Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Goodbye DJ Ron....Hello RV Ron

Friday afternoon Bill B. and the Princess & I left N. Stafford, VA at 2:30 to begin our 75 mile cruise to Ashland, VA and the weekly Chick-fil-a cruise.  We chose a longer route that took about 1:45 hours because Friday traffic on I-95 or Rt. 1 is so hateful and the ride in the countryside is a welcome change to the hustle & bustle of suburban life in N. Stafford.  This is the first time we attended this cruise in 2014….something has always “come up”….like rain.  I had repaired my coolant leak during the week (loose head bolt) and this would be a make or break test of my feeble attempt at wrenching….grin  Most of you know I was a Buick mechanic in the early/mid 60’s and did this kind of stuff every day plus I also worked on a race car for fun on the weekends!  But that was a lot of years ago….my body doesn’t like to twist and strain like it did then.  Sometimes it takes a day to recover from working on the truck but I still thank God for giving me the skill and knowledge to keep on using my tools.  When something works it is so cool to have done it yourself.  When it doesn’t work out so well….there’s always the Princess to blame!  Hehehehhe  So Friday would also be a test run, which for one thing means no music on the trip so I can listen to the motor and pay attention to what it is telling me.  That’s OK with the Princess….she likes to talk anyway….ya think?  So we had a great time all the way to the cruise while enjoying the flatlands of the Virginia Tidewater and listening to the truck growl down the road.
When we arrived at the cruise the lot was ½ full already!  Our “favorite” spot was taken so we had to park by an island….which the Princess was not thrilled with.  She rolled with the decision but said ‘whatever’ way too many times….it might be a special cruise tonight.  As soon as we settled in everyone headed to the restaurant for dinner and potty break.  The cruise provides a coupon for discounted food at Chick-fil-a….which is a great idea and no doubt helps draw some people to the event.  We were about 15 min early for the “official” start of the cruise food discount program to begin.  So….in my most intimidating, old guy that doesn’t give a hoot demeanor I asked the 19 year old waiting on us….”I know we’re early but I want the cruise in discount, what do you have to do to make that happen?”  He instructed me to see the gentleman behind me at the condiment table….as I turned around a silver haired gent was walking toward me with the coupons in his outstretched hands!  And Done!  I thanked him and turned around to order….so nice when the establishment “wants” you there.  The three of us ate and talked in the A/C for a while but then wandered back to the cruise lot and set up our chairs.  By then the lot was almost full!
FreRay Music provides the background sounds and announcements….they always do a good job keeping the natives happy.  The lot comfortably will hold about 110 cars.  The adjacent bank came over and announced that cars could park in their lot too tonight!  And some people were parking in the grocery store lot outside of the roped off area….I think there were about 140-150 cars that came through that night.  Most stayed but some cruised in, parked for a short while then cruised out only to have new people come in and take their spot….it was a crazy night!  This cruise is very comfortable and cozy and there is always someone that comes around to welcome you.  Small groups form and talk the night away….so very cool.  It’s a major commitment to the gasoline gods for us to make the trip to and back for this cruise but if you try it, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
We decided to head home around 8PM and took a more direct route on Rt. 1 till we got to Masaponax when we jumped on I-95 for the remaining 17 miles home….at 70-75 mph…..it would indeed be a good test for the truck!
