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




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


“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.

350px-john_pershing_bain_bw_photo_as_major_general_1917     400px-pershings_tombstone

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.



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.


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


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.


⬆ 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.