour of the Base enroute to the FH….  Upon arrival we were welcomed by the facility manager, Roxanna Maria (Miss Roxy), and given an abbreviated tour of the public areas that were accessible to visitors at the time.  The House is magnificently built and decorated to feel like a home….not a house!  It seems that every need the Veteran and/or their family might have can be addressed onsite.  The facility is about two years old and is usable for any need.  The bronze plaque at the entrance says it all for me; “THE ZACHARY AND ELIZABETH FISHER HOUSE….THIS GIFT IS DEDICATED TO OUR GREATEST NATIONAL TREASURE OUR MILITARY SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN AND THEIR LOVED ONES”.
Reading and studying about a subject is always helpful….but physical immersion in the subject always leaves one with a much more visceral understanding of the subject….it is so much more meaningful to see/touch the Fisher House in person than looking at a picture in a brochure. 
We visited for about an hour then Lou & I presented Miss Roxy with the “big” check that represented the proceeds from the Valley Mustangs Unlimited car club show in August.  She said it will all help keep the lights burning and the heat on….  We feel so blessed to be the face representing all the people that donated to help Fisher House Foundation through CFH so far this year. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Veterans Day 2014

Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014….Andrew met with the Princess & I at our home and we car pooled 125 miles to Staunton, VA to meet up with the Valley Mustangs Unlimited car club.  Along the way, near Culpeper, we joined Lou & Arlene and Fred and followed them the rest of the way to Staunton.  We arrived a little early in Staunton so we made sure the Dunkin Donuts were safe to eat….it’s a public service we perform whenever we can.  When the sinkers hit bottom we drove to the nearby Lowe’s parking lot for a few pictures of the Mustang club that had gathered.  When all the cruisers were accounted for we cruised to the Local VFW a few miles away.  Valley Mustangs Unlimited had committed to donate the proceeds from the show they held in August this year to the Fisher House Foundation.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, was presented with a check for $3094.12 in a ceremony in the VFW hall.  It was a moving experience for all….  I was interviewed for a local TV station and I don’t think I embarrassed myself too much….  The camaraderie between the Veterans and the two ‘car’ groups was something to see and experience.  The Respect was going both ways….really cool.  It was a great day for all and especially for the Fisher House Foundation.   I love this hobby

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Another busy day....

Saturday, Nov 8 we began our adventures by attending the monthly breakfast hosted by the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club at the Golden Corral in Massaponax, VA.  This club always has these informal get-together’s during the winter.  It’s a cool way to stay connected with each other while the hot rods spend more time in the garage than on the road.  The gatherings are open to all hot rodders; regardless of club affiliation….it really is a neat deal.  We visited and ate for about an hour then said our goodbyes and began the next leg of the day’s schedule. 

We drove our daily driver because we didn’t know what to expect at the next event, the Paws4Vets dog walk?  Two of our friends are connected to the organization and we wanted to support their efforts so for that reason we agreed to attend.   We arrived at Old Mill Park in Fredericksburg, VA to find DJ Ron already set up with his traveling music trailer and two clowns roaming around.  And….there were people walking dogs, what a concept!  Paws4Vets is an organization that matches service dogs with Veterans that need assistance that they are not getting.  The dogs can be trained to help PTSD sufferers, diabetic problems, blind or hearing impaired, as well as many other issues that the dogs unique senses can help the Veterans with.  The cost of these amazing animals can be north of $45,000…..yup!  The cost is high but the value is higher for the Veterans as their four legged companions truly make a life or death difference.  The event was held to benefit Walter who is suffering from Vietnam era PTSD that was awakened recently by a bout with Lyme disease.  His service dog, Jackson, was the gentlest little setter I have ever seen….and it is a constant companion for Walter that senses when Walter needs the attention to bring him back. 

The event was held to raise money to pay it forward so the next Veteran will have the option of having a service animal in their lives.  They had a silent auction and were taking donations for the cause.  There were about 22 dogs on the “walk” pattern and some just came to support the event.  Bill & Debie brought out the newly commissioned puppymobile with their dogs, Cooley & Riggins aboard.  I think Bill has way too much time on his hands….maybe….but then again maybe the just a little crazy Debbie encourages him too much….you decide!  Ron tried out the puppymobile but I think it had too much motor for Ron…..HO HO HO.  After the closing ceremony we all packed up and headed for Shannon Airport….

You all know I like airplanes more than hot rods….I just can’t afford a flying machine nor do I have a place to keep one….so I just take every opportunity that is presented to me to be among them.  Debie (not Debbie?) invited us to attend the re-opening of the airport with Debie’s boss, the new owner, dedicating it in a very informal event.  Informal it was….but….there were some very powerful elected officials.  Like Congressman Rob Wittman, Senator Reeves and others!  The new owner, dedicated the airport to serve the area in a more aggressive and positive way and to help be one of the economic engines that take Fredericksburg into the future. 

