Thursday, June 19, 2014

Orland Park Crossing Show

Orland Park Crossing Display
Saturday, June 14, was a bright, sunny 48 degree morning ideal for a drive in a Thunderbird.  Hearing horror stories about traffic tie-ups due to Kennedy Expressway construction I left home at 6:35 AM and was the first to arrive at Orland Park Crossing.   I saw the parking lot blocked off with barricades and Joel Greenberg came soon afterward.  When all had arrived we had 13 members participating in the event.  Haig Garabedian came from LaGrange with a white 1956 TBird.  Ken Smizinski,  Len Vinyard, Larry and Karen Kelly,  Doug Rogers,  Lee Bakakos,  Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Pete Kramer drove Thunderbirds.  Tom Bruin came in a Shelby Mustang and Bob and Barbara Sroka in their 1937 LaSalle. Also, 2 non club members came in their 2 seat Thunderbirds
Ken Smizinski has a Midtronics battery, starting, and charging tester.  Both Len Keil and Vinyard tested OK.  The tape for my car read Replace Battery.  Better to know now!
The Club provided a 4 foot long submarine sandwich, chips, and pop for lunch.  Ken kept slicing  the sub until we all had plenty to eat.
We were visited by several General Motors vehicles during the day as there was a Pontiac show at the bank across 143rd  St .  Phil Bianco Jr. parked his 100% stock restored 1956 Chevy BelAir hard top with a Sierra Gold and Adobe Beige paint scheme and reminisced with club members about the old days.  A radically customized orange early 50s Chevy (The only way one could tell was the roof line) parked with the TBirds for a time.
A 1969 Malibu and stray Pontiacs cruised through the lot.
The shopping center people were most appreciative and want our Club to do more displays.  I steered clear of LaGrange Rd. and I 55 upon leaving and encountered no serious traffic on I 355.
 By Jim Wilson 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bristol Renaissance Faire


Get ready for something different this year:...

What is Steampunk? Per the internet: "Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction
that portrays a world where steam is king: without higher technologies to replace it, steam
is the dominant source of power, leading to the creation of strange, new technologies which
dominate an entirely new society. It is wildly cool, featuring tons of intriguing little things that
reshape the world entirely. Even style is different in this steam-oriented world featuring
steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western
civilization during the 19th century. Books are often set in an alternative history of the 19th
century's British Victorian era or American 'Wild West', a post-apocalyptic future in which
steam power has regained mainstream use, or a fantasy world that employs steam power. It
features anachronistic technologies or retro­ futuristic inventions as people in the 19th
century might have envisioned. Technology may include fictional machines like those in the
works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. Steampunk may also incorporate elements
from fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other types of speculative fiction,
making it a hybrid genre. The term Steampunk was first used in 1987 (but now retroactively
refers to many works of fiction created as early as the 1950s). It also refers to the artistic
styles, clothing fashions, or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of
Steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th

In other words, the costumes will have to be seen to be believed, so plan to come on July
19th! Tickets are $15 and are good for the entire season. If you can't come on the 19th but
want to experience Bristol between its opening on July 5th and its closing on Labor Day,
parking is $5 (it's free for us on the 19th -- and we get VIP Parking in front).

Please join us for what promises to be a VERY interesting day at Bristol! We'll leave the Lake
Forest Oasis at 9 AM to meet folks from the North/Northwest at the gas station on Frontage
Road at 9:20 (we'd like to catch Bristol's 'pre-­show show' starting at 9:45 AM).

Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill
Phone: 773-348-3233/e-mail:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spring Tour- May 2014

 CTCC Spring Fling- May 2-5, 2014

8:00 AM Friday, May 2, 28 CTCC members departed from Rte. 53 and Butterfield Road in Glen Ellyn, Illinois on the first leg of our Spring Tour. Driving Little 'Birds' were Len and Mary Keil, our tour organizers, Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill, Bill and Liz Werth, Len and Irene Vinyard, Lee Bakakos, and Bob and Barb Sroka. Bob drove a tastefully retro-rodded '37 LaSalle with a dashboard he designed himself. More Thunderbird drivers were Doug and Soon Rogers, Larry and Karen Kelly, Dan Mrozek and Arlene Figlia, Jerry and Pat Peterson, Gordon Gluff and Mary Ziemba, and your scribe. Driving Retro 'Birds were Bob and Sue Wenderski and Mike and Laura Cielenski.