Saturday I crawled under the truck and peeked under the hood to see if all the parts we left with on Friday were still attached and nothing was leaking on the garage floor….it was all good….whew  The Princess & I made our way to the WAWA start point and waited for whoever was going to run with us to the Brandy Station VFD show….a 33 mile jaunt.  We left promptly at 7AM with Bob in his orange Camaro, Bill & Jo-Ann in their brown ’57 Chevy, Denny in his Gatsby and the Princess & I in our old Chevy truck.  When we cruised through Bealeton we picked up Bill and his silver/black Valiant.  As we turned into the show entrance, Fred & Debie in their red/white ’57 Dodge and Lou & Arlene in their very red ’53 Ford Sunliner zipped in front of us….we were all there!  We began setting up camp at DJ Ron’s direction….let the fun begin!
We had attended this show a few years ago but have missed it the last two years because of rain and other commitments but we wanted to attend this year to say thanks to our friend, Ron Lacasse, for his 25 year stint as a DJ.  Ron DJ’s many of the shows we attend as well as other events….his commitment to this job have left him tied up most weekends.  He purchased a wondrous RV that is large enough to hide 38, 1964 Buick Electra 225’s inside and still have room for the RiverDancers to perform.  But because he was committed to DJaying most weekends he hasn’t been able to utilize it like he had envisioned when he retired.  And….he now has a partner to share his wanderlust with, in the charming Donna.  Ron & Donna act like two people that have know each other for much longer than the three months they have been seeing each other….  This could be the one Ron….don’t mess it up!  Chuckling….
Lou & Arlene had a scrumptious chocolate cake made for Ron just for the occasion.  The Princess and I made a collage of pictures I had taken of Ron DJaying from about 2006 to the present.  The Princess and I had as many people at the show that knew Ron, sign the back if the plaque.  AND the Princess made a pair of lounging bloomers for Ron.  He saw someone wearing a pair at another car show and remarked how comfortable they looked….for a trip to Wal-Mart!  So the Princess put her busy little fingers to work making Ron his very own, special pair of Wal-Mart loungers!  The Lucas’s had a plaque made for Ron that was Camaro intensive…..everyone also signed it for Ron.  The DQ group had a nice card that they all signed for Ron.  Another of Ron’s friends had a very cool trophy made to memorialize his retirement from DJaying.  A lot of emotion and fun….to say thanks to a very special friend.  His music will be missed but his presence on cruises and other events will make up for it.  If he & Donna are ever in town once he gets his land yacht motoring….we’ll see….
The event had 172 registered participants, the most ever for this deal.  There were some very nice representations of the hobby in Bill’s red ’37 Ford Slant back and Gary’s orange ’31 Chevy 5 window.  There were many other quality cars and a good mix of new and old.  The Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club won the club participation trophy.  And many other clubs were represented on the field.  The food was typical “car show” fare and the restroom facilities were porta potties.  They were clean and well stocked and even included a hand washing station in each of them!  The weather began cloudy and felt like rain but by midday the sun took over and it was a deep blue sky and puffy white cloud day, just perfect.  It began to get hot in the afternoon but it was still OK for the end of July.  The awards were given out at 3PM and shortly after we all motored uneventfully home.  Be sure to check out the pictures….it was a hoot!
      Thanks for the memories Ron….Thanks for the tunes….Thanks for being you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Location, Location, Location

