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  'Inaugural Stovebolt Homecoming! 26-27 April, 2008

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       For those of you who came to the event and may want a print of these pictures, some are in a larger size / resolution, so just let us know. We're hunting down some costs on posters now ... so let us know what you may have in mind. ~ John and Peg

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       Just awesome! The turnout for the first ever Stovebolt Homecoming here at Stovebolt Global Headquarters was absolutely fantastic! While mainly the Maryland and Virginia 'Bolters, we had some guests as well as the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society join us. A fun time that we've decided to do again next year. ~~ Editor

Bolters descend on Stovebolt Global HQ for 1st ever


By John Milliman
Bolter #1
Mechanicsville, MD

<<click on the image to get a larger view with names. A special thanks to Ed Blouch for doing this for us ! >>

        Rocks. Beer. Fellowship. Coming Out. Running out of gas ... Okay, so maybe we'll try to forget that last one ( yeah... RIGHT! ), but who'd a thunk hangin' out down on the farm would be quite this much fun??

       The first ever Stovebolt Homecoming started out as a crazy idea hatched by yours truly and Billy Marlow at some point during one of our stressful work weeks and we hastily started planning for what would eventually turn out to be a halfway decent event, all things considered. We had enjoyed hanging out with each other (the "Old Dominion Stovebolt Society") at places like Winchester and Clifton, VA that we thought it would be fun to have a Spring event but without the bureaucracy of being at a car show. The idea was simple -- just a fun time with our fellow Bolters to relax, hang out, enjoy the farm and some chow, have a good cigar, drink some beer and generally just chill. And then we'd get up Sunday Morning and head over to the Leonardtown Car Show.

       And that's pretty much how it worked out, too!

       Of course, Peggy and I spent a good bit of the week leading up to the Homecoming getting the farm ready -- mowing, spraying the tree fields for bugs and fungus, mowing, trimming, mowing, getting food lined up, cooking, mowing, general grounds prep. And did I mention mowing??

       So when Saturday rolled around, we were ready! Both physically and mentally. And it didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect, either.

       The first one on the scene was local Bolter Doug Hamilton, who's '62 Chevy 1/2-ton currently resides in the shop space normally occupied by our firetruck. Doug he is re-doing his interior. Doug helped with a few last minutes chores (no mowing, tho) and then ... the cell phone buzzed. It was Billy and Jennifer Marlow inbound with a bunch of stragglers they had picked up along the way ... The Griggs, Chris Sweet and Cosmo.

       Because Billy had called about 15 minutes out, Doug and I had enough time to leap into the firetruck and meet them about 1/2-mile from the house to "escort" them in. What fun! And the neighbors didn't mind the lights and siren too much ....

       After greetings and introductions all around, we got busy unloading. Or should I say Grigg got busy unloading while the rest of us stood there watching and waiting for the magical moment when his project roared to life. We weren't long in waiting.

       Even though he warned us, we all still jumped when he hit the air starter on his Detroit and the ... um ... whatever it is, came alive. If we had lighters, we would have held them in the air! Grigg backed it off the trailer and went for a run up the driveway and back. The sound was marvelous!

       Billy Marlow's truck was off the trailer before you could say "cab over" and the motor coach parked, Cosmo's daily driver was parked, and the Homecoming was officially underway!!

       If you'll notice the teaser image at the upper left, Billy knew right where to park to ensure his truck got photographed!

       Cosmo, Sweet and the Griggs soon had an encampment going down by the pond (being careful to give the nesting Canada Goose plenty of space ...) and soon enough, others started rolling in, too. (I can't believe we didn't get a picture of the tents ... we were all pretty spread out, yaking, looking and Gator-riding!)

       Fred "Fredico" and Sue Medico are new to the site (from Bluemont, Virginia). They just recently got their truck and are awaiting it's arrival. But they came to meet the Stovebolt Nuts just the same! Fred, Sue and Peggy went on an early Gator adventure way back into the woods and discovered several new trails. We ventured as far as it lead, and the first time, we came out to a farm ... everyone looked and waved! We kept going down unknown spots and sure enough, we ended up on Friendship School Road. So, we zoomed on the road for about 50 yards and pulled into another farm road and came full circle back to the tree farm. Peg's first "big trip" since last fall! (Glad Fred was driving !)


