Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline August 2012
Past Events
Road America Historic Races Camping Trip
July 29, 2012

Due to work, we left later on Friday than we had planned and hit heavy rain initially and moderately heavy traffic in one section of Interstate around Milwaukee. But we eventually made it to Route 57 and the rolling fields with their stunted corn with rolled up leaves, evidence that we could expect difficult conditions. We got to Plymouth Rock Campground too late and missed the parade of competition cars that runs from the track into Elkhart Lake after the last endure race. So we set up our tent and waited for the others to arrive. The hope is always that we get to help others set up their tents – it is a lot of fun, especially if the others do not get there until dark.

Everyone showed up soon after we got there, and we drove though Elkhart Lake to the end of County J and the Sheboygan Marsh, with its restaurant we have favored for a few years. The food was very good and the prices substantially less than the Chicago area. Our way back was blocked by the return of the completion cars from Elkhart Lake to Road America. We were near the front of line of blocked cars so we got out and watched an older gentleman waving a green flag for each of the cars as they made the turn from Lake Street, where Siebkens is, onto County J for a block until they turned right on Route 67, back to the track. The flagger was using a two-hand hold on the flag for the last half of the cars but gamely kept the flag himself until the last completion car was past. The competition cars must go back to the track before dark in the police-approved convoy. Leaving later requires a tow truck since virtually none of the completion cars is street legal.

A campfire would have given off an intolerable amount of heat. It would have been too much like being next to the transmission tunnel of an MG on a hot day, which we had already done. We drank only a beer or two – the preferred drink for much of the weekend was cold water, preferably chilled with ice from the camp store. Yes, we were really roughing it. The up side of the heat was the fatigue that let us sleep comfortably on thin mattresses. Even a big rock would have been a nice mattress after the long, hot days.

Saturday started with camp coffee made with beans that had been ground on the most coarse setting of the supermarket’s coffee grinder. We are slowly perfecting this process, even to the point of not using any eggshells or other extraneous matter. The best camp coffee seems to come from using just coarsely ground coffee and water. But we have not investigated the benefits of sage, black pepper and similar herbal accents. Maybe next year.

A day at the track at Road America is a day in a different world with constant reminders of an MG owner’s everyday reality. We watched a bit as a team of professional mechanics prepared to replace a Hewland transaxle in a McClaren M6-D. The head mechanic started by arranging a pile of greasy 2-by-6 inch and 2-by-8 inch planks about two feet long until he had what he wanted to support the car just ahead of the transaxle after the jack was removed. In spite of the technical sophistication of the car and components, his greasy planks looked a lot like our own that are useful here and there when working on an MG. The similarity was reinforced when we passed by three hours later to see four of the professionals in their matched embroidered polo shirts and work shorts fiddling the input
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