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2009 CLC National Driving Tour
"Capitol Cruising"
August 11-15, 2009
By Jeff Gurski, Sandy Kemper, Richard Sills and Vince Taliano

Participants of the all-day motorcoach excursion to Washington, DC
pose in front of the World War II Memorial

Photo by Tom McQueen

By all accounts, the 2009 CLC National Driving Tour was a huge success.  The turnout was great (123 participants in 50 cars from 14 states) and the weather was fantastic.  Where our Spring Car Show was held in a deluge, our driving tour week was absolutely rain-free.  To give you an idea of how lucky we were, Dulles Airport, less than a mile from our host hotel, recorded two consecutive days of record rainfall exactly one week after our Friday evening picnic and Saturday afternoon tour of Mt Vernon.  When the Region was selected to host the event, our Tour Committee led by Co-Chairpersons Sandy Kemper and Steven Sisson set a goal of producing one of the most memorable National Driving Tours ever.  Based upon the applause at the Farewell Banquet and the accolades received afterwards (see below), it appears that the goal was met.

While I didn’t participate in many things (Luray, the banquet and the picnic) due to my trip being a kind-of father/daughter bonding trip, we had a wonderful time and it was obvious you guys planned this down to every detail. The bus tour of DC was awesome on Friday – we had a great time. Thanks again.

Joe Pipkin – Towson, MD – 2005 DTS

Thank you for having us! It was incredible! We got home with no problems at all, except that the baffles in my muffler gave way. My Mom and Dad had such a great time and I am glad I was able to bring them!

Walter, Regina and Albert Youshock – Peckville, PA – 1991 Fleetwood Brougham

We all had a great time. Your crew did an exceptional job in organizing and producing a wonderful event.

Jack & Nancy Hotz – Haddonfield, NJ – 1960 Series 62 Convertible

Thanks for your efforts on the driving tour. We received kudos from out of town people, who have been on other driving tours, and they all said the same, best one ever! Congratulations for a first class event.

Burt & Susan Zwibel – Fairfax, VA – 1960 Series 62 Convertible

We might have been #1 to register but you rate #1 in driving tours. Thanks for a memorable time.

Don & Carol Magee – Abington, PA – 1960 Series 62 Convertible

All the Region folks did an outstanding job. Thanks for a great tour.

Bill & Jay Ann Edmunds – Lenoir, NC – 1992 Fleetwood Brougham

Had a great time -- 1st class operation! Thank you again.

Bob Bogyos – Phoenixville, PA – 2009 DTS

Elaine arrived home here in Decatur yesterday, Sunday, by plane and my '49 Club Coupe and I arrived Monday by road with no problems. We both want to thank you and all the other members of the Potomac Region for a wonderful driving tour. We had a marvelous time thanks to you all.

Jay & Elaine Friedman – Decatur, GA – 1949 Series 61 Club Coupe

Congrats to all of you. One of the best tours we've been on thanks to your hard work. Loved it -- such very nice people! Thanks again.

Henry & Francene Flesch – Guilford, CT – 1960 Eldorado Seville

You guys did an outstanding job and we really enjoyed your tour. If we were to list the events we liked the most, we would have to list them all. We have been on many tours (CLC and AACA) and worked on an AACA tour in Scranton a few years ago. Thanks again and we hope to see you in the future.

Bill & Irene Herold – Greenfield Township, PA – 1998 Sedan Deville

We had a wonderful time at the driving tour. The route was perfect, as were the tour books and instructions. The weather also worked with us (thank goodness). Seeing all of our good CLC friends made the trip even better. We look forward to seeing you and the Potomac Region again real soon!

Andy & Allene Zizolfo – Middle Island, NY – 1964 Deville Convertible

We had a great time – even without the ’71 convertible. Thanks for your graciousness.

Phil & LaDonna Compton – Ada, OH – 2002 DTS

Maria and I, along with our fellow Long Island Region members, had an enjoyable time at your Region's well organized Driving Tour.

Fred & Maria Miceli – Levittown, NY – 1993 Allante

My husband and I had a wonderful time. It was our first driving tour and I must say it was so well organized.

Terry & Bob Mugnai – Merrick, NY – 1970 Deville Convertible

Both Tim and I had a wonderful time. It was a great event.

Jim Fields & Tim Ly – Ambler, PA – 1978 Eldorado

Thank you for a great tour!

Bruce & Joyce Schlanderer – Grand Rapids, MI – 1992 Allante

On behalf of all the L.I. Dreamboats, we would like to thank your entire group for your hard work in making the driving tour such a success. We all had a great time.

