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 ?

Attaction-BigBlue-Crayon

 

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.

Mobile stairway to heaven

 

Four vintage roadsters, traveling in tandem, stop in Penfield, OH on the lawn of the local church ‘for sale by owner‘.  Could this be the big guy, GOD himself, asking $79,500 ?  Would HE take a 1956 MB 190SL in trade?

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On a blue highway in small town LaGrange, northern OH, we pass the “Two Chicks & a Blow Dryer” salon, which briefly caught my attention.  In the very next block,

“Fu Ching studio of martial arts”

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I’m staying calm, hands on the steering wheel.

350 miles over western Pennsylvania, a picnic at the local park, and a lengthy discussion over the anatomy of an animal cracker served as our preamble to day one. Six ‘adults’ passed the subject cracker around for an opinion, i.e., was it a bear, an elephant, a lion….?

The absence of a treasured anatomical appendage, in this age of Caitlyn Jenner enlightenment, led to the final judgment; a transgendered tiger. Pretending it was a pretzel, I ate it.

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At an interstate rest stop, a long distance truck driver stopped to admire the cars, but mostly to dump rain water from inside the tires on his load.  He had to use a 5 gallon bucket to ‘make his weight’.  Headed from Nebraska to a northern Quebec mine, each tire (empty) weighs 9000 lbs and measures 11’9 in vertical height. You won’t find these on TireRack.com, our neighbor in South Bend.

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Following opening evening activities on Wednesday, which has morphed into a marathon, serial hugfest, Thursday AM aimed the engines to nearby Nazareth, PA.

A tour of the incomparable C.F. Martin guitar factory defies description in a world of otherwise mass-produced trinkets.

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 From $1500 to $150,000, with custom options

A tour of the oldest structure of Moravian culture, the stunning Whitefield House, built in 1740, followed on this gorgeous morning. Adjacent, in similar architecture, stands an elegant retirement home, the Alexandria Manor. Two ladies on the front porch, whom I’ll refer to only as Gertrude and June, the very names on their resident IDs, gazed with interest as the cars arrived.

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L-R, Gertrude, Ruth

Gertrude, age 92, had lived her entire life in Nazareth, but had never, not once, toured the National Heritage site less than a hundred yards away. An offer to be her personal escort was declined: ‘maybe another day, but not today, thank you’. She gave the same Suze Orman response when I tempted her with a convertible ride.  Denied.

We talked at length about the ‘hometown’ favorite son, race driver Mario Andretti. “Yes, I knew him, a nice boy, but really his twin brother, Aldo, was much nicer and spoke better English. Those dago kids lived 3 blocks away on St. Elmo St.; sure,  I’ll tell you how to get there”.

I drove to the Andretti home, knocked, and was greeted warmly by the current owners, offered coffee, a krispy crème donut and a tour. You may find hospitality in a dictionary, but in Nazareth, it’s between C.F. Martin factory and the Whitefield House.

Time for a break here in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania….95℉, 95% damp……..to be continued.

©insightout2015

 

Fall Touring, Middle America

dateline: South Bend, IN
0701 hrs EST, 11Oct2014

Alert: contains no Airstream reference; low in calories

Romeo (aka David) and Juliet,

The weather rarely cooperates but that never dampens the spirits of the many attendees.
……or the charming host family.

Appears you were snakebit again by the iffy fall weather on 4Oct2014. As long as the pizza was hot, the brews cold, and the pumpkins ripe enough to bake a pie, who cares. Today, one week later, it will probably be clear, a glorious fall day at the peak of autumn color.

I opted to attend the French Lick concours, also s#itty weather, an o.k. event, but somewhat starchy and a return visit….doubtful. Mostly rich white folks, somewhat cliquish, several regulars on the Amelia, Meadowbrook, Pebble glamour circuit, where it’s proper to wear a blazer, a white panama + have people (staff) to trailer your car(s), prep them, then return home without a single soiled owner fingernail, so help me Maybelline.

Some interesting and rare iron, however, the featured marquee was Shelby Cobra. Really, after looking at 20 white with the two blue stripes, chromed rollbars, some real, some “signed” by Carroll, some ‘re-creations’, mustang varieties; all I could do was look in the mirror and spell nway backwards.

I did meet up with a new 300SL friend, Phil Brown from Oak Brook, IL and rode shotgun as his navigator on the Sat. rally. He bought his car in 1971 when he was 17 y/o…hammered it like a threepenny nail until 2004, then had it restored to 95+ point by Rudi Koniczek in Victoria BC. The color scheme has the “wow” factor.

The 100+ mile drive through the rural southern Indiana hills was exhilarating. Two upscale private collections* made nice stops.

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Sandwiched by a retro T-Bird and Mustang,
Stalked by a drone

Phil drives (doesn’t trailer) and isn’t fearful of having fun, so he would never win crystal on Sunday. Translation: his dirt wasn’t as attractive as the others dirt. A good guy, very knowledgeable, with an interesting garage of euro cars.

Bottom line: the 1st Sat in Oct. will be reserved for Fennville in the future.

Cheers
Chas

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Phil Brown, a 60 y/o, serious cancer survivor, behind the wheel of his 1957 roadster

 

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Our ‘rare’ 1981 380SLC juxtaposed with PB’s common 198 chassis. Sadly, the canary with dark green rag-top on the right is worth 2X the gorgeous closed coupe on the left ?…NO…20X….?..NO…try 200X. Life, like the weather, is often unfair.

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⬇⬆ The ‘people’s choice’ on the highway went to this 114 chassis, a 1972 220D sedan spotted in Paoli, IN. Featuring seborrhea dermatitis in the popular ferric oxide shade, all original.

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Optioned with dandruff and the desirable sun roof and; think of it as dandroof. Get out the Selsun® Maroon

*© WDRB, Louisville,KY

 

insightout©2014