In case you hadn't noticed, it's summertime
Which means it's show season. Cars and coffee season. Looking for any excuse to drive with the windows down season. Time to stay up too late obsessively detailing every bit of trim that only you will notice, and then get up before dawn the following morning to park in a field. Goddamn show season, finally.
For us here in New England, that all starts off with Dustoff, which is an event on a partly cloudy day that always includes a rainstorm either shortly before or shortly after noon. If you're particularly unlucky, it'll be both.
In any case, I assume that you're like me, and you anxiously wait around and work all winter for this shit. It's in your blood, much like the caffeine that gets me through the day at an event after having slept for maybe three or four hours followed by a two hour drive out of the city. Not gasoline, though. No matter how many times old racer types like to use that metaphor, they're wrong. None of us have gasoline in our blood, as that would most certainly kill you.
Then the road trips start in. You're a fucking maniac if you road trip in the winter time. That's how you end up rolling into NYC in a record breaking snowfall in an all-season equipped thirty year old Mercedes, which would be a good story about a bad time. Save that shit for when you can take your nice car and not end up stepping in slush puddles at those awful Merritt Parkway rest stops. You know, the ones that have a sign announcing that they're coming up in like one hundred feet while you're holding in three hours worth of pee, but your dumb ass is doing seventy five in the left lane while boxed out from the panic-fast half-blind exit by some family truckster with two golden retrievers in the back seat. But when that text comes in at the tail end of April from a friend on the other side of the country for an invite to drive right back east for an event, you should never say no.
Personally, I had the sense to agree to that marginally bad idea this time around, and boarded a flight from Newark to Phoenix on a Tuesday afternoon, only to get up at six the following morning for final car prep, and then head immediately back to the east coast with Taylor Jones in his '87 Volkswagen Golf on his second long haul to MK2 Mayday, which is held in New Jersey. That trip is worth of its own storytelling moment, but to keep it brief, we lost fifth gear while only four hundred miles from our starting point on a long climb through the desert mountains in New Mexico, and just shrugged at the problem and continued onward. We didn't want to miss seeing any of a great cars on the east coast, after all.
We got lucky, though, and sourced another transmission through a good friend in Massachusetts, who simply threw it in the trunk so that we could replace it in Ted Dorset's driveway before the show. My opinion on this matter is severely slighted, but I still strongly feel that the true furthest driven award for that event landed in the wrong hands, but two months later, I suppose that is now a moot point. After all of this, we weren't simply going to turn Taylor back west, and had him follow us on back to Boston for a few days, where of course the transmission had to come out yet again for a clutch replacement. The things we do to participate in show season...
Alpine Vagfair ended up being both an incredible event, and a road trip for full-on highway themed masochism. Give me a moment to clarify this: the drive down was broken into two planned segments, one of which fell apart the instant it began. The return trip had its own share of time consuming mechanical drama, but I'll skip that part. We're discussing driving twenty-five-plus year old European cars on thousand mile hauls, so this is par for the course.
The Eurotripper team throw a great show, rain or shine, and I'm glad to have a solid reason to see western Georgia annually, thanks to them. Sunglasses on in between bursts of precipitation, ready access to BBQ, and some of the best driving roads through the mountains that I have ever seen in my life scorched through in the sort of environment that doesn't care if that you've taken the hood off of your show car. This is the sort of late spring experience that I crave. You should crave this. If you don't, I'm sure there's an old Road & Track review of an "exciting" rear wheel drive Korean sedan you could be thumbing through right now instead for a bit of restrained comfort.
But now we're back into the familiarity of that July show slump for the area, and this is one of the best parts. The events are fun, debating who should have won what award is great for those casual arguments with a friend over beers on a patio, but the weeks with little to no planning where you can settle into one spot and help a friend work on their car with the garage doors open are what I love the most about the summer time. Grab a drink, fire up the grill and enjoy those moments. I know that's what I'll be doing until it's time to stay up too late while preparing for the drive to Burlington for Wolfsgart.