There wasn’t a lot of activity on the club’s Facebook Page in the week leading up to the GCVWS. When there was, it was usually short and sweet. Everyone was busy preparing their vehicles and getting things ready for the AVR Barbeque at the Shane and Amanda Constantinescu’s property. There had been some fun leading up to the weekend with a scavenger hunt for the 2016 stickers. Todd Gill was a going concern, and I managed to snag one locally (driving like a madwoman up to the wreckers near Cultus Lake to get it, only to have my son steal it for his bus) and then a second one with Suzy Mussche and Cindy Strickler messaging me as I drove all around a six block radius in Langley. The first guy that saw me at the correct location wondered what I was doing, and when I said I was looking for stickers, directed me to a sign shop. Finally, with only a minimal amount of embarrassment, the second one was located. I think it might have been entertaining for the guys in the shop.
I was eagerly anticipating getting the thirteen raffle baskets out of my garage, as I no longer had any space on the benches or seats. Fortunately, I managed to whip off a set of curtains for Buster, since we were going to camp at the PBI ranch to save us that early morning drive into Vancouver from Chilliwack. Other than that, there were a few last minute surprises to prepare and the final pickup of donations and it was time for the fun to begin.
Friday afternoon, the anticipation was high as we set off in the bus to the Mission Raceway. It was hot–no, it was sweltering. Gates opened at four and we all made our way in. It’s great fun to watch the racers, and equally fun to wander around the pits to see all the amazing vehicles that come out for this annual event. It was great to see everyone and some of the highlights included watching Eric Jelier race his daily driver for the first time; seeing Grant Hooper run his Baja; watching father and son, Greg and Braun Gunson running side by side down the track…well, for a little while; and seeing some new faces and meeting some new and old friends and catching up on the goings-on in our lives.
Then there were the amusing moments…
Lightening the load Striking a pose
At the end of the day, as the sun set and the heat subsided, there were many contented faces. The weekend had only just begun.
I was up early the next morning, time was short and the day was going to be long. A quick run out to get last minute items and then it was time to load the bus. This included camping gear, a cooler, some surprise birthday gifts, 2 hot wheels drag race tracks, Hot Wheels cars, lawn chairs and various photography equipment. Plus us. Oh, and in an organized fashion, in a manner that didn’t allow for movement or damage of the raffle baskets. And then we were on our way.
We arrived at the Strickler residence a little after our scheduled time, due to traffic and Buster’s speed limitations (even for a VW bus it’s slow). The mini-convoy was waiting. Greg Gunson, Don Gifford, Cindy, Corey, Jenna and Haleigh Strickler were all eagerly waiting our arrival. We set off immediately for the Ranch. The highway was slowed to a near standstill, so we wound our way around backroads and were soon beginning to set up for the arrival of guests later in the afternoon. It was unbelievably hot out, but people were smiling and there was a definite feeling of anticipation in the air (along with a feeling of heavy sweating).
Then when everything was set up and the work was winding down it was time for a group photo and some fun and hijinx.
There are no pictures of the food or the people eating the great chicken, veggie burgers, fantastic salads, amazing corn or fabulous desserts. And it was very, very quiet during that time. Just the sounds of finger licking and the sounds of delight over the tasty meal. The kids enjoyed drawing with chalk and the kids enjoyed the Hot Wheels drag track (the kids of all ages).
I didn’t win any of the Hot Wheels drag trophies. Kevin Timleck (who owns my Azur Cabrio’s twin won and Connie Brown won a trophy as well. But I achieved what I had set out to do and beat Shane in the Hot Wheels Drag Race between us (the competitiveness of that man, yeesh!) and was highly delighted to do so after carefully considering and choosing which of the three vehicles I had brought to run (without testing beforehand, but with doing careful research). Did I mention I BEAT Shane (just like I did with the Valve Cover racer at Volksfest)? So I gave myself a plastic trophy and medal and enjoyed the moment. Unfortunately Shane lost the T-shirt I had given him a day earlier. I even had my Sharpie ready to write “Sara is superior to Shane” on it. I think I’ll custom make a more detailed one for him to don at the next club meeting.
Throughout the evening draws were made for the baskets. Rob Frose really looked like he wanted that spa basket for himself when he accepted on behalf of the winner who wasn’t there.
