Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas....all ya'll....HO HO HO


Monday, December 8, 2014

Toys For Tots 2014

Saturday December 6, we cruised about 4 miles to the Chili’s Restaurant in N. Stafford, VA and the beginning of the 5th Annual Toys For Tots run.  Our friend and fellow Cruisin For Heroes member, Dan, pretty much orchestrates the whole event.  The Chili’s manager has his staff open the store early so we can start forming up around 9AM….they usually open at 11AM.  We don’t leave till about Noon so there is plenty of time to socialize and have brunch.  The Princess flits around taking pictures and checking on people to make sure they are being taken care of and are having a good time.  I usually take most of the pictures at the events we attend.  But the Princess is getting much better dealing with the technical aspects of photography to the point that she is taking much better pictures and giving us all a run for our money on the quality of her images!  Fred and Bill also chronicled the day’s activities in photographs and were joined by Yvonne at the Museum.  This year Chili’s has embraced the Toys For Tots charity full tilt as there are many more Chili’s stores that are collecting toys for the program this year.  Our Chili’s also gives 20% of the days gross to Toys For Tots!  And there is to be a special presentation to the USMC Toys For Tots program this year from Chili’s!

The weatherguessers were forecasting rain most of the day with periods of heavy rain.  But when we were ready to leave home it was dry!  And last year snow was forecasted so the only one that drove a hot rod was Dan and his black ’55 Chevy.  Dan was committed again this year so I decided to take the truck even if rain was likely to fall.  I knew the Northern Virginia Mustang club was going to join us this year and most of them would be driving their Mustangs….so we HAD to show up with something special.  In the end there was about 20 “special” cars and another 30 daily drivers.  Some other people met us at the Museum and made the day’s total near 60….I think?  It is exceedingly difficult to count them all but I think 55-60 would be close.
Dan arranges to have the Stafford County Sheriff Deputies escort us all the way to the National Museum of the Marine Corps, located in Triangle, VA., about 9 miles away.  This makes herding the vehicles much safer and enjoyable than if we tried to find our own way up Rt. 1 with a group that large.  I think the Deputies like to help us plus they get a free brunch at Chili’s thanks to the donations of the cruisers that make the trip with us.
At 11:20 it began to rain so about 11:45 the participants began to make their way to the commuter lot on Mine Rd. where we would all assemble for the trip.  Deputy Crane ran the “drivers meeting” explaining which lanes we needed to stay in and why.  Also which route we would be taking and that we should keep the distance between vehicles closed up if we can and other pertinent safety information.  Everyone listened intently and knew we would be in good hands.  After all the necessary instructions were given to us I asked Deputy Crane “were we allowed to do burn outs”….everyone laughed….I think Deputy Crane was laughing too….I think….grin.
Our cruise to the Museum was a thrill with the Sheriff’s cruisers blocking traffic so we could have safe uninterrupted passage north.  I think some of the people that were held back at intersecting roads thought they were witnessing a funeral or something.  Some just stared, some looked solemn and some waved….I wonder if people wave at a funeral procession?  Anyway it was a hoot!  Too soon the trip was over and we all parked, then carried our toys inside to the waiting Marines by the Toys For Tots display.
It seems like every year we bring more toys to the Museum….even though we have fewer cars because of the foul weather.  Could it be that some are just bringing a lot of toys?  Yup….I think that’s what is happening.  The amount of toys was overwhelming the Marines that received them.  They moved the security ropes out a little farther every few minutes as they unbagged more toys.  That’s always a good sign that the event is doing what it is supposed to do….provide toys to kids that would otherwise have a bleak Christmas.   The United States Marine Corps Reserve has managed the Toys For Tots since 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks began the program.  This time of year the Toys For Tots presence is ubiquitous around here since the Marine Corps Base Quantico (“Crossroads of the Marine Corps”) is part of our local community.
After all the toys were delivered some in our group, that had never visited the Museum before, began exploring the facility and those that were not first timers visited parts that held a special interest for them.  This museum houses the storied history of the Marine Corps displayed in real artifacts and other teaching aids.  There are a number of ever helpful Museum staff members that can assist you with your visit or you can self guide your travel around the building.  There are a few different levels and many individual rooms; you just can’t see everything adequately in one 2-3 hour visit.  If you haven’t been to this museum you need to put it on your bucket list.
Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus was in the Museum from Noon to 3PM and the ever lengthening line of munchkins waiting to talk to the jolly old round guy, stretched half way around the first floor!  The line consisted mostly of little people with their parents in tow.  Mr. & Mrs. Santa look, talk and act just like the real deal….you have to check them out when you can.  They visited with each child and talked about what the child’s parent had written on a “wish card” when they queued up.  Then as they left Santa, they put the card in a waiting mail box….to be sent on to the North Pole.  How cool is that!
After an hour or so Tony led some of our group in singing some Christmas carols, acapella!  This year he passed out lyric sheets….which is good….but some of us….senior folks couldn’t read the small print, grin  My thought about singing is that it’s better to be loud than good….  We all enjoyed the fellowship, the day, the mission.

