CC Road Trip: The Fiery Ford and The Flying Fifty-Four


After a warm spell that bridged the autumnal solstice, the last weekend in September dawned bright and cold in the Hudson Valley. I planned a long-anticipated breakfast run on “the other side of the river” for me and my ’98 Honda PC800. This time of year is prime for viewing old cars in New York, and I happened upon one, right off.


Making our way  to the eastern side of the Bear Mountain Bridge in mid-50 degree temperatures (F), my steed and I thought it wise to stop at the Garrison Café for a cup of joe, where the elderly owners of this ‘40 Ford Deluxe coupe were dining on eggs, leaving their pet Jack Russell to stand guard.


I hailed the gent on his way out of the café to admire his taste in vintage hardware, and he took the opportunity to expound on the 5-window body style.

“I used to race these. One time I got my arms burned in an accident. The guy in front of me dropped his fuel tank and I ran over it. There was no window crank on the right side of the car, so I had to exit through driver’s window into the fire on the active side of the track. I was in the backstretch calling for an ambulance, and it never came, so I ran across the infield to find ‘em.

”You gotta take me to the hospital”, I told ‘em, and they said they had to get over to the far side of the track, because there was a guy on fire over there.

“Well, that’s ME!’”


The morning sun had yet to overshine treetops on the hills above Route 9D by the Hudson, so I tied up Ole’ Dobbin at a curb in Cold Spring, and indulged in a protracted breakfast at the Silver Spoon Café to combat the chill (good eggs).


When yellow rays finally crept across the street and glowed in the banquette on the far side of the doorway, it was warm enough to go.


My horse and I mosied out of town, following a hand drawn plan, distilled from Google maps, of the beautiful back country two-lanes of Putnam County.


Ambling through undulating roads dotted with horse farms, I crested a hill to find this wonderful sight. I’ll wager any CC-er would have stopped to photograph it, so I got it for all of us. The owners of this neatly presented farm allowed their whimsy to decorate the barn’s exterior with colorful signs, and a “Buck Rogers” rocket ship. A pang of nostalgia struck when I saw the digits, “29/9” on a bill near the center. This was a prime per-gallon gasoline price seen on the highways during our family’s summer vacation in 1963.


The pièce de résistance, though is the patinated 1954 senior Packard nose affixed to the front of the building, the crown jewel in a lovely bouquet of beer signs. Looking up, there’s no way for a cornball mind like mine to avoid generating an ersatz Rocky & Bullwinkle-style slogan:

“Packard Flies High in ‘54!” or, “Ask the Man Who’s Flown One!”