Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Cruise In weekend....

Friday evening at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA was another special time visiting with friends.  It must be the cooler weather that brings out another 3-4 people to add to the growing mix of usual suspects.  After 7PM or so cars from the cruise at the other end of town came to visit….it’s all good. 

The green ’53 Ford that was being followed by a wooden boat of the ‘50’s was the center of attention most of the evening.  The original ’40 Chevy Master was stunningly done….and Warren’s Chevy AD is pretty cool too.  The chameleon painted Mitsubishi 3000 belongs to the guy that we met at this years Screech Cruise to Williamsburg, VA.  He didn’t run with us but got ahead of our group and took pictures of us as we passed through Tappahannock, VA….glad he feels comfortable enough to visit on the Friday cruise.  We broke camp around 8:30 and cruised home.  Another pleasant evening slips away as visions of snow shovels and parka’s loom in the distant future…..hehehehe

Saturday we decided to visit the Burger King in Manassas by the airport and the weekly cruise hosted by the Bull Run Street Rods.  We usually try to visit this cruise a few times during the year even though a lot of other shows and cruises vie for our attention.  This cruise usually attracts about 100 cars and I think they almost made that number this week.  This cruise is attended by a wide mix of rides and tonight we were visited by a local group of Jeeps.  Some members of the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club met us at the cruise as did our friend Andrew….we all set up camp under and around one of Burger King’s concrete picnic table/seats with the umbrella….it was on one of the few grassed areas and was very comfortable.  It was also in the middle of all the traffic so we got to see/hear most of the rides that attended….how cool is that? 

There was a beautiful maroon Model A nestled between a new blue Camaro and a lt. green ’54 Chevy.  A candy root beer brown ’72 Nova with the seldom seen sunroof option, this car won 1st place last year at the Nova Nationals.  The orange ’71 Challenger was one of the original parade cars at the Indy 500 that year!  My favorite was the blue Model A Pro Street PU that must have been a race car in a former life.  When we left he was in front of us….he stepped on it a little, very violent….like the RedRat was….  Some say this cruise is being taken over by “new” cars….for me I like ALL cars, new or old.  We all should be able to play well together.  Anyway, check out the pictures and see what you think.  I think it’s a good mix of special cars….and then there was those Jeeps….grinnng.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A day at the beach.....

We rolled in to VA BBQ Friday afternoon….it was warm but the humidity was way low….nice and comfortable.  The Princess & I set up camp and soon Ron joined us and the circle just kept getting bigger.  Bill & Jo-Ann joined up then Susan, Walter & Jackson set up chairs.  Susan is Bill’s daughter….AND it was Bill’s birthday!  Jo-Ann had donuts for us….then Susan brought out an ice cream cake!  So…..we had a party….as much of a party as people over seventy can have, in public….hehehehehehehe

The lot began filling up with some new to us rides.  Jim C. brought his white ’67 Plymouth Belvedere wagon that he is restoring….drive train first!  The yellow Ranchero was back but I couldn’t track down the owner….next time….   A nice red ’31 Ford sedan, Jim’s yellow ’72 RoadRunner, Bob’s yellow SSR, Marla’s red Chevy pu….just a lot of visitors made up the over 60 cars for the evening.  The last one was the red, traditional ’32 Ford 5 window with the killer Ford motor….more on this piece another time.

I think we were almost the last people to leave the lot beside the host club….a very cool cruise.  You have to visit if you are in Fredericksburg, VA on a Friday evening….it’s a lot more fun than staying home and mowing your lawn ya know…..grinning

