As most any member who has been to a BACLV meeting knows, Jim Shope is often the “Straight Man” to a lot of ribbing (good natured) from me. Jim takes it in stride and is a good sport about it, I trust that he is not offended by it as evidenced by the fact that we continue to talk a couple of times a week, which is significantly less time than we used to spend together.
In the past 13 years or so, Shope and I have literally spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours talking on the phone, working in his shop or mine (or somebody else’s) on any number of projects. We even managed to somehow avoid burning a VW Bug to the ground, despite our best efforts. Over a few periods of time, we literally worked together 3-4 days a week for months while I was either unemployed and when I was starting my business in 2011. Admittedly, most of this time has been his response to my need for help, and Shope has bailed me out of dozens of projects I was over my head in, and has patiently tutored me and willingly shared and passed on a lifetime of mechanical and life experience.
One of the few things we haven’t done is go on a “road trip” together, although we have gone on a few hundred test drives to diagnose a problem or validate a repair. This changed a few weeks ago when Jim offered to be my Co-Pilot for our recent drive out to Gunlock Reservoir hosted by the Klenks. What a great event. Perfect weather, beautiful scenery, fantastic road, and as it turns out, fantastic company.
Jim and I haven’t had a chance to spend any “one on one” time together in several years, it was good to get an opportunity to catch up, and reflecting on it, a sharp reminder to me to make it a point to spend more quality time with the people I care about. We had an opportunity to stretch the Jaguar F-Type’s legs out a bit and be reminded that Shope is the consummate fighter pilot and car guy – unflappable, and the devil on your shoulder encouraging you to push just a little bit harder. We had a good time.
How did this come about? First, Jim was more than willing to go for a ride for the hell of it (although he did get some wheel time) and second, the invitation was extended. As I look back on some of the better road trips I’ve had with my friends over the past few years, George McHarris, Brian Naas, Bill Wellbaum, Pat Klenk and others, they have all started with an invitation and the extension of friendship and comradery. That was followed by a willingness to spend the time, a likely interest in the car itself, and something that is often tough for car guys, a willingness to be a passenger. I would urge everyone in the club to consider ride sharing. It’s a great opportunity to get to know somebody better, catch up with somebody and make new friends.
Further to that, if you have an extra ride, and know of somebody who’s car may be down on its heels, offer to lend that person your car. The cars aren’t doing the club or the hobby at large any good sitting in your garage. The cars bring smiles and enjoyment to all who see them. They are real attention getters and the “bright shiny object” that attracts people to the BACLV. I’ve been granted opportunities to drive Shope’s Healey and Ibsen Dow’s TR3 when my cars were temporarily out of service. I’ve played that forward by loaning my TR3, Morgan 3-Wheeler and most recently, my TR6 was able to make the Highland Games under the able driving of Dave Ogle, despite my absence. Despite the fact that I wasn’t driving, I was happy to see the cars being used and enjoyed.