Secrets of Jo Daviess County Tour
July 15-17, 2011
This Tour is always one of the high points of the season. The 2011 Tour turned out to be a big one, with 16 or 18 cars and as many couples: almost 40 people! Reinout and Henneke Vogt trailed most of the trip in Emma, their ’31 Mtype, the caravan mascot. There were several unusual circumstances this year that, as it turned out, tested the mettle and made the trip even more interesting than usual.
Dan Herman once again put in a lot of effort in constructing and leading an open-road motoring experience over the epitome of MG-friendly twisting hills of SW Wisconsin. Two breakdowns and Mother Nature tested the resiliency of what amounted to effective, if impromptu, back-up plans. After everything that happened, his could have been called the “Drop Back and Punt” Tour.
My date and navigator, our Master Minister of Finance, provided hours of wit and entertainment and miles of practical advice over the 600 miles my car covered in the two and a half days. Both of our wives were otherwise indisposed or unavailable to tour this year, so Ralph Arata and I shacked up with Ralph’s room reservations and my ’80 LE. Car operated quite coolly throughout the trip despite the 100-degree heat after the storms came through Saturday, despite, as it turned out at the very end, a disconnected cooling fan electrical connection at the relay. Thank you, St. Christopher! We (the crew) operated as coolly as possible, thanks to keeping the top up against the worst sun, the zip-out rear window (crucial!), and a spray water bottle.
We started at Dan and Nancy’s beautiful home in Jo
Daviess County, for an introductory get-together and libations, followed by a caravan to the Yellow Creek Inn for the traditional Friday fish-fry. Then to the hotel in near-by Stockton
where the tour participants continued to get to know each other or catch up on old times. Everyone was welcome and it was a friendly group.
Saturday started by the caravan heading straight out of Illinois into some windy roller-coaster roads in Wisconsin that set the tone for the rest of the trip, until we stopped for gas in Platteville WI and let everybody catch up. (Yes, the Secret of the Jo Daviess County Tour is that we get out of Jo Daviess County as swiftly as possible!) Then on more similar roads to the crossroads metropolis of Fennimore, where we stopped for lunch. The afternoon drive was marked by some of the best roads of the trip and one short but intense thunderstorm.
That night was arguable the social height of the Tour. A fabulous prime rib and shrimp at the Black Angus next door with the whole group in full banquet mode, speeches by a regalia-bedecked “MG formal” Ralph Arata, was followed by mostly the whole group at the traditional Patio Party back at the hotel, where we solved all the problems of the MG universe over quite a few libations. Nice time, in anticipation of the next day’s heat.
We got rolling Sunday morning after a light hotel breakfast and the usual drivers’ meeting, and proceeded south towards the park site on the Wisconsin River where the group photo was to be shot. With the still air stirred only by the beating of mosquito wings, we gathered around Reinout’s Emma for the three or six takes on the group shot, also a Tour tradition.
Then there was the first of the day’s two breakdowns that caused group delays, when Victor and Penny L’Heureux’s MGB would not start because of, I believe, a gas float problem. I think it got fixed and
started, the last time it would start without a push for the rest of the day – thanks Penny! Anyway, it was a short hop (about 45 minutes) to the next stop, the Carr Valley Cheese
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