Secrets of Jo Daviess County Tour
Heading North to Pike’s Peak – near McGregor, Iowa was a long uphill climb - third gear for me. Just outside the park, Ray & Sue Hansen’s car pulled over to the side of the road and they got out and stared at the right-rear tire. Not knowing what was happening the caravan pulled up behind as Ray started opening the boot and removing bags to gain access to a spare tire. It appears they have been having trouble keeping air in the tire and have changed this tire at least twice in the past week. The jack was in place, a tire spanner applied and the quickest tire change took place that would make a NASCAR pit boss proud.
After a brief stop at Pike’s Peak, we crossed the Mississippi River into Wisconsin enroute to Mineral Point for our lunch stop at the Ludden Lake Golf Course. Even though the trip was hot, the roads were meant for MG’s …and farm tractors! It was more than one occasion when a tractor was approaching an intersection and didn’t expect to see a caravan of sports cars sharing the same road. Quick maneuvering averted any problems.
The sky was almost cloudless and with little shade at this point I was getting my farmer tan – red arms below the short-sleeve and red vee-neck. (Note to self: wear light cotton long-sleeve shirt on road trips in the sun!). Not much I can do to protect the inner thighs below my shorts, though…
Some of the best driving roads with tree-lined shoulders were found on the next segment of the trip just outside Rewey, WI. Our final driving found us traveling through hilly grazing fields so prevalent in Wisconsin through Hollandale and Potsville before ending in Monroe, WI.
Our traditional stopping point of Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern on the town square opened in 1931 is Wisconsin's oldest cheese store. This was the official ending point of the tour and many of the group dispersed after loading up on select cheeses to take home.
Thanks to Dan and Nancy Herman for their thoughtful trip planning that made the trip effortless for the rest of us. The reception at their home in Lake Carroll Friday afternoon was superb – great food, drink and views from their ‘estate’. What a trip!
Please see the additional pictures on pages 9 and 12 of Driveline. Also, thanks to Herb and Libi Smith for creating a Quicktime movie of the first leg of the trip. It can be viewed online at http://gallery.me.com/lerbi/100025
Blackhawk Farms Raceway
June 20 –21, 2009
South Beloit, IL
For the last couple of years I have been hearing about the vintage races at Blackhawk Farms Raceway. To be honest, I never gave it much thought. However, on this particular weekend it sounded like a great idea.
It was kind of ironic actually; my daughter just received her first (and hopefully last) speeding ticket and I was going to go watch some “speeders”. She had to go to traffic school in Rockford. So I laid the guilt on that I would be spending the next four hours sitting in the car while she went to school.
A couple of MG’s head into one of the turns
The actual plan was to drop her off and head 20 minutes north to the raceway (but the guilt is always a fun card to play anyway!) and watch some practice runs. It was nothing like what I was expecting. I have been to Daytona and Indy as well as several smaller race tracks so I was looking for the grandstands and a parking lot. Guess what...it is actually an old farm. You wind around, park in the paddocks with the drivers and watch the races from the fences that line the track. Some of the turns have small bleacher sections but you just move from section to section to see different parts of the race. It was amazing!!!
The racing “thing” is a total family event. Families were set up and picnicking, walking dogs, talking cars and race stories. I met a new driver, Steve, who is new to the racing and drives a vintage formula car. It was very interesting to get some of the history of the car, why he races and how much fun he has hanging out with the other drivers and crews.
You can walk around, look at all the MG’s, Triumphs, lotus, Volvo, Corvettes and many other amazing cars.
Next year when I head back there (for more than a couple of hours), I will bring a lawn chair, plenty of food and drink and hopefully a few friends! It is well worth the visit up there.
Cars lined up and waiting to start their practice runs. There was quite a long delay here due to some oil that spilled on the track. Those darn LBC’s, I’ll bet it was a Triumph!