Journey….destination, a gentle breeze

                               DeTour Village, MI (pop 375)
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Three months of summer, at the end of a 40 mile cul-de-sac, with neither crime, pollution, nor traffic is inadequate preparation for a destination road trip. The agony of 600 miles through urban torture, Chicago, road rage-in-waiting, 60 y/o car, manual shift, no A/C, no cruise control, no power windows, no power steering, no cupholders, during late afternoon commuter traffic; a breeze in 85°F, top down.

Grew up here.   Left.   Never came back.

Still a Cub fan.

Once described by my own children, an assumed term of endearment,”the Direction God”, I have no GPS, no I-phone (by choice). An innate internal compass, the singular guide, has served me well.

I’ve left home without my dog-eared 2002 Rand-McNally Road Atlas.

Large print version.

On my own, I escape the IL tollways to drift through northern Illinois farm country, mostly county roads. Idyllic; corn on the left, soy beans to the right, 4-H, silos, holsteins, farmers struggling with commodity prices, I become thirsty.  Hershey® thirsty.

For a glass of chocolate milk.

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Passing through Harvard, IL, childhood home to my college roommate’s wife, her family tenant farmers, a lovely woman, Polly excelled as a pianist…lost her younger sister, one of the ‘five peppers’; to cancer.  Lung cancer.  She had never smoked.

We are all dealt a deck of cards.  Connie’s was missing the ace of hearts.

Day dreaming in the land of no wrong turns, at 40 mph, the roadster begins to message me, ‘yo, we’re crunching gravel’.
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**

So, I am lost.

Okay ?

Having found a farmer, roadside, to ask for directions…he admires my 300SL, I lust over his John Deere, S790. The combine has a capacity of 400 bushels vs. my trunk; one spare tire, two pcs. soft luggage and three cans of cold Heineken.

He’s using a hand held I-Mac testing the beanfield moisture levels, electronically. I offer an even trade, your 790 for my 300, he hesitates to check values on his phone, then ” Nope, no thanks, not without A/C ”
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He gave me precise directions to WI, then laughed, “you got no GPS, hell, my lawn tractor has one, and A/C !”

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S790   72 rows of soybeans bite the dust

I’ve reached my goal, the Abbey, an upscale, yet aging, resort. First stop, registration, where two lovely volunteers supply credentials in a large tote bag, which I had weighed ~ 22 lbs (10Kg). Contains name tag, route maps, trinkets, candy, souvenirs, a tiger-eye maple cutting board, and, heavy metal;  12″ dagger!

First thought, for attendees flying home, ‘could you bypass the body tickle TSA checkpoint ?’
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Wüsthof…translated to German, murder weapon ?

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Entry door nearest my room

And tote bags. We’re a nation of excess, measured by the number of  accumulated totes. I once attempted to dump ~ 25 of them, back door at the Goodwill, get my $200 deduction slip, and drive away with a grin. No dice.

Sorry, sir, “we don’t accept tote bags, take them to the landfill, but they’ll make you pay to dump.”

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                                                                                                                   OUT

 

I’m off to the opening salvo, a serial hugfest…let’s get acquainted hour. First stop, the open bar.

“Good evening, sir, what can I get you ?”

I’ll have a Cocoa Corona.

“I’m sorry, what was that ?”

Easy kid, ½ chocolate milk,  ½ Corona lager, & 3 drops of Tabasco®.

“We don’t have Corona, but we do have Coors Light”

Ok, make it a Cocoa Coors Light.

“Huh ?”

**********************

Fontana, WI, westernmost edge of Lake Geneva, a resort where medicaid and supplemental social security are a myth. Here, summer residents, the multi-generational wealth of Windy City moguls, have mastered leisure splendor.   Anyone above the poverty line is welcome for a ‘look-see’, however, for a long term stay, leave your credit score at the door.

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A small portion of the Wrigley compound, pieced together with Doublemint®, Spearmint®, Juicy Fruit® and the tears of a million Cub fans

This promises to be a fun-filled 96 hours.
↓ Day one, my new BFF, Katie, the ship’s stewardess ↓
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“Something wrong here, choppy, whoa, this lake is covered in water. Completely. I’d feel safer if you sat on my lap”

 

If you want to read about the drive home, maybe next year.
Bring a quart of chocolate milk.

 

**  courtesy DKPhotography, all rights reserved

©insightout2019

Daisy, part I

Timeline: First day of spring 1994, South Bend, IN

Welcome the 180 chassis to its new home  ⬇

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Rewinding the clock to 1969, a Methodist minister in Fargo, ND, the Rev. Mueller, trades in his trusted 1958 Mercedes 220S sedan for a new Cadillac DeVille, thus verifying that belief in Christ may reap material benefits.

