Land · pennsylvania · Uncategorized

Hershey Hill Climb and Fancy Cars

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Originally published in June 2012.

I experienced something over the weekend that I never knew existed. It was part soapbox race, part antique car show, part blast from the past. It’s the Hershey Hill Climb, and apparently it’s been happening for years–but I only just found out about it! Older gentlemen who own antique race cars race up a steep, winding hill to see who can make the best time. Some cars didn’t quite make it, but that was part of the excitement!

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Ready to race!

So what in the world was Quick Whit doing there? I was working! I’m doing some events with a marketing company this summer, and they needed help with this super cool event—so I said to sign me up! Basically what I was doing was just helping set up and talking to people about our client. We had a contest going on for people to enter a key code into one of the cars we had; if the code opened the door, the person won a spa package from the Hotel Hershey–so fancy! We also had test drives going on. Anyone with a valid license could take the car out with one of the vehicle specialists for a drive around the area, and the client would donate $20 for juvenile diabetes research. Works out well for everyone!

Anyway, these race cars on Saturday morning were something else! There were lots of Aston Martins, Porsches, Corvettes, and LOTS of fancy cars I’d never heard of before. I think some of them may have been made up for the race! Anyway, it’s quite the challenge for all the old cars to go up this hill, but apparently some people make a hobby of this and make their cars specifically for this type of thing. I was just waiting for Spanky and Alfalfa to jump out of one of them! The old men doing it were so funny, too. They’re just like little boys! I liked looking at all their cars and how excited they all got, but after a couple of hours, the noise and exhaust started to get to everyone! I’m glad I got to be part of the event, though. There were a few moments of excitement whenever one of the racers had an accident. No fatalities, as far as I knew, but a couple of the cars unfortunately had to come down on a truck and be taken away! It’s a pretty dangerous course, even for just .7 miles up and .8 miles down.

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Starting line

Lots of fancy old cars were there for show and for sale, too. I know nothing technical about old cars, I just like to look at them! And there were plenty to look at. Lots of them had very interesting stories attached to them as well—who the owners were, what happened to them over the years, some were stored for 70 or more years before they were uncovered and restored. What amazes me is that some of these cars are over 100 years old and can still run—not to mention run uphill!

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The Yellow Flash

A few of my coworkers and I took a hike part way up the hill to watch these cars take the turns—quite the feat! While we were up there, we got to talking to some of the volunteers, and they let us know that there was going to be a foot race the next morning. Oh boy! It’s only about a mile and a half course, but remember that a good portion of it is uphill! So I thought… why not?

That evening, a bunch of us went out to supper at a place called the Warwick Hotel and Restaurant in the next town over. I’d heard it’s historic, so of course I was all about it! It’s in an old hotel that was built in the 1790s when this was still the “frontier,” and it’s been a restaurant and/or hotel every since! Several people have owned it, including sports people, so it’s also a bit of a sports bar, too. It was an interesting mix of sorts. The food was good!

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The Warwick

And the next morning… I put on my proverbial “big girl panties” and ran the hill climb race! After about the first .3 of a mile, I thought to myself, “Why did I want to do this? Is this worth paying $25 and getting a t-shirt? Do I REALLY like running enough to do this?” But by the time I got to the top and started making my way back down, I was proud of myself! I came in 46th out of 54 people! Whew. So thankful for that downhill part—and free breakfast afterward! It was a pretty run up through the trees and back down the path, but I wouldn’t want to do it again soon. I’ll stick with a flat course and relatively small inclines, thanks.

Saturday was pretty much the same as Friday with more racing and cool cars to see! More contests for spa packages and more test drives. The exciting spot in the day was going with another girl up to the Hershey Hotel and stuff gift bags for a dinner and event that night at the hotel. We did 350+ bags all together!

Then it was time to wash and move cars! I’ll be glad to tell any and everyone that it’s NICE driving or riding in these cars! One of the cars actually has back massaging seats! Of course the outsides need to look as fancy as the insides, so my coworker Brad and I took the display cars to the Hershey Hotel, positioned them on the special carpets with lights pointing at them, then we realized we needed to take one of them to the car wash and do a thorough cleaning—with less than an hour before the event was to start! Piece of advice on car color: don’t get black. So off we went! We made sure to set it on the best washing cycle, then dried it by hand, then were on our way again! It took a while to do it all and get everything spotless, but they looked good!

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So fancy!

Next up, supper time! Me and the guys went to a really good place on one of the Hershey golf courses for supper, and we ate well! And then it was back at it. We needed to wash and move more cars over from the Hill Climb area (on a gravel road, so they got really dusty!) to the Hershey Hotel for the next day’s event. And then it was bed time. I was SO pooped!

And Sunday was the cream of the crop—the very best, very oldest, very coolest, most expensive cars were all out on display! The earliest I saw was from 1905. Other earlier ones may have been there, but I didn’t see them. So many of them were gorgeous! Several had been owned by actors, a couple were one of a kind, and others had very interesting stories behind them! One had been left in storage for over 70 years before it was discovered and sold, and it only had around 20,000 miles on it! My 8 year-old car has almost 80,000! Here are a couple of my favorites:

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He let me behind the wheel!
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Love it–so pretty!

The best car, however, hands-down in my opinion, was the one that was a twin to the car that went down on Titanic! It was in pristine condition, and it had been restored to look exactly as it had when it was built. WOW! See the picture!

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1912

The event was fun for me, and I’m praying that I’ll get to do more events like this over summer! On my way home, I stopped at a church in Marietta, PA, for worship that night, which was exactly what I needed! I love how the church really is a family, especially in places where churches are so few and far between. I ate at an historic tavern called Revere Tavern in Paradise, PA, the heart of Amish country. I tried turtle soup for the first time!

And then it was time to go home! It took me about 2.5 hours, but finally I was home and in my bed around midnight! Woohoo! Stay tuned for more adventures to come!

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