Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fall Tour- 2015

  CTCC Fall Tour October 16-18, 2015

The Thunderbirds were already parked in a row when we arrived at the Belvidere Oasis on Interstate 90 Friday, October 16.  The group already inside included Ed Levin and Rose Kovalenko, Ken and Kathy Smizinski, Len and Mary Keil, Lloyd and Joan Schellin, Joel Greenberg and Annie Luginbill, Len and Irene Vinyard, Tom and Judy Bruin, Liz and Bill Werth, Larry and Karen Kelly.  Jerry and Pat Peterson, Bob and Barb Sroka, Bob and Helen Hoge, and Madeline Zambon soon arrived at the Oasis. Madeline parked her Thunderbird Blue retro Bird next to ours, appearing as twins in the parking lot.

After a brief rest/gas stop in Orangeville, Illinois we cruised to our first destination, New Glarus, Wisconsin.  The group had time for antique shopping and downtown sightseeing before lunch at the historic New Glarus Hotel. An addition to the traditional Swiss and German food was Larry, our accordion player. Larry played traditional, sing-along songs.  We sang and clapped, Larry remarked that we were the best audience he had ever had.  Bert and Jane Eisenhour from Iowa City, Iowa arrived as we were finishing lunch.  At that point, we had participants from three states on our tour as Madeline now lives in Indiana.

Our next stop was the Epic Campus in Verona, Wisconsin.  The campus is valued at half a billion dollars.  Epic is the provider of health care software to hospitals and clinics. Kaiser Permanente Health System in California is a major customer.  The Google Model campus has been designed as a themed playground for the employees.  Buildings were interesting, on many levels, and artwork was all over.  The cafeteria featured healthful fare for employees, many of them biking to work.  Computers were accessed in multiple private offices.  Three Epic guides led three separate groups on tours.  After leaving Epic, we checked in at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express in Verona. Friday night was the Pizza Party in the Badger Room of the Holiday Inn.

Saturday morning after breakfast buffet at the hotel we toured the home of Jim and Marlene Korb in Madison.  Jim has standard gauge and O gauge Lionel model train layouts in multiple rooms on three floors of his home and an even larger layout in the carriage house.  As many as four trains ran simultaneously with lights and whistles on the different layouts which all had scale model buildings and scenery.  Walls were covered with shelves of complete trains.  Marlene Korb had more Hummel figurines than she could count, both large and very small.  The Korbs had lunch for us in their dining room.

Next stop was the New Glarus Brewing Company.  Some toured the brewery, others visited the store on the premises for spotted cow and other beer varieties.  Saturday night we met for dinner at Grays Tied House in Verona.  We sat at a long table in a private dining room.

Sunday morning we cruised 50 miles to Freeport, Illinois to visit the 101 year old historic Union Dairy for great ice cream selections.  Adjacent to the dairy is a park that held one of the Lincoln/ Douglas debates.  We read the plaques with information relative to the event and said our good byes as this was the last stop of the tour.  We left the caravan as we headed south on Interstate 39.  Joel had the repair kit but as far as we know, there were no mechanical hiccups. Thanks to Bob and Helen Hoge for planning and leading the tour.  

 Jim and Jane Wilson