We had planned to visit the cruise in King William, VA on Friday but no one chose to join us on the 73 mile hike to the cruise, so we opted to visit the closest cruise instead….VA BBQ.  The cruise had about 45 cars attend and as usual some we have never seen.  The orange ’35 Plymouth Sedan with the Slant 6 engine was superbly done.  And a dark red ’55 Chevy Nomad came in with the maroon Pro Street Maverick that made way too much noise…..grin Special Ed & Carolyn cruised in with their eye popping orange ’39 Ford and Bill & Debbie showed up with their ever popular ’23 Model T racer.  It was, as always, an enjoyable evening with cars & friends….

Saturday we left early for our 3 mile trip to Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in N. Stafford, VA.  We arrived before the show staff got there….so naturally we went to the wrong parking area.  The Princess started freaking out….inquiring “was I sure this was the right Saturday, was this the right church, and is this the right parking lot”!  Comments made to assuage my own concern.  Then Denny & Betty drove up and parked next to us….and he joined in with the Princess….they were getting a little unhinged and I started doubting if we were at the correct place/day/time myself.  When we saw one of the staff arrive across the street we decided they were going to use the preferred area under the trees for the show location.  Whew!  In real estate the three most important things to sell a home is location, location and location.  That’s the way I feel about this show….the location on the grass makes this show. We had assisted Brent with the show a few years ago and always liked the grassy area with the low trees instead of the asphalt parking lot.   It’s a good show on the pavement but it’s a memorable one on the grass!  The participants are allowed to gather where they want to and space their vehicles the way they want to….it’s just perfect.  Since we were early we were able to secure the tree we liked best, and then set up our ‘camp’ to enjoy the beautiful chamber of commerce weather as the show unfolded.  The restroom facilities were porta potties….ok but just ok.  The food was very tasty and fairly priced no problems here!  The judging was done by “professionals” and they used a ‘point system’?  Most of the trophies were the usual local car show fare….but three of the “best of” trophies were very special hand built pieces.  Once the staff got set up they ran the event like a machine with the award ceremony beginning at 2PM and the show was complete on time at 3PM….what a concept!

The show has taken a hiatus since 2010 but now they are very much back!  This year the show was sponsored by Showcase Auto Body & Restoration in Fredericksburg and assisted by folks in the church.  The recipient of the $3000 donation from the show proceeds was S.E.R.V.E.  It was refreshing to have the receiver of the funds actually on site.  The only negative thing I thought about the show was the marketing….the people that manage the show need to get the event in front of people earlier and more precise.  It’s on the internet with two different dates.  I had some people e-mail me that they thought it was on the 26th….which was the rain date but the ad didn’t say that!  I feel that with proper advertising, to include reaching out to clubs, this could be a 200+ car event.

Ninety two cars attended the event and the mix was perfect.  Antiques, hot rods, customs, newer classics and muscle cars were all present….every type was represented.  There were also some cars in the mix that were new to us….big shows will bring out the ‘special’ cars.  I liked the green ’46 Chevy the best, but Arnold’s purple ’57 Chevy is definitely best of show quality.  I also liked the gold ’66 GTO and the black/silver original Mini was just too cool.  I think the spectator’s choice would have been Bill & Debbie’s beige ’23 Model T racer.  Bill allowed people to sit in it while he fired up the 4 cyl flathead.  The grin meter always spins out of control….for everyone!  Bill was sitting with us under the (our) tree when a gaggle of spectators walked near his car.  It looked to be three generations of one family.  Bill whispered to me “I bet that old guy knows what the three pedals do on the T”….!  Bill jumped up (as well as any of us old people can “jump”) and hobbled over to his car….I could tell the conversation was getting personal when the Grandpa got up in the car….you just had to be there.  And then Denny & Betty’s Gatsby is a real crowd magnet….you have to see this deal.  It generated much conversation and interest with ‘car’ people as well as spectators.  I think it has mufflers the size of a tanker truck….Denny needs to fix that, grin 

I guess the Princess and I are getting old….when we started the second installment of our hot rod adventure in ’04 we typically attended two events a day, sometimes three!  But now we are usually worn out with one.  We began our long trek home (3 miles) when the crowd thinned out….we had to get ready for tomorrow.

Sunday we met six other intrepid over the road cruisers at the WAWA in South Point, VA to begin the 2nd Annual Summer Screech.  This is an opportunity to eat at Capt. Georges, in Williamsburg, VA, that is thinly disguised as a cruise.  A few of us like to drive our cars rather than always sitting at shows or cruises.  So we make any excuse to fire up the hot rod and get on the road.  Having a renowned dining establishment to be the destination of our ride is just a coincidence.  Right! 

The cruise is a little over 100 miles….one way.  We stop about half way between the two ends for fuel and bladder relief.  The route is a lightly used way to get from Northern Virginia to the Tidewater Area of Virginia.  Most people opt for the Interstates but we like to use the flatlands of the Tidewater area near the Rappahannock River, York River and Chesapeake Bay.  The roadways are great, little traffic, enough fuel/restroom stops to take away that stress and a few small bridges to add to the interest.  The farmer’s corn is head high and almost ready to harvest soon I think.  It’s just a pleasant ride in the country….and did I mention there is food at the end? 

