The Jalopyrama

The Jalopyrama

All of my suspicions were confirmed. My trip to the far north this weekend could have had hideous consequences had I not prepared accordingly; had I not covered my bases; had I not dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s; had I not brought along my attorney.

It started with an airplane ride. Blake and I left Austin early on Friday morning. The skies weren’t proving to be all that friendly, so we decided to see if alcohol would alleviate the affects of turbulence. It did. But only if fed continuously and with a dire sense of urgency. As a result, my attorney and I arrived in Maryland with a reduced sense of appropriateness – which proved to be particularly effective at the rental car counter. We had reserved an economy class car weeks ago, but ended up in a black Chevrolet Tahoe after explaining to the agent that even Chevrolets were bigger in Texas. He gave the free upgrade to prove us wrong. Sucker.

In any case, we ended up in Annapolis at a reasonable hour, grabbed some crab cakes, and then retired to the host hotel. We quickly calculated that the bar was the place to be, made friends with Sandra (a very sharp bar tender), and got to work on what would become a most impressive tab. From here, the story gets infinitely more interesting and weird but I’ve been advised by my attorney to gloss over the details of the evening that would greatly affect the rest of our weekend. He’s paid to know better so that you fellas won’t know any different. And anyway, he tells me I’m totally in the clear from a legal standpoint now that I am back across state lines.

We woke up late on Saturday morning with pounding heads and the satisfaction that comes with knowing that we truly lived the night before. After taking a shower (separately mind you) to wash off the dried-up oatmeal and some mysterious green chemical that accompanied it, we grabbed some lunch, and then headed for the Jalopyrama. We arrived at the show no later than 1:30pm to odd looks and strange comments:

“Where have you guys been? The show is almost over. You should have seen this joint at 8am.”

“Are you guys just now getting here? Christ, it’s almost 2pm!”

“Are you Ryan’s attorney? Can I speak to you for a moment in private please?”

Apparently, folks on the east coast start their shows early so that they can get home in time to do god knows what. I didn’t let it bother me. I was too enthralled by the venue: The Maryland National Guard Armory. Essentially, it’s a concrete block building about the size of a gymnasium with a parking lot on three sides. Inside the building is the crown jewel of the Jalopyrama – about 25 hand picked cars with varying degrees of historical significance. Outside, the parking lot is packed with previous “indoor honorees” and other traditional hot rods and customs – mostly great examples and maybe a few that aren’t.

The result is a certain duality that is really charming. I’m a small car show guy to begin with and the Jalopyrama offers two small shows in one, where the outside is a mixed bag of personality as great cars sit next to decent ones and some guy running the PA can’t quite figure out how to use the mic to tend to a whole shit ton of charitable auctions. Meanwhile, the inside is more serious. Not stuffy, but quiet and a little dark. It’s more casual that an actual “indoor” car show and as such, the cars look more natural, more realistic. It really is something to be seen.

What it all boils down to is this: Small car shows are it. When you leave a massive car show full of people and cars, you leave exhausted and terrified of what you have become – a statistic in a demographic spreadsheet somewhere. When you leave a small car show like the Jalopyrama, you leave with a quaint and personal memory based on the like-minded people you saw again or met for the first time.

Blake and I left the Jalopyrama with smiles on our faces and clear heads. Clear enough that we were able to bite the dog that bit us so hard the night before. We damned near burned down the Middleton Tavern (established in 1750) with our shenanigans, but the old building proved her merit and spit us out sometime early the next morning. No harm, no foul.

And that’s that. A couple of Texans went up to Maryland, met some damned swell Yankees, and had a ball. Thank god I brought my attorney.

Coincidently, my council is also a photographer. The wide angle stuff is from Blake while the rest are from me. Enjoy:

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