Friday, July 13, 2007

Finally cruising











It took a conversation at my brother Dan's welcome home party and then a phone call at the last minute to finally have a cruise night to remember.

Backing up some, on Saturday, July 7th we had a "Welcome Home" party for my brother Dan who just finished his four year commitment to the USMC and two tours in Iraq. One of our party goer's was a old friend nicknamed, Stumpy. We go a long way back, I helped him build his Hot Rod. A Monte Carlo with a Big Block Olds 455 cubic inch beast under the hood. His love of this car is as old as my love of the 60'. He has had it since high school and it's still as mean as the day he stuffed the motor in at our shop. It does a respectful 12.4 in the quarter threw the TH-400 and 3:73 rear gears with no juice or extras tacked on. Stumpy jumped me for not getting him in on the cruise night the first time and I apologized. I told him we would try again and he should just call me on a Thursday and we will go to Quaker Steak & Lube's cruise night and check out how the scenery there is.

Well, on Thursday he called me out. I got a phone message in the early afternoon that he was going to be ready to go by 5:30 pm. So I made some mad calls to the wife to get the OK, and then to a couple other guys to see if they could go. The wife gave her blessing and the buds all said they where busy. Then at the last minute my brother Dan stopped at the shop and I asked if he wanted to ride "bitch" and go in with us. His reply? "No, I'll take your 60' and you take the Camaro." I couldn't argue that logic. At least he was going out and at least I was representing with two of my big toys at one place at the same time.

When the time came we cruised over and Stumpy joined the three vehicle parade for the 20 minute ride to Middleton where Quaker Steak is. As we pulled closer I was amazed at all of us for not horsing around at all on the drive in. No burnouts, no speeding, nothing. So I felt the need to rectify that one and a opportunity presented itself when I took a nice curve just a few hundred yards from the parking lot. I snapped the throttle and the old 'Maro let the rear tires loose for a good 20 feet. All was right in the world at that moment.

The Quaker Steak lot had a area blocked off for all the "cool cars" and we quickly found three spots together. Once out we popped the hoods since it seemed like the thing to do and went for some cold beers. It was really nice when we bumped into a Leinie's guy giving away free samples of Leinenkugel. Nothing screams good beer like free beer and Leinie's is good stuff even when you pay for it so that was a double bonus! It felt good to walk around and enjoy some fabulous looking cars that you could tell people put a lot of time and effort in. Nothing really stood out and screamed "Holy shit" until a auto technician who is a member of a tech group I'm in rolled up. How did he roll? A Cherry Red 1959 Chevy Apache Fleetside pickup pulling a red trailer and on the red trailer a Cherry Red 1955 Chevy Apache Stepside. Talk about freaking cool! We conversed with him for awhile and talked cars. We also made sure to compliment him on a pair of perfect trucks. After that we went back to observing the crowd. As with most cruise-ins there where some newer rides, which where cool, but they just didn't give you the goose bumps like a old muscle car or vintage car that is loud, obnoxious and just crazy to ride in. There where a couple of guys we noticed who came with a Viper. We knew it wasn't going to be someone we wanted to talk to when they felt the need to take up two spots for parking. C'mon dude, everyone else there is doing one spot, and making sure they don't crowd or damage anyone else's ride. No use being different. These guys of course walked threw the lot pointing out flaws in every car they didn't like. I couldn't help but think the only flaw they must have done when they built their Viper was a miss spell on the check they wrote to the dealer. Dan mentioned something about wishing for a Abrams and the chance to try and squeeze into the extra space they took up. Oh, that would be a funny sight.

As darkness feel we called it a night. As we left we got some thumbs up from people and some waves. Which felt good since both my rides are far from perfect, in fact, they have some flaws which are going to be pointed out, but never by someone who's put effort into building one of their own.

As we rolled from the stop light and put Quaker Steak in the rear view mirror I thought about being glad Stumpy called and made sure I went. Glad we got to see some awesome cars and enjoy the scene again. Quaker Steak put on a fun cruise night that I'm sure I'll go back to more and more now. With that, the need arose again to make sure some fun was done on the cruise so I gave it a little more then necessary, snapped the ass end around some, and got a nice pair of smokey tires for my brother and Stumpy to smell before the drive home began.

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