What Do Corvette Snowbirds Do in the Summer?
By Bob Cromwell on June 27, 2012
A question was recently posed ... "What do Corvette Snowbirds do in the summer?" Well your editor wanted to find out so he asked me to give you a primer on the happenings north of the Florida border. One thing that I can tell you is that we don't have humidity in this area, none! We can certainly get fog, and we can receive rain, but we do not have humidity ... nevah! But this spring/summer we have not experienced nice weather unfortunately. It's been cold, wet and windy. But we haven't had an affair with a girl by the name of "Debbie" either!!!!!
Joanne and I had a pleasant and uneventful drive north late April. We normally take I-75, I-10, I-95 to Virginia where we swing over to the mountains (a beautiful scenic route) and take I-81 north to meet I-84 and back over to I-95 which takes us as far as Bangor, Maine. Then it's the Airline, Route 9, thus named because it's a more direct route than following the coast to Calais. Calais is on the Canadian border opposite St. Stephen, New Brunswick. It's always been pronounced cal-is. Although I'm certain that it's named after Calais (pronounced cal-a) in France. We don't dilly dally en route and normally do the 2000 miles in two days. We leave early in the morning of day one and arrive the evening of the following day. The return trip normally seems to go quicker, leaving in the early morning and going for a swim the following afternoon before having supper in Largo. That is&.if we don't run into a snow storm in Pennsylvania as we did last fall! Perhaps we're more anxious to go south than north. Or perhaps it's all downhill. It would seem that way looking at a globe.
Since returning this spring, the weather, as I mentioned, has been "lousy". The forecast is for a hot dry summer. The weather forecasters here are no better than the hurricane forecasters in Florida. In fact, they are worse. At least the National Hurricane Center admitted a year ago that they couldn't forecast hurricane season with any degree of accuracy. Here, they suffer the embarrassment every time they make a disastrous forecast.
So what has been going on in the Corvette world in the north you ask? Well, we belong to two Corvette clubs. One is located in Fredericton (the capital of New Brunswick) and is called River Valley Vettes. The other is located in Saint John, a port city on the Bay of Fundy, and is called Corvettes of Southern New Brunswick. I'm beginning to think that they should change the name to better reflect the area and the climate. Seeing as I belong to Suncoast Corvette Association in Largo, I think they should rename the Saint John club (CCCC) Cloud Coast Corvette Club. The weather has been depressing. The sun has been elusive. RVV holds their meetings on the first Tuesday of the month and CSNB on the second Tuesday.
Our first run was with RVV on Saturday May 19th. The weather was calling for rain and it didn't disappoint. My Canadian Vette was detailed in the fall before heading south and I didn't wish to get it messy on its first outing, so we took Joanne's Jetta. We had 10 cars on the cruise which ran over 200 miles and almost double that for us because we had to make our way to Fredericton first. We toured a Potato Chip Plant in Woodstock, took in a major indoor craft sale and flea market (for the ladies) and the guys visited a private car restoration garage. The owner had a 1967 427 and also a street rod and tuner cars on the go. We visited and drove through the longest covered bridge in the world and then purchased some maple syrup and fiddle heads from local vendors. If you have never heard of fiddleheads, they are like a fern but not a fern and are delicious and high in vitamins. They are only available in the spring during freshet (flooding) along the river banks in New Brunswick. We had a lovely meal during the outing then headed home with a dirty car ... but not a dirty Vette!
The following weekend Joanne was in the Dominican Republic and I was on my own. I still didn't have my Vette out but met the Saint John club at a prearranged spot to head to Petitcodiac for a BBQ and run to the Maritime Motorsport Hall of Fame where New Brunswick's three Corvette clubs met for the first get together of the season. I drove with a friend, Doug Ward, in his '04 spiral grey metallic convertible, similar to Bill and Sue Dickeys.
On Saturday June 2nd I got my Vette out for the first time and Joanne and I drove to Fredericton to attend a Corvette show at Gibson Memorial Church. The associated flea market was incredible. They had a lot of neat things there and toward the end you could fill a large cardboard box for one dollar. I'm grateful that we only had the Vette and not a truck!!! We had a fun time and then took a side trip through back roads on the way home and took in a car show in Hoyt en route. We met many old friends there, some of whom I hadn't seen in years. There is nothing like old friends&.and car people! Many of the club members headed to Bar Harbor, Maine for an annual get together that weekend. The Bar Harbor run has been taking place for years and also entails a return trip each fall before putting the Vettes away for the season. We snowbirds who spend our 182 day allotment in Florida can't participate. God bless governments for applying these restrictive measures!
