Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Screech....2015

We had the little people visit us the last half of the week so we didn’t ‘get out’ till Sunday.  And Sunday we would run the 3rd Annual Summer Screech.  This is an event that Cruisin For Heroes has put on to raise awareness of the Fisher House Foundation and to cruise to Williamsburg, VA for lunch at the world renowned, Capt. Georges Seafood Restaurant.  The Princess and I would ride the 130 miles on our Harley for lunch years ago….but now we drive our hot rod instead.  There are shorter and faster routes but we use a low stress back road route….it’s just more enjoyable to drive that kind of road for 3 hours.  Yup, three hours….we plan half way pit stops going & coming.

We began the adventure in Fredericksburg, VA at a WAWA on Rt. 1 and traveled toward Tappahannock and the first pit stop.  We left the WAWA with 23 cars I think.  About 22 miles down the road we picked up 2 more cars.  Then at the first stop in Tappahannock we picked up two more! So….I think we had about 27 cars making the trip to Williamsburg….it was a nice sized group and fairly easy to keep everyone together.  And it included everything from a new Sub-Lime green Challenger to a Model T Bucket!  We had some daily drivers tag along too because of the heat and a couple special cars were broken but the owners wanted to make the excursion with us.  We reserved a room at the restaurant and everything there went as planned….just too much food.  If you can’t find something to excite your palate then you must not eat food.  The Princess tried to clean out their supply of snow crab legs and I think she was being helped by a few other people in our group. 

Finally we all waddled out to our rides and began the adventure home.  Some would stay and explore Williamsburg, some would go home a different route and some would follow us back by a different route than the one we came on in the morning.  We cruised 50 miles to our last pit stop in Central Garage, VA.  We fueled up, drained our bladders…..said our goodbyes and cruised the last 63 miles to Stafford and home.  Some would also stop for ice cream somewhere on the way back but we were just too wiped out for that…..did I just say to tired for ice cream?

It was a great day to drive the back roads of Virginia in our hot rods….then eat at a primo restaurant.  We are so lucky to know cool people to share a day like this with….I love this hobby!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A busy weekend....

The Friday night cruise at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA would be an iffy deal….the weatherguessers were saying the major rain storms were going to stay south….about 30 miles from the cruise….so that meant it could rain within a thousand miles somewhere!  I checked the radar maps of 5 different sites and felt comfortable that the weatherguessers might be correct this time!   So we loaded the cooler up with water, put a fire in the belly of the farm truck and motored south.

 After we set up our little camp the sky started getting real black and ugly….but it WAS going west to east and it looked like it may stay a little south of us….whew!  As the evening was unfolding more and more cruisers came to visit.  Kandy’s zombie apocalypse response Jeep made an appearance and Kandy gave us a demonstration on how to use the long reach tactical response weapon (air rifle)….I think she enjoys her cars waaay too much!  The green ’37 Chevy Pro Street sedan was very interesting as was the stone stock beige ’62 Ford Falcon.  The TR-6 with the Webers was just too cool then the radically painted & slammed Chevy dually crew cab came in….niice….  John and his drop dead gorgeous, almost black ’37 Chevy coupe met up with the very nicely done black ’39 Chevy coupe….what a photo op!  Then another NY transplant showed up with his gunmetal grey ’52 Chevy PU…. another farm truck!  A lot of new Mopars too….the lime green Challenger with the Shaker hood caught my eye….if I only had a job….hee hee hee  It was a good night at the Q with over 50 special rides joining in on the festivities….oh yeah, we were celebrating something….it was the “Collector Car Appreciation Day”….you did celebrate it too….didn’t you?

I belong to a small group of guys that raise money & awareness to Fisher House Foundation, it’s called Cruisin For Heroes.  We accomplish that by providing a gaggle of special vehicles to business events for a donation to Fisher House Foundation.  We also organize over the road cruises to vehicle centric locations and/or restaurants.  We ask the participants of the cruises to consider Fisher House Foundation when they are doing their yearly charity giving.  We have been working this process for about seven years now and it’s finally starting to roll.  In January this year we made the first contact with Marie at Morais Vineyard and Winery to explore putting on an event in the summer.  After over 300 emails, numerous phone calls, personal invitations and a few visits to the Winery after our first meeting, we accomplished the event on Saturday the 12th.

