Two years ago, I made my very first trip to H2Oi, a car show with an unenviable reputation for the number of tickets handed out by the local police department.
The unauthorized ‘event’ that goes on in Ocean City, Maryland is now no longer sanctioned by H2Oi’s organizers, who were forced to take their legitimate show elsewhere. But that doesn’t stop tens of thousands of people flocking to the seaside resort town at the end of September for a week-long, automotive-themed party.
Last year I hitched a ride with Kyle Scaife, AKA MustangKyle, but that couldn’t happen this time around due to the current pandemic situation; the friendly Canucks, including our very own Dave Thomas, aren’t allowed into the USA. That doesn’t mean I’m not covering this year’s ‘Not H20i’ shenanigans though…
I’m writing this from the front seat of John Ludwick Jr.‘s 1993 Ford F-350 Dually, with his Air Lift Performance-equipped long-wheelbase Toyota Century in tow. Dave’s with us in spirit, and will be teaming up for some post-event features – including one on John’s Century – so stay tuned for those.
While I’m far more comfortable sitting on a couch of a seat in what is a bedroom-sized truck cab than I was in Kyle’s window-less and straight-piped LS7-powered Mustang, time will tell just how cozy the F-350 really is. Because after Ocean City, John and I will be heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee. That’s a 4,200km (2,610mi) trip all up.
The drive from New Hampshire to Maryland normally wouldn’t be too big of a deal, but John is the middle of a complete turbo system overhaul, so we’re hauling NA. This means that every slight gradient or headwind has a real impact on our speed.
This year’s Ocean City ‘event’ is going to be different to say the least. Between the pandemic, pent-up people, and price gouging, police enforcement is being taken to the next level.
Cries from local residents after the past few years have seen numerous new laws put into place, however, the mayor of Ocean City has, in a new bill, promised swift justice for those who are in town and therefore also supporting the local economy.
For the few brave souls who arrived early, the OCPD has already shown what it has planned for the week ahead, and it isn’t pretty. On top of $1,000 impound fees for unroadworthy vehicles (read: pretty much anything modified), there’s strengthened special event zone enforcement, and with it a list of offences that were pushed through in an emergency government bill. They are:
– Excessive or abrupt acceleration or deceleration.
– Skidding, squealing, burning or smoking tires.
– Swerving or swaying a vehicle.
– Producing an unreasonably loud engine noise.
– Grinding gears.
– Wheels losing contact with the ground.
– Transporting a passenger on the hood or roof.
Grinding gears? Heaven help poor Tim and his mates who are trying to learn how to drive a manual this coming week…
I get it, there needs to be rules to maintain the safety of the general public, however, when anyone with aftermarket-looking wheels, tints and stickers, or a touch of suspension work is sent straight off to jail, it seems like a step way too far.
By the time you read this we’ll have already entered into the Ocean City limits, and the first night will be upon us. It’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out in the coming days…