Appetite for Solo


A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

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

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Mark Twain ~ 1907 

Dateline: Idaho Springs, CO; Tommyknockers Bar

Peeling from the pack, Mapquest indicates I’m 958 miles from Rochester, MN. Reuniting with Lynn at Mayo Clinic in a few days, the open road celebrates both anticipation, random musing and wiggle room in case the roadster breaks down.


Or should you happen upon a fellow traveler at an Esso station in 1958




1st, convening with the cars became a smorgasbord of personalities, an exceptional travel value, member support, and encouragement to drivers of these little beasts.  Consider it in your future; you’ll never be disappointed.

End of pitch.

Adios Denver, a short stretch of I-70 heading east, a reminder to return to the blue highway soon.  Being followed too closely by a motorist, left rear quarter, he is in that unseen isosceles triangle spread between the two, too small mirrors.  At age 16, learning to drive, the instructor warned us to ‘watch out for Helen Keller‘, when referring to the “blind spot”.  Today, he would be pilloried by the A.D.A. and sacked by the superintendent of schools.  That he was the best teacher, ever, would have not been considered.

I slow, he slows, I accelerate, he velcros, then at last, passes.  His co-pilot is taking pictures of the roadster on her I-phone.  Nearly flattened, I should be flattered, although I feel the victim of a drive-by shooting.  This is new tech…old tech was a thumbs up and a beep.

Old tech is better.

The stark plains landscape provides miles of power lines.  Standing silent sentries, as if marching soldiers at ease, tethered together by an electric umbilicus.  Stoic.  Technology may soon doom them to antiquity, an industrial relic overshadowed by buried lines, fiber optic cable, satellites, wind and solar farms.


Goodbye REMC, hello wireless.

The desolate agriculture here, grazing land, to feed our addiction for beef, the In & Out Burger, MacD, and 5 guys & fries.

Forget the Druids’ unhinged rocks in Wiltshire, UK ⬇


No pickle, lettuce, mayo on a sesame seed bun. Face-to-face with rural Kansas’ Route 36, very own Hayhenge ⬇


As beautiful as Claude Monet’s grainstacks in Chicago’s Art Institute ⬇


Beauty is in the eye.

I awaken before the rosy fingers of dawn on a new day.  Nearing a town of 600, Pretty Prairie, Kansas, the genesis of the civil sunrise emerges, at 60 mph, the view can best be described by the image;


The reflection on the roadster bonnet, engulfed in the bosom of the fenders is exhilarating.  I begin to hum the Woody Guthrie refrain,  🎼  his soliloquy on this land is your land;

When the sun came shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:
This land was made for you and me.

The balance of this final day was colorful.  A drive down Johnny Carson Blvd. in Norfolk, NE, Tom Brokaw’s boyhood home in Yankton, SD, and a brief stop in LeMars, IA, ‘ice cream capital of the world’ to taste sample at the home of Blue Bunny.

Blue Earth, MN boasts the statue of the Jolly Green Giant, a very large well-known vegetable, and Austin, MN, not to be confused by vegetarians, home to Hormel Meats and the SPAM museum.

Arriving in Rochester, Lynn welcomes me with a warm embrace after a week apart, knowing I’m refreshed, exhausted, and hungry, and asks “where should we go for dinner”.

“Anywhere I can get a lunchmeat sandwich, steaming dish of green beans in melted butter, and a dish of vanilla ice cream”.

“That’s odd, I was thinking of going to Chipotle”…oh well, welcome home.


“In life, don’t wait, the time will never be just right”  Mark Twain 



Being Older than Your Car

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

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


Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Mark Twain 1912

Others may expand on convention activity, actual events, and please, be assured the cars are the focal point.  However my interest is the character pheromone that attracts people to attend.  It’s true the women are attractive, and too, they smell good, either on the elevator or in the overhead ski lift bucket.


Kim, a 6′ model from Early, TX allowing an elderly 5’6″ voyeur to fondle her 3½ lb. dog.  So cute, and the pup was a real looker too….

The men, while this may sound peculiar, will not be auditioning to become Chippendale dancers.  They have good taste in both women, cars, and collectively, are a living encyclopedia of all things 190sl. Understand, however, Chanel #5 is not interchangeable with 15W/40, synthetic or not.

On our first climb above 9000′, my 2nd carburetor becomes inoperable. Egads, a deep six tragedy, akin to the century old anthem, “Pike’s Peak or Bust”.  Busted, truly; in a state allowing legal marijuana ?

Able to drive only 5 mph at 500 rpm, or, roar through hairpin turns at 5000 rpm, nothing in-between. In little more than an hour, club gurus, the Two Dons, had it running in fine fettle.


The doctors make a highway call……Don Drabik does the re-install,
Parts and tools from Don Freese, this is gonna be a breeze.  

