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Well, if you thought the page from last year's cruise was a long load, you aren't going to like this one very much. But as usual, I'll ramble on for a bit here, giving you something to read while the images below load.
This year marked the 7th annual DKF Fall Foliage cruise, organized by one of the club founders, Bill Collins. For those not familiar with DKF (Der Kafer Fahrer, German for "the Beetle drivers"), it is a club for 1957 and older Beetles, in stock condition (period performance mods, hydraulic brakes and seat belts are allowed), that are driven a minimum of 1500 miles a year. At least for the previous years, "full" membership was not a requirement for taking part in the cruise. You see other non-Beetle vehicles in these pictures. Bill and his wife Connie do an incredible job planning these events. They drive the course several times, measuring and picking up visual cues to add to the cruise's "scavenger hunt" list. Participants are handed a bound cruise information packet, with a window decal (Thanks to Jon Lane!) and name tags including the participant name and the make and color of the car they are driving. It is clearly a well run event.
This year the event's lodging was provided by the Black Bear Lodge in Waterville Valley New Hampshire, a popular winter skiing resort area. As in years past, the group meets at Bill Collins' house in extreme southern NH at 9:30am Friday and departs from there. Bill makes a special effort to plan the route to avoid interstates and instead travel picturesque back roads rolling over hills and passing through quaint New England towns. And of course the trees were in full swing with the areas famous fall colors. Across a tapestry of green were bright splashes of reds, oranges and yellows. If I subtract the mileage to and from Bill's house, the cruise operated across about 420 miles of beautiful roads over the 3 days.
While it did rain on and off on Friday, there was no snow like last year. Saturday and Sunday were both spectacular days, cool, but respectful of an open sunroof as long as the windows were rolled up and the heat was on.
The pictures below were taken with a camera that I borrowed from my employer. Since it had no removable memory, I had to trade picture resolution for more pictures. Only in a few shots, where I thought the scene was particularly perfect, did I opt for the larger resolution. And by today's standards, that camera takes pretty poor pictures, but it was all I had. Next year I promise I will have purchased my own camera.
So I hope you enjoy
the photos (and that they have finally loaded!). If you ever get
the chance to take part in one of these cruises, it is the event of a lifetime.
Bill touts it as "A weekend away with our wives, we just all happen to
be driving old Volkswagens." Bill is already planning next year's
cruise which promises to be bigger and better (with a new surprise event!?).
All were happy with the Black Bear Lodge, it was very affordable, the food
was excellent (we had our own private dining room and bar for breakfast
and dinners) and it is likely that the 2002 cruise may operate from there.
The location lends itself to scenic drives in virtually every direction.
|Friday, September 28th|
|Near departure time under cloudy skies at Bill Collin's place, Guy McDorr offers his bottle of the vintage VW driver's salvation, Rain-X, to the other participants.|
|Dateline: Friday, September 28th, 2001; 9:25am EDT. The Collins' driveway looked like a vintage VW museum.|
|Craig Merrow and Dave Haviland chat with Dave Cormack. Dan Arena's Hebmueller is seen in the background.|
|The "Kodak Picture Spot" from Bill C's upper deck.|
|Bill's first (of many) "Driver's Meeting". Weekend packets are handed out.|
|Dave Haviland's '57 named "Tennessee" in Manchester NH. Shot taken from John Henry's '50 sunroof as the first group of cars start the first leg. Dave has the neat accessory "blinds" in the back window of the black oval..|
|Bill chat's with some of the other driver's over lunch at "Molly's" in Hanover NH.|
|Obsessive VW drivers, crayons on the table and brown paper table covers make for some predicable results after lunch is done.....|
|Driven by a quest for the correct Dartmouth College History answers needed on the scavenger hunt sheet, several intrepid participants scamper across the Dartmouth college common in the rain to the campus library in search of answers.|
|John Henry's '50 sunroof at a covered bridge near Hanover NH. Just as pretty as New England gets (Ok, blue sky might have helped....)|
|Not willing to compromise his record for at least one mechanical failure per event, Craig Scheape attempts to fix a broken wiper linkage in a shower in central NH.|
|After spotting a real moose grazing near the roadside, the procession does a U-ey and with ziploc bags in hand, goes in search of moose poop, worth a whopping 30 points in the scavenger hunt.|
|Fearing the harsh judges might question the validity of his bag's content, Craig Scheape captures a digital photo of the mound before slipping the ziploc bag over his hand and collecting his portion of the find.|
|Insisting that the "ziploc bag, inside out over the hand" method used by others is not the optimal collection technique, Dave Haviland puts a piece of birch bark to use to collect his share of the pile.|
|Craig Scheape and Tracey Haviland agree that this was a great find as Craig seals off his specimen in the bag.|
|Practicing some kind of southern California native inhabitant ritual, Dave Cormack proclaims entitlement to his domicile for the evening by baring his chest to all outside.|
|Saturday, September 29th|
