Dan started planning this year’s Toys For Tots event on September 11 while we attended the Herndon show. He called it the 2nd Annual Santa’s Helpers Run….a clever pseudonym for Toys For Tots. Last year it worked out well by using the Toys For Tots drop off point inside the USMC Museum as the destination for the run. The restaurant we began the event at last year was not available this year so we decided to begin at the Bob Evans restaurant in Stafford, VA. Saturday morning around 10:30 the special vehicles started to congregate in Stafford Marketplace. We found that the Saturday staff at Bob Evans had not been alerted to our arrival and we would have to wait….this wouldn’t work. The manager of the Chili’s next door came out and admired the cars and said he would be glad to accommodate us! So all but 4 people started the day at Chili’s! Some other people were eating in Fredericksburg and would hook up with our group at 12:30 to cruise up the road.
Since our new ride came Friday evening about 7PM this would be the first time out for the Chebby. As you know I name most of my vehicles….Christine, Mr. Smoothe, RedRat, Princessmobile….but what should we name the new ride we bought on HotRodHotLine? A rodder emailed me about the articles I write for HorRodHotLine and said the truck looked like a torpedo….hmmmm. So thanks to Gary in the yonder place of the Pacific Northwest (you know who you are, grin) I have named our ’49 Chebby…. The Cruise Missile. It will be our cruiser…. large enough to haul all the support stuff we seem to need and still have room for the Princess to bring home stuff that she finds during our travels. She always manages to find something that she has been looking for all her life and can’t exist another day without it! She also said that now she didn’t have to ask Garland or Jim to haul mulch or gravel if I she needs to! hehehehe It will eventually be a missile too….that will evolve….stay tuned. We had a good mix of cruisers that joined the day’s festivities from new Camaros, Mustangs, and Challengers to a Model T and most everything in between. Dom & Patty had the Model T Christmas camouflaged, I think all that foliage messed up the aerodynamics of the Ford and it would only travel about 36 mph. And Ron & Jean had their 28 Dodge dressed up like a reindeer (during hunting season?) And to keep us on the straight and narrow, three Stafford County Sheriff’s deputies had volunteered to herd our group to the destination….they didn’t know what they were in for. Bill (one of the previously mentioned uniformed officers) had a drivers meeting with the group then formed everyone up and headed north. The group from the south arrived just in time to run with us!
I left the restaurant about a half hour before they did to get to the museum in time to set up for the video shot as the group came in. I set up by the flagpole to get the sun where I wanted it; even though it was a cloudy day I learned from last year’s event that position would be critical. So I waited….and waited….outside in the blustery cold. I think it was about minus 328 degrees. ….I think I saw little tongue prints on the flagpole…. And the frigid wind was relentlessly blowing but I found shelter behind the flag pole….yeah right. The Ford Lightning’s of Steve and his son, Stevie, were the second cruisers to park at the museum along with the red Mustang that came first. My hands were so cold from waiting about 45 min. that I couldn’t feel the camera shutter release and I didn’t press the button down all the way while taking the Lightning’s….bummer. The rest of the video worked out.
We all parked and milled around a little then Dom called us together for the ‘group’ picture….with Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus! This couple lives in our area and they ARE Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus….check the pictures. The Princess was talking with Santa about something….I think it was about his naughty list….I heard her say something that sounded like, ‘Oh that was another Princess, not her!? Then I think I heard her say something like….WHATEVER, she had her own jolly round man anyway? I hope she doesn’t get coal again this year….
We all moseyed inside the Museum to deposit the toys. The Toys For Tots people had to make three trips from the drop off point inside to the waiting truck outside with the toys we brought! I think Dave had to make two trips to his Goat to get all the toys in the trunk. Check out the pictures. They said we would make Christmas better for a lot of kids this year….that’s what it is about! Some of the less harmonically challenged in the group performed some impromptu Christmas caroling….like a flash mob….it was too cool. They caught me off guard and I only got to video the last song….I’ll be ready next year. Some had never been to the museum before so they toured the exhibits. I love places like this….but the USMC Museum just reeks of the history of the Corps. I think every American needs to take a walk through this place….they just might be a little more appreciative of our Country and those that have committed to defend it for us.
Some had to leave and some lingered for a while but eventually all 35 vehicles disappeared from the parking lot….another event done….another year done….a fitting end to a great year for us and for the hobby. We are planning more cruises for next year; we hope you can find time to join us for some of the adventures.
Merry Christmas and a better New Year
Chuck & Linda
The Slacker & The Princess