Every now and then I forget the stage of life that I currently reside within. My mind functions as nimbly as it did when I was 18 (some say unfortunately) yet my body doesn’t, and that is unfortunate.
For starters, I find myself every now and then buckling up in the roadster late at night, which for me is, oh let’s say around 8 p.m. There was a time when my late-night crooning would have begun at 1 a.m. and lasted until the rays began peeking over the eastern ridges of Saddleback Mountain. But as the “Old Salt” likes to say, “That ship has sailed.”
My wife has the good sense to stay far away from me on these late-night runs and remains home all “warm and fuzzy” with remote in hand (which she rarely does) and thoroughly enjoys the peace and quiet. I, in the meantime, head for US 1, Coast Highway, or as we locals call it PCH. I have the good fortune to live in a coastal community and whether I head in a northerly or southerly direction it’s just about as good as it gets. There is the cool evening ocean breeze, a sky filled with stars (yet however overpopulated with the obligatory airplanes, rare but visible satellites, and, of course, the now and again shooting star), and the moonlight on the ocean is truly is a spectacular sight.
Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. However, it seems nowadays without my glasses and the absence of light I can barely see the ocean much less the lights dancing off the surf. As for the stars in the sky, who am I kidding? I live in SoCal and while it’s a great place there’s no shortage of the power that’s Southern California Power and Light and its numerous ways to emit brightness into the nighttime sky. As for the cool evening breeze, well that’s for sure. Except I notice nowadays I get colder easier. Must be global warming!
So, I have taken to firing up the highboy and driving off on early morning jaunts. There’s something to be said for starting the day bright and early with the wind buffeted by my receding hairline, bugs whacking against my forehead, and a sampling of rocks thrown up by the oversized rear tires hitting me in the head. Ah, isn’t driving a roadster fun?
I experienced such a day just this past weekend. It was Sunday morning (Father’s Day) and I was to head out for the final day of the L.A. Roadsters Father’s Day Swap Meet and Car Show at the Fairplex in Pomona. Following the conventional freeway blast, this is roughly a 50-mile shot down the freeway. But this morning was just too perfect with its clear and sunny sky. Not too warm, not too breezy. It was perfect. Instead of the workmanlike drive to the event (the event was spectacular, wait until next month’s issue), I took a series of toll roads that crisscross the foothills around my home. Cruising over the winding ribbons of asphalt made this morning special. I do not get nearly enough of these special mornings and I suppose that’s my fault as I need to make time to enjoy life’s little pleasures. I have made 13 trips across country in a hot rod and most have been in an open roadster. (Let’s face it, a roof turns a hot rod into a rental car!) I’ve driven every hour on a clock and there’s nothing like the late-night or early morning runs down a two-lane.
Everything about a hot rod comes into play when you, your car, and the road are all alone. The motor seems to run harder, sound better. The suspension has just the right amount of travel over the rumble strips and through the roads undulations. Eventually I arrive at the Fairplex with 700-plus roadster drivers and over 1,000 roofed hot rods. It just doesn’t get any better.
It’s a bummer getting older but I suppose it beats the alternative. And while I can’t “croon at the moon” as I once did, I still can get out in the roadster and remember why I have a hot rod. Yes, driving a hot rod is what it’s all about.