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Thread: Final Road Trip

  1. #1
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    Eagle Beach, Oceania, north side
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    Final Road Trip

    Road Trip 3

    This is the 100th Anniversary of Ford purchasing Lincoln and there were many special events scheduled, so of course we went to Dearborn and Kalamazoo/Hickory Corner where the Gilmore Museum and the Lincoln Heritage Museums are located.

    Saturday, August 6

    We headed out before 8 am for our drive in the Lincoln to Dearborn. We had not gotten home from a concert Friday night until 12:30, so it made for a long day. We got as far as just south of Toledo and called it a night.

    Sunday, August 7

    Slept in, had breakfast, a stop in a store for liquor (we forgot to bring it from home) and we drove the hour or so to Dearborn and checked in to the host hotel, the Dearborn Inn. Our room was not ready, so Stu and I headed to Ford’s Garage for lunch. By the time we got back to the hotel, our room was ready. We were upgraded to concierge level, but the lounge closed during Covid and did not reopen. The Dearborn Inn is owned by Ford and run by Marriott. It was built in 1931 by Henry Ford and the public spaces and outdoor spaces are lovely. The rooms, not so much. They are dated and our bed was somewhat concave. Yes, I discussed it with the front desk and they could not move us or change the mattress. We are not the only ones who had issues. Enough said on that issue.

    The highlight of the day, besides catching up with friends, was dinner. Well, it was not actually the meal, but where it was held. We had the privilege of going to the Fair Lane, which was Henry and Clara Ford’s estate. It has been closed for close to 10 years and a major renovation is in progress to restore it to the way it was when they lived there. The first floor is pretty much done and they are working on the basement and second floor. It is still closed to the public, however; the foundation who is overseeing the restoration allows specific groups to visit. Edsel Ford II is spearheading the restoration and was there to speak to our group. I took lots of pictures of the home which is 35,000 sq feet. We were only on the first floor, the garage and in the gardens(the gardens are open to everyone). The house should be open to the public in 2-3 years. The powerhouse which Edison designed and the greenhouses should be open in 5-7 years.

    Monday, August 8

    We had planned to visit with my cousin today, but due to illness, they are not seeing anyone-being very Covid vigilant. After breakfast out, we opted to do the Rouge Factory Tour.
    We did this years ago, and it is one of the few things we have not done twice in Dearborn. They make the F-150s there. It is really amazing to see how it all comes together. When you first go in(you take a bus from the Henry Ford Museum) you watch two movies, then you can walk around and look down on the factory. You do not see everything, but enough to see how it is made. You also can go to the top floor and see the living roof and look over the rest of outside the factory, which is 1.5 miles long and ¾ of a mile wide.

    We hung out and talked with people in the lobby, a nap and then grabbed dinner in the hotel bar which was painfully slow due to a lack staff.

    Tuesday, August 9

    We had nothing planned other than going out for breakfast and lunch. Stu washed the car after breakfast and I hung in the room and lobby. After lunch, we talked about going to the pool, but it was at the other end of the property and it was a little cool, so we just napped and stayed in the room until we had to get ready for dinner.

    Dinner was a gala at the Henry Ford Museum. We have been to the amazing museum twice, but being there after hours, was really cool because it was only our group of 150-200 people. We had a wonderful time. The president of Lincoln, who is a woman and her executive team was there, too. They presented the foundation(museum) with a very large check.

    Wednesday, August 10

    We had breakfast in the room of very large, chocolate almond croissants we had picked up at breakfast on Tuesday. We packed up and headed to the day’s event-a car cruise at Ford World Headquarters. We were checked in by the execs of Lincoln and we had access to the building. We saw the first car Henry Ford built and the new concept vehicle, Star. We also had the chance to check out new Lincoln vehicles. I may reconsider my next vehicle. We also dined in the cafeteria that the employees eat in. Around 2 pm we headed west to Kalamazoo and checked into our hotel. The Gilmore Museum has a cruise night every Wednesday, so we stopped and picked up some wraps for dinner and headed there. It was beautiful night, but we were shocked to find that there were 900 vehicles. The Gilmore is 20 minutes northeast of Kalamazoo and all that is around there are corn fields.

