We’re back from our upstate New York adventure to attend the Cadillac Grand Nationals held at Fort William Henry in the village of Lake George. Our trip started Thursday morning when we headed West on the turnpike up through the Berkshires towards Albany, New York, where we turned North on route 87 for a straight shot on up to Lake George. The weather gods smiled on us and we had beautiful partly cloudy skies the whole way. It is kind of stressful driving the “Gray Lady” on the highway as we really cannot control other driver’s and in many cases they turn out to be real idiots. I’m happy that people enjoy the car as much as they do, and looky lou’s are OK, but when they attempt to have a conversation with me at 65+ mph I draw the line! After rolling 150 miles we arrived safely at about noon.
Now it was time for cocktails, lunch and check-in, once situated, we scoped out the property and settled in. There was some initial confusion as parking spaces for the show vehicles were not going to be assigned until Friday, a departure from prior events, no problem for us though as we were staying right on the site and simply parked the regal old gal right on the lawn in front of our lake front room. To tired to bother with cleaning up the car we walked through downtown and enjoyed dinner on an outdoor patio right on Canada Street. Later that evening we enjoyed a spectacular fireworks display fired off of a barge moored right in front of the property, we didn’t have to do anything but relax in the Adirondack chairs in front of our room. I’d like to think that the display was to honor our beautiful classic Cadillac’s arriving in Lake George, but I’m pretty sure they do it every Thursday evening in the Summer.
Friday morning brought a peaceful quiet sunrise and as I began to clean the car I enjoyed chatting with many people passing by, so what would normally take 45 minutes ended up taking almost 3 hours. I got the chance to meet many great people from around the country and the world, and talk about classic Caddy’s, what more could one ask. Before things got hectic, I moved the old gal down to a scenic spot on the lawn where I was able to get some nice photos with the lake in the background. Later in the day, after moving the “Gray Lady” to her assigned spot on the show field, we were walking into the Village when we ran into some friends from home who just happened to be there vacationing, we had a great lunch together, and made further plans to meet later for cocktails and dinner. My better half chose to nap and recharge her batteries while I spent some time out at the lakeside pool.
Show day (Saturday) dawned with another beautiful sunrise, and I needed to spend some time drying off the car to get rid of the morning dew. It was about that time that I realized that we were competing in what was probably one of the toughest classes at the show. Primary 16 covered the 1957 – 1958 model years and of the 13 cars on the field, 3 were Eldorado Broughams, 2 were Eldorado Sevilles, 2 were Eldorado Biarritz’s, 3 were Fleetwood Sixty Specials. Then there was my 4 door sedan, a 2 door coupe and a series 62 convertible. Of those 13 cars, at least 6 of them had been professionally restored, and meticulously so, it was obvious that they did very little traveling outside of a trailer. My car which scores at 92 points or higher had no shot of placing amongst that group. Judging was very thorough and took quite some time, the 3 judge team spent at least 35 minutes on my car alone, inspecting her from top to bottom.
Later that evening we attended the awards banquet and made more friends at our table while doing so. It was kind of unique, in that the overflow crowd was served in 2 different venues, we had dinner in the White Lion overlooking the lake, while many others were served in Tower Hall at the other end of the property, slightly unusual, but it worked out. Shortly after the dinner ended, the skies opened up and let loose a torrential rain, but fortunately the festivities were over, so no harm done.
We were lucky that Sunday morning was partly to mostly cloudy but with no rain, so after shooting a few more photos on the back lawn we headed out around 9:00AM and after another smooth 150 mile trip home she was put away at Noon well before the real rains started.
Overall, it was a great weekend in a very pretty area of the country, everything went smoothly, at least for us, and despite not winning an award we were happy we went and got the opportunity to see some really great cars, meet some very nice new friends, while at the same time connecting with many on-line buddies and old friends. On a sad note, one of our regional members was there with a 1956 Coupe and while returning from a run to the store was turning into the hotel property, and was nailed in the right rear quarter, by a 16 year old reportedly talking or texting on a cell phone. While the car was drivable and they drove it home, there was serious damage to the rear quarter and bumper and the whole rear end of the car appeared to have shifted, it will be a very expensive repair.
Next years Nationals will be in Minnesota, followed by Las Vegas a year later, so it looks like this will be our last one for awhile. Next up will be charity events for the Deerfield Lion’s Club, the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and the Hole In The Wall Gang (the children’s charity started by Paul Newman), maybe we’ll see you there. To see even more photos, go to my Facebook site “1958 Cadillac”