On Saturday March 22, the call to crawl was answered by 37 asc'ers, aol cigar and pipe board members and their friends. In attendance were Marc Schmitz, Tim Wehner, Nick Kovacic, Ty Hall, Father of all crawls Matt Green, Walt Wallace, Mike Fermanis DC Puff Adder, Barry Allison aka Icepick, Don Bouchard, Bob Stratton, Mike Monahan, Ed Lehman, Carl Knighten, Tom Kozlowski, Chuck Shuman, David Hicks, Darryl Lassiter, Gerald Francer (Doc), ASC Veterinarian Ed Spenser, Jim and Tim Fisher father and son team, Jamie Murphy, Shawn Glinter, Paul Haring, John Bathon, ASC Stinky Foot Doctor James Mintzer, Mark Moore, Mike Ashton, Art Torano, Brad Olsen, Pat Ashton, Greg Sheremeta, David Hernley, Marc Ostertag, Chris Lehner of Wholy Smokes Cigars, Robert Bodnar and yours truly David Studenick aka the Rooster.
Long distance crawlers included Carl Knighten who "coincidentally" happened to have work in DC on Thursday and Friday, Brad Olsen who flew up from Phoenix, Mike Ashton who flew in from San Francisco, Ty Hall from Cheeseland and The duo of Barry Allison and Don Bouchard from Tejas. Other road warriors included Matt Green from Pittsburg, Tom Kozlowski from Trenton and Marc Ostertag and Ed Lehman from Chambersburg PA.
We met at Signature Cigars in Rockville at 10:30 AM and everybody got acquainted and had their eye opener cigar, Tom Kozlowski broke out a book he put together that was a compilation of cigar threads from the AOL cigar and pipe boards. Ed Spenser brought along a 1 gallon jug of PG for anybody who needed a refill.
We all trekked across the street for lunch at Shelly's Woodroast where the folks at Shelly's had prepared a private room for us. We were greeted with complimentary beef or potato broccoli turnover appetizers and ordered from a menu printed especially for the crawl. While waiting for our food, we had a grab bag cigar swap where everybody put a cigar in a bag and then drew one. I opened the bidding with a Hemingway Classic and I saw a couple of unbanded cigars with water spots go in there so congratulations to whoever drew those. And whoever put the Santa Rosa maduro torp in there that I drew, may beetles infest your humidor ;-).
After lunch, we boarded the stogie bus which was a short and yellow like the ones most of us rode to our "special" schools. Our nearsighted driver Lewis not only couldn't read the street signs, but he had a terrible sense of direction. We also drew a lot of stares from pedestrians at the amount of smoke pouring from the windows of our bus. We then handed out the cigar sampler packs and what packs they were. We had La Tradicion Robustos courtesy of Wholy Smokes Cigars, Ron Perlman scandal cigars courtesy of Rob Goldstein at Executive Purveyors, Ltd., Chessman Royal Reserve and Casa de Klafters churchills courtesy of Rob at Cigar Express, El Diablo robustos courtesy of Robert Langsam at Heaven Cigars, Conquistador lonsdales and corona gordas (courtesy of Tony Muller) and a combination of any two of Torano Dominican, Torano Nicaraguan, Virtuoso Maduro or Grand Nica cigars (courtesy of Torano cigars). We also passed out Heaven catalogs, info. on Conquistador cigars, the Cigar Smoking Golfers Association newsletter and a complimentary copy of the Cigar Monthly (courtesy of Robert Kemp).
Our next stop was JB Sims and that place was packed with 37 bodies in there. Mike Ashton made the score of the day when he purchased a Blazer for $29. The clerk caught his error after Mike walked out the door and several other crawlers were very unhappy that the rest of the Blazers were $55. Back on the bus we handed out Traveldors for everyone courtesy of Eric Marzewski at Green Mountain Unlimited and headed for our next stop.
