Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 21 Staunton, VA to Manassas, VA and The Finale

We reach the conclusion of the Morgan Pub Crawl 2010 today. It's been an amazing trip with many interesting people and experiences.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, was a very rainy day and the Blue Ridge Parkway was a serious challenge due to the fog on the mountain so the gang gathered in the hotel lobby of the fabulous Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, VA to plan today's route avoiding the fogged in Parkway.

Judy Buckley, Bennett Shuldman and Margaret Jacobsen get down to planning our route.

Charlotte Hahn found a new mascot for their car.

About break time on our route to Manassas we were near Culpeper, VA and we decided to investigate. A thriving downtown with lots of locally owned independent businesses.

The ladies really enjoyed Pepperberries in Culpeper.
After a rather confusing arrival at the Country Inn's and Suites in Manassas we found reservations promised but not available, room preferences not respected and a general "don't give a darn" attitude by the staff. We really like CI&S and have stayed in many during this tour, but this one is to be avoided if you are ever in the area.
Morgan DC club members and enthusiasts Marline Riehl and Lee DeBrisch opened their home to us and with the help of other members of the MCCDC treated us to drinks and dinner to put a cap on our trip.

With Morgan's aplenty parked on the lawn we enjoyed their hospitality.

Entering through the garage, the MCCDC was having a clearance sale on their regalia and Morgan embroidered clothing items.... half price. We all spent too much on new denim shirts, jackets, pins, buttons, posters and even umbrellas.

Inside, Marline was cooking and dishing up stuff for our feast.

The gang gathered and soon the room grew quieter as everyone enjoyed the cuts of beef, BBQ chicken, salad, potato salad etc., etc. Great home cooking after three weeks of restaurant food. Yumm!.

Charlie concluded the event with a series of presentations to the Pub Crawlers and comments about the tour.

Marline shows off her "hostess" award.

Here, Charlie reads the award he present himself.... and well deserved too.

In all we have had a teriffic trip with no serious mishaps. We had a few broken cars, but all were running at the end of the trip. We had one bruised foot caused by a rocky pathway but no other injuries.
Tomorrow, we all go our separate ways, back to our homes in Connecticut, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Ontario.
Thanks all, for your kind comments about this blog. It is the first time I've ever attempted something like this and I hope you enjoyed it. Please let me know in the comments below of ways I could have made it better.
Until the MPC of 2012, keep the wheels on the ground and the shiny side up.
All the best...
The Mog 8 Crew -- Gary and Sally.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 20 Hillsville, VA to Staunton, VA

Today, Monday May 17th is our 18th day of the Pub Crawl and our 20th day of travel. The early morning hours coupled with the constant motion of the events is starting to wear on people. Actually, we woke up this morning to a steady rain which made everyone kind of grouchy. But, we were underway by 8 after the usual morning hotel breakfast. Because of the rain we decided to skip part of the Blue Ridge and take a faster route. We had a special lunch planned so we had a deadline 5 hours down the road.

Our route took us on 2 lane highways for a bit, then up onto the Blue Ridge for 30 very foggy miles. Then we dropped down the mountain in an exciting twisty ride through the fog to Route 11 in Buckhannon and on to Raphine, VA, home of Joe and Sharon Topinka, a Morgan enthusiast who owns several of our unique cars.

He greeted us at his lovely home deep in the rural foot hills of the Virginia Appalachians.
We parked in front of his workshop and car barn.

After introductions the guys, and some of the gals, wandered out to the garage to check out 3 delightful Morgans. A 1966 +4 made up to Supersport specs.

An early barrelback three wheeler.

And a new Roadster which he doesn't seem to drive much and would like to sell. Hummmmm!

Meanwhile, inside their warm and cosy house Sally made friends.

The dinner bell sounded and all gathered for Brats and Hamburgers.

Mike and Diane Dewer of Kingsville, Ontario, Canada checked out the rose garden

Our host Joe and Bennett Shuldman enjoy after lunch conversation.

Newlyweds Art and Patsy Kampshafer, Pub Crawlers traveling in a Pontiac Solstace, because their Morgan died 60 miles from their Texas home. So they went back and got the "rag top"

Joe and Sharon Topinka, our very gracious hosts who were delighted to share their home and car collection with the traveling Pub Crawlers. This sort of hospitality is what makes the Pub Crawl such a unique event. Thanks to Joe and Sharon and Charlie Miller for making it happen.

We were busy driving in fairly poor conditions today and didn't get much of a chance to photograph the scenery, but I took this through the windshield to demonstrate the cloudy and rainy day. Temps were in the high 50s and we were all shivering by the time we got to the Topinka's in our little cars that are renowned for poor heaters and leaky cabins.