Steve & Adrienne Krieger – North Massapequa, NY – 1989 Allante

Thanks to all the folks that contributed mightily to a great event. While this was our first CLC National Driving Tour, we can’t imagine that the prior ones were any better organized than this one.

Chuck & Debbie Piel – Ellicott City, MD – 1997 STS

Since there is so much to see in the Washington, DC, area, it was decided to provide three types of tours to allow our CLC visitors to design their own itinerary.  This was a first in the history of CLC National Driving Tours.  We provided (1) guided driving tours that were led and supported by Potomac Region members; (2) self-directed driving tours of thoroughly mapped scenic routes to be driven entirely on one’s own schedule; and (3) motor coach tours.

 Tuesday, August 11

Region volunteers including Sandy Kemper, Margo & Steven Sisson, Jack McClow, Jeff Gurski, Vince Taliano, Brenda & Jim George and Mary Moscati started arriving at the Dulles Airport Marriott around 10:00 am with their vehicles full of registration room material and hospitality suite / tour beverages and snacks.  By early afternoon, a fair number of tour goers started arriving at the registration area. 

Many of the early arrivals took a motor coach evening tour of Washington, DC that provided an overview of our nation’s capital.  Led by volunteer docents Jack McClow and Bob Norrid, approximately thirty-five motor coach tourers were driven past the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the White House, the
U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Washington Monument with stops during the tour.  These places are national treasures, and their dramatic lighting under a clear summer sky made viewing even more impressive for everyone. 

Other participants who did not participate on the evening tour, ventured up to the hospitality suite where they were greeted by Brenda & Jim George.  The hospitality suite was open every evening with wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks provided by the Region.  Snacks and beverages were also dispensed on each day’s tour from coolers strategically located in different volunteers’ tour vehicles.

Registration Room open for business
Photo by Sandy Kemper

U.S. Capitol Dome

Photo by Walter Youshock

Wednesday, August 12

Wednesday morning dawned sunny with moderate temperatures for August.  Tour goers were invited to the registration area for an 8:00 am briefing conducted by Sandy Kemper, along with Tour Leader Franklin Gage, Assistant Tour Leader Tom McQueen and Trouble Truck Driver Harry Scott.  The daily briefing sessions were intended to orient the drivers and their navigators to the day’s routes and itineraries. After the briefing, the tour goers began their American History Tour through charming villages and towns of Northern Virginia and Maryland on their way to the Antietam National Battlefield Park.  Antietam was the scene of one of the most significant battles of the Civil War.  Chuck & Dave Piel, who left the hotel before the briefing began, assisted tour goers by placing signs at strategic intersections, forks or turns on the route.  Along the way to Antietam, the approximately seventy tour goers stopped for coffee and Dunkin Donuts provided by the Region at a picnic pavilion in scenic Gathland State Park on South Mountain in Maryland.  Following the visit to the battlefield sites, the tour goers enjoyed a full course lunch at the renowned Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, overlooking the Potomac River.  Following lunch, the tour continued their exploration of historical sites with a short drive to Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.  Harpers Ferry is a quaint town at the picturesque confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers at the borders of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.  Restored structures and even a wax museum trace the tale of John Brown’s violent crusade of conscience against slavery in America that blazed the quiet little town’s place in history.  When we concluded our visit at Harpers Ferry, the route back to the hotel passed several of Virginia’s noted vineyards.  However, most people hurried back to the Dulles Marriott to enjoy the National Driving Tour’s Wednesday evening welcome reception.  Trouble Truck driver Harry Scott reported no incidents along the way, which made the reception even more enjoyable.  The food was great and more than abundant for the approximately eighty participants.  Many tour goers took the opportunity to recap the day’s events with each other.

Tour vehicles and participants at Gathland State Park
Photos by Franklin Gage

The oldest car on the tour and one of the newest: David & Kathy Edge’s
1922 7 Passenger Touring and
John & Marilyn Leese’s 2007 XLR

Photo by Walter Youshock

L to R: Stanley & Mary Redlus’ 1931 Convertible Coupe and Tommy & Donna Fitzgerald’s 1930 LaSalle (winner of the LaSalle Award) at Harper’s Ferry
Photo by Franklin Gage

Antietam National Battlefield Park
Photo by Walter Youshock
The Bavarian Inn
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Photo by Walter Youshock
Harper's Ferry, West Virginia
Photo by
Tom McQueen
Tom & Sarah McQueen entering Harper's Ferry National Park in their 1974 Cadillac
Photo by Franklin Gage

Valley Forge Region members
enjoying the Welcome Reception

Photo by Walter Youshock

Long Island Region members
enjoying the Hospitality Suite

Photo by Sandy Kemper

Thursday, August 13

After the 8:00 am briefing led by Sandy Kemper and Tour Leader Tom McQueen, Thursday’s driving tour, themed a Natural History Tour, headed west to the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.  The group of eighty or so entered the Shenandoah National Park and drove a portion of the breathtaking Skyline Drive, stopping at the Dickey Ridge Visitors Center for breakfast treats and coffee set-up by Jack McClow and Byron & Alida Alsop. 