    Thursday, August 11

    We joined the driving tour to the Kellogg Manor House and Bird Sanctuary
    . We didn’t see much at the sanctuary because the person leading the walking tour didn’t know where she was going. We headed to the Manor House and walked in after the docent began talking because no one was outside to tell us how to get in. We were given a guided tour, but our docent was going into such detail, that we walked round to see everything before having to leave for lunch back at the Gilmore. Lunch was supposed to be at the Kellogg, but they had staffing issues. After the buffet lunch, Stu got in contact with the man who coordinated our vehicle donation. We were missing one of the license plates and wanted to see if it got left on the car(it wasn’t). He took us to their storage “barns” aka car warehouses. We got to see cars that are not on display-a prototype presidential vehicle, a station wagon made by Checker(think cabs) for the general public to purchase, and a few other vehicles. Stu took pictures. After that we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a few hours. We then headed back to the Gilmore for a cookout. We gathered with a small group of friends back at our hotel for a few hours of talking, laughing and drinking. We were staying in the Holiday Inn Express rather than the host hotel(the bar closes at 10). They share a parking lot and owners. Our hotel has a living room area/breakfast room. We were also “entertained” by a very drunk 23 year old, CJ, staying at the hotel who just decided to join our group simply because we were there. At one point he decided he needed to smoke and tried to light his cigarette using the grill and set his hair on fire. He was fine, but we all took off for our rooms once we knew he was okay.

    Friday, August 12

    The tour was a driving tour to Marshall, MI.
    Just like on Thursday, we were joined in our car by friends who had their car shipped(they flew up and rented a car). We stopped in a Gas Museum-mostly gas station signs, etc. but had one thing that was different-a wooden, fold up bathtub. Then our friend wanted to go to a museum about magic. We joined the rest of the group on the tour for lunch and headed back. We dropped our friends at their rental car(the tours left from the museum) and then stopped to pick up subs for the main event-the show on Saturday. Back to the hotel for a few hours and then back out to the Gilmore for a reception for the Lincoln life members in the Lincoln Museum, then dinner and auction. We left after dark and discovered that one headlight was out. Driving back, right near the hotel, the lights were going off when Stu braked (he had the high beams on). We met up with friends at the bar at the host hotel until it closed at 10 pm and then our small group headed back to hang out for an hour at our hotel. We did see CJ, but he was only drinking water and couldn't remember much about last night. He did remember talking about religion and burning his hair.

    Saturday, August 13-Show Day

    They were expecting 125 registered vehicles and 50-75 to show up(not eligible for judging) Saturday morning. The weather all week was perfect. Saturday, it was in the low 60s. It poured and poured. Most registered vehicles were there, but many of the early ones-1920-1930s were not. I am so glad I did not sign up to judge-the judges were dressed in lawn and leaf bags. I took my crocheting bag and plopped down in the dining/banquet area inside the Gilmore. I was soon joined by others as it was cool and damp under out tent. I did venture out after we ate our subs. Picking them up was a great decision since the diner on the grounds is tiny and cooked outside. I didn’t stay out long, but did tell the guy in charge that if they did not move the banquet inside, I was going to go to Wal-Mart and buy cheap sweats to wear to dinner. An hour later, they were setting up for dinner inside. We headed back before they released the field because we were not being judged. It was pouring and suddenly the defroster was not working. We rode with friends back out to the Gilmore for the banquet since we did not want to take the Lincoln out at night in the rain. The banquet was fun and our friends who had their cars judged did well. We said goodbye to those we would not see in the AM. We headed back and our small group got together and we were joined by others because the bar in the host hotel was closed. We did not get to bed until 2 am.

    Sunday, August 14-Monday, August 15

    Needless to say, we got a late start. We had breakfast at a restaurant after we checked out and headed toward home. We got into PA and that’s where we spent the night. We arrived home around 830-900 and the lights did not go out when he stepped on the brake.

    One thing I want to mention. The Gilmore is a car museum and car museum venue. There are several other vehicle museums on the property-Lincoln, Pierce-Arrow, Model A, Cadillac-LaSalle, Franklin, and several others(I can’t remember them all). They are also planning on building a muscle car museum and horseless carriage museum. The overall collection is the largest in the US-over 400 vehicles on display. One building has motorcycles, I think and other has hood ornaments. There is also a pedal car building, too which has part of a set from the movie “The Littles”. There is a diner and a gas station. They also hold concerts there and other events. They hold classes to teach people how to work on the old cars and especially gear it to the younger crowd.

    Link to pictures:

    We are now home until October. I will be happy not to see any more cars for a long time.

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Sounds like you had a wonderfully good adventure!
    THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind? sidtm
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    Good times!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I always enjoy reading about your travels! Thanks for sharing!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Always enjoy reading about your car adventures Robin....informative and entertaining!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Laura in NH's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    This sounds fabulous!
    ​Laura from NH/Divi Village

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