When we arrived we were directed to park in the overflow parking….just a little way from the entrance to the event….about 428 little miles away.  But not to worry….we were able to walk on the rolling grass field to the podium area….actually it was pitted with deep holes that were camouflaged with the long grass… was an experience to traverse and remain upright!  But walking with Debie & Fred while the Princess & I stumbled along must have been a sight to behold….but we made it.  We listened to the speeches, watched some airplanes take off & land and decided it was about time to leave.  Then Bill & Debbie arrived….hungry!  They suggested we try a new, to us; Mexican Restaurant called El Pino on Rt. 3.  We all like the south of the border food, so off we started….to retrace our steps….on the 428 mile trek back to the chuckling car.  Whew….  

The restaurant was superb….the food was great, the wait staff was very attentive….the prices were extremely fair.  We all ate too much and had enough fun that other establishments may have asked us to leave….but here….they just kept bringing us food!  I would recommend this restaurant….in fact we returned the next day with some other friends and it was like déjà, all over again with the great food and service.  You have to check it out if you’re in Fredericksburg sometime.

Eventually we headed for home….about 12 hours of fun with friends….


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I love the smell of Avgas in the morning....

Saturday the Princess & I left the WAWA at 10AM to begin our 32 mile cruise to Culpeper Airport….we have done this twice in two weeks!  The weather was so very different from two weeks ago when we endured the gloomy, wet day at AirFest.  But today was picture perfect with deep blue skies, puffy white clouds and a gentle breeze….and we were going to be among airplanes!  How could it get better?  Along the way we met Lou & Arlene as we completed our cruise to the airport.

Some of you may know that my Dad was a fighter pilot….he flew P-51 Mustangs in WWII.  I never pass up a chance to be in the company of one of those artifacts of American ingenuity and exceptionalism….   The Princess has her red ’94 Mustang GT that I bought her for our 30th wedding anniversary and she wanted to have a picture of it taken next to a P-51 Mustang….to connect in some way to my Dad’s Mustang.  We rarely take her Mustang anywhere but today was going to be special because the event was going to have a P-51 present for pictures.  Unfortunately the old Warbird wasn’t up to the task on Saturday.  Remember the old Mustangs are all over 60 years old, some more than that.  It takes a very intense and costly maintenance program to keep the old birds in the air….and at $2.5mil per airplane it’s not something you just wing it with (no pun intended).  Not to mention, as my Dad would say, “they never left one up there”….and with an oil leak you just don’t want to take a chance turning the old Mustang into a glider….understood!  But I was thoroughly bummed out….and unfortunately it messed up my day altogether….I’ll get over it….but….

About 58 cars & trucks attended as well as a gaggle of bikes….which included David’s beautiful purple Harley.  My favorite ride on the ramp was the red ’47 Chevy AD pickup.  The owner had just about every period correct option installed on it….that included a cigarette dispenser!  And he was not bashful about explaining everything about it.  Wyatt brought his DeLorean from Annapolis and Duane brought his very yellow Mustang from Culpeper.  The 1960 German Ford Taunus with the SBC was in the field with many more friends and their rides.  I like the Military encampment that was set up….it added a certain ambiance to the event.  The food served in the Commemorative Air Force hanger was very good and the restrooms were kept clean and stocked throughout the day. They brought the Yak and a TBM out for pictures with cars then later a T6 was added for another backdrop.  There was also a T6 flying and I saw a C140 launch….that is the kind of airplane I learned to fly in.  It was a good turn out when you consider there were three other shows running within 40 miles!  I will always vote to attend an event that has airplanes….oh yeah.  They are going to have more events like this next year....we will be there!

It’s getting near the end of our season….just a few more events and we rest the truck for four months.  Our Over The River And Through The Woods Run on November 29 then a week later our Toys For Tots run on December 6 will finish the season….

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Here comes Fall....

Friday the Princess & I cruised to VA BBQ and the weekly gathering in Fredericksburg, VA.  The nights are getting cooler and darkness descends on the neighborhood earlier every week.  And we get to set our clocks back in a couple weeks….whoopee!  One of the neat things about fall is the sunsets.  The air is always clearer and colors are in the sky as well as the leaves.  And so begins another magical season for us to marvel about.

About 30 cars came out to enjoy the evening with us and the conversation topics ranged everywhere; from cars-food-kids/grandkids-spouses-political-social issues-weather-you name it!  When you are with friends anything is fair game to talk about….we may not always agree….but we are almost always agreeable!  Fred won a VA BBQ, anatomically correct, pig trophy….so now he has something else to cherish from his adventures with Maxine.  Earlier in the day I had switched the water valve on the heater hose under the hood of the truck to “winter” position….so the Princess was contented with the cruise back home.  It was cool enough that her private little summer vacations she gets, wasn’t enough to keep her comfy.  She is so high maintenance.

Saturday we left Stafford, VA and cruised 35 miles to Opal, VA to the start point of our second Roaring 20’s cruise of the year.  Five of us left Opal and were joined by Bob as we passed Culpeper.  When we arrived at the first pit stop in Madison, 38 miles from Opal, three more joined us for the last 5 mile leg of the cruise. 

