Revised 10/7/02
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This year's 8th Annual DKF Fall Foliage Cruise was the biggest ever, in more ways than one.  The number of participant's increased (50+ people in 28 vehicles), the distance the cruise covered (about 400 miles over the 3 days) and the duration of the event (well, sort of) were all increased over years past.  And the enjoyment of it all exceeded the expectations of those who took part.

The Thursday night, pre-weekend dinner typically hosted by the Hannum's at their house, was now "out-sourced" to Ralph's Route 28 Diner.  Tickets were sold in advance for either lobster or prime rib dinner and it was awesome!  About 12 early beetles showed up (and two early type 2s) and a photographer was hired to do a shoot of the cars in front of the diner.  In spite of the fact that it was fully dark, the photographer used a full 1 second exposure for the shoot.  The picture in the banner above is not his work, but rather an amateur attempt using a digital camera braced on the hood of a car while the hired photographer worked out of view.

As it was clear early on that the cruise had outgrown Bill's driveway as a starting point, a "Park and Ride" commuter lot just down the road was chosen to queue up the cars.  At precisely 10 am, a booming voice thundered "Driver's Meeting!!"; the traditional "muster" of a Bill Collin's event.  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.  This year's route was no disappointment (other than a hill or two really challenged the manliness of a 25hp engine?!)

The fun of the scavenger hunt organized by Bill Collins and rolled into the weekend is perhaps overshadowed sometimes by the driving aspect of the vintage VW weekend.  But let me take a little time to explain just what this is.  It has finally been given its due this year and been named the "Wild Moose Chase", for reasons you will see later.  The scavenger hunt is broken up into two days, with two kinds of "point types" One type of score comes from answering questions correctly about a variety of things, most of which are answered along the route specified without the need to exit the VW.   Town welcome signs, monument plaques, etc.  An alert navigator (usually the wife) is key here.  The other point items are the things that you collect.  And the name of the event comes from the fact that for at least the last 3 years running, moose droppings have topped the "collectibles" list in terms of point value.  With each cruise packet handed out at the start of the event comes a gallon sized ziploc bag for prize collection and transport.  Other high point value items that have appeared pretty consistently on the list are a stick that beaver had chewed one (yes, teeth marks are very carefully inspected for authenticity) and a porcupine quill.  Then there are somewhat ambiguous items that require some investigative work.  One of those this year was a "royal coachman".  No it isn't a bus, in fact it is something very small.  Surf the web, you'll find it (especially if you know about one of Bill's other hobbies).

The cruise vehicles don't all go out in one big lineup.  Bill encourages groups of 3-5 cars to go out and stick together via the FRS radios that most of us have.  This actually works pretty well, but at some stops, other passing  groups will "bunch up" out of curiosity over a scavenger hunt find, a good restaurant or worst of all, a decklid open on the side of the road.  It also tends to foster some group swapping for the hard to find items.  That is, if one group finds a pile of one of the items (like beaver dam for example), they will stash several extras in their car for possible trades with other groups back at the lodge parking lot where some of the big deals go down.  This year someone in Bill Silvestri's group actually found a dead porcupine.  Realizing the possible trade value of the dead animal, Bill placed the prize on the roof rack of his 1950 deluxe sedan, secured it with some duct tape and transported it back to the lodge for the evening trade session.

And needless to say, many of the returning cruise participants have become quite adept at moose hunting, at least moose-waste hunting anyway.  Having an eye for the perfect marshy spot with "succulent underwater vegetation" along the route and being able to identify moose tracks and droppings are key to winning the event.  The event closes after dinner on Saturday night when each team's findings are reviewed and tallied for total score.  There are always some wildcards that Bill throws in like adding to your score the summation of the numbers in your zip code (most all New England zips start with zero, CA ones with nine, thus our visitors usually get a boost).   And one year you had to subtract from your score the horsepower of the engine in the car you
drove, thus giving the people with the real early cars a bit of an edge.  Prizes for the hunt are donated by various members and usually include some pretty desirable VW memorabilia.  Hats, brochures, shirts, tin toys are just some of the few items that have been donated in the past.  All in all, the scavenger hunt makes for some good (and no necessarily "clean") fun.  Bill
and his wife Connie do an incredible job preparing the event right down to nametags (with models and years of car) and maps with each day's route highlighted a different color!

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.  Visit the official DKF website for more information on the club.   By now the pictures below should have all loaded.  Enjoy them....!