|A "pair of Bordeaux's". John Henry's '50 Sunroof sedan and Guy McDorr's '52 deluxe, both in "Bordeaux Red".|
|Saturday morning after breakfast, the cars await their ignition keys to start the days cruise.|
|Ed Connery's ultra cool '56 Type 2 ambulance|
|Dave and Tracey Haviland's black '57 Deluxe named "Tennessee". Look close and you will see a stick that a beaver had chewed on tied to the left side of the roof rack. Another scavenger hunt item|
|Prior to leaving Saturday morning, the participants line up to have their cars (and themselves) photographed with their cars by the Brown Trout calendar people. That's Greg and Bridgette Simard from ME and their type 3 Ghia.|
|Steve Hammond's '53 Cabrio in the foreground......|
|Dan Arena's Heb gets its moment in front of the Brown Trout calendar.|
|Off on a now sunny day two, Craig Scheape's '58 Ghia, Steve Hammond's '53 Cabrio and Dave Haviland's '57 Deluxe are off ahead of John Henry's '50 Sunroof that drifted a bit left to catch this picture....|
|Rounding a curve, another photo op.......|
|The concept of sending cars out in smaller groups works OK until one group passes another along the side of the road and someone sees a decklid open. Erich Kircher and Jon Lane had the honor of piloting Bill Collins' 1957 Deluxe sedan. A car with 28k original miles and still rolling on its original tires. Just a handful of miles out of Waterville Valley, it had begun to loose power, then just sputtered and stopped.|
|Reminiscent of last year's cruise, Steve Hammond is again at work on one of Bill C's cars. The "team" jumps to a spark problem and replaces and coil and checks the points....|
|... We attract the attention of the Campton Police patrol who saunters over and starts chatting about the old VWs he used to have. Bill C, who spent the weekend racing along the roads between the groups in his Porsche Super-powered Heb, passes by and stops to check on one of his very own. The idea of an ignition problem is loosing credibility as the voltage measured at the coil primary during cranking wanes to a meager 3 volts. The car just needs a good jump. Amid all the parts and tools, nobody has thought to bring jumper cables... except the police officer. The '57 gets a healthy jolt from the 8 volt battery in Bill C's Heb and springs right to life.|
|The car is driven to a nearby gas station, topped off and a bottle of fuel system cleaner is added, thinking now of a gummy gas problem. Nonetheless, the points are removed, filed, re-installed and re-gapped. Jon and Erich, fearing the hills and wilderness ahead, consider leaving the car behind and start to ask around for seat space in other VWs. John Henry politely declines extra passengers in his 25 hp engined split that has had to drop to second on some of the hills. But Bill, not willing to leave his car behind, tosses another bottle of carb cleaner in the '57 (says "I'm going to get this Oval drunk!!") takes it for a quick spin down the road and comes back proclaiming it is fine. Erich and Jon return to their seats and pilot the '57 back out with the rest. The car performs flawlessly for the rest of the weekend.|
|Dave Haviland leads the pack down a very pretty 7 mile stretch of "packed" dirt road...|
|Passing a swampy area, one of the drivers spots a beaver mound and the group pulls off. A few sticks are picked up and carefully inspected to the certifying teeth marks.|
|Just finding a place to buy anything that even resembled lunch became a challenge on Saturday out in the "remote" areas of New Hampshire. After several stops at overcrowded, too-long-of-a-wait-for-tables Diners, and convenience stores with only chips and frozen dinners, a core group chanced upon a town grocery that had a deli counter in the back. Booth seating was not available, but the parking lot ambiance with several vintage VWS around was fine.|
|The "artsy" shot on the cruise. The far end of one of the longest covered bridges in NH/VT, in Bath VT. The sign on over the entrance reads: "One dollar fine to driver of any team faster than a walk on the bridge." I wonder if they used radar?|
|As it turns out, and other antique car club was in the area out on the roads cruising. We saw 40s, 50s and 60s Mercury's, Chryslers, Jags and others. But the elegant VWs held their own as well. The Bath "Brick Store" (just beyond John Henry's split sunroof Beetle) general store claims to be the oldest general store in the nation, dating from the late 18th century.|
|Behind the wheel of John Henry's 1950 Sunroof Sedan on a bright late September day in New hampshire....|
|Late afternoon Saturday, after faithfully logging some 120+ miles, most of the VWs have returned to "their row" in front of the Black Bear Lodge. In the foreground, Bill Collins' ultra clean '53 standard. "Best driving Beetle I have ever owned" Bill Says.|
|The infamous Common Gear Discussion Group photo. Back Row, left to right, Bob Ellis, John Henry, Bill Collins, Bill Sylvestri, Steve Hammond, Jon Lane, Guy McDorr. Kneeling, left to right, Rick Pacheco, Craig Merrow, Erich Kircher.|
|Bill Collins addresses the group after dinner, the "answers" to the scavenger hunt questions in his hand.|
|Rob Kendrick presents Bill and Connie Collins a 7th Annual DKF Fall Cruise plaque that he had all of the participants sign.|
|Sunday, September 30th|
|On Sunday morning, folks left at different times. But one Bill Collins-led group went for a picturesque drive down toward Lake Winnipesaukee, stopping for lunch in the town of Merideth NH. The annual "Chowderfest" was in full swing and the town was very crowded. Noentheless, antique Volkswagens found their places along side streets to park.|