DOBSON — The 61st annual tour of the North Carolina Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America is scheduled to be chugging into the area on July 16-20.
One side of Main Street in Mount Airy will be set aside for the antique vehicles to be on display on July 10. The club is a national, non-profit organization founded by and for auto enthusiasts for the preservation of historic motor vehicles manufactured prior to 1928.
Spokesperson Brian White explained that early automobiles were called horseless carriages because they could transport people and freight faster over long distances without horses.
The tour is set to begin in Dobson with the Hampton Inn & Suites as its headquarters. According to White, anywhere from 60 cars and 150 club members are expected to participate. The tour will official begin on Tuesday with stops in Mount Airy, Ashe County, Yadkinville and Galax, Va.
White indicated that the annual tour is the biggest event of the year for the club.
“It’s an exciting time of exploring local points of interest and renewing friendships,” said White. “Our tour locations change each year.” White said that previously the club has visited places that include Greenville and Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., Roanoke, Va., and Blowing rick and New Bern.
He said that typically tour participants begin arriving on Sunday or Monday with activities officially beginning Monday evening. Club members are provided booklets with daily agendas and driving directions.
White indicated that from Tuesday through Friday, participants leave from the hotel and drive their antique cars “caravan style” anywhere from 80 to 100 miles round trip each day. He said that more than 70 regional groups in the U.S. and other countries exist for the antique vehicles. The North Carolina group was established in November of 1952 and has members in 11 states.
He said the group is very family-oriented with participants ranging in age from “kids to kids-at-heart.” He said that the regional group has four yearly events. The events are weekend meetings in spring and fall, the week long tour in July and a Christmas Party.
The timeless appeal of the vehicles is a plus but there are minuses.
“Due to the age of these cars, breakdowns are to be expected,” said White. “Most drivers are mechanically proficient. There are always friends to stop and lend a helping hand or advice.”
He explained that a service truck follows the group. This pickup truck tows an empty trailer to be used if a car cannot get back to the hotel under its own power. Additionally, the truck carries coolers of cold drinking water with soft drinks for tour participants.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.