Friday, October 21, 2016

Fall Tour to Rockford/S. Beloit

   The Fall Tour to Rockford/S. Beloit started off at the Belvidere Oasis on a bit of a chilly morning. Our tour leaders, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko greeted all of us as they handed out our tour packet and itinerary. There were 25 club members participating in the Fall Tour. As we headed out, all 10 baby birds, 1 retro and 2 regular vehicles left the oasis en route to the Sunrise Family Restaurant for lunch. After lunch, we all headed to the Rockford Speedway. At the Speedway we all were able to pull onto the track by the starting line. The owner of the Speedway, Judy Deery,  greeted us and gave us a brief history of the track.  She spoke about how the track was opened in 1948 and she and her husband bought a stake in it in 1959 and by the mid 60's they became the sole owners .  The Speedway is one of the only sanctioned NASCAR tracks in Illinois besides the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. It's an oval quarter-mile asphalt track which hosts many races including figure 8 and demolition derbies along with concerts and other events. Mrs. Deery said that she is still very active in the day to day activities of the track along with her children.  After she spoke and answered questions about the track, the club members were able to get in their cars and take them around the track several times.  It was a fun afternoon racing the baby birds, retro and others around the track. Many pictures and videos were taken as the birds flew around the track, some attempting the figure 8. After race day, we all headed over to The Garden Hotel in South Beloit and settled in. The evening commenced with pizza, snacks, drinks and great conversations.

     Saturday morning we all headed to the Rockford Auto Museum which back in 1927 was Midway Motors. There we looked at many Muscle cars that were on display by their owners, some of which were for sale. We then walked over to The Wild Irish Rose for lunch and then as we walked back to our cars, we had our picture taken by the mural outside of the Rockford Auto Museum. In the afternoon we headed over to Roscoe, Illinois to the Historic Auto Attractions Museum where as they say "History meets entertainment". There we were able to go back in time, viewing many famous entertainers and world leaders and their automobiles along with artifacts from various eras, wars and events. In the evening we caravanned over to The Butterfly Club for dinner. Club members Lloyd and Joan Schellin joined us there for dinner. After dinner we headed back to the hotel. Some of us met back in the Hospitality Room for more conversation and others retired for the evening.
Sunday after breakfast and checking out we headed over to the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum. This cottage was built by Robert Tinker who was inspired by his love of  the architecture of Switzerland. He built his Swiss Cottage in 1865 on a limestone bluff overlooking the Kent Creek. After Robert Tinker and his wife Mary died, the cottage along with all the original furnishings were left  to the Rockford Park District to be used as a museum. When the tour ended many of the club members headed home as others went to lunch at Culvers.

   A big "Thank You" goes out to our weekend tour directors Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko   A fun and eventful time was had by all.

    Participants in the Fall Tour were: Lee and Gina Bakakos, Mike and Laura Cielenski, Gordon Gluff and Mary Ziemba, Pete and Marilu Kramer, Larry and Karen Kelly, Len and Mary Keil, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Len and Irene Vinyard, Bill and Liz Werth, Jim and Jane Wilson and Madeline Zambon

Friday, September 23, 2016

Johnsburg Suafenund Spiel Parade

Suafen und Spiel Parade!

Let the parade begin! 

The weather was perfect on September 11 for the 44th Annual Johnsburg Suafenund Spiel Parade. People gathered at the home of Len & Mary Keil to enjoy a light breakfast of bagels, donuts, sweet roll and the infamous Joan Schellin almond cake. Ken and Kathy Smizinski encountered a problem with their Thunderbird and arrived in their Viper. Dan Mrozek drove his Mustang and Bill Balogh drove his Cadillac. Some of the participants removed their Thunderbird car tops before heading out to the Parade. Eleven cars lined up and were led by a police car out of the exit of the Keils' subdivision. While the cars were waiting for the Parade to start, the Parade watchers, including Ken, were finding a suitable spot to view everything. All of the cars carried Johnsburg Village officials and displayed magnetic signs. All cars were given mass quantities of candy to throw along the route. 

The Parade ended at a field where the cars lined up for display alongside a fleet of Corvettes. The Village treated the drivers to liquid refreshments. After meeting up with the Parade watchers, everyone went back to the Keils' for a delicious buffet lunch of beef sandwiches, sausage and peppers, mostaccioli, potato salad, chips and several desserts. Some watched football while others just relaxed. Taking part in this year's Parade (or watching the parade) were: Dan & Karen Anderson, Bill & Elaine Axelson, Lee & Gina Bakakos, Bill & Jane Balogh, Art Hahl, Len & Mary Keil, Ed Levin & Rose Kovalenko, Dean & Beth Molburg, Dan Mrozek & Arlene Figlia, Lloyd & Joan Schellin, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Bill & Liz Werth, and Jim Wilson. A huge thank you to Len & Mary for coordinating and hosting this event for the fifth year! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mount Prospect Car Show

Thunderbird take-over of Mt. Prospect Cruise Night

We began gathering shortly after 4:00 Saturday, July 30, in a parking lot north of the Metra lot in Mt. Prospect.  Ken Smizinski had reserved parking spaces for the TBirds in the lot with orange cones and water bottles.  At 5:00 the lot opened and it was a scramble to park together as the lot was filling up fast.  When all were lined up, 21 little TBirds parked in a row

Two new members joined the Club at this outing:  Trevlin Utz and Melissa drove a Peacock Blue 1956 with the top off and Tom and Donna Mazzola, not driving their TBird this day.  Members driving classic TBirds included Dan Anderson, Lee and Gina Bakakos, Rich Blanchard, Gordon Gluff with Mary Ziemba, Joel Greenberg, Art Hahl, Len and Mary Keil, Larry and Karen Kelly, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko with grandson, Jerry and Doreen Michna, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Dan and Melinda Pritchett, Lloyd and Joan Schellin, Ken Smizinski, Len Vinyard, Bob and Sue Wenderski, Bill and Liz Werth, your scribe, and Tom Wolfe.  Rich Blanchard drove a Gunmetal Gray 1957 which he just got running and wheel covers on after being owned by Tom Han for many years.  Pete Kramer drove his Cashmere 2005 retro Bird.  Bill and Jane Balogh came in a 1946 Ford custom and Bob and Barb Sroka in a 1964 Galaxie XL.

Music was provided by a rock band, Peabody and the Waybacks.  As we walked down the assemblage of cars and trucks we came upon a birthday celebration for Gilbert Wittmann who was having his 93rd.  Cake was being offered to all who walked by.  Rich (no last name given) drove by in a 1957 Thunderbird fiberglass replica with two large dogs, a St. Bernard and a St. Bernard/Mastiff mix. The club provided ample pizzas, including veggie pizza, bottled water, and soft drinks. After the food line ended, Joel walked by the seated group, offering more pizza!

With darkness approaching, we drove slowly west through the crowd, looking forward to the picnic the following week.

Jim Wilson

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Annual Picnic- 2016


On August 6, Joan and Lloyd Schellin once again welcomed CTCC picnickers to their Garden Prairie farm. The 60 present began by enjoying appetizers, including a huge salmon caught by Rose Kovalenko! Dan Mrozek, Jr. served again as chief pork chop and hamburger griller while others shucked the just picked corn. The buffet tables held beans, salads and fruits. No one could have possibly gone away hungry. There were many dessert choices including Mary Keil's delicious coconut cake and champagne cupcakes made by new member Melissa Kennedy. Melissa also brought collard greens and corn bread which was something new and delicious.

There was no actual business meeting, but Ken Smizinski thanked Lloyd and Joan for their gracious hospitality and the group sang to those celebrating birthdays in August. Ed Levin talked briefly about the Fall Tour that he and Rose are planning. The weekend will be October 7 - 9.

Members generously donated diapers, pull-ups and baby wipes. When they are repackaged, the diapers and pull-ups will benefit 88 families. Thank you all for your thoughtfulness.

As with the set-up, many pitched in to help clean up. The leftover pop and water will be used at future outings and tours. Thank you to Joan and Lloyd for hosting another wonderful picnic.

Liz Werth

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Downers Grove Cruise Night

Cruise Night in Downers Grove

It was a perfect evening for the Downers Grove Cruise Night in Downtown Downers Grove. The featured cars for the evening were "Thunderbirds". Members started arriving around 4pm at Curtiss Street which is the designated area for the featured cars. Though Curtiss Street is not closed down, parking spaces are saved as regular visitors leave. Thank you to those who helped block spaces for our clubs t-birds.  Our club had 16 thunderbirds participate, of which 13 were baby birds.   There were also 10 other thunderbirds participating, some from other Chicago area Thunderbird Clubs. Club members feasted on pizza from Angelo's as they were able to mingle on the sidewalk by their cars. During the evening, some club members walked around  town viewing the rest of the car show and or to shop in the stores.  At the end of the evening the Car Show Committee handed out a trophy for Best Featured Car.  Congratulations to Judy Bruin whose t-bird won. Way to go Judy!

Thank you to all the club members who came out that night to either show their t-bird or to just socialize. Those who attended the event were:  Rich & Pam Blanchard, Lee & Gina Bakakos, Tom & Judy Bruin, Mike & Laura Cielenski, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom, Joel Greenberg, Gail Hascek, Pete & Marilou Kramer, Steve Kramer, Len & Mary Keil, Larry & Karen Kelly, Bud & Cindy Kryszak, Mike Pavlak, Ron Pavlak, Ken Smizinski, Len & Irene Vinyard, Liz Werth  and Jim Wilson.   

Laura Cielenski

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spring tour 2016

                     2016 Spring Tour to Gilmore Car Museum

   Our Spring Tour started out with sun and cool weather.  A total of 34 anxious T-Birders gathered at the Lincoln Oasis on Friday morning.  Our tour leaders  Joel and Annie handed out route guides  to our caravan of 17 cars.  There were 11 baby birds, 4 retro birds and 2 modern cars bringing up the rear.

   Our first stop was at the La Porte County Historical Society Museum in Indiana.  A great place to see lots of antiques, 14 "period rooms", plus 30 antique vehicles.  One interesting exhibit was about the famous Indiana Murderess-Belle Gunness.  She corresponded with foreigners, encouraged them to come over to the US.  She then took their money, murdered them and buried them in her backyard. All of these exhibits were spread out on 3 floors in the museum.

   Lunch was in New Carlisle, Indiana at Kate O'Connor's Irish pub.  One of our little birds driven by Ed Levin and Rose experienced some car trouble.  They were assisted at a repair shop by 2 knowledgeable mechanics, who worked on their wheel and had  them back on the road again.
   Following lunch we were treated to some wine tasting at the St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, Michigan.  We were also given a tour of the family owned winery.  Some purchases were made and we continued on to our final destination, the "hotel" in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Everyone settled in and met in the hospitality room for pizza, salad, drinks and socializing.

   Saturday morning brought more "cool" weather, giving the baby birds no chance of ever overheating. Rain was even added to the mix of weather.  After a complimentary breakfast the group headed out to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners,  Michigan.  This is truly a great museum spread out over a 90 acre campus.  It contained  1 large building and smaller barns, all with fabulous displays.  There are over 400 extraordinary vehicles that date from the birth of the automobile to present day.  Included also, was a re-creation of a 1930's Shell gas station and a 1940's restored historic roadside diner.  We could not buy gas for 18 cents a gallon at the station, but we could eat at the diner.  It was open for business.  This museum housed cars that were restored to excellence.  It was a car lover's dream and of course, there was a baby bird on display. 

   Saturday evening  brought the group together for a short drive to dinner.  The Mission Point Restaurant was our destination.  Everyone enjoyed a great dinner, plus very good service.  The hospitality room was once again open for spirits and socializing. 

   On Sunday morning it was time to pack up and check out of the hotel.  Next on our tour was the W.K.Kellogg  Manor House.  This elegant 1920's home is situated on 32 acres on Gull Lake in Hickory Corners, Michigan.  Our tour guide was very informative about the life of the cereal magnate and his lucky seven times seven theory.
   We were now working our way home.  Lunch was enjoyed by everyone at the Featherbone Restaurant located in Three Oaks, Michigan.  With the sun shining, smaller groups  gathered together for the final ride home.

   We want to say thank you again to Joel  Greenberg  and Annie Luginbill for a great tour.  They spent a lot of time coordinating this fun and interesting  tour of Indiana and Michigan for us.

   The T-Birders who joined us on this Spring Tour were:   Mike & Laura Cielenski,  Gordon Gluff & Mary, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill,  Larry & Karen Kelly,  Len & Mary Keil,  Ed Levin & Rose,  Jerry & Doreen Michna,  Ron Pavlak & Ray,  Jerry & Pat Peterson,  Dan & Melinda Pritchett,  Lloyd & Joan Schellin,  Ken & Kathy Smizinski,  Len & Irene Vinyard,  Bob & Sue Wenderski,  Bill & Liz Werth,  Jim & Jane Wilson and  Madeine Zambon & Carol.                          
  Submitted by  Madeline Zambon                           


Friday, May 6, 2016

Tech Session 2016

Tech Session 2016

We were thinking Spring upon arrival at the Birchwood Grill in Kenosha, Wis. but mother nature had other plans for Saturday, April 30.  The wind blew cold as I hurried inside for a cup of coffee.  I was soon joined by 24 CTCC members. The only TBirds to be seen were two  retros.  Pete Kramer drove a Cashmere 2005 and your scribe a Blue 2002, just out from a long winters nap. Members in attendance were Dan Anderson, Bob DeLucas, Jim Elijah, Joe Esdale, Joel Greenberg, Art Hahl, Peter Hauser,  Len Keil, Joe Kraatz, Kami Woody,  Pete Kramer,  Jerry Michna, Dan Mrozek, Ron Pavlak, Jerry Peterson,  Dave Pagorski, Andy Rominiecki, Gary Smithe, Ken Smizinski, Bob Sroka,  Len Vinyard, Bill Werth, Bob Wenderski,  and your scribe.

After filling up on the buffet breakfast, we caravanned over 30 miles of Wisconsin backroads to Ron Schneiders shop and car collection in Franklin.  His family operates Leons Custard in the Milwaukee area.  Ron can be seen wearing a green jacket in the pictures.  Dick Murray and three of his friends from AACA joined us.  Dick contacted Ron to set up the tech session site and car collection viewing.

We pulled up our chairs for Ken Smizinskis Tech Session.  A 1961 Ford Country Squire with pristine woodgrain was behind him and a 1960 Country Sedan wagon to his left.  Ron has a soft spot for Ford station wagons as he recalls family vacations in them traveling to California.  Kens first topic was a discussion of the electric fuel pump. Ken uses an Airtech E80125, available at OReilly Auto Parts.  This pump has proven to be durable and eliminates priming and vapor lock problems in 1955 and 1956 teapot carburetors.  This pump is a must on 1957 E Birds with 2- 4 barrel carburetors.  Heat from under the intake manifold leads to hard starting.  The Airtech pump has a double safety.  If the ignition is off, so is the pump.  If the pump is not turned off, fuel  leaks into the manifold.  The crankcase may fill with gasoline.  Oil keeps the rings sealed, gas does not.

Kens next topic of discussion was the necessity of using SF rated oil, with zinc in cars made before 1984. Using oil without zinc will lead to cam failure in the first 300-1,000 miles 90% of the time. The camshaft and lifters flatten out.  He passed around a damaged camshaft for all to see.  This is a problem with Y blocks as no oil leaks down on the cam.  Lead additives and octane boosters are not not advised.  Marvel Mystery Oil is good for dissolving rust.  Seafoam is good in carburetors, especially those not run for awhile.

The tech session concluded, we put away our chairs and viewed Rons car collection in three buildings.  The assemblage concentrated on prewar Fords and race cars of the 50s and 60s.  There was a Bobtail Cooper that raced in the Bahamas in 1984.  In addition to the station wagons described above, there was a 1959 Ford,  1970 Torino Squire, and 1936 Ford woody.  A  DeSoto Airflow and a 1936 Lincoln Zephyr shared the building with a Plankington Zephyr Road Tractor, designed by Brooks Stevens. Ron had 1932 Ford V-8s. both 2 door and 4 door phaeton.  Six 1936 Fords were in the collection.

In the next building we saw  a1973 Jaguar XJ 12 5.3 lite and a 1953 Jaguar Mark VII, a brass 1914 model T and a T speedster.  A 1977 GMC motorhome and a 1949 Lincoln limousine, a custom model with no rear quarter windows was joined by a folding house trailer, designed by William B. Stout in 1937-38.

In still another building was a 1944 stainless steel  Aerocoach bus.  A streamlined Bill Stout design, it was powered by an International Harvester  490 that would run on gasoline or LP gas.  The ten ton Aerocoach was built as a unibody motor home, having a shower and kitchen.
We thanked our host and a steady rain followed us home

                                                                                             By Jim Wilson

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

In Memoriam


Jane Eisenhour
August 31, 1931 - March 24, 2016

In the many years since our first Club planning meeting in August of 1961, BIRD-NEWS Editors who served before my time posted their share of Memorials.

As Editor for the past 40+ years, it has become my sad role to add names to that list. However, this tribute to Jane, celebrating our 37+ years together, is obviously the most heartbreaking of all.

Jane and I started our Honeymoon trip by attending the 1978 International Convention in Dallas. We then drove to Long Beach, CA. spending two nights on the Queen Mary, enjoying the cool evening breezes, a welcome relief from the 100 degrees that prevailed in Dallas! We also climbed aboard the monstrous Howard Hughes plane, the "Spruce Goose." Our travels continued on from there to visit many other Parks and Historic sites.

Jane attended a number of International Conventions with me, and we greatly enjoyed our many years of travel across America with the Great American Race event.

My sincere thanks for the outpouring of cards from the CTCC membership, and for those of you who attended Jane's visitation.

Bert Eisenhour

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave their foot prints on our hearts and we are never, ever, the same.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Dudes & Divas Dinner 01/15/16

A few last-minute cancellations reduced the size of the annual Dudes 'n' Divas Dinner on January 15 at Palm Court Restaurant in Arlington Heights. The weather cooperated and twenty-seven people enjoyed each other's company and a delicious meal. Once again, this was a wonderful way to shake off the post-holiday blues and get together with great friends. Thank you to Ken and Kathy Smizinski for planning it.

In attendance were: Bill & Jane Balogh, Laura & Mike Cielenski, Joe & Barb Esdale, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Gail Hascek, Larry & Karen Kelly, Len & Mary Keil, Pete & Marylu Kramer, Ed Levin & Rose Kovalenko, Dan Mrozek & Arlene Figlia, Lloyd & Joan Schellin, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Bob & Barb Sroka, Liz & Bill Werth.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Party- 2015

2015 - Holiday Party Report

Beautiful weather greeted the fifty-six people who attended the annual Holiday Party at Parkway Banquets in Ingleside.  We were seated at tables of eight, all with great views of the "Year In Review" showing continuously. Guests received oil filters and a copy of the "Year In Review" DVD produced by Pete and Steve Kramer. The tables were decorated with festive centerpieces and along the wall was a table bearing a lovely "village" scene.  At each guest's place was a handmade Thunderbird cookie, purchased to benefit the People's Resource Center/Food Pantry to which the club members have continued to generously donate.

Following the cocktail/hors d'oeuvres hour and the bountiful and delicious buffet dinner, President Ken Smizinski made a few announcements including the winner of the Bert Eisenhour Award - Bert & Jane Eisenhour. The award plaque is filled and is being retired this year. It is fitting that the founder of the Club and his wife be the final recipients. Ken and Kathy Smizinski drew names for the door-prize raffle. Everyone went home with several gifts. In addition to lovely poinsettias donated by the Burhops, included in the raffle gifts were several large, framed reproductions of the Santa picture featured on the last page of the December Bird-News. These were donated by Madeline Zambon who found them in a local store! Good eye and thank you, Madeline!

Many thanks to Ken and Kathy Smizinski for planning the party, obtaining the oil filters and many of the door prizes - including many bottles of wine, to Pete Kramer and his son, Steve, for the Year-In Review show and DVDs, to Liz and Bill Werth for the cookies and to all those who donated items for the door prizes. It was a fun night in a beautiful new venue with good friends. Mark your calendars for next year's party - December 2 at the same banquet facility! Let's hope we have the same terrific weather!

Liz Werth