For 2015, the Caffeine & Carburetors schedule was reduced to just four occurrences, two in the spring and two in the fall, with each season splitting the venue between Pine and Elm streets and Waveny Park. In theory, less gatherings should equal higher quality turnouts and the inaugural event proved positive. Having never been to the park setting, and with the second visit to Waveny not scheduled until October 18, it was pertinent that I did everything in my power to make an appearance. My mission, which I chose to accept, was to somehow peel myself away from the grandeur that is Caffeine & Carburetors and return to New Jersey in time for 11:00 a.m. brunch. Contrary to the popular song, time was not on my side for this Mother's Day observance, held on the beautiful grounds of Waveny Park, in New Canaan. But I was sure willing to bribe it to the best of my ability.
I believe it's best to start at the beginning of this story and let the pictures aid in the monologue.
Although I have no photographic proof, the Hudson River and the machines that are building the new bridge spanning it were shrouded in a dense fog. The weather was supposed to be clear by morning, but I was delighted that, as usual, the forecasting folks were wrong. It was going to be a good morning and I was decided on making the most of the short time I had to spend there.
I left my apartment in the dawn's early light and arrived before the masses for the first time in my attendance history for this particular C&C. (Although I made mention of it last time, this arrival was truly before the flags had begun flying). This feat was sure to be celebrated with a Mimosa at brunch, but for now I had to get my bearings straight and figure out a truncated plan of attack. Remember, the clock was ticking!
My goal was rather simple: acquire as many images as possible in a timely fashion, with enough angles to be able to properly tell the story of it later, and depart before the clock struck nine. Seemed attainable at the moment. I had a few minutes to chat with a lovely volunteer by the name of Pat (I am 99.9% certain this was her name) and determined that the entrance she was posted at would be the less attractive of the two. I took that at face value, bid her good tidings, and trekked onwards towards the epicenter.
Let me sidestep a bit by saying thank you to those that read until the very end. I am very cognizant that the more I write, the more you have to read. Oftentimes I find myself trying to cut down the word count, but rarely am I successful. Thus, I reward the reader with pictures between paragraphs. In this day and age, where a majority of society is driven more by images than by text, I understand the difficulty in trying to tell a story with as few words as possible to appeal to the Millennials.
Alright! Without a map of the park in hand, I relied upon the knowledge of those that came before me in indicating the possible areas where the cars would flow in. There were only two ways. The entrance I previously abandoned and a treelined paved path in what was essentially the middle of the wood. Eventually I would wait on the latter for the cars to drive past, but for now I stood at the crossroad between Heaven and Happiness. Cars were hitting me (not literally, thankfully) from all directions and it's a miracle that I didn't wear a hole in the balls of my shoes from pivoting so much. If only I had two heads instead of being forced to choose whose picture I was going to take, like picking your favorite child. "It's organic. It just happens," said Peter Bush, acknowledging how the cars just sort of start appearing in droves.
After some time, I gathered my thoughts and equipment and headed to the wooded entrance. It felt almost as if I were walking through one of the brothers Grimm's fairytales. The lush green of the rejuvenated underbrush made for a vivid backdrop as the machines rolled by, while the fog and overcast sky reduced the glare, providing an explicit view of the curves of the cars. I waited roadside and proceeded to capture just about each car as it drove by, like shooting fish in a barrel. I was so close to my prey that at one point I was pelted by exhaust gases of a passing Cobra 427. The automotive equivalent of a defense mechanism I suppose.
When I determined that my memory cards were saturated with as many Porsches, Corvettes and Ferraris as they could hold, and my previously set alarm began to chime, I retreated from my bunker in the brush. But they just kept coming. I had to reposition myself numerous times in order to nab the perfect shot of whatever car turned the distant corner. But alas, Father Time kept tugging at my sleeve, reminding me that I should have started back minutes ago. I relented and retired to the main area, walking backwards of course.
I was not ready for what awaited me.
It seems that while I was off galavanting in the woods, the cars were queuing up on the grounds around Waveny House. Plenty of these cars that were now parked did not cross my path, leading me to believe that the entrance that I previously deserted deserved more credit. But time had run out!
Since this was not the point nor place for reason, the best solution I had was to take the zing zag route back to my car. When did this Carerra GT arrive? And the Singer Porsche? I nearly forgot that GM was bringing some new hardware, namely the ATS and CTS V models. It's a good thing I caught the ATS-V on the way in because I certainly forgot all about its older brother. And those beautiful American classics, especially the 1960 Chrysler New Yorker Wagon. Wow!
Peter Bush was on the mic dropping automotive knowledge bombs on anyone within range. A real Ken Jennings of fast facts. And who is this painter creating a canvas of a car as the people walk by? Incredible. The courtyard was filled with cars that I should have spent way more shutter clicks on. But instead, I merely exchanged pleasantries with them as I walked past towards my own. Whenever there was a clear shot of a desirable subject, it seemed people appeared out of nowhere in a choreographed photobomb of my final attempts at making memories. Resistance was futile, it was time to leave.
In case you were wondering, I did make it back to NJ with minutes to spare. Traffic was ever in my favor and it was smooth sailing all the way down the Merritt. But I was left with an empty feeling. I believe the high schoolers call it FOMO, or fear of missing out. I couldn't help but think of all the cars that were showing up after I had vacated the premises. The cars that were tucked away in the parking lots I never made it to. The details I overlooked on the cars I walked right past because time constraints prevented me from taking that closer look. Or maybe it was that I didn't want to miss out on the next great thing appearing from the mist.
Maybe I will never be able to see all the content that presents itself at Caffeine & Carburetors. Maybe that's the allure that keeps me coming back. Whatever it may be, I am always guaranteed that there will be fresh metal at every C&C I attend and for those reasons alone, notwithstanding the beautiful venues, I rank Caffeine & Carburetors as THE premier event not to miss. And I can guarantee you that I'm just not paying lip service here. Come join them on either September 18 on Pine and Elm streets and/or October 13 back here at Waveny Park and see for yourself.
Until then, make sure to check out the gallery of a whole bunch of images HERE.