We had lead a cruise to this museum/collection nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in late June this year.  This museum is a one of a kind deal….you will find amazing artifacts of the American automobile industry displayed everywhere.  It showcases the beginnings of our automobile culture through unique vehicles and ends with some oddities of the 1950’s.  And as the name implies, the majority of the display is from the 20’s & 30’s.    You will also find an unbelievable amount of automobile memorabilia and other mechanical artifacts from that era.  Stationary engines, powered farm implements, chain saws, lawn mowers, a few bicycles can be discovered among the vehicles.  You will also find other antique items like stoves, dishes, dolls, furniture, models, sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, just have to see it….which you can’t in one visit!  It is not a polished, temperature controlled, antiseptically clean display, leave your white gloves home.  It is as if the founder, John Dudley, just brought everything in and parked it last month….then left.  John & his wife, Clarissa, have passed and the museum is now in the capable hands of their daughter, Martha.  Since we plan our cruises to raise awareness to our charity, Fisher House Foundation, Martha graciously agreed to not charge us for the visit.  We received $55 in donations to Fisher House….it was a good day!

I cannot amply describe the contents of this museum but you can go to the site I have stored the pictures I took….and maybe….maybe….you can get a flavor of the experience.  It is a sensory overload….you cannot see everything in one visit, trust me on this!

After we finished the visit some of us began our next 25 miles on the way to Wood Grille Buffet in Charlottesville, VA.  This restaurant always accommodates us on our cruises in this part of Virginia.  Their food is yummy and they give all us seniors a discount….just because we are so pretty!  The staff is attentive and thorough.  Their parking lot is huge so we never worry about parking lot damage to our rides when we eat there.  After we all ate too much we loosened our belts and contemplated our 85 mile trip back to Stafford.  The amazing thing about the way we like to cruise is the destination is not the only high point of the day….it’s the journey too!  The day was perfect, deep blue skies, white puffy clouds, dark green grass and moderate temperatures….it really was perfect!  Driving around on the Virginia byways is enjoyable in itself….  The Princess is getting much better at recording our adventures in photos….you have to check out the images….go along with us….be part of the fun….I love this hobby.


Pictures from June;

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just another day at the airport....

Saturday, after buying three giant thermal containers of coffee and all the support supplies for them at WAWA, the Princess & I left Stafford at 5:15 and cruised 32 miles to Culpeper Regional Airport….in the rain.  This would be the 5th time we have supported the Airport’s annual AirFest event.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes (CFH), invites a mix of interesting special vehicles to display on a lot next to the only entrance to the day’s festivities.  We try to screen the invitees to our display so we end up with people friendly people as well as their interesting vehicles.  The display is meant to compliment the AirFest event but not distract from it, so we have to be careful what/who we invite.  We began planning for this year’s event while we were executing last year’s event….always improve….Kiazen. 

This year the Airport staff was expecting in excess of 12,000 spectators!  They would bus them to the event then back to their vehicles from nearby High Schools.  The Airport staff was working tirelessly behind the scenes, solving the onslaught of problems the day would bring.  The local law enforcement community sets up a command trailer on the ramp, coordinates the traffic and provides any emergency equipment during the day.  It is a major event.  And did I mention it was an air show?  Yup….there would be many airplanes that would fly and WOW the spectators….not the least of which is Nalls Aviation’s Harrier.  It is the only civilian owned Harrier in existence….it is an amazing machine.  And this year there were to be 75 Warbirds!  These Civilian owned old Military airplanes from trainers, observation, fighters, bombers, transports and liaison planes are such an important part of the historical fabric of America.  A lot of noisy, really cool airplanes that when not flying are parked on the ramp and are ‘touchable’ to all the spectators!  A little after Noon the low ceiling began to lift and some of the airplanes began to fly.  It would be an abbreviated air show program but most of the show did go on, to include the Harrier!  It is truly an experience not to be missed, and it’s free. 

This year the vendor presence seemed to increase drastically to include many different kinds of foods like funnel cakes, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbeque, kettle corn, ice cream and much more!  Other vendors selling interesting local wares filled the ramp area; it looked like a tent city!  A few hangars were open to the public to include the Commemorative Air Force hangar.  This group supports the restoration as well as flying of the old warbirds.  They always have a few examples of their member’s machines lurking in their hangar.  They also have an open house every month for the public to see what they do to preserve the old air machines.

