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.

No comments: