Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spring Tour- May 2-5, 2008

Spring Tour - May 2-5

Participants: Bob & Marcy Burhop, Pete & Lisa Ekstrom, Gordon Gluff, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Larry Johnson & Sue L'Hommedieu, Len & Mary Keil, Larry & Karen Kelly, Joe & Sandy Kraatz, Pete & Marylu Kramer, Ed Levin & Rose Kovalenko, Jerry & Pat Peterson, Doug Rogers, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Dan Tinder & Susan DeSantis, Len & Irene Vinyard, Bill & Liz Werth and Jim Wilson.

photo caption: The CTCC Spring Tour group gathers in front of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. View more photos from the 2008 Spring Tour at the Photos Page.

Despite the ominous weather forecast, 31 people, driving 13 little 'Birds, two new 'Birds and two regular cars, set out on Friday morning for Dearborn, MI to journey back to where it all began. A majority of us gathered at the Lincoln Oasis on I-294, and from there, were joined by others. Driving in and out of rain, our towels were put to use often. Along the way, Gordon's car lost power and he pulled off the highway followed by concerned helpers Joel & Annie and Bob & Marcy, who were driving the "chase car". Happily, it was a simple fix of a disconnected alternator wire.

We arrived in Marshall, MI hungry for an excellent lunch at Schuler's. Separated by a stoplight, half of the group got off course and gassed up at an alternate Citgo. After removing Doug's wire hubcap that had come loose, we used the radios and were able to easily reconnect with the front half of the caravan. The rest of the 300-mile journey was uneventful and, using alternate routing to avoid traffic congestion, we arrived at the Hilton Suites in Auburn Hills. It was determined that Bill's temperature gauge was not malfunctioning - his radiator cap inner seal was cracked which allowed 1.5 gallons of liquid to escape. Other problems during the weekend involved windows: Pete Kramer's driver side window got stuck and one of Ed Levin's windows cracked.

Ken & Kathy had arranged for us to use a hospitality room throughout the weekend. Len Keil presented Ken with a Yat Ming 1:18 scale die cast model of his car and Annie presented Kathy with two Micro Machine T'Birds. Annie also came with beautiful handmade necklaces for the ladies. Thank you Annie. Following cocktails, some of us ate a small dinner in the hotel's atrium while others ventured out for something different.

On Saturday, following a morning gas-up, we caravanned into Dearborn to "The Henry Ford," that consists of the Museum, Greenfield Village, IMAX and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Since it was rainy, most of us explored the Museum and availed ourselves of the Rouge (roozh) tour that included several theaters and a catwalk tour of the F-150 Truck assembly plant. Those who did visit Greenfield Village found it mobbed with children there to enjoy a "Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine".

Saturday evening found us again in the Hospitality Room enjoying a CTCC sponsored pizza party. Ken and Bob picked up 15 pizzas from Pizza Hut, and they were quickly enjoyed by all. During the evening, Pete Ekstrom updated us about plans for the Fall Tour.

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful! The mud from the previous days was washed off the cars using the hotel's hose. The sparkling cars caravanned a short way to Meadow Brook Hall & Gardens, the fourth largest historic house-museum in the U.S. Built between 1926 and 1929 for Matilda Dodge Wilson (widow of auto pioneer John Dodge) and her second husband, lumber broker Alfred G. Wilson, the 110-room, 88,000-square-foot, Tudor-revival style mansion is filled with original art and furnishings. We were permitted to take pictures of the group and cars on the entrance circle before we toured the mansion and gardens.

Following a quick lunch at McDonald's, we drove to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum where we parked all of our Ford products on the courtyard. We learned the history of Chrysler vehicles, viewed films and saw many nicely restored vehicles.

Back at the hotel, people relaxed, swam or uploaded photos before gathering to caravan a short distance to Mountain Jack's Steakhouse. We enjoyed dinner in a semi-private area of the restaurant. Len Keil announced that July 19 is the date for the Second Annual Hot Dog & Drive In Movie Gala. Everyone thanked Ken and Kathy for planning and leading a terrific tour. Following dinner, everyone stopped by the Hospitality Room and received prints of the group photos which Liz had taken earlier in the day.

It was nice weather on Monday for our early departure from the hotel. It would not be an authentic CTCC Tour without a stop at Culver's for lunch, so we stopped in Stevensville, MI and took over about half of the restaurant. We said our final, in person, goodbyes and headed for home. We did have a quick stop on the side of the highway because Ken lost his wire hubcap. He retrieved it and happily it was not too damaged. Radioed goodbyes were transmitted along the way home.

-- Liz Werth

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