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Loud Pedal: The Parking Nightmare

by Robert Goldman

Growing up, I suffered the form of nightmares common to many folks. Dreams like falling, or needing to yell but your mouth is full of something and you can’t get it out. Way back when I was a salesman, I dreamed of part numbers and more part numbers. Oddly enough, when I became an owner of Moss, they all stopped. I’ve not had a nightmare since, except parking at Motorfest.

The Motorfest parking nightmare dream is a waking one. Every other year, our long suffering Facility Manager, Steve Safran, and I share a similar fear. What if something goes wrong? Imagine all those formerly happy show participants’ tempers rising in synch with their car’s cooling water. As a show goer myself, being stuck in line, yards from your destination, is awful.

Usually, our gravest concern is having enough bodies to direct traffic. Not only does Moss Virginia sit on 22 acres of land, but there are driveways and a giant building breaking up what would otherwise be our neat and simple parking plan. Perhaps the only thing worse than having insufficient bodies would be if it rains… like it did this year.

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Motorfest planning has always considered the potential for rain. We just haven’t had any great ideas on how to proceed under a deluge. Back in 2015, we learned how much water our fields can hold—not enough, but at least the sun came out for the show. This year, it looked like rain and we got it. So, what’s the plan if it’s raining all day? How about panic?

Many years ago we tried a car show where cars were allowed to park how and where they wished. It didn’t work. MG owners were seen advancing with windshield wiper arms thrust forward, while TR owners assembled a defense, using stainless steel hubcaps as shields. If memory serves, our own Kelvin Dodd was seen on the field in full body armor and broadsword. Yes, in answer to your disbelief, photos exist, of Kelvin in armor. Our “combat photographer” was last seen enveloped in a forest of flashing stainless steel dipstick lances.

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With Motorfest 2019 facing an inevitability of rain, we made a late call to park all those who braved the weather, together in our paved lot, and in whatever order they showed up. It was similar to the random parking plan, except this time we wouldn’t let folks choose their spot. If a Jaguar 420G was followed in by an Austin 7 Nippy, they would park side by side. Of course sufficient room would be required between to ensure the Austin was not sucked into the Jag’s extensive gravity well.

Thankfully, while our beleaguered parking crew fought the Battle of Parking Lot A, I was hiding inside enjoying Tom Matano, of Mazda Miata design fame, explain why cars often get designed like dinner plates. There are issues involved in automotive design us laypeople would never consider. Tom’s presence at a time when the Miata is celebrating its 30 anniversary was a real gift. I bet the British car folks who watched his presentation learned a few things as well. Thank you Tom.

At this late date in the year, our semi-annual nightmare has faded, to be replaced by fond memories of an event which survived the weather, survived our parking plan, and thrived. Some time about June of 2020, we will start the Motorfest planning process once more. How will we top this year’s show? Great. I see a whole new set of nightmares ahead.

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