Last year it rained all day….I rolled that thought around my mind as the distance between us and the airport got shorter and shorter while I peered out the tiny cleaned spot on the windshield.  The top of our truck is chopped 4” and we have modified little 7” wiper blades to use when it rains.  They clean a spot about as big as a salad plate; it’s like mowing your grass while wearing a snorkel mask to see where you are going.  Peripheral vision is overrated.  When we arrived at the airport the youngest member of CFH, Andrew, was already parked next to the display lot and three of the sponsors vehicles were set in the display lot!  Lou had worked with the sponsor on Friday to help deliver their cars to the Airport.  As we drove past Andrew, I turned to go onto the grassed lot that we would be walking on for the next 10 hours to see if it was too soft.  When I got off the asphalt the truck bounced a little and started to make grinding noises!  I thought for a moment that we had dropped off into a quagmire of mud and grass.  So I immediately stopped, then selected reverse in the old TH350 transmission and began easing back out.  The grinding noises accompanied us till we got on the asphalt again, whew.  I jumped out (not really “jumped”, kind of a slinky fall out of the cab onto my wobbling legs and numb feet) to survey the damage, in the rain, in the dark.  Andrew was walking over to see what was going on while I was fumbling with my new cosmic tactical flashlight, that wasn’t working.  When I found my backup flashlight I saw what the ruckus was all about.  A cinder block was left on the grass!  We were next to the main gate to the airport ramp and it has two 10’ gates.  When the gates are opened they will swing shut with a little wind.  So, this is the cinder block that they put in front of the gate after it’s opened so it won’t swing closed.  Since it was early, the gates were still locked and closed and the cinder block was lying on the ground.  So while cautiously looking out the salad plate sized clean spot on my windshield, in the rain, 1 1/2 hour before sunrise… had escaped my attention.  The Princess was freaking out.  I think she thought we had run over something that was capable of tearing off the underside of the truck and we would see the oil running on the ground any second.  She got out and looked at the bumper and fender and pronounced that it looked serviceable.  I didn’t see any vital fluids leaking out or any parts lying on the ground so we might be OK.  I gingerly backed up to the end of the holding lot and parked with the headlights left on to illuminate some of the display lot while we maneuvered vehicles into position, in the dark, in the rain….whew.  Later inspection of the cinder block attack would reveal no damage, not even a scratch?  I guess those old bumpers were built a little different than the ones today.  While Andrew and I were discussing how we would deal with the day, Lou & Arlene drove up and parked.  Lou is the important part of this whole deal….he brings the 4 dozen doughnuts!  Shortly after Lou parked, Arlene joined the Princess in our truck so they could plot their part of the day’s activities.  Princesses don’t do anything by accident….they plan everything….we just think they are a little air headed and spontaneous….no way….hehehehe  Next Fred joined the group without Debie….she would join us later….arriving in a school bus….you have to ask her why?  Now there were six crazy people….in the cold rain….in the dark….looking at each other wondering why we have such crazy friends!  Normal people would still be home asleep or if they are up at this bizarre hour they would be sipping a warm latte in a cozy room while watching the cold rain fall outside.  And normal people would be wondering why anyone would go out in this kind of weather.  Normal?….that’s just a place in Illinois! 

About 6:30 we decided to take up our positions so Andrew left to man his critical spot.  Andrew would be the first CFH person anyone would see as they drive in on the access road.  Since many of the participants we invited this year were first timers they would need to be directed from the access road to our parking staff near the lot.  CFH was also a little short handed this weekend so initially Lou, Fred and I would be directing the placement of all the vehicles on the display lot.  Dan would be leading a group from Stafford that would leave there at 6:30….in the rain….in the dark.  When he arrived he would become the fourth person to help place vehicles on the display lot. 

As mentioned above the spectators were to be bused from two local HS and disembarked on the part of the display lot near the sidewalk.  Because of that the total size of our display lot had been reduced by about 1/3!  We had reduced the amount of people we invited by about 15 so the vehicles would not be too cramped.  With as many spectators that were expected we wanted ample room between the vehicles to prevent any damage to them.  Shortly after 6:30 the first of the days display vehicles began arriving.  Everything else that happened would be pure crisis management from this point till about 11AM.

Cory, his son and his Dad brought in their two beautiful Fairlanes and a Patriotically wrapped trailer hauling the red Fairlane.  We parked their trailer and the Fords then Fred & Lou parked the rest of the vehicles as they came in.  Since our sponsor was a Ford dealership we invited more people that had Fords.  And since there was to be a Mopar show the same day we avoided inviting any Mopars except for Bill’s Valiant.  By 8AM most of the vehicles had arrived and were in the process of settling in for the day.  Fred, Bill & Bill began setting up the hospitality canopies that would house the coffee & doughnuts.  They also set up the CFH/Fisher House Foundation canopy near the entrance.  Fisher House Foundation has been our major charity for three years now as we try to raise awareness and dollars for this fine charity that assists our returning Veterans as they mend from their war injuries.   Like the McDonald house, Fisher House houses the families of the Veterans that are in the hospital.  There is never a cost to the Veteran or their family and the Fisher Houses are placed all over the Country near VA hospitals.  You need to consider them when you do your charitable giving for the year. 

Bill brought his 1923 Model T Speedster to the party; I think it was the most popular ride all day even though Wyatt’s DeLorean always had a crowd around it too.  These two cars always attract attention wherever they are, they are so unique and the owners really like to interact with spectators.