Once in Staunton we checked into the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, the nicest hotel we've been in during the entire trip. Dinner was scheduled at Byers St. Bistro. Nice place and good food.
Tomorrow is the final day of the "official Pub Crawl" and we travel to Manassas, VA for our final dinner together. More after that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 19 Asheville, NC to Hillsville, VA via Blue Ridge Parkway

The combined dinner with the Pub Crawlers and the members of Mog South last night saw the presentation of some Pub Crawl Sponsored awards to all gathered. They were:
Best Trike: Graham Addle
Best Flat Rad: Oscar Roberts
Best 4/4: Andy and Anne Leo
Best +4: John Claxton
Best early +8: Morgan Bondon
Best late +8: Bennett Shuldman
Best Roadster: Pat and Judy Buckley
Best Aero: Rick Frazee
And keeping with our tradition, those who have been on the Pub Crawl at least 10 days and are leaving get the Iron Man in Wooden Car awards. Awarded to Bill and Ellen Kukuk and Myron Koenig.
Sunday, May 16, 2010, marked a transition of sorts for the Pub Crawl. Some of the group departed to go home for assorted reasons, and others were new to the Crawl. We welcomed Bennet Shuldman from Ridgefield, CT in a 2003 Plus 8, Mike and Diane Dewer from Kingsville, Ontario in a 1980 Plus 8; David and Margaret Jacobson from Woodbury, CT in a 2005 Roadster.

A drivers meeting was called for 7:30am to thank the Boyles, Kinzer's, Kukuk's, Leo's and Myron Koenig for participating and wish them well on their journey home. Since this was the time during the Crawl when the most participants would be in attendance, Charlotte Hahn took the floor to present tour coordinator Charlie Miller a gift from the Crawlers and to read a poem she wrote to him:
Morgan Pub Crawl:
Morgans, MG and a Pontiac Solstice motored down south
Toward the goal of Manassas.
Opossums, raccoon's and dead armadillos,
Each night your head on different pillows

Red white and blue cars, silver and gray,
But greens the most popular car of the day
Gigantic trucks . . . sakes alive!
Samaritans and gators on I-95
All of the people we meet on the way
Wave and smile and always have something to say.
"Nice wheels!" "You look awesome" are comments thus far
And of course that question . . . "is that a kit car?"
Pubs that were far and pubs that were near -
Hearing Charlie yell: "Hey-where's the beer!"
Up in the morning, eat some breakfast on the run
Prepare your self to fight wind and the sun.
Beer is our staple and Pub Crawl requirement
It flows like a river for our enjoyment.
Cars that break down and shiver at 60,
But our shade tree mechanics have them fixed in a jiffy.
Really good food, crab, gumbo and grits
Low Country Boil make you lick your lips.
Asheville's the site to meet with South Mog
For all our adventures, check out the blog.
Wheels that are wire and wheels that are not
These little cars are cute - but boy are they hot.
Let's raise our glass, thank you Beth, thank you Charlie
And be grateful we didn't do this on a Harley!

After all this frivolity we were off to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This gently winding, tree-lined road through scenic mountains was created in the depression days of the 1930's. This is the nations first rural Parkway. Standards for road design and engineering were pioneered here. As the nation's longest Parkway it stretches 469 miles to connect the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Bikers, hikers, campers and drivers share this park as both a place to visit and to see. And the scenes are awesome.

Tree lined, two lane roadway with abundant overlooks and pull off points.

It was a foggy morning as we made our first stop to enjoy the scenery.

Huge cuts in the mountain side to make room for the highway.

Fog in the valley, viewed from high atop the ridge.

We stopped at Linville Falls and some of us took a 1/4 mile hike into the woods to see the falls.

A lunch stop at the neat town of Blowing Rock. The waitress in the photo above is cleaning the catsup off of my shirt after she dropped a little cup of it on the floor, and it exploded. It looks like I was enjoying the rib tickle.

Another minor break down with Karen's car when it didn't like the higher altitudes. A new distributor module she just happened to have in her spares was installed by Dr. Hahn, our esteemed road doctor and it seemed to cure the problem for now.
We got into Hillsville right at 5 in time for our afternoon beverages, Jinga and Farkle routine. Dinners of Pizza and salad were ordered to be delivered so we didn't have to get in the cars again... it was really raining by now.
More tomorrow.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 18 Asheville with Mog South

Saturday in Asheville was a stop day, in which we had time to see the city and enjoy the Mog South Club activities during their Spring Meeting. Before we get to that, however, some unfinished business.