Blazing the trail for tour goers in his 1959 Buick, was Franklin Gage whose tasks on the second day included placing signs at strategic points along the way to assist the drivers.  Once again, the weather was outstanding.  A refreshing breeze cleared the usual summer haze from the valleys, and the tour goers were rewarded with spectacular vistas. 

After leaving Skyline Drive, the Cadillac tour stopped at Luray, Virginia, to have lunch at the Mimslyn Inn, a beautifully restored grand old inn reminiscent of the Old South. After enjoying the Mimslyn’s delicious buffet, the group motored to Luray Caverns, a national registered landmark and the largest and most popular series of caverns in the East.  There, all of our Cadillacs parked in rows on a grassy hill provided an impromptu car show and photo opportunity for everyone to enjoy. 

Besides the impressive caverns, the Luray Caverns Car and Carriage Caravan Museum held the attention of many tour goers until late in the afternoon.  The return trip to the hotel followed several lovely back roads winding through the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont. 

For the second consecutive day, no one required the Trouble Truck Services, this time manned by Scot Minesinger.   Everyone was on their own for Thursday evening’s dinner, and vintage Cadillacs were spotted along the streets of nearby towns that featured noteworthy restaurants.

Sandy Kemper and Tom McQueen brief the Thursday tour goers
Photo by Walter Youshock

Brass-era cars at the Luray Caverns Car and Carriage Caravan Museum
Photo by Dave Rubin

The Mimslyn Inn
Luray, Virginia
Photo by Walter Youshock

Cadillacs at The Mimslyn Inn
Photo by Sandy Kemper

Luray Caverns
Photos by Walter Youshock

Tour goers taking a morning break at
Dickey Ridge Visitors Center

Photo by Franklin Gage

George & Toni Huse’s 1976 Sedan Deville on a Skyline Drive overlook
Photo by Tom McQueen

Maria & Fred Miceli on Skyline Drive
Photo by Robert LaRocca

Gordon & Suzanne Koncelik’s
1962 Sedan Deville enters Skyline Drive. The Konceliks from Largo, FL won the
Long Distance Award.

Photo by Walter Youshock

An impromptu show field at Luray Caverns
Top photo looking down the hill by Franklin Gage
Bottom photo looking up the hill by Dave Rubin


Friday, August 14

Friday, another glorious summer day, was reserved for a day time motor coach tour of the memorials for which Washington is famous.  There were plenty of opportunities for everyone to get off the bus, walk around, and take pictures at many of these well-known sites.  Keeping tabs on everyone’s whereabouts were docents Shelley Chadick, Jack McClow and Tom McQueen.  Lunch was available at the many eateries within the magnificent historic Union Station (train station).  After lunch the tour continued past the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Washington Monument, the Watergate Complex, Embassy Row, and the Washington National Cathedral. A scenic ride along the Potomac River enabled our visitors to view the verdant summer beauty of our nation’s capital city. 


Lincoln Memorial
Photo by Robert LaRocca

White House
Photo by Robert LaRocca

Iwo Jima Memorial
Photo by Walter Youshock

Washington Monument
Photo by Tom McQueen

In the meantime, some of our more intrepid guests ventured out on their own, using the self-directed tour routes detailed in the extensive Tour Book. Some chose routes to the Manassas National Battlefield Park, the National Museum of the Marine Corps or historic Leesburg, Virginia.  Still others took advantage of the Marriott’s free shuttle to the nearby Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum, the huge companion facility to the Air & Space Museum on the National Mall.  On Friday evening we held a festive summer picnic at the hotel’s pavilion.  The children of Dan Mullane, Marc Tuwiner and Vince Taliano delighted in playing on the beautiful grounds of the hotel.  Many CLC members took time to stroll the generous parking area that had been reserved exclusively for CLC use to peruse the many fine cars driven on the tour routes. All the while, the music of DJ Mikey and family filled the pleasant summer night.

