This was the third running of this event and host Dan Herman once again put together a delightful program for the group. Fifteen cars gathered for a weekend of spirited driving on some of the most scenic roads in NW Illinois and SW Wisconsin, intermixed with dining and partying at some memorable spots.
Attendees gathered Friday afternoon for a reception at Dan’s home in Lake Carroll followed by dinner at the Yellow Creek Inn at Pearl City, famous for their fish fry dinner and “bratwurst and cheese curd” pizza (aka cheese and sausage to Chicagoans). Or maybe also their “chicken alfredo” pizza. Small town prices and friendly service have made the Yellow Creek Inn a favorite of this group.
Saturday began with an excursion to Massbach Ridge Winery, opened that morning especially for our group. After a brief tour, some samples and some purchases we were off to the nearby town of Elizabeth for a leisurely lunch, where we encountered a contingent of cars from ISOA (the Chicago area Triumph owner’s club). Perhaps they have been reading our Driveline and decided to get in on a good thing. We did find, however, that MG owners received fewer “courtesy” parking tickets than did Triumph owners from the Elizabeth Police Dept. Not sure what that means but an advertising man might make something of it.
Next was a long distance drive up to Prairie du Chien, starting with a parade lap through downtown Galena. A line of 13 MG’s produced a lot of looks and smiles from those on the sidewalk, even Triumph owners. Now we were off on some of the best driving roads around (for MG’s, that is). Some miles out of Galena the group had an unscheduled break to address some unexpected mechanical problems. This produced not only relaxation but also an opportunity for humor and mirth among certain of the bystanders, who knew that the problems were not serious. Trunks opened to produce tools, jacks, fluids and cleanup supplies as well as “war stories” of similar experiences. Back on the road 30 minutes later we again drove aggressively up the back roads into Dickeyville where another malfunction resulted in a very pioneer-like “lifeboat ethic” decision to abandon the victim with good wishes for his ability to rejoin us later. Ralph Arata, who was holding the chase car position with his family sedan (at least it’s a Jaguar) graciously agreed to divert to a nearby town in search of parts. Susan Arata immediately saw her chance to transfer from the sedan into a convertible and squeezed into the back of the Goebbert’s Mini; surprisingly, an adult can almost fit into the back seat of a
Mini if they contort their torso in the correct way. She later transferred back into the Jaguar at the earliest opportunity.
But the rest of the group moved out, led by Dan in his 1965 MGB. We had lost some time out of Dan’s carefully orchestrated schedule and set a spirited pace to PdC, with a last minute change in driving instructions to accommodate both the size of the group and the delays. In a stunning development, we arrived at the hotel only minutes before the unfortunate car that was left behind in Dickeyville, now sporting a new battery. This car apparently needed an alternator so a spare was found in someone’s trunk and quickly installed by the light of several flashlights. Next off to dinner at a delightful local restaurant and back to the motel parking lot for some socializing.
Sunday morning started with a quick trip across the “big muddy” to the heights of Pike’s Peak (IA) for some spectacular scenery. Here we were also treated to Dan’s annual attempt to work the delayed shutter on his camera in order to enter the group photo himself. Only took three tries this year. On leaving Pike’s Peak, we exited through the delightful town of McGregor, IA where our little group was actually acknowledged with a cool-guy wave by a large group of Harley riders; try that in a Corvette!
Next was another long distance drive to the town of Argyle, WI for brunch at a very old hotel/restaurant. This trip covered roads every bit as spectacular as the Saturday drive. Subsequent to brunch, some of the group left on their own for home while some took one last planned drive into Monroe WI, where the event officially ended.
This event is characterized by very careful planning and close timing for maximizing the experience of spirited driving on spectacular roads. Wow! That’s a mouthful but you know what I mean. Organizer Dan Herman is familiar with the back roads of his area and carefully picks the best for our group. If you haven’t put your MG onto smooth, twisty, uncluttered, hilly, scenic high-speed roads then you have missed some of the MG experience. This tour gives you the chance to have that experience. Our club thanks to Dan for a great weekend! And also to the good people of Wisconsin, who apparently kept all their cars at home over the weekend so that we could drive on empty roads.
-- Jim Evans