Saturday we cruised to Fredericksburg, VA to help manage the Cruisin For Heroes, 2nd Annual Mid Summer Thunder Cruise.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, puts on events to help support our Veterans, in particular the Fisher House Foundation.  You can read more about our group here; .   Last year we cruised to the Meems Bottom covered bridge near Mt. Jackson, VA….it was a well attended, much appreciated event so we wanted to try to conjure up something special for this year.  The Princess & I had attended the Labor Day picnic at Jim Stills Antique Motors in Colonial Beach, VA a few times in the past and always had a good time.  And whenever we are in Colonial Beach we try to parlay the visit into lunch or dinner at Wilkerson’s Seafood Restaurant.  We needed to plan an event that incorporated both deals….  I began to make contact with Jim Stills in February this year and shortly after he & I had a date set I contacted Jay Wilkerson to see if we could work something out that would complement the museum visit.  In March I began designing the advertisements to include the internet ad and then the flyer handout.  We were on a roll.  The only thing we had to stress about was the weather….but it was 5 months off!  Yeah right….  Friday, one day before the event, we found out that there was another event planned at the museum the same day as ours!  It would begin in the morning but our group would arrive around 12:30 and they were expecting 10-12 cars from us.  When we left the start point I got a call from Wilkerson’s asking if the event was really cancelled for the day????  We had 44 vehicles rolling toward Colonial Beach by then….stress….you have no idea….  I assured them we were still planning on being there around 3PM.  They wanted a number of people that would be attending and I had to remind them I didn’t know because the amount of people at the museum that would be going to the restaurant with us was still unknown until we got to the museum!  And the new revelation that the museum would be having their own event and we didn’t know how many of those people would be attending the restaurant with us.  Stress….hmmmm  It’s a balance we try to achieve by not making people commit to our events for our convenience.  We know life throws things at people that they have no way of knowing about and we feel they don’t need the stress of whether to break their commitment to us or to deal with their personal problems.  We take the stress instead….it’s how we roll.

The start point was a Sheetz gas station on Rt. 3, in the Ferry Farms area of Virginia.  Lou & Fred quickly realized the cars that began to show up were more than the Sheetz could safely handle.  They decided to gather across the street in a large truck parking lot….that would work!  To be honest I expected 25-30 cars to show up….was I wrong!  We ended up with 45 special cars (Wes would join us soon after we left the start point) and a couple daily drivers, all rolling to the beach.  We tried to plan for that many vehicles even though we didn’t really expect that many.  We had set up two intermediate leaders, Lou & Fred, to be in the group about 12-15 vehicles apart.  They knew the route we would take, in case we got separated.  They could lead everyone behind them to the destination. Dan was the Vulture, he was the last car in the group, so he could check on anyone that dropped out while keeping in contact with me as we rolled.  We did get separated a couple times but we always reconstituted the group.  I love it when a plan works….

When we arrived at the museum I knew parking would be a little tricky….but I also knew that Jim had more than adequate parking around the museum and across the street around his business.  Jim frantically welcomed all of us while JV and some of the other Colonial Beach Cruisers helped park all the unexpected vehicles.  They “got er dun”.  We were parked in under the trees and all around the two lots….no “scheduled”, in between the lines parking….no siree!  It worked out very well and the people began strolling through the museum.  I really like a “cruise” instead of a show.  In a cruise all different kinds of rides can enjoy the day.  New cars, old cars, stock cars, modified cars, done cars and in progress cars….everything.  No competition or testosterone involved thank you very much!  We ALL play together well….just to enjoy the hobby and each other’s company.

Jim’s museum is like a time capsule of a Ford dealership in 1954….complete with wall murals and display engines.  Period memorabilia was placed all around the museum as were pristine examples of the 1954 Fords.  Jim also has a whole herd of ’54 Fords outside; waiting to receive the TLC they need to take up residence inside.  Jim is an enthusiastic owner….literally running around making sure everyone is getting the attention they require and answering any questions about his little piece of automobile heaven.  He is a really great host.  Around 1:45 I began noticing people clumping and talking….a sure sign that some were ready to move on.  I called the restaurant to let them know we would be leaving the museum at 2PM instead of 3PM.  Then we announced to everyone that we would be leaving at 2PM (an hour early) to cruise to the restaurant.  Some would leave early….”to beat the rush” ????  Since they arrived early at the restaurant they would have to wait a little till the restaurant got geared up for us being early.  The owner of the restaurant had agreed to begin the normal Saturday buffet at 3PM instead of 5PM….just for us!  When the main group arrived, parked and moseyed inside….the restaurant was just about ready!  They called their wait staff to come in early and really flexed to our early arrival time.  I would actually take my last picture outside in the parking lot at 2:42 before I went inside the restaurant.

