Monday, May 26, 2014

The longest three days yet!

Friday we left N. Stafford and cruised 40 miles to Culpeper, VA and the weekly cruise at Arby’s.  This cruise is not run by a club….just some hot rodders that gather to talk about cars and keep connected with each other.  There were 15 cars, not a lot but everyone knew each other and it was like a weekly family cook out.  We all ate at Arby’s then went back outside to talk cars and family.  The Princess and Arlene escaped to the nearby shopping center to browse.  I started getting nervous about that since we are driving a truck now and there is basically no limit on the amount of stuff we can haul.  So I asked Lou if the girls said they were going shopping or shopping shopping?  He said they just said shopping….whew!  I knew I wouldn’t be getting a call from BB&T asking if all those purchases were legit or had our credit card been stolen?  Safe for now!

One of the cars left the cruise early so I didn’t photograph it…a ’64-’65 Barracuda Pro Street….a very gnarly ride.  Except for one, the rest of the cars were ones we usually see at local shows or cruises….except one.  That one car, a ‘green ’31 Chevy 5 window coupe, was a little rough.  It was done a little different from our “new” hot rods.  It even had a generator instead of an alternator!  While talking with the new owner I discovered it was a true hot rod treasure.  It was a time capsule of sorts.   It was originally built in 1959-1960 by a “kid” and some friends in Brooklyn, NY.  Check out the video and watch for it at a cruise/show near you.  It’s not a rat rod….it’s a Traditional hot rod in every sense of the term.


Right before dark the two Princesses announced their return from their relentless shopping and convinced Lou and I that it was time for us to depart….so….on the road again!  Grin

Saturday the Princess & I left the N. Stafford WAWA and began our 54 mile cruise to the Annual Strawberry Festival in Delaplane, VA.  We met Dan & Ramona on our way out of Stafford and picked up Ron and Fred & Debie in Opal, VA.  So our little group of 4 vehicles cruised the Virginia countryside on our way to the event.  When we arrived Wyatt & Nancy were already parked with their DeLorean.  This event is in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near Winchester, VA.  The event is held in one of the most scenic venues we visit.  We join the Bull Run AACA club and display our vehicles for the thousands of event goers to view and ask questions about them.  The event boasts a plethora of food vendors and craft vendors….something to keep the ladies occupied.  The restroom facilities are porta potties but seemed to be in great shape.  There was a bagpipe band that performed off and on most of the day.  It really is a neat event to be part of.  The weather was sunny and cool with a 487mph hurricane blowing most of the day.  As is customary when we are going to be at an event all day the first thing we do is set up camp, which includes canopies.  With the number of people we had we decided to set up all three.  With the wind blowing the chill factor seemed to be about -43 degrees….no one sat under the canopies till about noon.  Because of the wind chill I didn’t notice that my exposed skin was turning a bright crimson….I usually sit under the canopy.  I started noticing that it was becoming difficult forming some words, my face was getting taught!?  Then someone said I looked like a red raccoon….time to get under my umbrella.  Now the Princess and I have very special umbrellas….called GustBusters.  They are designed to NOT fold up when the wind blows under them.  I had never had the occasion to really “test” them….till today.  They have blow out panels near the top that are held on one end with an elastic strap and on the other end are fastened securely to the main roof.  The wind was blowing them out and snapping back for three hours….they worked flawlessly, as designed. 

Around 3PM we all decided we had had sampled quite enough food and endured enough windblown fun for the day so we broke camp and motored out of the park.  We had an uneventful cruise back to Stafford and with the application of a quart of Vaseline Intensive Care lotion I began to feel like I may someday actually be able to form whole words without cracking my skin… is good.

Sunday we launched from the WAWA in N. Stafford again but this time with Bill & Jo-Ann and cruised 40 miles to the Arby’s in Culpeper, VA where we hooked up with Lou & Arlene then continued another 7 miles to the Salem VFD on Rt. 522.  We have attended this event many times and it is a consistently well managed event.  The restrooms are inside the fire house and the VFD members sell breakfast AND lunch….really good food that is reasonably priced.  That is a real treat and generates a few extra dollars for the VFD.  The day’s weather was picture perfect, a real treat from Saturday.  Tony of Tony’s Body Shop manages the event with the precision of an atomic clock.  Everything happens as advertised and on time….so refreshing.  Our friend Ron is the DJ at this event which always adds to the day’s experience.  But this year the event was on Memorial Day weekend.  Ron is a retired Army guy so his connection to our Veterans is understandable and he never misses an opportunity to show respect for our citizen soldiers.  Ron asked all the Veterans present to come to the DJ area to be recognized for their service to a grateful Nation.  He then played our National Anthem as we saluted the waving flag.  It was a moving experience for all.  Ron will be hanging up his DJ stuff soon….he is going to actually “retire” and explore our great Country through the windshield of his RV.  We have one more chance to say thanks to someone that has been a fixture at so many events over the past 25 years….the Brandy Station show this year…. watch for it.  Ron also announced Fred & Debie’s 17th anniversary and Fred’s Birthday.  I don’t know how old Fred really is but I heard a rumor he helped the Dodge brothers make engines for Henry Ford in the early days of the Model T….I read it on the internet, it must be true!