I think it was around 9AM that the little PT Cruiser came in with the two more clowns!  Yup….clowns.  One of the vehicle invitees was Bill, his main squeeze is Jo-Ann….a sure enough, real clown!  A few months ago she had asked me if we would like to have some clowns at the event?  I never thought about that!  The event is very family centric….and everyone likes clowns….why not have them join us?  The Princess and I attended a clown gathering to make our presentation….yup, they really get together in large groups, grin.  Their group is called LUV_N_LAFFS Clown Alley.  We made a presentation about AirFest and Fisher House Foundation and invited them to share the day with us.  We knew Jo-Ann would “be in clown” for the event and hoped others would join in too.  After they parked their PT Cruiser, Bill helped them set up their canopy next to the hospitality area and the fun began!  To say the clowns added to the event is like saying the Grand Canyon is a hole in the ground….it’s so understated.  PJ the clown did face paintings under the canopy most of the day to include the two Princesses.  They would become roving cheerleaders for PJ’s art as they wandered around doing Princess stuff.  JoJo and Curly Que mingled in and out of our display, and then onto the airport ramp with the spectators and the airplanes….it was just too cool.  They made every child that saw them a little happier….and most of the adults too!  It was the best new thing we have done at AirFest in the last 5 years!

Sometime around Noon our group began to hand out our tokens of appreciation to the participants of our display.  Everyone but Andrew joined in; he was playing Uncle and chasing a little curious munchkin all over the airport.  Maybe it was a test run to see if he and Angela could keep up with the little energy machines…..grin  Anyway the rest of us thanked each participant for bringing out their prized ride, in the rain.  Some came from as far away as Annapolis, MD, about 130 miles away and Harrisonburg, VA, about 75 miles away….in the dark… the rain.  Some have been with us for all five years and some have joined us for the first time this year.  It is just amazing to me/us how some people will selflessly come out and share their ride with thousands of people they don’t know to benefit people they don’t know and will never know them.  It’s one of the good things that makes up the fabric of our Country….it’s what/who we are.

The biggest ‘take away’ I had from this year’s event is the way we made lemonade.  Did I mention that the day’s weather was worse than miserable?  That it was cold, raining, windy and gloomy all day?  It would have been so very easy to turn inward and complain about the circumstances that we had no control over and then the day would have been dreadful for everyone.  Or we could just press on working the event, solving problems as they came to us.  Encouraging each other, keeping our thoughts on the mission to make our part of the event as enjoyable as we could to the spectators and in the process we would find enjoyment in that.  We succeeded!  We took the lemons the weather gave us and made some lemonade….

Monday, October 6, 2014

A ride in the Countryside and beyond....

Saturday five cruisers began our trek to Beaverdam, VA from Stafford at 7AM.  Along the way we were joined by two more cars in Chilesburg, VA and we all headed to the Riverside Baptist Church and annual the show on their grounds.  The ride was a little tedious because the night’s rain had stopped around 5:30 so some of the road was still wet!  And some low spots had standing water that we tried to dodge and weave away from….fun me thinks.  We arrived early and were about the 5th through 12th entrants to the show.  Our little band of car gypsies set up camp and began to enjoy the glorious day.  The weatherguessers were conflicted about their forecast….two said rain all day but three said rain stops early and partly sunny all day.  We got the last guess….a really beautiful day.

This show is like most rural Virginia shows….it’s a community event with a car show attached, instead of the other way around.  There were flea market/yard sale areas, home cooked breakfast and lunch that included Brunswick Stew.  There were activities for kids and craft vendors for all.  A couple dune buggies were giving rides to the hapless spectators who were brave enough to climb into one of those things!  There was no music!?  I usually like background music but about half way through the day I realized it’s absent.  After one of the door prize announcements I waited for the music to begin again….but it didn’t!  I think the absence of the music actually added to the ability to have conversation when you don’t have to talk over the music.  And the announcements were listened to more because they were not just a change in the ever present din.  Something to think about….

The show attracted a nice mix of original antiques to much modified street cars.  I always like the field to be mixed up like this because I like most anything with wheels.  Jim’s yellow ’72 Plymouth is always a welcome sight but there was so much more in the 30 or so vehicles that attended.  The yellow F-1 was a very special ride and the beige ’34 Chevy sedan was too cool.  My favorite was the black ’35 Ford coupe that was mostly original but detailed with modern touches that were still true to the original.  The owner wouldn’t let a particle of dust take up residence anywhere on it!  He just kept rubbing on it somewhere, it really was that nice.

I was feeling a little queasy so after the awards were given out we broke camp and left for home.  It was a Chamber of Commerce, picture post card perfect day…..a deep blue sky with puffy white clouds with the trees beginning to turn color.  An ever-present brisk rustling of the leaves told me winter is right around the corner….bring it!

Some of the ladies in our circle of friends had been mentioning that we should visit the Graves Mountain Apple Festival with all the vendors and crafts and other ‘stuff’.  I thought I had effectively dodged the inquiries well enough to put it off till next year….then I could make excuses why I didn’t want to go to THAT.  I lost!  Debie, Arlene, Jo-Ann, Ramona and the Princess explained that in the interest of family interpersonal relationships we needed to visit the apple deal convinced (you guys will know what I mean).  I think Lou was the first one to cave….I think he might be taking those sensitivity training classes way too seriously.  Anyway the ladies put the deal together and via email and Facebook they got the route planned with two start points for those coming from different areas.  Lou led the troupe from Brandy Station, VA by following the nice lady that lives in his GPS.  The route was through an area in Virginia we had never traveled.  The road and scenery was spectacular.  We had visited Graves Mountain years ago when we were riding the Harley but it looked so different.  We picked our way past the full parking lots and crossed over a very narrow bridge to more parking on the way toward the Graves Mountain Lodge.  After we parked we began our walk to the vendors….then I heard the unmistakable sound of an old stationary engine.  As we approached the entrance to the event the sound was growing louder….then I saw it!  A very green, beautifully restored, John Deere stationary engine with a whirring flywheel and the accompanying ‘POP’ that it made when the spark plug fired to keep the momentum turning the flywheel.  I love these old engines and that this one was hooked up to an ice cream churn was just what was needed to set the ambiance of the event!   