Pat Buckley wanted me to prove to his grand daughter that he is still wearing the MiniVan shaped band on his wrist she gave him. He wears it everyday.

Last night we had a light rain and the cars really sparkled under the lights of the lot.

Between the Mog South cars and the Pub Crawl Cars there were some interesting vehicles in the lot. Below is an Aero America, one of the newest versions of the Morgan car line. The Aero series features BMW engines, and this one sounds politely aggressive. Morgan Motor Car Company has come a long way in the last 20 years, both in design, quality and riding comfort. So too have their costs.
For our morning adventure we and the Hahns decided to skip the trip to an historical motorcycle museum to go downtown Asheville.

After parking in a public lot, we made a bee line to the Double D coffee shop. Then to the Mast General Store. Good coffee, good shopping.

But, across the street was a surprise -- the Art Museum was having a comic book convention called Fanaticon, and many comic book hero's were in costume outside of the museum entrance.

Reg Hahn made friends with Wonder Woman and Super Woman. He makes friends easily.

Then we brought our cars over to the park and invited the comic book characters to join us for a picture or two. See, these cars draw attention even in locations where others are drawing attention.

Reg and Wonder Woman ready for a ride...

The characters really got into posing with the cars.

Before we got a ticket for obstructing traffic we scooted up to the Grovewood Inn, a renowned example of the Vanderbilt's industry, and now a luxury lodge, golf center and exhibit area. Mog South had arranged a lunch for us at the Grovewood Cafe.

John and RuthAnn Parker, OhMog members and former Cincinnati residents stopped by and had lunch with Reg and Charlotte.

After lunch we visited the interesting little car museum next to the cafe.

We passed the word that with some Pub Crawl participants leaving the crawl tomorrow and some others just joining, this was a good time for a group photo. Here we are. Click on it to make it larger on your screen.

The evening "banquet" was at the Fiddling Pig, a locally renowned BBQ and Bluegrass Restaurant. Food was great, noise level high and no speeches were made. A good time.

Again, the Morgans drew a crowd of the restaurant customers. Here some locals enjoy the feeling of Reg Hahn's red Morgan's steering wheel. Wheeee!
Tomorrow, up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 17 Murfreesboro, TN to Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC is one of the most anticipated stops on the Crawl because it is such an interesting city in a very interesting area. And because we are meeting up with the MogSouth Club for their spring meeting. It is also a very long driving day with almost 300 miles planned, and several optional routes.

Our gang got going before 7. Once on I-40 enroute to Knoxville we noticed many deep cuts in the rocky ground. If its like this all around this area I wonder how the farms cope.

It has become routine that 90 minutes into the run we need to stop to stretch and maybe get a bite to eat. We got to Monterey, TN at the appointed time and discovered the Cup and Saucer restaurant, a cute little home owned and operated diner. Great eggs, toast and coffee!

Our obvious demeaner and clothing labeled us as visitors to this little community. A chap there remarked after he finished his breakfast that he appreciated our stopping by. I asked if he was they mayor to which he replied that "no, he was the president of the Chamber of Commerce".

Ken Hall, it turned was the owner of a minor league professional football team called the Tennessee Central Express, named Ken Hall. Knowing we were just passing throught he pointed out a monument just down the street marking the boundry between two different Cherokee nations. The monument held the original marker stone the indians used and was inscribed with the following:

Every town has a bit of history, and this is significant to the history of Monterey, TN.

We have mentioned Karen Thompson and Sue Dummermuth who are driving the Pub Crawl in Karen's late husband's 1961 +4. Karen's brother in law, and Sue's brother heard we were planning to drive near his home in Knoxville, so he invited us all to lunch at the Knoxville Boat Club.

Jim and his wife Ginger, along with others from the boat club offered a warm welcome for the Pub Crawlers along with a delicious lunch of BBQ pork and chicken, and home made desserts.

Here's Myron Koenig, Ginger Thompson, Sum Dummermuth, Jim Thompspon and Karen Thompson. Thanks Jim and Ginger.... this was a highlight of our trip.

After lunch we were off on a scenic route between Knoxville and Asheville, with the Great Smokey Mountains as a backdrop.

The Mog South gang greeted us with a hospitality suite filled with beer, wine and snacks. Then a pizza for dinner. A good time we Morgan folk call a Noggin'.

Lydie Foster is a native of France so when our route crossed the French Broad River five times during our scenic tour she had to stop and get her picture taken, French Broad that she is. :-)

Here's Bruce and Lydie in a better photo taken at the Noggin'. They hail from Yorktown, VA and are driving a nice 1966 Morgan Plus 4.

Tomorrow we tour and play with the Mog South gang.