Eight members of the Chicagoland MG Club met at the DeKalb oasis on I-88 June 21 to journey to Breckenridge, Colorado for MG 2009. Ann and I were joined by Rob and Mary Bard, Roger and Shirley Goebbert, and Oscar and Diana Gonzales (in their C--Cadillac; Diana was recovering from shoulder surgery, and she was therefore nominated for the "Good Sport" award). Our plan was to follow I-88 to I-80 until we got west of Des Moines, preferably near Omaha. We actually made it to Lincoln, Nebraska and stopped for an early motel and dinner. Just before we made it to Lincoln we saw our first MG friends of the journey. Two couples from the Minneapolis club had stopped at the same rest stop we chose. The first day was sunny and comfortable. As usual we drove with our tops up and back windows zipped out. The sun can be brutal on these drives.
On Monday, we left early and drove to Fort Morgan, Colorado. We had stopped for lunch at Paxton, Nebraska at Ole’s a restaurant recommended by the official at the first rest stop we came to in Nebraska. Ole was a big game hunter and guide and his restaurant was stuffed with his trophies. (Pun intended). We were greeted at the door by a huge polar bear. The food was very good, but they had run out of pie. Rob is a national judge for the annual Crisco pie baking contest and he was most disappointed. That evening we went to dinner at a restaurant in Fort Morgan called “Memories”. All the dinners were very good and we decided to make up for the lack of pie at lunch. We all ordered pie and Rob left the table to make a “phone call”. The hostess came to our table and said they were completely out of pie. Shirley asked about the pies in the display case. The hostess immediately replied, “They’re plastic.” Rob has a heretofore unknown, by us, warped sense of humor. He had set the whole thing up when he went to make his “call.” We did have great desserts that evening and a good laugh. We went back to the hotel, unpacked our chairs, poured some beer and wine, and discussed our day and plans for Denver.
The next morning we were in Denver! We toured the Molly Brown Mansion, as in “Unsinkable”. She was a remarkable woman and not just because she survived the Titanic disaster. After the tour we went to the capital building and to the 16th Street Mall. The Mall is a one and one half mile street that is open only to pedestrians and frequent free shuttles. There was almost every store and restaurant I had ever heard of and many I hadn’t. We had lunch at the Rock Bottom Brewery. After lunch we shopped a little and boarded the shuttle for the rest of the loop. When we got back to the capital building, we checked out the gold dome from all sides and found the Mile High step on the west steps. There were also two other markers that marked one mile high. One was two steps above the engraved step, the other two steps down. It was a little unsettling. We continued on to our hotel for the evening just east of Golden. We had dinner at Old Chicago Pizza. I was apparently hallucinating (altitude) and saw the place on the other side of the shopping center from its actual spot. We were walking around looking for it and almost had decided to go to an Italian restaurant in the same shopping center. Oscar had gone to
move their car and found the right place. Unfortunately we couldn’t find Oscar. Shirley went looking for him and found the restaurant, called us and we all got together for some “real” Chicago style pizza. We drove a thousand miles from Chicago and had very good pizza and beer. The adventure continued even without our MG’s.
Unfortunately Rob and Mary began to experience a few problems with their car, and Mary was now in the running for the "Good Sport" award.
Wednesday, we drove to Mimi’s restaurant in Golden where the Gateway to the Rockies tour began. We started out just over a mile high and drove from the fruited plains through the purple mountain majesty spectacular. We passed Buffalo Bill’s grave at another Pahaska Teepee. He apparently named all his hunting camps the same. Our drive continued to take us higher toward the continental divide. We passed Mount Evans with the highest paved road in North America. It is also where MG Rover altitude tested the MGF in the nineties. We stopped for lunch in Idaho Springs, Colorado. They had an old narrow gauge train from the Colorado Southern RR on display. After lunch we decided to use I–70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel for the rest of the trip to Breckenridge. The east portal of the tunnel is at 11,600 feet and the road climbs all the way through it. We had a wonderful drive and saw beautiful scenery. We arrived in Breckenridge (at a mere 9600 feet) in the early afternoon. We checked into our hotel and registered for the convention. The registration room was home to the MG’s of Abingdon display. There were cars representing most years before and after the war. The cars were beautiful, mostly owned by members of the Rocky Mountain Car Club. We went to the Breckenridge Brewery for dinner and ate well as usual. We had some really good beers from their own brews.
Rob spent quite a bit of time at the convention talking and troubleshooting with other MG owners.
Thursday morning was sunny and mostly cloud free. We decided to skip the organized tours so we could drive to Leadville on our own. We had a very enjoyable afternoon. We had lunch at the oldest saloon in Leadville. As we walked the main street of town we found an ice cream store where we had dessert. That evening the organizers had dinner planned at the Backcountry Brewery BBQ in nearby Frisco. There was live music scheduled in the nearby heritage park. We had some of the best BBQ I have ever tasted and their beer was excellent. Unfortunately, the live music was rained out. We went back to our hotel and had an indoor parking lot party in Rob and Mary’s room.
On Friday, we did a walking tour of Breckenridge. There is a great French Pastry shop near the southern end of Main Street, and we discovered some really neat shops. My personal favorite was Two Wild Sisters. I was disappointed to find the shop was being run that day by a wild sister in training and the sisters were out. Some of us purchased jewelry while we were there, and we browsed through a show of local artisans' treasures. For dinner we went to the Blue River Bistro. They had live music and excellent food. We went back to Rob and Mary’s for our indoor parking lot party.
Saturday was the car show and banquet. There were about two hundred cars in the field. This was the best weather
Story continued on page 8, photos are on page 11