Sung as a rap tune       

 dscn3280 kenny-g_612x380
The air breather assembly, removed, appears to be a primitive saxophone, cast aside by KennyG

At dinner, with no assigned seating, I always attempt to sit with people I do not know, and have never been disappointed.  At the opening salvo, I land between the Craigs, non-member guests from KennyG’s hometown of Seattle.  Ray to my left, a retired test pilot of the 700 series Boeing jets, and to the right, Jan*, a recent public health nurse retiree, all three of us sticky eating BBQ ribs, while discussing the breakdown of the healthcare system.

At the last luncheon, over salad, soup, and Tommyknocker beer, we were  entertained by aćcented brits, Theresa and Andy Holmes, from Buckingham, UK, 5000 miles from home.  The subject matter was not cars, the distance traveled, nor lunch, but Brexit.


Reminiscent of the PBS sit-com, “As Time Goes By”, it was like having lunch with Lionel & Jean.

The only member who has attended every 190SL convention (30 plus years) is club statesman, Don Drabik, who takes delight in disregarding warning signs.  We know he can read. We know he can see.  His wife, Kathy, is a knockout.  Literate, he is an accomplished artist, reader, and Studebaker fan, so why is the evidence caught on camera so difficult to interpret…?….⬇




A planned adventure drive, suitable for glamour photo-ops, takes the parade north to Grand Lake, almost missing this stunning antler array in a Fraser, CO, C-Store parking lot.


Rudolph the red nose light fixture, price on request

From the Grand Lake Lodge estab. 1920, peering down at the shimmering lake framed by glittering aspens in golden glory, three of our very best absorb the serenity from Colorado’s Favorite Front Porch.  An easy task following a 3000 calorie brunch at 8,769 ft. above sea level.




Train bust….no…a Brain trust.  Southern statesmen contemplating the good life.
L-R  Kent VanMeter, TX; Walt Puryear, GA; Kip Gibert, LA.

Next, the beauty of the long ride home on the road less traveled.


*sister of popular members, Mary Anne Westphal and sidekick Ken Lowman
KennyG photo courtesy, Chapman Baehler©/Kenneth Gorelick




Bubble Gum & The Mother Tongue



A prominent editor/author, on a remote voyage in northern Washington, recently wrote this excerpt;

“We picked up a hiker at one such flag stop….who confessed to having missed the boat the night before, so he had to tent-camp an additional night.  That sounded fortuitous to me….a beautiful place to spend a night all alone. Lucky bastard.

Because the writer, R. Luhr, is rarely profane, a crying shame, his strongest language is normally limited to sheesh, darn, dang, golly, gee whiz, and shucks. We need profanity (except for Nickelodeon or the Hallmark Channel) or how would R-rated movies and hip-hop artists prosper ? You can no longer rely on poor taste, idiotic juvenile themes, and tribal grunting alone. Even strong Marines need to communicate.

I was reminded of prominent linguist of the English language, Bill Bryson, bestselling author of The Mother Tongue, his 1990 twenty-page, classic treatise on swearing, which gave me pause and scratched a 30 year memory.

In our drugstore in the 80s, it was common to purchase bubble gum in quantity, individually wrapped, and placed in a prominent jar at the point-of-sale (cash register). We would buy 2,880 at a time (odd, but a unit of 20 gross). Shipped directly to us by the manufacturer, in a large carton, there was always a “premium” included. This was a gift to the merchant (e.g. umbrella, folding card table, tote bag, 4-cell flashlight) unrelated to the penny confection impulse purchase.





In one such order, we received a Random House Dictionary (RHD II), 1987. For years it held a place in our medical library of reference books. Used frequently, the dust jacket became dog-eared, the aroma of Fleer’s Double Bubble never left its pages, a subtle reminder of clever marketing.


Then, the late John Leonard, editor of the Sunday NYTimes Book Review, published a scholarly rating of dictionaries. The expected, Funk & Wagnall’s, Webster’s Collegiate, the OED, all rose to the top, but dead last, on the bottom rung of the literary compost ladder, the RHD II.  My first thought, that’s our dictionary ! The sole reason for Leonard’s inclusion; the RHD II defined every vulgarism, the “F” word, incestuous activity with a relative, anatomical sex acts, and bodily eliminations in the basest form.


Well, naturally, I couldn’t wait to get to work on Monday morning to confirm the scholar’s revelation, and by God, there it was, between mother earth and mother lode. I’ll trust the reader to fill in the blanks. Damn.


And to writer/pal Luhr, perhaps he could alter ‘lucky bastard’ to an erudite and more refined, ‘fortunate son of a bitch’. The Hallmark Channel and the comic strips in the waxed paper wrapper were the last of a Puritanical age, and you can bet your sweet@## , Hallmark will cave in soon.


Bazooka Leggings..featuring comics and your fortune


Nora Jacobs, a young girl in Saudi Arabia at her birthday party, 2016