Mini car show at the Friday Night Picnic
Photo by Sandy Kemper
Tour goers at the Friday Night Picnic
Photos by Sandy Kemper

Saturday, August 15

On Saturday, two options were provided for our guests: a driving tour to Washington, DC, and Mount Vernon or a motor coach/walking tour of Old Town Alexandria. After the final morning briefing of the week, Tour Leader Richard Sisson, Assistant Tour Leader Tom McQueen and the drivers left the hotel early in the morning and drove straight into Washington, DC, past the White House, the Washington Monument, and many other landmark buildings.  They stopped at a parking area near the base of the West Front of the U.S. Capitol building, where Franklin Gage was taking pictures as they arrived.  Crossing back into Virginia via the Memorial Bridge, tour goers then drove the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway along the Potomac River to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, and were met by Anne & Bill Hilliard and Harry Scott, who handed out their tickets.  The historic plantation estate, gardens, and interactive museum provided much interest, and our luncheon was held in the colonial ambiance of the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.  Again Trouble Truck driver Scot Minesinger was like a Maytag Repair Man waiting for calls that never came.

After lunch, most tour goers traveled the short distance to the Woodlawn Plantation, a small estate constructed for George Washington’s nephew on acreage that was originally part of Mount Vernon.  On the same grounds is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House.  Wright’s creation had once been scheduled for demolition due to highway construction through its original location.  Fortunately, the house was relocated to the grounds of Woodlawn where our guests enjoyed this fascinating architectural gem.

Dave Rubin’s 1969 Eldorado overlooking the U.S. Capitol.  Thanks to Dave, 2007 National Driving Tour Chairperson, for offering timely and helpful insight during the planning of Capitol Cruising”.
Photo by Dave Rubin

Stanley & Mary Redlus traveled from Wainscott, NY
to the grounds of the U.S. Capitol

Photo by Franklin Gage

In the meantime, a group of twenty tour participants enjoyed an all-day excursion via motor coach to historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia led by docents Shelley Chadick & Richard Sills.  The day started with a tour of The Cammack Collection, a private museum featuring three Tucker automobiles and a large array of Tucker engines, parts, original blueprints, and many more Tucker related items of interest.  The display included contemporary newspaper articles and photos about Preston Tucker, his company, and the Federal prosecution that proved unsuccessful in everything except driving the innovative car maker out of business.  David Cammack, the proprietor of the collection, regaled the visitors with his encyclopedic knowledge of the Tucker cars and their development.  From there, the group crossed the street for lunch at Pines of Florence, a delightful Italian restaurant.  After lunch, the motor coach driver provided a comprehensive driving tour of Old Town Alexandria.  Time was also provided for everyone to spend a leisurely couple of hours walking around the scenic riverfront to enjoy the eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture, art and antique galleries, boutiques, and retail shops.

David Cammack discusses his
Tucker Automobile collection

Photo by Bill Edmunds

On Saturday evening over eighty guests enjoyed a cocktail hour / farewell banquet against a backdrop of delightful photos from the Tour projected on a screen in the Marriott’s ballroom.  Thanks to Bill Edmunds, Franklin Gage, Sandy Kemper, Robert LaRocca, Tom McQueen, Dave Rubin and Walter Youshock for sharing their photos and to Vince Taliano for preparing / running the slide show.  Past CLC President Richard Sills emceed the affair that featured a “State of the Club” talk by CLC Executive Vice President Lars Kneller. A preview of 2010 CLC events by Toni Rothman, CLC Vice President for National Meets and Tours, followed.  Sandy Kemper then provided a heartfelt recognition of the Tour Committee.

Starting with Steven Sisson’s red 1964 Eldorado greeting our CLC guests at the front of the Dulles Marriott, all arrangements at the hotel and along the tour routes were carefully designed to ensure comfort, safety, and camaraderie. Fortunately, all of the Cadillacs and the LaSalle, with the exception of one slipping clutch, proved their reputation for quality and dependability. 

Steven Sisson's 1964 Eldorado greeted guests at the Dulles Marriott
Photo by Walter Youshock
Enjoying lunch at the Mt. Vernon Inn
Photo by Tom McQueen
Brenda George created special Saturday Night Banquet Room decorations
Photo by Franklin Gage
Tour Leader Franklin Gage led participants all week with his 1959 Buick (pictured here at the Woodlawn Plantation)
Photo by Franklin Gage

Thanks to the CLC members and their families who shared a few days of their summer vacation to enjoy a memorable "Capitol Cruising"!  Special thanks to Tour Co-Chairpersons Sandy Kemper and Steven Sisson; Tour Committee members Shelley Chadick, Richard Sills, Harry Scott, Jack McClow, Tom McQueen and Vince Taliano; and Tour volunteers Franklin Gage, Jeff Gurski, Jim & Brenda George, Chuck & Dave Piel, Scot Minesinger, Richard Sisson, Bill & Anne Hilliard, Bob Norrid, Anne Gavin, Margo Sisson, Mary Moscati, Byron & Alida Alsop, Bill Sessler and Chris Cummings.

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