Monday, July 27, 2009

Best Auto in the 2009 Golden Days Parade!

I love getting to ride in one of our cool cars in Fairbanks' annual Golden Days Parade! The Parade is a “Hurry up and wait adventure”…we were number 78, out of almost 100, in the parade line-up. Ron Dane, volunteer extraordinaire, arrived before 9 am with the 1911 Model T C-Cab Depot Hack. This 6-passenger car was used to carry people from the train depots to hotels. It was the original version of the station wagon or minivan!

The judges came by shortly after 9 am and asked us a few questions about the car. Then about 10 am they brought us the banner proclaiming us the Best Auto!!! The next challenge was what to do with the banner. I guess we didn’t think about that in advance! None of us riding in the car really were prepared to walk the 2.7 mile parade route, so Ron borrowed some wire and hung the banner around the back end of the car. But we had to make sure that we didn’t cover up our passengers, Erin and Nikki.

This car definitely attracts attention; I like talking about the Museum and telling people that they need to come visit our 65 other cars! I think I’m the typical example of someone that really wasn’t into cars, but this collection is so amazing that you can’t help but be interested and awed by it!

Around 11:30, we finally start moving onto the parade route. My job was to wave and to ring a bell that sounded like an ice cream truck. I rang the bell by tapping a button on the floorboard. It’s fun to see friends all along the parade route and it seemed that lots of people took photos of our shiny car.

These old cars weren’t meant to stroll along at this super-slow speed, so within a mile it was getting a little hot and leaking some oil. Ron and Willy kept an eye on things and said that as long as it was still leaking, we were OK-but if it stopped leaking then we’re in trouble! After 2 hours we made it to the end of the route and gave the pretty, hot car a well-deserved rest! Now Willy and the crew get to fix the leaky problem.

I'm looking forward to next year’s parade and getting to ride in another cool car!
Diane Shoemaker, Sales Director
Fountainhead Hotels

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wedgewood Rocks!

Our docents enjoyed driving the museum's 1930 Packard Deluxe Eight Roadster (Model 745) around the Wedgewood Resort grounds earlier this week (at least that's the impression I got from the ear-to-ear grin Julio was wearing when I saw him go driving by yesterday). Here's the car parked in front of the Alaska Bird Observatory, which sits on the northern edge of the resort just inches away from the Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.

Please allow me to 'toot our own horn' for a moment. What other hotel can you stay at and visit a world-class automobile collection, take a peaceful walk on a private wildlife sanctuary, hear a presentation by an Iditarod musher, view beautiful flower displays, see an antique car go rumbling by, watch Sandhill Cranes fly overhead and visit the farthest north bird observatory on the continent--all just a short walk from your door? Even if you live in Fairbanks Wedgewood is well worth a visit, especially during a nice summer evening when a museum car goes out for a spin around the grounds. And, chatting with the happy docent driving the car is as much fun as seeing these old autos in action. Come visit soon!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ramblin' in the New Rambler

The museum's 1904 Rambler Model L arrived a week ago, and Willy has already had it out rambling around the Wedgewood Resort hotel grounds. It is definitely a crowd pleaser!

The Model L, with its side willow baskets, canopy top, swinging front glass window and waterproof side curtains, was one of the most popular early Ramblers built. This is apparently one of only four Model Ls known to survive (if you have one, please contact us!). It still has its original coachwork, brass lamps and brass trim.

This Rambler has completed an impressive five London-to-Brighton runs and participated in the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain’s Diamond Jubilee Rally in 1990. Its known provenance includes the Rothman Cigarette Company/Craven Foundation (Canada), several owners in England, and Ambassador William Middendorf II. It is a great addition to our museum!