Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:58 pm
Hangovers come from prior overindulgence. Before I could have a Hershey Hangover for the sixth year, I had to – once again! – OD on Hershey. I began my binge on Friday. Since my Stanley’s wheels were loose, I took them to Mel Draper to have new ones made by Noah Stutzman.
Business completed, it was time to mosey over to the HCCA tent and commune with the other brass guys. And, of course, to drool on some of their toys.
Canadians Peter Fawcett and Hugo Vermeulen had brought three cars to the flea market: a rear-entrance Cadillac, a French-front rear-entrance Oldsmobile, and a tiller-steered Stanley. If my wallet had been a lot fatter, the Oldsmobile would now be in my garage.
Of course, Friday was just the happy hour. The main indulgence was the Saturday show. This is one of the few times and places that the public can stand at the side of the road and see the whole history of motor vehicles pass in review under its own power. The weather was perfect, and the crowd was large and appreciative. (It was equally large and appreciative when the cars left at 3 p.m.) I drove my Buick the 28 miles from my son’s place to the show field.
After the indulgence came the Hangover. A number of things were new this year. HCCA National VP Bob Ladd, the principal instigator and guru of this event from its beginning, was in charge of the HCCA Hershey tent this year and is also planning the HCCA national convention and tour in Yosemite; he relinquished the Hangover guruship to Jeff Lesher. And we had a new venue, a motel in Denver. (Yes, there is a Denver in Pennsylvania.) Access and egress with primitive cars was much easier than in our last location, and the hotel was better organized and friendlier. Trailer parking was sorta kinda adequate. Saturday evening, we had an informal meal of sandwiches, veggies and desserts to begin the festivities, and the bar was open.
One of the most fun things about the Hangover is the foreign visitors to Hershey who then socialize and ride with us. This year we had two English couples, an Australian couple, and our regular two Mad Dutchmen.
Sunday morning, Bob Ladd led an optional short devotional service. Despite that, it was raining when we left the motel to start our tour. Our morning coffee stop, after a covered bridge, was at a wonderful collection of restored pedal cars, with a few pedal airplanes, pedal choo-choo trains, and full size cars thrown in. Each pedal car was driven by a teddy bear. (Many thanks to Tracy Lesher for some of these pictures.)
The young man in charge of the collection was the great-nephew of the late founders. He got to talking with Peter Jakab, and asked : “Where do you work?” “The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.” "Oh, wow, what do you do there?” “I’m the chief curator.” The young man looked as stunned as the rural parish priest who, in the middle of his homily, looked up to see God sitting in the front pew.
After leaving the coffee stop, in better weather, we motored through rural scenery and a couple more covered bridges. Then we went into the woods and up a monster hill to lunch at The Timbers. This is a dinner theater that also caters banquets for groups like ours. Ours was well-catered indeed; some of our cars might not have made it up the monster hill if they’d had to carry the extra weight of that lunch. Before and after we ate, there was tire-kicking and schmoozing in the parking lot.
After lunch we visited the only surviving intact charcoal cold blast furnace of the kind that began the industrial revolution in America. It produced stoves, pig iron, and cannon, and made its owner a millionaire back when that was serious money.
Tim Kelly took Tracy and Jeff Lesher’s sons, Augie and Jack, for rides around a parking lot in his big Model K Ford. Then he let them each drive it, low gear only. Augie, the older boy, did so well that Tim let him take the K around again.
Augie Lesher is 12.
That evening we had an excellent sit down catered banquet at the hotel. (What we needed, of course, was more food.) There were short speeches, reports of goings-on at HCCA headquarters, recognitions of club officers and people who had worked on the tour, and hints about next year’s tour. (Yes, there will be another. And we will make a special effort to have short tours for really slow cars; get those highwheelers ready!)
Monday morning’s weather was pretty crummy, and most people went modern. We had a tour of a highly automated factory that makes hay balers. We were lucky to get the tour, since the factory had just reopened after a several-month layoff due to slow conditions in the agriculture world. (A worse headache for tourmasters than sudden road closings is a destination closing; what’s Plan B?) We also stopped at a museum of edged weaponry: knives, pikes, swords, bayonets and other ways of doing hand-to-hand mayhem. For the pacifists, there was an adjacent candle factory that would help to lighten your wallet.
The final bit of the tour was a trip to Shady Maple Smorgasbord, with another humongous meal. Jeff Lesher presented the People’s Choice award to Sam Mann for his American Underslung.
Jeff presented the President’s Choice award to Tim Kelly for his Model K Ford AND for letting Jeff’s kids drive it. (Tim can probably win it again next year if he lets JEFF drive the K!) After lunch, the rain had mostly stopped, and we had uneventful drives back to our trailers. See you next year!
Gil Fitzhugh the Elder
Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:17 pm
Once again, GFtE graces us with a wonderful report of a fantastic tour!
Thank you so very much for taking the time to do this. It looks as though the turnout of incredible cars was as good as ever.
Again, Thank You!