Amtrak Road Trip 2012
January 20-22, 2012
The Amtrak Road Trip started as all have in the lower room behind the Snuggery bar on the food court level of Union Station at Jackson and Canal in Chicago. This was on Friday at midmorning on January 20, a rather chilly winter day. Debby and Bill Mennell and Ann and John Schroeder showed up soon after we got there and Doug Clark joined us a little later while boarding the train. Boarding was fast and easy and it there was no problem getting seats together.
The ride to Dearborn, a few miles west of Detroit, was pleasant traveling. We shared multiple courses of a huge cheese and dried beef ball, a very nice pasta salad, hummus and pita, Brie and crackers, fresh blueberries and strawberries, candy and much else. Libations were included and, as there was no chance that any Amtrak employee would have permitted one of us behind the controls of the locomotive, the amount was not particularly regulated.
We also had only very minor concerns about the heavy snow and ice, where an amount that would have caused major problems for an MG added less than a half hour to the trip. But what did slow the train for an additional hour was the policy of giving the freight trains right of way on the tracks
that did not belong to Amtrak, from not far south of Union Station to east of Michigan City. But, as was pointed out by a tolerant club member, we were not in a hurry and had a great deal of time to get to the hotel because we had started at about noon rather than at 6 P.M.
The immediate goal on Friday was the Greenfield Inn in Allen Park, Michigan. A shuttle picked us up at the Amtrak station (the station master congratulated Bill and Debby Mennell on taking an earlier train so he would not have to sit with us until a cab arrived as would have been the case if we had been on the last train of the evening) and deposited us at the lobby of the huge pink three story structure. A few minutes later we were registered and sitting at one of our two usual tables for supper. Hard as it is to determine the reasons, we became hungry while eating all the time on the trip.
The next morning, after a large complimentary breakfast that included eggs cooked to order, we took cabs to Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit. This is a huge venue and we agreed to meet by the Honda Indy car in mid-afternoon. The entrance we used was near to the Mercedes display and tucked away in a corner and watched carefully by a nicely-suited heavily muscled attendant was a 1953 Mercedes 300 gull wing racer in German Racing Silver from 1953. The gull wing doors ran from the center of the roof to the waist but did not compromise the carís rigidity by opening to the sill about 30 inches lower. It looked fully ready to perform on a track as similar cars did over 50 years ago. Next to it was a modern Mercedes sporting model in red on a turntable, but it was hard to notice alongside the gull wing car.
Also nearby, and in a direct contradiction to the company policy two years ago, was a sea of more German Racing Silver on virtually one of every model that Porsche builds. There was a red Porsche and a darker-than-grey Porsche, but all these two did was emphasize the many silver cars. This very impressive display was welcome in that it may signal that the North American market is considered viable again.
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