The view from Billy Marlow's rear mirror:

   I was too beat to post the night we got home ... by the time I got everything stored, cover, parked and unpacked.
   Another great Stovebolt experience, but even more special because we got to enjoy John and Peggy's little slice of heaven. I had a fantastic time. The weather was great, we had some seminars on Stovebolt glass removal and firetruck pump installation. Both projects, Cosmo and I were very much involved in. Ok, at least we looked the part.
   The food and drink were awesome and plentiful. It was great meeting new faces and meeting up with folks I haven't seen in a while. The bon fire was a blast.
   With the exception of the chiller temps and an occasional drizzle at the car show in Lenoardtown on Sunday, the whole weekend was perfect.
   On the way down Route 5 Saturday morning, I spotted a very familiar looking "Sunset Orange" AD pickup truck. It was indeed the one and only Cosmo. He fell in behind Jennifer and when I looked in front of me, I noticed a rig pulling a chassis and knew instantly that it was The Griggs.
   We were only about five miles away at that point, so I dialed John's cell phone to let him know of the convoy about to roll down his driveway. John and Doug got the message in time to jump into the firetruck (which looks fantastic with the new paint and tires) and meet us out on the road with lights and sirens. What a greeting.
   One of the coolest things happened on the way back to the farm from the car show (no, not me running out of gas ...). It was raining a little bit, John and Peg were leading, I was second, then Mike and Bud. I rounded a corner and saw a Mennonite buggy coming towards us on the other side of the road. As I got close, I noticed a hand stick out of the carriage with a big thumbs up. Very cool!
   Another highlight was seeing and hearing Griggs truck in person. Hearing the air starter, the Detroit come to life and then cap it off with the Cosmo-Jake Brake was fantastic.
   I could go on and on (the pictures at the pond, the rock ceremonies, holding court til 1:30am with John, Sweet and Cosmo with glow sticks on our heads ....) but reality has kicked in and have to get back to work.
   The whole weekend was truly an occasion I will never forget.


Dempsey's big arrival

       Soon enough, one of the most anticipated moments of 2008 in Stovebolt Land happened when Mike Roache pulled in with "Dempsey," his 50-something 2-ton AD truck! Mike had the award in the bag for the shortest trip to Stovebolt HQ at approximately five miles, but he made it none the less with Dempsey securely chained to a trailer ... More on THAT later...

       Billy M, John M and a few other folks turned to and soon we were all treated to the dulcet tones of Mike's finely tuned 235 purring under the hood and Dempsey proudly rolled off the trailer and into the Stovebolt Line Up. Actually, as Ole Charlie (The Stovebolt Flagship) was busy with housekeeping chores (running coolers here and there), Dempsey took up station as the "Greeter" truck next to the house. Soon after, we got the second grill that Mike brought along to its duty station on the deck!

       As a note, Dempsey played a bit of a roll in the GABFest at Winchester in the Fall of '07 ... so it was a real treat for all involved to see it arrive for its first Stovebolt function!


The Rocks

       After Bud and Kris rolled in with the 1936 Canopy Express, one of the first orders of business was holding the "Rock Ceremony."

       Peggy had asked, innocently enough, for everyone to bring a "special" rock. And it seemed that everybody did, too. From Billy Marlow's coal yard paver (from his family's former coal yard in Washington, DC), to Grigg's quartzite, to Cosmo's big rock and a two-toned "Two shall be as one", to Bud's special inscribed rock ( which was heavy! ) to several others ... Peggy's garden now has some very special meaning!

       Right about then, just as we were wondering about Phil and Phil Senior and hoping they were okay ... they called.

       Unfortunately, Phil's GMC wasn't able to make the trip this weekend, so he was riding with his dad in his dad's 1971 1/2-ton. The only problem was that they were stuck on Washington, DC's notorious Woodrow Wilson Bridge -- the main route, via I-95, over the Potomac River from Virginia into Maryland. They ended stuck on the bridge for 45 minutes and eventually showed up to great acclaim.

       Debbie "dburban" and Mark showed up a little late but brought a rock just the same. I'm not sure where everyone was scattered by then (they were scattered pretty far and wide). Grigg Sr. had even gone off to the Calvert Marine Museum (which he reported was a great adventure - and he'll be back!). So, they brought in their food and started to mingle.

       As we were starting to be a bit of a "crowd" now and spreading out, we needed "name tags." Grigg quietly suggested masking tape and it was better than name tags. Some folks made their tag three strips high - one with their name, then their forum name, then their truck! Peggy preferred the 12" long ones so she could read them without here glasses. Masking tape? What a perfect solution! So Deb was in charge of that task!

       In the meantime, Bolter Kurt Lengfield (who also happens to be a professional Photographer) scoped out areas to shoot the group shot and we rounded up the trucks and started collecting them down by the pond for the "beauty" shot. [ Here's a bigger image of the picture below. ] We even got my 80 percent finished '49 1.5-ton out of the shop and down to the pond for the picture!

       After the photo ops, it was time for the afternoon Stovebolt Clinics. One of the more popular ones was "Grill Basics" taught by Phil Senior. The man put a whuppin' on the hot dogs, burgers and bratwurst by running two grills at the same time. The man is a true artist. (And another cool picture we didn't get ... I was too stupified!)

