The 190th Day of the Year



dateline: Charlevoix, Michigan

Re: response to an editorial challenge

A ride through pristine countryside in northern Michigan, a beautiful July day, top down, with hot women as companions……lurid thoughts emerge as to how the day might unfold.  However on this day, 190th of the year, ours turned to, what else, infrastructure systems for clean water, sanitary sewers, and storm water management.


Ever wonder about those circular grates at the base of cityscape trees?

On the shore overlooking the south arm of idyllic Lake Charlevoix, at the renowned foundry of the East Jordan Iron Works, three 190SLs convened to visit the largest manufacturer of manhole covers, anywhere.  What follows is all PG, for any reader whose mind might wallow in the gutter.  Where there is rain, molten iron reigns.

Within the twenty four hour window, the three aging 55 y/o Mercedes-Benz roadsters driven by club elders, logged a combined, astounding 1,236 miles, to meet and tour the EJ museum.  Corporate hostess, Erin Nickle, whose charm and feminine guile elevated fire hydrants, hydraulically operated sewer grates, and company mantra (durable products of high quality supported by unparalleled customer service) to a heartthrob level.  And she has gorgeous blue eyes, not that I noticed.


Erin Nickle lectures Donald Freese, prominent steel executive & metallurgical engineer 

Treated as visiting royalty, we are afforded the opportunity to pose, along with a commemorative manhole cover, on the lawn of corporate headquarters.DSCN0505Combine the photo-op with a gourmet luncheon at the Charlevoix bridge, homemade ice cream in Petoskey, and a 56 mile escorted tour, by guides and fellow gearheads, Keith and Marie Ambs in their 1934 Plymouth coupe as the lead dog…well, it doesn’t get any better than this.


L-R, Kathy & Don Drabik, Don & Shirley Freese, Lynn & Charles Spiher 

The moral to the story:  join up with old friends, and drive.


The shadow of the Ambs 1934 Plymouth coupe looms large. Boyne City, MI


L-R: Shirley Freese, Lynn Spiher, Marie Ambs, Kathy Drabik

Responding to the question; here’s some money, would you like to go shopping? Note that smiles had to be photoshopped on all four faces.

The immoral: did I mention that Erin was quite attractive ?




  1. says

    Re: Re: response to an editorial challenge

    Very nice… a post a la Charles Kuralt on traveling well with Mercedes through pristine countryside…

    and you gave it an edge by featuring manhole covers and hot women.

    Now, for helen’s response…

    • insightout says

      Thanks Bill D.

      I did hear from the irrepressible ‘helen’, but had to send it to the spam drawer. By the time I had used the giant El Marko pen to remove the obscenities, her response looked like a redacted, top-secret NSA document released to CNN.

      As always, pleased to have helen share her unique perspective, but perhaps the cocktail of mellaril, xanax and lithium needs to be adjusted.

      I must have caught her on a bad day.