Sunday, June 1, 2014

Driving Mrs. Daisy

Friday the Princess and I left Stafford, VA and cruised 102 miles to Harrisonburg, VA so we could attend the Crosswalk Adventures, bi-yearly cruise at the First Church of the Nazarene.  We attended this event last year in the Fall and was very impressed….so back we go.  It had rained for a few days in most of Virginia and we were not sure if we were going to go till Friday morning.  Finally the rain moved out around 10AM, the roads were dry with a few puddles occasionally on the shoulders but nothing the big black Chebby truck couldn’t handle.  It was still overcast and it seemed like we were chasing the rain in front of us all the way.  As we left Standardsville and began approaching Lydia we noticed we could not see the top of the mountains!  Fog was covering the top half….this would be interesting.  As we ascended the mountain the ceiling kept getting lower till we were actually in it….Fog!  We slowed down and started picking our way around the corners and road edges.  It kept getting darker and the visibility was soon less than 50 feet.  This was Rt. 33, a major East/West highway in these parts.  The locals use it like their private race track sometimes and I just knew something would break out of the murk and into our space, which would put the tailgate near the headlights.  Lights on, wipers….uh, I took the wipers off at home because the rain had stopped….they were neatly wrapped up under the seat….not much good there.  We trudged on, ever alert to something plowing into us or us plowing into something in front.  It was a very tense 20 minutes that seemed like a week.  When we passed under Skyline Drive the fog was gone!  The sun was out and I’m sure we were doing our best mole in the sun look while our pupils adjusted to the intense sun. 

As we descended we passed a “Runaway Truck Ramp-Gravel” sign….?  This really didn’t give me a sense of calm….I instinctively tapped the brakes, just to be sure.  I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to plow into a bed of 4 million tons of gravel with the truck.  Why can’t they have “Runaway Truck Ramp-Jell-O” or “Runaway Truck Ramp-Goose Down” or “Runaway Truck Ramp-Toxic Sippy Hole”, I think everyone would make sure their brakes worked for that one.   As I watched the ramp signs disappear in the rear view mirror I checked the GPS and noted we were getting close to our destination and it was about 2PM, we would be early.  We rounded ‘Dollys Knob’ at the outskirts of Elkton and passed over Rt. 340 on our way through Massanutten….the cheese was very close now.  The Princess and I had left more than a little Harley tire rubber on these roads, this was part of what we called going around the block.  A 240 mile day ride that we made at least once a month when we rode the WideGlide. 

When we turned into the cruise lot at 2:30 it was nearly empty!  Five or six cars and a dozen chairs holding parking spots.  So we had our pick where we would spend the better part of the next 7 hours of our life.  Next time we will park closer to the DJ….and the restrooms!  While we waited, we were able to watch Zach and the other volunteers set up the event which was refreshing to me.  I usually am the one fast walking around, answering questions, waving my arms, making sure everything goes as planned and when it doesn’t we have to come up with a solution quick….yup….I like to watch others do that too. 

This is a cruise in the best sense of the term.  There are no trophies, no door prizes and no charge to register.  Just get together with like minded folks and visit.  The restrooms are in the church and great….something important for us old folk.  The church provided food at a very reasonable price….and a great variety too.  It was tasty, not normal “car show” fare.  The DJ kept the music going and they had games for the kids and adults.  The Sherriff’s office was offering ID and fingerprinting for kids.  The event filled up to overflowing by 7PM and when we left around 8:30 there were 405 vehicles registered with another 150 or so just cruising in and out.  A lot of people didn’t know you were supposed to register, we didn’t last year!  There was no cost to register and the church would then have your address to send you a reminder for the next event.  They also would have a more accurate count of the vehicles that attended and where they came from.  It is an outreach program of the church….nothing wrong with that.

I tried to take pictures of all the vehicles….no way!  I took most of the ones on the main lot but gave up when I realized they were parking the vehicles everywhere….grass, gravel, road….everywhere.  I shot a video from the main road to get an overview of the event but it doesn’t do it justice.  The vehicles ranged from all out race cars to original antiques and everything in between.

We met our friend Dave and his Granddaughter Lindsey near the end of the event and decided to go to eat somewhere when we left so we could catch up a little.  So….when a person is in Harrisonburg and is hungry….only one place to go….Wood Grille Buffett.  After the manager came by our table the 18th time we realized we might be consuming way too much food (buffets do that to a person).  We said our goodbyes and cruised to the Comfort Inn to end our day.  Whew!  Saturday morning we had an uneventful cruise back home and recounted the previous days adventures all the way while we took in the Virginia countryside. 

Saturday afternoon we cruised 29 miles to Manassas, VA and the BK near the airport.  We usually arrive early enough to get the parking spaces we like….not today.  We ended up parking on the berm behind the actual parking lot.  It’s about 4’ higher than the lot and it worked out just fine.  We set up our chairs & umbrellas after we visited the restaurant for a late lunch.  Those “Satisfries” are pretty good as are the rest of the choices.  I grew up on fast food so this is just fine with me.  We had a couple inquiries about the umbrella set up we have….the Princess says I need to market them….hmmmm  A couple young men parked next to us….and I began smelling charcoal burning?  They came over and asked us if we wanted a hot dog, they were going to grille some!  We declined but later I had a conversation with them.  I explained that they may save a few dollars by cooking out but that the BK was our host and it was not real cool to bring your own food to a restaurant.  I understood the cost saving they had….and I have been there too once….but it’s still not cool to do that.  They acknowledged they understood….I hope they really did.  The vehicles that cruised in were the usual suspects….a good mix of new and old, with more new than old it seems.  I’m not sure what that means but it is what it is!  We broke camp right before dark so I could see better driving home….getting old isn’t for sissies.

Sunday afternoon Dan & Ramona and the Princess & I left N. Stafford to begin our 59 mile cruise to Gordonsville, VA and a late lunch at the BBQ Exchange restaurant.  Along the way Fred & Debie joined us and then we were three hot rods cruising.  We have visited this restaurant before and liked the food choices and atmosphere.  It’s nothing fancy with paper plates and plastic utensils but the prices are fair and the quality of the food is superb.   The only drawback is the parking….it’s tight and on gravel.  But we have been lucky and always found suitable spots for our hot rods.  We lingered while we ate and tied up their table a little too long but we hadn’t seen each other for a week so a lot of catching up was in order.  Too soon it was time to hit the road again.  This time Fred agreed to lead us on the way back.  I usually lead the groups and it’s so much more relaxing to follow taillights than watch the group in the mirror all the time, thanks Fred.

We had an uneventful cruise home….another weekend driving the Virginia byways and immersing ourselves in what God has provided for us….I love this hobby!

1 comment:

Zach Straits said...

Great commentary. Thanks for spreading the word about the CrossWalk Cruise In.