As with any long range planned event, weather is always a factor.  Planned rain dates are an option but in our experience they don’t work nearly as well as the original date of the event.  Saturday unfolded as a chamber of commerce, postcard perfect day.  High puffy white clouds on a deep blue sky….a gentle breeze and temps in the mid to high 80’s.  Some of the invited people began their journey early in the morning to the event from West Virginia and Maryland as well as Virginia.  The volunteers began arriving around 9AM and the last one was in place around Noon.   We had commitments from 31 people to support us on the 12th….we had 8 people drop out for various reasons and two people ask to join us the day before so we ended up with 25 display vehicles.

The purpose of the display was to generate interest and provide another incentive for potential customers to visit the Winery.  Our display volunteers have agreed to bring their special vehicle to the event to help convince potential customers to visit the Winery and to showcase the Fisher House Foundation.  Our volunteers know it will be a day of interacting with the spectators, answering questions about their vehicles and sharing the Fisher House story with them to raise awareness of what Fisher House does.  It is also hoped that when the spectators know what Fisher House Foundation is, they will feel compelled to donate, either at the event or at some time in the future.  All of the above happens because our volunteers come out and support us.  They believe in the mission of Fisher House and help us share it with others.  We had $375 in our donation barrel at the end of the day!  Morais Winery & Vineyard donated $700 to Fisher House Foundation which was $500 for our fixed fee and another $200 from a percentage of the day’s business!  One of our volunteers, Denny, who makes custom wine bottle stoppers and he donates 100% of his sales to the Fisher House Foundation.  His donation check from Saturday was $450!  The donation from Bad to the Bone food vendor was $100. The donation to Fisher House from Funnel Cake Recess is $41.60.  It was a great day for Fisher House Foundation and Cruisin For Heroes, $1,666.60 of help for our Military really was a win-win day.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

At the Q 7-17-2015

Friday night at the Q in Fredericksburg, VA the usual suspects were present with a few new visitors.  The very well done ’39 Ford convertible and the black 88 Fiero GT added to the group.  Jim C. came with his friend David in his 71 Comet and Bob’s yellow Challenger followed them from Sterling, VA.  Sterling is about 60 miles and on a “good” night Jim can make it in an hour and a half…..this Friday it took them three hours….3 hours!  Thank you guys for coming out!  Robert doesn’t bring out his black ’60 Ford Starliner much but tonight he made an appearance too.  The red ’32 old school high boy was very nice too.  And a step van that I didn’t inspect real close looks like it is going to be fun too.  About 50 nice rides came out….a nice pleasant night with friends and cars….I love this hobby!

Arsenal of Democracy May 8, 2015


Culpeper Regional Airport near Brandy Station, VA was host to some of the Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Capitol Flyover aircraft.  Manassas Regional Airport would be host to the larger aircraft; B-29, B-24 and B-17.  The event was held to honor the heroes who fought in WWII and those on the home front who produced the tanks, ships and aircraft that enabled the United States and its allies to achieve Victory in WWII.  It would be one of the most diverse and largest gatherings of WWII aircraft ever assembled to fly over Washington D. C. in recent memory.  This was to be a monumental event….over 50 old WWII vintage airplanes would be flying in arguably the most restricted air space in the USA.  Who got the clearance to do this?  Someone must have been doing some serious arm twisting….but it WAS going to happen on May the 8, 2015.  May 8, 2015 was also an important date for me personally….my bride and I would be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary on the 8th.  My wife, Linda, knew how much I wanted to see this event so instead of leaving on the 8th for our 50th anniversary, around the USA trip, like we planned for about 5 months….we….WE decided to leave on Sunday the 10th so I could immerse myself in this once in a lifetime aviation adventure then have a day to recoup before launching on our over 7000 mile odyssey.  A little give & take….that’s probably why we were celebrating 50 years together!

I knew the airport would be very busy and crowded with the event preparations leading up to the 8th….and that on the 8th it would probably be shoulder to shoulder standing room only.  AND they were in the middle of construction a new tower and office complex for the airport!  Linda & I visited the airport May 4th to see if there was an alternate location to capture some video on the 8th.  I knew the “normal” places would be jammed with people on the 8th so we explored the opposite side of the airport where the industrial park is.  We located what looked like a good location and secured permission from the property owners, Hardwood Artisans, to come back later in the week to take pictures from their property.  They gave us a hearty YES and I knew this was going to be fun! 