       Cosmo was "standing watch" for the Phils. Well, not really. He was clowning around on Grigg's "naked truck" (which Peggy calls it). Some funny shots in the Photobucket account.

       At the same time, Doug Hamilton hosted a clinic on windshield removal while I hosted a fire pump installation and set up clinic in Bay One of the shop, taught by our own local "Pump Doc, Bill Beardmore (not a bad guy for a Ford owner). Both clinics were well attended with good participation by all!

       Not to be overlooked were the members of the Baltimore-Washington Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society. Always a big hit, Joey Wilson's Detroit powered Diamond T rollback truck made a big entrance (and exit ... everything stopped because we were all listening to Joey as he left and went up the road ... for about five miles ...). As well, Gary Callis' 1959 Reo road tractor was a crowd pleaser, too. Mike and Dana Boteler arrived, without the fire truck (it's big weekend was coming up!) Rounding out the B/W attendees were John and Carolyn Vannatta who won the "Most Boring Entry in the Stovebolt Homecoming Show" trophy for showing up in their Mercury Tracer station wagon. Yeah, to a TRUCK show !!!!

       The "eating portion" of the event was very "manly" as Peggy says. Just throw it all out there and they'll come in ... eventually! We sent out several calls that food was ready, but these Bolters were thick into trucks. That aroma from the grill hardly budged 'em. We had to send the ladies after them. And these guys dove in ... eating with their fingers, (who needs plates?), finding what they wanted, and no whining! It was great! This was an easy crew to feed!


Ford guys ...

       After the eating, windshield and fire pump clinics, it was getting to be time to head to the back field for the bonfire event -- the signature event of the Homecoming where we would suddenly grab all the Ford owners and toss them onto the fire... Um, suddenly remembering that I, too, am a closet Ford guy, I quickly and wisely decided to not suggest that. Nevertheless, getting everyone down to the fire site was a logistical feat in itself, with several of the guys making multiple trips in the '49 1-ton as well as the Gators to get food, refreshments and people to the ritual grounds. Gary Callis even came down across the dam in the '59 Reo -- impressive sight at night!

       The end of the fire was pretty much the end of the evening, as everyone either left to go home or to their tent. Everyone except Billy Marlow, Cosmo, Sweet and I, that is ... That's when the trouble started...

       I'm not sure what we talked about, but it was important enough to keep us there until 1:30 am. That was about the time Sweet (who happened to be the youngest of the group) rightfully observed our increasing general group lack of consciousness and suggested we knock off. We all agreed and finally packed it in.



       The alarm went off and I promptly rolled back to sleep. For two seconds. That was the time delay between the 0730 alarm going off and Peggy's backhand to the side of my head. Of course it was unintentional. But regardless of her intention, the result was the same. As if my head didn't hurt as it was ... I had no choice but to get going. And soon enough, the happy campers who were smart enough to knock off at 10 pm rather than 1:30 am joined me in the kitchen, happily chirping to each other and to me while I zapped some biscuits in the microwave and fried up some eggs.

       Breakfast was fast, but provided ample time to convince Mike Roache that Dempsey would be fine in the convoy over to Leonardtown. It was all back roads, anyway and no one would notice ... never mind what they wouldn't notice! Anyway, Mike fired Dempsey up and, much to everyone's delight, joined the convoy.

       Everyone else showed up and soon, it was time to zorch outside, give the firetruck a quick bath and head to Leonardtown. Kurt showed up with his camera and got some nice shots of us leaving, and then down the road a couple of miles, he met us again and got some lovely shots of the trucks on the road coming through the Southern Maryland hinterlands.

       The show was fun, but the chilly weather and the off and on drizzle put a slight damper on everything. Grigg again made everyone on the whole street where we were parked jump when he hit the air start a couple of times!

       The Phils, the Griggs and Sweet headed for home straight from the show, but Billy, Mike Roache and Bud convoyed with me back to the house. Despite a small adventure on the way, it was a fun ride through scenic Maryland. Mike particularly enjoyed the view of the State Police Barrack we passed ...

       And then, before we knew it, the weekend was done. It had been a terrific weekend and we've already decided to do it again next year!


More pictures ...

       There were lots of pictures taken over the weekend, by several people. To see them all, check out the Stovebolt Photobucket and take advantage of the slide show. We hope to get the names with a mouse-over for the picture at the top of the page ... and maybe even for the truck line-up.


So stay tuned!

       For all of you who participated and made it a great weekend -- thanks! Glad to hear that Cosmo has a "permanent smile on his face." Cosmo, we're taking your suggestion for next year and we'll make it a three-day event. We wanna see that smile BIGGER! So, clear your calendar for next May!

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