Friday, September 23, 2016

Run to the Pines

This classic car was at the pump next to ours when we fueled up today.
September 23, 2016

Most of the time, it's pretty awesome living in a resort town. All the reasons that people choose our mountain community as their getaway on long weekends and vacations are the daily blessings we locals get to enjoy as part of our normal lives. There are down sides, too, of course. The traffic and crowds during the summer and ski seasons, as well as during long weekends and special events, are always a headache. Yet, we also enjoy the benefits and good times the "flatlanders" are here to enjoy.

This is one of those event weekends, our annual Fall Festival, when people from the desert valleys drive up to see the changing of the leaves. Phoenix and Tucson really only have two seasons: the warm season (known around these parts as "winter") and the bowels-of-hell season (also known as "summer," which begins around April 1st and lasts until about October 30th).

Other events associated with Fall Festival are a community talent show, an arts and crafts fair (my favorite), a quilting show, a big parade, and assorted other affairs. One of the most popular is called Run to the Pines, a huge car show featuring old automobiles from every era, lovingly restored and displayed.

This year is the 33rd annual Run to the Pines (for our family, it's our 27th event since moving here in July 1990). We began attending when Sarah was a toddler. There were some years when Mark even worked the car show, grilling burgers and hot dogs for attendees, as a volunteer from his job as a groundskeeper at Pinetop Lakes Country Club.

Fall Festival officially begins with the talent show on Thursday evening and runs through Sunday night, but we begin seeing increasing numbers of classic vehicles long before Thursday gets here. Soon the streets are filled with cool old cars, adding to the traffic, but still fun to see.

Now that he's employed at Denny's, Mark works the weekends, especially these big weekends when the restaurant is filled with out-of-towners, so he isn't able to go to the car show. However, he still had a chance to enjoy the old cars that were in town. At 4:00 on Friday, all the owners of the classic cars gather in Show Low and then slowly drive along the main highway through Lakeside and Pinetop, showing off their vintage vehicles to people lining the roads, waiting to watch this informal parade.

The highway does not shut down. The classic cars share the road with everyday traffic through town. Nonetheless, people start setting up their camp chairs along the sidewalks an hour before the parade starts, anxious to get that first look at which classics will be displayed in the car show. There's a lot of waving and cheering and yelling as the cars pass. The occupants of some cars throw candy to the kids. Some show off their power by slowing to almost a stop, and then roaring into life and "laying rubber" on the road. It's a lot of fun.

When I went to pick up Mark from work at 3:30, I was surrounded by vintage autos heading to Show Low. When we stopped to fill my tank on the way home, there was a truly awesome old car at the next pump (so I sneaked a picture of it, the first one at the top of this post). After we got home, Mark quickly changed his clothes and then we drove back out to the highway, set up our camp chairs, and watched hundreds of old cars go by. Literally, hundreds. It lasted a full 45 minutes. I took 120 pictures (of which less than 60 were worth keeping), and I only snapped shots of maybe one out of four or five cars.

So, if you're into classic old cars, I hope you enjoy these pictures. And if you're in town, I hope you enjoy our Fall Festival!

This one had a cool door that opened upward and closed downward!

There were lots of patriotic flags flying. One car even had a "Vote for Trump" placard
in the rear window, causing the group closest to us to let loose a string of obscenities.
Dang liberals!

There was even an old Sheriff's patrol car, with lights flashing and sirens wailing!

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