May 6, 2015….My aviation minded friend, Lou, and I visited the airport to check out what was going on.  It was raining a little when we arrived but it soon stopped while we queued up to take a ride around the ramp in a multi seat golf cart.  The airport didn’t want people aimlessly roaming around the airplanes and there were other security issues that needed to be considered.  Also some of the airplanes were running their engines and taxiing around the ramp.  When our turn came up go in the cart, we shared it with a WWII Veteran, a 506th FG Veteran.  He flew the VLR, Very long Range mission from Iwo Jima to Japan in a P-51.  He had his wife and a friend accompany him….he was a hoot.  We toured all the airplanes on the ramp and when 4 Mustangs were taking off our driver asked the Veteran if he wanted to get closer to the runway to watch them….a very emphatic YES was heard from the front of the cart!  After the take off we were going back to the gate and the driver asked the Veteran if he wanted to take his picture next to a P-51….another loud YES and we stopped by the nearest Mustang for a photo op.  After that we said our goodbyes and planned for the next day. This is the video for the day;  The stills are here;  

May 7, 2015…. I did some camera set up and testing while the airplanes took off and landed.  They were rehearsing for the big push the next day.  There were all kinds of airplanes in the sky, on the ramp….taking off and landing.  It was a very busy couple of hours for me.  The heavies from Manassas joined up and did some formation practice in the airspace around the airport.  It was just intense.  The only way I could capture the activity was to video everything.  So you need to check out my YouTube video of the day at;  I was satisfied that the location I had picked out would be the best vantage point….especially for the 8th launch time, the sun would be to our back and the airplanes would be lit up just right till they all landed after the event.

May 8, 2015….  Lou & I met up at the Southern States gas station on Rt. 29 and drove to our reserved spot near the Hardwood Artisans back lot.  We set up our chairs and waited for the historic event to unfold.  The weather was perfect….this was going to be fun.  We heard the low rumble of open exhausts coming across the runway….the engines were warming up….the event was underway.  The rendezvous point was around Leesburg, VA (about 50 air miles away) so the slower airplanes would be taking off first.  A JSDF T-34 was the first airplane to leave followed by three Piper L-4’s (civilian J-3) then six Stearman biplanes…..this was going to be big!  Every manner of Warbird was leaping into the sky and pointing their trusty steeds N-NE to form up the historic fly over of DC.  It was nonstop for about an hour….the only way to appreciate it is to watch the video I took. 

The route from Leesburg was to follow the Potomac River into Washington DC, about 35 miles.  Then South out of the city then return to the airports that they left an hour ago.  Some would leave DC and return to their home airports, like PA, OH, MD and other parts of our Country.  But some would return to Culpeper.  After the last group launched we waited for them to return….in about ½ hour the first two came low over the fence….two P-40’s…..followed by two flights of 4 T-6/SNJ’s in echelon formation and did a fighter break to land….just too cool.  It was a very busy few hours that I wouldn’t have traded for anything.  That my Dad was involved in WWII as a Fighter Pilot flying a P-51 just added to the experience for me.  It’s a day I won’t soon forget.  Video; 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fourth of July in Culpeper, VA

Saturday we began our 40 mile cruise to Culpeper, VA and The 16th Annual Culpeper Renaissance 4th of July Car & Bike Show.  Our adventure started on dry pavement but as we passed through Bealeton it started misting….then at Brandy Station the sky opened up and it poured!  But hey….we drive an old farm truck so a little rain just cleans off the mud and bugs…..grinning  Our “inside contact” guy, Bob, had secured a very good spot for us to set up the Fisher House Foundation information canopy.  We were positioned right on a major corner where everyone would have to pass by at least a couple times during the day.  And that the path to the ‘inside’ restrooms was right in front of our set up didn’t hurt either….thanks Bob and all the folks from Culpeper Renaissance for helping us showcase Fisher House Foundation!

Fred brought Maxine his ’57 Dodge out in the rain to be part of our display and I had the farm truck on the other side of our set up….Lou’s Ford didn’t want to get wet….I’m not going to go there….hehehehehehee  The attendees began arriving while we were setting up at 7AM….in the morning!  I’m sure the forecasted rain kept a lot of people at home with their ‘special’ rides but many came out anyway.  It rained a few times during the day but we just dried off the cars and kept at it!  This event is always one that should be on your calendar….just too many cool cars come out to play at this deal. 

I made the mistake of beginning to photograph the cars around 11AM and it was just too late, too many spectators!  The crowd was shoulder to shoulder most of the time and as I tried to wait for clear shots of the vehicles, the flow of people just wouldn’t stop.  So I tried to take them from the back of the cars….but where do the owners sit….in the back!  That didn’t work either.  Then it rained two times when I was about half way to the end….rain & cameras don’t play well with each other….  In the end I missed most of the cars, I got 45 out of about 150.  Every year the event has “showcased” cars.  This year it was the Mopar muscle cars of the late 60’s to early 70’s and there were a few nice examples of that genre.  The two entries that drew the most spectator interest were the pair of rat rods and Bill’s 1923 Ford Model Speedster.  One time we counted about 35 people crowded around Bill’s car as he explained the workings of it, started it up and demonstrated how the three pedals worked then ended up honking the oogha horn!  The spectators loved this car.  And the one rat rod owner up the street was demonstrating his ride to the spectators and had a 40’s pin up girl for eye candy….something nice to look at….I mean the car…. 

