Last years outings
The group went to many events last year ranging from displays within the military sections of classic vehicle meetings, to attendance at full weekend events such as Yanks and the East Lancs Railway event. The 2004 ELR event is not on their web site yet, but I have included a pointer to photos of previous events. These major events take some organising; my hat goes off to those group members who must spend most of their spare time arranging them. Less organising is required for the day trips arranged to allow the vehicles to circulate the oil, and let's face it, the vehicles haven't been restored to simply rot away again in the back of a garage.
East Lancs Railway 1940s Wartime Weekend 2003
As the Chipping Steam Festival had been cancelled due to a waterlogged field, we decided to spend the weekend at the ELR event. How fortunate we were. Although the campsite was very basic, there was plenty to do elsewhere with the main event being centered on Bury station. Other activities had been organised at Rawtenstall and Ramsbottom stations, including a re-enactment of a skirmish between Germans and Russian partisans.
We were lucky to meet up with a fellow enthusiast who wasn't in his Jeep, so blagged a ride with us for the weekend. In repayment he ferried us from the camp site to the two evening dos in his BMW. Due to the wide area covered by this event, there was quite a lot of driving to be done, which in my mind is the main plus side of vehicle restoration. It enables people to see the vehicles as more than static shells.
War and Peace, Beltring 2003
A number of the group drove their vehicles all the way to Kent for the War and Peace show. They spent virtually the full week there to make the journey worthwhile. However there was some disappointment that they could not spend the full week there as there is so much to see. Geoff took his Dodge Ambulance on its first major outing since collecting it from the Isle of Wight earlier in the year. John took his Chevy, Tim his Dodge command car, and Dave his faithful Jeep. All vehicles made it there without mishap, except for a binding brake on the ambulance. This was soon sorted with a roadside repair.
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The event itself was remembered for the late nights, or is it early mornings? One such was about 2:00 in the morning after having eaten a large portion of Noodles from the take-away van, our group was confronted by a female piper standing on the A frame of a trailer, playing her bagpipes. So amazed was Geoff, that he just had to phone his partner back home to let her have a listen! I am not sure that she appreciated it as much as Geoff did through the alcoholic haze.
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The group met near the Tickled Trout, just off the M6 at Preston, and set off with a firm idea of where we were going. I was the first to get lost in Geoff's Dodge Ambulance, expecting to get on the M65 near Blackburn. Once our little offshoot group realised the others were nowhere to be seen we turned round and got on the right track again. Problems occurred a little later when the Dodge would not pull up hills on the motorway. We eventually nursed it to the campsite via a very roundabout way through Oldham. Our group pitched the tents on what must have been the hottest day in the year, so the next stop was the local pub for a drink.
The main pubs in Uppermill had been decked out 40s style and were playing the music of the era. The beer garden of one became an outdoor jitterbug hall. Throughout the village American GIs and British Tommies were wandering around, mixing with civilians in 40s dress. There was even an SS officer...enough said. Military vehicles were everywhere and we watched while one American half track rescued another that had broken down.
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It was so hot that an improvised shower was rigged up at the site. This was basically a hose pipe connected to a cold water tap, but this did not stop a number of our group stripping down to their modesty to freshen up before the evening event. Not that it did much good; look at the new style "two tone" shirt.
The tour of the villages around Uppermill was eventful with the Dodge ambulance breaking down again, this time on a hill while the convoy waited to turn out onto a main road. I had to jump out and hitch a ride in a Jeep. When we came back to the Dodge it started first time and drove back to the site. Plugs were cleaned, fuel pipes tightened, wiring checked, but still it would not run right. A replacement condenser was eventually tried. Bingo! The Dodge drove home without any further problems.