Once again the fall weather has brought another change of season in the Mid-Atlantic region. Time for school, cleaning leaves, football, and... THE 4TH ANNUAL FALL FOLIAGE TOUR! Mike Deluca once again was able to meet and exceed our expectations with his annual event. This year we had a great time in Wildwood, NJ and the weather cooperated with us the entire time (Still trying to figure out how that happened). In all the event was a huge success.
Club members were coming from every direction and location for this event. Some of us made small caravans on the way to the central meeting point. Several of us met Marc Levy at his house in Central NJ. When we arrived we had the pleasure of greeting Ken and Chris Koncelik and seeing a couple of teasers. Ken and his wife had just arrived from Long Island earlier that morning where they picked up a car that is Ken will restore and auction off at the 2004 Pigeon Forge DeLorean Car Show! Ken's truck was loaded with parts for the car and he is eager to get started on the project. (Personally, many of us are eager to buy a ticket!)
As if seeing the raffle car was not enough, Ken busted out the official t-shirt for the 2004 show! We didn't have to drool long because he brought tons of them to sell that weekend and we all quickly snatched one up.
Once we were all done getting the latest lowdown from Ken, we got some gas and hit the streets to take a really great back road through central New Jersey to meet the rest of the group. Kudos to Marc for setting up this scenic part of the trip!
Our Vice President Gary Gore chipped in to help Mike plan the tour by arranging a central meeting spot just off of the Garden State Parkway. As owners started to arrive, they were greeted by Gary and others who had arrived earlier.
Food and bathroom breaks were quickly sought by some attendees who had driven quite a distance to meet up with us. Once everyone had eaten lunch and said their hellos to one another, we headed back outside to the parking lot to look over some of the cars, stretch out legs and find out what was going to happen next on the agenda for this leg of the tour.
Mike Deluca (White shirt... with a Bricklin on it!?... come on Mike!) and Gary Gore gave the crowd the basic info for the next leg of the trip. We were all to drive scenic back roads through the pine barrens to Historical Batsto Village for a photo shoot. Gary promised that the drive would be nice and relaxing with great foliage to view. We were all excited to travel in a huge caravan to our next location, so cars were lined up and two-way FM radios were handed out for drivers to stay in touch on the road during the drive
We set out on our scenic tour to Batsto Village. Along the we were treated to many great sites and an overall pleasant drive. Once we were officially off the main roads we waited for the entire group to catch up and formed a single line of 18 cars for the remainder of the trip.
The drive to Batsto village took us about 40 minutes to complete. When we arrived, we immediately obtained permission from the visitor's office to set up for our photo shoot. We lined the cars up on a nearby field and everyone started to snap pictures like crazy. We attracted a steady crowd of onlookers as well who stopped to gaze at the site.
Once the batteries had died in all of our digital cameras, and we ran out of film, we left Batsto Village and headed out for our next rally point. We had set one more meeting place just off of the Garden State Parkway for any late or last minute attendees to meet up with us.
After stopping at the rally point for a while and taking a break, we embarked on the last leg of the trip. A straight shot down the parkway to Wildwood! What a sight... all these DeLoreans traveling down the highway at 70mph in a group! We got a ton of stares from other cars and trucks on the road.
Ahhhhh... finally here! We arrived in Wildwood around 5:00 that day. The hotel was all ready to check us in and they managed to get us all set up quickly. The parking lot looked a lot like a DeLorean dealership. Even though this beach town is fairly quite this time of year, we managed to draw people who wanted to take a fast look at the cars. The club members were more than happy to oblige.
Mike Deluca had arranged to rent the house on the other side of the hotel. This would provide us a large meeting area to get together and relax in before and after dinner.
Everyone made good use of the downtime to stretch out and take it easy for a while. Several members took the time to look closely at each others cars and help out with questions that anyone might have had.
As always, Rob Grady was ready to pitch in and look over a few cars and do some small inspections.
A few people decided to check out the local boardwalk while others ran out to local stores for snack food and drinks to consume later that night.
Everyone was just relaxing until we noticed something wrong... we were missing a member of our group and didn't know where he was! Worse than that, he had no cell phone to call us, or vice versa!
We finally found our missing member Rick Gendreau. He got separated from the pack and was lost. After getting directions from some locals he showed up 30 minutes after the rest of the group arrived.