On Sunday, June 10th we again headed to Fredericton to attend Day of Thunder at a non denominational church. I registered as car number 99. There were dragsters, street rods, antique cars, a few Vettes, a little bit of everything. It was a gorgeous day and there was an excess of free food from hot dogs and hamburgers to snow cones, cotton candy, muffins and lots to drink. We took in the church service which was standing room only. The pastor arrived at the pulpit on a motorcycle! It was a great day! On the return trip we stopped to visit an open house at a heritage home that was 225 years old. The family was dressed in period dress and serving some period food. I particularly enjoyed the period maple fudge!
On June 15 17, Friday through Sunday, the tenth annual Fiberglass Alley took place in Fredericton put on by River Valley Vettes with the event organizer being Kelly Kelly. There were cars from the New England states, Mass., New Hampshire, Maine as well as the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The Nova Scotia club even picked up an Ontario Vette headed for Newfoundland. He backtracked with them just to spend the weekend with us. The weather was fortunately pretty good. Friday night was a free BBQ at the Fredericton Golf and Country Club followed by a casino night. We were each given $3000 in casino money to start and if you burned through that, you could purchase another $3000 for $5. Joanne being the gambler, did very well. By evenings end she had accumulated several hundred thousand dollars. That money was then used to bid on and pay for auction items. She bid on and acquired our fair share. I was particularly proud of Joanne. One of the members of RVV has a "special" son, Mark Gadd. Mark fell in love with a beautiful Labatt's shirt. We spread the word that Mark wanted that particular shirt and that no one was to bid against him. Well ... you can guess what happened. The Americans were on board, but someone from the area also wanted that shirt and we couldn't stop him from bidding. Mark's mom only had $90,000 and was saving it all for that shirt. Joanne had several hundred thousand and picked up the bidding when it exceeded 90,000. She was on her feet and others recognized what she was doing and started handing her money. The bidding went to $200,000 when the other party ran out of money and Joanne got the shirt for Mark. He slept in it that night and wore it to the banquet and dance on Saturday night! He was ecstatic as you can well imagine.
Saturday was the show and the weather cooperated. Following the show we had a driving event in a large paved area. It was a timed event having to navigate pylons with the passenger holding a rope which couldn't touch the ground or pull over a center pylon. Sorry to report that I didn't represent SCA very well and didn't win the event, nor did we take second or third. Those that ran last had the benefit of watching those going before them and could govern themselves accordingly and run a better time. I'm pleased to report that Joanne did win the "Hands" contest. We were given two pages of participants hands (photocopied) and you had to determine whose hands were pictured. Joanne won that contest and we again left Fiberglass Alley with a trunk full of loot from the auction and the show J We had a get together at the Gould's on the north side of the river prior to attending the banquet and dance and changed into our pink outfits. The theme was "PINK", and everyone had to wear something pink. There were prizes for the best pink outfit and you can only imagine what some people looked like! Here is the link to the RVV site so that you might check it out. Both Joanne and I were dressed conservatively but appropriately in pink!!!!! Some were outlandish ... all in fun!
On Tuesday June 19th we had a get together at an A & W in Saint John. The owner has been very supportive of the Saint John club and we showed up in numbers and feasted on Teen burgers, Mama burgers and the like.
The rest of the summer is going to be just as busy, perhaps busier. The major Saint John Show will be held August 10-12th. It's being held at Exhibition Park Raceway in the main shopping area in Saint John and the prizes are incredible. To give you an example, Raymond Cromwell (no relation&.at least none that he will admit to), President of CSNB, has solicited sponsors to the tune of two Canadian Automobile Association Platinum Memberships, two high pressure washers, three flat screen TV's, and an all inclusive trip for two for 4 nights and 5 days cruising out of Florida to the Bahamas or to Key West and Mexico. It's worth driving up from Largo to participate!!!
And speaking of driving up, some from Suncoast will be coming to the Cloudy Coast later this summer. We are looking forward to entertaining Bill and Sue Dickey sometime in August on their cross country tour in their new motor home. Then in September, we hope to entertain Bob and Nancy McLachlan who will be driving from Michigan. And we were hoping to see Bob Jankowski and Susan too as they are going to be in Maine. However, they still have yet to renew their passports and it's pretty difficult to cross the border now without one. As I've already said&.God bless the governments! They refuse to profile but they can prevent those Corvetters from crossing over without a passport.
So, as you can see, there IS Corvette life outside Florida.