Capt. Georges is a Primo eating establishment….to call it a buffet is doing it a great injustice.  It is, indeed, a buffet but not like any you have experienced before.  The seafood includes just about anything that swims or crawls in the water.  But….chicken in many forms, roast beef, ham and vegetables that look/taste like they came from the local farmers market that morning can be had if your palette won’t tolerate seafood.  The salad bar is also very complete….although I don’t know why anyone would pay for a seafood buffet then eat salad?  It must be a yuppie thing.  Then the dessert bar….to die for!  Baklava, carrot cake, all kinds of other cakes, pies, cobblers, cookies and other sweet things that will peg your glucose meter real good!  Since we had a large group we were seated in a ‘special’ room away from the main dining room, which was a nice touch.  The wait staff is always very attentive and efficient.  This place rocks!  But….the Princess has accepted the challenge to help rid the ocean of those nasty snow crabs.  She says she knows it is a burden but it’s one she can handle, knowing she is doing her part.  I stopped counting her trips to the snow crab leg bar….I think those guys on Dangerous Catch TV have a picture of the Princess in their wheelhouse to remind them why they are on the water risking their lives….the Princess must eat!

We all ate too much….I think the ‘all you can eat’ is actually a challenge!  We want to get our money’s worth ($27 per person) so we eat more than we normally would….a buffet will do that to a person.  We poured ourselves in our rides….maxed the tilt up and cruised home.  It was a really neat way to spend the day on the byways of Virginia….I love this hobby.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In the Country....

Friday we chose our meandering traffic free route to cruise our way to Fredericksburg, VA and the weekly cruise at VA BBQ.  The lot was slowly filling up….no doubt the heat was keeping many at home in the A/C.  But by 6PM the lot was almost full with many regulars but also some interesting visitors too.  Our granddaughter, Haley, is visiting us during the summer and since the truck can only sit two people....the Princess had to drive her Rio red '94 Mustang GT.  The two 1969 Mercury Cyclones were very special.  One in white with Dan Gurney blue interior, the other also white but with the Cale Yarborough red interior!  It is rare to see one of these cars but both showed up tonight!  Denny & Betty cruised in with their Gatsby….glad he finally has it on the road, it’s such an interesting vehicle, he even won a trophy for it later that evening.  Two restored Korean War era Army jeeps took up position near the end of a line and allowed spectators to sit in them for pictures!  A spotless black ’63 Falcon took a spot in front of the restaurant to be noticed easier next to the very red ’56 T-Bird….grin  Our small group formed up behind the truck and visited the evening away.  When the sun dropped below the tree line the temp dropped about 10 degrees with it….a very welcome occurrence.  The awards were given out around 8:30 and the winner of the 50/50 was drawn shortly after that.  Most of you know we don’t really care to compete for trophies at local events.  The larger deals out of town are a different matter.  We do, however, like to compete in some 50/50’s.  This night the 50/50 money was for a local little guy with some major medical issues.  In fact some of the people that attended came specifically to help little two year old Nathan….some even came without their hot rod!  Although the winner can do whatever they want with their winnings, I feel that when it’s for a specific need like this, the right thing to do is give your part of the 50/50 back to support the need.  The winner kept the money and drove off in a vehicle that didn’t reflect “need”!  I think that is the sad part of our hobby that some people can be so self centered that they don’t always see the bigger picture….I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Saturday Denny & Betty, Bill and the Princess & I began our journey to visit the monthly cruise in Locust Grove, VA.  We have been to that cruise a few times and the route is getting monotonous so we decided to be adventurous and let the GPS guide our way.  Some say electronic devices are not alive, I don’t believe that.  I know the GPS’s have an evil, devious heart that some would say is humorous….I would say malevolent.  As we twisted and turned our way towards Locust Grove the roads got narrower.  Then the shoulders disappeared along with the edge stripes.  When the centerline disappeared I think I heard the GPS make chuckling noises!  I got to the point that I was checking the fuel gauge to make sure I had enough fuel to backtrack if it got worse.  The Princess was calling out all the beautiful scenery along the way but I was trying to avoid head on accidents with the jacked up, screaming pickups from hell we met in the turns.  At one point I’m sure I heard banjo music from the GPS….  We finally popped out on Rt. 3 near Lake of the Woods and got our bearings back….whew!  I shut down the GPS for the remaining 7 miles and I think the off button gave me a shock?  It will remain at home next time….although it was an adventure….grin

