Saturday, August 08, 2009

Car show calamity

It all started when I read an article by auto journalist Bill Vance about Old Autos, a fortnightly newspaper, published in Bothwell, Ontario. Turns out they have an upcoming car show and swap meet, an annual bash.

We leave home at 07:15 Friday heading for Bothwell, in south-west Ontario. Taking the Gardiner Expressway, we turn onto Hwy 403. We breakfasted at a truck stop at TA Travel Centres, Exit 230 off Hwy 401, west of Woodstock. We were cheerfully served by Nicky G., $21 including tip. So much better than a chain restaurant - we are getting the road trip buzz. Fill up with diesel, $13 for a tank at 81.4 cents a liter.

A diversion due to construction put us off course in farm country. We stopped at a restored railway station at Glencoe, then past Old Autos office at Bothwell to the Friday Swap Meet. I purchase the March 1962 edition of Hot Rod, then 50 cents, now $5, with an article about the English Allard dragster. Annette snaps up a Carlton Ware plate for $4. Every part imaginable for old cars is on sale as well as some complete vehicles in need of TLC.

To Chatham tourist information who direct us to the RM Classic Car Exhibit at One Classic Car Drive, off Hwy 401 at Hwy 40 at Blenheim, ON. This is a world-class auto restoration facility and auction house - cars in the warehouse are constantly changing. We are given a guided tour of Bugatti, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow and Cadillac. We were charged $6 per head. We check into Log Home B & B on the Delaware First Nation Reserve, Moldaviatown, with hosts Eunice and Rienus Ryk. Recommended. After a nap, we head into Bothwell to watch the evening parade. We park on Main Street and take a sub supper from Subs & Scoops, having our own smart car tailgate party.

The cars in the parade are throwing sweets for the kids. The usual suspects are in the parade including local pols, firefighters, Shriners and, of course, antique cars.
Next morning, after a splendid breakfast, we drive to Wallaceburg for WAMBO (Wallaceburg Antique Motor & Boat Outing), intending to return to Bothwell. The weather has turned and both events are badly affected by pouring rain. Hot Rods and muscle cars are lined up on James Street. We warm up at Fiesta Restaurant, 504 James Street, Downtown Wallaceburg, unlimited coffee, $3 for two. We chat to Judy Dalton while sheltering at a stall by the river - she is promoting the restoration of the Capitol Theatre in Chatham. We hear that Wallaceburg is hurting in the downturn and we are sorry their event is so soggy.
The weather is getting worse if anything so we motor northward to the Canadian oilpatch, visiting the Oil Museum of Canada at Oil Springs. This is the oldest working oilfield in the world with 'nodding donkeys' still working here and there. We continue via Oil City and Petrolia. We are running short of diesel but manage to find a station at Ailsa Craig. Home via Hwy 7 with pitstops at Kitchener for Tim Hortons, and grocery at Acton, arriving at 18:45.

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