At W. Curtis Draper the selection was fantastic! They had Partagas #10s, AF Hemingways, a great selection of pipe tobaccos and Savinelli ELR in all sizes I've been looking for *months* to try and find these). These guys generously stayed open past closing time for us.
Two wrong turns and a detour later we arrived at John Crouch Tobacconist and were greeted by asc'er Dan Geller. This is a crowded shop due to the location in Old Town Alexandria and the high volume of tourist traffic, but the selection and prices were good. Dan generously offerred a 20% discount to all asc'ers. Upstairs there was a fantastic spread of food and drinks which was good as we were getting hungry. Dan held a drawing for a door prize which was won by Barry Allison who collected $40 worth of Paul Garmirians. Also, Dan had samples of two new cigars, La Cosecha (a Nicaraguan) and El Noble (a Dominican) for all of us. Pulling away from the store there were shouts from the back of the bus "hey where's Tom?" So we stopped the bus and I ran back down the street to find Tom. With Tom safely ensconced on the bus we headed for Tobacco Barn.
The folks at Tobacco Barn were thrilled to see us and they made that very apparent. There was even a banner in the store proclaiming "Welcome DC Crawlers". These guys held on to some of their finest stuff and broke it out for us including Opus X and Padron Anniversarios. The Cigar Show (every Saturday 5 P.M. WRC AM 980) was on talking about the Big Smoke. They wanted to do a feature on the crawl so myself and crawl daddy Matt Green were on the air discussing the crawl and cigars and the internet. Being an equal opportunity kind of guy I mentioned the Cigar Aficionado website, the Fuji Publishing Group website and the Internet Cigar Group website. The guys at Tobacco Barn also gave free microbrewed beer to all crawlers as well as a free San Luis Rey Series A for each crawler.
Next stop was the Cigar Vault where we were greeted by the lovely Vanessa. Elizabeth at El Credito couldn't touch this Goddess. There was wine, San Pellegrino sparkling water and cheese and crackers available for hungry crawlers to snack on. This store was also thrilled to see us and offered a 20% discount as well as a buy one get one free coupon for all crawlers. Unfortunately time was running short and we needed to move along. Shame because the Cigar Vault guys really know how to throw a party. The owner Mike Drinkwater, has been a big contributor in the past to the ASC regional cigar friendly pages.
Crawling our way through Saturday night Georgetown traffic, we arrived at Georgetown Tobacco. The clerk asked "Are you the ASC guys?". Turns out he knew about the crawl from our web site. This was a beautiful store and had plenty of Garmirians, Avos, Davidoffs, Zinos, Fuentes and LGCs, all at reasonable prices. Their humidor display was fantastic. They had an Elie Bleu big enough to swallow a J&S 200 whole. And of course they had the store cat, a huge Maine Coon cat.
Joining us for dinner at Les Halles were the lovely wives of Ed Spenserand Matt Green. They lent some class to this testosterone overloaded band of ruffians. Although the service and quality of the food did not live up to my personal expectations, a good time was had by all.
After dinner the primo prizes were distributed. The Grand Prize, a Diamond Crown Strathmore humidor from M&N Cigar Manufacturers was won by Mike Fisher. A rosewood humidor from Green Mountain Unlimited was won by Doc Francer. An acrylic desktop humidor from Green Mountain Unlimited was won by Nick Kovacic. Cigar, coffee and brandy CD-ROMs from Media Castlewere won by Barry Allison and Marc Schmitz. An ebony cigar pen from Pens of Distinction was won by Jim Fisher. Other primo prizes included V-Cigar sampler packs from V-Cigars, Zippo lighters from Heaven Cigars, DC Crawl Commemorative t-shirts from Fuji Publishing Group, a golf shirt and golf hat from the Cigar Smoking Golfers Association, cigar scissors, guillotine cutters, humidistats, hygrometers, traveldors and a dual flame lighter from Green Mountain Unlimited and a ceramic ashtray from Cigar Vault.