So many very well done vehicles are usually part of this event and this year was no exception.  The black ’68ish Camaro won best of show.  I’m not a Camaro guy but this jewel was the nicest one I have seen in a very long time!  There is a black ’64 Chevy convertible that is making the rounds this year….it’s a real knockout too!  This was the third event in a row since Friday….and my old body is yelling “uncle”!  We broke camp and cruised home….giving people something to wave at for 47 miles….I love this hobby.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Rod Run in Williamsburg, VA

The weatherguessers were forecasting rain in Biblical proportions for most of the East coast….flash flooding….power loss….bad stuff for Friday.  So our little group watched the weather radar Thursday evening and early Friday and decided we could make the run to Williamsburg, VA from Stafford, VA after about noon on Friday.  We were going to leave a little earlier in the day but decided we could chase the storm to the ocean without getting the hot rods wet if we left at noon.  It worked!  We left the N. Stafford WAWA and cruised 116 miles to Williamsburg and the 42nd Annual Colonial Williamsburg Rod Run capably managed by Tidewater Street Rod Association.

We arrived in Williamsburg around 3:30 and checked into our Motel then cruised over near the Visitor Center where the cruise was held.  This is a real “rod run”….not a show.  No trophies just nice door prizes and cash drawings at the end of the event.  It’s a gathering of hot rodders….driving real hot rods.  I saw one trailered car out of the 170 or so that cruised in!

We picked out our parking spot next to an island with trees, near the same spot we used a couple years ago.  After we registered we milled around talking with people and looking at the cars then sat a spell under the trees.  Around 5:30 someone rang the dinner bell and about 4,000 people converged on the big white tent…where the food was!  That is part of the admission price….a dinner.  Fried Chicken, BBQ, cold slaw, baked beans, green beans, hush puppies and ice tea.  Not stick your little finger in the air fancy but just good solid southern food.  After we ate too much I think some of us started to hibernate.  But I was slapped out of my stupor when I heard the low growl of something sinister…then another…then many more.  The multi colored growling beasts were lining up for the evening cruise!  The last time we attended this event we passed on the cruise but this time we were going to be part of the problem.  We were about the number 30 vehicle in a line of about 38.  Having lead a number of long cruise lines (57 at last year’s OTRATTWR) I know how difficult it is to keep everyone together and not getting someone lost.  The club did an amazing job.  We cruised through Colonial Williamsburg and I think we went out the Colonial Parkway toward Jamestown then back to Williamsburg and Bruster’s Ice Cream.  The route was very scenic and historical….I am truly glad we were part of the cruise this year.  The Princess took pictures while we cruised but her camera was acting up so we could only use about ¼ of what she took.  We’ll be more prepared next year.  We left the cruise before we got to Bruster’s and cruised back to the motel…it was a very long day for us.

Saturday we arrived at the event around 8AM and secured our favorite spot then set up camp as the day began to unfold.  We had to clean the cars from the previous day’s activities, even though it’s not a show ya just have to have a clean ride!  Around 9AM Fred & Debie joined us from Spotsylvania….more people to share the days experience with….always a good thing.  The food vendor started selling hot dogs and hamburgers around 10AM, breakfast burgers….what a deal! The porta potties were near our area so when nature called the trip was a short one.  And the club cleaned and tuned up the porta potties during the day….a very welcomed touch. 

The club arranged to have an NSRA Safety Team at the event to check the hot rods, if you wanted them to.  This is a neat thing because it’s always helpful to have another knowledgeable person look over your ride and maybe spot something you overlooked.  If you pass all 23 safety items they put a “23” sticker on your windshield.  It’s a badge proudly worn on our rides.  I was making my photo rounds of the event and left the Princess alone with her co-conspirators.  I should have known better.  I had hoped Fred would keep them out of trouble….it was three against one, he was doomed. 

