Chicagoland MG Club
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Just a Simple Wrench
Ann and Jake Snyder
The Chicagoland MG Club has sanctioned a mid-winter event when most all the MGs are tucked away with steel wool in the exhaust pipes to protect from the malevolence of voles and mice seeking a safe and warm home inside a cylinder bore. Winter travel by Amtrak is a soothing alternative to worrying about weather, other drivers, most of whom drive very big vehicles very badly, and the mechanical vagaries of cars that are middle-aged by human standards. And Amtrak is really quite dependable - bad weather might delay a train, but that same bad weather would strand a motorist. snyderchicagolandmgclub.com - 847-295-2753.
Club members have visited the Ford Museum, a private auto museum/sales room in St. Louis, the Automotive Hall of Fame, the National Studebaker Museum in South Bend, the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the Missouri Historical Museum in St. Louis, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum and the North American International Automobile Show.
We have repeated some of the destinations because (1) there are a limited number of places you can get to and back again on Amtrak in a weekend and (2) some of the places are worth or need more than one visit or are new and different every year. And so it is this year that the focus will be the North American International Automobile Show in Detroit. We are heading there for January 14, 2006, the first day open to the public.
Rich Ceppos, writing in the November 21 issue of AutoWeek said, "Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo, Detroit and Geneva are the glam international venues that give manufacturers a global stage on which to unleash their best stuff." Few of us will have the opportunity to travel to most of the auto shows that Mr. Ceppos lists, but Detroit is accessible and affordable.
Traveling by train is a truly luxurious experience compared to being freighted by airlines. There is a large amount of space in every seat (not just business class), there are long corridors to stretch your legs, a snack bar, in case your capacity for cheese, sausages, veggies and so forth that comprise the on-board party, is saturated. And the bartender never tells you there is a limit on how many beverages you can buy at a time. In fact, the bartender will happily supply a cardboard tray that will hold everything you can carry.
The hotel is one of the favorites of long time Amtrak Roadtrippers: the Best Western-Greenfield Inn in Dearborn is virtually perfect. Check-in in the past has included fresh chocolate chip cookies; there is a lounge, restaurant, indoor pool, and a huge collection of automotive artwork on all the corridors walls of all three floors. And a hotel shuttle will pick us up at the Dearborn train station on Friday evening and drop us off on Sunday.
The particulars for the trip: www.amtrak.com or 1-800-USA-RAIL. Amtrak 352 leaving Chicago Union Station (Canal and Jackson) at 1:15 P.M. on Friday, January 13, 2006 to Dearborn. Amtrak 353 leaving Dearborn at 12:09 P.M. on Sunday January 15, 2006 to Chicago. The round-trip fare is about $72 per person.
Stay in the Best Western-Greenfield Inn near Dearborn on Friday and Saturday night (January 13 and 14 2006). The phone number is 800-342-5802 local number is 313-271-1600. Tell the clerk that you are with the Chicagoland MG Club and get the $79 rate (note that the Internet rate is higher than that).
We will take a taxi to Cobo Hall (about $10 per person each way). The entrance fee is $12. Hope you can make the trip.
Corridor in the Best Western Greenfield Inn