WINGED WARRIORS/NBOA 2009 NATIONAL MEET -- LYNCHBURG, VA
Text by meet host Barry Moorefield
All photos by Barry and Rita Moorefield, Chuck Royster, Stuart Sutton, Kim Forbes and Chuck Warren
The 2009 National Meet took place the week of June 15-20 in Lynchburg, Virginia with Barry and Rita Moorefield as hosts. Registration at the Lynchburg Wingate took place on Monday morning, with a "meet and greet" cookout at Rita and Barry's home on Monday afternoon. A good time was had by all, except for one neighbor, who parked his truck at the end of his driveway to prevent onlookers from parking in it to take pictures of the winged cars in my driveway.
Tuesday morning dawned dreary and drizzling, resulting in some members taking their two vehicles on the trip to the Appomattox surrender grounds. The drizzle stopped along the way and held off long enough for us to complete our walking tour of the grounds. taking place that day was a "living history" program in which volunteers dress in period costume and portray characters who were present at the surrender. Our character, a Union Provost marshal, was very well versed in the history and events. After returning to Lynchburg, the group had a fine dinner at O'Charley's restaurant, who had given the club a discount during the week.
Wednesday morning dawned dreary and raining. Again several members took their tow vehicles, but a few of the more intrepid adventurers took their cars out for this trip. The first stop was the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, VA. The museum has an auto display gallery (no Plymouths or Dodges, but a DeSoto), and a significant collection of railroad steam locomotives and rolling stock, appropriate since Roanoke was the home base of the Norfolk & Western Railroad. Randy Morrison did a great job of incorporating this theme into the event T-shirts as the front scene features a Superbird, Charger 500 and a Daytona and the #611 locomotive. This also proved prophetic, as with the small group of cars on hand (Rick Edwards' Superbird, Stan McGuire's '69 RoadRunner convertible, Stuart Sutton's Birdable and Barry Moorefield's Daytona) we got permission to take the cars into the display area and park them with the #611 and #1218 locomotives for a photo op.
The group then departed for the Peaks of Otter Restaurant and Lodge for lunch. Unfortunately, the rain got heavier and became fog on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and what was supposed to be a very scenic drive along the parkway with several photo ops, became a very scenic view of the fog with visibility down to two car-lengths at times. The only ones feeling lower than us was a group of motorcyclists we passed who were parked at the overlook. The cars also expressed their displeasure at this treatment with Barry's Daytona demanding a voltage regulator change, and Rick and Stuart's Birds objecting to having to preen their wet feathers by each shedding a wiper arm (twice!). A great meal was enjoyed at the Peaks, and we got to see just how fast the fog could move in and out across the lake at the restaurant.
We then departed for the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. Dedicated in 2001, the town of Bedofrd lost more men per capita than any city in the D-Day invasion. There are several thought-provoking sculptures and reminders of what others before us sacrified to allow us to be free to raom with our cars. Wednesday ended with dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lynchburg.
Thursday showed up overcast, but soon cleared and became very humid. Recent arrivals swelled the ranks to twelve winged cars and Stan McGuire's RoadRunner convertible. The day began with a tour of Griffin Pipe Foundry, which produces centrifugally cast ductile iron pipe for municipal water systems. We were able to see pipe cast, finished and loaded for shipment. The chief raw material for Griffin is shredded cars, and with production of 500-600 tons of iron daily, a LOT of old Pintos and Vegas have been sacrificed.
The group them cruised to "The Pink Cadillac" diner for lunch (below), a well-known local diner done up in late '50s motif, as well as being painted pink with a pink '57 Caddy out front.
The group then journeyed to Natural Bridge, one of the natural wonders of the world, a stone bridge cared out by Cedar Creek, which carries U.S. 11 over Cedar Creek. The bridge spans more than 40 feet, is over 100 feet high, was surveyed by a young George Washington and initially purchased from England by Thomas Jefferson. While George had not "slept here", he did climb up the rock wall and carve his initials.
Several members also visited the Natural Bridge caverns, and we were joined at the Natural Bridge by Tim Hunter and his family, in a Dodge 330 ex-Michigan State police car, complete with lights. The group then returned to Lynchburg, having dinner at Doc's Diner just down the street from the Wingate. Doc's also gave the club a discount for the meet week. The annual club raffle was then held, which seemed to be enjoyed by all, especially Phillip Handley.
Friday morning appeared clear, warm and humid and an early departure was required to make the run ot Martinsville Speedway. By this time, the caravan included 15 winged cars, the '69 RoadRunner convertible, the Highway Patrol and a pair of '74 Chargers. Chuck Royster, possibly out newest member, ran ahead and shot a video of the group heading down U.S. 29 en-route to Martinsville.