John Henry
DKF "full" Member


-- click on the images below for a full sized image in a new browser window --
Thursday, October 3rd
The vintage VWs arrive and start to line up in front of Ralph's Route 28 Diner around 6:30.  John Henry's '50 sunroof and Bill Collin's '49 Hebmeuller in the foreground.
The lower level of the diner was reserved for the DKF group.  Jim Hannum (standing on the left) and his wife organized the event.  If you look close in the very back of this room, you can see a large projection TV... on which was showing a Herbie the Love Bug movie.
New England lobster and prime rib were on the menu, and they were delicious.
Bill Collins (who reminded us no less than 8 times that he used to have his commercial lobster fishing license) shows Ray Robinson from Thousand Oaks CA the proper way to disassemble a lobster.
Friday, October 4th
9:30 am Friday at a commuter parking lot just a mile or so away from Bill Collin's place the vintage VWs line up for a staggered start.  Bill Collin's and Dan Arena's Hebs take the front of the line on the left.
Bill hands out the participant's packets and executes one of the weekends many "Driver's meetings".
The drivers, with Rain-X in hand, bravely accepted the usual one rainy day.  No real downpours, but a few steady showers made us really appreciate the better weather the next two days.
Peter Cook follows Craig Schaepe in his black '58 Deluxe through one of the narrower back roads that the cruise followed.
With its hardened reputation for at least one breakdown per event, Craig Schaepe's '58 Ghia Convertible didn't let us down.  Like last year when Craig finally flicked on the wipers, the linkage bound up a few miles down the road.  Craig took a lot of heat from the others in the group, although John Henry quit ragging him when John's split blew a semaphore fuse........
In a quest to find "Bag Balm" (one of the scavenger hunt items worth some big points; search the web for that name, you'd be surprised what it is...!) many small town general stores were visited.  Here Craig Schaepe gets a prime spot in front of a store in Alton NH.
In an emerging tradition in the  cruise (at least the group that this photographer travels in) the group stops for a "cookie break".  A couple participants baked cookies prior to the cruise.  A stop at a small roadside store for a half gallon of cold milk and some plastic cups quelled the complaints from some that cookies couldn't be consumed "dry". 
While milling around a store looking for Bag Balm, John Henry spotted a fake black crow in a Halloween decoration section.  As it turns out, a black crow feather was on the scavenger run list!  The crow was secretly purchased and later, feathers snipped off and traded with other cruisers for items that they had several of.
Dinner at the Waterville Valley conference center Friday night.  If it looks a little dark it is because the power went out just before we got there.  Some emergency lighting, many candles and a great effort by the staff and we all had a great dinner.
Saturday, October  5th
A "pair of Hebs" in the parking lot of the conference center before breakfast Saturday morning awaiting the days run.
This shot of people working on Bill C's Sunroof Judson powered Zwitter may look familiar (if not, click here).  Yes, they were dealing with a rattly Judson in this car just like two years ago.  This time it is John Kaiser doing the honors with the tools.  Bill Silvestri (right) looks on with his purple buddy "Barney" peeking out from his jacket to check on John's work....
The cars lined up Saturday morning ready for the route after the "Driver's Meeting".  Guy McDorr's Bordeaux Red '51 Deluxe on the end.  The rain had passed and the sky was bright.....
With one of the scavenger hunt items being a black crow feather, John Henry quietly purchased this Halloween decoration at one of the stores his group stopped at looking for another item.  The crow rode high on the front edge of the sunroof opening until the wind blew him down.  Later, some feathers were selectively clipped off and traded with other drivers who had extras of other items.
Yet more maintenance on the Schaepe Ghia.  Craig Merrow offers assistance from his 12 volt compressor to boost the 12 pounds of air that were in Craig's rear tires (yes, at another stop, we found the other rear tire was low also).  Craig is not screaming in pain as the photo makes it look like here..  He burst out laughing when a joke was made about the feeble capacity of the compressor....
One stop was the ski tram at Cannon Mountain to find out exactly how many people the trams can carry (a scavenger hunt question).  They can carry 80 passengers AND one operator.  The tram operates during the fall foliage season.
A stop along Rte 25 after a beaver dam was spotted (a stick a beaver had chewed on was another hunt item).  Terry Gaudet's very clean red '67 and Craig Merrow's black "hot rod" '60 sunroof in the foreground.
Questioning the authenticity of a potential moose poop find, Terry Gaudet uses a small twig to conduct the smell test. 

The sample was ruled to be ordinary mud and discarded.

A photo opp at a covered bridge, John Henry's '50 sunroof in the foreground.  To see a movie of the cars crossing this bridge, click here............!
In the afternoon, the Judson was removed from the '53 Zwitter, a carb installed and the timing set.  The car had been left behind for the day, its drivers riding along in another VW.  In the DKF cruises, there are never a shortage of tools and spare parts.....
As if the Judson extraction were not enough, another one of Bill Collin's cars ahd a failure.  The pristine '67 Ghia, driven by Bill's soon to be son in law, seized a rear brake drum.  The unknowingly was driven for some time with dragging shoes.  When the drum was finally pulled of, it wasn't pretty. The lining on one shoe had been completely cooked off and the cylinder suffered severe over heating.

Lacking replacement shoes, the "team" decided to disable the hub for the trip back down south.  The shoes and all hardware were removed, the steel line cut, hammered and crimped shut.  The Ghia returned to southern NH with only 3 functioning brake hubs.

Here, Terry Gaudet torques down the axle nut with a flex bar and cheater pipe.

Here's something not seen too often, a pair of "11Gs".  Geoff Aldrich's and John Henry's '50 Sunroof Beetles, both bearing the same custom plates, but from different states.
Sunday, October  6th
Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of value on Sunday.  Craig Schaepe and I (w/our SOs) took a leisurely drive back south and like last year stopped in Meredith NH for lunch.  A Dodge Viper club must have been having a meet there, as on the way in we passed no less than 25 Vipers processing out of town (no, I didn't challenge any of them in my split, but I could have!!).  We parked a few blocks off the main drag and had Sunday Brunch at the Boathouse Grille.  We even sat at the same table over looking the water as last year!  The "Chowderfest" and a very large craft fair were going on, a nice area to stroll around in before returning home.  A nice day, and a nice 3 day weekend!