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….

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