Monday, April 29, 2013

Goldwing Geezers and Muscle Car City

It was time to take to the road again with the Goldwing Geezers, aka Bay Area Riders Club.  Only 4 others showed up for a trip to Punta Gordo (Yes, "fat bitch" for you linguists out there) to the Muscle Car Museum.  I don't know why more didn't show up.  It was a nice day and although it was St. Patricks Day, so what?

Mine is on the far right.  Not sure I get the jacket draped over the windshield, but I played polite lemming and went along with it.

The day was bittersweet because after the museum I went up to North Port about 30 minutes to bid adieu to the grandkidlings, Michael and Alhanna, who are going up North again to live in Canada.  It has been a kind of fringe benefit being down here and now if I want to see them I'll have to go to Oshawa Ontario,  which isn't too far from Toronto.  I don't do big cities, so they'll have to find me, wherever I am.

Before we start saying goodbye to the kids, however, we should enjoy the museum.  And I really wanted to.  However, the exorbitant entry fee kind of put me in a sour mood.  Am I starting to sound like the Geezers?  I still thought $13.78 was a bit much, but they had nice cars, if you like the muscle type (which I really don't).

There were scads of 'Vettes.  I drove a 'Vette when I first started working at the Mary.  I dated a girl whose father was owner of a distributorship in Burlington.  I can't say I was comfy in it, but I sure looked cool.

This was the pre-Muscle area with mostly old, and I mean old, 20's, 30's and 40's stuff.  Again, those style cars are OK, but they all tended to look alike to me.  It wasn't till the late 50's to early 60's that cars really possessed a style all their own.  You know, the kind of indivualism you could spot and identify from a mile away.  Try doing that now.

An original '53 'Vette.  

Nice area for Corvettes.  I liked the style of the old Stingrays.

A nice truck with wood insets along the sides.   

This was an an early version of an air conditioner.  Simple but effective, I suppose.  

This is for Rick in BFE.  

All kinds of "Goats: but no '68.

This thing had a propeller so I suppose its some form of speed boat.  Yawn. 

I liked this car, a Pontiac Grand Prix, probably best of all of them.  It wasn't a sports car, per se, but it was a nice big sporty thing from pontiac in 1967.  We had a 65 Bonneville growing up and it was a huge beast.  This one was aweful nice.

Nice Olds 442.

I'd hate to have to pay the insurance for this place.  Oh wait, I did.  

A well preserved Chevy.

I always thought El Caminos were an abomination.  They were a schizoid vehicle, and circus act, half car, half truck.  Never liked them.  But they have a following, that's for sure. 

Inside a 72 Nova.  

Camaro's.  Probably the nicest little car they made at the time.  My brother had a 68 dark blue convertible because they liked him best for some unknown and unfathomable reason.

Camaro interior.  

I just want you to know I hate stuff like this.  I hate stuffed animals in cars at car shows and I hate little stuffed boys taking a leak propped up on a fender.  I hate all that cutesy stuff.  One other pet peeve:  at shows after you park your car, you get it all cleaned and spiffy.  Then you prop open the hood and trunk.   A car should be displayed like it is in a showroom, not the garage bay.  Open everything for judging times, but after than close them up.  One person said displaying cars with  everything open is like looking up the skirt of a girl, just not very nice.

Nice old Chevy with a rumble seat.

I don't know about you guys but riding in the rumble seat would have scared me to death.  

This was in some movie but I've forgotten which one now.  This is on loan from a company that loans stuff out for films.  

Nice place, I suppose, but I prefer the quieter, quirkier cars that were used everyday on America's highways.  The Studebakers, Plymouths,  Chryslers and Imperials.  Maybe I'm just still mad because Phil had one and I never did.   

Thanks for joining the tour and see you tomorrow for the grandkids' sendoff. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flashback Friday

Shangri-La is a supposedly fictional place described in a book and later a movie, by James Hilton.  I can't recall if either gave it an actual locale but it was a valley with mountains all around and was the place of a lamasery.  It was a Himalayan utopia - a permanently happy place, isolated from the rest of a cruel and sinister world.  

My Shangri-La is in Burgess, nestled somewhere within corn fields and Routes 94 & 67. It may be on Google maps now, and mores the pity.  It needs to be undiscovered.  It is inhabited by High Lama Marvin and his Porter, Wing man and Black Belt Master, Richard.   

I can't claim that I discovered it on my own.  The current Mrs. Blythe is friends with Marvin's wife, and I was simply a passenger.  But like the protagonist in the book and movie, I have often felt the allure of Burgess and if circumstances were different in life, I would have chosen the bucolic setting of my little Mercer County Shangri-La rather than the sinister city of Galesburg.  

This set of pictures is something I stumbled on while visiting Aledo and driving by Burgess one evening.  Yes, they actually do campfires and play their guitars outside.  It's like a senior Woodstock.  You won't see this very often anywhere else except renaissance fairs, street musicians, or other panhandling type activity.  They offered me a seat, a beer and I was witness to a pretty neat concert of sorts by the 9-fingered maestro and High Lama.  

At one time Burgess was one of the biggest things around Mercer County, but time passed it by and business and commerce went elsewhere.  There is also a book floating around somewhere with some history of the place.  Burgess was home of the Sugar Shack, and countless evenings at the bar, at the swimming pool, on Janine's great deck.  It was where the Green Monster was but is no longer.  There was also an alien spaceship that buzzed by or maybe crashed nearby.   Made the papers they say.  It was where your blogger, while stuffing a cigar in the Master's mail box one lazy Sunday of riding was questioned/interrogated by Neighborhood Watch Gib as to why a shirtless, tattooed biker would need to be in these parts.  

If by chance you ever get lost and magically find a small oasis rising from the cornfields, go ahead and stop to recharge your batteries and gain a different perspective on life.  Odds are the bar will be open with a fully stocked fridge, maybe some snacks, and Lawrence Welk or football on TV.  If you stay the night you may end up with the best breakfast you have ever experienced.  And if you are really lucky, Marvin may grab his guitar from the corner and serenade you into thinking you are in heaven.  It probably is.

Now don't go rushing to Google maps or gas up the car trying to find it.  I've probably said too much.  It exists, but you can't find it from where you are.  There is no way to get there.  It exists mostly in your imagination.  It must remain a secret. Burgess-La is a state of mind, not a place.  And it must remain untouched.  There are other heavens. of course:  BFE, a dead-end road near Wataga, a car show, a lazy day of fishing, a warm coo of a grandkid on your neck as you hold them tight.  But Burgess-La is a state of mind that makes magic.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Life Is A Beach 2

Here are some more pictures of an outing at the beach.  Again, I am silent, no words can help explain.

Some more beach pics are always just around the corner.  The beach is a place where you forget your worries if only for a short while, and immerse yourself in something immense.  I'm not smart enough to know what that is, but there are times I'm glad I'm only 15 minutes away.