It was cold and rainy all week, the weather broke on Friday and we ended up with fantastic blue sky's the whole time, perfect for a fall drive.
The 42 year old E-Type is all set to go, I've never had a breakdown before but the age of the E is beginning to worry me, along with the engine “knock” that seems to be getting louder and the oil leaks from the engine and transmission. I guess those forty two year old seals are showing their age.
I have extra oil, coolant, spark plugs, belts, regulator and a tool box just in case a little problem pops up. If its serious, I have AAA and Hagerty roadside service to call.
My wife Becky, and I drove in from the East, living in Ann Arbor Michigan means I missed the drive from Chicago to South Haven However, those of you that worry about traffic around the lake, I did have the luxury of hitting a traffic jam on the interstate due to the Michigan game...Go Blue! We have our traffic problems too.
Our first stop was meeting up with the group for lunch at McIntosh Orchards. Three hours at 75mph in a 42 year old E-type, newer tires just rebalanced made for a nice smooth ride to the orchard.
We tried the many different wines at the orchard and bought a couple to take along the drive. Since we were heading to an area with over thirty wineries, I think these will get saved for a later date.
Having never been to South Haven, a look around downtown was a must. We started at the pier, there was some nut out in the water kite surfing! He had a wet suit on, so what! I wear a wet suit scuba diving in the Caribbean and I'm still cold! We ended up looking at the downtown stores, a nice little stop before heading to the hotel.
Dinner that night at Hawks Head was really first class, Joe Honor did a great job putting the first day together. It was nice to take a bus to dinner as most of us probably would have gotten lost out in the countryside.
Sunday morning it was time to caravan a few hours with 16 Jaguars all the way to Traverse City. Keeping together was easy for the first part but getting into Traverse City and staying together was just about impossible.
We were a little early for the “peak” fall color. The southern area didn't really have much yet, as we drove north we started to see many trees turning to nice burnt oranges and reds. We got to Old Mission Peninsula and seen even less color, I guess all the water around three sides help keep the trees warm. That's why its such a good place to grow grapes and cherries. Another week or two and this place would be an even better drive.
Lunch was at Old Mission Tavern & Galleria in the northern part of the peninsula. We were seated inside the gallery with amazing artwork all around.
Afterwards it was time to tour the peninsula, a short stop at the old light house, a stop at one of the seven winery's on the peninsula would finish off the afternoon.
That evening, dinner would be on the 10th floor of the old historic Park Place Hotel, in a room they call “Top of the Park”. Once you're up there you can see why they call it that. The windows look out over the city and the bay giving you a great view.
We were 325 miles away from Chicago, the farthest drive we have ever done and we still had 34 people for dinner that night. I would say this weekend drive was quite a success and we're not done yet!
Some of the group headed home on Monday but four cars continued on the next day and went all the way around the lake, that's about a 900 mile trip. Two of the cars were newer jags but the other two were much older. I heard the upper peninsula was in full color bloom.
Another six cars stayed in the Traverse City area and spent another day touring, I was one of them. I wanted to drive to the Mackinac Bridge for photos but time got a little tight and we drove the “Tunnel of Trees” instead. (see page 10)
It was a great trip, we had an E-type break down on Saturday with a charging problem and another with the same problem on Sunday. Both getting towed home. Makes me think I should carry a spare alternator in case my 42 year old one decides to die on me.
This was the 10th year for our overnight fall drives, I've only missed a couple. Many of the original casts of those early drives were not there on this one, a lot of new faces are filling the spots and still having a wonderful time.
This trip needs to be rerun some day, we didn't even get to Leelanau County! There is enough here to stay for 4 or 5 days of touring! I'm ready to do it again. Who's with me?