The buffet fare was great but some would order off the menu instead (why? Grinning).  When the wait staff got control of the group they were superb….  Everyone that stayed had a great time and probably ate too much while enjoying the relaxed ambiance.  Be sure to check out the pictures….I think a lot of blue point crabs died Saturday! A couple people have allowed me to share the pictures they took at the event, Kendra Sullivan and Ron Lacasse both contributed to the image collection, thank you for adding to the day’s experience for all. The view across the Potomac is just too cool….you have to visit this restaurant when you are in the area….you won’t be disappointed.

Around 4:30 we formed up to cruise back to Fredericksburg and visit the world renowned, Carl’s Ice Cream shop.  Most of the Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club would attend but Rick would lead the dash to the ordering window.  I think that would be a very dangerous place to be, between Rick & Kim’s truck and the ordering window of Carl’s….hehehehe  We all tested the ice cream at Carl’s….to make sure it was still ok, it was!  It’s a public service we provide, you’re welcome! 

After Carl’s we all cruised home and recounted the days activities….a great time with old friends and new friends while lazily cruising the Virginia Byways…..I love this hobby.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A sunny day in Virginia....

Friday we planned to visit the Chick-fil-A in Ashland, VA but no one else showed up at the start point so we opted to visit our home cruise at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA.  Saturday was shaping up to be a very busy day so the shorter commute distance Friday night would be better for us old folk.  As it turned out a lot of other people decided to visit the Q with us!  About 50 other cruisers came and went before the night was over….

A school bus yellow ’71 Ford Ranchero rumbled in….it was a 429SCJ car.  We had a ’71 GT 429CJ, I didn’t like the hood scoop of the SCJ so I ordered our car as a CJ.  I also had it factory painted the brown metallic they painted the Pinto’s that year, you could do that back then.  I also ordered it with a 2.73 rear gear as it was going to be my freeway flyer….but that’s another story.  It is always cool to see something you used to own, joining the gathering.  A lot of the usual suspects filled out the lot….a nice evening.  We cruised home and stopped by KFC to take some yard bird home for dinner, yeah at 9:30….in the PM. 

Saturday we began our day at the 13th Annual, Fredericksburg Classic & Muscle Car Club; Car, Truck & Bike Show….whew!  We have attended this show from time to time in the past, one year it rained so hard we had to get in our truck to keep dry!  Our canopy was hosting everyone within 50’ that didn’t have their own canopy!  But this day was unfolding to be perfect, a little warm but just beautiful.  We arrived early to get “our spot” and save 7 other spots for our group.  The Princess and I set up our canopy and waited for the sleepy heads to arrive!  One by one they rolled in with Lou & Arlene last….Lou’s Princess needs her rest….or….maybe Lou’s GPS guided them via Richmond or something….it’s a process….hehehehe  We set up three canopies as close to the tree line as we could without rolling down the hill.  It was beginning to get hot but it was a Chamber of Commerce, picture perfect day!

This show historically attracts over a hundred cars but this day they would have 122 cars registered, the most ever!  A great day for their club….which uses the money from this show and the 50/50s all year at their Friday & Saturday cruises to make the Christmas season a lot brighter for many local families.  They really do a good thing for some local folks.  There were many very nice cars attending the event, you just have to check the pictures to appreciate the variety and quality of the rides.

The club invited a few vendors….many shows don’t do that anymore and I think it’s a shame not to invite local businesses to the dance too.  Something I had never seen before at a show or cruise was an NRA booth/table.  You must remember this is central VA….not northern VA….we believe in our Second Amendment rights down here and it was very refreshing to see the NRA represented.  One of the “car” ladies that drive a cool yellow new Camaro called Bumble Bee also dresses up in a “transformer” costume and entertains the kids….and a few adults too me thinks.  Kandy always adds to the positive experience of events whenever she is there, especially for the kids.  The DJ/Announcer was perfect, the tunes fit the day and the announcements were not overpowering.  Wes was in the outdoor kitchen making hot dogs….some of the best car show hot dogs around.  Kim and her cohorts were extorting money from the contestants with the 50/50 sales.  The winner (the owner of the ’59 BOS Chevy)  won over $300…..he gave back $100 to the club for their Christmas fund. 