We left the Interstate at Rte. 47 to avoid major construction on I-55 over the Des Plaines River in the Joliet area. At Love's Travel Center, further south on Rte. 47, we met Art Hahl driving his Ranchero, Tom and Judy Bruin, and Lloyd (feeling the Love) and Joan Schellin. After our lunch stop in Lincoln, Tom Bruin heard a loud pop, as if he had a tire blow out. I looked to the right and saw he was still rolling. Turns out that his overdrive went out. Tom spent the rest of the tour at 55 mph, and a transmission rebuild will happen sooner, not later. At Lincoln's New Salem Village, where Abraham Lincoln was a resident for six years, we visited 23 historically reconstructed cabins. It was here that we met Ken and Kathy Smizinski, who had come from their lake home in Missouri, Joe and Sandy Kraatz from Valparaiso, Indiana, Madeline Zambon from Crete, Illinois, and Sandra Hood and Geraldine Nuckels, who had come from Dallas, Texas.

After a walking tour of New Salem, it was off to our final destination, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Baby 'Birds and a '63 Sport Roadster from Wisconsin were already there when we arrived. The Vander Zandns and the Schermitzlers came from Green Bay and Jewel and Judy Meetz from Brillion. Cyril and Nancy Leick were also in attendance. A contingent from TARTC, Bob and Sandra Lewis and Gene and Linda Nelson, arrived soon afterward. (TARTC is the Detroit area chapter of CTCI.) Bob Young came from  Des Moines, Iowa. John Smith from Kansas City, Missouri joined us as well as Charlie Gouveia and Mitch and Pat Mitchell from the Central Illinois chapter of CTCI. By the time of the pizza party that evening in the hotel hospitality room, our number had grown to 69 people from seven states! 

At the party in the "Capital View" room, Len Keil went over the agenda for the days to follow. Tom Bruin handed out rules and a sign-up sheet for "Horse Play," which he and Doug Rogers devised for Saturday, which was Kentucky Derby Day.

Saturday, May 3, we were off in a caravan, bright and early, for Lincoln's Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Charles, our guide, pointed out how the tomb was constructed and modified over the years as well as interior details of the current monument and told of how a plot by Chicago mobsters to steal Lincoln's body was foiled due to the bungling of the crooks. Lincoln's wife and sons are also buried in the tomb, with the exception of son Robert, who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

After visiting Lincoln's Tomb, we paid our respects at the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam Memorials. Next stop was The Cozy Dog Drive-In, home of the original 'Hot Dog on a Stick,' a Rte. 66 original. (At the Texas State Fair, they call them 'corny dogs.') After Cozy Dog, we traveled to the original Rte. 66, now Illinois Rte. 4, to visit Auburn, Illinois, where we drove on a brick road. We stopped at Becky's Barn, which handled antiques, collectibles, and Route 66 information. Some purchased Thunderbird and Rte. 66 related signs and T shirts. The proprietor was quite cordial and made sure that we each left with a Rte. 66 brick from a pile of discarded bricks. 

Back in the hospitality room at the hotel, 4 PM was time for the Derby party. The ladies not only sported their most outlandish "Homemade Hats" but modeled them in an equally provocative manner. Kathy Smizinski was the winner by popular acclaim. The "Horse Play" racing game then commenced. Stick horses were used like golf clubs to get a small ball into a bucket across the room. Six racers at a time held onto their horse-head and hit the ball with the stick. There were a number of heats and the fastest finishers from each heat and the slowest finishers participated in a final run-off to determine the top three finishers as well as the slowest three finishers. It was frenzied as the racers hit each other's ball across the room, trying to get theirs into the bucket. Doug and Tom tallied the scores with trophies to follow at the Saturday banquet. While finishing the meal at the banquet, big winners of the "Horse Play" were announced and trophies awarded. I was seated at the table with two winners; Gordon Gluff received a trophy and Bob Lewis was the big winner. He stood up and everyone cried out, "Bob! Bob!" His trophy aptly showed the rear quarters of a horse.

Sunday, May 4, we departed the hotel at 8:30 to tour Lincoln's Home. This is the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned and it is furnished in original and period antique furniture. Several other houses in the neighborhood are restored with some open for tours and some used as State offices. All of the Thunderbirds were able to park along Lincolnshire Blvd. as we toured the Old State Capitol. Charles, our guide from the Tomb, was again escorting us through the Capitol, showing us where Lincoln served in the Illinois General Assembly, Supreme Court chambers, State law library, and every other room. After the Capitol, we visited Union Station, where the movie sets that were used in the movie 'Lincoln' are located. Our next stop was a tour of the Lincoln Museum. This is a place that I experience more every time I see it again. On leaving the museum, we drove in a caravan to Quaker Steak &  Lube Restaurant from dinner. The automotive-themed restaurant featured a '55 Thunderbird hanging overhead as well as a later model Corvette.

Monday, May 5, we said our goodbyes and headed for home. Len Keil led a group on the state highways and Rte. 47 while Ken Smizinski led a group on I-55. We encountered no delay at the river bridge, and by 1:30 I was home mowing the lawn!

Thanks to Mary and Len Keil for leading another memorable tour.

By Jim Wilson