Once there, the group was lined up at the start/finish line for a group shot, then the cars were brought across individually for a photo op. Then the fun began as the group ventured out onto the track turning laps behind the pace car. The pace car kept up a respectable speed, giving members a feel for what it must be like driving the "paperclip" in a race car. There were no instances of trading paint, and no "Martinsville stripes" were issued. After this session, the group did its best impression of a NASCAR pit crew in the garage area as Stuart Sutton's Birdable refused to start, and the fuel filter was replaced.
After deciding that even on our best day we were not threat to Matt Kenseth's "Killer Bees", we departed the track for lunch at Buddy Arrington's restaurant. As were were enjoying lunch, Buddy arrived and proved his mettle by having a meal from his own buffet. After spending time talking about the "old days" and the "urban legend" about all the stuff supposedly buried by Petty Enterprises on orders from Chrysler, we made a group assault on a gas station (below) and headed to Arrington Engines following Buddy.
Buddy and his wife, Jeanette, could not have been more gracious or hospitable hosts, taking the group for a tour of the entire facility, including the adjoining Camping World Truck team shops, answering any and all questions, and allowing the group to roam the shop at will. Buddy then gave the group vintage postcards of the #5 Daytona he drove "back in the day", as well as signing memorabilia for the group. Buddy then signed several members' cars and had his photographer get a group shot of the cars.
(Buddy Arrington in black shirt, two photos above). As a group, we have been extended an offer through Mark Burkhardt, Director of Sale for Arrington Engines, for a discount on parts and labor purchases from Arrington Engines, subject to confirmation of membership.
Departing Arrington Engines, the group started what would prove to be an eventful return trip to Lynchburg. About half-way back in Chatham, Carl Swanson called on the cell phone to say he had no oil pressure. We immediately stopped to check this out, and after several checks, we started the car and decided things were not catastrophic. A wiggle of the lead on the sending unit seemed to put things right. We departed again, not making a quarter mile when Stuart Sutton's Birdable let it be known it wanted more attention by quitting under a railroad underpass. What appeared to be Stuart's second attempt at increasing the Birdable fuel mileage by running a partially obstructed fuel filter was repaired by our erstwhile road crew of Mopar medics replacing the fuel filter again. Stuart then took off, showing to all that his plan was obviously set such a pace to maximize coating distance should the Birdable run short of bird seed again (it did). Continuing to Lynchburg, the caravan came upon the Birdable across the street from the Lynchburg airport, about three miles from the Wingate. Even if Stuart had gotten the Birdable up to the world record speed (and it was not for lack of trying), I doubt he could have coasted the distance. At this point, our dedicated team of Mopar medics decided that the fuel pump was the problem and I went home, hooked up the enclosed trailer, and with the "Mopar manpower" we loaded the Birdable and returned to the Wingate. Another diagnosis session with the Mopar medics ensued, and the consensus was to replace the fuel pump. Proving that several of our members are familiar with the operating principal of "the 7 P's" (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance) and that several of our members manage to store nearly the operating inventory of a NAPA or Advance Auto store in a B-body trunk, a new fuel pump was installed. However, this did not seem to fulfill the Birdable's need for sustenance, and a mechanical marathon ensued to install an electric fuel pump to get the Birdable under power for loading for the trip home. (Stuart finally diagnosed the problem of a defective fuel pump push rod after getting the Birdable home).
Sunday morning was slightly overcast but a great day for being out with the cars. Ten winged cars journeyed out to John P Hughes Motor Company, formerly the oldest continually operating Dodge dealer (they got caught up in the cuts). A good time was had by all, comparing notes, pictures of their cars, and looking over everybody's rides, as passersby were dazzled by the sight of that many wing cars lined up in front of the building. Owner Holcomb Hughes joked that the line-up of wing cars was probably worth more than the inventory on his lot. We were also joined by Rusty Nix (Aero Warriors) and his '69 Torino Talladega from Roanoke. When asked why he was allowed, I responded that they looked at the back of winged car quite a bit before, I figured he could look at the back of one for one more time.
The remaining cars then cruised to Rita and Barry's for a farewell cookout, during which Rick Edwards and Stan McGuire did minor repairs to their cars. Stan--"It ain't a road trip if you don't have to fix one". There was nearly a constant train of cars pulling up to look at the cars and take pictures. the group then cruised to a local cruise-in at Liberty University, which takes place every third Saturday, April through October. Having seven wing cars, a '74 Charger Rallye and Stan's Runner convertible created quite a stir, as we had our own area roped off. We inadvertently hurt the feelings of the local Thunderbird club, as they were three rows down from us. Nearly every time you looked at the late '50s T-birds, the owners were all standing at the back of their cars looking like a bunch of Maytag repairmen as they watched everyone coming up to look at the wing cars. Thus ended this year's meet.
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