Dave Kindig, Kevv Dogg and Dreams: an Adventure on Woodward Avenue

Never did I think in a million years that I’d have the pleasure of meeting Dave Kindig and Kevin Schiele aka “Kevv Dogg” of the Velocity Channel’s Bitchin’ Rides at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Cruising down Woodward in a dream car or on foot is a treat for sure, but noticing Dave at the top of a tower laden with Kindig-it Designs logos was that chance in a million defined.

Dave pointing to Jules
Photo by Jules Stayton
He had arrived with his kit-and-kaboodle to experience the Dream Cruise himself and from the look on his face, even from afar, he was into it.  There was a no more appropriate place for Bitchin’ Rides to grace.  A treasure trove of auto enthusiasts all in one place, Dave is a genius.  It is no wonder, considering he started Kindig-it Designs in 1999 with his wife Charity and grew it into the multi-media empire it is today.  His artistry and design fulfill the dreams of car lovers everywhere as he is a “one stop, complete custom shop”.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City his move to meet-and-greet those of us strolling the streets of suburban Detroit made for an experience his fans, including me, won’t soon forget.

Mementos will come and go, but my memories meeting Dave and Kevv won’t be forgotten and will hang on my wall as an inspiration.

DK signatures and shirt
Photo by Jules Stayton
While meeting Dave and Kevv was the highlight of that sun-filled Saturday, the rest of the field didn’t disappoint.  If getting a closer look at all those beauties was your thing, ample opportunities were available.  Parking lots along the Avenue and local parks shut down to accommodate the metal beauties.  Observation towers normally used for play-by-play reports of little league baseball were chances to get that perfect photo from above.

Photos by Jules Stayton

Pocket-doors aren’t just for homes…check out this 1954 Kaiser Darrin, #039/435.

Photos by Jules Stayton

Corvette on Woodward

Photo by Jules Stayton

No Woodward Dream Cruise day would be complete without a visit to Vinsetta Garage for some food and a beverage. Being the oldest garage east of the Mississippi has its advantages.  Once a functioning repair shop, it continues to exist as a restaurant filled with stories of a bygone era as well as new tales for car-buffs from all walks of life.

Over 1 million people attend the Dream Cruise annually and over 40,000 cars of all kinds participate.

If you haven’t experienced the wonder of the Woodward Dream Cruise yourself, Dave and I would highly recommend it.

Cruise on my friends…cruise on.

 

Woodward Eve

The day had finally come.  Six months in the making.

As I lay in bed on the eve of what would be one of the greatest outdoor car shows I’ve ever seen, I marveled at how aware I had become of everything auto.  My long chestnut hair was perfumed with exhaust as I lay my head down on the pillow. The rumble that I heard wasn’t thunder or reindeer on the roof, it was engines on Woodward Ave. just two blocks away.

I was lucky enough to stay at a friend’s house just steps from the famed thoroughfare in Royal Oak, MI.   My best friend and her family welcomed us with open arms to the local event of the year.  We shared the excitement of seeing each other after a long hiatus and I was equally delirious about the Dream Cruise on the books for Saturday.

Crowd on Woodward Eve

Photo by Jules Stayton

Everything from babes in arms to seniors in wheelchairs were on hand as we strolled the Avenue on Woodward Eve.  The next day was the “actual” event, but don’t tell that to the thousands of spectators and hot rod drivers cruising on a beautiful August night.  The pre-game was a thrill.  Whether meandering through the crowd or riding in your well-loved roadster, the experience was exceptional and stirred anticipation of what was yet to come.

One of the many highlights of my expanding adventure at the Woodward Dream Cruise was riding in a 1967 Shelby Cobra kit-car with my friend Brian. He had been showing me pictures of his baby over the past year and the prospect of feeling that hot rod rumble under me was nearing its peak.

 

As I slid into the passenger seat I loved the fact that I had to clip into a four point harness.  Just the reality of that car requiring that amount of restraint up front, before ever rolling an inch, was exciting.

As soon as that engine fired up the neighborhood awoke, even though it was late afternoon.  Children and senior citizens stirred from their slumber to stumble onto the porch to see the spectacle and the source of their awakening.  So interesting to be in an area laden with “car culture”.  Suburbia had been infected with a need-for-speed around every corner.  A late-model Challenger lingered in the driveway next to us awaiting it’s release later that evening. Thank you Detroit.

With safety concerns put to rest, we motored through the Royal Oak neighborhood amongst tall trees and admiring eyes towards our destination.  The longed for rumble was reality.  My long hair was tethered and with a glint in our eyes we ventured onto Woodward Avenue with the rest of the pack.

Dusk on Woodward

Photo by Jules Stayton

Looking at the Dream Cruise from the driver’s perspective was enlightening.  Watching the crowd’s reaction as we motored by was priceless.  As I took the photo above,  we were met with a plethora of interested parties with cameras of their own.  We were now the subject of adoration from fans just like ourselves.  Some held paddles with a “thumbs-up” sign to show their silent approval.  We garnered a wave or two as well and smiles galore during our journey past the crowds.

The eve of any event is filled with anticipation of things to come and lots of hard work…somehow cruising Woodward Avenue didn’t seem like work at all.

After what seemed like a minute, we drifted towards home for some long awaited porch-sitting and planning for the next day.  We pulled in the driveway to be greeted by our adoring fans (i.e. the aforementioned children now awake thanks to us) and reached into the door pocket to find the wire release for the doors of the Cobra.  Having singed my skin on the pipes of a motorcycle before, I was careful to shed my harness and push up out of my seat and step over the heated cylinders before me.  That was one tattoo I was not willing to bring home to commemorate my maiden voyage at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

The eve was waning…slumber was calling…the official WDC impending.

More to come…stay tuned to JulesOnWheelz.net

 

 

Corvettes and Cousins

Car love runs in families and mine is no different.

Growing up in the same northern Illinois region, my cousin Dan and I were worlds apart.  He, quite a few years my senior, hung out with my older brothers.  Including the little sister happened on occasion.  Dan’s daughter was my playmate since our ages were more inline.  Play dates included dolls and swimming…definitely NOT cars, that was reserved for the boys.

The intermittent rides in the variety of offerings of six teenage boys was thrilling to me.  I wanted to be one of the boys. This is where I began to veer off the spectrum of dolls and dresses and into the world of speed and chrome.

Setting sail from my Kentucky home to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan last week brought a long-awaited reuniting with my cousin Dan in Indiana.  Tri-state travel never looked so good as he “gave the tour” of his garage.  Much to my surprise there was eye candy galore to be had on that tour.  Glancing left and right, the Route 66 memorabilia caught my eye instantly.

Route 66 decor

Photo by Jules Stayton

Like many car aficionados his “garage” was spotless.  It was more like a showroom for his automobile treasures collected over the years.  Each one with unique meaning and significance.  The decor started with the Edelbrocks and went wild.  Each item a nod to Dan’s love of cars.  We were cut from the same cloth after all!  But the best was yet to come…

He marveled at my interest and joy in each piece and the story it told.  He had no idea that we shared a love of autos, but once aware, we savored levels of conversation we had never experienced before.  They years melted and we were friends sharing the excitement that only “car guys” understand.

Imagine my elation when he asked if I’d like to take his 93′ Corvette for a spin.  Well of course!  We made sure to beat the impending downpour as we cruised the curvy lanes of the Indiana highways.  A few clouds could not deter this duo who had waited all these years to discover a common thread flowing through our gene pool.

Photos by Jules Stayton

One thing I know…you can’t pick your family but I sure would pick Dan even if he wasn’t family.  Car guys have to stick together.

D and J with 93 standing