It’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog. That’s because I’ve been on an American adventure in the western United States. Starting out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or “JH” as the locals prefer, the trip has thus far included Yellowstone National Park and then to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I finally got to a place with WIFI, so “I’m back,” as Arnold might say.
While in Jackson Hole, I got to experience its annual “Jackson Hole Rendezvous Car Show.” There must have been two hundred classic vehicles along with customized street rods. I definitely related to the cars I envied when I was a new driver … Mustangs, Novas, Corvairs, Camaros, Firebirds, etc. That prompted me to repost this blog about cruising … the kind of cruising we did as teenagers, not the cruising some of us do now.
I also wanted to remind those of you, who might be so inclined or who might live near Detroit, that the “Woodward Dream Cruise,” the world’s largest one-day automotive event, will be held this year on Saturday, August 15, 2015. You can read more about that below.
Remember when you, or one of your buddies, got a driver’s license? Remember when someone had access to a car that they either owned or borrowed from their parents? It was time to go cruisin’, a “social and recreational experience that involved driving on impulsively random and aimless courses.” Cruisin’ was a great opportunity to meet new friends, and hopefully, new friends who were members of the opposite sex.
American Grafitti, a 1973 George Lucas film, presents a great depiction of the culture. That film was set in Modesto, California, and in towns throughout the US, Friday and Saturday nights were “cruise nights” somewhere on a local “strip.” Sometime during a cruise night, drivers would inevitably wind up at a local drive-in restaurant to grab a pizza, a sandwich or an ice cream treat. Quite often, music was playing from a PA system, a band or from car radios.
One of the oldest cruising strips in the US was located on Whittier Boulevardin East LA, where “low-riders” started having fun in the ‘40s. Cruising spread east to Van Nuys Boulevard in California’s San Fernando Valley and then to Woodward Avenue and other streets in the Detroit, Michigan area. Cruising has evolved to local car shows, where American machines can be seen on display somewhere almost every weekend. The “Woodward Dream Cruise,” primarily sponsored by Chevrolet, “actually started as a small fundraiser to raise money for a soccer field,” and has become the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and forty thousand classic cars from around the globe each year on the third Saturday in August.
Local law enforcement has increasingly become disenchanted with cruising and officers regularly write traffic tickets for a number of violations. I guess there are lots of other things for today’s teens to enjoy.