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.

1 comment:

Melissa Shotwell Henry said...

Awesome pics Daddy-O. Love the pic of Wilkerson's with the sky in the background.