The Safety team came by and asked if anyone wanted their ride inspected by them since I was not there and had the keys with me the Princess said to come back later and catch me.  Dan said he wanted to get his car inspected again as he had his done several years ago.  He had a 23 sticker on his window from the previous inspection.  Ramona wanted to keep the old sticker when the inspector removed it in case the ‘new’ inspection was less than 23.  The inspector said she couldn’t keep them both and he kept the old sticker.  After they did the inspection Dan only got a 16, he doesn’t have an emergency brake.  Ramona started whining and railing on the inspector….so he came over and was going to put the old 23 sticker on her forehead!  Everyone laughed but the Princess was not laughing her funny laugh….it was her mischievous, get even laugh.  She told Ramona not to worry?  She would get our truck inspected when I came back and she would give Ramona our 16 sticker and then she would have two stickers totaling 32 points!  Try to follow me here, it’s Princess logic ya know.  She said it would be more points than anyone else!  The inspector said “You can’t do that”….the Princess yelled “You can’t tell me what to do, I am THE PRINCESS”.  He walked off, shaking his head and mumbling to himself.  I have done that dance many times myself.  The Princess waited, planning….biding her time….holding her tongue….taping her fingers, twitching.  A little later said inspector had to answer the call of nature and visited the nearby porta potty.  The Princess seized the moment and hissed to Ramona “Watch this Ramona; we will get him back now”.  The Princess crept over to the potty door and leaned against it.  When the inspector tried to leave he couldn’t budge the door!   He was saying things that sounded like “What the heck?” or something like that.  The Princess announced raucously,”What is the magic number to get out?”  He said “WHAT”?  She said “The magic number is 23!”  He started to laugh and said “No, the magic number in here is #2”.  When the Princess finally let him out a crowd had gathered to see what the ruckus was about and they all began laughing as he stumbled out.  He was laughing and shaking his head too.  The Princess and crew said “We will see you again next year”.  He responded “Oh, my Lord help me!”  I think he will be very careful the next time he visits a potty when the Princess is around…hehehehehe

In the mid afternoon the club ran a poker run….that’s another one of the features of this event.  You don’t just sit in a lawn chair all day; you drive your hot rod….what a concept!  They also had adult games like lifter toss, fan belt toss and others and the winners would receive cash prizes during the presentation ceremony later.  When you register you are given a package that includes a round key disc with your car number on it.  You have to deposit the disc in a hopper after 2PM on Saturday and that becomes the drawing for the prizes at the end of the event.  They also run a 50/50.  The club uses the proceeds to donate to worthwhile charities which include Veterans organizations like Wounded Warrior Project.  I always like to support those that support our Veterans.  During the closing ceremony one of the things they do is relate a “horror story”.  Whoever has a bad experience getting to the event or during the event relates the story to all, then the crowd votes by raising their hands to ‘vote’ on the best story.  This year’s winner has a 34 Coupe and on the way to the event Saturday his passenger door opened, at 50 mph!  When a suicide door does that the result is instantaneous and devastating….he won the horror story!

I am originally from the left coast, Southern California, Riverside to be precise, and the perception is that most of the “nice” cars come from that part of the world.  I want to disagree with that notion.  That is one of the reasons I write about and photograph the events we attend; so we can shine a light on the diverse hot rod hobby here in Virginia.  We have National quality cars to be sure but we also drive most of our hot rods instead of carrying them in a white box….take a look at the pictures or better yet….come visit the Commonwealth of Virginia sometime and see for yourself. 

See ya next year at the 43rd Colonial Williamsburg Rod Run….

Monday, May 12, 2014

What to do on Mother's Day....

Friday afternoon the Princess and I cruised to Fredericksburg, VA and the weekly cruise at VA BBQ.  Even though it is becoming more difficult to make the 16 mile trip to this cruise we like to attend because of the friendly inclusive atmosphere that the host club, Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club, works very hard to provide all the cruisers.  We have found a “back” way to drive to the cruise that eliminates driving on the main roads that are clogged up with Friday night commuter traffic.  We complain about the traffic here but I’m sure it is no different than any large metropolitan area nowadays.

When we arrived at 4PM, Ron was already parked and the club members were setting up.  Soon after we parked the “crowd” started cruising in.  Most of the 35 cruisers that would show up for the evening were”regulars”.   We set up a circle of chairs behind the truck and visited with friends till it got dark!  As I usually do, I began taking my pictures right before the sun went down….the best time of the day for me to take pictures.  Someone trailered in a vehicle he had for sale.  It looked like a white Triumph Spitfire that had served time as a bumper car then taken out of that service.  Then the owner grafted the tail fins from a 1960 Plymouth and a Continental Kit from something else onto the rear end.  It is way too strange for me but I’m sure someone out there will fall in love with it.  About 9PM the event was over for us and we cruised back to Stafford….and Popeye’s for chicken, yum!

