Road America Camping Trip
July 15-17, 2011
Our annual camping trip to Road America was a little out of sync because heavy storms a few days earlier had knocked out power over a large part of Chicagoland. Our power came back the night before we planned to leave resulting in a large number of delayed chores associated with camping and a lot associated with not having power for several days.
In spite of all the extra efforts required, we managed to pack everything together, put a fresh coat of Zymol wax on the 741/2 GT's very tired Damask Red paint and get to Plymouth Rock campground just after the parade of race cars on Friday night. But we were in time for dinner at Three Guys and A Grill in Broughton Sheboygan Marsh Park about a mile west of Elkhart Lake at where County Road J makes a sharp bend to the north. After dinner we headed back to the campground where Bill Mennell built a fine campfire with wood he had brought from his cabin further north. And so started another very pleasant weekend.
Plymouth Rock campground is a "tourist destination campground" that bills itself as the "Disneyland of Wisconsin". In spite of that, it is a convenient, gated campground with running water at many of the sites and the cost is about $25 per person per night - a rate that is hard to beat in that area at that time of year. And for that, we got perfect weather as is true every year. There are swimming pools, a lake, a camp store, bath houses and electricity if one were to choose to use an electric coffee pot. A microwave would be over the top, obviously.
The main draw is Road America, the race track that is basically across the street from the campground. Start-finish is straight through the woods and about a quarter-mile away:
everyone in the campground is awake just after the track goes green at 8 a.m. A better plan is to get up a few hours earlier, start the coffee pot and get to the showers first.
We spent our day at the track where t he featured marque was historic Formula One cars. The overall impact of the many storied cars is overwhelming. And every ticket includes access to the paddocks where you can see the teams and the drivers themselves preparing the cars for competition. We saw Dino Perez, Scott Fohrman (also helping another racer work out a problem with a motor) and Tom Raddatz, and there were probably other club members at the track as well. We talked to Carl Heideman, owner of Eclectic Motorworks in Holland, Michigan who is a protégé of John H. Twist, whose shop in Grand Rapids is nearly opened.
There are many other activities in the area besides the race track. We went to the Concours d'Elegance on Saturday night in downtown Elkhart. In spite of curb-to-curb solid people, we managed to find a quiet place for a drink in Siebken's Inn, fabled in Burt Levy's "The Last Open Road".
We had to leave early on Sunday to tend to a few left over issues at home. But the day or so at the campground and track with the experiences and memories of many past events was a very welcome interlude in our daily lives.
-- Ann & Jake Snyder