In nearby rural Northcote, MN, John Dunn, bend-in-the-road Texaco station owner, buys the Benz; $ 600 for the car + an extra $50 for the 4 piece fitted luggage in the trunk.

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Fast forward 25 years of everyday driving, Mr. Dunn passes away, the sedan is offered by the estate, and I’m driving it, cautiously, 300 miles home. In remarkably original condition, it has the standard color scheme; black exterior, lush red leather interior, and enough wood inside to fund a South American lumberyard.

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The car had one unusual and expensive option (~ 175 US$ in 1958 now = $1476 today ), a transmission in transition, operating without a clutch pedal, the segue of manual to automatic. M-Benz named it Hydrak ©, which found few supporters (burned out clutches) and became a handicap at the time of sale.  The operation, although flawless, proved too tricky for the average driver, took practice getting used to, a rare misstep in German engineering.

However, I loved it, as no one ever asked if they could take the wheel.

The car became our tribute to the similar 1955 Buick, Morgan Freeman transporting Jessica Tandy in the classic film, “Driving Miss Daisy”. Daisy became my daily driver for several summers, work, play, and the occasional wedding.

photo ⬇ courtesy, Barrett-Jackson LLC, all rights reserved 1998

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Wife, Lynn, practicing her Princess Di wave for the adoring masses, July 4th, 2004, parade, DeTour Village, MI. Note, steering wheel mounted, illegal necking knob off our tractor.

My bridge partner, a very close friend, once asked me to go to the local mausoleum, for a photographic favor.  A family dispute involving a distant, disenfranchised stepson living in Manhattan, who received no inheritance from his wealthy stepmother, felt her death was a hoax. He demanded evidence of the burial vault. A favorite photo resulted :

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Alas, Daisy became the victim of being # 9 in an eight car barn. The old ponton roundbody was sold on eBay to a shopping center magnate in Hong Kong. The Los Angeles agent for the new owner revealed that the Chinese government prohibits ‘vintage’ cars on the road, hence, Daisy was condemned to a suspended turntable in a mall atrium, an obscene display of Western imperialism, never to be driven.  Little different than a stationary pole dancer in an adult night club.

A political shame, until, perhaps, the next insurrection in Beijing….?…

Stay tuned,

“but I don’t want to go to Hong Kong”  ⬇DSCN9480.JPG

 

©insightout2017

Oh, little town of ………….

A requisite tour of the America on Wheels museum in Bethlehem, PA. featured a lunch prepared by nearby Catasauqua, PA “Cathy’s Creative Catering Café’, a business suffering from an overdose of “C”s. Delicious food, however, maybe a vowel from Pat and Vanna is in Cathy’s future.

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graphite and ivory 190Sls (1955-1963) in the shadow of the Bethlehem Steel blast furnace (1857-2003) on a 95℉ day

The planned afternoon activity, covered bridges, Rodale organic farm and picnic in Kutztown, PA., exceeded my tolerance. A hot 55 y/o roadster, sweltering heat, humidity, and intense traffic delays melted my enthusiasm, so under the heading, full disclosure; I bolted.

IMG_6116  So cute, even those little piggies

IMG_4132  kiss me, I’m organic

This little piggy may go to market, but my little piggy is going whee, whee, all the way to home to Easton, PA.

Yes, I broke rank. Sorry, the criminal equivalent of automotive treason, punishable by two years on a home-detention ankle monitor, and one conjugal garage visit per month.  Harsh, yes, but the benefits of compost and recycled manure are far less interesting than an unscheduled visit to (hold onto your silly putty ®)………

The Crayola ® Experience; from their brochure, a one-of-a-kind attraction where color, chemistry, and technology magically combine to create a colorful adventure for a child’ s imagination.

The Binney & Smith museum, located in downtown Easton, PA was on my bucket list; the bonus, it was blissfully air-conditioned. Teeming with 4 to 8 y/o future graffiti artists, many of whom had skipped today’s Ritalin dose, I dove right in as if still in Miss Markwalder’s first grade class, Gary, IN, the Wallace School, 1946.

Much like the Hershey Museum, or Kellogg’s watching Fruit Loop production, the Spam Museum in Austin, MN; all destinations that parallel the 190SL fantasy, deceiving oneself as being forever young. Where else will you see the world’s largest Crayon ?

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Next stop, Hackettstown, NJ, home to the Mars production facility.  No longer open to public tours, I’m playing the Charles Kuralt card in an attempt to finagle a writer’s pass to….drum roll…..the m&m plant.

M&M_spokescandiesonly 4.7 calories each.

 

Wish me luck.