I was thankful to have my spot all made up and ready to fall into at the end of the evening. I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. But one of my favourite moments was about to occur.
I recalled from last year that there was a small celebration at the end of the evening for Shane’s approaching birthday, so I double-checked with Amanda to get the date and asked if it would be okay to put together a little something. That way, those of us who wouldn’t be around for his birthday could still wish him all the best and show him how much we appreciate him.
I rallied a few of the girls in a group chat and we decided on a cake, and when I visited Mykala for Floral Tuesday, I asked if maybe she could sing something, because I know how much that means–I think it means more than any gift ever could. I made up a T-shirt because I always give Shane a hard time about him being “Kinda a Big Deal” and I made up a prototype birdhouse to match the vintage trailer he pulls behind the Silver Surfer. Just a little something to show we cared. It was hard to drag him away from tasks at hand, but eventually he came over to where we were all congregated.
Surrounded by some of the LGK family, Mykala started to sing. Well, I don’t think there was a dry eye there. It was so intensely emotional and filled with love that it was completely overwhelming. I would have given up the whole weekend if I had to, just to experience that moment with her singing to her Dad and Shane and Amanda standing there with so much pride and love listening to her. It was just them and her. We were given a glimpse of a beautiful bond. I wanted so much to say thank you to Mykala, because that couldn’t have been easy. She is a songbird in my eyes and has a special place in my heart. What a beautiful way to end a wonderful day. We all went our separate ways, but we were all linked. As Shane will tell you and we all concur, we are family. We renewed old bonds, caught up on each other’s lives, and welcomed new members of the family with open arms.
As the night ended after a pleasant time around the campfire (propane) and everybody made their way to their respective homes, motels, hotels, motorhomes, trailers, buses and a pup tent, something scuttled over the fence. But other than that, memories of the day that just was and the day that was yet to be, were the only activity on into morning.
Sunday dawned bright and clear, although the temperatures were supposed to be cooler later in the day. Promised cloud cover was not present, but spirits were high as the many of the club members gathered for the cruise into the Great Canadian VW show. I downed a double shot of Monster caffeine something-or-other and felt the effects as I bounced around the yard waiting to go. Soon we were off. Soon we fell behind. Spencer had quipped on our mini convoy the day prior, that we should rename Buster “Caboose” because it’s always behind and it’s butt ugly. We both say that lovingly, because honestly, Buster is a treasure to us both. He just needs a dab of makeup. Okay, maybe some pancake makeup.
The lineup to get into the actual event location was long and slow. Fortunately, it wasn’t too warm yet. It was so great to get in and get parked. We tucked some things away, set up the poptop and took off for the swap meet area. It took a little while to get there, since we were immediately distracted by both cars and people. There were a few items I needed that I picked up and some that I didn’t that I also picked up. In my glory, we set off back to the bus to offload the goods, threading our way through the vehicles. I was pretty sure Spencer felt like he was herding a butterfly, or maybe more aptly, a wayward chicken or better yet, a squirrel strung out on a double dose of caffeinated Monster something-or-other. Poor kid.
The day carried on and there were so many amazing cars to see and people to talk to, it was pretty busy. But there was also time for “chillin” (especially in the afternoon when the cloud cover finally made an appearance) under the LGK tent. And then came the trophies.
Trevor Myorski -First in Class, Late Model Custom; Johnnie Balfour – Second in Class, Type 2 Custom ’68-’79; Matt Ryan – First in Class, Type 3; Jim Brown – Second in Class ’58-’67; Greg Gunson – Third Place, Stock Motor Challenge. Not Shown: Timothy Cardon – First in the MK4/A4 Jetta Class; Kevin Timeleck, First in Class, Cabriolet; Mike Ray -unknown.
At the end of the journey home, after a pitstop in Aldergrove at the A&W, where we were inundated with posts about the day on our phones, Spencer remarked “Imagine if I had a different Mom, one that wasn’t into VW’s like you, and that didn’t do the things that you do?” And I think that was the nicest compliment he could give me. I wiped whatever it was away from my eye and we got in the bus and drove home.
Did I mention I beat Shane?
Note: Unless otherwise noted, photo credits go to Spencer Gilbert. This blog does not show all the amazing vehicles that LGK and other clubs had in for judging or just in the show and shine. This is just an overview from my (Sara’s) perspective of an amazing weekend. I love my LGK family so much. You guys rock!