The Road to MG 2000
by Kim Tonry
The road to MG 2000, the North American MGB Registerís annual convention, started in traditional Chicagoland MG fashion at Lincoln Oasis on I294 by the Indiana border. Four couples in MGs ñ Gene & Becky Cooper, Roger & Shirley Goebbert, Oscar & Diana Gonzales, Dave & Carol Mullis, and Jake & Ann Snyder ñ and Diane and myself in our Buick (subbing for our still-unfinished-100K-engine-rebuild-Midget) left on Wednesday June 14 bound for the Cleveland convention site. The objective was to leave the expressways behind and enjoy the two lane blacktop through the farmlands and small towns of Indiana and Ohio. U.S. 6 provided just such a road after it separates from I94 at Lake Station, Indiana. As the congestion and stoplights of Lake County were left behind, we headed into open country.
One new twist was using “family radios” to facilitate car to car communication. These little 2-mile range two-way radios were a great way to communicate when necessary to all a pit stop or stay in touch when our line of MGs got separated going through a town.
We jumped south on the far side of Indiana to get lunch in Auburn and tour the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum. What a fantastic collection of art on wheels! Plus other attractions like one of the three Ferrari Mexicos from the 1952 La Carrera Panamerica. A bit of Burt Levy’s Montezuma’s Ferrari in the flesh.
The weather turned on us during our couple of hours in the museum. We headed out of Auburn looking at ominous cloud formations displaying suspiciously funnel-like appendages. They dissipated but the rain and wind were still very heavy. A radio check in Butler had every reporting they were fine and willing to press on but rising water in the streets forced a pulloff into a gas station to wait out the worst of the storm.
The rest of the afternoon had us driving through a series of bands of storm activity. Or possibly outrunning and then being caught by the same front several times - I’m not sure what direction the prevailing winds were. We reached our overnight destination of Port Clinton, Ohio on Lake Erie in good time and strolled the town before settling on the Tin Goose Saloon (named for the Ford Trimotor planes flown into the Seventies by Island Airways out to the nearby islands in Lake Erie).
The next morning we were joined by Bill Hedrick who had caught up in the early morning hours and stayed down the street in Port Clinton. It was only a couple more hours to the headquarters Holiday Inn Independence. It took an extra hour after an impromptu tech session when Bill, Hedrick’s generator gave up the ghost. Fortuitously, Bill had pulled into a shopping center in Huron, Ohio that had an Ace Hardware and a short belt was quickly procured to run the water pump and the dead generator removed. The rest of the trip to Independence was easily done on battery power and a new generator obtained from a vendor at the show.
And what a show! The level of organization and planning that the Emerald Necklace MG Register put in to the show was phenomenal and only exceeded by their follow through and execution. There was plenty to do - driving tours, sights to see (the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seemed to head everyone’s list), parking lot parties - the works. We had a great time Thursday night in the Flats, the entertainment district along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland. Great food, great entertainment and it seemed like every bar had Guiness on tap.
The car show on Saturday was held at Burke Lakefont Airport. 450-plus MGs in a perfect urban setting. Cool lake breezes, plenty of shade but yet right downtown. And just a short walk from attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.
The evening banquet was short and sweet as promised and quickly adjourned to the parking lot where a DJ spun discs as valve cover racing and “MG Olympics” were held. The car show results were announced appropriately enough out by the cars themselves. Our own Gene and Becky Cooper won Best of Show for their LE. Roger & Shirley Goebbert won 3rd Place in Recessed grille MGB, Dane Lay took 3rd place MGC and in the other MG category Ed & Julie Polonus took First and Jeff and Sharon Powell were Third both with Z Magnettes.
The weather that had been so beautiful Saturday (after a rainy Friday afternoon) turned wet again Sunday morning. The large portico at the hotel entrance became a handy shelter under which to pack MGs as their owners said their goodbyes and headed to all points of the compass. Maybe goodbye wasn’t the best expression. Perhaps it was better to say “See you next year in St. Paul.”