If you have been following me for any length of time you know the trophies are not a focal point of my experience at shows.  And I seldom report on who won what…. but the Best of Show on Saturday was won by a flawless red/white ’59 Chevy Impala, complete with a 348….just a very nice piece anyway you look at it.  The BOS trophy was the nicest trophy of it’s kind and probably wouldn’t fit in the trunk!  Remember it was a ’59 Chebbie, with an 8 body trunk!  Think about it.  And there were many other fine examples of the car craft here in Virginia.  Arnold’s purple ’57 Chevy convertible is one, a candy red ’51 Ford PU is another, also a black ’49 Ford shoebox and a few others that peg the cool meter….just check out the pictures.

It was turning into a real hot, muggy day and we still had things to do, and places to go.  We broke camp and followed Lou to an ice cream place he & Arlene found recently.  We always have to check out any ice cream establishment within 300 miles….it’s a public service we provide!  This one was on Rt. 3 between Rt. 20 and Lake of the Woods.  It’s a little trailer deal that sells only Hershey ice cream.  The parking was a little crazy but the ice cream was great….especially on a hot day….and it was getting hotter….like a 400 megaton nuclear explosion hot!  I think the pinstriping was melting on the farm truck.  After we made the ice cream disappear some of us made our way to Orange, VA about 25 miles away and the monthly cruise at the Burger King on Rt. 15 in Orange.

By the time we arrived at the BK, about 4:30, the effects of over 9 hours exposure to the day’s heat had taken a toll on our old bodies was taking effect.  We parked our hot rods in the sun, nearest to the planned Italian restaurant we were going to dine in.  The A/C was more than welcome….it was a life saver!  I usually take 6 bottles of water for the Princess and me to drink….they usually last all day….we were down to one left!  And the Princess had been drinking some diet soda as well as the water.  So when we sat down in the restaurant I think we both drank 38 gallons of diet Pepsi, should have been water.  We took a long time to eat so we could cool down but eventually other people began coming in and staring at us….we not so graciously gave up our table. Back out in the heat we quickly found out how tired and worn out we really were.  The cumulative effect of not enough hydration, too much UV and other nuclear radiation from the sun, a mostly sedentary life style and an over 71 year old out of shape body, fell on me like a ’57 Buick Roadsmasher! We staggered toward our chairs under a large sycamore tree and collapsed….we were DONE.  I couldn’t bring myself to go around and take pictures of the nearly 200 cars that were present.  Next time we can’t plan to be out in the heat all day….  We had an uneventful 58 mile cruise back to the Shotwell hovel and the A/C.  We parked the farm truck in it’s place, on our Quick Lift ramps and fell through the door into our home.  We didn’t unload the truck till Sunday.  I can’t remember being that tired and worn out.  It really was a great day….at least what I can remember…..grinning…..I love this hobby!

To Wardensville, WV and beyond....

The weatherguessers were saying the rain would hold off till late at night….they lied!  Surprise?  The impending forecast kept many home Friday August 7th but some still came out….like David and his gnarly blue Mustang from Culpeper, about 40 miles away!  And Warren just brought his blue/black ’47 Chebbie from NY to visit.  But around 8PM it started to sprinkle and the cruise folded up. 

Saturday we had planned a cruise to Wardensville, WV to attend the monthly cruise at the Quarter Mile Diner.  The day was gorgeous so we left Stafford and began our 74 mile leg to Luray and the first pit stop.  Along the way we checked out Cooters place in Sperryville, VA….yup, the same Cooter that was in Dukes of Hazzard.

After we emptied our bladders and filled the tanks we continued on the next 58 mile leg of the cruise to Wardensville, WV.  As cruised through Front Royal, VA we drove past a show at the local Chevy dealer….looked like a lot of nice cars.  When we arrived at the diner there was one other car, Scott’s black Mustang!  We parked and checked out the memorabilia the owner of the diner displays then sat down to check out the food.  Coincidently three of us ordered the Nitro Burger….it was very good and could defiantly put a little pop in your step!  We visited with Scott for a while then decided it was time to start our 98 mile return by a different route that included a stint on the Mother Road, Rt. 66.  Going out we used back roads exclusively but on the return trip we used Interstates as much as we could.  It was a great day driving the scenic Virginia highways….you should go with us some day….you really are missing an enjoyable part of our hobby if you don’t get out once in a while.  Shows are cool, cruises are enjoyable too….but out on the road is where it’s at….

