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2023 Fall Tour to Springfield, IL
and St. Louis, MO

By Larry Palguta (with some additions by Vicki Bloom)
Photos by Larry Palguta, Vicki Bloom and Deb Shumaker


A good Fall Tour deserves repeating. In recent years we have revisited Nashville, IN (2021 & 2011); Madison, IN (2019, 2010, 1998); and Traverse City/Mackinac Island, MI (2017, 2013, 1997). So, for the 2023 Fall Tour, the club decided to repeat a very interesting and successful 2009 Fall Tour to Springfield, IL and St. Louis, MO: Route 66, all things Lincoln, and a great car collection in St. Louis.

On Thursday September 21st, 9 cars met at Jennie Rae’s Restaurant just west of the SR 2/US 20 interchange in La Porte County. The travelers and cars were Randy & Bev Glanders (Spitfire), Bob & Mary Petersen (MGB), Tom & Debbie Shumaker (TR7), Paul & Janet Dillon (TR6), Mike Scullion & Vicki Bloom (MGB), David & Judi Dean (TR8), Kai & Michele Shepherd (Mini Cooper), Roger & Ruth Deacon (Datsun Z), and Larry & Deb Palguta (Honda Pilot). After a breakfast, the caravan headed out a little after the 8 AM CDT departure time.

David Dean led the caravan on a backroad route that avoided downtown La Porte and put us on SR 2 headed southwest to Valparaiso and to US 30 west toward Joliet, IL. Paul & Janet Dillon’s TR6 experienced engine problems on the west side of Valparaiso and had to turn around and head for South Bend. Paul and Janet had planned most of the trip, particularly in Springfield, and unfortunately, they missed out on a good Tour (excluding some hectic rainstorms).

We made a brief bio & stretching stop at the Joliet Area Historical Museum before heading onward toward a lunch stop. We found out at the Museum that the Launching Pad Restaurant has a giant Astronaut holding a rocket (known as Gemini Giant) in Wilmington was closed at the time and that we needed to drive a few miles further to the Polk-A-Dot Drive In located in Braidwood.

Luckily, we got there just before the lunch crowd, the service was fast and the burgers good. A fun place for lunch. Polk-A-Dot Drive In

The clouds got darker and when our caravan hit Normal and we drove through a torrential downpour of driving rain. We pulled off into the parking lot of an AdvanceAuto store (three of us missed the turn so we drove through an open car wash to loop back). This was said to be the worst rainstorm in which a Fall Tour has driven. Tom Shumaker was able to buy a new windshield wiper and all of us got a much needed break. However, Randy’s new headlight switch failed and needed replacement. We then headed down old Route 66 as it runs alongside Interstate 55. In Springfield, we checked into the Comfort Inn & Suites on the south side of Springfield. Wanting to avoid downtown Springfield due to a mega-car show over the weekend, we had dinner at the Dublin Pub on the west side of town. Good restaurant, good food, and a great wait staff that took good care of our group of 16 at one long table.

Friday September 22nd was an open day for activities. Kai & Randy went to a car parts store, purchased a new leadlight switch, and installed it to solve that problem. This morning, Randy led a group to see the Lincoln Museum, Lincoln Home and Lincoln tomb, his gravesite.

Having been in Springfield only 14 years earlier, we (Deb, Michele, Kai & Larry) opted for something different – shopping for quilt fabric! So, we all hopped into the Honda Pilot and visited two quilt/fabric stores on the west side of Springfield. Next, we drove 27 miles west to the little town of Jacksonville. Although a town of only 19,000 residents, it was surprisingly neat, well-kept and had more restaurants and activities than expected. At the first store while Deb and Michele shopped for fabric, Kai and I opted to spend our time outside in the warm shade of a building. Furniture was at a bare minimum, so we made do with what was available.

There is a second store on the down square where Kai & I got some more relaxation on seats in front of a soon-to-be-opened restaurant, before all of us ate lunch next door at the Schiraz Café & Wine Bar which had been an old bank building.

The restaurant has lots of early 20th century furnishings and structures; a cool place to have a good lunch. We then got onto I-72 and drove east to Rochester, a small town on the southeast corner of Springfield, and a fabric store we visited in 2009. The Peace & Applique Quilt Shop has a well-worn bench in front of the store, no doubt sat on by many husbands while waiting for their wives. We returned to the hotel in time for our group’s 6 minute drive to dinner at the Casa Real Cantina & Grill, just a bit west. In a very large building, we again had a single table for 16 and great service for our Mexican dinners.

Saturday 23rd was our planned drive to St. Louis to visit a Brits member's incredible car collection. Kai planned the route and led us down I-55, across the Mississippi River, and past Busch Stadium (no baseball game this day).

The group arrived at the site of two warehouses. The owners greeted our group as we arrived, and we began viewing the numerous types of classic cars in their collection. We met the mechanic and engine specialist, too.

My favorite was a one-of-a-kind dark blue, fastback Sunbeam Tiger. Everyone had their favorite types of cars – from LBC’s to European classics to Indy race cars.

After some time looking around the first warehouse, we had a buffet lunch of pulled pork and sides (very good lunch!). Then we walked over to the other warehouse to see the cars housed there. This is also the work garage where the Indy race car driven by Arie Luijendijk, winner of the 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500 races for driving at a track in Detroit, the following car was being prepared weekend. A beautiful red Triumph GT-6 was on the lift for restoration work. It was a great visit to a wonderful car collection, and we thank the owners for their wonderful hospitality.

Kai & Michele led the caravan back out of St. Louis. We stopped briefly to see the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge over the Mississippi River. The bridge has a 22 degree bend in the middle and is open for pedestrians and bikes. and caught up on some football games before our evening dinner. We went to We returned to Springfield by late afternoon and caught up on some football games before our evening dinner. We went to Nancy’s Chicago Style Pizza on the northwest side of Springfield. Again, we had one long table for all 16 of us and the pizza, service, and atmosphere was very enjoyable. Thanks again to Paul Dillon for arranging all of the really good dinner locations and reservations.

Sunday morning, we departed our hotel on time and traveled through numerous small Illinois towns/villages, had lunch at a family type restaurant in a large fueling station, and made it back to Indiana where people began peeling off to head home. The 2023 Fall Tour was another successful, if not wet at times, trip that was as memorable as the 2009 trip.


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