I thought the walk would be disastrous on my old worn out body but because of the leisurely stroll we were using and the relatively even grassed walking surface it was actually enjoyable.  Did I say that?  Many vendors were showing/selling their wares from wood workers to canned foods to Native American items to jewelry to African banana art!?  So many different kinds of food to sample with apples at the core of most of it!

After the ladies had gathered enough apples and other stuff for the next millennium, I knew this part of the visit would be my downfall.  I knew the ladies just wanted us for our bodies, we were to be their pack mules to tote their newfound, must have, can’t live without it, I’ve been looking for this all my life, treasures back to the cars!   But….the Boy Scouts of America came to our rescue!  A small troop of these future leaders of America were offering to transport our booty to our cars.  Wow….that will work!  We loaded up their wagon with ‘stuff’ and led them to our cars.  They said they were doing it as a public service but we all gave them something for their trouble.  They thanked us and said the money would go to the troop for Scout activities…..what a concept!

About this time the ladies were getting hungry?  Of course they didn’t want to partake of the food offered at the festival….oh no!  I guess it was just too pedestrian for their delicate palates.  THEY wanted to go to the Graves Mountain Lodge for a country buffet!  A buffet!  And the Lodge was nearly at the top of Graves Mountain with a walking path about 50 miles long, UP to it.  I asked where the base camp was that Sir Hillary set up to make this trek?  I think the Lodge was up high enough to have clouds around it.  Dan & Ramona decided to walk up but the rest of us knew we would never make it.  We would fall down from exhaustion or some body part failure….then roll down the mountain into the river and float to the ocean, never to be seen again….  So we decided to take out cars up the narrow road to the Lodge, it worked!  The Lodge is a nice place to dine but it’s like some buffets….the food is ok but not great.  The restaurant’s ambiance is what makes the experience good with the views and character of the Lodge itself.  There is a mindset that comes into play when you eat at a buffet.  Some try to eat all they can….because it’s an all you can eat deal!  I mean, that’s what the instructions say….ALL YOU CAN EAT.  And you don’t want to be a slacker so you eat….and eat….and eat….and eat.  When the cook came out to see who was depleting everything they were cooking in the kitchen, I knew it was time to leave!  When we were done we all gathered at the massive fireplace for a group picture….a fitting end to the experience.  There would now be a photo of us at the entrance with a red slash across it….grin

We maneuvered down the hill and across the narrow bridge then on to the Virginia byway and home.  This was a great adventure with great friends….next year we need to take our hot rods instead of the daily drivers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Friday the Princess & I cruised 40 miles to Culpeper to attend the weekly cruise at Arby’s.  We left early enough to dine at the Glory Days restaurant before the cruise-in because the Princess likes the Friday fish special they serve.  And we always sit on the patio outside so we can watch the hot rod while we eat.  We were done about 4:30 so we cruised to Arby’s next.  We waited till after 5PM and no one else showed up?  This cruise-in is not “run” by a club or group…it’s a very informal gathering of friends and acquaintances….very low key.  So the chance of all the friends being busy on a Friday night is real….I guess we hit one of those nights.  It would have been a loss except for the great meal at Glory Days and the awesome ride in the Virginia countryside getting there.  But we wanted to meet up with some “car” friends somewhere… we headed for the Burg….Fredericksburg, VA.

Fredericksburg has two cruise-ins this year about 4 ½ miles apart and they both have pluses and minuses for us….and we have friends that manage & attend both of them.  So it’s a little tricky to not show favoritism for one over the other….kinda like having two kids at Christmas and making the experience even for both of them….tricky.  So we try to alternate our visits between the two….whew!  This Friday it is VA BBQ!

When we arrived the lot was pretty full but we managed to find a spot next to Fall Hill Rd….where the Princess likes to park.  When I got out and looked at our neighbors parked in the line with us….I thought we might be in a front line in a Chevy dealership!  Camaro’s aplenty….which is ok with us….it was just a little funny.  When we visit the cruise-in at the other end of town the same thing happens but it’s Mustangs there….too funny!

We were instantly greeted by Kim and a little later Rick came over to sit a spell and talk….always a good time!  The black ’39 Chevy coupe is the nicest one around and is a regular visitor to this cruise-in.  Hoppy brought his red/white ‘55 Ford golf cart to the mix and was giving people rides around the parking lot in it.  A pair of nice ’67 Chevy Nova posts arrived….one with a cool graphic in the side.  The light blue VW added to the international ambiance of the evening’s gathering.  But the Camaros….mostly newer models but very nice nonetheless.  Kandy’s yellow ‘Bumble Bee’ was special….the color always brightens up the model row.  So many of the newer cars are in ‘power’ colors, black-red-dark blue….they look nice but the brighter colors, yellow-green, just add something to the display for me. 

