Classic car cruise to historic tomé church
“We’re just a bunch of car guys.”
That’s how Bill Schofield, this year’s acting leader of Cruisin’ South Route 66, describes the monthly car cruise event.
The cruises, which have been happening for the past 11 years, always have a theme. On Saturday, the theme was history and the cruise journeyed to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Tomé for a guided tour and to donate canned food to help replenish the church’s food pantry.
Next month, the cruise will drive to a car show, and June will be an ice-cream themed event.
“It all started out as the Valencia County Chamber of Commerce to promote business and commerce and it’s just continued on,” said Schofield. “It’s a local event â€•rain or shine, we still do it.”
He said people come from all over the county, as well as Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.
Schofield says that the cruise is unique in that it gives guys â€• and gals â€• a chance to drive their cars, rather than park them like you would at a car show, and he says any make or model is welcome.
On Saturday, there was a colorful, shiny handful of automobiles ranging from old to new, including an orange 1971 Ford pickup, a black and lime green 1954 Ford Crestline, a salmon-colored 1961 Studebaker and a fuschia 1937 Plymouth â€• all as glossy and vibrant as hard candy on wheels.
After a brief meet-and-greet at the Well Fargo in Bosque Farms, the usual rendezvous point, the motorists formed a prismatic motorcade and set off down old Route 66 to N.M. 47 and on to the historic Tomé church, where they were greeted by Father José Hernandez, church historian Ramon Torres, and Mindy Fresquez, pantry manager for the church’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.
“We are really happy that they could donate food — we really appreciate them,” said Fresquez of a large collection of food brought by the cruisers. “We are helping and feeding more than double the people we did a year ago.”
During the church tour, which Torres said is the largest he’s given, he explained the renovation process the church is currently going through, as well as interesting facts about various features of the church.
He showed the crowd a church bell with parishioners’ names erased from it, which he said a former priest in the early years of the parish had ordered removed after the individuals lost favor with the church.
He then demonstrated the bell’s different tones and told amusing antidotes covering the last 400 years of the parish, finishing with a show and tell of thorns from “The Thorn Tree,” which was planted by Father Jean Baptiste Ralliere more than 100 years ago.
Torres said Ralliere brought the seeds for the tree from France and used the thorns to make crowns, which he gave out to parishioners during Lent that were said to have healing properties.
The Cruisin’ South Route 66 car cruise is a free event and convenes every second Saturday of the month at the Wells Fargo in Bosque Farms.
The cruise will be meeting at 1 p.m. for day cruises, which embark at 1:30 p.m. sharp, until June, when they will switch to night cruises and meet at 6 p.m., leaving at 6:30 sharp.
For more information, call Schofield at 565-2105, or visit the Route 66 Rodders website at www.theroute66rodders.com; or the New Mexico Council of Car Clubs website at www.nmcarcouncil.net.
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