Hats off to Rick for driving his car to the event from New Hampshire. Many of you may have seen this twin engine DeLorean at the Memphis 2002 show.
Rick has the front engine up and running and the car is a sight to see. With little storage space, his passenger seat contained a spare tire and his luggage. The car only has a 5 gallon gas tank so Rick has to stop every 80 miles to refuel during his trips!
NH to NJ, 5 gallon tank, twine engine car, no cell phone, got lost, and still had a smile on his face. Rick deserves this page dedicated to him.
Now that we finally had all our members safe at the hotel, we made announcements about dinner and some basic plans for the boardwalk car show the following day.
Dinner that night was to be at a restaurant called "The Ravioli House". The owners of the restaurant had been a pleasure to work with and gave us huge expectations for the meal that night. Our dinner would be served family style with several courses to help fill us up. Dinner was to start at 7:30 and everyone was getting hungry. We quickly set up plans to depart and get underway.
Dinner at the restaurant proved to be amazing. Food just kept coming out of the kitchen and placed on our tables. We had soups, salads, platters of cheese and cold cuts. There were homemade pastas, chicken marsala, veal, and stuffed seafood platters. Everything was topped off with an assortment of Italian pastries and cookies.
Every member of the club left dinner with a full stomach and a smile on their face. The waitresses were great. The food was to die for, and there was no lack of it to be sure! Many of us packed up the large number of leftovers to snack on later that night.
After dinner, we all went back to the hotel and over to Mike and Lori Deluca's place to hang out and have some drinks. The family room in the house proved to be large enough for all of us to squeeze into comfortably. We didn't snack much since food was pretty much the last thing on our minds at this point.
Funny enough, Discovery channel just happened to be airing the episode of Monster Garage with the DeLorean/Hovercraft. Many members had not seen it yet, so it was a good chance to check it out. It wasn't long before Cheryl Abato noticed an uncanny resemblance between a person and the show and Rick Gendreau. To some people's surprise, it WAS Rick. It was really interesting to watch the show and get first hand info from Rick on what happened and his feelings on the show. Surprisingly enough he had no hard feelings and was able to tell us a lot about the show.
Breakfast, checkout and then a little roll onto the Wildwood Boardwalk. We were not too sure how many people we would see here during the off season, but once we arrived on the boardwalk, it was crowded with on lookers who had tons of questions and wanted to see our cars.
One thing that every attendee agreed on was the fact that we definitely generated a ton of positive publicity for the cars. We spoke to anyone who asked about them, and answered every question. There were even articles about us in several newspapers loaded with facts and details about the car and our club.
We typically like to dedicate a page to having a picture of each of our members and their cars. This year since it was a two day event and some people had to travel home early on Sunday we were not able to get a photo of everyone who attended while on the boardwalk. We are sorry for those of you who missed on this opportunity. Catch us next year and we will make sure to include you.
Our boardwalk show was a huge success. People flocked around to see the cars and talk to us. We officially ended the day at 2:30 and were escorted off the boardwalk once again by the North Wildwood Police (They were really nice to us the whole time we were there. THANKS GUYS!) Some members decided to head home at this time. Others decided to go to Atlantic City since it was only 40 minutes away.
Some of us decided we were not done yet with the group, so we headed to see the Cape May Lighthouse and do some shopping in the historical old Victorian town.
A group of eight DeLoreans Arrived in Cape May, NJ at the lighthouse, and suddenly again we were the center of attention. Pictures were being take by tourists and questions asked.
It was starting to get late and we were hungry and still wanted to go shopping and see the old Victorian homes in town. We packed up and headed to the center of town to do just that.
When we parked, we were immediately flooded again with questions from people passing by. A local newspaper reporter followed us through town to interview us and take photos when we stopped for his column.
Around 5:00 P.M. we finally had eaten and shopped around town for a little while. Everyone started to think about the long trip home and wanted to get on the road. We said our goodbyes, fueled up our cars, and headed on our way home.
Everything about the tour this year turned out perfect. The weather was great and everyone enjoyed themselves. Mike Deluca pulled it off again and made the Fall Foliage Tour IV a great weekend for all who attended. Let's see what he cooks up for next year!