Around 8PM a fellow, Gary, walked over and started a conversation with us.  He wanted to know “what was going on here?”  We explained it was a cruise-in and what that was verses a ‘show’.  He asked questions like ‘how much does it cost to enter?’, ‘how do you get in?’, ‘where are you allowed to park?’.  So the Princess and I explained a lot of things for him.  On the ‘cost’ question I told him there was no cost to park but that the managing club, Fredericks Classic & Muscle Car Club, ran a 50/50 each Friday.  He asked ‘what was that?’  I explained the club sold tickets for $1 or more and they drew one of the tickets at the end of the cruise-in.  The winner kept half of the night’s ticket purchase dollar amount and the other half was kept by the club.  The club used the money to help local needy families during Christmas every year.  He said that sounded like a good thing and I agreed it was!  He said he had recently completed a restoration of a ’62 Falcon….it wasn’t “special” so he parked it way over among the daily drivers near Rt. 1, hidden from view of ‘our’ gathering!?  We told him to bring it in and park anywhere he wanted including next to us.  He said his car wasn’t ‘special’ and were we sure he could do that?  I told him to just get his car and park it next to us….everyone would be ok with that.  Except the Camaro owners….hehehehe….I didn’t actually say that!  He brought his nice, stock, almost original beige ’62 Ford Falcon and parked next to us.  You could tell he was proud of it and after he felt “accepted” he thanked us and strolled around the lot looking at other people’s rides.  I have thought about this encounter a lot since Friday.  The Princess & I usually sit in a group with friends while we visit the evening away.  If someone new to our hobby walked in they would probably be intimidated by our ‘clickish’, loud little group and may not ask the questions Gary did.  That would be a shame for everyone and the hobby.  Sometimes we are so involved with our cars or friends that we fail to notice someone on the ‘outside’….something to think about.  Around 8:30 the Princess started whining about being cold and wanted to go home….so we packed up and headed north.

Saturday we left Stafford with Jim & Linda and cruised 28 miles to Manassas, VA and the weekly cruise at the BK by the airport.  When we had parked and were getting the chairs out I heard a very distinctive sound above.  Something rarely heard then seen in these parts.  The whine of a full tilt Rolls Royce Merlin V-12!  Jim & I looked up and were treated to the sight of a P-51 Mustang banking out of the traffic pattern of the airport!  Such a sweet sound….  Then I remembered the airport was hosting a small gathering of WWII warbirds that weekend….they even had the B-17, Aluminum Overcast, at the airport.  That will be a preview of what our AirFest Saturday weekend may be like on October 11 in Culpeper, VA.

After we set out the chairs we all visited the BK for lunch and potty break….they have taken the ‘satisfrys’ off the menu?  Why?  Oh well, I really don’t need french fries anyway.  When we returned to the lot it was filling up nicely.  This cruise-in usually has 100-150 cars and tonight was going to be an overflow night.  This cruise-in also has a lot of transient folks.  They cruise in and stay a few hours then cruise somewhere else.  That makes it difficult to nail down the actual total participation for the night.

Nick and a few friends brought their Pro Streets and parked next to a very nice grey Camaro Pro Touring car.  A white ’59 Rolls parked next to us as the evening unfolded and more cars came and went.  Paul took up residence in “his” spot with his yellow ’32 Ford 5w coupe.  There is a nice red ’40 Ford coupe that attends frequently that is motivated by a cool SBF.  It runs an Edelbrock cross ram intake with two Edelbrock 4bbls.  They are topped with air cleaners made with Ford hubcaps….how cool is that?  There were Challengers, Corvettes, Mustangs, Vipers, Camaros….old cars, new cars, stock cars, much modified cars and even a Morris Minor to add to the international flair, with a North American Mustang making music overhead….whats not to like?  About 6:30 we gathered up and cruised back to Stafford.  We have to be home before dark….the evil local suicide deer population is everywhere.  I read on the internet that they are targeting vehicles this year….beware!

Sunday would be our second annual Kodak Cruise where we drive our hot rods somewhere picturesque and everyone takes pictures of their rides and the Princess & I take some too.  It has been a fun time in the past but we wanted to make the one this year a little closer to home so more people could join in on the fun.  The Princess & I waited at the WAWA start point till what I thought was the launch time of 7:30 then departed alone for Curtis Park in Stafford, VA.  I send a weekly email that posts the start time and general itinerary of our weekend adventures.  I guess my brain had a flat spot because my email actually said that we leave at 8:30!  So….there I was….all mopey and unhappy that no one was going with us.  Oh well, we go on anyway like we always do. 