This event is managed by the Good Times Cruisers of Locust Grove and supported by the many businesses in the shopping center.  We always look forward to attending this event and dining at Mama’s Pizza.  The food is good but the waitress makes the deal for us!  About 50 rides attended and represented a varied mix of vehicles.  The Princess won a door prize, a dozen cup cakes….think about that.  The red ’53 MG TD was nicely done and the black ’39 Rolls Phantom (all aluminum body, engine, trans) is always nice to see.  There was an original 1931 Buick and a stunning example of graphic painting on a ‘66 Chevelle.  A new Caddy, a T-Bucket, a jacked up Blazer, a drop dead gorgeous ’37 Chevy PU, a red Corvair convertible, Bob’s yellow SSR, a couple of Chevy AD pickups and a ‘56 Caddy rat rod…..so much variety….it’s all there.  Even Dan’s yellow Jeep snuck in.  As I said there is usually an eclectic mix of vehicles to see at this cruise.  You need to put it on your calendar, the second Saturday of every month.

We packed up and headed home before dark….our old eyes work better with sunlight.  I lead till we had gone about 3 miles on I95 when I guess Denny & Betty wanted to stretch the legs on the Gatsby.  He passed us with a thunderous roar so we followed them the rest of the way to Stafford, at about 70mph…..cool

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Fourth of July 2014

Friday we were to provide a Fisher House Foundation presence at the annual Culpeper car show.  We had to leave at 5AM to make the show.  At 5AM, three weather sites were showing rain between me and Culpeper and it was coming from the SW.  It looked like it would linger till 9-10 which was too late for us to make the trip.  Hurricane Arthur was moving off the coast and it looked like it wouldn’t impact us, but you never know.  So we cancelled going to the event.  Of course the event went forward and by 9AM the sun came out the day was perfect!  Low humidity, gentle breeze, couldn’t ask for better weather.  And they had the largest number of cars at this event to date.  The rain has been a problem for us this year and I really didn’t think many spectators would come out….I was wrong. 

The Princess & Debie got together Friday morning and visited the Fredericksburg Heritage Festival to do some crafty shopping.  Later Fred & I met up with them in Fredericksburg and walked around a little.  Brent’s car display was filled up nicely and Tony had his Fisher House display working.  In fact Tony took in $150 by the end of the day and gave out a number of FH brochures as well….a good day in Burg!

Saturday Jim & Linda, Denny & Betty and the Princess & I left the WAWA then drove to the weekly cruise at the BK in Manassas.  Along the way Dan & Ramona joined in with us.  As we were parking at the BK Bill pulled in beside us with his ’57.  He said Jo-Ann was out clowning around somewhere and wouldn’t be joining us that evening!  It had been raining during the week and a large mud hole had formed in the area we like to park up on the grass berm.  So we parked on either side of the puddle and set up Bill’s canopy between the cars since the space couldn’t be used for cars because of the mud hole.  We had a great time talking, eating ice cream and burgers....so much so that I didn’t take any pictures!  Time flies when you are having fun I guess! 

About 7:30 we broke camp and began our cruise home to Stafford, we like to be off the road by dark since I am having difficulty seeing with oncoming headlights on narrow country roads.  On the way each cruiser peeled off on their individual streets but the Princess & I decided to pay a visit to the local Popeye’s for some chicken so we kept running into Stafford.  We cruised by the BK near Popeye’s and noticed the weekly 610 Cruisers, cruise was doing just fine….the lot looked full of cars.  Choices….