July's for Cruisin' in Vancouver
Photos & Story by Bob Roseberry
The 2016 edition of Cruisin' the Gut opened dry, warm and, thankfully, nowhere near as "toasty" as the previous year. In what has seemly become typical, the morning appeared a little slow (of course, we arrive pretty early) - a few cruisers on the move - but clearly this was the calm before the storm. It picked up! Once 10:00 AM (the "official" start) passed, Main Street quickly became a rolling car show; rods, customs, trucks and cycles interspersed with "civilian" vehicles whose drivers were there for the fun, or as event sparkplug Phil Medina puts it, there "to see and be seen". After all, that's the way it was "in the day". Despite rosy memories, not everyone had a rompin', stompin' hot rod back then, or even their own car. Many cruisers, back in the day, showed up in their folks' car, just so they could be there!
From our point of view, this is a very different event than most of the ones we cover because here, aside from cruisers' coffee breaks, lunch stops or, uhhh, naps, the cars are always in motion, which leads us back to numbers. There have been estimates from local media outlets of as many as 5000 cars "in attendance", although how they got these figures is anybody's guess because, as we've pointed out before, there's no registration. What we do know however, is that for this one Saturday, there are a lot of cars and people in downtown Vancouver. For the first time, too, we noticed that the cruisers seem to come in shifts. For the first couple of hours one group is making laps, then some different cars start showing up and hold forth through mid-afternoon. About that time a completely different group starts moving in. Given the way this seems to work, it's obviously impossible to figure out how many cars show up. Let's just say "a bunch" and leave it at that!
Another point we should touch on very briefly. Our typical M.O. is to include a caption with each photo with the owner's name, hometown, and as much info about the car as possible. Here, with the cars in motion, we can't do that unless we already know something about the car or owner or catch the owner (with car) taking a break. We're limited to what we can see from the curb so, if we've gotten anything wrong or inadvertently slighted anyone inadvertently, we apologize.
This is one of those events in our area that should be experienced at least once (actually, many times would be better!). Vancouver is a short day trip from almost all of Western Washington and Oregon. It's full of restaurants, shops and other amenities, in other words, tourist friendly. Besides, the price to "enter" Cruisin' the Gut is right, consisting only of a donation of nonperishable food. It'll be coming around again in July. Just watch the CruZin' Calendar of Events for the exact date.