• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Monday, August 09, 2010

    Thanks For The Memories

    We Must Have Had A Lot Of Fun
    Over 500 Entries - Egad !
    (enormous images - just click)

    .. We missed it on Friday, we missed it on Sunday, we were immersed in it on Saturday. There they were; over 500 cars entered, and many others from the neighborhood. Cars, cars, and more cars.
    .. Trailer queens, survivors, roadsters, sedans, trucks, buses, stockers, street rods, hot rods, resto-rods, classics, near classics, sports cars, kit cars, plastic reproductions, all metal recreations, and others paraded through our town and arrived at the city park.
    .. There, a rainbow of colors decorated the freshly mowed grass. Reds and oranges predominated, but all other shades and tones were represented. Individual expression came to the fore as the chariots paraded through town and entered the park.
    .. The main streets were crowded. The cops had their hands full. On top of a record year for Yellowstone visitation the town population more than doubled with just the car buffs. It was an event that reminded us of a carnival. The day was perfect.
    .. The participants were excited. The neighbors were pleased. The unknowing tourists were overwhelmed. Traffic for about an hour and a half came to a dead standstill on Saturday morning. What more could you ask?
    .. It's good for the soul to take a break from fishing. It's good for the soul to travel down memory lane and allow the past a bit of entry into the present. It's good to remember and see where we've been. The cars did it for us.
    .. This is the 40th annual West Yellowstone Rod Run. You've come a long way baby!
    .. The current crop of cars are mostly "cartoons." They are what we dreamed of. They are what we wanted to build if we had the money and time and a job that could manage it.
    .. Today's cars are the best of our dreams and aspirations. They are powered by engines that were impossible to conceive of when we were tearing apart the tin. The components are superlative; not begged, borrowed, or stolen.
    .. These are more than cars, they are personal statements. They testify to what could have been, back then, and what is possible today.
    .. They let us know the state of the art and the state of our pocketbooks. Hopefully, both have improved.
    .. These contemporary cartoons are glorious. They have hydraulic breaks on all four corners. Their horns and lights and blinkers all work, (blinkers?) The tires have tread and all four are the same brand. The paint is gorgeous and twinkles, nay explodes, in the sun.
    .. We see the old concepts brought into the 21st century with more chrome and polished aluminium than is decent. The gleaming obscenities are attractive and beguiling.
    .. We are seduced by the fantastic creativity and imagination represented. Polished blowers, polished wheels, custom mirrors, twinkling hub caps, machined pieces in place of electrical tape. The mind boggles.
    .. Those of us in the mature category remember the first pair of '59 Caddy tail lights that we purloined. We remember using 0000 steel wool and kerosene to remove rust from hubcaps.
    .. We cringe at the thought of how our wiring was cobbled together - relays? - what's that? Hell, the transition from 6-volt to 12-volt was hard enough.
    .. Our cars were cartoons too. They just weren't finished. There was always something more that was needed.
    .. For us it was a real dilemma; the car, the girl, the fishing - where to put the next $10.00? Now $10.00 is a hamburger not a set of of spark plugs.
    .. We strolled through the park and admired every one of them. We visited with the neighbors. We told stories and a few lies. We bought a hamburger from the Big Brothers & Big Sisters booth. We stuck our nose under the cars and into their hoods.
    .. We noticed the difference in owner behavior. Some were camped out with their cars: watching and protecting. Answering questions and sharing tales occupied these proud owners. We saw others in small groups going from car to car; investigating, critiquing, admiring, drooling.
    .. We also noticed the difference in the cars as well. Some were obviously daily drivers, others still had stickers on their tires.
    .. Not all the trailer queens were quarter-million dollar masterpieces - some of the daily drivers were. It's a strange and wonderful pastime. Not just a hobby, not really a sport, and not entirely an obsession - or is it?
    .. Each and every one of the vehicles exhibited a bit of the owner's personality, desire, commitment, means, and vision.
    .. And, there they all were: shorts, muscle shirts, leathers, jeans, sneakers, boots, big belly's, tight belly's, long hair, buzzed hair, beards, T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, product shirts, slacks, ties, hats, etc. The cross section of folks was exhilarating and extensive. Reminds us of contemporary fly fishing.
    .. As the fame of this event has spread so has it's publicity and reach. Cars from Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota were the largest categories. Some from Texas and Oklahoma, and Arizona, and New Mexico, and California were also represented.
    .. This year the event will be featured on the TV show My Classic Car. Dennis Gage, the host was greatly impressed and excited. His cameraman was overwhelmed by the bright sun, bright paint, and troublesome reflections - he had no polarizing filter!
    .. The gathering in the park is billed as "Show & Shine." and so it was. Polishing and re-polishing; by the time the last visitor had left, and the last car returned to it's home pasture or motel, a little bit of a cool rain shower brought relief to a very warm West Yellowstone. It was inevitable, after all over 500 cars had just been washed and waxed!
    .. We're not sorry we missed a day of fishing: not one bit! We got a chance to visit with the neighbors, and some car buffs, and our top cop.
    .. We supported the event and Big Brothers & Big Sisters. We strolled through the park crowded with visitors, exhibitors, surprised tourists, and friendly dogs and children.
    .. West Yellowstone can hardly be considered a metropolis of the first water. But last Saturday it was alive with all of it's 3,600 motel rooms full.
    .. It was alive with folks from afar, interested in things other than fishing or Yellowstone National Park. It was a breath of fresh air in a little mountain village known for it's fresh air. We liked it.