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.
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.
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
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