MGA Mid-Atlantic Chapter

Gallery of Past Club Events

Road Trip to GT-35

July 22-August 1, 2010

Submitted by Bill Marshall

The Mid Atlantic Chapter was well represented at GT-35 with attendance by Butch and Judy Smith, Bill and Karen Marshall, Keith and Kathy Kallapos, Liz Ten Eyck, Doug and Kay Campbell, Mike and Jennifer Ash and of course, our newly inducted members Lee and Liz Niner. We were joined by past Chapter members Dick and Pat Newman and Steve and Nancy Woodyard.

The featured car this year was the MG Magnette and we were proudly represented in this class by Doug and Kay – making the drive to Wisconsin from their home in Warrenton. Doug will have more to say on the Magnette-tude in our next Distributor.

While the Campbells chose a cooler northern route through New York into Canada and across Lake Michigan on the ferry, the Smiths, Marshalls, Kallapos and Ten Eyck chose to skirt Chicago to the south. The drive this year was uneventful as all the cars perform well both coming and going – with only a finicky starter solenoid hampering the pace for the Campbells and an alternator hiccup for the Ashes.

Our travel took us through a bit of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania and into Ohio where we spent the first night in Steubenville – childhood home of actor Dean Martin and also Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder. It was The Greek that correctly predicted that after a long, hot, scorching day on the road the pool at the hotel would be ‘closed for renovations’ during out stay!

As Judy has done for many GT events, she once again accepted the role of wagon master and planned our trip to and from the GT – working out the distance, hotels and sights we planned to see along the way. This is a time-consuming task of plotting distances between towns in both terms of miles and time while staying on favorable MGA roads, and assuring we would arrive at our hotel at a reasonable hour and more important, that we would arrive at the GT before it was over.

Day Two took us across Ohio to Wapakoneta, home of the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum. Our plans were to tour the museum but after another scorching day on the road and a large detour on the route, the call of cool beverages poolside was too great for our feeble bodies to overcome. We passed on the tour and also decided this was the perfect night for Chef Papa John to prepare and deliver a splendid Italian meal to the Mid Atlantic Hospitality Suite.

Day Three was a short day on the road as Judy’s schedule had us arriving in Auburn, Ind., in time to spend the entire afternoon at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. The building itself is the former Auburn Automobile Company’s national headquarters and is a National Historic Landmark. The collection is home to over 120 cars on three floors. The museum also has a display of other significant cars and honored our Key West friends Fred and Cindy Skomp’s 100,000th MGA for a number of years. This museum is a ‘must-stop’ for any car enthusiast. While is was easy to narrow the list of favorite cars down to three or four, it was impossible to pick a one best car on display.

Our route for Day Four took us across the remainder of Indiana into central Illinois. The view remained unchanged as we saw acres and acres of – make that hundreds of acres – no, make that miles of acres of corn on one side of the road with soybean on the other. The roads ran perfectly straight with the random left/right bend to clear another field of corn or soybean before running true again. The roads were perfect for our cars, the weather had turned cooler and the joys of British Motoring were underscored. With much of these parts of Indiana and Illinois looking much the same, I can’t remember exactly where we were when one county was ‘dry’ and an Applebee’s was the only option with a choice of beverages to the next county where Jack Daniel’s was sold off the open shelf at the gas station.

Day Five took us from Bradley, Illinois to Delavan, Wisc., where GT-35 was held at the Lake Lawn Resort. Lake Lawn is a beautiful lake resort with a feeling of isolation once within its boundaries, yet located a few blocks down the street from a shopping center with a full selection of stores and alternate dining options.

Monday evening was the First Timer’s reception and car display – a first at a NAMGAR GT. This was a wonderful ice-breaker as many turned out to view the cars and talk to their owners. Keith and Kathy, having missed most of GT-33 with their then cantankerous Mistress, participated as First Timers. The NAMGAR Hospitality room opened after the First Timer’s reception and as always, was a time to renew old friendships and make new friends.

The car show was held Tuesday morning on the lawn overlook the lake on the grounds of Lake Lawn. Everyone agrees having the car show on the grounds of the host hotel is the way to go as one is not ‘stuck’ at the show. After spending a bit of time Monday afternoon knocking off the grime, bugs and vast collection of butterflies caught on the grille and radiator, it was time to put forth our best displays and ask the voters to vote their hearts for best in each class – or if not, then please ‘vote for me!’ Tuesday afternoon was the usual assortment of Tech Sessions, not having enough time to visit with everyone, more Hospitality tickets to exchange for drinks – with a Trivia & Raffle scheduled for the evening.

Wednesday morning offered the option of a rally or a guided tour of the surrounding countryside. Our group chose the rally which had us crisscrossing the area searching for clues which made perfect sense once explained – after the rally sheets were turned in. It must have been easier for some as the tie breaker was overall mileage – assuming the overall winner was the one who answered the clues with the least amount of backtracking. Wednesday afternoon Liz, her cousin Cathy, Keith, Bill and Karen piled into Liz’s SUV and headed north to Milwaukee and the Harley-Davidson Museum. It was interesting to see the evolution of the motorcycle from a motorized bicycle to somewhere in the late ‘20s obtaining the classic look of today’s Harley.

Wednesday evening was a picnic and Human Funkhana. We were assigned a team by color at Registration and our first task was to find our team members, assign a captain and divvy up the games in a manner that everyone participated. Mike and Jennifer Ash ended up on the winning team – with many points awarded to the team deemed “Most Spirited.”

Thursday was our last full day at the GT with an Auto Funkhana held in the morning, more Tech Sessions and the famous John Twist “Rolling Tech Session” in the afternoon. Liz benefited greatly from John’s knowledge as he found a cracked distributor bracket which allowed the timing to vary as she was driving. A replacement distributor was installed and, as Liz noted, a properly running MGA is more important than good looking MGA!

The Awards Banquet was held Thursday evening and again the Mid Atlantic Chapter did well with the Marshalls being honored with fifth place in the 1500 class, the Smiths honored with second in the 1600 class, the Ashes honored with second in the Coupe class and Liz Ten Eyck receiving a special award for display in the Premier Emeritus group. We were all happy for Butch and Judy, as Butch spent hundreds of hours detailing and reassembling his 1600 after its sickening ‘bump’ in the parking lot last year in Hot Springs. The car looked sharp sporting its new top, new chrome and new paint, but it was Butch’s nook and cranny polishing that made his MGA stand proud. The Smiths, Marshalls, Kallapos, Niners and Ashes were also recognized for driving 1,000 or more miles to a GT – benefiting greatly from the detour that took us miles out of our way.

Friday morning we said our goodbyes and began our journey home. The Campbells once again chose the cooler northern route and the rest of us dropping lower through Illinois and Indiana. After the second evening Keith and Kathy scooted off ahead to arrive home early Sunday to greet out-of-town guests, Liz headed north to visit family in Pennsylvania and the Smiths, Marshalls and Niners continued in convoy, reaching Parkersburg, W. Va.

Leaving the hotel Sunday morning, we encountered a gent out for a Sunday morning romp in his MGA. I don’t know who was more surprised to see the other! Eventually the Niners turned north to make their way home and the Smiths and Marshalls reverse-traced the route on Route 50 that we will take to Elkins later this month. After a stop in Winchester to visit with Martha Ludtke, we arrived home Sunday evening – a day ahead of our planned schedule.

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