Saturday morning at 7AM we left the WAWA in N. Stafford with Dan & Ramona and cruised 20 miles to Fredericksburg, VA.  We were going to attend the 24th Annual Mother’s Day Rod Run put on by the Fredericksburg Street Rods car club.  It is held at the Walker Grant MS and it benefits the Special Needs programs at the school and is one of the few shows around that still charge a $15 entry fee, $13 if you pre-register!  The restrooms are inside the school and maintained during the event day by the custodial staff of the school.  Music to Go by Lyn Grayson provides the music and announcements to keep the event running smoothly.  One of the vendors is “Tar Heel Pig Pickers BBQ”….a superb food source, much more than ‘car show’ food!  And it’s “Princess Approved”!  We have attended this event most years since 2005 when we drove the ’34 Nash and it has been a hoot every year.  One aside is that since the early years of this event some of the club members have moved away…a long way away!  But they still come together to put on this one event a year….I think that is so cool and one of the reasons we support it/them.  It’s one of the ‘must attend’ events for us!

Although this is a ‘local’ show it attracts participants from as far away as Lynchburg, VA….in fact the award for the longest distance this year was 177 miles away!  This show also attracts club participation more than any other show we attend.  There were three clubs that had a maximum push to win the trophy this year, Virginia Stockers, Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club and Karb Kings.  About 150 vehicles attended….which is not too shabby for a show held on Mother’s Day!  Of all the cars attending, I liked the little tan, slammed traditional hot rod with the lace paint job.  It was NOT a rat rod…it was done very nice but still with an attitude.  If I was 30 years younger….maybe I could fit in it….not so much now!

Since we had arrived early, 7:30AM, we chose a parking area that had shade trees and was large enough to support a bunch of people seeking shelter from the sun.  This event lends itself to that kind of planning.  We segregated the ladies from the men….so the ladies could engage in their nonstop communication.  How do they do that?  They all talk at the same time.  One or two talking is almost understandable but more than three sounds like the buzz on the NYSE.  It’s like they have multiple sound receptors that can differentiate the separate conversations into a meaningful flow if cogent ideas!  If men tried to do that it wouldn’t work.  It would be blah blah blah blah and we would look at each other like deer in the headlights and think, what the heck just happened.  The ladies have their own code words that men don’t understand anyway.  Like shopping shopping?  Huh?  WHATEVER and FINE are the most dangerous of their words.  Anything men utter after they say them will be wrong.  I have found that the best response to those are to smile and nod my head like one of those bobble head dolls and wait to see where she will take the rest of the conversation.  The conversation usually goes something like ‘we will be eating out for the foreseeable future’ or ‘you need to call that cleaning lady back if you ever expect to see out of the windows again’ or ‘you know that new washer you were going to buy?....make sure you understand how to operate it’.  And you know it’s going to be very bad when they hand you a copy of ‘Eunuchs for Dummies’.  So….it is much better to allow the ladies their own area to engage in their otherworldly dialogue about shoes, colors, hairdos and what someone is wearing.….thankfully we were able to accommodate them at this show!

The club began the award ceremony promptly at 3:30 during which they instruct all the ‘winners’ to bring their ride up to the front and receive their award in front of everyone with their vehicle in the background, kinda cool.  We broke camp and cruised back to N. Stafford for dinner at Carlos O’Kelly’s….then home and rest!  I don’t know why a show takes so much energy out of us but it does!  Maybe it’s an ‘age’ thing, I’m not sure….  Anyway a great day with cars and friends….I love this hobby!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sunday at the BK

Sunday we met Bill & Jo-Ann in N. Stafford, VA and cruised 28 miles to Manassas, VA and the 33rd annual Rod Run.  We have attended this show for many years and always enjoyed ourselves immensely.  Shortly after we arrived, Fred & Debie and Lou & Arlene joined us to set up for the day’s activities to begin.  The day was sunny, warm but not hot.  It was also very windy, almost too windy for a canopy.  But the ladies insisted on shade so we secured part of the canopy frame to the perimeter fence and another part to my 859 pound tool bag I tote everywhere with us.  It worked, the canopy didn’t Mary Poppins out of sight even when the wind gusts exceeded what seemed like cat 3 hurricane wind velocity.  

The rain our area endured the preceding week had rendered part of the show lot unusable. Because of that the total number of vehicles that could be parked on the lot was reduced by around 15.  Vehicles were being parked in the restaurant’s customer parking lot which could impede the flow of the restaurant traffic and I’m sure some opted to pass on the show because of the complicated parking.  This event requires so many dedicated parking people from the club because of the tight space and the rules Prince William County imposes on the club.  But they always get through it in a professional manner and manage the event like a drill team on the parade ground in review

This is one of the northern most events we attend and we always are able to rekindle old friendships here, which is always a good thing.  I took pictures of about 140 show cars that were not club cars and most would be comfortable at any National show.  I liked the green/black ’54 Chevy Pickup and the candy red ’48 Chevy Fleetline the best.    Please check out the pictures to get a flavor of the quality and quantity of the vehicles that attended.  This show is one of the few we will attend this year and also one of the best.  It’s always on the first weekend of May….circle your 2015 calendar to be there next year!