Not the Hilton, but It’ll Do

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

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“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

Mark Twain 1916

Miles slip by, encouraging random thought. Road burn and fatigue are ameliorated by the gentle rumble of four cylinders, soothing flap of the fabric top, and static from a radio receiving only a single AM station….Christian radio. The combination is a stimulant equal to a monster 5-hour energy drink, freed from caffeine, so help me God.

Signs on the roadside provide constant entertainment. Passing LaClede, MO, the billboard notes the birthplace of General J.J.Pershing, where on this very day, 13Sept2016, he would have turned 156 y/o. Although no longer alive, having fought the Sioux wars and then leading forces to victory in WWI Europe, he survived 88 years.

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Remarkably, he made the news in Feb. 2016, when a U.S. presidential candidate made reference to a myth about old ‘Black Jack’ Pershing. Although the story turned out to be a fable, I’d wager the general would have relished the acknowledgement.

156 years beats 15 minutes of fame, like a flush over a straight, every time. Wouldn’t I love to have him riding shotgun with me today ?

Our three roadsters pass through Atwood, KS, a burg of 1000, self-proclaimed “Pride of the Prairie” and note its sole accommodation, the It’ll Do Motel, and hence, this essay. Intrigued by the clever title, I vowed to stay here on the return trip and I did. For $66, it beat any Route 66 motel.

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When was the last time you had a key to your room ?

Room eight was a winner. It featured the 100 year background, enclosed within several window box wall displays, of the local Williams Bros. grocery.

Both Williams boys died years ago, but the three generation Braxmeyer family is carrying the torch into the 21st century. Being drenched in supermarket history is soporific, resulting in a good night’s sleep. Who needs Ambien© when bananas are on sale for 56cents a pound.

Add, too, a star to the rating card, for the toilet paper prep in the popular paper airplane motif.  Which strikes me as a miniature adult diaper, in waiting.

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And one more for the hand towel/washcloth, a work of folded art.

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The drive entering eastern Colorado is pleasantly boring, however the stunning windshield horizon of the Rockies is dampened by tortuous bumper-to-bumper Denver traffic, high temperature, and oxygen starvation causing Parker’s baby blue to overheat. A push downhill, an hour cooling off period with Stella Artois in the Hyatt Regency (for us, not the car) and we’re off to the Winter Park Vintage Hotel.

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⬆ Following bug removal, dispatching of leaves, the carcass of a dead bird, the nasal passages are polished and aligned for inspection on the runway.   What Germans term reduktive nasenchirurgieENT doctors a rhinoplasty, is quite simply, a nose job.

Long live the It’ll Do,

and to the upscale duplicates;

Choice® Hotels, Marriott®, Hyatt®, and Hilton®,

It’ll Don’t.

 

©insightout2016

 

The Twain shall meet

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

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The opening bell has rung. Kiss Lynn and Wilson goodbye;

roadster : we have ignition 

westward to the first interlude, Westville, IN, a road bend with little Zen. However, any crossroad can evoke a distant memory.

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It was here, at the home of the Justice of the Peace, March,1935, two hormonally charged 18 y/o arrived from East Chicago, IN to elope, the brave somersault over parental approval of marriage.

Later those two teens were known, to me and my brothers, as Mom & Dad.

Meet with Traverse City, MI traveling companions, Don and Kathy Drabik, quick how-do-you-do, gas up, next stop Monticello, IL, the Main Street Pub for a cold one, and reconnoiter with Salt Point, NY’s own, Brian & Paula Parker.

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Careful examination reveals the Drabik’s have secured a standard American stop sign, matched to the color of their car, and functions first as an attention-getter, and 2nd, as a working antenna for the Blaupunkt AM/FM radio.  People stop and stare.

A backroad strategy session of old friends plotting a new destination, Hannibal, MO.  A peaceful settlement on the mighty Mississippi, here the Twain have met, at the historical museum, notable for its exceptionally clean men’s room.

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Allow now for a tangential drift from the blue highway to what might be viewed as the yellow road.  Three men, average age > 70, driving cars nearly as old, find three reasons for frequent stops

  1. The 190 gas tank is = to 13½  US gallons, requiring regular refueling (the 3 R’s)
  2. Male bladders, malted brews, and prostatic hypertrophy, well, you get the whiff
  3. Because my wife said so

Here then, never before discussed, is a description of male behavior at the urinal; (a) you may look down, look up, or stare straight ahead…but never, never look to your left or right, (b) zero conversation unless it refers to sports or some manly theme, e.g.,”how about those Cubs” or, “did you notice that tattoo on the barmaid’s cleavage”, and (c) aim for the para-dichlorobenzene, that pink mothball cake.

Women, I learned only this week, first thing, always, always, look under the stall doors. Rather peculiar, but it must avoid the embarrassment of the abrupt squat stare. Can you sense I’m not ready for the trans, uni, or same sex bathroom ?

I will admit to being confused about the new ‘waterless’ fixtures incorporating the latest green technology.   Why not just pee into an empty Dasani® or Aquafina® bottle and drop it off at the recycle bin?   At issue is the number of urinal manufacturers A-Z made in the USA; American Standard, Kohler, Regal Sloan, Zurn, and then there’s Toto, the clever Japanese upstart where nothing is sacred, including Holy Mary.