We had sunshine for about three hours then around 2PM the clouds reappeared and by 2:30 Operation Deluge was upon us again.  The awards were finished just as the clouds let loose….a very final end to the event!  We broke camp, packed up, said our goodbyes and motored home….in the rain….with no defrosters….it’s a farm truck…. 

We collected $402 in donations for Fisher House Foundation that included a sizeable gift from the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club and a nice one from a hot rodder that drives old gassers on the street!  We gave out a dozen Fisher House magazines and talked to many many people about Fisher House Foundation.  It never ceases to amaze me that so many people don’t know what Fisher House is.  This is why our mission at Cruisin For Heroes is to raise awareness and funds for Fisher House….we always raise awareness….but don’t always raise as much money.  But this Fourth of July was a good day for Fisher House.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CulpeperFest 2015

Every year the Chamber of Commerce in Culpeper, VA hosts and event called CulpeperFest.  It is a gathering of local businesses to show their company to other businesses in the community.  It is a way to network and debut products and/or services.  The organizers invited our group, Cruisin For Heroes, to attend last year with a few of our friends and their special rides.  We set up a Fisher House Foundation, Proud Supporter canopy to have a presence for Fisher House and Cruisin For Heroes.  We talked to many people while we handed out information about Fisher House.  It was a good day.
We were invited back this year but were asked to bring more vehicles….which is what we do!  The event doesn’t have a lot of “spectators” but this year there were over 2900 spectators that registered!  And this event is held on a Friday in the late afternoon!  Our group is invited to provide “eye candy” in the form of our special rides.  This generates interest and hopefully adds to the event.  It gives us a presence to the business people in the local community….it really is a win/win deal. 
We had met with the manager of the event over the preceding couple of months to confirm our location and mission.  The day of the event was forecasted to be very hot with a slight chance of rain and have high winds!  Not a good mix for old cars and canopies on asphalt.  The rain consisted of about 20 min of heavy mist….not bad.  But the wind….I think it was blowing 30-35 mph steady with gusts to Mach 2.1….  We had about 40 pounds of weight on the prevailing side of our canopy to contend with the wind.  It was doing ok till a steady gust blew it about a foot, with the above mentioned 40 pounds of weight plus me and my 330 pounds hanging on it!  It kinda skated on the asphalt, never actually lifted off!  We decided to loosen the lower lines on the banners so they would stop acting like a sail….that seemed to work….whew.  All of our participants spent about 4 hours interacting with the other vendors and spectators….it was a very well received display based on the comments we heard.  Sometimes our mission is just being in front of people, making them aware of Fisher House Foundation and explaining what they do for our Veterans and their families.
The event was open from 3PM to 7PM…..since we began setting up around 1PM we were ready to leave around 6PM….  There were 19 people that took time out of their day to help us promote the Fisher House Foundation by bringing their special vehicles to the event.  They did that without any coercion or expectation of reward from us….they just did it to help us support our mission to bring awareness and funding to the Fisher House Foundation.  Cruisin For Heroes has a “list” of volunteers that we call on for the events we provide.  The list is usually around 50 people so we can typically fill a 20-30 car event.  If you think you would like to help us by volunteering your time and vehicle in the future….just email me at;  You can check us out at our website;   
As we packed up some of us decided to attend the weekly cruise in Culpeper at Burger King.  There were a few local cars in place when we arrived at BK and most of us were very tired from the day.  We ate and visited for a while then cruised 40 miles to home.  A very long day but fun and productive….


Normal night at the Q....

Friday night, June 5, at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA….mostly the regular crowd but….  Bill & Debbie brought out Debbie’s little Nash Metropolitan for the first time!  Such a cool little car and I think it fits Debbie’s personality just right!  We also had a visit from an MGB powered by a small block Ford, which was done very nicely.  One of Stuart’s friends cruised in with his recently finished Jeep bush fire truck.  It was fitted with all the normal accoutrements you would expect on a bush Jeep that was in active service.  A little red “kit” car that was built to loosely resemble an MG four seater and had VW power, a sinister black early Dodge Charger, a Bernardi, two Studebakers and a handful of farm trucks rounded out the crew for the night.  As always it was a great cruise….you need to check it out when you are in Fredericksburg, VA on Friday night.