All it takes is one sign to realize that the season is changing. Even though the weather is still dumping snow and temperatures are creeping up on the zero degree mark in some parts of the country, out here in Southern California we have been experiencing record high temperatures clear up into the 90s, and it's only the first week of March. Being that my Haro 24-inch BMX cruiser hadn't been riddin' for a while and the sun was shinin' bright, I was jonesin' to take it out of the house, so I figured I'd ditch the motor-powered vehicle and start peddling away to the local hamburger joint.
As I was making my way up Beach Boulevard, I stopped at the crosswalk and hit the walk button. As I was sitting there waiting for the little white man to appear in the walk sign, I heard a sound oh so familiar. It was the sound of pure American V-8 muscle. It's like second nature for me to look around as soon as anything resembling that sound echoes through my ear canals, so without a conscious thought I immediately went into seek and destroy mode to see where that sweet sound of music was coming from. It wasn't too long before I spotted the root of the source. Across the street at the gas station there was a '71 El Camino rumbling to life. As the dude behind the wheel began to pull out, he idled toward the four-lane boulevard, but once he saw that it was a clear straight shot for at least 500 feet, it was, how do you say, on-the driver mashed the gas, the motor screamed to life, the tires screeched and smoked, the El Camino's rearend fishtailed across two lanes, and from the back window you could see the driver fighting the hauler all the way to keep it straight. Apparently I wasn't the only one on Beach Boulevard that day who had been itchin' to bring my toys out to play. It was at that moment that I knew the hot rod season was up and running.
When I walked into work Monday morning, the reality that winter is pretty much out the door only intensified. Now sure, things started off like any other normal Monday (you know-slow, lethargic case of the Mondays type of stuff), but once I got to talking to some of the guys around the office and cruised the Web to see what was up and coming, I quickly realized there were two big shows coming up in the SoCal area over the March 10-12 weekend. Out in Temecula, the Rock 'n' Rod Run was going on, and in Costa Mesa, the first ever Goodguys Orange County Get-Together was happening. Since I couldn't decide which to go to, I decided I'd just go to both! So Friday night I headed out to Temecula to check out the cruise, and Saturday I was off to Costa Mesa. Just like the weekend before, the weather was ridiculously hot for this time of year, and people took advantage of it. Not only was there a heavy turnout of participants, but spectators were out in masses as well.
As much as I do dig the winter months, I must say it is a nice change of pace to see the sun out and about. And if my past few weekends are only a glimpse of what's to come in the following months, then my sources tell me this could be quite a ride.