We’ve seen it for years, seen the cars, heard the noise, the excitement, the fun; but have just never gotten in the race.

The Gratiot Cruise that is.

Due to the huge success of the Woodward Dream Cruise, the Gratiot cruise was born officially in 1999.  Trouble is, for one reason or another we have just never been a part of the excitement.

It is, after all, the Saturday before Father’s Day, and we have been pretty busy over the years.

For one thing, Carl and I played at the Dream Cruise for about the first nine years, so we were kind of in the big race. Seems like we’ve be here and there on that annual date, but just never on that particular road, I guess.   Some things in life are like that.

Sometimes, you just miss the bus all together.

Fast forward, (pun intended), and it was a couple years ago when we were asked to contribute to the event.  However, with the crazy everything last year, we never got out of the garage; it never happened in 2020.

Good news, somehow this year, (and actually, I will really never know how), cooler heads prevailed, and the event went, full-speed-ahead.

Not knowing what to expect, we arrived early in the day, to scout out our location in the Eastpointe High School parking lot.  It was to be one of the gathering places where the cars would congregate before they took to the streets.

Like most things this year, it was running a little rough since the weather was attempting to throw a monkey wrench into the entire event.

Not raining bad mind you, but each and every time it would sprinkle, the boys would need to come back out and dry off their pride and joy.

Then they would dry off their cars.

We were to play from 2:00 until 3:30, and we were bound and determined to cross that finish line.  Staying in touch with the pit crew gave us the emotional support we needed to take the stage just as the rain subsided and the caution flag came out.

Everyone was poised to get the green light, and we thought some Ricky Nelson would start everything off on the right track. “Traveling’ Man” rang out of our speakers as everyone crowed around to hear us.

I cruise these streets alone at night
A challenge waits at every light
I may be wrong and I may be right
But I will be fast and brave tonight

Let her roll!
Let her wind out more than ever
Let her roll!
On these streets we’ll ride forever!

I might be killed, or I might be lost
My armor smashed, my body tossed
But the price I pay is worth the cost
To chase these dreams that haunt my thoughts

Let her roll!
Let her wind out more than ever
Let her roll!
On these streets we’ll ride forever!

I never lose, and I don’t give in
I ride with fire on a flaming wind
I sound like thunder
And I’m harsh as rain
And I’ll rule these streets until the end!

We played one long set off our best classics to the enjoyment of all those present.  Since the weather would not cooperate the crowds were small to say the least.  We did however, show them that we could avoid and trouble as we made our way from song to song.

We did all the great car classics and lots of traveling music.  We even threw in lots and lots of golden oldies to the delight of the car fanatics.

Even DJ MoonDog sang our praises as we packed up our gear and headed to our next gig.

We checked back in with the pit crew and were cleared to roll out to Bumper’s Landing, where we had to play in about two hours.  A little tired, (it had already been a long day, and it had just really begun) Carl put it in gear and took another deep breath.

Sometimes people keep you going when you feel tired and lose your way.  That’s how it is many times in life, just having someone to pick you up when you are down and get you back into the race is all you need when you are running on empty.

You don’t always have to win; but sometimes it just feels great to feel the wind in your hair and see the horizon stretching out in front of you.

To compete; to put your foot down all the way on the gas and let the engines wind.  To see what you are made of as the world flies past you in a blur of heat and excitement.

That’s living!

Your destination won’t always be clear, and you may not always reach it; but when you lose your way, if you have someone special to come home to, you will have won the biggest prize of all.



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