We cruised 12 miles to the Park and waited at the information center to see if anyone else would show up at 8AM, which would really be 9AM.  Soon Bill arrived with his 1923 Ford Model T Speedster in tow.  We talked and decided where he could unload his ride then meet us by the lake.  Since we were an hour early the sunlight was very low and a mist had formed over the lake like a low thin fog, it was really cool.  And the early morning sunlight was very intense so I knew the pictures would be special.  And I still didn’t realize I made a mistake and didn’t know Bill usually arrived very early to events so we set up Bill’s Speedster and began taking pictures.  We had just about finished with Bill when Lou & Arlene and Fred & Debie showed up!  Then I got a call from Ramona asking if we were still going to cruise!?  I told her I must have had a brain flatulence or maybe I was running on old grumpy people’s time!  I think she laughed.  We started photographing Fred’s ’57 Dodge and by the time we were done the rest of the group showed up!  We all made fun of my time mistake….including me!  It’s neat that friends can do stupid stuff then their friends just laugh and point at my silly self and we go on….too cool….

After Bill’s car was photographed he offered to take the Princess a ride in/on his Speedster….whohoo.  The Princess gave Bill very specific instructions that he was NOT to go fast enough to mess up her hair!  Very specific instructions….  I think she had a good time waving at people from the seat of the Speedster and when she came back Arlene jumped on the Speedster for a ride too.  They were doing that while I was photographing the rest of the cars.  The Princess was busy taking “natural” pictures?  Geese, water, bushes, trees, a man fishing…..artsy stuff me thinks.  After we all took pictures of our rides at the lake, we moved to the entrance of the Park which is tree lined on both sides and is a very good set up for pictures.  I have the cars come down the lane going from side to side to get different angles and light.  The entrance is about 100yds long and I try to take 4-6 pictures before they are at the end.  I hadn’t planned on the where the cars would park when they were at the end of the lane so they did a U turn and went back beyond the point where the Princess would start them.  That made for some interesting shots too!  Finally we were done with the photo shoot and it was time for lunch.  It is the only entrance to the Park so we had to wait for the normal Park traffic that was beginning to arrive to clear so we could get pictures with just the subject vehicle in it.  That was a very tedious exercise.  We all formed up and departed for lunch that was about 12 miles away.

I had contacted the restaurant earlier in the week to let them know we would be visiting on Sunday about Noon.  They said that would be ok but they didn’t take reservations….that should have rang a bell for me.  When we arrived at the restaurant there was a line OUTSIDE waiting to get in, and they had been open for three hours!  I knew this was going to be trouble.  We parked in an empty lot across the street so we wouldn’t have to mingle with the daily drivers and I walked over to check it out.  Inside I informed them we were about 20 people and was greeted with ‘we can’t combine tables and there is a 20-30 min wait!’  This wouldn’t work for us.  I informed our group that the restaurant wouldn’t try to accommodate us so we needed a plan B.  Debie recommended we try Ryan’s in Central Park….that would work.  Most of the group left then but we were a little early to the restaurant and some friends that couldn’t go on the photo shoot wanted to join us for lunch.  And they were on the way.  I had the phone number of Jim & Linda so I called and redirected them to Ryan’s.  But I could not contact Bill & Debbie or Ron & Donna.  The Princess and I waited in the lot for them so they could be redirected to Ryan’s.  Bill & Debbie arrived about 15 min before Noon and were driving their ’23 T Speedster, not really a long distance ‘road’ car.  They had unloaded it at the train station a couple miles away and driven to the restaurant to meet us.  Then had to drive back to the train station, load it up on a trailer, drive it to Ryan’s….whew!  We waited until a little after Noon and hadn’t heard from Ron so we left for Ryan’s.  I need to plan a little better next time me thinks.

We all finally were at Ryan’s and in our own ‘private’ room and feeling good about the day even with a lot of bantering about planning and such.  Bill even told us his sad encounter at McD’s, you have to ask him.  The food was good and the service was great at Ryan’s.  We may plan on coming back here again, they really want us there!  Before we left Lou made a comment about the day being so nice that we shouldn’t waste it on just going home….we needed to drive somewhere.  What a concept.  We put our heads together and decided to visit the Lake Anna State Park and after that go and see if Bruster’s still sold ice cream in Culpeper!  Sounds like a plan, yup.  Some couldn’t join us because of pets that needed attention at home but the rest of us were in.  During this time I got a call from Ron & Donna, they wanted to join our adventure and they would meet us at the Dairy Queen in S. Fredericksburg at 2PM. 

We began our 28 mile cruise to the State Park through the wandering Virginia countryside after we met up with Ron & Donna at the DQ.  The ride was great and the Park was everything I remember but it has been built up a little since our last visit 10 years ago.  The gate lady that was taking fees for the Park was so impressed with our little convoy she let us in free!  She just wanted to take pictures of our rides as we entered the Park….what a deal!  After we parked, we strolled around the facilities and Lou called his son that was vacationing at the lake.  He was about 2 min away in a boat so they came to the boat ramp and visited while the rest of us took in the lake’s beauty.

It was time to leave and make our way to Culpeper but two of our cruisers decided to go home instead….  The rest of us cruised 35 miles to Bruster’s….they still had ice cream!  We visited for another hour but decided to leave before dark….you know about those deer around here, grin.  Another great day driving our hot rods, sharing with friends….enjoying the life God has given us.  I love this hobby!