Pictures here;

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Over The River And Through The Woods Run 2014

Saturday, Nov 29, 2014, a small group of cruisers left the N. Stafford, Eustace Rd. WAWA to begin the first leg of the 6th Annual, ‘Over The River And Through The Woods Run’.  We would meet others at the WAWA in South Point, VA and leave there precisely 10AM for our 47 mile trek to Oilville, VA.  About 20 cruisers rolled south on Hwy. 1 to the old Arcadia Store where we turned onto Arcadia Rd. and made our way to Chilesburg where we would meet up with 5 more cars.  Winding our way south on the lesser traveled Virginia country roads through Beaverdam, VA and a few more little wide places in the road.  The road was enchanting and the scenery was amazing.  This is why we take the “back roads” whenever we can….it is just adds so much more to the day’s adventures.  When we arrived at the intersection of Rt. 250 and Oilville Rd., we made our only pit stop at the BP station.  Three of our group had stopped way back near Arcadia Rd. to assist Richard and his radiator belt problem on his ’60 Corvair….so while they caught up with us we all waited in the parking lot of the BP and adjacent car wash.

As soon as we were all together we started the last 6 miles to Page Custom Rods & Restorations, which was the destination of the day.  When we arrived we found another group of 15 cruisers already in the parking lot of the shop.  We drove around and finally parked on the access road to the shop….  I knew some were going to meet us at the shop….I just didn’t know how many would be there or what time they would arrive. 
The owner of Page Custom was one of the friendly staff that showed us around their shop.  They do really magnificent work….and they do just about anything from adding an upgrade to complete, frame off restoration or custom hot rod.  It’s always better to see how a shop operates when they “showcase” the projects that are under construction AND the completed ones.  You can tell a lot when the car is apart and going together.  Mr. Page & Rusty graciously showed us around and answered any questions we had….they were impeccable hosts.  They have a painter named Bobby that is renowned by most that know what a great paint job is supposed to be….really top notch.  Some of the shops we have visited over the years had a “snobby” persona….not at Page….they are “car guys” that are happy to serve your needs.  If you have anything you need done to your ride that you can’t handle….just check out Page and see what they can do for you.
Since the other group of cruisers arrived before us, they had done their visiting of the shop and were milling around in the parking lot.  Some left for the next stop at the restaurant before we got the whole group together.  We cut our visit a little short so we could all cruise to the restaurant as a group.  I had called the restaurant twice with the increasing number of cruisers that would be visiting for lunch.  My Mom once told me that if you can’t say anything nice about someone….don‘t say anything at all.  So….all I’m going to say is that I had to wait 2 hours for a glass of water at the restaurant….that’s all I’m going to say about the lunch.
Our group cruises a lot….if you have read my blog you know that.  Most of the times I lead because I know where we are going and I think most expect me to be in front.  But….sometimes I ask others to pick up the front of the pack so I can enjoy the trip too.  As any of you that travel over the roads know, sometimes the GPS or maps take you somewhere you weren’t expecting….  You get lost, or as my Marine Corps friends say “temporarily bewildered, never lost”.  We usually manage through the process and always have another “story” to tell that adds to the humor of our group.  I always wanted to have a sort of traveling award for the leader that gets us lost.  So the Princess and I made a certificate up and bought a coonskin cap and presto the “Boone & Magellan Broken Compass Award” was born!  Since our excursion to Ft. Belvoir recently, to present a donation check to the Fisher House on base, went a little awry when Fred & Lou led the pack, we decided to make Fred the first recipient of the BMBCA.  At the restaurant we presented Fred with the award and with the charge that he must take it wherever he cruises….and prominently display it for others to see, and ask about it.  He was further charged to protect the coonskin cap from his puppies so they don’t use it for a chew toy.  Fred good naturedly accepted the award and began his lobbying for Lou to lead soon!?  Fred will keep the award until the next “leader” has an ‘opps’ moment, then he can award it to the new confused leader….fun, ever heard of it?  After the presentation some of the cruisers began leaving the restaurant and by the time we ate there were only 8 of us left!  So we began the return to our homes via a different route from the one we used to get here.  We always try to change the look of the scenery on the way home.  It was a good day to cruise and be with our friends while checking out a primo shop….next year you have to join us.  It’s always the Saturday after Thanksgiving.