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Or above, go whizz while watching a quiz .

In spite of Toto’s contribution to male relief, it is unlikely that the stolen intellectual property of MGM’s Wizard of OZ pet canine, Toto, will ever receive the royalties to which he is entitled.  Would it be politically incorrect to refer to the Japanese as “The Yellow Peril”, like we did in 1946 when Dad was a returning marine ?  Sorry.

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We have no interstate highway in our crosshairs, crossing into the heart of this great country, next stop St. Francis, KS which is not the boyhood home to the current Pope.   Marysville, KS tourism booster is the black squirrel population, countered by Norton, KS located near the Prairie Dog State Park, although it’s rumored that no prairie dogs actually live there, having moved to states with more favorable property tax abatement.

Our KS zoology lesson is near complete as we ride parallel, FedEx trucks to the left and the original Pony Express Trail on the right. Nearly every sizable town, if there is no Arkansas big box store, boasts its largest, most successful business, the John Deere Implement dealership.

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One of these, a used JD 9430 will cost as much ~ #2 condition 190SL, except,

  • The J-D has A/C
  • power steering
  • auto trans
  • cruise control
  • self cancelling turn signals
  • on board wifi
  • and it BEEPS in reverse gear.
Passing through Smith County, a billboard announces the writer and home of a man named Higley, who penned the state song of Kansas, “Home, home on the range”.  For an hour, driving alone in the car, I am loudly singing….Ohhh give me a home where the buffalo roam where the skies….I’ll let you, the reader, finish the lyrics.

….to be continued where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, next, motels on the road less traveled

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain, 1896

 

 

©insightout2016

Coupe de Grace II ….three plus decades later

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VIN: WDBBA25ABB002268
MODEL: MB 380 SLC
MILEAGE: 93,250
s-l1600-3Factory brochure 1981

In April, 1981, an engineer/inventor living in East Grand Rapids, MI, drove to Loeber Motors in Chicago to take delivery on a special order Mercedes Benz 380 SLC coupe.  One of only 3,789 produced from very late 1980 through 1981, the model designation was quite rare, however, adding nothing to the value*.  The MSRP $46,638 at purchase was reduced to $43,000 cash ( = $ 117,850 in 2016 $).

Norman Rautiola selected the coupe for his wife, Kathleen, who drove it 88,500 miles (~ 3000 mi./yr) until it was donated to the Holland, MI Hope Rescue Mission 32 years later.  Always garaged, no pets, non-smoking, the primary miles gained on the fair weather commute between Grand Rapids and the Nartron Corp. HQ in Reed City, MI.

CEO and founder of Nartron, Mr. Rautiola holds > 1400 patents, notably the first keyless entry system for automobiles, and in 1995 Nartron invented the electronic sensory device for touch screen technology.  Listed by Inc. Magazine as a top 50 innovator in the nation, the list of Nartron 1sts is extensive.  Of signifigance to car enthusiasts, many of the patents will be utilized in the inevitable development of the perhaps unwelcome “driverless vehicle”.

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Courtesy JEFF BRODDLE | CADILLAC NEWS©, 10June2008

The Apple I-Phone on the left and the control panel on the right being held by CEO Norman Rautiola have one thing in common: sensing technology pioneered years ago by Reed City’s Nartron Corporation.

As 2nd owner, I found the car to be exceptional, requiring attention to only normal areas of maintenance to drive in “as new”condition;

  • replacement of outer sway bar links, bushings, steering dampener, rubber suspension components
  • Oxygen sensor and idle control unit
  • Radiator hoses and thermostat
  • Precautionary, replacement of OE timing chain tensioner, strengthened timing chain guides, and new chain rails

Adding four Michelin Defenders, aligned and balanced, resulted in a safe, reliable, modestly spirited ride.  The profile is elegant, the 111 inch wheelbase a far more comfortable ride than the 97 inch SL roadster, and much better proportioned.  Although the roadster has the open top panache  (overrated), like ø Miss Piggy, the coupe, with the sun roof open, is like ♥ driving with Marilyn Monroe in shotgun.

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A big plus, the increased length and lowered footwells, allow exceptional room for two additional passengers…think, Helen Mirren and Vanna White.  Backseat comfort, unlike most coupe designs, which are restricted to dwarfs, snot-nosed kids, or double amputees.

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Finished in 473H, “champagne”, the color varies from japanese pewter to gold, depending on the sun.

Note, below, two examples of the short version, which appear rather clumsy with the elongated bumpers.  Ugh, insert a frown face, in both directions, a double yuk.

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Below

  • the burled walnut transmission, hazard, and window lift cluster
  • rear seat with armrest, sumptious pleated cowhide
  • unusual butt-end leather stitching (only year offered) vs. standard piping

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Investment grade, the coupe would only rate a D, however, for driving pleasure at < 12% of the original purchase price, a resounding A for the purist. The coup d’grâce never sleeps, it just needs to be rocked.

 Not for sale

*IN THE U.S.A., 1972-1980, the same coupe wore a 450 SLC badge, and in 1982 it became the 500 SLC.  All three, virtually identical, less minor differences in cubic inch displacement of the V-8 engines. Euro versions were available in six cylinder, however few were imported.

 

©insightout2016