Alexandria residents might notice an influx of older cars on the streets this weekend.
That's because the Fargo Red River Horseless Carriage Club will be making a tour of the city from Oct. 15-17.
The club's tours usually involve members bringing their classic cars — in some cases very classic — to a community, and then driving them from place to place, taking part in different activities.
"We'll drive around and go to different landmarks or places of interest, somebody's private car collection," said club representative Joe Hesse of Horace, North Dakota. "We're going to go do the boat museum, we're going to leave a little time for shopping. We do things like that."
The Alexandria tour will be affected somewhat by the fall season and its unpredictable weather.
"On our fall tour, since the weather can be anything, we tell anybody that wants to come they can drive any kind of car that they want," Hesse said. "They can drive a brand-new one, they can drive an old one. It only has to do 55 miles an hour to go on this tour. …
"You've got cool cars that will be coming out. There will probably be a few old ones. But they're not going to be pre-'16," he said.
Each tour specifies what kind of car the club members will be driving, and sometimes that means the cars go back to the early days of the automobile industry.
"Some of them, we go back to the early ones, some of them will be one- and two-cylinder cars, so your car basically has to be 1915 and older, or pre-'16 is what it's called, and you can run a one- or two-cylinder car," Hesse said.
Another class goes back to 1908, meaning the newest cars that can be driven come from 1908. Other classes go up to 1928 and 1941.
All of the tours run under the same basic principles, and some of them attract participants from other countries as far away as England and Australia, Hesse said.
Tours sometimes last three days, but usually are closer to four or five days, he said. On the longer tours, the club works with the local Chamber of Commerce to get the word out, while on the smaller ones they usually contact local car clubs to see if they want to join in on the tour.
"There's a good chance that we may do a big tour out of Rochester," Hesse said. "That'll be basically 1941 and older cars that go to that."
Hesse said he had an ulterior motive for choosing Alexandria for this particular tour.
"We were sitting around talking about things, and to be honest, I like old boats, too, and at least once a year I try to go to the museum there, and so I told them, 'I haven't been there this year, we should go back,'" he said.
While they are in Alexandria, one thing they will be doing is interacting with the public, which Hesse said he encourages "heavily."
"I'm one that'll grab you and we'll go for a drive," he said. "The only way to get the young people interested in cars is to get them on one."
This is very much the way Hesse became interested in old cars.
"My neighbor was giving me a hard time because I was doing different stuff, and I was giving him a hard time because he was tooling around the countryside in a car that only does 23 miles an hour. He said, 'Before you knock it too much, take a week off and come with us.' I did, and I've been with those guys ever since," Hesse said.
The Fargo Red River Horseless Carriage Club is a subsidiary of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. It has approximately 35 members and has been in existence since at least the mid-1960s.
For more information, visit http://www.fhcca.com/.