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Events

BRITS BLITZ BROWN COUNTY
by Larry Palguta

Once again the Michiana Brits charged forth on their Fall Tour, a four day road trip to a scenic and fun Midwest destination.  Oh, and also where there is some fun driving.  This year the destination was scenic Brown County, IN, located just south of Indianapolis and surrounding Brown County State Park.

Eight LBCs met for breakfast at the Hilltop Restaurant in Lakeville, IN, a favorite rallying point for the club.  The day started out like any other Fall Tour first day - a rendition of who had or has the most serious vehicle problem.  At home, Kai Shepherd turned his ignition key to fire up their TR6 and nothing happened. After moving the car which may have realigned some ignition parts, it started up and was fine (for the time being!).  Randy Glanders, tour leader, said his Spitfire was parked out in front of the restaurant and dead - it needed a new alternator (of course, he had a spare one in the trunk).  After eating breakfast, Randy went outside to install a new alternator and found that bending a terminal on the alternator cured the problem. The Spitfire imitated a zombie and sprang back to life.  It wouldn’t be a Fall Tour without some car issues, usually minor and fixable.  But out of character was Keith Wishmeier who opted for the French toast special ordered by the President, passing up his breakfast favorite dish - mush. 

The eight LBCs (Randy & Bev Glanders - Spitfire; Keith & Mary Wishmeier - Spitfire; Kai & Michele Shepherd - TR6; Tom & Debbie Shumaker - MG Midget; Larry & Deb Palguta - MGB; Chuck & Blanche Knight - MGB/GT; Jim & Kim Betz - MGA; Roger & Ruth Deacon - Mini Cooper) left Lakeville heading south on US 31 to west on Route 10 about 14 miles north of Rochester. Route 10 connects to Route 17 and Culver, past Culver Military Academy and many beautiful homes on the shore of Lake Maxinkuckee. The route has numerous 90 degree turns as we connected to Route 29 through Logansport and then to Route 75.  The CB chatter included the Triumph contingent, led by tour leader Randy, contemplating the numerical balance of the Triumphs with the MGs, once a TR8 joined the Tour at lunch time.  However, the evil god of LBCs (Lucas - the Prince of Darkness) would frustrate the Triumph contingent.

At Frankfort, we took a small detour to the west part of downtown and got stopped for about 20 minutes by a train that brought the entire town to a halt.  Finally the train cleared the crossing, to the cheers of our entourage, as the local constable on the other side of the tracks smiled and waved.  Shortly before noon, we arrived in Lebanon, IN (home of basketball legend Rick Mount) where we stopped at Arni’s for lunch. At nearly the same time, David & Judy Dean arrived in their TR8, completing our nine car caravan.  Arni’s is a large restaurant that had no trouble seating 18 people.  After lunch, we headed south on Route 39 around Indy, through a supposedly closed road south of Clayton (the flagman took one look at our cars and said they were not big enough to hurt the new roadway!), stopped for a gas and biology break in Martinsville, and then on IN 252 & 135 to Bean Blossom and Nashville.  We had reservations at the Comfort Inn on the south side of the town, which “comfortably” lodged our contingent of 18.

On Friday morning, some members had an early breakfast at the Hobnob Restaurant in the heart of Nashville, while others ate the breakfast at the Inn.  Prior to breakfast, Kai checked out his TR6 and found the night’s rain had created a defective hot electrical circuit for the wipers, gas gauge, horns, turn signals and brake lights.  A ready solution was not at hand, so he and Michele had the car loaded on a tow truck and began the long ride back to South Bend, arriving home about 5 ½ hours later.  The evil god Lucas had struck down the plans of the Triumph contingent and restored dominance to the MG contingent!

Other members walked, shopped and ate lunch at the numerous establishments in Nashville.  We learned that an artist’s colony sprang up in Nashville during 1906-1914 as a result of the famous Hoosier impressionist T.C. Steele building a home nearby and a younger group of artist friends relocating to the area.  This was the first American group of Impressionists located west of the Allegany Mountains.  Nashville has many galleries and shops for knick-knacks, collectibles and custom furniture.

The afternoon was spent driving through Brown County State Park, enjoying the magnificent vistas, driving the winding and hilly park road, and visiting the T.C. Steele Historical site.  The studio and home tour were fascinating as our tour guide related many stories about Steele and his second wife, Thelma, and the building and restoration of the buildings.  The studio and house have a small fortune of Steele’s paintings; he created more than an estimated 2600 and only a minute fraction were on display.

The evening’s dinner in Nashville was another experience that turned out well for our small crowd of travelers.  We went to Darlene’s for their outside dinner/gazebo party.  Inadequate parking and a slim selection of food sent everyone walking downhill to Big Wood’s Pizza where the Knights had eaten lunch.  We gathered together tables to seat 16, and each person could then create his own 10-inch pizza from a wide selection of ingredients.  And there was Busted Knuckle beer and home-made root beer.  Big Woods Pizza is a great place for a car club to dine and have a good time!

