Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge Cruise & Bruster's monthly cruise 9-24-2016

We had a cruise to the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge near Mt. Jackson, VA a couple years ago and it was very successful by all the feedback I got.  Over the ensuing months I have had a few people ask me, “when was I going to do another one?”  One person from Fredericksburg was very persistent….I won’t mention her name but she rides in a red 2006 Silverado with yellow flames….  This person plans and executes cruises for her club and I couldn’t figure out why she just didn’t plan it herself!?  But she was unrelenting….when she came around selling the 50/50 tickets at their cruise on Friday night she sometimes asked “When are we going to the covered bridge Chuck?”  I knew I had to plan another cruise…. 

The local car show/cruise calendar is very full and with the rain causing make up events to be added to the already full schedule, I was having some difficulty planning a day that would work.  Our group, Cruisin For Heroes, manages a monthly cruise at the Bruster’s Ice Cream shop in Culpeper, VA.  We decided to fold the covered bridge cruise in with our monthly Bruster’s cruise!  WHEW!!!!  We planned the route to begin in the more or less centralized location of Opal, VA and run West 47 miles to Luray, VA and a Liberty gas station for the pit stop.  Then we would proceed 19 more miles, over another mountain range, to Mt. Jackson and the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.  After our photo shoot at the bridge we would run 58 miles to Culpeper, VA and the Bruster’s cruise.  A very long, busy day!

At the start point in Opal we had about 32 vehicles when the launch time got close….but for some reason we only had 24 vehicles go to the bridge?  One of our group had car trouble at the main intersection near the start point and we had to play ‘how many guys does it take to push a ’55 Chevy about 100 yds, some of it up hill to the McDonalds parking lot’.  A couple of us old gimpy guys don’t push very well, so we stopped traffic on one of the most traveled secondary roads in Virginia, Rt. 29, while the gaggle of guys provided the motive power to the incapacitated Chebbie.  The owner wanted us to go ahead and leave since we were already about 20 min late, he and his wife would stay with the car till his friend (pastor) came with his trailer to retrieve the intransient hot rod.  I felt it would be ok to leave since he had help coming and there was food, drink, restroom, and A/C onsite.  We were two guys less in our group since two were at Bruster’s setting up for our arrival later….and since I was the only one that knew the route we were taking I led the group.  We said goodbye to our friends and began the journey!

For the first leg of the cruise we left McD’s and worked our way to Rt. 211 using back roads.  While traveling on Rt. 211 we went through the Shenandoah National Park and at Thornton Gap, elevation 2460’, we went under the Skyline Drive then down the other side to Luray, VA.  After the pit stop and a brief drivers meeting we launched toward New Market, VA on Rt. 211 up over another mountain where Rt. 211 ended at Rt. 11.  We turned North for a few miles to Wissler Rd. and the Meems Bottom bridge was right over the river….what a concept, a bridge over a river!

The purpose of the cruise was to travel the countryside of Virginia with our hot rods but also to take some pictures of the hot rods around the covered bridge.  Since the bridge is actually one that is actively used we could drive the vehicles through the bridge and circle around on the other side and take pictures as they leave the bridge on the sunny side….a good photo setup!  We took all the pictures we wanted and mingled around talking with friends.  After about an hour we were ready to saddle up and cruise to the food!

Since no one needed to stop at the pit stop on the way back we would be cruising nonstop to Culpeper.  We would retrace our earlier route till we reached Sperryville, VA.  Here we would leave Rt. 211 and begin running Rt. 522.  We would take Rt. 522 into the heart of Culpeper, we would utilize three traffic circles to keep the group together until we turned onto Rt. 29bus.  A few miles later after one more turn we arrived at Bruster’s….food!

The music was playing, thanks to DJ Chip, and about 20 vehicles were already parked.  We all folded in with them and began to enjoy the cruise.  Kim & Crystal ran the 50/50 for us again, I’m really glad they volunteered to do that for us.  Can you imagine how much money a couple old grumpy guys could extort from people for the 50/50?  Ladies are much better at separating guys from their money than other guys are….grinning  I had been bitten on the leg by something when I was walking in the grass taking pictures of the cars near the bridge!  My legs were beginning to swell a little so I was gimping around more than usual….but the show goes on!  Lou had arranged for State Farm Ins to be at the cruise offering to give quotes for vehicle insurance.  Something a little different but they were giving $20 to Fisher House for each quote even if you didn’t take their insurance! 
About 6PM some very dark clouds began to roll in….the hot rodders began to leave.  We called the event 30 min early incase it began to rain, it didn’t!  Jim called the 50/50 winner and announced that the Bruster’s manager’s pick was the very nice red ’39 Ford convertible.  After that most everyone vacated the lot.  Some vacated louder and with tire smoke….we may have to have a police presence next time,, hehehe  It was a very long, fun day and difficult retelling all the little things that made it memorable.  You just have to come along and make your own memories next time….

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