Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spring Tour- 2015

Spring Tour to Kokomo, Indiana

May Day brought everyone together at the McDonald's in Glen Ellyn for the start of the Spring Tour to Indiana.  As we headed out for our weekend adventure our caravan consisted of 16 cars of which there were 11 baby birds, 4 retro birds and a Ford Escape.

We arrived at Fair Oaks Dairy around 11 am and headed to the birthing barn to watch a baby calf being born.  After the birth, we hopped onto the Dairy Bus to see the inner workings of the Dairy. We rode thru the areas were the cows are housed and fed and also by the baby calves. We then went into the milking area and watched how the cows were loaded onto a carousal type system, prepped,  hooked up to be milked and then unloaded. The Tour Guide explained the whole milking process that went on at the dairy. He said that the milking process goes on almost 24 hours a day with only a few breaks. The Dairy can milk 72 cows every 8 minutes. The guide mentioned that the milk is shipped out raw to be processed. They ship the milk to Southern Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and a few other Southern States.  Kroger is the main chain that takes in the raw milk , processes it and then ships to their stores.

After the  Dairy Tour, we had lunch in the Dairy Cafe before our next tour. The Pig Adventure was next, so we rode on the bus to the Pig Farm.  After gathering in the visitors center, we were able to walk through the enclosed corridors of the Pig Barns. The Pig Farm consisted of three state of the art enclosed barns,  all of which you could view from above. There was the "Gestation Barn" where you could watch the pigs grow, learn how to eat out of the electronic feeding system and see how they perform modern day practices of impregnation on the female pigs. The "Farrowing Barn" was where the birthing process happened and where all the lil piglets were. The "Growing Barn" housed the 4-week old piglets to the adult pigs.  While we were there we were able to see a 2 hour old piglet and ask the handler questions about the piglet and the birthing process.  We were told that the  Pig Farm currently houses over 9000 pigs but that number keeps growing as more piglets were born.

When our Pig Tour ended, we headed to the Holiday Inn Express in Kokomo to check in and relax a bit. We gathered in the Hospitality Suite for Pizza, Snacks, Drinks and Conversation. During our time in the Hospitality Suite, Tom Bruin talked about the events for the Derby Party on Saturday. He also mentioned that those who chose, could participate in a $2 bet for win/place/draw for The Kentucky Derby race. Ken Smizinski reminded everyone about the upcoming Eddie Cash Show and Joel Greenberg talked about the Motor Row Tour in July. During the evening, Larry Kelly provided music for everyone, some of the ladies got up and danced and sang with the tunes.

Saturday Morning brought most of us together for the complimentary breakfast. Larry Kelly was very happy to see the hotel had a pancake machine, which Larry had mastered very well at another hotel on one of the other tours.  After breakfast we headed to the Kokomo Auto Museum to see the vintage cars on display. The cars in the museum are actually being stored by their owners and are on display, unless the owner chooses to use the car. The Auto Museum also had a Ford Thunderbird Display in the one corner. After the museum we had a few hours on our own before the Derby Party. Some members traveled back to the hotel, while others toured Kokomo, visited a museum, went to the flea market or had lunch.

The Derby Party brought out the finest of Derby Hats custom made by the ladies. Everyone enjoyed Mint Juleps, other refreshments and snacks. Tom Bruin hosted a pin the tail on the Race Horse Contest.  There were three contestants up at a time. Each was blind folded and wore a horse head hat. They were twirled three times and then let go to trot over to the board and pin the tail on the horse. Each contestants horse tail was measured  from where it was placed to where it was suppose to be placed.  After all of the rounds, the closest measured tail was the winner. Lloyd Schellin and Larry Kelly tied for second.  A run off was held, where Larry and Lloyd both were blind folded and had to trot over to the board, find a tail and then try and place it in it's appropriate spot. The winners of the game were:  1st Place: Jerry Michna, 2nd Place Larry Kelly and 3rd Place Lloyd Schellin.
While we waited for the Kentucky Derby Race to start, the ladies danced to 50's & 60's music as others mingled. When the race was over, the winner of The Kentucky Derby also produced 13 winners for our derby win, place and draw. Dinner that evening was at the Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery and then the remainder of the evening was back at the hospitality room.  Mary and Len Keil popped open a magnum size bottle of white wine they had received from former member Doug Rogers. Everyone took a glass of wine and we all toasted in honor of Doug Rogers.

Sunday as we packed and checked out, we all headed to Monon, Indiana to see the Railway Museum. The Museum also had set up a buffet lunch for us back in the main part of the museum. During lunch, we sang "Happy Birthday" to Mike Cielenski, who was celebrating his 40th Birthday that day. After lunch,  we finished browsing around the museum both inside and out and then departed to head home. Ending another fabulous Spring Tour.

A big Thank You goes out to Liz & Bill Werth for coordinating a fun filled Spring Tour!  Thanks Liz for being a great tour leader.

This year's Spring Tour participants were: Lee Bakakos, Tom & Judy Bruin, Mike & Laura Cielenski, Joel Greenberg & Annie Luginbill, Gordon Gluff & Mary Ziemba, Bob & Helen Hoge, Mary & Len Keil, Larry & Karen Kelly, Ed Levin &Rose Kovalenko, Jerry & Doreen Michna, Jerry & Pat Peterson, Lloyd & Joan Schellin, Ken & Kathy Smizinski, Len & Irene Vinyard, Bill & Liz Werth and Jim & Jane Wilson.

Respectfully Submitted by,
Laura Cielenski