Saturday morning began again with some members going nearby for breakfast or staying at the hotel for the self-serve breakfast.  The plans for the day were for one group of three cars to hit three fabric/quilt shops to find suitable fabric for a wall hanging in the Betz’s new house, and for another group of five cars to drive to a local British car restorer’s garage and along the Studio Tour Route to local artists’ studios, and then both groups to rondezvous in Bedford for dinner.  The Betz, Palguta and Knight contingent of all-MG cars headed north to Morgantown for one store and then to Bloomington for two stores, while the Glanders, Shumaker, Deacon, Dean, and Wishmeier cars headed out on the local winding roads of Brown County.  The local car restorer had restored the 1950 Morgan F-2 three-wheeler, owned by Charlie Hayes of South Bend, which won Best in Show at our June 2011 Car Show at Saint Mary’s College.  He showed the group a Morgan tri-wheeler he was working on and a newer Morgan, while the wives waited patiently for all the gear-head talk to run its course.  Then the group visited a Pottery maker’s studio, got directions, and headed off to lunch at a place along the Studio Tour Route.  After lunch was a visit to the Bean Blossom Covered Bridge, some photos, and the group met a lady who lived, adjacent the Bridge, in a new house/studio (prior house washed away in a flash flood).  She explained that her goal was to start a Guild for all of the 200+ artists in Brown County so they can benefit from an organization representing all of them.  She also gave the group a full tour of her house/studio that is clearly planned to be the center of Guild activities.  The group of five then drove on IN 135 to Story, IN, home of the famous Story Hotel, reputedly haunted.  After that was some great winding and hilly roads to Bedford.  

The three car quilt group didn’t find much in fabric at the first two stores, but the third store, Shiisa’s Fabrics, just off IN 37 on the west side of Bloomington, had a treasure trove of fabrics different than the usual selections.  While the quilters poured over the diversity of fabrics, the President relaxed and checked out some of the furniture in the store.  Being used to display bolts of fabric is an authentic Chinese opium bed.  Seems the owner and her husband lived in China for awhile and brought the opium bed back to Bloomington.  The group then headed off to Lennie’s, a popular restaurant/tavern owned by the brother of the fabric store owner.  The three LBCs ended up driving east through Bloomington and the IU campus to Lennie’s located at the east central portion of IU’s campus.  The sandwiches were big, very good, and Lennie’s has a large selection of good ales brewed by the Bloomington Brewing Company.  Another good place to relax and have an enjoyable meal. 

The group of three headed east on IN 46 to IN 446 south toward Bedford, and cut across Chapel Hill Road which was a real winding and hilly back road that was fun driving for the LBCs.  In Bedford, the groups met at a fast food place adjacent a mall and decided to hit some antique shops on Main Street in Bedford while waiting for a later dinner reservation at Rusty’s West Side Steak House just a mile down the road.  The eight LBC’s headed east on Route 50, following the GPS units of a couple of cars, ended up being split into two groups headed in opposite directions and passing by one another on the same road, with one group going about 10 miles east of Bedford and the other group headed southeast on some great back road LBC driving, while each group’s GPS indicated they were approaching Main Street somewhere out in the boonies.  Have I mentioned that GPS doesn’t work particularly well around Brown County.  Cell phones saved the day as both groups gave up the chase of the elusive Main Street and eventually, as in much later eventually, met back at the Steak House.

All 16 sat at a long table and everyone had an enjoyable meal, and wished David Dean a happy 65th birthday and welcome to Social Security.  Our waitress remember the club’s visit during a Fall Tour drive years ago, when Keith Wishmeier’s vehicle overheated and spouted like a volcano in the parking lot.  After dinner, everyone gassed up their vehicle, and headed east on Route 50 to IN 446 north and IN 46 to Nashville.
It was a dark, stormy and blustery night as blackness sweep over the land like the dark hand of evil ….. well, it did rain all the way back and was pitch black.  The cars drove as quickly as the weather and roads permitted.  Everyone made it back OK except for the TR8 which died and needed a jump about a mile from the hotel (loose wire on alternator found to be the culprit).   

Sunday morning started with breakfasts at various eateries, leaving the hotel in a caravan of 8 cars retracing our route taken on Thursday, a couple of cars peeling off on separate routes home, and stopping for a late lunch at Applebee’s on the east side of Logansport. Up IN 25 to Rochester on US 31 and individual cars split off for home.  By utilizing the group’s collective knowledge to make on-the-move repairs, the Brits once again completed four days of fun, great LBC driving combined with sight-seeing and shopping, at another interesting and enjoyable destination.

 

 
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