The Lincoln Highway Tour
Saturday August 8, 2009 marked an important date in the history of our club, and I would like to share with you why I think that is the case. After all it was just an ordinary Saturday and from a Chicagoland MG Club point of view nothing but the Lincoln Highway Tour was going on. However, that is exactly the point. Our club hasn't had a one-day tour in a very long time (maybe even never!) We have the all weekend tours; Joe Daviess County and the Wine, Cheese and Beer. We have one-day rallies, one-day auto crosses, one-day car shows, one-day technical sessions etc. You name a one-day event and we've probably done it. But a one-day tour? Not really, and what is a one-day tour anyway? While we were on the Lincoln Highway Tour I thought about that a little.
Maybe you can define a one-day tour as an event were an organized group of MG owners/drivers goes some place that is so close to Chicago that you can go there and get back in one day. But the point really is that each individual MG owner/drive easily could have gone there already a million times, but never did for one reason or another. Just think about it. You could have driven the Lincoln Highway on any sunny Saturday right? But you didn't because there were other obligations, or
there was no time, or the car wasn't in good shape or ..., or ..., or ... Plenty of reasons, so all we did was wait for someone to organize a Lincoln Highway Tour for us. Jim and Lois Evans where that 'someone' and organized the first formal Chicagoland MG Club one-day tour. All that we had to do was show up.
But it was not only that. Jim and Lois also set the standard for future tours. They nailed it down to perfection. The whole thing was organized very well. We received perfectly clear driving instructions, with interesting Lincoln Highway historical trivia. The instructions also listed photo opportunities, road markers, murals, restored gas station, re-group points in case the caravan would break up etc. etc. There was no issue, question, or concern that they hadn't covered. This would have been enough to get all nine cars safely through the tour. And it seems a very good recipe to follow for the next tour organizers.
However, Jim and Lois had even more. There was a summary of the history of the Lincoln Highway. And just in case we might get bored they had three mini competitions included as well; locating a set of photos along the route, count the number of official Lincoln Highway markers, and the (in)famous road kill bingo. We also got a reprint from an original tour guide with handy tips for the early nineteen hundreds cross-country adventure such as having enough food and water and wearing heavy socks! And to follow that advice, there was even a little bag with granola bars and a bottle of water for each car (no socks though).
The tour started in Aurora. We had lunch right across the official Lincoln Highway Museum and National Head Quarters in Franklin Grove. After that the group split up. Some went home and others continued to Fulton on the Mississippi River where the Illinois section of the high way ends. But more importantly there was no split in satisfaction; we all had a great time. Everybody was absolutely satisfied with the great work by Jim and Lois. This was a great day and a great example for a new type of event, the one-day tour. Hopefully the club will enjoy many more, now that the recipe exists. It was an important day in the club history indeed.
-- Reinout Vogt