Return to Old Time Summer, Cars and Travel

O ne of the things that always says Summer is the road trip.
Summer is always punctuated by fairs, car shows, amusement parks, and journeys.

I wanted to share with you a few places to visit that, though a little out of the way from the Baltimore and Philadelphia region, are more then worth a trip.

Old cars, and I am not talking the 2002 Toyota Camry, I am talking an age where cars function included style. Gas was cheap and in reality we have not moved away from style over gas economy. What we have been presented with is trucks, SUV, Big box vehicles over Old World Style. My first real experience with the change was the the K-cars.  The car industry in the 1980’s, changed car appearances to one style fits all. Cheap and uniform.

Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Chrysler LeBaron all looked like each other and we gained simple and uniform cars, but we lost a few things. Cars Became more efficient and at the same time less. in 1993 we changed from Freon to R-143 coolant. Cars became a sealed box we moved in. We became separated from the road.

What did we do before most cars had AC standard? well that’s part of the cars style. Modern cars take outside air and pull it into the ventilation system, this in turn passes thru the air system hepa filter after passing both the AC/Heat exchanges. Old cars had both floor vents and triangular vent windows. The floor vents took direct outside air and pushed it into the cab at your feet. The Little Triangle vents made a rush of cooling wind on the inside of the car, only what I can imagine is the joy of a dog with it’s head out the window, or the joys of a motorcycle. Unfortunately they were a weak spot people used to break into the cars.

That brings me the long way around to the Charolette AutoFair. Once in spring and once in the fall, car collectors and enthusiasts descend on Charlotte Motor speedway. One of the largest shows on the east coast. You have cars competing, you can buy old cars on site, and in the off track is a huge flea market of parts, car and old signs, tools and various items. When is the last time you stopped to admire any car not priced over 80,000. The “wow, look at that” factor.



Moving from Cars we transition to Movies. Baltimore County has one of the few bastions of old summer left. Bengies Drive-in Theater. Today we stream movies at home or go to an theater where the sound is blaring and concession prices require a second job. Step back in time to Bengies. There are a few advancements from the old Drive in theaters, mainly the sound is not provided by a window mounted speaker, it’s transmitted over the radio. But some old fashion touches are still available. You can for the colder months rent an electric heater for your car for the movies. The drive-in has 2 or 3 movies showing at a time. Costing on average $10 a person, you get to see 2 or 3 movies for less then the price of a regular theater single ticket.  Bengies brings you back again to days of good theater food, outdoor movies and volume you control, and if you want, you can even bring a chair and sit in front of your car to watch. (Bengies is open Friday-Sunday)

Last in the days of old is Knoebels Grove. (or Knoebels Amusement Park)

Knobels is unlike most amusement parks, but is now even better then most Carnivals. What makes Knobels different? Well it’s free!

Free you say?? nothing is free!! Well in this case it’s for the most part true.

Knobels does not charge admission, so there is no entry fee, if you have a family of 5 and grandma does not go on rides and Dad gets motion sick, not an issue. Rides are by ticket or if you choose certain days, all you can ride for one price events. You are not paying for people who are not riding the rides. That feature alone is like going to another amusement park and for 2 non riders, getting an extra $50 or more each for food and other activities. (oh parking is free too) Food is plentiful and not overpriced, they have old style arcades and miniature golf and nearby camping. Knobels has always welcomed people to bring food and enjoy the free picnic area.

Knoebels has over 20 picnic pavilions throughout the park that are FREE to use! Yes for parties you can contact them about a refrigerator.

Out of the way, it takes a long while to get to Knoebels, but one of the nice things is it is in-betwen hills, and that offers a block to outside light pollution offering

Get out and explore, find a new summer memory.


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