Monday, August 3, 2015

60 Years of Cars and Stars 2015

Friday night at VA BBQ in Fredericksburg, VA attendance was down a little but the variety and quality of the cruisers was amazing.  A ’62 Chevy pickup came in late, very chopped and scalloped….nice old school ride.  A very nice silver Tahoe with cool graphics joined the cruise then Debbie’s little Metro made it too.  I think that Metro needs more HP….like a Sonny’s 1005 inch beast….yeah that would work!  We stayed till the end and had an uneventful cruise home.

Saturday we cruised to Fredericksburg, VA and the monthly cruise at the Pep Boys on Rt. 3.  This cruise is managed by the Fredericksburg Classic and Muscle Car Club and hosted by the folks at Pep Boys.  The attendance was a little off due in part to the excessive heat.  The humidity was a little lower but hot is still HOT.  Most of the cruisers were the usual suspects but Warren brought out his rowdy Nova to share.  The mud racer was cool and ran on E85….!  A nostalgia FED came through on a trailer but didn’t stop….he was on his way to the event on Sunday at Colonial Beach Dragway.  Bill brought his Model T speedster to share with the spectators.  This cruise is in an area that has a few restaurants nearby so there is always a lot of non-car people walking among the cars and asking questions.  For me this is the best kind of cruise, I love to talk about the cars with people.  We left a little early….I’m old, I need my rest….Sunday was going to be a BIG day.

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY….Sunday, August 2, 2015 we left the Eustace Rd. WAWA in N. Stafford, VA at 6AM to cruise to Colonial Beach, VA and the 60 Years of Cars and Stars, Drag Racing Reunion.  This is a big deal around here and is a “must attend” event for the year.  It’s run on the historic Colonial Beach Dragway that has been in existence for many years.  It was converted to a drag strip after the airport, that was used for commuters to gamble in the Maryland waters of Colonial Beach, VA, was no longer needed.  It is now an 1/8 mile strip, years ago when the cars were much slower it was a ¼ mile strip. 

We had attended the event a couple years ago and knew we had to get onsite by 7:30 or we would be parking away from the action….so we left early to ensure a good spot for the day’s activities.  When we arrived we hastily set up camp with some of the Virginia Stockers car club.  We had four canopies lashed together and to the drag strip fence!  It looked like a refugee camp!  It gave us a primo spot to watch the races in the comfort of shade while we socialized and our cars would be only about 20 feet away!  This event is a “car” event…..what I mean by that is that most of the people wandering around among the show cars already know about cars so we don’t have to be close to the cars to answer questions about them.  As soon as I had the Princess set up to relax under the canopy I took off to begin recording the day on film….I guess that’s not film anymore, maybe digital something?  The Princess says the pictures are converted to pixilated spirits then sent to a cloud where angles take care of them till I get back to my computer….you have no idea. 

Since my roots are in drag racing I like to visit the hot pits first….it’s a little different now but the activity focus is always the same, get ready for the bell!  I don’t understand all the new classes and is probably why I like the “nostalgic” events better.  The “old” cars still look like Gassers and rails….the Altereds look like a funny car without a body.  But they all make the same music….the sound of my people!

After I made my rounds in the pits I had to rest in the campground for an hour before beginning the next phase of the day.  The show car field was filling up and most of the cars were soon to be in place….a good time to photograph them.  There were too many interesting rides to describe….you just have to check out the pictures.  When I came back to the campground I watched the racing with the other for a while but I was getting too hot.  I told the Princess I needed to get home to A/C.  Since the old farm truck’s A/C consists of a cowl vent, windows and a sun roof….it works ok when the truck is moving but not so much at rest.  I guess everyone else was getting hot because when we started to break camp everyone else started too!

It was a great day at the drags….If you are around here the first of next August you need to check this event out….you won’t be disappointed.