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, assumed to be a term of endearment,”the direction God”, I have no GPS, no I-phone (by choice). An innate internal compass, the singular guide.

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.

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, she excelled as a pianist…lost her younger sister; to cancer.

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, two medium pcs. of soft luggage and one spare tire. 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 not 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

Choosing Gym Shoes

 

As youngsters, we often referred to tennis shoes as ‘sneakers’, characterized by rubber soles, faded black cloth uppers, and the aroma of the 7thgrade boys locker room.

 

For 30 years I wore a cheap pair in honor of Fred Perry, the last British player to win a men’s singles Grand Slam title, Wimbleton 1936.  Until my children, in their early teens, began mocking my fashion sense. Apparently, shoe branding equated to social standing.

Fred_Perry_01 Fred Perry was also a table tennis champion.

Sooo…May 20, 1987, a Wednesday, I opted for an upgrade to an adult grade leather casual, Bass Boaters®.  I recall this, not from memory, but a curious habit of always dating each pair of shoes when purchased.

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Stylish to me, although never having owned a boat, I learned too late they were a second tier brand….admonished because the best, most desirable, with patented non-slip soles for walking a damp teak deck on your cabin cruiser, were Sperry TopSiders®, the choice of eastern elite Ivy leaguers.

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Now,  31 years later, I still wear the boaters, walking my dog, down to the DeTour marina to look at other people’s boats.  And their shoes.  Posing as the ancient mariner.  A patina of ‘previously owned’, the soles have the Firestone tread depth of a 1941 Studebaker Champion headed to Kaminski Salvage on South Bend’s west side. DSCN4999

There are more cracks on the perimeter than my ladyfriend (Judy Starbucks) in Patagonia.

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These shoes, like Keds®and Uniroyal’s Red Dots®were among the last made in the U.S.A. Now, all manufactured in Asia, decades after Don McLean’s, the day the music died, Feb.3, 1959.Unknown

 

 

Once, only briefly, I considered an eBay purchase, used,  from the legendary NBA Bull, so I could walk the ‘hood in Chicago’s Bridgeport…or MoTown, Watts, Harlem, Ferguson, but the potential for a hospital bill and trying to get on a CTA bus, barefooted, without a token, and not having $556 dampened the enthusiasm.  And a lot of other ‘asms’, for a honkey clown with size 9½ wearing a pair of size 13 EEE.143547-17792cce22a44fef8909f94fc4a68e16.mpo

Jordan 1 Retro Bred “Banned” (2016) $556 pair

Convinced that I’ll never be able to touch the rim, hampered by a four (4) inch vertical leap, nor ever own a boat, should I even consider a replacement  in the future.DSCN8228 DSCN3017

Not likely, as this writer, these Boaters and my pal Starbucks are barely broken in.

 

©insightout2018

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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 ↑ 2x click to enlarge

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